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Gravy Train Dog Food Review 2023: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

gravy train Dog Food Review(3)

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Gravy Train Dog Food a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

Gravy Train is an American-based pet food company founded in 1959. According to the brand, its products contain top-quality ingredients and are made using the best food formula.

But is this information factual, or is it a slippery marketing gimmick?

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalling canned dog food1 from the brand citing pentobarbital contamination, you probably have plenty of unanswered questions.

Here is everything you need to know about Gravy Train dog food, including its recalls, pros, and cons.

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At a Glance: The Best Gravy Train Food Recipes

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Food Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Food
  • Rich, beefy flavor
  • Fortified with vitamins
  • Ingredients provide complete and balanced nutrition
  • Second place
    Gravy Train Small Bites Beefy Classic Dry Food Gravy Train Small Bites Beefy Classic Dry Food
  • Appealing flavor
  • Good combination of quality and price
  • It contains necessary proteins and minerals
  • Third place
    Gravy Train Steak Bones Beef Flavor Snacks Gravy Train Steak Bones Beef Flavor Snacks
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Contains chicken by-products
  • Ideal for all dogs, big and small
  • Gravy Train Meaty Classic Beef Liver & Bacon Flavor Gravy Train Meaty Classic Beef Liver & Bacon Flavor
  • Suitable for adult dogs
  • Mix of rich meaty flavors
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Gravy Train Beef Flavor Beef Sticks Gravy Train Beef Flavor Beef Sticks
  • Rich beef flavor
  • Perfect as snacks
  • Good price/quality ratio
  • Gravy Train Dog Food Reviewed

    Gravy Train provides well-rounded dog meals, and you can choose from a long line of products that offer different tastes and primary ingredients. The brand is well known for its high-protein foods that provide a balanced assortment of nutrition dogs need.

    Dogs are great fans of rich, savory gravy, and this is something Gravy Train understands too well. Products have an enticing meaty aroma of hearty gravy, and it should be no surprise that your pup can’t get enough!

    Where Is Gravy Train Produced?

    Gravy Train is an American- based dog food brand owned and operated by J.M. Smucker Company. Its products are made in the U.S. The brand’s office is based in Teddington, a town between Bushy Park and Richmond.

    Which Type of Pet Is Gravy Train Best Suited For?

    Gravy Train dog foods provide a complete and well-balanced meal for adult dogs. While you can serve the food dry, most canines love wet. Stir it up with warm water to create a rich, great-tasting stew for your pet.

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

    Gravy Train dog foods may not be ideal for you if your furry friend has food allergies or suffers from digestive disturbances or itchy skin when it consumes soy or wheat gluten. There are better brands to consider, like Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Food.

    Black Dachshund dog guarding and eating food
    Image Credit: dogboxstudio, Shutterstock

    Gravy Train Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Gravy Train dog foods contain a little bit of all the necessary fats, proteins, and vitamins to ensure your furry buddy enjoys all-rounded nutritional benefits. Foods mainly contain soybeans, wheat, corn, vitamin, bone meal, and mineral supplementation.

    What We Liked


    Gravy Train dog foods contain beef or meat by-products that provide vital nutrition to your dog’s diet. Your canine will go crazy over the scent of the meal and will also enjoy proper nourishment to make its joints and muscles strong and healthy.


    Carbohydrates are critical components in any high-quality dog food. Gravy Train foods contain soy, corn, and wheat to ensure your pup has a well-balanced diet.


    Your dog only needs minerals in limited amounts. Gravy Train foods contain mineral supplementation necessary to prevent health concerns such as impaired immunity, joint disorders, and anemia. Most products from the brand contain zinc and ferrous sulfate as their primary sources of minerals.

    What We Didn’t Like

    Artificial Ingredients

    Like most dry dog foods, Gravy Train products consist of artificial flavors, colors, and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) fat preservatives.

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    A Quick Look at Gravy Train Dog Food

    Gravy Train dog foods make a hearty and easy-to-prepare meal. You merely need to add warm water to the dry food to create a tasty meal that your pup cannot resist. Apart from beef, bone, and animal by-products, the meals also contain high plant proteins like soy and cornstarch.

    The company prides itself in upholding the highest levels of integrity during all production processes to deliver quality food.

    • High plant protein ingredients, including corn and soybean
    • Products have gluten-filled wheat flour (a reliable source of energy)
    • Most products have a little bit of everything in their ingredient list
    • Meat meals contain beef from unnamed sources
    • Some products have artificial beef flavor
    • Products may contain small amounts of pentobarbital

    List and History of Gravy Train Dog Food Recalls

    Gravy Train recalls are old news. On March 31, 2007, the FDA recalled the brand’s products citing melamine contamination. They targeted the Gravy Train Beef Sticks Dog Snacks specifically, although J.M. Smucker Company “volunteered” to recall various other product lines for further investigation.

    On February 16, 2018, Grain Train dog food was on the line again, but this time for its products testing positive for pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is a euthanasia drug that can be lethal when consumed by pets in high amounts.

