American Journey Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The American Journey product line includes 7 dry recipes.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage:
Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- American Journey Beef and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Puppy Lamb and Sweet Potato [G]
- American Journey Puppy Chicken and Sweet Potato [G]
- American Journey Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, dried beet pulp, pea protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, flaxseed, menhaden fish meal, salmon oil, blueberries, carrots, salt, dried kelp, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative), ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, potassium chloride, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, riboflavin supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||16%||41%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||33%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With five notable exceptions…
First, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we note the inclusion of menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
In addition, this recipe includes salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
American Journey Grain Free Dog Food The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, American Journey Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.
American Journey Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.