Valens Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Valens Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Valens product line includes 4 grain-free 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.

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.

  • Valens Canine Farmer [U]
  • Valens Canine Pasture [U]
  • Valens Canine Small Breed [U]
  • Valens Canine Fisher (5 stars) [U]

Valens Canine Small Breed recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Valens Canine Small Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 39%

Ingredients: Fresh deboned turkey, fresh deboned salmon, turkey meal, salmon meal, turkey liver, peas, sweet potatoes, freeze dried salmon, flaxseed, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), tomato pomace, pea protein, natural flavour, cod liver, salt, yeast culture, dried Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation extract, chicory root extract, potassium chloride, kelp meal, l-carnitine, blueberries, carob, cranberries, ginger root, apples, dried Lactobacillus fermentation extract, yeast extract, elderberries extract, rosemary extract, thyme extract, Yucca schidigera extract, carrots, spinach, pumpkins, dehydrated Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dehydrated Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dehydrated Bifidobacterium bifidum thermophilum fermentation product, dehydrated Streptococcus faecium fermentation product, glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc sulphate, ferrous sulphate, vitamin E, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, copper sulphate, manganous oxide, vitamin A, copper proteinate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3, calcium iodate, folic acid, sodium selenite, vitamin B12, green tea extract, turmeric root, fennel, paprika, cayenne

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%20%39%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%40%32%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 32%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 salmon, another quality raw item inclusive of moisture. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The next two items are turkey meal and salmon meal. These ingredients are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey or salmon.

The fifth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

Although it is a quality item, raw organ meat 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 sixth 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 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 salmon. It should be noted the meat used here has been freeze-dried prior to use in this recipe. Because of the gentleness of the process used to create this item, freeze-dried ingredients can be considered nutritionally superior to meat meals.

The ninth 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 tenth 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.

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 tomato pomace. 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.

Next, this recipe includes 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.

In addition, chicory root 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.

Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago1, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

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.

Valens Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Valens 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 33%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 39%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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 peas, flaxseed and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Valens is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Valens 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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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".

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Notes and Updates

10/14/2017 Last Update

  1. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • sandy

    Fisher doesn’t have pea protein.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Been waiting for this review for a long time!! Storm’s a huuuuuuge fan of Valens Pasture, but I’m a bit disappointed to see the Calorie Weighted Basis analysis (I gather the Pasture is similar to the Small Breed). I typically use a high-protein topper with it (and most kibbles I feed, actually) so I’ll continue to do that with this one. Might try the Fisher again, too, since it gets 5 stars. Storm wasn’t as big a fan of Fisher, but it’s been months (if not a year) since he’s had it, he did equally well on it, and he’s due for a fish-based kibble in his rotation …so I think we’ll give Fisher another try.