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CARNA4 Dog Food Review 2022: Pros, Cons, Recalls and FAQ

CARNA4 Dog Food Review

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Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Review Summary

Our Final Verdict
We give Carna4 dog food a rating of 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Carna4 is a Canadian pet food company that focuses on creating whole food recipes for cats and dogs. Some of their recipes are free of grains but do offer sprouted seeds as a nutritional alternative to grains. Sprouted seeds are highly digestible and dense in nutrition.

The goal of Carna4 as a company is to produce dog food that meets the biological and nutritional needs of your dog without offering them a diet packed with fillers and unnecessary ingredients. Carna4 products are unique in the pet food market because they do not use any synthetic ingredients in their formulas. All of their vitamins come from natural sources.. The result of their efforts includes foods that are good for dogs with chewing difficulties, food sensitivities, and special nutritional needs.

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At a Glance: The Best Carna4 Dog Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Winner
Carna4 Chicken Formula Carna4 Chicken Formula
  • Good basic option for dogs at all life stages
  • Good source of lean proteins
  • Contains sprouted barley seeds
  • Second place
    Carna4 Easy-Chew Goat Formula Carna4 Easy-Chew Goat Formula
  • Suitable for puppies
  • Excellent option for dogs with protein sensitivities
  • Low glycemic food may be suitable for diabetic dogs
  • Third place
    Carna4 Duck Formula Carna4 Duck Formula
  • Suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Good source of healthy fats and protein
  • Contains sprouted barley seeds
  • CARNA4 Easy-chew Fish Formula Sprouted Seeds Dog Food CARNA4 Easy-chew Fish Formula Sprouted Seeds Dog Food
  • Whole food based recipes
  • Formulated for dogs of all ages
  • Safer than feeding raw foods
  • Carna4 - Whole Food Nuggets for Dogs Venison Recipe Carna4 - Whole Food Nuggets for Dogs Venison Recipe
  • Formulated for dogs of all ages
  • Quick baked and air dried
  • Limited ingredient diets
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    Carna4 Dog Food Reviewed

    Who Makes Carna4 and Where Is It Produced?

    Carna4 makes its own foods on-site in Canada. One of the founders, Maria Ringo, was also a co-founder of another pet food brand founded in 1986, Sojourner Farms Natural Pet Products. Carna4 was founded in 2010 with the principles of using nutrition to support health as the goal. Carna4’s other co-founder, Dave Stauble, was in charge of creating pet foods for one of Canada’s largest specialty pet retailers. In his 22 years of doing this, he helped to create multiple pet food lines, including one of the top holistic pet food lines in the early 2000s. It is important to note, though, that neither Maria nor Dave are veterinarians or veterinary nutritionists. However, the company publishes the nutritional content and analysis of their entire product line in an honest, complete, and transparent way.

    Which Type of Dog Is Carna4 Best Suited For?

    Carna4’s recipes rely on limited ingredients, and they do offer some recipes containing novel proteins, like goat and venison, making these foods a great option for dogs with food sensitivities and allergies. These foods are formulated for dogs of all life stages, so they’re suitable for dogs of any age.

    Which Type of Dog Might Do Better With a Different Brand?

    Carna4 products are made with high-quality animal proteins. They offer a good variety suitable for most dogs, including those with specific food allergies. However, the protein content in Carna4 products might be too high for dogs suffering from renal disease, and the company does not offer specific prescription diets.

    bernese mountain dog eating
    Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Chicken, Herring, Perch, Goat

    Most of the Carna4 recipes offers a single source of protein, with only a couple of exceptions. All of the proteins bring a variety of nutrients, but their primary function is to meet the protein needs of dogs of all ages. Protein supports healthy muscle function and recovery, and proteins also serve as the building blocks of essentially all body structures.

    Liver

    The liver included in each recipe is in line with the protein of the recipe, so the chicken recipe contains chicken liver and so on. Liver of any source is a great source of lean protein, helping to support muscle function. It’s also a fantastic source of iron, which is essential to maintaining healthy cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic function. Liver is also a great source of vitamin A and Taurine.

    Eggs

    Eggs are high in protein and low in calories. They’re a great source of healthy fats, which can help maintain the health of your dog’s skin, coat, heart, joints, eyes, and nervous system. They’re rich in B vitamins, which support healthy metabolism and energy levels, and vitamin D, which supports mood and bone health.

    Sprouted Seeds

    The primary source of sprouted seeds used in the Carna4 recipes is sprouted barley seeds. This is different from barley grain. Sprouted seeds are high in a variety of nutrients and are approximately 95% digestible. They’re high in probiotics and fiber, which support healthy digestion. They’re also a good source of antioxidants, which are essential for immune system function.

    Limited Ingredients

    Limited ingredient diets are essential for many dogs with food sensitivities. Almost the entire food line from Carna4 is made from limited ingredients, and each formula focuses on a single protein source. They offer multiple recipes that contain novel proteins, which can be a great way to help manage skin, coat, and digestive issues for dogs with food sensitivities.

    No Synthetic Ingredients

    Carna4 is the first pet food brand to produce diets based on all-natural food and non-synthetic ingredients. This provides your dog with all of the necessary nutrients in the form of carefully selected whole ingredients prepared in a way that maintains maximum nutrition. This is a great advantage considering that accidental excesses of synthetic vitamins added to pet food have caused issues and recalls in the past. Because the ingredients are high quality and the food is gently cooked so that the nutrients are not lost, there is no need to artificially complete the formulas.

