Are you thinking about switching to Canidae dog food for your canine companion? Many people ask if Canidae dog food is good, as they consider this brand for their pup’s nutritional needs. We researched the ins and outs of Canidae’s different recipes to help you make an informed decision about their brand and their products. In this detailed Canidae dog food review, we look at their recall history, dog food costs, and more.
Canidae is one of the smaller, premium dog food manufacturers. Despite the difference in size, Canidae’s quality has earned them comparisons with larger premium dog food brands like Nutro. They have established a positive reputation in their market with high praise from multiple sources, including this review.
The company promotes the quality of its ingredients, the benefits of being independently owned, and small-batch productions. Make no mistake, Canidae delivers a high-quality product, but they do have some unique characteristics. Below you will find some of the top Canidae dog food formulas, as well as a detailed look at the brand. Let’s dive in!
Food Review At A Glance: Canidae
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
About Canidae’s Dog Foods
Since Canidae does cook in smaller batches, they can change formulas easily and as frequently as they like. If something doesn’t work well, they can alter it with the next batch. Canidae even addresses variations in products on the website. Since they make small batches in-house, the differences you see from bag to bag occur due to individual cooking processes.
How do they know what works? As a company, Canidae lives by the slogan “pet food made by pet people.” Not only do they have a nutrition and testing center, but the employees also feed their brand to their furry friends. Canidae claims that all of their formulas are vet-formulated for dogs.
Canidae offers a reasonable selection for a smaller brand. Similar to American Journey, Canidae offers food by size and age, oftentimes having specific recipes within each formula. Within each category, you can decide between dry or wet (or even freeze-dried raw).
The grain-free line is popular among those with sensitive stomachs and delivers a higher quality product overall. Grain-free foods are often the best food choices for gassy dogs, as they are less likely to irritate the stomach lining. In fact, while the grain-inclusive blends provide sufficient nutritional value, they contain animal meals as the first ingredient. However, the grain-inclusive formulas are cheaper, making them a more affordable option if you’re on a budget.
Brand History & Recalls
John Gordon and Scott Whipple founded Canidae in 1996 and sold bags of dog food out of their personal pick-up trucks. It started as an independent, family-owned business and remains one today. Gordon and Whipple had a common goal and built a brand based on quality foods. Canidae claims their small-batch dog food recipes contain high-quality proteins and fresh produce.
Though the company is only a few decades old, they happen to employ several second-generation team members. The company takes pride in being a smaller, family-owned business and relies heavily on smaller farmers and businesses for supplies.
In 2012, they opened the Ethos plant in the small town of Brownwood, Texas. The new facility allowed Canidae to manufacture its food products in-house. The facility includes a testing center to monitor the quality of each formula, and the company reports that they test products daily.
We only found one recall on Canidae dog food from 2012. The voluntary recall only affected certain dog foods that were sold in seven states – Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
This recall only affected a few specific dry dog food formulas that Diamond Pet Foods produced at their South Carolina plant. Canidae recalled the products due to the possible presence of Salmonella at the facility.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that Canidae recipes exclude corn and wheat, which are difficult for dogs to digest. Some of their lines contain limited ingredients, and they even have grain-free options available.
Canidae takes great pride in touting the use of fresh, pure ingredients. All Canidae recipes start with real meat or fish and fresh produce. They only use premium ingredients and exclude chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, and soy. The company works not just to meet AAFCO guidelines but to exceed them.
The company reportedly sources many of its ingredients from the United States, including bison from Wyoming, fruits and vegetables from Texas, and fresh fish from the Pacific Northwest. They note that a large portion of their produce comes from smaller farms, mostly local.
Of note, Canidae does outsource some ingredients, like duck meal from France and lamb meal from New Zealand. It is difficult to ascertain what other ingredients come from different parts of the world since the company does not explicitly mention them.
Canidae isn’t particularly forthcoming about all of their suppliers, which many manufacturers are not, so it’s not surprising. In fact, the only recall in company history was due to an issue at their supplier’s (Diamond Pet Foods) factory before the opening of the Ethos facility.
CANIDAE Dog Food Reviews
Canidae understands that our furry friends have different needs at each stage of their lives, so they created special formulas for puppies, adults, and even senior dogs. Don’t worry if you have more than one dog. Canidae has you covered with their “All Life Stages” line. For now, let’s start with the puppy-centric recipes and work our way up.
