Dave’s Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Dave’s Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Dave’s Grain Free product line includes 10 canned 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.

  • Dave’s Grain Free Salmon Entree (4 stars) [S]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Turkey and Bacon (4 stars) [A]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato Recipe [A]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Ocean and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy [M]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Pork and Sweet Potato Entree (4 stars) [A]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Beef and Vegetable Cuts in Gravy (5 stars) [M]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato and Quinoa (4 stars) [A]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chicken and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy (5 stars) [M]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato Cuts in Gravy (5 stars) [M]
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chicken, Salmon and Sweet Potato Entree (4 stars) [M]

Dave’s Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dave's Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 24%

Ingredients: Duck, liver, broth, sweet potatoes, brewers dried yeast, cranberries, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, cassia gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), salt, minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, cobalt proteinate), fish oil, selenium yeast

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%27%24%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%51%18%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 18%

The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.1

Duck is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second 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 third ingredient is broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fifth ingredient is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient includes cranberries, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

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.

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, fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Dave’s Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dave’s Grain Free canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 41%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 24%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dave’s Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Dave’s 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.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

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Special 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

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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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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Notes and Updates

09/17/2017 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition