Drs. Foster and Smith Adult Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Drs. Foster and Smith canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Drs. Foster and Smith product line includes three 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.

  • Drs. Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult [M]
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Chicken and Brown Rice Adult [M]
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Lamb and Brown Rice Adult (4 stars) [M]

Drs Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Drs Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 26%

Ingredients: Ocean white fish, fish broth, salmon, potatoes, herring, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, guar gum, sunflower oil, whole apples, kelp, potassium chloride, 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 items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%21%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%41%21%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a protein-rich freshwater species native to Canada and the northern United States.

The second ingredient is fish 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 third ingredient is salmon, another quality raw item. Salmon is a fatty marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The fourth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is herring. Nutritionally, herring is very similar to salmon.

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 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.

The ninth 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.

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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

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.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this food contains chelated mineralsminerals 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
The Bottom Line

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46%, a fat level of 21% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 26%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 20% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

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.

Bottom line?

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 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

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
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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A Final Word

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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.

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.

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Notes and Updates

01/25/2017 Last Update

  1. 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)