When it comes to feeding our doggies, we always want them to enjoy the best meals that are both tasty and healthy. There are tons of dog food manufacturers out there with a variety of ingredients that makes the food both tasty and healthy.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Gravy Train Dog Food and see if it’s good food for your dog or not.
Gravy Train is a dog food manufacturer with a lot of past controversy about its ingredients and impactful history of market recalls.
Keep on reading if you want to know more about our final verdict regarding Gravy Train and why you should consider some healthier alternatives for your dog. Let’s dive in!
Is Gravy Train Good for Dogs?
Gravy train produces a wide range of product lines for dogs. They used to produce both wet and dry dog foods up until late 2018 where they removed all wet food product lines from the market and their company website. But more about the product recalls later.
Calling Gravy Train good or bad depends mainly on how you look at dog food. For example, if we take the taste as the main decision-maker here, Gravy Train is one of the most preferred foods by dogs.
As the name suggests, the company makes gravy dog food, which we all know that dogs just love. At some point, the company made the only product in the market that had gravy in its ingredients, which makes the kibbles a lot more palatable to most dogs.
Despite all that, Gravy Train Doesn’t add enough variety to its products. Although they make more than 5 flavors, they’re all within the same flavor profile.
On the other hand, if you judge Gravy Train based on its nutritional value and ingredients, it wouldn’t get such a high score.
The company is notorious for adding a lot of artificial ingredients to their food, which can also be quite controversial in some cases.
For example, they use Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as a preservative, although various studies proved that it causes cancer. Additionally, the food has its decent share of artificial meat flavors and food dyes.[Source]
To be fair, they do include some vitamins to their food. For example, most Gravy Train products are rich with Vitamins B12, A, D3, and E.
The food also has good amounts of proteins which is extremely essential for dogs. But, it’s not the best type of protein for canines.
Moreover, when it comes to price, it’s noticeably cheaper than various brands on the market. But as you know, that means nothing without having quality ingredients.
Gravy Train dog food still meets the AAFCO standard for canine nutrition by balancing their ingredients and maintaining general quality.[Source]
With all that put in mind, as well as the product price, Gravy Train is considered a lower-end food option for your dog nutrition-wise but a great choice when it comes to taste.
About Gravy Train Dog Food
Gravy Train Was Launched back in 1959 in the United States by General Foods. Since the company has been around for over 6 decades, it’s no secret that they’re good at what they’re doing.
The unique formula of their food allows you to make gravy just by adding a little bit of water to the food.
In 2005, the company also introduced dog treats to expand their variety of products. Ten years later, the company accepted a buy-out by J.M. Smucker’s, which remains the parent company to Gravy Train Dog Food to this day.
One thing that we didn’t like about Gravy Train is the noticeable lack of information about the company on their website.
You’d expect a company that has been around for over half a century to have more information about the company and its manufacturing plants and process as well as contact information.
What Are the Main Ingredients Used in Gravy Train Dog Food?
If you take a look at the ingredients listed on the back of any Gravy Train product, you’ll notice that they list corn as the first ingredient.
Corn is one of the most controversial cereal grains to add to dog food. It has low nutritional value to dogs and is characteristic of cheap dog food products.
The second listed ingredient is soybean meal, not soybean. This one is a by-product of soybean oil production, which is common for feeding farm animals.
Soybean meal contains only 48% protein. Not only that, but it’s also a much lower quality protein than actual meat. Yet, it’s a common ingredient that companies use to boost the protein value of their product without adding costly meat.
When it comes to actual meat, Gravy Train uses what is known as meat and bone meal. According to Science Direct, this one is a processing by-product from mammal tissue including bones but excluding other parts, such as hairs, hoofs, blood, etc.[Source]
This additive has a much higher ash content to boost the concentration of the minerals but it has low amino acids. This renders it “less valuable during digestion”. Since the meal isn’t necessarily made a specific animal, allergy towards the product is a common issue.
Aside from the main ingredients, the food contains other additives, such as animal fat, wheat middlings, and other artificial ingredients that don’t have the best relative nutritional value compared to other high-quality food on the market.
Gravy Train Dog Food Recalls
As you already know, Gravy Train Dog Food used to make both wet and dry versions of their food. However, they stopped the production of the wet version a couple of years back.
Keep in mind that a recall event doesn’t mean that the company will have a recall anytime soon. Up until now, there isn’t any evidence-based study that proves the possibility of forecasting a product recall, whether it’s human or pet food.
Most of these events are usually random and almost impossible to predict. Yet, this isn’t the first incidence of recalls or production termination that Gravy Train goes through.
For example, in February 2018, J.M. Smucker’s (Gravy Train Owners) announced a voluntary recall regarding all their wet dog food varieties, which are about 8 to 10 products.
According to the company, these foods had trace quantities of a sedative and euthanasia drug known as “pentobarbital”.
Sadly, a lot of dogs that ended up consuming this food before recalling demonstrated obvious side effects of the drug.
According to J.M. Smucker’s, a single supplier was the reason behind this contamination, which affected other products owned by them too, such as Kibbles N Bits.
Some of them had minor effects such as general weakness and skin bumps while others experienced severe seizures with some reports of dead dogs.
To this day, Gravy Train dog food products are generally avoided due to the huge backlash they faced following this fatal quality control error.
Popular Gravy Train Dog Food Choices
Currently, Gravy Train dry dog food has the following flavors:
- Beefy Classic
- Small Bites Beefy Classic
- Meaty Classic Beef Liver & Bacon Flavor
- Hearty Classic
- Hearty Pot Roast Flavor
- Chicken Flavor
The wet versions used to have a wider variety of options before it was canceled by J. M. Smucker’s.
Since taste is almost the exclusive selling point of the product, the Beefy Classic is the most popular product they make, as it tastes the best.
However, Gravy Train works best as dog treats because it’s more about the flavor and less about nutrition. That’s why the Dog Snack is our favorite product by Gravy Train.
What Are Some Healthier Choices to Gravy Train Dog Food
If you want better and healthier choices then Gravy Train. Here’s a list of the best options to go for:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
- ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food
- Purina Pro Plan Large & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food
- CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
What makes these options great is that they’re free of grains, contain premium and highly digestible protein with a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals.
There you have it. A complete guide that walks you through everything you need to know about Gravy Train dog food.
By opting for one of these healthier alternatives, your dog will have a healthier meal that meets all the needed nutritional requirements. They also taste great, so your dog will still enjoy them!