Gravy Train Dog Food
Gravy Train first appeared in stores in 1959 as a pet food for Gaines and General Foods Corporation. It was a product for Del Monte from 2002 until Del Monte split in 2013 and their pet food division became Big Heart Pet Brands. Other brands owned by Big Heart include Nature’s Recipe, MilkBone, Kibbles n’Bits, Pup-Peroni, Milo’s Kitchen, Snausages, Meaty Bone, 9Lives, Meow Mix, Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, and others. The brand has always been famous for being the dog food that you add warm water to form its own gravy – which makes the food tastier for dogs.
Who Manufactures Gravy Train dog food?
Gravy Train is manufactured by Big Heart Pet Brands, which owns the brand. They manufacture, distribute, and market their own foods. They have several manufacturing plants in the U.S. Gravy Train is produced at the Decatur, Alabama, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and Topeka, Kansas processing plants.
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Gravy Train Recalls 2017
- Gravy Train was part of the 2007 melamine recall. The brand has not had any recalls since that time according to the FDA and AVMA databases
Gravy Train Reviews
Gravy Train makes dry dog food, canned food, and treats. They do not have extensive product lines but they cover the basics. This is a brand that is normally found in grocery stores and it is affordable for many dog owners. Dog owners who have lots of money to spend will probably look at other dog foods. But if you have a smaller budget, this is a food you might consider.
The brand’s dry foods include: beef flavor; beef, liver & bacon flavor; and chicken & rice flavor. Note that, according to FDA labeling guidelines, when a pet food uses the label term “flavor” it means that the food only has to use enough of the ingredient to be detectable. There are certain testing methods to confirm the claim. The ingredient doesn’t have to be exactly the same as advertised on the label. For example, if the food says “beef” on the label, it might have beef by-products or some other kind of beef in the food – as long as it gives a beef flavor. Many foods also use “digests” to give the required flavor. The food might not contain any of the ingredient on the label at all. It simply might have some digest that has some of the flavor.
In the case of Gravy Train, their beef flavor kibble has animal digest and natural and artificial beef flavor. The beef, liver & bacon flavor kibble has animal digest (source of liver flavor), bacon fat, dried beef stock, and spray dried beef. The chicken & rice flavor kibble has chicken by-product meal, animal digest, dried chicken stock, and spray dried chicken. Some of these flavors no doubt are used for the gravy that is made when you add warm water. The food probably really tastes like the foods they are claimed to taste like. However, you should be aware that they don’t actually contain what is sort of suggested on the labels.
Gravy Train’s canned foods include seven varieties: chunks in gravy with beef chunks, chunks in gravy with chicken chunks, meaty ground dinner with beef & bacon, meaty ground dinner with chicken, strips in gravy with turkey strips, chunks in gravy chunk stew, and chunks in gravy with chicken, beef & liver medley. The chunks and strips in gravy foods are 8/2-3/1.5/82 for crude protein, crude fat, fiber, and moisture. The meaty ground dinners are 8/4/1.5/78 for crude protein, crude fat, fiber, and moisture.
Gravy Train’s treats include Steak Bones Beef Flavor dog snacks, Wavy Bacon dog snacks, Beef Sticks dog snacks, and Jerky Strips dog snacks. Despite the names, these are only treats and they contain ingredients such as wheat flour, corn syrup, cheese, ground corn, garlic, etc., with just enough flavor to satisfy product labeling.
Things you won’t like: Gravy Train’s products include wheat, corn, and soy. They also include colors/dyes, and artificial preservatives (BHA). As mentioned, they also use animal digest in their foods, as well as meat and bone meal (a form of protein left over after rendering and drying – high in protein, but not good parts of the animals). In short, we would say that Gravy Train is not made from the most desirable ingredients for your dog. Gravy Train’s foods are AAFCO-approved, but their dry foods are low in protein, near the bottom of what is recommended for dogs.
Can your dog be healthy eating these foods? Technically, yes. They are complete and balanced foods for maintenance and all life stages. However, we recommend buying a better quality dog food if your budget allows. Note that you should NOT feed these dry foods to puppies. They do not meet the feeding requirements for puppies.
Our Gravy Train Chunks In Gravy Chunky Stew Dog Food Review
We’ve chosen Gravy Train’s Chunks In Gravy Chunky Stew for this review. Many people pick up a can of dog food in the grocery store without looking at it closely, so we thought it would be good to review one of these canned foods.