PURE Puppy Grain-free Formula
- Protein-rich formula.
- Grain-free blend.
- Contains high-quality produce.
- Vet-formulated to support growth
- No fillers or artificial flavors.
- Custom blend of probiotics & antioxidants.
- Includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Canidae offers recipes from their PURE line for puppies. The limited-ingredient recipes contain the proper nutrition for growing pups without added fillers or artificial ingredients. Canidae even includes their HealthPLUS blend to support digestive health.
Choosing the right food for your puppy is a big decision because diet can impact their development. You want to consider their breed and size when narrowing your options. Giant breed puppies need different dog foods than small breed puppies due to different nutritional needs. Be wary of the cheapest foods because they often contain fillers instead of nutritious ingredients.
Canidae puppy blends contain animal proteins first and build out the kibble with fresh produce, like squash, sweet potato, and sage. They take special care to include probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which aid in digestion, boost their immune systems, and support development.
With Canidae, you even have the option to choose freeze-dried raw, coated, dry dog food if your pup wants a little more. The Avian Formula blend includes regionally sourced quail, chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, duck, and pheasant. Canidae has some smaller-sized kibbles, making them a popular food choice for Boston Terriers and other smaller breed pups.
Canidae created a line of grain-free, limited-ingredient recipes with plenty of variety to appease any canine companion. All of their grain-free options contain limited ingredients, which means it includes no fillers. For Canidae, it also means no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
The PURE line means to provide better nutrition for our furry friends without removing the flavor they crave. Canidae makes two types of grain-free kibble – dry food and freeze-dried raw food.
Canidae delivers premium, high-quality food with its PURE line. None of the recipes contains more than ten whole food ingredients, and the first few ingredients are high-quality animal proteins, like real lamb. Since they use limited ingredients, they work well for dogs with any digestive issues. However, you get what you pay for, and the grain-free line is pricey.
Canidae All Life Stages (Grain-Inclusive)
All Life Stages Grain-inclusive
- Protein comes from real meat.
- Includes the HealthPlus Solution.
- Equipped with probiotics & antioxidants.
- Contains omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids
- Vet-formulated for all breeds, sizes, and ages
- Excludes corn, wheat, or soy
- Grain-inclusive formula.
Puppy-specific food is recommended for their first year of life because they are made with puppy development in mind. Once your pup reaches the ripe old age of one, they’re ready for adult kibble or a food marked as “all life stages.”
Canidae’s grain-inclusive line is an “all life stages” formula that can carry dogs from their first birthday through their senior years. Multi-dog houses will love the freedom of having an “all life stages” kibble to satisfy everyone.
The grain-inclusive blends still contain whole ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. They deliver above-average levels of protein without overloading your pup. The All Life Stages blends also contain plenty of healthy fats to improve their coats, give them energy, and help them absorb the nutrients they need from the food.
These blends are cheaper than many other grain-free alternatives and still deliver the nutrients your pup needs. However, if your furry friend has a sensitive stomach, it may not be the best bet for your family. Despite the FDA’s recent investigations into grain-free dog foods, they are generally a safer alternative for healthy dogs.
Canidae Grain-Free PURE Salmon & Sweet Potato
Grain-free Salmon & Sweet Potato
- Salmon as the first ingredient.
- Grain-free recipe.
- Contains whole vegetables.
- Only uses eight real food ingredients.
- Custom blend of probiotics & antioxidants.
- Includes omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids.
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Canidae’s PURE dry food recipes use various animal protein choices ranging from bison to duck. They are all grain-free so you can choose based on your dog’s preference. The salmon and sweet potato blend is one of their most popular flavors.
A bonus of choosing Canidae Pure dry food is that the kibble is appropriate for adult dogs of all sizes. They also include feeding guidelines based on your pup’s weight and activity level.
As your dog ages, it becomes important to start looking at the right food for your senior dog. Because nutritional needs change, their food will likely need to change as well. While some dogs can eat the same generic food their entire lives, most will do better on a senior formula once they reach 7 years of age. Canidae offers a senior formula that’s popular for aging pups.
Canidae Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food
Senior PURE Formula
- Grain-free formula.
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Contains whole vegetables.
