- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 0 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 0 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0 Star
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Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Includes a lot of fillers, particularly rice
- Includes a number of milk-based ingredients, which are typically not appropriate for cats, who do not produce the enzyme lactase (which means they can’t properly digest milk)
- Includes extra vitamins, high quality, chelated versions of some minerals, and probiotics
- Low protein levels and moderately high carbs is not a great combination
The Dave’s Pet Food product line includes 1 dry recipe/flavor.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).
The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.
Dave’s Pet Food Naturally Healthy
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||21%||29%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||32%||43%||25%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato, Rice Bran, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Egg Product, Dried Milk, Flaxseed Meal, Peas, Yogurt (Dried Cultured Skim Milk, Dried Whey and Sugar), Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Kelp, Garlic, Cheese (Farmer’S Cheese), Avocado Oil, Spinach, Beets, Parsley, Yucca Shidegera Extract, Cranberries, Blueberries, Dried Lactobaccillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Thermoplium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Saccharomyces Cerevisia Fermentation Solubles, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Zince Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Oxide, Niacin, Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Activated Animal Sterol (a Source of Vitamin D3), Calcium Iodate, Rosemary Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite ** We Use Chelated Minerals **.
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
The first ingredient in this cat food is chicken. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that chicken contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Good.
Chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken, and is considered a high quality ingredient.
In short, much of the moisture of the chicken is taken away, and you are left with a very high-protein, low-moisture powder-like substance.
The inclusion of chicken meal helps to ensure a very high protein level.
The third ingredient is brown rice. Bad.
It may be slightly better than corn in some areas, but rice is simply not biologically appropriate for cats.
It is a filler ingredient.
Studies hypothesize that rice may decrease taurine absorption in cats, leading to taurine deficiency, a dangerous ailment.
The fourth ingredient is brewer’s rice. Bad.
These are the small fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice.
It is basically a waste product from breweries.
It’s a cheap, non-nutritive filler that can be rough on the intestines, and potentially lead to diabetes.
Rice may also decrease taurine digestion. Taurine is a vital amino acid that cats need to stay healthy, but that they can’t produce themselves. Decreased digestion can be dangerous to cats.
The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Good.
Named animal fats in cat food is usually a good thing. Cats do need a fair amount of fat.
Chicken fat is a great source of healthy fats and omega fatty acids.
It is preferred to canola oil or unnamed animal fats.
The sixth ingredient is tomato. OK, but with reservations.
Tomato is OK, but is usually just a gimmick or whole food additive that companies use to make their ingredients “seem” better to human shoppers.
There’s probably not enough nutritional value to make a difference, though too many tomatoes may be too acidic for your cat and cause digestive upset.
The seventh ingredient is rice bran. Bad.
Another unnecessary rice ingredient, rice bran is a cheap filler that may lead to digestive upset.
The eighth ingredient is menhaden fish meal. OK, but with reservations.
Menhaden are a small, oily fish, with a very high protein content.
Because it is a concentrated meal, most of the good oils are gone.
There is some concern that these are not sustainably fished.
This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals.
However, there are a few things you should know about.
Cats don’t naturally make the enzyme lactase, which means that dried milk is not an appropriate ingredient for them.
Peas are a protein- and fiber-rich carbohydrate that is not biologically appropriate for cats.
The yogurt in this food is made with cultured milk, which means it may be more easily digestible than normal pasteurized milk. However, it still may not be digested well. Plus, this yogurt contains sugar, which is not appropriate for cats and can lead to diabetes, dental problems, and more.
It also uses brewer’s dried yeast, which is a by-product of brewing beer. It is used for flavoring and for protein and B-vitamins.
However, some reports suggest that it can become very toxic to the liver, causing allergies and arthritis, in large doses.
Garlic, while not in high enough quantities here to be harmful, can be highly toxic to cats. While we are sure the company has taken steps to ensure a very small amount of garlic enters the food, it is unnecessary and why take the risk?
Cheese is another milk product that is not appropriate for your cat. Lactose can upset your cat’s stomach.
This recipe utilizes chelated minerals, which may be easier to digest and more bioavailable for your cat. This is usually a sign of a high quality cat food.
To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).
The Catological Verdict on Dave’s Pet Food Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is a below average dry product.
Meat is the first ingredient, but protein is low and a number of fillers and inappropriate ingredients are included.
The use of quality vitamins, minerals, and probiotics is nice, but when the rest of the food doesn’t pass the test, that’s mostly irrelevant.
This is not a good example of a dry food you should be feeding to your cat.
Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat likely plays a small part in the recipe. We can therefore say that it is likely a mostly plant-based cat food, which is not appropriate for your carnivorous feline.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 38% protein, 21% fat, and 29% carbs.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Below average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because meat is the first ingredient, but fillers and biologically inappropriate foods are plentiful, our average rating for this brand is 2 stars.
Dave’s Pet Food Cat Food Recall History
We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.
Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.
However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat.
Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Dave’s Pet Food brand in the past:
- June 2018 – Potentially elevated levels of thyroid hormone – 1 recipe affected
- December 2015 – “Off odor”, potential rancidity – 1 recipe affected
If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)
Where To Buy Dave’s Pet Food Cat Food
We recommend purchasing your pet products from Chewy.com. They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy.
Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders.