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Gravy Train Dog Food Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on May 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

Gravy Train Dog Food - Featured Image

Gravy Train Dog Food Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Gravy Train dog food a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

The best way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach, and feeding them nutritional and tasty food is a surefire way to make you their favorite person. Finding a brand that you and your dog likes can be a challenge.

Gravy Train is a familiar sight in the pet section of your local supermarket. It’s affordable and includes an instant gravy mix to give plain-old kibble a unique flair that your dog will find irresistible. It’s made in the U.S.A. by the J.M. Smucker Company, and the gravy-filled formula suits dogs that prefer a kibble-only diet but struggle to stay hydrated or eat food that’s too dry.

While it has a few questionable ingredients, Gravy Train’s products are suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds and won’t break the bank. Alongside the dry food range, Gravy Train also produces canned food and several dog treats.

If you’ve found Gravy Train at your local supermarket and want to try it, here’s our review of the brand to help you decide.

divider-pawAt a Glance: The Best Gravy Train Dog Food Recipes

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food
  • Serve as kibble or with gravy
  • Nutritionally balanced for adult dogs
  • Beefy flavor
  • Second place
    Gravy Train Beef Dog Food Gravy Train Beef Dog Food
  • 35-pound bag suits large breeds
  • Includes its own gravy mix
  • Can be served dry or wet
  • Third place
    Gravy Train Beefy Classic Small Bites Dry Dog Food Gravy Train Beefy Classic Small Bites Dry Dog Food
  • Formulated for small dog breeds
  • Small kibble size
  • Nutritionally balanced for adult dogs
  • Gravy Train Dog Food Reviewed

    Introduced in 1959 and trademarked in 1960, Gravy Train has a unique approach to dog food. Gravy Train’s products are designed with a built-in gravy mix instead of the ordinary, boring kibble that other brands rely on. With a splash of warm water, the kibble produces gravy. This helps entice picky dogs to eat and gives them plenty of moisture in their diet, even if they only eat dry food.

    Who Makes Gravy Train and Where Is It Produced?

    As an American dog food brand, Gravy Train was owned by General Foods until 2015, when the J.M. Smucker Company bought out Big Heart Pet Brands. Since then, the J.M. Smucker Company has manufactured Gravy Train.

    The J.M. Smucker Company was founded in 1897 and is headquartered in Ohio. It operates several manufacturing facilities and offices across the U.S.A.

    Which Type of Dog Is Gravy Train Best Suited For?

    Overall, Gravy Train suits a variety of dogs. It’s formulated with adult dogs in mind and meets their nutritional needs. Pet owners who need more affordable dog food will also benefit from Gravy Train’s recipes due to the low cost of the formulas.

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

    Gravy Train is ideal when you’re on a budget. However, it doesn’t have much variety in its formulas regarding the breed or age of your dog. Puppies, seniors, or breeds with specific health concerns benefit from another brand. Dogs with allergies to beef will also do better with a brand with a different protein source, like the American Journey Active Life Formula Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    While Gravy Train has benefits, many dog owners dislike the ingredients used in its formulas. That doesn’t mean the recipes don’t have good aspects, however. Here’s a rundown of some ingredients used in Gravy Train’s formulas.

    Beef

    Many of Gravy Train’s products focus on rich, beefy flavors. Beef is the first ingredient for many of the brand’s dog treats. This can be an issue if your dog is sensitive to beef protein. However, for picky dogs, the unique make-your-own-gravy formula provides an appealing flavor.

    Artificial Colors

    Unlike humans, dogs don’t usually care what color their food is. Many dog owners dislike the use of artificial coloring in dog food since it’s added to make it more appealing to consumers. Gravy Train uses artificial colors in all of its recipes to make the formulas look more appetizing.

    close up of a dog eating from the bowl
    Image by: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

    BHA

    Also known as butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA is commonly used as a preservative in many human and dog foods. It’s also known to cause cancer in rodents, which is why some dog owners dislike dog food that contains this ingredient. It’s generally recognized as safe by the FDA, and the BHA content in Gravy Train’s dog food is well below the acceptable limits.

