Dave’s Grain Free (Canned)


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
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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

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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.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

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
  • Pitlove

    I checked the cans today and no curved expiration date, so I guess someone other than Evangers cans the cat food. I was looking at the cat canned for my girl, but she didn’t like it.

  • Crazy4cats

    Thank you, it seems like a pretty food at a decent price.

  • Pitlove

    I’ll definitely check today at work and get back to you! We have the cat cans as well as dog.

  • Crazy4cats

    What about the canned cat food. Do you think it is canned by Evanger’s as well?

  • Pitlove

    We just brought Dave’s canned into work. It looks decent but I’m sad to see it’s canned by Evangers ( noticed the curved expiration date on the bottom of the can ).

  • Linda

    Thanks for responding. One of my dogs is a working dog (barn) . She can tolerate anything and more protein and fat would keep weight on her. The other is Mr. Sensitive tummy. I was surprised he did well on this canned cat food because in dog gibble I’ve had no success with chicken. He tends to gain weight, especially in winter, but I’m thinking this just might be a good choice for both of them. He seemed to digest this well!

  • Crazy4cats

    Dogs can have cat food as long as they can tolerate the higher fat and calories that cat food typically has. Cats cannot thrive on the typical dog food, however, due to it not having enough taurine. A few sneaks from the dog bowl is not going to hurt anything.

  • Linda

    I have a dog with highly sensitive digestion. The only dry foods that worked for him were Venison and Potato; but he was always hungry and the protesin wasn’t high enough. After much trial and error I found he tolerates the very expensive Caastor and Pollux Seafood kibble. The other day when away from hom and with no other greain free choice, I gave him a CAN of Dave’s Beef and Chicken Pate for CATS. He loved it and miraculously did not get sick. Dave’s doesn’t make a Beef pate for dogs. It agreed with him so well I wonder why he can’t keep eating hte cat food With first ingredients like water, beef, chicken, beef liver, , poultry liver, egg produc, etc…why can’t dogs eat cat food?

  • Doxie Mom

    My dogs love this food. It is easy to mix with dry from the refrigerator.

  • Betsy Greer

    I totally agree Sandy! I have been using a spoonful or two of THK or Dr. Harvey’s Oracle on top of kibble, wet it with hot water, stir and wait. Using THK in place of canned toppers is so much easier! THK is expensive, but you use so little. I’ve never done the comparison, but I can’t imagine that it ends up being any more expensive than canned. I order it and it ships and stores better than canned foods do also.

  • Some of the Wellness Stews and Weruva Human Style don’t have carrageenan. Have you tried using a dehydrated food like The Honest Kitchen or Grandma Lucy’s or other? They serve up like wet food.

  • OhBichonPlease

    I recently purchased several varieties of Dave’s grain free and avoided the Turkey and Bacon for the same reason – carrageenan. As far as I could tell from what was available to me locally [from Pet Pantry – feedyoupets.com], the Turkey and Bacon recipe is the only one with carrageenan!
    I had fantastic luck last night with the Stewie Stew – the first food my picky girl ate willingly and happily, even with kibble sprinkled on top.

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Then I’d keep watching labels. They may be in the process of changing. I hope not. I don’t know why dog foor companies think we need pate style foods to set up like Jello. I want it to be more like gravy, easy to mix.

  • katalinak-GA

    I know, but I buy several of Dave’s that are pate type that do not contain carageenan. They are kind of soupy, which is to be expected, so that’s why I checked the ingredients when I opened the Turkey and Bacon because it wasn’t. For instance, the Duck and Sweet potato is a pate but no carageenan.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Stew type canned foods don’t generally have it because it is a thickening agent used in loaf or pate style foods.

  • katalinak-GA

    I feed my dog Dave’s alot and just noticed that the GF Turkey and Bacon has carageenan in it, which is something I always try to avoid giving my dogs. Not sure why the other Dave’s GF products do not have it or if this is something new they have started adding to all of them.

  • I love Dave’s dog food. I inherited my late mother in laws chubby, picky, spoiled skin inflamed Llasa Apso. I have had him for 1 year, he is trim, healthy and ichy,sore skin free. Even the groomer was amazed at the change in this dog and his skin. He had huge patches of thickened smelly oozing skin all over. Hair lose and just a general miserable appeareance. After hundreds of dollars wasted at the vets, with anitbiotics, steroids, anti-histamine etc. I finally decided to try a gluten free, grain free dog food with a wieght maintenence dry food by Iams. Well this took about 2 months and he is completely cured. He is a healthy happy boy and we love him so much. I love Daves and i would never go back to anything else!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Weruva, Addiction, Simply Nourish, Tiki Dog – these are all fairly low in fat and carbohydrates and high protein.

  • I’m looking for a high-protein, low-carb, and below average fat wet dog food for my 16 old Sibe with severe arthritis. What do you suggest?

  • Meg K

    I wanted to check to see if anyone recently has tried this food.  I have a 2 1/2 year picky picky shih tzu who has IBD and now is in the early stages of liver disease.  She can not have anything with chicken, beef, lamb or grains so I am having some issues trying to find a food that doesn’t have these ingredients and one that she will eat.  I have tried so many different foods in the past with no luck.  Currently I am giving her Stella & Chewys but lately she is turning her nose up to it and she has been itching something fierce so I am not sure if there is something in the food that she is becoming allergic to or just allergies in general.  Any advice would greatly be appreciated!!!


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  • K.H.

    I feed Dave’s grain free to my three cats, along with Natural Balance Platefulls. I like it, it is grain free (two of mine have allergies) and affordable, but my only problem is the unspecified poultry they use in many of their ground formulas. Does anyone know about what type of poultry this stuff is? Thanks. 🙂

  • Peggy

    I have a chocolate lab who seems to be getting diarrhea each time I mix her dry food with Dave’s canned Chicken dog food. This is a new thing – she had been fine with it. Is anyone else having this problem?

  • John

    Yes it does. Thank you very much!

  • Hi John… Average dry matter protein for dry dog foods in our database is 28.55% and for canned foods it is 39.79%. Please re-read my FAQ, “How We Rate Dog Foods” and my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews” for more information. Hope this helps.

  • John

    So what is “average” protein? I doubt this is the only criterion used or your article on How We Rate Dog Food does not make sense. What are the criteria and scores needed?

  • Jonathan

    John, this food has “average” protein, thus it cannot have 5-stars.

  • Hi John… Wish I could help but your question is a bit vague. Not sure what you mean. in any case, I cannot provide customized product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • John

    I compared this to some of your 5 star grain free canned foods and I have trouble understanding the difference between this food and some of the 5 stars like: Before Grain, Canidae and Fromm Gold.

    I appreciate your help!