Introduction

American Journey is Chewy’s own-brand dog food. A relatively new addition to the market, the brand offers a selection of flavors of both dry and canned food, as well as treats. We’re looking at their Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables dry food, to see how it measures up nutritionally!

Ingredients

American Journey’s chicken is produced in the U.S., though it is unclear if it is cage-free. They do not use poultry by-products, which could appeal to some human consumers, though it makes little difference nutritionally.

This food is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Protein

Most of the protein in American Journey Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables comes from chicken, in the form of both deboned meat and meal. Both forms are good sources of high-quality protein, and meat meals sometimes also contain some bone, which adds natural calcium and phosphorous. 

There is also some dried egg, which is another high-quality protein source. 

Fat

There are three main sources of fat in this food: chicken fat, flaxseed, and fish oil. In addition to providing energy, all of these contain both essential fatty acids (Omega-3s and -6s) and fat-soluble vitamins, but the fish oils are particularly useful, as there is some evidence that dogs’ bodies find it easier to use fish oils than plant-based oils. 

Carbohydrates

This diet contains the advertised brown rice, as well as rice bran, barley, oatmeal, and sweet potato. All of these are good sources of energy, and many are high in complex carbohydrates, meaning they release their energy more slowly. They also provide some fiber, which is important for gut health in dogs. 

Fruits and Vegetables

This diet contains a variety of other plant products, including peas, alfalfa meal, dried plain beet pulp, dried tomato pomace, carrots, blueberries, and cranberries. These will add further fiber, as well as various vitamins and minerals. 

Fiber sources such as tomato pomace are sometimes dismissed as “filler,” but there are proven benefits to having some fiber in dogs’ diets. They provide food for the “good bacteria” in the dogs’ guts, which help to reduce the levels of harmful bacteria and release compounds that nourish the cells that line the intestines. They also help to improve the consistency of dogs’ stools. 

Other Ingredients

The rest of the ingredients are mostly vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are added to make sure that the diet is balanced. However, there are a few you might not recognize:

  • Yucca Schidigera Extract is a plant compound added to improve dogs’ stool odor
  • Rosemary Extract is a natural preservative
  • Dried Chicory Root is a prebioitic, added to feed the good bacteria in your dog’s gut
  • Mixed Tocopherols are compounds related to Vitamin E which act as preservatives 

Health Benefits of American Journey Active Life Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables

The first thing that we should look for in a dog food is that it will give our dogs all the nutrients that they need to live happily and healthily. The good news is that this American Journey diet does exactly that—the diet is formulated to meet AAFCO nutritional guidelines to be suitable for All Life Stages, including puppies who will be over 70 lbs when grown. Unfortunately, this does mean that it is not tailored to specific ages, so puppies and senior dogs may miss out on additional support. However, American Journey does also offer Puppy and Senior diets in the same range. 

American Journey diets are manufactured in California, but it is unclear if the plant is owned by Chewy, or if they have on-staff nutritional experts to oversee the process. 

This diet does contain both peas and sweet potatoes. There have been some recent concerns about diets rich in legumes (such as peas) or potatoes (including sweet potatoes) being linked to low taurine levels, which have led to a type of heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). However, American Journey diets are supplemented with additional taurine, which may help to prevent this. 

Most of the protein in American Journey Active Life Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables comes from chicken, but there is also a small amount of egg protein, too. This means that dogs with food allergies will need to be careful, as they could react to either of these ingredients. 

The diet is also free from corn, wheat, and soy. Although these can also cause allergic reactions in dogs, it’s more common for dogs to be allergic to animal proteins, including chicken. If you have a dog who is known to have food sensitivities, you should speak to your veterinarian before changing their diet. 

Pros and Cons of American Journey Active Life Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables

Pros

  • A complete and balanced diet made following AAFCO nutritional guidelines 
  • Free from common grain allergens
  • Contains complex carbohydrates for slow-release energy

Cons

  • Not life-stage specific—puppies and seniors may benefit from more tailored diets
  • Contains two different animal proteins (chicken and egg) which may cause issues for dogs with food allergies 
  • Unclear how much involvement the company has in the manufacturing process, or if they employ nutritional experts 

Conclusion

American Journey Active Life Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables is a complete and balanced dog food that will provide all the essential nutrients that dogs need at any stage of life. However, it is not tailored to a particular life stage, so puppies or seniors may benefit from a diet more specifically for them.

Information as of 3/31/22