Drs. Foster and Smith canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Drs. Foster and Smith product line includes 2 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.
- Drs. Foster and Smith Lamb and Brown Rice Adult (4 stars) [M]
- Drs. Foster and Smith Chicken and Brown Rice Adult (5 stars) [M]
Drs Foster and Smith Lamb and Brown Rice Adult recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Drs. Foster and Smith Lamb and Brown Rice Adult
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb, lamb liver, lamb broth, brown rice, herring, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, guar gum, whole apples, kelp, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, carrageenan, garlic powder, sodium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), zinc proteinate, choline chloride, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, beta carotene, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, manganese proteinate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, and sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||32%||19%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||56%||14%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Lamb is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is lamb liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third ingredient is lamb broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The fourth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient is herring. Herring is a fatty marine fish naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
The sixth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The ninth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
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.
Drs. Foster and Smith Adult Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Drs. Foster and Smith Adult 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 17% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 74%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a significant amount of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 30% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Doctors Foster and Smith Adult is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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.
Those looking for a good kibble from the same company may wish to read our review of Drs. Foster and Smith dry dog food.
Drs. Foster and Smith Dog Food
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.
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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
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩
07/25/2018 Last Update