Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend product line includes 5 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.

  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Red Meat Recipe (4 stars) [A]
  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Cage Free Recipe [A]
  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Free Range Recipe [A]
  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Small Breed Red Meat (3.5 stars) [A]
  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Wild Caught Recipe [A]

Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Red Meat Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Stella and Chewy's Raw Blend Red Meat Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 35%

Ingredients: Beef, pork meal, peas, lentils, salmon meal, chickpeas, pea protein, lamb, beef fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), beef liver, beef kidneys, sunflower oil, venison, natural vegetable flavor, flaxseed, suncured alfalfa, beef heart, beef tripe, beef bone, fenugreek seed, pumpkin, coconut oil, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic blueberries, inulin (from chicory root), thyme, sage, rosemary extract, taurine, tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, salt, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis36%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%17%35%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%35%30%
Protein = 35% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 30%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

It’s important to note that the next three out of four ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The seventh ingredient is 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 eighth ingredient is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 ninth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality 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 six notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2

Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

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.

We also find taurine in this recipe. Taurine is 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 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.

Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend looks like an above-average dry dog food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 41%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 35%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils, chickpeas, pea protein, flaxseed and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Stella and Chewy’s Raw Blend is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include so much plant-based protein in its recipe. Otherwise, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.

Stella and Chewy’s Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Stella and Chewy’s product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  3. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.

09/15/2019 Last Update