The first five ingredients in this limited ingredient food are: Water Sufficient for Processing, Soybean Meal, Chicken, Wheat Flour, Modified Food Starch. The guaranteed analysis for this canned food shows 8/2/1.5/82 percent for crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture. It’s not unusual to find a wet food with 82 percent moisture. That’s why we do a dry matter basis comparison so we can remove the moisture and compare foods without the water content. We see that the first ingredient in this food is water, so that’s not surprising. When we do the math, it turns out that the food is 44.4 percent protein DMB, 11.1 percent fat DMB, and 8.33 percent fiber DMB. Canned foods are often very high in protein. Normally they do not add a lot of carbs. That’s one of the reasons why dogs love them so much. However, it looks like this dog food has more carbohydrates than most canned foods. This food has much less fat than most canned foods.
The second ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is sometimes used in lesser quality dog foods as a protein source. (And many better quality dog foods will try to use it in various ways to increase the protein percentage.) Soybean is an allergen trigger for some dogs. It’s also a less desirable protein source compared to meat protein. Soy in dog food can also interfere with your dog’s thyroid, block absorption of some essential minerals, and, if you breed dogs, it can cause problems with your dog’s hormones, among other things. So, there are a lot of reasons to stay clear fo soy in dog foods.
The third ingredient is chicken. Chicken we like. Since this just says, “chicken” it means it is whole chicken that still contains moisture. If the moisture were removed, this ingredient would be lower on the list, but it’s still a good ingredient. Chicken is about 80 percent protein and 20 percent fat. It’s a good source of omega-6 fatty acids which are good for your dog’s skin, coat, and joints.
The fourth ingredient is wheat flour. Again, wheat is an allergen for some dogs. But if it doesn’t bother your dog, that’s okay. This is basically just flour – which means that it’s a filler in dog food. Kibble needs some starch to help it make a batter/dough to get through the extruding machines. However, this is wet food. It doesn’t usually need flour. Most canned foods rely on some gum or a different kind of starch to hold their shape and go into a can. Wheat flour adds a little protein (about 11 percent) and filler/starch to the food.
The fifth ingredient is modified food starch. This is an ingredient made from starch that has been chemically altered by enzymes. It could come from one of several original starch foods such as corn, potatoes, wheat, rice, or tapioca, for example. If you are concerned about glutens, chances are that a modified food starch has come from an ingredient that contains gluten. A modified food starch can be used as a thickener or to make things easier to dissolve or for other manufacturing reasons. It doesn’t particularly add any nutrients to the food.
Other ingredients in the food include animal fat (preserved with BHA). This is a vague fat – could come from any animal – preserved with an artificial preservative. Not something most people want their dog to eat. The food also has modified corn starch which is a modified starch from corn. Again, if you are concerned about gluten, there are all kinds of reasons to avoid this food for your dog. We also note beef, which is a good ingredient but it’s so far down the list that it is probably only present for taste. The food also has meat by-products. By-products (especially the unnamed “meat” by-products) can be a questionable ingredient but, again, this ingredient is so far down the list that it is probably only for taste. The food has caramel coloring – an artificial coloring which dogs don’t need.
The food also has vitamins and minerals that you would expect to see in any pet food but no added ingredients that are found in some better quality foods such as chelated minerals, amino acids, digestive enzymes, and so on.
We could not find a listing for calories in Gravy Train’s canned foods. We did find calories for Gravy Train kibble and it was 230 calories per 8 ounce cup which is extremely low. These foods have less fat than many foods and little in terms of meat protein. They have a lot of fillers.
We do note that this brand has not had a recall since the 2007 melamine recalls and we admire their production standards. Contrary to what many pet owners believe, larger, more established companies often have excellent production standards – better than many small pet food companies who are new to the market. Large pet food companies also fund much of the research and development that goes into pet food and pet health advances.
Gravy Train® Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for All Life Stages.
|Crude Protein||8.0% minimum|
|Crude Fat||2.0% minimum|
|Crude Fiber||1.5% maximum|
The dry matter basis figures for this food are: 44.4 percent protein; 11.1 percent fat; 8.33 percent fiber; and 19.7 percent carbohydrates.
This food has a moderately high protein percentage for a canned food and a low fat percentage. The fiber percentage is more than average for a canned food. The carbohydrate percentage is very high for a canned food.
Many foods in the grocery store are of lesser quality than those sold in pet stores and online. However, we think there are better canned foods than this one from Gravy Train in your grocery store. Check out some of the canned foods from Iams, Cesar, Purina One, and even Pedigree. Some of their canned foods in the grocery store are quite good.
Where can you buy Gravy Train dog food?
You can buy Gravy Train at your local grocery store, at Walmart, Dollar General, and Family Dollar. You can also find it at some feed stores and from some online retailers.
We understand that not everyone can buy the most expensive dog foods. However, we think there are better dog foods for the same cost as Gravy Train. If you are buying dog food at your local grocery store or discount store, check brands like Iams and Purina One. They have better ingredients than Gravy Train for a similar price and they don’t cost much more.