- Includes probiotics for digestive health.
- Antioxidants to boost the immune system.
- Made with only nine real food ingredients.
- Only 9 ingredients.
As your furry friend ages, their needs change. Canidae embraces the idea of helping them age gracefully with a unique blend for older dogs. The first ingredient is still animal protein, including plenty of whole veggies.
Older dogs may be less feisty than they were as pups, but they still want to love mealtime. Shifting to a lower-calorie recipe is a way to reduce intake and prevent excess weight gain, but it’s not always appetizing. Low-calorie dog food doesn’t help your canine companion if they won’t eat it.
Canidae Pure Senior is a grain-free, protein-rich blend with limited ingredients for aging dogs. Their recipe supports bone and joint health and aids in digestion since older dogs can develop sensitive stomachs.
Weight Loss Formulas
If your pup looks a little thicker around the midsection, it’s time to switch to calorie-restrictive dog food. Canidae makes a weight loss formula to help your pup shed some extra pounds. While this food is limited in flavor selection, it’s a great fit for hefty pups.
Canidae Less Active Formula
All Life Stages Less Active Formula
- Contains 27% less fat than regular adult formula.
- Custom HealthPlus Solution from CANIDAE.
- Vet-formulated for weight management.
- Contains animal protein, rice, and vegetables.
- Grain-inclusive recipe.
- Budget-friendly compared to other brands.
- Free of corn, wheat and soy.
Canidae does have some options to help your canine companion reach and maintain a healthy weight. Sometimes pups just pack on a little extra, especially if they’re less active, but you don’t want the excess weight to affect their health.
The Less Active Formula is the most popular of the weight loss formulas. It does contain grains but excludes wheat, corn, and soy. There are no sacrificing flavors, protein, fiber, or essential vitamins, and they reduce the fat content to accommodate less active lifestyles.
There is also a grain-free alternative if you prefer to go that route for your furry friend. Canidae’s Pure line has a “Healthy Weight” formula that is grain-free. It’s specially formulated with limited ingredients to aid in digestion.
What about wet foods? Never fear, we didn’t forget to include them, and Canidae has plenty of quality choices to satisfy even the pickiest canines. We should note that the 2012 recall did not include any of the brand’s wet foods.
Before we break down Canidae’s awesome wet food options, we want to preface our discussion by saying that your pup needs dry food in their diet. If you’re not feeding your pup raw food, dry kibble is critical for dental health. That said, wet food makes an excellent treat on occasion, especially as a topping to regular kibble.
Canidae does have grain-inclusive and grain-free wet foods. We took a look at both lines and highlighted our favorites from each.
Canidae Grain-inclusive Wet Dog Food
Grain-inclusive All Life Stages Wet Food
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Formulated by vets.
- Accomodates all ages, breeds, and sizes.
- Simmered in broth to enhance the flavor.
- Excludes canine allergens like corn and peas.
- Grain-inclusive formula.
Nutritious food in the convenience of a can is tough to beat. This is especially true when you want to give your furry friend a little something special at mealtime. Why not crack open wet food and mix it with their dry food?
Canidae delivers plenty of protein, fiber, and vitamins for wet food, but it’s not as nutrient-dense as dry dog food. However, the first ingredient in each of their recipes is an animal-based protein. They even include Vitamin E, flaxseed oil, and sunflower oil to improve their skin and coat.
Canidae Grain-Free PURE Wet Food
Grain-free PURE Wet Dog Food
- Real protein is the first ingredient.
- Includes fresh vegetables, like peas.
- Limited ingredient list.
- Slow-cooked in broth for added flavor.
- Broth cooking improves texture.
- Includes omega 3’s and 6’s for skin & coat.
The wet food recipes still include limited ingredients and are grain-free like the rest of the pure line, but they slow-cook these meals in broth. Animal, fish, or avian protein is the primary ingredient in each blend, but the sea salmon and mackerel recipe is one of the most popular.
For smaller breeds and dogs under thirty pounds, the Pure wet food line has additional choices – minced, morsels, or pate for the texture. The Pure petite line comes in single-serving aluminum cans, which makes them convenient for you.
Canidae is a smaller dog food company, allowing them to deliver a quality product featuring a good amount of meat and whole foods. They offer several options for grain-inclusive and grain-free foods to accommodate any dog’s needs. There are even some special considerations for puppies, seniors, and those who need a little help with their weight.
