Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free product line includes 4 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Lamb and Pea [A]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Beef and Legumes [A]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Salmon, Pea and Sweet Potato [A]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Chicken, Pea and Sweet Potato [A]

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Lamb and Pea was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Lamb and Pea

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 46%

Ingredients: Lamb, lamb meal, peas, lentils, faba beans, pea flour, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tapioca starch, ground flaxseed, natural flavor, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, dl-methionine, sodium tripolyphosphate, taurine, dried chicory root, raspberries, tomatoes, blueberries, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, Yucca schidigera extract, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%16%46%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%33%41%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

It’s important to note that a number of the following ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Faba beans
  • Pea flour

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The eighth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we find pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a 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 meat content of this dog food.

Next, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Chicken Soup for the Soul
Grain Free Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

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 30%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products, lentils, fava beans and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Chicken Soup Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

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A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

05/12/2019 Last Update