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Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken

by Canidae
Review Product PhotoReview Product Photo
Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula is a mid-priced dry dog food with overall great quality. This product has no controversial ingredients, which also means no artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. The food, however, has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat - but excellent meat and fat quality. Canidae has below the average number of food recalls. When contacted, the company was also relatively transparent in answering our questions. In short, Watchdog Labs recommends this product.

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Dry Dog Food
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
Sensitive Digestion, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn Wheat or Soy, Limited Ingredients
4, 12, 24 lbs
United States
Canidae Pet Food

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This food has a fair amount of protein but is somewhat high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content slightly and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 33.33%

Min. Fat 13.33%

Min. Carbs 45.56%

Max. Fiber 4.44%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 30.0%

Min Fat: 12.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 4.0%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%



520 Calories per Cup

This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories. Keep in mind, puppy food, like this one, usually have much higher calories per cup than other foods.

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Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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Total Ingredients
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lentils, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Whole Egg, Chicken Fat, Suncured Alfalfa, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Salt, Choline Chloride, 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, Mixed Tocopherols (A Natural Source of Vitamin E).

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. Canidae has formulated this product without any controversial ingredients.

Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.

  • Chicken
    Chicken is a nutritious meat that provides protein, fat and other nutrients to dogs. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). However, chicken is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Menhaden Fish Meal
    Menhaden (also known as mossbunker and bunker) is a marine fish. Menhaden fish meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Fish meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from the fish meat to create a protein-rich meal powder. Fish meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients.
  • Lentils
    Lentils are a legume that provide carbs, fiber, protein and numerous nutrients like folate, vitamin B6, phosphorus, iron and zinc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between lentils and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if potatoes are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

  • Peas
    Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

  • Potatoes
    Potatoes provide carbohydrates (mostly starch) and are a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between potatoes and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if potatoes are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

Controversial Ingredients

There are no Controversial ingredients in this product.

Country of Origin

This product is made in the United States.

Meat & Fat Quality

This Canidae product has named meat and fat sources, that’s great. These ingredients include Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, and Dried Whole Egg. Named fat sources include Chicken Fat and Flaxseed. It’s great to see that all of the ingredients are coming from named sources.

Artificial Preservatives

This product does not contain any controversial preservatives. It’s important to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.

Artificial Colors

There are no artificial colors in this product, either.

Artificial Flavors

Lastly, Canidae also does not use any artificial flavors. This is great, no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors - exactly what you want to see in your dog’s food.



Brand Recalls

This brand has one recall which is below the average number of recalls for dog foods.

Recalled Products:
Canidae Dog Food, Chicken Meal and Rice, Net Wt. 30 lbs, Guaranteed by: Canidae Corporation, San Luis Ohispo, CA 91401. Canidae Dog Food, Lamb Meal and Rice, Net Wt. 30 lbs, Guaranteed by: Canidae Corporation, San Luis Ohispo, CA 91401. Canidae Platinum Senior & Overweight, Net Wt. 30 lbs, Guaranteed by: Canidae Corporation, San Luis Ohispo, CA 91401. Canidae Dog Food, All Life Stages Formula, Net Wt. 30 lbs, Guaranteed by: Canidae Corporation, San Luis Ohispo, CA 91401.
Product was found to be contaminated with Salmonella.
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).



We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?

Canidae did not respond to our first email, or the second that was sent a week later.  We then placed a call and received answers to the questions below. Since the call was not recorded, the following responses are paraphrased - they should not be seen as exact statements from the company.

Does Canidae have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

They do have one on staff, but the name could not be shared.

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

The previously mentioned on-staff veterinary nutritionist.

Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

The Canidae representative was unsure if they perform these feeding trials.

What country are your products manufactured?

The United States.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

No, it can’t be, but there is a virtual tour on the website.

Here is a link to that website with the tour: www.ethospet.com

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

A detailed answer was provided including the ingredient testing process and a description of the on-site laboratory and the testing it performs.  

Does Canidae own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

Ethos is the name of the manufacturing facility that is owned by and produces Canidae.

Do any parts of your product come from China?


Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken

by Canidae
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