Dave’s Naturally Healthy Cat Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis

Rating

  • Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
  • Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
  • Above average protein content – 0.5 Star
  • Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
  • Catological Discretionary Rating – 0.5 Star

Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:

  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Very limited filler ingredients, allowing for fairly low carb, decent protein recipes
  • Includes extra vitamins, and high quality, proteinate versions of some minerals
  • Some recipes include a lot of fish, which we do not recommend as the main ingredient in your cat’s diet

The Naturally Healthy product line includes 20 wet recipes/flavors.

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.

daves pet food naturally healthy wet cat food

Dave’s Pet Food Naturally Healthy Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dave’s Pet Food Naturally Healthy Chicken

Wet Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content
ProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis45%23%16%
Calorie Weighted Basis39%47%14%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein

45%

Fat

23%

Carbs

16%

Fiber (guaranteed analysis)

1%

Calories/100g

116

Is real, named meat the first ingredient?

Yes

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Guar Gum, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Agar-Agar, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Cranberries, Blueberries, Dried Squash, Taurine, Zucchini, Sodium Carbonate

Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.

Ingredient Breakdown

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 broth. Good.

Instead of using water for processing, chicken broth is added for moisture.

Broth may contain vitamins and nutrients from the original animal (chicken, in this case), that water would lack.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. Good.

Liver is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The fourth ingredient is turkey. Good.

While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, turkey is a very good protein source for cats.

It’s also important to note that turkey 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 fifth ingredient is guar gum. OK, but with reservations.

Guar gum comes from guar beans, and is a thickening agent.

In small quantities, like those in cat food, it should be a harmless ingredient.

However, some research has shown that including guar gum in a commercial cat food “had a significant negative effect on apparent protein digestibility in many of the cats and tended to depress apparent fat and energy digestibilities.”

While not heavily substantiated beyond this study, it might mean your cat needs to eat more protein to make up for the lower digestibility.

The sixth ingredient is sweet potatoes. OK, but with reservations.

Normally sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, with less sugar than beets.

However, cats do not require carbohydrates like this, and while it won’t necessarily hurt the cat, it is not biologically appropriate.

It may be hard to digest, and is unnecessary.

The seventh ingredient is carrots. Good.

The beta carotene in carrots turns into vitamin A, which is a useful antioxidant compound.

However, cats can’t turn much beta carotene into vitamin A like we can, so much of it is stored for growth or cell reprouction.

Therefore, carrots are most useful for kittens or senior cats.

The eighth ingredient is agar-agar. Good.

Agar-agar is derived from a red seaweed, but is different from carrageenan.

It is used as a “gelling” substance, which helps keep food together.

Although they are both red seaweeds, it seems agar-agar does not suffer from the same potentially carcinogenic qualities as carrageenan.

Until we find research to prove that they are the same just because they both come from red seaweeds, we believe agar is a better gelling agent than most others used.

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.

This recipe uses the proteinate form of minerals, which means that they should be easier to digest for your cat, and be more readily available for her body to use to maintain her health. This is usually a sign of a quality 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 Naturally Healthy Wet Cat Food

From top to bottom, this is an above average wet product.

Meat is the first ingredient, and it includes a wide variety of different meats, including healthy organ meats.

It includes minimal filler ingredients, which is great.

There are a couple of recipes that use unnamed meats. We are very skeptical of these ingredients, because they could be anything, including dead, diseased, dying, or disabled animals. In this case, they use “poultry”, which could be chicken or turkey or a wide variety of other things. 

It’s safer to choose foods that specifically label all meat ingredients. 

Those foods that use unnamed meats are rated lower, which you can see above.

Some recipes also utilize a lot of fish, which we do not recommend feeding to cats as their main protein source. 

Fish allergens are somewhat common, and fish can contain high levels of mercury and other environmental toxins that are harmful to your cat. They are also not often eaten it the wild by feral or homeless cats.

Overall, though, is a good example of a wet food you should be feeding to your cat.

Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat likely plays a major role in the recipe. We can therefore say that it is likely a meat-based cat food, which is appropriate for your carnivorous feline.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 45% protein, 23% fat, and 16% carbs.

As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 52%, and average fat content of 17%, and an average carb content of 12%.

Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:

  • Above average protein.
  • Average fat.
  • Average carbs.

Because meat comes first, minimal fillers are used, and the macronutrient profile is fairly good, our average rating for this brand is 4 stars.

Recommended.

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 Naturally Healthy 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. 

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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