The Crave Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Are you wondering if you should switch dog foods? We teamed up with veterinarians and canine nutritionists to form an independent panel of experts to research Crave dog food, a popular brand for dog parents in Australia.
After months of research and many, many dog food bowls later, our team of independent experts were finally able to agree on the contents of this review.
Our Crave dog food review covers everything you need to know about this brand. From where it’s manufactured to an in-depth analysis of the ingredient list, our experts are sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.
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Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials
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Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Crave Dog Food Review
Crave Dog Food - 2 Star Rating
- Ingredients: (Beef & Lamb recipe): Meat from Poultry, Lamb &/or Sheep, Beef; Vegetables and Vegetable Extracts; Chicken Fat; Natural Flavours (made with real Chicken); Beet Pulp; Vitamins and Minerals; Antioxidants; Vegetable Oil.
- Named Protein First: Yes.
- Dog Food Type: Dry and pate.
- Recipe Range: Three main flavours: beef & lamb; chicken & salmon; and salmon & ocean fish. These recipes are repeated more or less identically in their pate line (wet dog food).
- Suitable For: Adult dogs, no puppy-specific line
- Cost: $$
- Australian Owned: No
Extras & Additives
In general, most dogs belonging to members of our team of independent experts like the taste of Crave dog food. Considering the relatively high animal protein percentage, it’s probably an appealing food for many pups. Some owners on our panel complained their dogs disliked the salmon & fish recipe, but that might have more to do with individual preferences of beef and chicken over fish.
On the flip side, pups with fewer teeth or smaller in size sometimes had a hard time chewing the kibble. Some owners mentioned the actual kibble size is slightly bigger than usual, and toy breeds were swallowing the pieces whole. This is something to consider if you have an older or smaller dog. Since Crave doesn’t offer size-specific kibble, your pup might struggle or even refuse this food altogether.
Due to these setbacks, we’re taking off 1 star.
This is where things start to get tricky. Crave dog food has been generally praised for its good composition, but this is mostly regarding the “normal” ingredient list from the US version. The Australian recipe is made in Australia and also has its own recipe, which we don’t like as much. In the remainder of this article, we’ll only review Crave dog food available in Australia.
The ingredient list for all kibble recipes is short and simple: meat from poultry, lamb and or sheep, and beef; followed by a generic “vegetables and vegetable extracts” entry, and finally “chicken fat” and “natural flavours”. Plus, for their Australian recipes, Crave offers a guaranteed analysis that features a minimum of 36% protein and 17% fats, as well as a maximum of 35% carbs.
We’ll examine the specific implications of this general “meat” as the first ingredient in the next category, but we’re not big fans of the ingredient list as a whole. The second “ingredient” or rather, ingredient group, is vegetables. The only thing we know for sure is that all kibble recipes from Crave are grain-free. However, that still leaves a lot of room for the imagination. What are these mysterious “vegetables”? What kinds of “vegetables extracts”? These could very well be Australian-grown, organic carrots or the rotten tops left from vegetable processing factories in China.
The vague ingredient list also means there is no way of ensuring the recipe stays consistent from one bag to the other. One bag might be made with a high amount of pulses, while the next could be made with a base of potato scraps.
While these possibilities aren’t necessarily bad by themselves, we don’t like the inconsistencies they might hide. This also means our team of independent experts don’t recommend Crave dog food for pups with specific food sensitivities, since there’s no way of knowing the exact ingredients or percentages of the food.
To end this section, we’ll examine the guaranteed analysis. According to their packaging, Crave dog food Australia guarantees their kibble has a minimum of 36% protein and 17% fats, with a maximum of 3.5% crude fibre and 35% carbohydrates.
This is mostly good since it goes above the recommended minimum percentages by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). According to AAFCO guidelines “The minimum dietary protein requirement for a growing dog is 18% dry matter, or DM, and 8% DM for an adult dog” . This means Crave goes beyond the minimum requirements, which is good news for most dogs.
Despite the overall positive percentage composition, we don’t trust the generalities and lack of transparency in the ingredient list. Since companies will try to make the ingredients sound as good as possible, the choice to use generic terms instead of actually naming items hints at low-quality ingredients.
Due to this serious issue, our panel agreed to take off 3 stars.
Protein content 2/5
The first ingredient in all Crave dog food recipes is always a named protein. While this is usually good news, in this specific case it doesn’t work. Following their tendency to only use generalities, the first ingredient is always “meat” with the by-line “from chicken, poultry, beef, fish…” depending on the recipe. We don’t know the specific sources, and we can assume that percentages of these animal products change per bag.
