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

Review Summary

Zignature Zssential Formula is a high-quality wet dog food. It has significantly above average protein and fat content and a significantly below average carbohydrate content. Its nutrient profile is, in fact, the best of any wet dog food produced by Zignature.

It contains a range of high-quality ingredients including a variety of red meat ingredients including Beef, Lamb and Wild Boar. In addition, it contains Peas. Peas are considered a high-quality source of carbohydrates and also contribute much-needed fiber.

The larger range of ingredients may make Zssential Formula unsuitable for dogs with serious dietary sensitivities or allergies. However for those dogs without dietary issues, it is an extremely suitable wet dog food and will provide excellent nutrition from high-quality ingredients.

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High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients

Satisfactory Nutrition


Full review of Zssential Formula Wet Dog Food by Zignature

Zignature Zssential Wet Dog Food Can

Nutritional Analysis

The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.

Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog Food Calorie Breakdown Chart

Carbohydrate Content Analysis

Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 16% of Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog 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 significantly below average for a Wet Dog Food.

This is a very low proportion of carbohydrates and very accurately mimics a dog’s natural carbohydrate intake. The carbohydrate that is present appears to be sourced from a small range of vegetables such as Chickpeas. These are considered relatively high-quality sources of carbohydrates and superior to grains.

Protein Content Analysis

Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 42% of Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog 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 significantly above average for a Wet Dog Food.

This is an extremely high level of protein. So high in fact that even the most active of dogs would have excess protein. However, overly high levels of protein are not necessarily a bad thing. The excess protein can be burned as calories which is what dog’s ancestors would have done. A wide range of meat ingredients contributes the vast majority of this protein. This includes meat such as Turkey, Lamb and Duck are considered high-quality sources and will provide your dog with the full range of amino acids.

Fat Content Analysis

Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 42% of Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog 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 significantly above average for a Wet Dog Food.

This level of fat is very satisfactory and can provide dogs of all activity levels with a highly concentrated source of energy. In addition, the vast majority of this fat content appears to be sourced from animal fats. Animal fats such as Turkey Fat or Lamb Fat are considered high-quality sources and are a natural part of a dog’s diet.

Calorie Density

Calorie Density is essential to understand as it determines the portion size of food your dog will require per day or meal. Calorie Density is commonly measured in calories per kg or per cup.
Dog food formulas with high-calorie densities can be more cost efficient to purchase while recipes with lower calorie density can be advantageous to dogs attempting weight loss or who are relatively inactive.

Overall Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog Food contains an average of 392 kcal/can (13 oz.)


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 dog 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 dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.

Guaranteed Analysis – Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog 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) – 11.00%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 5.00%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.00%
  • Moisture (Max) – 78.00%



Ingredient Analysis

The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.

However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Turkey
  • Turkey Liver
  • Salmon
  • Lamb
  • Chickpeas
  • Duck
  • Peas
  • Lamb Meal



Low-Quality Ingredients

  • N/A



Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients

  • N/A


In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review

The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog Food contains four sources of meat or fish.

The primary meat source present is Turkey. Turkey is a considered a high-quality source of protein. Some of the beneficial nutrients contained in Turkey include Vitamin B6 and Niacin.

Turkey Liver is considered a high-quality source of meat. Liver contains a much higher concentration of some nutrients than traditional meat cuts. Some of the nutrients present in Liver are Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Iron. In addition to these nutrients Liver also contains a high amount of protein.

Another fish source present is Salmon. Salmon is considered a high-quality source of protein. Salmons most abundant minerals are Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Anther meat source present is Lamb. Lamb is considered a high-quality source of protein.Just like Beef, Lamb is rich in iron. In addition to this, it has higher levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acid than other red meats and high levels of Vitamin B12.

Another meat source present is Duck. Duck is a considered a high-quality source of protein. It contains considerably higher levels of selenium and phosphorus than other meats.

In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review

Peas and Chickpeas are members of the legume family of vegetables. Legumes are famous for having a relatively high amount of protein for a vegetable. Legumes also contain a high amount of fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Pet foods often use legumes as a replacement for grains in grain-free pet food. Protein from vegetables such as legumes should not be a replacement for protein from meat. Instead, it should act as an additional protein source.

Alfalfa is a flowering plant that is closely related to Peas and other legumes. Alfalfa has a long history of use in livestock feed and as a supplement for humans. It has a similar proportion of protein to other legumes which means it can contribute to a minor sum if there is a sufficient quantity used. Alfalfa’s greatest strength is the vast range of vitamins and minerals it provides including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Potassium, and Calcium. Find out more about Alfalfa in our article Alfalfa In Dog Food.

Full Ingredient List – Zignature Zssential Formula Wet Dog Food

Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Broth, Salmon, Lamb, Chickpeas, Duck, Peas, Lamb Meal, Agar-Agar, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Carrots, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cranberries, Blueberries, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).