Alpo dry dog food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Alpo Dog Food product line includes 2 kibbles, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
- Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics
- Alpo Prime Cuts Savory Beef Flavor
Alpo Come and Get It Mixed Grill dog food was chosen to represent both products in the line for this review.
Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, corn germ meal, meat and bone meal (source of pork flavor), soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), egg and chicken flavor, corn gluten meal, animal digest, salt, dried peas, potassium chloride, natural steak flavor, natural grill flavor, choline chloride, added color (red 40, yellow 5, blue 2), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||9%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||21%||56%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient lists corn germ meal, a meal made from ground corn germ after much of the oil has been removed. Corn germ meal is a protein-rich by-product left over after milling corn meal, hominy grits and other corn products.
The third ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1
Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.
Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal.
Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The fourth item is soybean meal. Soybean meal is actually a useful by-product. It’s what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Soybean meal contains 48% protein. However, compared to meat, this item is considered an inferior plant-based protein providing a lower biological value.
The fifth ingredient is beef tallow, a fatty by-product of rendering beef meal. It is high in saturated fats (which really isn’t the health issue for dogs like it can be for humans).
Historically, tallow was used to make soap and candles. But today due to its low cost, this fat is almost exclusively associated with lower quality pet foods.
After the egg and chicken flavor, we find corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein content reported in this dog food.
The eighth ingredient is animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed concoction of unspecified body parts from unspecified animals. This product is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food.
Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly microorganisms applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Thirdly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
And lastly, this Alpo dog food product also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Alpo Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Alpo dry dog food appears to be a below-average kibble.
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 pair, the two products feature an average protein content of 24% and an average fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate portion size of 58% for the overall product line.
Below-average protein and fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Yet when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn germ, corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.
What more, it’s hard to ignore the notable abundance of Red Flag ingredients.
Alpo Dog Food is a corn-based kibble using only a limited amount of meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
Those looking for a wet product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Alpo Chop House canned dog food.
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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Notes and Updates
12/26/2009 Original review
07/31/2010 Review updated
12/03/2011 Review updated
12/03/2011 Last Update