    Some of the Gravy Train canned dog foods recalled in 2018 are:
    • 2 oz. Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, UPC# 7910034417
    • 2 oz. with Beef Strips, UPC# 7910052542
    • 22 oz. with Chicken Chunks, UPC# 7910051645
    • 2 oz. with Lamb and Rice Chunks, UPC# 7910052543
    • 2 oz. Chicken, Beef & Liver Medley, UPC# 7910051934
    • 2 oz. with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, UPC# 7910052541
    • 2 oz. with Chicken Chunks, UPC# 7910034418
    • 22 oz. with Beef Chunks, UPC# 7910051647
    • 2 oz. with Beef Chunks, UPC# 7910034417
    • 2 oz. Chunks in Gravy Stew, UPC# 7910051933

    Gravy Train Dog Foods are sweet, palatable formulas for canines. According to the company, the pentobarbital contamination was from contaminated livestock, and the concern is under control. Moreover, the FDA only spotted small amounts of the drug that cannot cause significant health issues to canines.

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    The 3 Best Gravy Train Dog Food Recipes

    If your pup loves tasty meals, it’s hard to go wrong with Gravy Train dog foods. These dry foods and treats taste great when crunchy and even better when you add some warm water.

    Here are the three best Gravy Train dog food recipes:

    1. Gravy Train Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food

    Gravy Train Beefy Classic

    Top on the list is a product your furry friend is bound to love. The Gravy Train Beefy Classic contains meat and bone meal to ensure a well-rounded meal. The product also contains soy and wheat.

    • Rich, beefy flavor
    • Ingredients provide complete and balanced nutrition
    • Fortified with vitamins
    • Pretty pricey compared to other foods from the brand
    • No probiotics

    2. Gravy Train Small Bites Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food

    Gravy Train Small Bites Beefy Classic Dry Dog Food

    If you want to stir up a healthy and nourishing meal for your animal, it’s hard to go wrong with the Gravy Train Small Bites Beefy Classic Dry dog food. It is a carefully formulated product designed to meet the nutritional needs of canines in all life stages. It’s also worth noting that the package is pretty generous, and this is something many users appreciate.

    • It contains necessary proteins and minerals
    • Appealing flavor
    • Good combination of quality and price
    • Some dogs might develop allergic reactions to corn and soybean
    • Not ideal for puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs

    3. Gravy Train Steak Bones Beef Flavor Dog Snacks

    Gravy Train Steak Bones Beef Flavor

    The Gravy Train Steak Bones Beef Flavor contains chicken by-product meal, bone phosphate, and dried cheese product. While it is made with globally-sourced ingredients, the formula meets AAFCO standards and is ideal for canines, irrespective of age.

    • Ideal for all dogs, big and small
    • Contains chicken by-products
    • Excellent value for the money
    • BHA used as a preservative
    • Not best for pets with food allergies (contains wheat flour and soy flour)

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    As a responsible pet parent, you will likely have plenty of questions, especially if you are a Gravy Train brand fan. Here are the answers to some questions frequently asked by dog owners.

    1. Which Gravy Train Foods Did the FDA Recall?

    The FDA recalled Gravy Train canned dog foods after they tested positive for small amounts of pentobarbital. However, other dog food brands like Skippy, Kibbles’ N Bits, and Ol’ Roy were also voluntarily recalled as precautionary measures. Even though small amounts of pentobarbital typically don’t cause significant health issues, the FDA strongly disapproves of the use of the drug in pet food.

    2. Does Gravy Train Dog Food Contain the Remains of Euthanized Pets?

    Investigations show that Gravy Train dog foods contain pentobarbital, although not directly from euthanized pets. Investigators suspect that the contamination stemmed from a contaminated livestock source. No evidence supports the use of euthanized pets to make dog food.

    3. How Harmful Is Pentobarbital?

    The amount of pentobarbital found in Gravy Train dog foods is too minimal to cause significant illnesses. However, pentobarbital can cause adverse side effects like nausea, sedation, and the inability to stand. High amounts of pentobarbital can cause a coma or death; hence, the drug is not recommended for consumption.

    Gold and white senior chihuahua dog eating food from stainless steel raised bowl
    Image Credit: Ryan Brix, Shutterstock

    4. What Do I Do if I Have Fed a Recalled Product to My Pet?

    If your pet looks unwell after consuming Gravy Train dog food or other products that the FDA has recalled, consult your veterinarian immediately. It is also crucial not to continue feeding your pet with the food even if the symptoms subside.

    5. How Do I Ensure My Dog Eats a Safe and Healthy Diet?

    Some dog food brands that have built a reputation for providing safe and nutritionally balanced foods include Royal Canin, Halo Dog Food, and Wellness CORE dog food. Because these brands are not necessarily immune to recalls because of contamination, always check the labels of commercial pet foods before buying. Understand what you are feeding your dog, and always check the FDA recall list.

    What Other Users Are Saying

    What are other users saying about Gravy Train dog food?

    • Viewpoints: “Beef flavor Gravy Train is the basic flavor my dog enjoys.”
    • Chewy: “My two huge German shepherds love it.”
    • Amazon: “My dog loves these treats!

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    Final Thoughts

    There’s plenty of controversial news about Gravy Train dog foods. A reasonable portion of the information stems from speculation following the recent FDA recalls. However, the brand remains as committed as ever to providing top-quality dog food. J.M. Smucker Company even did more voluntary recalls to investigate pentobarbital contamination and address the concern.

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