Carna4 is a small, boutique brand manufactured in Canada. Carna4 is considered moderate risk, with an overall score of 7.3. The food has the appearance of kibble, but it’s not extruded and it’s described as quick-baked for 4 minutes at 195F, then air-dried. The food is made in an EU-certified family-run bakery called Bio Biscuit in Quebec, Canada.
For our Carna4 dog food reviews we’ll look at their one line of 6 foods, based on the food ingredient quality and safety. Each dog food review was based on these criteria.
Carna4 Dog Food Review
Package Ingredients For Air Dried Grain Free Duck Recipe: Duck, pork liver, eggs, ground organic sprouted barley seed, herring, ground fava beans, sweet potato, ground organic sprouted flaxseed, ground organic sprouted lentils, ground organic sprouted peas, potato starch, apples, carrots, sea salt, kelp.
With protein of 28.5% and fat averaging 15%, Carna4 ranks well among dry dog foods. Using our evaluation criteria, Carna4 is considered a moderate risk dog food. Here are our concerns:
Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:
Moderately High In Carbohydrate – but decent protein: The carbohydrate in this line average 35% as calculated. While this is high enough to lose some points, it’s worth noting that the carbs come from high quality organic sources. The grains are even sprouted, which is rare for a dog food. Still, high carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets however this is an exception with 28.5% average protein, a very good amount for a dried food.
Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with the Carna4 line:
Moderately Processed: The Carna4 line is air dried using moderate heat. Heating foods will cause losses in some active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients.
Small Amount of High Pesticide & GMO Foods (in The Top 5 Ingredients): The recipes in Carna4 lose points for including conventional apple and potato. While they’re only used in small amounts, potatoes are usually GMO ingredients and apples are notorious for heavy pesticide residues. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off.
Here are some other concerns to be aware of when evaluating the safety and quality of dog food:
Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio: It’s worth noting that Carna4 does not state the omega6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation and disease.
Here are some benefits of these foods:
High Protein: Lower protein is expected in processed food yet the protein content for Carna4 averages 28.5%, which is good to see.
Lower Carbohydrates Than Many Air Dried Foods: This food averages 35% carbohydrate as calculated, which is a bit high, but still lower than many other air dried foods. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can increase insulin levels, increase the risk of obesity and cause unwanted changes to the gut microbiome.
Organic Grains: While a bit high in carbohydrate, the grains used in Carna4 are both organic and sprouted, which is rare to see in dried dog foods.
Read more Carna4 Dog Food Reviews
Is Carna4 A Good Dog Food?
When evaluating ingredient quality and safety, scoring shows Carna4’s line of 6 air dried dog foods to be moderate risk foods. This mostly due to the high carbohydrate content, processing, and use of a couple of GMO/high pesticide ingredients.
That said, Carna4 offers several benefits for a dried dog food. The grains are organic and sprouted, meaning the nutritional content in the food comes from real foods, rather than added vitamins and minerals (fortification). Protein content is also very good for an air dried dog food.
Recipes lost points for high carbohydrates, and small amounts of potato and apple, which are potential GMO or high-pesticide residue ingredients.
Carna4 is quick baked then air dried (but not extruded like kibble would be) so it loses an ingredient safety point for being a moderately processed cooked food. However, post-production testing of every batch is done by an independent lab, Mortec Scientific Inc, and shows that high levels of probiotics, enzymes and other nutrients survive the manufacturing process.
There are additional concerns with the dog food and marketing. These don’t affect the Carna4 dog food reviews score, but they’re worth mentioning:
Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio: This omission is true of most foods. However it is a concern because omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, and AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.
To date there have been no recalls of Carna4 dog foods.
We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:
Are the Ingredients High Quality?
Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:
- Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
- Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
- Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
- Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
- Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
- Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?
How Safe Are the Ingredients?
Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:
- How processed is the food?
- Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
- Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
- Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
- Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?
Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. We’ve partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.