Sunday, March 17, 2013

For our Best Friends: Canidae Grain Free Pure

Canidae Grain Free Pure (Dry)

Rating: ★★★★★
Canidae Grain Free Pure Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Canidae Grain Free Pure product line includes four dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sea
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Land (4 stars)
Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky

Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potato protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, natural mixed tocopherols, suncured alfalfa meal, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, sage extract, cranberries, beta-carotene, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, papaya, pineapple
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis32%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%18%39%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%37%33%
The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% 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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The third 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 fourth ingredient mentions 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 actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
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 actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is 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.
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 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.
Next, 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.
In addition, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Canidae Grain Free Pure Dry 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 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 39%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.
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 effects of the peas and potato protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Bottom line?
Canidae Grain Free Pure Dry Dog Food is a meat-based kibble using a generous amount of poultry, lamb or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Enthusiastically recommended.
Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Canidae Grain Free Canned Dog Food.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

This review is designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food. However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyzed this product, please be sure to read our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt consult a veterinarian for help.
Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/06/2009 Original review
07/17/2010 Review updated
11/09/2010 Upgraded (ethoxyquin free)
04/12/2011 Review updated (major product line change)
12/07/2012 Review updated
12/07/2012 Last Update

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog’s daily diet.

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