Gravy Train has been elected as one of the worst rated dog food brands for using controversial meat sources, corn, by-products, artificial flavors and preservatives. 1-2 star ratings are found on numerous message boards and online retailer reviews.
As far as lower-end, cheaper brands of dog food go, Gravy Train is average in its variety, ingredients, and nutrients. It’s packed with good vitamins, like Vitamins A, E, D3, and B12, and has a good amount of protein for your dog. Most of the ingredients are things you recognize, like corn, soybean, and animal fat.
Where Gravy Train’s mark lowers is in its artificial ingredients, like food dyes, meat flavor, and the BHA preservative that is a known carcinogen. It also has corn and soybean meal listed as the first two ingredients. Depending on who you ask, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They do provide protein, but they aren’t really the best protein for dogs.
It seems that dogs prefer the flavor of Gravy Train over other brands, according to reviews from a few websites, perhaps because of the yummy gravy addition! But, I don’t see enough variety in this brand. I realize that it is a value brand, but having a few more dry dog food varieties would appeal to more dogs and owners, especially varieties for young and old dogs.
Gravy Train dog food certainly is unique. Its one-of-a-kind formula is the only one that makes its own gravy by adding a little bit of water to your dog’s bowl. Although this doesn’t provide any extra nutritional value, it can definitely win over some picky eaters. The gravy makes it almost like a mix of wet and dry food, without making the food mushy.
Gravy Train has been around for almost 60 years, which means it must be doing something right! Along with its wet and dry dog foods, Gravy Train introduced dog treats in 2005 to expand its brand, giving dog owners a bit more variety with the brand. And, with no recall history in the past two years, it’s a good sign of quality control.
This dog food has a fairly good balance of ingredients, with its nutrients closely meeting AAFCO standards for dog nutrition. Gravy Train is cheaper than many other brands, but it’s free from a plethora of chemicals and preservatives that cheaper brands tend to add.
Although its nutrients are on the mark, Gravy Train does add in some artificial coloring and flavoring, preservatives, and corn and soybean as protein. These are consistent with the ingredients of many cheaper brands of dog food, but that doesn’t make it okay.
There is also not as much variety as some other brands as far as products go. Gravy Train has more wet food varieties than dry food, and no difference in variety for puppies and adult dogs.
Another reason I’m on the fence about Gravy Train is its surprising lack of information about the company on its own website. For a company that has been around since the 1950s, I’d expect a good amount of information on its history, its manufacturing process, and where it originated. Instead, it has just a few sentences on its history and the company, which is a little worrisome.
The Gravy Train Beefy Classic Guaranteed Analysis is as follows:
The nutrients in Gravy Train Beefy Classic dry dog food are pretty close to the required nutrient analysis of the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. Protein, however, is a bit lower than the minimum of 18%.
Gravy Train dog food ingredients include dyes Red 40, Blue 2, and Yellow 5 and 6, which have been known to cause hypersensitivity and cancer in humans. It also contains BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), a preservative on the list of Known Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxicants of California Proposition 65. Gravy Train’s first two listed ingredients are corn and soybean meal. These have been known to cause allergic reactions and digestive issues in dogs.
Overall, Gravy Train meets nutrient standards, but its ingredients leave a lot of room for improvement. I’d prefer to see more meat ingredients for protein rather than corn and soybean. And, definitely less artificial flavoring and food dyes.
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.
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.
Is Alpo Come and get it good for dogs?
Alpo dog food might be good for an occasional treat, but it shouldn’t be part of a dog’s daily diet. It’s a below-average dog food product that doesn’t contain much protein but is laden with carbohydrates and unhealthy grain fillers.
Is Gravy Train dog food recalled?
What is Gravy Train dog food made of?
Is gravy dog food bad for dogs?
How much Gravy Train should I feed my dog?