Canine Caviar Dog Food
Billed as the “first and only” alkaline dog food, Canine Caviar was originally created by CEO and company president Jeff Baker for his Great Dane because the dog was having allergic reactions and health problems. Baker thought the ingredients in the dog’s food had something to do with the dog’s allergies to so many things – even spider bites and bee stings. He subsequently started his pet food company – Canine Caviar – using some of the same ideas about holistic ingredients and alkaline dog food. That was in 1996. The company makes both Canine Caviar and Feline Caviar for cats. Their dog foods include dry foods, wet canned foods, treats and supplements. Canine Caviar has frequently been listed as a best food by Whole Dog Journal, especially their dry dog foods. The company is headquartered in Norco/Riverside, CA.
Who Manufactures Canine Caviar?
At one time Canine Caviar’s dry foods were made by Hi-Tek Rations in Dublin, Georgia. It’s possible some of their foods are still made there. We have also seen information that their dry foods are made by Southern Tier Pet Nutrition in Sherburne, NY (2013). Canine Caviar’s canned foods have been made in the past by Evanger’s but we have also seen information that they have been co-packed by Performance Pet Products, owned by American Food Groups. Some people may have seen or heard that Canine Caviar had food co-packed by Canine Cattle Company. They are also part of Performance Pet Products.
“Performance Pet Products is a leading producer of natural dog treats and super premium canned pet food. All products are human grade and made in the USA. Our super premium canned pet food is processed in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mitchell, South Dakota with over 100,000 square feet of production area. Our commitment to the production of human grade canned dog and cat food has made us the fastest growing provider of corporate brand products and co-pack services. We provide product to many leading high-end dog and cat food brands.”
Canine Caviar Recalls
Canine Caviar had two canned foods affected by the melamine recalls in 2007. Otherwise we did not find any recalls associated with the brand on the FDA web site or online.
Canine Caviar Dog Food Coupons
Canine Caviar Dog Food Overview
We’ll begin by saying that Canine Caviar changed some ingredients in their formulas in 2015 which did not go unnoticed by customers. There were complaints. Here is a typical reply from the company that explains what they did:
Thank you for reaching out to Canine Caviar. We did change some ingredients at the beginning of the year. We took out the garlic and parsley and added coconut, coconut oil, anise oil and thyme oil. We also had one batch at the beginning of the year where we injected the fat on the inside of the kibble. We have since gone back to encapsulating the fat. Our kibble can vary in color batch to batch, it is a natural product and we do not use anything to change the color of the kibble. I hope this information helps.
Some people who had been feeding the foods for a long time took the changes in stride but other customers were not happy.
If you are not familiar with Canine Caviar, this food has some quirky ingredients for a dog food. If you like to read ingredient labels, you need to take your time and consider some of the ingredients in these foods. Otherwise you might think the folks at Canine Caviar are nuts or just making things up as they go along. But there does seem to be some method in their madness.
The company currently makes seven dry foods with great names: Free Spirit, Grain Free Puppy, Leaping Spirit, Open Meadow, Open Sky, Special Needs, and Wild Ocean. You can’t tell what most of these foods do or contain without reading the labels.
Free Spirit is an all life stage food for moderately active dogs. It’s also said to be good for medium to large breed puppies. Dehydrated chicken is the first ingredient and it contains pearl millet – so not grain free.
Grain Free Puppy is said to be perfect for small and medium breed puppies as well as pregnant and nursing dogs. Chicken meal is the first ingredient. It uses split peas instead of grains for carbohydrates.
Leaping Spirit is a grain free food for all life stages. It is intended for moderately active dogs and nursing dogs. It is also supposed to be good for medium and large breed puppies. The first ingredient is venison meal and it also uses split peas as a source of carbohydrates instead of grains.
Open Meadow is an all life stage formula. It is intended for moderately active dogs, growing puppies, and breeding animals, and is said to be ideal for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts. It is said to be good for medium and large breed puppies. It is also said to be particularly good for maintaining skin and coat in longhaired dogs. Dehydrated lamb is the first ingredients. It contains pearl millet.
