Health Extension Grain-Free Cat Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis
- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 1 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0 Star
Here’s a few important points:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- The filler ingredients vary between recipes, with some including pea protein and tapioca starch, while others do not
- The beef, turkey, and chicken recipes have lower protein and higher carbs than the other options
- Includes added vitamins and high quality, proteinate versions of some minerals
Health Extension’s product line includes 10 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.
- Health Extension Grain-free Chicken (G, M) 3 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Beef (G, M) 3 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Turkey (G, M) 3.5 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Salmon (G, M) 4.5 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Tuna & Prawns (G, M)
- Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Pumpkin (G, M) 4.5 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Duck (G, M) 4.5 stars
- Health Extension Grain-free Tilapia & Tuna (G, M)
- Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Tuna (G, M) 4.5 stars
- Health Extension Turkey & Chicken (G, M) 3.5 stars
Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Duck was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Health Extension Grain-free Chicken & Duck
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||63%||13%||0%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||67%||33%||0%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Duck, Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Coconut Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Disodium EDTA, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulte Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity)
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 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 duck. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, duck is a good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that duck 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 fourth ingredient is tapioca starch. OK, but with reservations.
Used in many grain-free recipes as a starch to bind the food together.
While it’s not very nutritional and doesn’t compare well to grains in some cases, there’s likely not enough of it to cause any digestive issues for your cat.
The fifth ingredient is pea protein. Bad.
Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbohydrates.
Peas are also rich in protein, and this ingredient is a concentrated form of that protein, which means the actual meat content of this food may be lower than the macronutrient profile suggests.
While this version of peas have almost no carbohydrates remaining, plant proteins are not appropriate sources of nutrition for your cat, and simply boost the crude protein count without providing all of the necessary amino acids found in meat proteins.
The sixth ingredient is tricalcium phosphate. Good.
Tricalcium phosphate is both a useful phosphorous supplement to help regulate acidity in the body, and an emulsifier.
It helps the food stay together a bit more in general, but without “caking” or “clumping”.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is coconut oil. OK, but with reservations.
Coconut oil has some benefits for cats, and is used by holistic veterinarians for immune system health, hairballs, inflammation, and stomach health.
Too much could result in an upset stomach or diarrhoea, but this far down the list, there is unlikely to be enough to cause an issue.
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 still a few things you should know.
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 Health Extension Wet Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an above average food.
Meat is the first ingredient, and in most recipes, very few fillers are used
We do not like the addition of pea protein in some of the recipes, since it is not biologically appropriate. Further, it is a way for manufacturers to make their food look better to the consumer by boosting the protein content on the label, without needing to add extra meat (which would be the expensive – but right – thing to do).
In some recipes protein is moderate and carbs are moderate, but in many recipes protein is high and carbs are low or non-existent. It really depends on what recipe you choose.
We recommend picking one of the recipes that we rated 4.5 stars above.
This is a good example of a wet food you should be feeding your cat.
Since it’s clear that meat products make up a lot of this food, we can assume that this is a mostly meat-based food, which is ideal for your carnivorous feline’s dietary needs.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 63% protein, 13% fat, and 0% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 55%, and average fat content of 19%, and an average carb content of 4%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Above average protein.
- Average fat.
- Below average carbs.
Because meat is the first ingredient, minimal fillers are used, and many recipes have great macronutrient profiles, our rating for this brand is 4 stars.
Health Extension 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 Health Extension brand in the past:
- We could find no record of a recall in Health Extension’s history
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 Health Extension Wet 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.
Check out our ratings and reviews of the best cat foods in our comprehensive, data-backed guide right here.