    Meat Meals

    The final questionable ingredient is the “meat meals” in many of Gravy Train’s ingredient lists. Most meat meal sources aren’t disclosed, which can be problematic for dogs with allergies.

    divider-paw

    A Quick Look at Gravy Train Dog Food

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Adding warm water makes gravy
    • Dogs love the beefy flavor
    Cons
    • Has been recalled in the past
    • No puppy or senior formulas

    Recall History

    Gravy Train canned dog food was recalled in February 2018 along with Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy, and Ol’ Roy. The J.M. Smucker Company recalled the products voluntarily due to the presence of pentobarbital, a drug used for euthanasia, in the formulas.

    Less recently, in March 2007, Gravy Train Beef Sticks Dog Snacks were recalled due to the presence of melamine.

    Reviews of the 3 Best Gravy Train Dog Food Recipes

    Although Gravy Train produces canned dog food and various treats, it’s best known for kibble and the unique way it includes gravy in its dry food recipes. Here are our reviews of three of Gravy Train’s most popular recipes.

    1. Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food

    Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food

    Nutritionally balanced for adult dogs, the Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food can be served as plain kibble or as a soft dish with gravy. The moist gravy created after you add warm water and the rich, beefy flavor appeal to dogs makes it a favorite among picky eaters.

    It contains artificial colors, and the meat meal listed as the third ingredient isn’t identified, which might make some owners, especially those who have dogs with allergies, wary about this formula. Despite its affordability and the multi-pack options, it’s only available in small bags, which might not be enough for large breeds.

    Pros
    • Serve as kibble or with gravy
    • Nutritionally balanced for adult dogs
    • Beefy flavor
    Cons
    • Contains artificial colors
    • Unidentified meat meal
    • Only available in small bags

    2. Gravy Train Beef Dog Food

    Gravy Train 35LB Beef Dog Food

    Big dogs have big appetites, and your large pup might enjoy the Gravy Train Beef Dog Food. While the small 3.5-pound bags are more affordable for dog owners on a budget, this 35-pound bag enables you to cater to large breeds. It also lasts longer in households with several dogs. Like the small bags, it contains the gravy mix, so you can add warm water to make a savory treat for your dog.

    This recipe is more expensive than other Gravy Train formulas and contains BHA as a preservative. Although it meets the acceptable levels set by the FDA, many dog owners prefer to avoid the ingredient.

    Pros
    • 35-pound bag suits large breeds
    • Includes its own gravy mix
    • Can be served dry or wet
    Cons
    • Contains BHA
    • Expensive

    3. Gravy Train Beefy Classic Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    Gravy Train Beefy Classic Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    If you have a small dog or one that struggles with the large kibble in Gravy Train’s other formulas, the Beefy Classic Small Bites Dry Dog Food is the same recipe but is designed for small mouths. Adding warm water also creates a rich gravy for dogs that struggle with dry food.

    It has a few artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, but it meets the AAFCO standards for canine nutrition. This formula is best for beef-loving dogs because it’s only available in one flavor.

    Pros
    • Formulated for small dog breeds
    • Small kibble size
    • Nutritionally balanced for adult dogs
    • Contains the gravy mix
    Cons
    • Contains artificial additives
    • Only available in one flavor

    What Other Users Are Saying

    • Influenster — “My dogs love to eat this brand of dog food.”
    • Amazon — Dog owners all want the best for their dogs, and their reviews can tell you much about how a brand measures up. To see what Gravy Train customers are saying on Amazon, check out the reviews here.

    divider-pawConclusion

    Gravy Train isn’t one of the healthiest dog foods available, but it has a unique approach to feeding dogs and features instant gravy in all its dry dog food formulas. You can add warm water to create a moist, savory meal for dogs, or serve it dry as a crunchy kibble dish.

    Your dog can benefit from the gravy’s moisture and the lengthy shelf-life of dry kibble. As one of the more affordable and readily accessible dog foods, you don’t have to worry about going out of your way to find where it’s stocked, unlike some other brands. It has a few questionable ingredients, including BHA, and has been recalled twice. Overall, it meets the AAFCO standards for adult dog nutrition, and the BHA content is well below the acceptable levels set by the FDA.

    Gravy Train offers the best of both worlds for dog owners on a budget who prefer dry food over cans.

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