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Chef Michael’s canned dog food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Chef Michael’s product line includes three canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Chef Michael’s Sirloin Steak Flavor In Sauce
- Chef Michael’s Beef Tenderloin Flavor In Sauce
- Chef Michael’s Rotisserie Chicken Flavor In Sauce
Chef Michael’s Rotisserie Chicken Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Chef Michael's Rotisserie Chicken Flavor
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken, liver, wheat gluten, meat by-products, carrots, corn, turkey, corn starch-modified, artificial and natural flavors, soy flour, salt, natural rotisserie chicken flavor, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, added color, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, niacin, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, potassium iodide, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||55%||11%||26%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||50%||26%||24%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The fourth ingredient is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is meat by-products, an item made from slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the striated muscle cuts have been removed.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this item can include almost any other part of the animal.1
Although most meat by-products can be nutritious, we do not consider such vaguely described (generic) ingredients to be as high in quality as those derived from a named animal source.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh item is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain which — aside from its energy content — is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The eighth ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.3
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The ninth ingredient is corn starch, a starchy powder extracted from the endosperm found at the heart of a kernel of corn. Corn starch is most likely used here to thicken the broth into a gravy.
Corn starch isn’t a true red flag item. Yet we’ve highlighted here for those wishing to avoid corn-based ingredients.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we find soy flour, a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.
Soy flour would be expected to have a notably lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Chef Michael’s Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Chef Michael’s looks like a below-average canned dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 55% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 21%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Chef Michael’s canned dog food is a plant-based wet product using a moderate amount of chicken or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
04/02/2010 Original review
02/21/2014 Product may have been discontinued
02/21/2014 Last Update