Disclosure: When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.

Disclosure: Watchdog Labs is free to use. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

by Crave
Review Product PhotoReview Product Photo
Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 25, 2019

Crave Chicken Pate with Protein is an exceptional quality dog food with a low price. This product has no controversial ingredients with zero artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It has a relatively well-balanced amount of protein, fat and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality. Crave has a below-average number of recalls and was overall very transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs highly recommends this product.

Read the Full Review Below
Dry Dog Food
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
Grain-Free, High-Protein, No Corn Wheat or Soy
4, 12, 22 lbs
United States
Mars, Inc.

Created By Dog Lovers Like You

Product Reviews
3,173 Dog Foods
Expert Interviews
11 Experts
Dog Food Research
900+ Hours
of Research
100% Independent
& Zero Ads
Just Getting Started?

Just Getting Started?

Learn what makes a great dog food and get expert advice on how to choose the best food for your dog.

Learn MoreJust Getting Started?

Meet Our Team & Advisors

This dog food review was created by experts who love dogs. Find out more about our team and mission.

About Watchdog Labs


This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.

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 37.78%

Min. Fat 18.89%

Min. Carbs 35.56%

Max. Fiber 3.89%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 34.0%

Min Fat: 17.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 3.5%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%



463 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.

FDA Alert

Help Other Dogs

Share Watchdog With Your Friends

FDA Alert

FDA Alert

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.

Learn More
Score BannerOverall Rating Score


Total Ingredients
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Split Peas, Pork Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Potatoes, Lamb Meal, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 0 total controversial ingredients - very nice!

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.
  • Chicken Meal
    Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. Chicken meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Chickpeas
    Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a legume that provides nutrients such as protein, fiber, folate, iron and phosphorus. They are generally a healthy dog food ingredient.

  • Split Peas
    Split peas are peas that are dried and crackd in half. 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.

  • Pork Meal
    Pork meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients.

Controversial Ingredients
No controversial ingredients are included in this dog food.

Country of Origin

Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult is made in the United States. That’s great, because the dog food laws and regulations in the USA are higher than many other countries.

Meat & Fat Quality

All meat and fat sources in this dog food clearly show which animals they come from, that’s a sign of quality: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), and Lamb Meal. It’s great when products transparently show their ingredient sources.

Artificial Preservatives

This product contains no controversial preservatives. It’s good 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

Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult includes no artificial colors. That’s how it should be!

Artificial Flavors

Just like for artificial preservatives and colors, this product does great when it comes to  artificial flavors. That means it doesn’t include them at all. Fantastic!



Brand Recalls

Crave has a below-average number of recalls.




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?

Crave is part of the Mars family of brands and was pretty responsive. It only required one email, and they responded in 4 days. Not lightning fast, but compared to the average it was good response time.

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

We have two nutritionists on staff for better checks and balances.  One is full time and has done 7 years post graduate work in nutrition, his work has been published in peer reviewed Veterinary and Nutrition journals for over 30 years. His work is also cited in the NRC Nutrient Requirements for Dogs and Cats.  The other is a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist (DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR) who has an office in our headquarters but is considered part time so he can continue his work in academia.

The detail here is great, but they were unable to share the specific names of the professionals.

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

Developing pet foods involves teams of Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences. Mars Petcare has been developing pet foods for over 80 years and the nutritional knowledge and expertise of our associates goes into every diet we produce.

This response felt more like a marketing response and dodges the actual question. They were unable to provide any names of the professionals involved in the formulation of the product.  

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

This depends on the diet.  Both ways of ensuring nutritional adequacy are acceptable methods and the method employed on a particular diet is listed on the diet itself within the nutritional adequacy statement.  For those products that are formulated to meet nutrient profiles, we utilize our extensive database of the nutrient content of our ingredients and well as analytical values of key nutrients in order to ensure the delivery of the nutrient profiles of our diets.  

Every dog food label will list of the AAFCO Statement, which tells you if a feeding trial has been done. There is much debate on the effectiveness of these trials, but we feel it is insightful to hear how a manufacturer views them as part of their product development.

What country are your products manufactured?

Our CRAVE, Nutro,  products are currently manufactured in the USA.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

No, they cannot be visited by the public.

We found that most large multinational companies like Mars have manufacturing facilities that are not open to the public.  

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

Quality is the cornerstone of every aspect of our business and the number one responsibility of all our employees, suppliers and distributors. At Mars Petcare, we have a vision for making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®. The health and wellbeing of pets is our absolute priority. Our products are manufactured in strict compliance with the stringent guidelines set down by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as each state's feed regulations and in many cases our own guidelines far exceed them. Under the Mars Supplier Quality Assurance Program, all of the raw materials that we and our suppliers use must meet our strict global internal quality and safety requirements, in addition to local laws and regulation.  Our robust global standards, which apply at every stage of the supply chain, allow us to ensure that all of our products are safe, nutritious and enjoyable, meaning owners can feel confident that their pets will thrive on our products.  

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

In the U.S. we employ 25,000 Associates across 6 segments: Mars Food, Mars Drinks, Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate, Mars Symbioscience and Wrigley.  We employ more than 75,000 Associates worldwide. We have 37 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 43 U.S. states have Mars operations. For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them.  By growing our footprint in the U.S., we are better able to introduce new products to meet consumer demand for greater choice and variety.  

In short, they own the facilities.  

Do any parts of your product come from China?

We source our ingredients for our North American plants as close to our facilities as possible. We do not purchase meat-based ingredients from China. Our vitamins and minerals often come from China, as that is often one of the only locations to source these ingredients globally, similar to human foods. Mars has an extensive Supplier Quality Assurance program, which includes audits and visits from our own associates to these suppliers.

We learned from speaking to many companies that sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge. This reality means that companies like Mars who are supplying massive distribution channels will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.

Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

by Crave
Other Products From This Brand

Other Food From This Brand

Educational Resources

Educational Resources




Made with love in Cambridge, MA.
© 2019 Watchdog Labs Inc. All rights reserved.

Watchdog Labs, Watchdog Score and watchdoglabs.com are trademarks of Watchdog Labs Inc.


DISCLAIMER: All content on this website, including but not limited to statements about products are to be construed as opinions only. All statements made by or associated with Watchdog Labs, Inc., including but not limited to text, graphics, videos, web content, social media content, e-mails, marketing and informational materials, advertisements, statements made by company representatives, and repeated statements which originated from third-party sources are to be construed as opinions only. Watchdog Labs, Inc. is not responsible for the quality or the veracity of statements or information from third-party sources. Third-party sources shall include but not be limited to labs, online stores, sellers, other websites, brands and manufacturers.


DISCLAIMER: Our reviews and testing are necessarily limited in scope, and products may vary significantly from one package to another and from one store to another. We may only test one batch of a product from one store and not all reviewed products have undergone lab tests. Our opinion is based on that limited testing.


DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinary professional before choosing any products for your pet.


DISCLAIMER: Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on this website. Always read all labels, warnings, and directions before using a product.


DISCLOSURE: When readers buy products on this site, we earn a commission that supports our work.


Watchdog Labs is not affiliated, associated, authorized by, endorsed by, or in any way connected to the brands and companies mentioned on this website. All trademarks, copyrights, and other rights are the property of their respective owners. See our Terms of Service for DMCA notices.


As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. All prices on this site may change and those considered valid are displayed on Amazon.com