Open Sky is an all life stage formula. It is intended for moderately active dogs and nursing dogs. This is a grain free formula and it is said to be good for medium and large breed puppies. Duck meal is the first ingredient and it uses chickpeas as a carbohydrate source.
Special Needs is formulated for senior or overweight dogs. Canine Caviar says that it is also suitable for giant breed puppies and it is good for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts. The first five ingredients in the food are: Whole Ground Brown Rice, Dehydrated Chicken, Coconut, Sun-Cured Alfalfa, and Whole Ground Flaxseed. The food has 18 percent crude protein, 9 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 8 percent moisture. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent. This food is AAFCO-approved as a maintenance food so you may not want to feed it to puppies.
Wild Ocean is a grain free food for all life stages. It is intended for moderately active dogs and nursing dogs. It is said to be good for small and medium breed puppies. It is also said to help maintain good skin and coat in longhaired dogs. The first ingredient is herring meal and split peas are used as a carbohydrate.
Canine Caviar also makes four wet/canned foods. All four of the foods are grain free. The foods are Buffalo, Duck, Turkey, and Venison. These foods are 95 percent meat and can be used as treats, supplements, or as the base of a diet you make yourself. However, they are not a complete diet for your dog. For example, the ingredients in the Buffalo food are buffalo, water for processing, and guar gum (a thickener that helps food hold its shape). Your dog may enjoy these foods but please don’t feed them alone. Try mixing them with his dry food or feeding on special occasions. They are not a complete and balanced diet for your dog.
We also need to mention the alkaline diet premise of Canine Caviar. We’re not very familiar with the alkaline diet theory but you can read more about it here and other places online. It doesn’t only apply to pet food and it’s been around for a while. According to some of the information provided in this WebMD article, some things in an alkaline diet would not be good for dogs. For example, a vegetarian diet that avoids meat is not usually considered healthy for most dogs. Fortunately, even though Canine Caviar references the alkaline diet and uses some ingredients that are considered alkaline, such as fruits and “less alkaline” meats, you don’t necessarily have to follow this kind of diet for your dog to feed the foods. We think most of the dry foods look very good, whether you like the idea of the alkaline diet or not.
We do call your attention to this disclaimer on the Canine Caviar web site: “Disclaimer: Due to the FDA and potential liability, we’re required to inform you that we cannot say for certain that an alkaline diet has any scientifically proven ability to prevent or affect cancer. However, we strongly encourage you to decide for yourself.”
Despite the variety of meat proteins offered by Canine Caviar, the formulas are actually very similar once you get past the first few ingredients. This is true with many brands of dog food but Canine Caviar seems to follow the same formula even more closely than most other foods. One reason for this may be because all of their dry foods are described as “limited ingredient” diets. They have one meat protein and one complex carb source. The third ingredient in the food usually complements the meat protein (for example, if the first ingredient is chicken, the fat will be chicken fat). Then the remainder of the ingredients are the same botanicals, fermentations products, and added vitamins and minerals in each dry food.
The foods are also formulated for rotational feeding so keeping most of the ingredients the same in all of the formulas makes it easy to change foods. Only the meat protein is really different unless you switch from grain free to a grain-inclusive food, or vice versa.
We have selected Canine Caviar Leaping Spirit Holistic Grain Free Entrée for All Life Stages Dog Food for review. (This food was previously known as Wilderness.) As already mentioned, this is a grain free food for all life stages. It’s intended for moderately active dogs and nursing dogs. It’s also recommended for medium and large breed puppies.