If you’re looking for premium food for your canine companion, you can certainly do worse than Canidae’s blends. Their All-Stages Multi-Protein blend is an affordable, high-quality option for those on a budget. If you can swing it, the grain-free Pure formulas are worth the higher price tag due to their limited ingredients.
December 4, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Our Puggle has been episode-free since starting him on Canidae. It’s worth its weight in gold to end Wrigley’s allergic reactions (vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation).
June 21, 2022 at 3:32 pm
What's your take on ethylenediamine dihydroiodide which causes skin allergies on humans? Canidae has this on their salmon and barley and other dry dog food products.
June 22, 2022 at 10:50 am
The FDA currently states ethylenediamine dihydriodide to be a “generally recognized as safe” ingredient in dog food. It helps maintain proper iodine and thyroid levels in the body. While this ingredient has been shown to cause some skin allergies in humans, the FDA has not deemed it a concern for canines at this time.
June 10, 2022 at 8:10 am
Can you tell me what changed in the "All life stages" in the spring of 2021? I am trying to find a trigger for seizures.
I have a now 12-year-old border collie who was fed Canidae since we got him at a year old (2011). In early 2016 we switched to a different food and he started having seizures. Long-story-short we switched him back to Canidae and cut him off of oily snacks and the seizures stopped in the spring of 2018.
Then, last April, after 3 years seizure-free, he started having them again. And we noticed that his food looked different. Since then, given a combination of having trouble finding the Canidae and the apparent recipe change, we have been trying other foods but with no control group it is impossible to figure out if there is any connection.
So I would love to know if there is, indeed, a change in the Canidae formula so I can avoid that ingredient if at all possible.
June 13, 2022 at 11:07 am
Hi Lynette, We review these companies and products but do not work for the company or have a direct relationship with them. So, we would suggest reaching out directly to Canidae to discuss your concerns and questions. Their Customer Service line is open Monday-Friday, 9 am through 5pm EST and the number is 800-398-1600. Take care.
October 28, 2021 at 10:32 pm
In 2003 we rescued 2 dogs a 3yo Lucky a Boston Terrier and a Cookie a 3mo Lab-Chow mix. We started feeding them which caused bad breath and a foul body odor skin problems. These all went away when we started feeding Canidae Grain-free Pure Elements.
After Cokie died in 2012 I got Mari Jane a 3mo Chocolate Lab. She eat Canidae Pure Elements until 8 weeks ago when for a month she ate Pro Plan and instead of her usual shedding she had a fallout problem and body odor.
After 3 weeks of being back on Pure Elements she is no longer ill.
September 19, 2021 at 8:14 am
I have been buying my Weimaraner lamb and rice with whole grains. What are you changing the name of that to now? I know you still have some bags available but I can't find it anywhere in the stores that I go to.
Apiffany Gaither Billings
September 19, 2021 at 10:23 pm
Is this the food you are talking about?
June 22, 2021 at 2:20 pm
I have a10 pound chihuahua mix picky eater that seems to have sensitive digestion and allergies (lots of scratching). What formula do you recommend?
June 22, 2021 at 2:42 pm
Hi Deborah! Any of the Canidae "PURE" lines are made with limited ingredients and should do well for dogs with sensitive stomachs. If your pup has problems with grains, all of the PURE recipes are grain-free. Good luck!
December 27, 2020 at 3:24 pm
I recently was advised to steer away from Grain free due to a possible heart issue. I used to feed Canidae with my other dog so I went back to All life stages, not grain fee. For some reason, there is a lot of dust or crumbles. The food seems to make my dog cough and gag.
I really don't remember this being an issue before. I pour the feed into a Tote so I cannot provide details, but wondering if this is normal.
December 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm
Hi Bonnie, it's actually not uncommon to have a little dust or crumbles in any formula, in my experience. It also could just be a few older batches that have been moved around and crunched up a bit at the storage facility. That happens as well, so I'd just continue on.
We've fed our pups many different foods over the years, and there's always been some level of "crumb" that makes its way into our plastic storage totes. Canidae is an excellent brand though, so it sounds like you are on the right track with your pup's nutrition! Good luck!
February 1, 2023 at 2:36 pm
We sift the food for this reason.