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Canidae Dog Food Review

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4 Paws


Check Out The Top Rated Canidae Dog Food Blends & Get Reviews From Dog Owners

Company Information

Canidae dog food is produced by theCanidae Pet Food Corporation. Their corporate offices are located in San Luis Obispo, CA. According to the state of California and Dun & Broadstreet, the company originated in California in 1997. They produce dog food, cat food, and they have a new line of horse feed.

There has always been some confusion about who makes pet foods for Canidae and the company has been very secretive about their outsourcing. At different times in 2007, when pet owners were asking questions about where pet food was made, Canidae customer service reps said they had their own facilities and made their own food; and that the information about who made their food was “proprietary” information and they could not discuss it. If anyone at Canidae would like to clear up this issue, please contact us.

In early 2012 Canidae announced that they were opening a new pet food manufacturing facility in Brownwood, Texas to make their own foods. According to their web site, the company purchased an existing extrusion plant in March 2011 and spent a year re-building the facility to be completely modern and up-to-date to make pet food. The facility is named Ethos Pet Nutrition. According to other sources, Diamond is still making Canidae’s grain free kibbles and many of the company’s other foods are being made by American Nutrition in Ogden, Utah, which makes pet foods for numerous companies. The facility in Texas is said to be very small and primarily makes cat food for the company.

Check Out The Top Rated Canidae Dog Food Blends & Get Reviews From Dog Owners

Charitable Contributions

Canidae is very active in donating to charitable causes. They have donated to various pet cancer research organizations, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and taken part in Meet The Breeds events, dog expo events, and many other pet-related events in the U.S. and around the world.

Recall History

In the mid-2000s Canidae engaged Diamond Pet Foods to manufacture their dry kibbles. In May 2012 Diamond issued a voluntary recall of brands of dog and cat food produced at their Gaston, South Carolina plant which included Canidae. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the source of the problem was human Salmonella infections. A total of 14 people were infected in the initial outbreak in nine states. Canidae had never previously been part of any recall.

Product Overview

Canidae relies on an All Life Stages approach to feeding dogs. Most of their products are formulated for all life stages. They produce kibbles and canned food in several formulations:

Dry Foods

Grain Free Pure

Single Grain

  • Single Grain Protein Plue

Canned Foods

  • Life Stages Formulas
  • All Life Stages Formula
  • Lamb & Rice
  • Chicken & Rice
  • Beef & Fish
  • Canidae Platinum (Senior and Overweight formula)

Grain Free Pure

  • pure SKY
  • pure LAND
  • pure ELEMENTS
  • pure SEA


  • Snap-Biscuits
  • Original
  • Lamb & Rice
  • Snap-Biscuits Platinum


  • Original
  • Lamb & Rice
  • Snap-Bits Platinum


  • Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Salmon for Dogs
  • Chicken & Rice for Dogs
  • Lamb & Rice for Dogs


Review of Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements

Ingredients in Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements

Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb, potatoes, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), lamb meal, ocean fish meal, tomato pomace, natural flavor, choline chloride, suncured alfalfa meal, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, sage extract, cranberries, beta-carotene, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, yucca schidigera extract, 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, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, papaya, pineapple.


Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Grain Free Pure Elements is a super premium dog food that is marketed as “the modern answer to primal nutrition.” This is probably because of the high amount of meat protein in the food. There are three meat proteins in the first five ingredients: chicken meal,turkey meal, and lamb. Meals contain highly condensed protein and have most of the moisture removed so these sources of chicken meal and turkey meal are good sources of meat protein. The lamb will have more moisture in it but it’s a good source of meat protein.

Potatoes and peas round out the top five ingredients. As this is a grain free food it’s not surprising to find potatoes here since kibbles usually have a carbohydrate added. Potatoes are an easily digestible carb. They provide potassium and vitamin C. Peas are a carb and a fiber and they are also high in protein. But they can be hard for dogs to digest.

Additional Ingredients Of Interest

The food features chicken fatpreserved with a form of vitamin E – a natural preservative. This is a good named source of fat. We also find two more sources of meat protein: lamb meal and ocean fish meal. Again, these are concentrated protein sources. They are getting far down the ingredient list at this point so there probably isn’t much of them, but it’s still nice to see them. Canidae also says that they don’t use the artificial preservative ethoxyquin.

Other notable ingredients include tomato pomace. This is a controversial ingredient. Lots of dog food companies are using tomato pomace these days. It’s basically the skin and pulp or the tomato and it acts like a fiber, though it also contains lycopene and some other useful nutrients. However, it can be used as a filler in dog foods and it can result in diarrhea in some cases.

The food also contains inulin from chicory root which acts as a prebiotic and provides dietary fiber. Lecithin is often used to enrich the fat in a food.Sunflower oil is a fat and a source of omega-6 fatty acids.

