Variety Dog Food (Canned)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Variety canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Variety product line includes 14 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.

  • Variety Healthy Coat Dad’s Savory Catch [U]
  • Variety Healthy Coat Mom’s Tasty Mixed Grill [U]
  • Variety Healthy Coat Grandma’s Buffet Dinner [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Savannah Crockpot [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Mom’s Turkey Dinner [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Stew Momma’s Best (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Stew Mom’s Crockpot (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Stew Dad’s Casserole (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Stew Grandma’s Stew (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Stew Grandad’s Roast (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Sunday Brunch (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Salmon and Chicken Entree [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Beef and Barley Feast (5 stars) [U]
  • Variety Homestyle Recipes Grandma’s Casserole (3.5 stars) [U]

Variety Healthy Coat Dad’s Savory Catch was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Variety Healthy Coat Dad's Savory Catch

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 33%

Ingredients: Salmon, vegetable broth, chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, potatoes, whitefish, cracked barley, carrots, whole brown rice, ground brown rice, menhaden fish meal, peas, apples, sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, natural flavor, dried egg product, guar gum, salt, flaxseed meal, potassium chloride, carrageenan, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, minerals: zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, ferrous proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, cobalt proteinate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%23%33%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%44%26%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 26%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Salmon is an oily 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 second ingredient is vegetable broth. Broths are nutritionally of modest 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 chicken, another quality, raw item.

Both salmon and chicken are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

After the chicken broth, we find chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The sixth ingredient lists potatoes. 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 seventh ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

The eighth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary 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 six notable exceptions

First, we note the use of menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

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

Next, this recipe 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.

In addition, 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.

Next, we find flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.

We also note the inclusion of carrageenan, 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 minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Variety Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Variety 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 36%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Variety is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.

Variety 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.

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Notes and Updates

10/08/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials