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Canidae Dog Food Reviews

Canidae is an independent US company that was founded in 1996 by Scott Whipple and John Gordon. In 2012, the company began making its dry foods at its own cooking and distribution center in Brownwood, Texas. In 2017, the company launched Canidae Farms In Kansas, where it grows its own ingredients for its pet foods.

In March 2023, it was announced that Canidae will merge with Natural Balance, owned by Nexus Capital Management since 2020. L. Catterton has been a major shareholder in Canidae since 2018. There are no details or dates announced for completion of the merger.

Canidae uses third-party manufacturers to make their wet food and treats. Their foods are available in North America and 34 countries worldwide.

IS Canidae A GOOD DOG FOOD?

Canidae offers 9 lines of ultra-processed dry dog food along with 4 lines of wet foods totalling 72 recipes. They offer grain-free, whole-grain and limited ingredient dog foods. 

When it comes to ingredient quality and safety, Canidae scores low, with its dry foods considered high risk, and its canned foods considered moderate risk. 

Canidae dry foods have average carbs of 37% as calculated, and lower average protein of 26%. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. Excessive carbohydrate is an indicator of poor food quality as it can be used to reduce manufacturing cost. Foods that are high in carbohydrate can raise insulin, cause obesity and affect a dog’s gut bacteria. High carbohydrate content can lead to a lower protein recipe as we see in Canidae dry foods. 

Canidae’s limited ingredient line is Pure with 3 dry food lines and 2 wet food lines. The first 5 to 8 key ingredients include proteins and starches, followed by a lengthy list of other additives plus synthetic vitamins and minerals to balance the foods. All Canidae foods include this vitamin and mineral premix, and some include added amino acids. When vitamins come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable. While a couple of added vitamins or minerals are acceptable, five or more implies the food is of poor nutritional value.  

Canidae claims to be planet friendly and use responsibly-sourced ingredients, but these are marketing terms with no meaning in pet food manufacturing. The company prides itself on sourcing ingredients from local suppliers and now has its own farm to produce ingredients for its dog foods. The website states they use regenerative practices with a goal of achieving healthy soil and fewer chemicals in the farming process, which is admirable. However, there’s no evidence to suggest the produce is organically grown, so their foods score lower for ingredients known to have high pesticide/herbicide residues and GMOs. 

Canidae chickens are cage-free and they do have a Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Level 2 certification confirming chickens are raised humanely without cages, protected from the elements and in an enriched environment with natural light and proper rest. It should be noted that GAP has 6 levels and the higher the level, the more the animal’s environment resembles its natural environment.

It’s good to see that the dry foods contain probiotics however they don’t guarantee the colony forming units (CFUs), so it’s not clear whether the probiotics survive the processing. 

Canidae claims to use sustainably sourced wild caught Alaskan Salmon but doesn’t state whether other fish ingredients are from farmed or wild caught sources. Wild caught fish is more nutritious and has a better fatty acid balance providing healthy omega-3s. 

It’s worth noting that Canidae doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. They are certainly not the only brand omitting this information, but it’s our hope that more brands will pay more attention to these fats since omega-6 fats are inflammatory and AAFCO allows a very high ratio of 30:1. 

Canidae uses recyclable and sustainable packaging and is the first pet food manufacturer to offer kibble refill stations that offer bulk buying to reduce single use containers.

The average score of Canidae foods is listed below. Click on any food to view the individual food scores.

Sustain Dry

2.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae Sustain Planet-Friendly Alaskan Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food
2.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Sustain Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 5 recipes that average 24% protein and high carbohydrate of 44% as calculated, which are high carbohydrate and low protein levels. This line loses ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals which reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. They also use plant protein which lacks the amino acids and digestibility of animal protein. Seed oil is used which is highly processed and inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, these are ultra-processed foods that result i  lower nutrient content. There are many ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, GMOs, natural flavors and rice. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount.

Canidae Sustain Dry Food Benefits

Canidae Sustain Dry Food Concerns

PURE Wholesome Grains Dry

3.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae PURE Real Beef & Barley Recipe with Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food
3.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Pure With Wholesome Grains Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 5 recipes that average 26% protein and high carbohydrate of 37% as calculated. This is another high carbohydrate line and that affects the score. These foods lose ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals which reflect poor quality or overly processed ingredients. They also use plant protein which is less digestible and lacks the amino acids of animal protein, and seed oil which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, ultra-processing of foods lowers the nutrient content. There are other ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, GMOs, natural flavors and rice. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount.

Canidae Pure With Wholesome Grains Benefits

Canidae Pure With Wholesome Grains Concerns

PURE Grain Free Dry

3.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae PURE Grain Free Chicken, Lentil and Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food
3.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Pure Grain-Free Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 19 recipes that average 29% protein and high carbohydrate of 35% as calculated. It’s a grain-free food but it includes many high starch ingredients so high carbohydrates affect the score. These foods lose ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals and amino acids, which reflect poor quality or overly processed ingredients. They also use seed oil which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, these are ultra-processed foods that lower nutrient content. There are other ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, GMOs and natural flavors. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount. 

Canidae Pure Grain-Free Benefits

Canidae Pure Grain-Free Concerns

PURE Petite

4.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canida PURE Petite Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Dogs Dry Dog Food
4.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Pure Petite Grain-Free Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 4 recipes that average 24% protein and high carbohydrate of 42% as calculated. This is Canidae’s highest scoring dry food. This is a grain-free line but it includes high starch ingredients so these carbohydrates affect the score. These foods lose ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals which reflect poor quality or overly processed ingredients. They also use seed oil which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, ultra-processing of these foods lowers nutrient content. There are other ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods and natural flavors. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount. 

