Dogswell LiveFree (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Product Has Been Discontinued
Confirmed by the Company1

Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating rating of 5 stars.

The Dogswell LiveFree product line includes six dry dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (Puppy).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Dogswell LiveFree Lamb Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Turkey Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Salmon Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Puppy
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Senior

Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Chicken, turkey meal, peas, chicken meal, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea starch, natural flavor, pea protein, dried eggs, salmon meal, potassium chloride, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pumpkin, cranberries, blueberries, apples, alfalfa meal, carrots, lettuce, watercress, celery, parsley, spinach, beets, flaxseed, tomato pomace, choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, cobalt proteinate, sodium selenite, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, chicory root extract, fructooligosaccharide, hemicellulose extract, rosemary extract, green tea extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis38%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%20%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%40%25%
Protein = 35% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% 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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fifth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

After the natural flavor, 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.

The next ingredient lists dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, flaxseed is 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.

Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

We also note the inclusion of chicory root. Chicory 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 also 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.

Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dogswell LiveFree 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 42%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products, chickpeas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food is a grain-free meat-based kibble using a significant amount of turkey or fish meals 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.

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Notes and Updates

06/03/2016 Last Update

  1. As of 6/3/2016
  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Also, check Pure Vita Salmon, also by Dogswell/Tuffy

  • Heather D Kelly

    Thank you for your reply. I will check these foods out. I noticed that Zignature has a 4.5 star rating here. I know it’s not a significant difference, but I was hoping to stay with 5 star. I am so excited to look into your recommendations and crossing my fingers for 5 star with one or the other of those. Thanks again! I appreciate your guidance

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Nutrsca is made by Tuffy, also, Dogswell has a new line of grain free. Check chewy dot com
    My dogs do well on Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea as a base.
    Check Natural Balance, they have some limited ingredient foods.

  • Heather D Kelly

    I have two 3 year old Maltese and a 14 year old Maltese on this food. All 3 have done very well over the past 2 years on this. Now that it’s been discontinued, I am pulling my hair out trying to find something similar to this. I acquired the senior 2 years ago and she has suffered from yeasty ears for her entire life. After 3 months on this food, her ears have been clear ever since. My 3 year old male seems to have a little bit of sensitive stomach. My 3 year old female seems to adjust well to anything. All 3 have brown/red staining. I have looked this site over and I am still unsure of what food to try now. My local pet store suggested Zignature Whitefish since they’re currently on the Salmon LiveFree. Any suggestions?

  • Pitlove

    Hi Dr. Mike-

    I see you deleted the comment stating this food was discontinued. I work at a small family owned pet store that carried Dogswell LiveFree. We were informed by the company that this product line had been discontinued and we stopped carrying it. They were also sending us expired bags. At first, when my boss confronted them and asked what was going on they assured her, that it was a mistake and nothing was wrong…they then changed the story and informed us that the products were being discontinued. Not sure why the website is still up.

  • This does not appear to be accurate. Are you sure this is correct?

  • Alex Woodman

    This is food has been discontinued.

  • Rachel Brandt

    Anyone else’s dog get the runs from this food !? I just switched her to it and had to let her out 3x in w night. That’s never happened before when switching her foods

  • David Sonnier

    I bought the Salmon and my dogs seem to like it… especially the female. She loves it. I’m hoping the low glycemic rating helps keep her glucose levels in check. She has recently developed diabetes so we are being very picky about what we feed her.

    The male will have to eat the same food, so maybe this will help prevent it for him.

    This is very high quality food.

  • theBCnut

    There is a thread here about diets for dogs with diabetes and if you post on it, you will likely get a response from USA Dog Treats, who knows a LOT about diabetes. He can help steer you to a regular food that is much better for diabetics than W/D and way, way more palatable. Kibble is not good for diabetics. All of it has too much sugar in it.

  • Ginny

    My older dog is diabetic and has been on Hills Rx WD. Lately he has been refusing to eat the kibble and being diabetic, it’s crucial that he eat so his insulin shots can be administered. We hate to change diets but did get some Livefree Chicken Senior which he really likes and is now eating as he should be. Time will tell if he his sugar level fluctuates but I’m very pleased that we finally found something that he eats and is grain free.

  • boxers1

    For those who have fed both LiveFree and Nutrisca can you share your results and why you chose one over the other? I have used both and for the life of me cannot remember why I moved away from them. Thanks so much

  • Shawna

    I believe it was the pet food manufacturers that, many years ago, started the myth that dogs should be on the same food day in and day out. They would have a vested interest in saying that though.

    Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart (taught veterinary nutrition for over 30 years) says this though (bolded emphasis mine)

    “I have posted on my blog what I feel is the
    ideal way to feed dogs. I will concentrate on dogs as cats are a whole separate topic. (I believe cats are fed inappropriately which is causing a lot of
    preventable health problems). I like to see variety in a dog’s diet as their digestive tract is not designed to be fed the same diet day in and day out.

    When a dog’s digestive tract is healthy they can switch between similar foods without issue. MANY of us here feed a “rotation” diet feeding a wide variety of foods with toppers like canned food, appropriate left overs etc. SO you can, and actually should, feed both foods as well as any others that you and pup like.

  • J.J.

    I have fed my dogs both foods. They have done very well on both. My picky eater prefers the Live Free over the Nutrisca, it’s one of the only dry foods she will eat without a topper. I prefer the Live Free due to the higher protein content. But in my experience, they are both really good options.

  • Andrea Amezcua

    I can’t decide which food is better for my dog I’m in between Dogwells Nutrisca and Live Free. Can anyone help me out on which might be best between these two. Thank you so much in advance.

  • Ziwipeak might work for you as well. It’s an air-dried raw food and it doesn’t have the carb binder like kibble does.

  • janetealum

    I ordered Nutrisca yesterday, birdie gets insulin 2 x a day but spikes so i’m trying to find a food to help regulate

  • LiveFree is lower glycemic than Nutrisca.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The one with the highest protein and fat and lowest carbs.

  • Betsy Greer

    Are you thinking of Nutrisca?

  • janetealum

    which dogwell dry is suitable for a diabetic dog on insulin?? I want to order but can’t remember which dogwell brand is recommended?