Quick Review
  • Nutrition - 7/10
    7/10
  • Ingredients - 5/10
    5/10

Summary

Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River is an average-quality dry cat food. It has above average protein and fat content and a below average carbohydrate content. Despite being above average, the nutritional values of this cat food are not close to what we would consider optimal for a cat’s diet. This is especially true for the carbohydrate proportion of this formula which is far too high.

Nevertheless, Canyon River Dry Cat Food appears to have the best nutrition among the dry cat foods offered by Taste of the Wild.

Two high quality and nutritious fish ingredients are present which are Trout and Smoked Salmon. These are fantastic sources of protein and fat. In addition, the formula contains Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes which some would classify as fillers and are the core contributors to the high carbohydrate proportion.

Sadly, the formula also contains Pea Protein and Potato Protein which are by-products and inflate the overall protein proportion.

Overall
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Pros

Above Average Nutrient Profile

High-Quality Fish Ingredients

Cons

Contains Pea Protein & Potato Protein

Excessive Carbohydrate Proportion

A Full review of Canyon River Dry Cat Food by Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild Canyon River Dry Cat Food Packaging

Nutritional Analysis

The ideal nutrition for a cat is a high amount of protein, a medium amount of fat. Cats do not require carbohydrates in their diet. However, they can safely consume small amounts of carbohydrates with minimal effect.

Taste of the Wild Canyon River Dry Cat Food Calorie Breakdown Chart

Carbohydrate Content

Cats use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Cats do not require carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 33% of Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River Dry Cat Food calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is below average for a Dry Cat Food.

Despite being below average, the carbohydrate proportion of this dry cat food is far too high and should be significantly lower to better mimic a cat’s natural diet. Multiple ingredients contribute to this high carbohydrate sum including Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes. While these might be acceptable ingredients for humans or dogs, they are not considered high-quality cat food ingredients and some would go as far as to say they are fillers.

Protein Content

Cats use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 32% of Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River Dry Cat Food calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is above average for a Dry Cat Food.

Once again, despite being above average, the protein proportion in this dry cat food is lower than ideal and should be higher to better mimic a cat’s natural diet. The vast majority of this protein content is from the fish ingredients of this cat food which includes Trout and Salmon. These are both considered very high-quality sources of protein and can provide the full range of amino acids needed. A minority of the protein proportion is from the vegetable by-product ingredients such as Pea Protein and Potato Protein. These are considered low-quality ingredients and inflate the overall protein proportion.

Fat Content

Cats use fat for a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 33% of Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River Dry Cat Food calories are derived from fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is above average for a Dry Cat Food.

A cat’s natural diet would contain a much higher proportion of fat than is present in this cat food formula. Despite this, the proportion of fat is not overly low and is adequate to fulfill its purposes within a cats diet. In addition, the source of the majority of this fat is the fish based ingredients. Ingredients such as Trout and Salmon are fantastic sources of fat. In additional to traditional fats, they also contain high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are known to provide a variety of health benefits.

Calorie Density

Overall Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River Dry Cat Food contains an average of 3,741 kcal/kg or 350 kcal/cup.

Disclaimer

Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most cat foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every cat food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.

Guaranteed Analysis – Taste of the Wild – Canyon River Dry Cat Food

Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 32.00%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 16.00%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.00%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10.00%
  • Zinc (Min) – 120 mg/kg
  • Selenium (Min) – 0.3 mg/kg
  • Vitamin E (Min) – 150 IU/kg
  • Taurine  (Min) – 0.15%
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.4%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.3%

Ingredient Analysis

The ingredients of a pet food are displayed as a list in descending order. Those listed at the start of the list make up the majority of a pet foods content. Therefore the quality of these core ingredients is the most important factor in determining the quality of a pet food. However, later ingredients should not be ignored, especially if they are deemed potentially dangerous or harmful.

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Trout
  • Smoked Salmon

Low-Quality Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pea Protein
  • Potato Protein

Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients

  • N/A

In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review

The meat ingredients of a cat food are probably the most important ingredients. Taste of the Wild’s Canyon River Dry Cat Food contains three sources of meat or fish.

The primary fish source present is Trout. Trout is considered a high-quality source of protein. Trout has a range of benefits including very high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. In addition, it is rich in Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Trout contains fewer contaminants such as Mercury than other fish. Unfortunately, just as with meat, Trout contains a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Trout. However given that Trout is the first listed ingredient, its proportion will still be relatively high even after the cooking process.

Ocean Fish Meal is considered an average quality source of fish. It is a concentrated form of fish that has already had most of its moisture removed. Ocean Fish Meal is likely to have a relatively high protein content which is ideal for a cat’s diet. Unfortunately Ocean Fish is a vague description. For this reason, it’s difficult to gauge exactly what fish the meal is made of. In addition, this makes it difficult to gauge the quantities of fish oils such as Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Another fish source present is Salmon. Salmon is considered a high-quality source of protein. Salmons most abundant minerals are Vitamin B12 and Selenium. Just like other fish, Salmon contains a large quantity of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Unfortunately just as with meat, Salmon contains a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Salmon. Given that Salmon is not one of the primary ingredients, its quantity after cooking is likely to be relatively low.

In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review

Sweet Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and a source of complex carbohydrates.  Sweet Potatoes are considered superior to traditional Potatoes as they contain more fiber and a more extensive range of vitamins and minerals. Some examples of vitamins and minerals that are abundant in Sweet Potatoes are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium. While Sweet Potatoes may be a high-quality ingredient for humans and dogs, Sweet Potatoes are not a suitable addition to cat food due to their carbohydrate content.

Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and a dense source of complex carbohydrates. Also, Potatoes can provide fiber and a surprising number of minerals and vitamins such as Potassium, Copper and the Vitamin B6. Sadly, Potatoes are considered an average-quality ingredient as they provide minimal nutritional value beyond their carbohydrate content.

Pea Protein is a by-product of Peas. Pea Protein is considered a low-quality ingredient. It is often used as a cheap way to increase the overall level of protein in a cat food without including additional meat or fish content. While the protein in Pea Protein is not harmful, plant-based proteins such as this are considered inferior to meat and fish-based proteins as they do not contain the full range of needed amino acids. Pea Protein is one of the most common ingredients used in a technique called Ingredient Splitting.

Potato Protein is a by-product of Potatoes and is a protein-rich liquid. It is considered a low-quality ingredient due to its use as a cheap protein inflating ingredient. In addition, protein from plants such as Potatoes is considered less complete and doesn’t contain all the needed amino acids. Potato Protein is a common ingredient used in a technique known as Ingredient Splitting.

Canola Oil is derived from a modified version of Rapeseed. Canola Oil is most commonly added to cat food to supplement the levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. These Fatty Acids are crucial for a cats skin, coat and brain development. While Canola Oil is not the ideal source of the Omega Fatty Acids, it does have a high ratio of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Sources with high ratios, such as Canola Oil, are considered superior. However, Canola Oil can be a controversial ingredient due to the fact it is genetically modified.

Dried Chicory Root or Chicory Root Extract is an additive or supplement to cat food. It can provide a range of health benefits including soluble fiber to enable regular passage of stool, probiotics to aid and promote digestion, as well as potentially eliminate or prevent intestinal worms. While these benefits are not fully proven, there is strong evidence behind them. The proportion of Chicory Root used in most cat food recipes is tiny and does not contribute meaningful nutrition. Find out more in Dried Chicory Root In Dog Food.

Full Ingredient List – Taste of the Wild – Canyon River Dry Cat Food

Trout, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pea protein, potato protein, canola oil, smoked salmon, natural flavor, choline chloride, DL-methionine, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.