    Gently Cooked Diets

    While many people support raw diets for dogs, some vets recommend against it due to the risks associated with raw meats. Carna4’s entire line of food is cooked foods, but their foods are quick baked and air dried to maximize the nutrient density of the food. This ensures that the natural nutrients within the food are not cooked out of the food during preparation, providing your dog with maximum nutrition without the risks associated with feeding raw foods.

     

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    A Quick Look at Carna4 Dog Food

    Pros
    • Whole food based recipes to meet your dog’s nutritional needs
    • Limited ingredient diets are suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Formulated for dogs of all ages
    • Nutrients come from the ingredients in the food and not synthetic additives
    • Quick baked and air dried to maximize nutrition
    • Safer than feeding raw foods
    Cons
    • Hard to find in stores
    • More expensive than the average dog food

    Recall History

    To date, this brand has experienced no recalls on its dog foods.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Carna4 Dog Food Recipes

    Carna4 Chicken Formula

    CARNA4 Hand Crafted Chicken Dog Food

    The Carna4 Chicken Formula is a good basic dog food option for dogs of all ages. This is one of the diets that contain multiple protein sources, offering protein from chicken and salmon. However, both are excellent lean protein sources, and the addition of salmon provides extra support for sensitive skin in dogs that don’t have sensitivities to chicken.

    While it does contain legumes, they are low on the ingredient list. This is a grain-inclusive food with brown rice as a source of healthy carbs. It also contains sprouted barley seeds, which are a good bioavailable source of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes.

    This food is typically good for picky eaters, but some people do report their smaller dogs having difficulty managing the hard pieces.

    Pros
    • Good option for dogs at all life stages
    • Good source of lean proteins
    • Supports skin and coat health
    • Contains sprouted barley seeds
    Cons
    • Not suitable for dogs with chicken allergies
    • May be hard for small dogs to eat

    Carna4 Easy-Chew Goat Formula

    Carna4 Easy Chew Dog Food, Goat

    The Carna4 Easy-Chew Goat Formula is a great food option for dogs with food sensitivities, as well as small dogs and those with difficulty chewing. These kibbles are easier to manage than the formulas that aren’t easy-chew. It’s also a good option for puppies for this reason.

    Since this food contains goat as the protein source, it’s an excellent option for dogs with food sensitivities, especially to mainstream proteins, like chicken and beef. This is a low glycemic food, which may make it suitable for dogs with diabetes, but you should talk to your vet before switching your dog to it.

    This may not be a top pick for picky dogs. Goat is a novel protein that most dogs have not encountered, and the strong taste may not be suitable for picky pups.

    Pros
    • Formulated for small dogs and those with chewing difficulties
    • Suitable for puppies
    • Excellent option for dogs with protein sensitivities
    • Low glycemic food may be suitable for diabetic dogs
    Cons
    • Grain-free food
    • May not be suitable for picky dogs

    Carna4 Duck Formula

    Carna4 Duck Hand Crafted Dog Food

    The Carna4 Duck Formula is another good option for dogs with digestive sensitivities, and duck is a novel protein for many dogs, making it suitable for dogs with allergies. This food is packed with healthy fats and lean protein.

    This is a grain-free food, but it is a good source of sprouted seeds. It also has legumes, but they are low on the ingredient list. This is a palatable food that is a good option for picky eaters.

    This food is not an easy-chew formula, so it may be difficult for small dogs and those with chewing difficulties to eat.

    Pros
    • Suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Suitable for dogs with sensitive skin and stomach
    • Good source of healthy fats and protein
    • Contains sprouted barley seeds
    • Palatable and suitable for picky eaters
    Cons
    • Grain-free food
    • May be hard for small dogs to eat

    What Other Users Are Saying

    We want you to have the best information and feedback before purchasing any food for your dog. To give you additional feedback, we’ve checked out what other people are saying about these foods. Here’s what other users have had to say.

    • Google: “Was recommended Carna4 by my local pet food warehouse, and there’s a peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re feeding your dog the BEST food possible, outside of raw or homemade. My 8-week-old dachshund pup really enjoys it, and seems to have consistent ‘doo doos’. No kidding…if I’m hungry, and open the bag, it even smells GOOD to ME.”
    • Influenster: “I have the pickiest dog in the world…one day he’ll love his food and the next he wants nothing to do with it. He also had stomach issues and inconsistent bathroom habits. After putting him on Carna4, he eats all his food, his poops are consistent with timing, size, and solidness. I’ve noticed a great deal of energy now as well! He stops bugging me for food and will go eat his own! Highly recommend!”
    • Amazon: “High quality kibble. I feed raw and my dogs like an occasional crunch, I added this into rotation and my dogs love it. I like that it’s very natural and appears to be one of the healthiest kibbles on the market. I’m very pleased and my little dogs love it. I have chihuahuas and they have no issues eating this kibble. I know people have said it is very hard but they don’t seem to have any trouble. The bag is small for the price but the quality makes it worth it if you care about your pets nutrition. Great product.” Here are some other Amazon reviews you can check out.

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    Conclusion

    Carna4 is a high-quality dog food brand that produces a wide variety of recipes for dogs of all ages and with a variety of nutritional needs.

    They are unique in the market since their gently baked and air-dried products offer complete and balanced nutrition that exceeds all of the AAFCO standards using only natural ingredients. This all-natural and synthetic-free product offers uniquely high-quality nutrition for your pup.


    Featured Image Credit: Carna4, Amazon

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