Chef Michael’s Dog Food (Canned)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

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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

Protein = 55% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 26%

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 items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis12%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis55%11%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis50%26%24%
Protein = 50% | Fat = 26% | Carbs = 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 55%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 26%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.


A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/02/2010 Original review
02/21/2014 Product may have been discontinued

02/21/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  • Karissa

    Poison. 107.9 country station I listen to in az is paid to promote this crap. Ugh

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  • Joz193

    After reading in depth about the ingredients in Chef Michael I feel sick, But my 5 year old mixed terrier recently had her gallbladder removed after 3 years of being misdiagnosed by my “former” vet. Getting her to eat has always been tough and this has been the 1 brand that she will usually eat. We have tried almost every brand of wet dog food, she was on Hills i/d can food before surgery and would rarely touch it. She does like the Hills i/d dry kibble. I wish pet food companies would list the MAX fat content instead of the MIN because I have to watch her fat content. She also likes Nutro Natural Choice trays. She still gets nauseous at times and to get her to eat I have to give her Mirtazipine. I also wish pet food companies would put out more of the smaller cans of food. My “former” vet used to say just put the food down and if she is really hungry she will eat it-but of course she rarely did because the food made her sick.

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  • Paula

    Good suggestions for the Blue Buffalo and Nutro. We have no Harris Teeters here anymore, unfortunately. I’m a Newmans fan but can’t find their pet food around here either. The Chef Michael’s cans are about 4 ounces — very small. I think the creosote probably convinced me, though.

  • Well, Paula, it’s pretty gross stuff. Would you want to cover your veggies and chicken with rendered by-products made from the stuff that can’t be turned into hot-dogs? And was possibly sprayed with creosote to “de-nature” it? And sodium nitrate is just awful. We should all be avoiding it like the plague in but pet and people food.

    How big is the container? Is it, like, a cup? There are better options I’ve seen in grocery stores, notably Harris Teeter. They have the Newman’s Own organic and the Harmony Farms, both of which are 4-star canned foods. Now, they are regular size cans, but with a plastic lid or a piece of tin foil, it can last in the fridge for up to 3 days…

    But if you decide to go to a pet store, look for Blue Buffalo Stews and Family Favorites. Again, full size cans, but these have thick gravy that’s great for topping. Nutro makes small serving trays of food in a package that looks similar to Caesars. They also make pouches which could be all used at once.

  • Paula

    My dog is 60 pounds and he just gets the one can as “gravy.”

  • Paula

    I have been using this product just to moisten my dog’s kibble. He loves it that way and doesn’t leave a crumb! While it’s apparently not particularly nutritious, it is convenient because of the small size cans (no leftovers to need refrigeration) and it’s easily found at my supermarket. Is there any problem with using it like that?

  • Hi Kristin… Thanks for sharing this eye-popping example of dog food value. Good job!

  • FYI: Today I saw this food at the pet store; a 3 oz can of Chef Michael’s food for $0.89. In other words, you pay $0.297 per ounce. This means that a 12oz can of this 2 star food would cost $3.56.
    Whole Earth Farms makes a 5 star canned food. A 12oz can of this goes for $1.48.
    Basically, Chef Michael’s 2 star food costs 2.4 times as much as Whole Earth Farms’ 5 star food.