Gather Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Gather product line includes 3 dry 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.
Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
Gather Free Acres was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Gather Free Acres
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Organic chicken, organic dehydrated chicken, organic peas, lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), krill meal, organic flaxseed, blueberries, cranberries, egg shell meal, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, inositol, niacin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, selenium yeast), taurine, dried rosemary
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||17%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||35%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% 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 dehydrated chicken. Dehydrated chicken is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh chicken.
Plus (unlike chicken meal) dehydrated chicken is never exposed to high temperatures during processing, so it preserves more of the meat’s natural nutrients.
The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
The fourth ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, both peas and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is krill meal. Krill are small crustaceans closely related to shrimp.
Because it’s considered a meat concentrate, krill meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh krill itself.
The seventh ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
The eighth ingredient lists blueberries. Blueberries are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The ninth ingredient includes cranberries, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, we find egg shell meal, used here as a natural source of dietary calcium.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
In addition, 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.
Next, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
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.
Gather Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Gather 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Not including the vegan recipe, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Gather includes both grain-inclusive and grain-free dry dog foods using a notable amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Enthusiastically recommended (excluding the Endless Valley recipe).
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.
A Final Word
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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
08/19/2019 Last Update