This doesn’t sit well for several reasons. In the first place, it doesn’t mention the proportion of each of these ingredients, nor their presentation. We don’t know if this is whole poultry, poultry meal, poultry by-products… It could even be “animal by-product meal”, which comes from undisclosed animal sources (beyond livestock). Being the first name in the ingredient list also means that, as a whole, animal-based items are the main ingredient.
However, if broken down into the actual percentages of each component (i.e. Beef, poultry, by-products, etc) these would probably show in lower quantities than the vegetables included in the recipe.
On the other hand, these recipes aren’t single-protein recipes. If your dog is like mine and sensitive to specific proteins, this isn’t the right brand since you’ll never know the specific amounts of each protein used.
We should also mention the misleading labelling present in the kibble. The bags say “60% animal protein”, when in fact this doesn’t refer to the total protein content. That percentage only means that, of the 37% total protein in the food, 60% comes from animal protein and the remaining 40% is from vegetable sources. While labelling isn’t regulated in the Australian pet food industry, it just adds to the mistrust and vague wording of the brand. Overall, it doesn’t give off a good impression.
Due to the confusing, generalising labelling, we’re taking off 3 stars.
Extras & additives 1/5
This brand doesn’t try to add any extra goodies. If anything, we’re wary because of the lacking ingredient list. For example, they list “natural flavours made with real chicken”, even though this description is very general. The only thing it means is that the flavour doesn’t come from synthetic processes .
Another extra is beet pulp. For once, this is a recognisable, labelled ingredient. According to our team of experts, beet pulp is the fibre left from the processing of sugar beets, and it’s a common addition to pet food. The main benefit of adding beet pulp to dog food is its high fibre content . Considering the 3.5% fibre from the guaranteed analysis provided by the manufacturer, we can assume beet pulp is a very minor ingredient in these recipes.
There’s also the addition of “vitamins and minerals” to the food. This is probably a powdered mix, common in the pet food industry, that provides all basic vitamins and minerals without any other extras. We don’t like that there’s no way of knowing if this mix fulfils daily micronutrient requirements.
Finally, the inclusion of “antioxidants” and “vegetable oil” is also suspicious. Vegetable oil can be anything, including palm oil, so we’re not keen on the generalising here. Antioxidants, while a normal addition to dog food, should have been named explicitly. Especially considering the issues with sulphite preservatives in dog food , it’s important to know what kinds of antioxidants and preservatives are included in the kibble.
We don’t like the very vague additives and the lack of clarity, so we’re giving Crave dog food 1 out of 5 in this category.
Crave dog food offers both dry kibble and wet dog food in the form of pate. The dry kibble has three different recipes: beef & lamb, chicken & salmon, and salmon & ocean fish. On the other hand, they have pate in chicken, beef, turkey and chicken & beef flavour. All recipes are labelled as “adult dog food” and they don’t have puppy-specific dog food.
Despite the supposed changing protein, the recipes themselves are very similar to one another. For example, the chicken & beef and the beef pates have the exact same recipe. The same thing happens with the kibble options. Overall, none of the recipes are single-protein so there are no options for pups sensitive to a specific ingredient.
Since this brand doesn’t offer anything significant about their recipe options and instead uses the same recipes with different branding, we’re giving it 2 out of 5.
Crave is a mid-range dog food that is neither too affordable nor too expensive. From a pricing point of view, it’s good for a wide range of households even if your dogs are bigger or eat a lot.
Nevertheless, we think the selling price is too high considering the lacking ingredient list and sweeping generalities. None of the recipes offer particularly good additions and instead, stick to the bare minimum in the pet food industry.
Due to this, we’re taking off 1 star in the pricing category.
Do not buy if…
Our team of independent experts don’t recommend trying out this brand if you:
No one on our panel of independent experts can recommend this food, mainly because of the generalisations in the ingredient list. Using general terms usually means the brand chose cheap ingredients over quality, and there’s probably some iffy additives hidden inside.
Even though this brand is made in Australia, we wouldn’t advise dog owners to buy Crave. Check out some of our favourite alternatives here.
Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:
- Ivory Coat Dog Food Review
- Canidae Dog Food Review
- Advance Dog Food Review
- Supercoat Dog Food Review
- Black Hawk Dog Food Review
- Farmers Market Dog Food Review
- Optimum Dog Food Review
- Applaws Dog Food Review
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- Science Diet Dog Food Review
- Petzyo Dog Food Review
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- PetMD. Dog Nutrition: Guide to Dog Food Nutrients. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_whats_in_a_balanced_dog_food
- All About Dog Food. Sugar Beet in dog food. https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/dog-food-ingredients/0034/sugar-beet
- AAFCO. What’s in dog food? https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/natural
- RSPCA. Are preservatives in dog food a concern? https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/