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Variety Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Variety Grain Free product line includes 4 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.
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.
- Variety Grain Free Mom’s Turkey and Pea Crockpot (5 stars) [A]
- Variety Grain Free Dad’s Chicken and Sweet Potato (3 stars) [A]
- Variety Grain Free Grandad’s Lamb and Potato Feast (1.5 stars) [A]
- Variety Grain Free Grandma’s Beef and Potato Dinner (4.5 stars) [A]
Variety Grain Free Dad’s Chicken and Sweet Potato recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Variety Grain Free Dad's Chicken and Sweet Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken liver, fresh sweet potatoes, dried egg product, dried potatoes, ground flaxseed, carrots, natural flavor, cassia gum, xanthan gum, salt, guar gum, dried spinach, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, vitamins: vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, minerals: potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, choline chloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||32%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||56%||17%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The next two ingredients include chicken broth and vegetable broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient includes sweet potatoes. 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 sixth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The seventh ingredient is dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight effect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient lists 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 one notable exception…
The minerals listed in this food do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Variety Grain Free Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Variety Grain Free 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 82%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed dried potato, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 27% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Variety Grain Free 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 3.5 stars.
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
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.
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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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/13/2019 Last Update