Against the Grain Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Against the Grain product line lists two canned dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy
- Against the Grain Pulled Chicken with Gravy
Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, tomato paste, potato starch, liver, sea salt, calcium sulfate, olive oil, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamins and minerals (calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacinamide, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese proteinate, folic acid, riboflavin, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||56%||11%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||52%||25%||24%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The fourth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is tomato paste. Unlike the controversial item, tomato pomace, the tomato paste detailed here does not include the skin or seeds of the fruit.
The eighth ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The ninth ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With two notable exceptions…
First, we find olive oil. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.
And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Against the Grain Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Against the Grain Dog Food looks like an above-average wet product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 56% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 20%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a significant amount of meat.
Against the Grain is a meat-based grain-free wet dog food using a generous amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
07/24/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