Canidae Pure Petite Grain-Free Dry Benefits

Canidae Pure Petite Grain-Free Dry Concerns

Goodness Dry

3.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae Goodness Real Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food
3.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Goodness Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 6 recipes that average 24% protein and high carbohydrate of 40% as calculated, which lowers the score. These foods lose ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals which reflect poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Seed oil is used which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, ultraprocessing of these foods lowers nutrient content. There are many ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, some GMOs, natural flavors and rice.. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount.

Canidae Goodness Dry Benefits

Canidae Goodness Dry Concerns

All Life Stages Dry

2.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae All Life Stages Turkey Meal and Brown Rice Large Breed Dry Dog Food
2.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s All Life Stages Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 5 recipes that average 24% protein and high carbohydrate of 43% as calculated, which lowers the score. These foods lose additional ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals, and amino acids, which reflect poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Seed oil is used which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the ingredient safety side, ultra-processing of this food lowers  nutrient content. There are several other ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, some GMOs, natural flavors and rice. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount.

Canidae All Life Stages Dry Benefits

Canidae All Life Stages Dry Concerns

CA Dry

3.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae CA-20 Real Chicken with Wholesome Grains Recipe Dry Dog Food
3.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae CA Dry is considered a high risk dog food. There are 6 recipes that average 29% protein, and high carbohydrate of 34% as calculated, which lowers the score. They are grain-free foods but contain starches that elevate carbohydrates. These recipes lose additional ingredient quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals, and amino acids which reflect poor quality or overly processed raw ingredients. Seed oil is used which is highly processed and can be inflammatory. On the safety side, these are ultra-processed foods that lower nutrient content. There are many ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, some GMOs and natural flavors. Canidae dry foods do include probiotics but they don’t guarantee the minimum amount. 

Canidae CA Dry Benefits

Canidae CA Dry Concerns

Sustain Wet

5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae Sustain Wholesome Pâté Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon Recipe Wet Dog Food
5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Sustain Wet is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 3 recipes that average 30% protein and 25% carbohydrates, as calculated on a dry matter basis. This line loses food quality points for its high carbohydrate content with the Turkey Recipe at 39%. There’s also a loss of quality points for adding excessive vitamins and minerals. This is a highly processed canned food that has significant losses in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are other ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods and GMOs, as well as rice. 

Canidae Sustain Wet Benefits

Canidae Sustain Wet Concerns

PURE Grain Free Wet

6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae PURE Grain Free Duck and Turkey Recipe Wet Dog Food
6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Pure Grain-Free Canned is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 5 recipes that average 39% protein and 21% carbohydrates, as calculated on a dry matter basis. This makes it Canidae’s second highest scoring canned food. It’s a grain-free food but has other starch ingredients that contribute to the high carbohydrate level and loses points. Quality points are also lost for adding excessive vitamins and minerals, which are indicators of low quality ingredients. These foods also have inflammatory seed oils, and contain plant protein which lacks the nutrients and digestibility of animal proteins. On the ingredient safety side, this is a highly processed canned food that has significant losses in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are also safety concerns due to high pesticide foods. 

Canidae Pure Grain-Free Canned Benefits

Canidae Pure Grain-Free Canned Concerns

PURE Petite Wet

6.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae PURE Petite Grain-Free Minced Beef and Carrots Recipe for Small Breed Dogs Wet Dog Food
6.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s Pure Petite Grain-Free Wet is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 6 recipes that average 44% protein and 20% carbohydrates, as calculated on a dry matter basis. This  score makes it Canidae’s second highest scoring dog food. Carbohydrates range from 17% to a fairly high 30%. It’s a grain-free food but has high-starch ingredients that cost points. Quality points are also lost for adding excessive vitamins and minerals, which are indicators of low quality ingredients. These foods also have inflammatory seed oils, and contains plant protein, which lacks the nutrients and digestibility of animal proteins. On the ingredient safety side, high processing of  canned foods causes significant losses in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are also safety concerns due to high pesticide foods and natural flavor. 

Canidae Pure Petite Grain-Free Wet Benefits

Canidae Pure Petite Grain-Free Wet Concerns

All Life Stages Wet

5.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae All Life Stages Chicken and Rice Wet Dog Food
5.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Canidae’s All Life Stages Canned is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 5 recipes that average 35% protein and 23% carbohydrates, as calculated on a dry matter basis. Carbohydrates range from 18% to 36% which is high for canned food. The recipes lose ingredient quality points for excessive vitamins and minerals, which are indicators of low quality ingredients. These foods also have inflammatory seed oils, and there’s an unnamed animal protein (ocean fish) in one recipe. On the ingredient safety side, this is a highly processed canned food that has significant losses in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are also ingredient safety concerns due to high pesticide foods, GMOs, plus rice that can contain arsenic. There’s also an added synthetic preservative (Sodium tripolyphosphate) in these recipes. 

Canidae All Life Stages Canned Benefits

Canidae All Life Stages Canned Concerns

Canidae Dog Food Recalls

Canidae has only had one recall in its history when its foods were manufactured by Diamond Pet Food.

05/05/2012 – Canidae Platinum, All Life Stages, Lamb Meal & Rice, Chicken Meal & Rice – possible Salmonella contamination

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