The first five ingredients in Leaping Spirit are: Venison Meal, Split Peas, Lamb Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Coconut, and Sun-Cured Alfalfa. Venison (deer meat) is always a good meat protein for dogs. It’s also rare enough that many dogs with food allergies or sensitivities have not eaten it so if you are looking for a novel meat protein, this is a food that might work for your dog. Venison is 60 percent protein and 40 percent fat. It’s a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Niacin and Vitamin B12. It has less fat than beef and more iron. Plus, most dogs love it. Since this is a meal, most of the moisture has been removed and it’s a concentrated source of protein. We have no problem with venison meal in dog food.
The second ingredient in this food is split peas. They are used here as a source of carbohydrates. Since this is a limited ingredient food and this is the only real source of carbs in the food, we don’t have a problem with the split peas in this grain free food. Split peas are 25 percent protein, 3 percent fat, and 72 percent carbohydrates. They are a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Folate and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber.
The third ingredient in the food is lamb fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). While there’s not a big demand for lamb fat among humans (though some people like it and will cook with it), your dog will probably love the taste. It has a strong flavor. And it may have some health benefits. See CLA – conjugated linoleic acid. Fats in dry pet foods have to be preserved so the foods don’t go rancid on the shelves. Mixed tocopherols are forms of Vitamin E that act as preservatives.
After this third ingredient the rest of the ingredients in this food are basically the same as the ingredients in the other Canine Caviar kibbles. The fourth ingredient is coconut. According to Canine Caviar they use this ingredient because it’s “rich in fiber and is good for red blood production which provides oxygen to the body’s tissue. It improves insulin secretion and the utilization of blood glucose and also supports the development of strong bones and teeth.” Checking online, we do find some similar comments.
The fifth ingredient in Leaping Spirit is sun-cured alfalfa. We’ve seen lots of different reasons why pet food companies use alfalfa. It contains protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. It can also be a natural source of Vitamin K. Some people don’t like it. Most people are noncommittal. Whether your dog really needs it or not in his food is probably debatable.
The rest of the ingredients in this food include coconut oil, sun-cured kelp, fermentation products/pre- and probiotics, herbs, spices, beta-carotene, added vitamins, chelated/proteinated minerals, and added taurine.
Per Canine Cavier, their foods are all natural and allergen-free. They have very high digestibility (91-93 percent). They use flash cooking to maintain more nutritional integrity in their ingredients. The foods are high in calories. Leaping Spirit contains no wheat, no glutens, no GMOs, no by-products, no tapioca, and no potatoes. No added hormones. No ethoxyquin. It has one meat protein and one complex carbohydrate.
Metabolized Energy= 595 kcal/ cup *Modified Atwater Calculations
Leaping Spirit Holistic Grain Free Entrée is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
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The dry matter basis (DMB) figures for this food are: 29.4 percent protein; 18.5 percent fat; 6.4 percent fiber; and 37 percent carbohydrates.
This food has average protein and above average fat compared to many super premium dog foods. The fiber content is above average for a kibble; and the carb percentage is higher than you might expect for a grain free kibble.
Where can you buy Canine Caviar dog food?
You can buy Canine Caviar dog foods on Chewy.com and other online pet food retailers. You can also buy them at pet food specialty stores. You can check on the Canine Caviar web site to find stores that sell their food.
We think the Canine Caviar kibbles look like good foods. We like the meat proteins as first ingredients and we like the single complex carbohydrates. We also like the consistency of the other ingredients in the formulas. It should be easy to rotate among formulas if you like to change your dog’s proteins. We have some doubts about the alkaline diet but, luckily, it’s not necessary to be a believer to feed the food or see good results with your dog’s health. The canned foods would be good as supplements or treats but we remind you, once again, that these are not complete diets or meals.
Most of these dry foods are high in fat and fiber, as well as carbs. These foods are high in calories – not necessarily a bad thing. But this is something you should keep in mind when feeding this food. We suspect that dogs can gain wait quickly eating Canine Caviar so be careful how much you feed.
Canine Caviar foods are expensive so we hope they have worked out the issues over the formula changes that had customers upset in 2015.
Below is a list of Products reviewed in this article