I’m never sure why alfalfa (suncured alfalfa in this case) is included in dog food. It is a source of calcium, however. According to Canidae it’s a source of trace minerals and aids in the absorption of protein and other nutrients.

The food contains chelated minerals which make it easier for dogs to absorb the minerals in the food.

The ingredients also include a number of fermentation products includingyucca schidigera extract. Yucca is commonly added to reduce stool odor. Other fermentation ingredients such as dried lactobacillus acidophilus are specifically intended to cultivate healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. They act as prebiotics and probiotics.

Quality Of Ingredients

According to Canidae, all of their ingredients are made in the U.S. using the highest quality U.S. ingredients. All of their formulations are produced in USDA, FDA, and AAFCO-approved facilities. They use USDA-inspected meats. They obtain high quality grains, vegetables, and fruits from producers who produce products for people. They use natural preservatives. And they say they use stringent testing procedures.

The ingredients listed for Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements look very good overall.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein (min.) ….. 34.00%
  • Crude Fat (min.) ….. 18.00%
  • Crude Fiber (max.) ….. 3.00%
  • Moisture (max.) ….. 10.00%
  • Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) ….. (min.) 3.70%
  • Iron (min.) ….. 160.00 mg/kg
  • Zinc (min.) ….. 160.00 mg/kg
  • Vitamin E (min.) ….. 200.00 IU/kg
  • Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3)* (min.) ….. 0.50%
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)* (min.) ….. 50.00 mg/kg
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus* (min.) ….. 100 million CFU/lb.
  • Cellulase* (a) (min.) ….. 100 CMCU/kg

* Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

(a) One Carboxymethyl Cellulose Unit (CMCU) liberates one micromole of reducing sugar (expressed as glucose equivalents) in one minute under the conditions of the assay.

Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): ME (kcal/cup) 498

Canidae Grain Free pure ELEMENTS Dry Dog Food meets the AAFCO Dog Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements provides 34 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). Some of this protein may come from the peas in the first five ingredients, but it’s likely that most of it comes from meat sources. The 18 percent fat in Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements is also well above the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog).

Digestive Concerns About Cellulace In Dog Food

There was a change in formula and the company added cellulase to the ingredients which was causing some dogs to have explosive diarrhea. That was the All Life Stages formula but Canidae adds cellulase to all of their kibbles.

Canidae has this to say about cellulase on their web site:

Cellulase (digestive tract health)

Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract is the source of this digestive enzyme that hydrolyzes fiber for more efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients. CANIDAE Pet Foods is once again the leader in cutting edge nutrition by being the first pet food manufacturer to include proven enzymatic activity in our products backed by scientific data and proven methodology on the inclusion of Cellulase.


So, what is cellulase and why might it cause problems for your dog, especially considering the fact that Canidae is very proud of it? Here’s a definition of cellulase: “Any of several enzymes produced chiefly by fungi, bacteria, and protozoans that catalyze the hydrolysis of cellulose.”

So, these enzymes help break down cellulose. And what is cellulose and why is it in your dog’s food? It’s the major component in the rigid cell walls in plants. Some animals, such as cows, horses, sheep, and goats, have the necessary symbiotic bacteria in their intestinal tract to help them break down the cellulose. But the rest of us – like humans and dogs – do not. That’s why pet food companies introduce cellulase – to provide the enzymes to break down the cellulose.

So, you’re thinking this is a grain free dog food, right? Why does your dog need to break down plant material? Well, as it turns out, your dog has the enzymes to break down grains according to the latest research. But cellulose from the cell walls of plants are not so easy to break down. So, when there are vegetables in a food, your dog can have problems with them. Dogs need to have vegetables pureed or softened in some way so they can digest them and obtain the nutrients. Or, as Canidae has done, add cellulase to break down the cellulose in the cell walls.

The problem is, some dogs seem to react unfavorably to the cellulase or the combination of fermentation products in Canidae’s food and you can get various gastrointestinal problems. When we see potatoes and peas in the first five ingredients of this food, along with Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract (cellulase) later, it suggests that your dog might have digestive problems. Or he might not. Some dogs might do very well on this food. My dogs personally did not do well when Canidae added cellulase to their foods.

Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues

Canidae generally has a good reputation though their extreme secrecy about who makes their foods and where they are made is troubling (again, we have an open invitation to Canidae to clear the air – please contact us!). There seems to be some intent to deceive the public about these matters. They have not been involved in any recalls other than the May 2012 recall with Diamond. However, pet owners are advised to check out the Consumers Affairs site for additional complaints and concerns about the food.


Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements seems like a good food that would appeal to pet owners looking for a grain free food with a higher meat protein percentage. The ingredients appear to be very good quality. The food does contain cellulase and fermentation products which disagree with some dogs so if your dog has any gastrointestinal problems, change foods or do not start using this food.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements Dog Food has received our 4 paw rating.

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