Beneful Prepared Meals dog food earns the Advisor’s second lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Beneful product line lists eight prepared meals, each designed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth of puppies and adult maintenance.
- Beneful Prepared Meals Beef Stew
- Beneful Prepared Meals Chicken Stew
- Beneful Prepared Meals Simmered Beef Entree
- Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Turkey Medley
- Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Chicken Recipe
- Beneful Prepared Meals Beef and Chicken Medley
- Beneful Prepared Meals Simmered Chicken Medley
- Beneful Prepared Meals Savory Rice and Lamb Stew
Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Turkey Medley was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Turkey Medley
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, turkey, wheat gluten, liver, corn, meat by-products, corn starch, wild rice, peas, barley, artificial and natural flavors, calcium phosphate, salt, soy flour, potassium chloride, added color, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||46%||9%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||43%||21%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Like most meats, turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient includes wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth item 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.
The fifth item lists 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 sixth item lists meat by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, meat by-products are the unsavory leftovers of processing considered by many “unfit for human consumption”.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this stuff can include heads, ovaries or developing fetuses.2
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The seventh ingredient mentions corn starch, a starchy powder extracted from the endosperm found at the heart of a kernel of corn. Corn starch is most likely used here to thicken the broth into a gravy.
Corn starch isn’t a true red flag item. Yet we’ve highlighted here for those wishing to avoid corn-based ingredients.
The eighth is wild rice. Wild rice is a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The ninth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (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 tenth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
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 three notable exception…
First, soy flour, a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.
Soy flour would be expected to have a notably lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
And lastly, 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.
Beneful Prepared Meals Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Beneful Prepared Meals looks like a below-average wet dog food.
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 48% and a mean fat level of 9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 35% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 19%.
Above-average protein. Low fat. And above-average carbs as compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, soy flour and peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Beneful Prepared Meals is a meat-based tubbed dog food using a moderate amount of inexpensive meat by-products as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
Those looking for a comparable kibble from this same company may want to check-out our review of Beneful Dry 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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Other spellings: Beniful
Notes and Updates
11/07/2009 Original review
05/18/2010 Review updated
01/30/2011 Review updated (no changes)
11/03/2012 Last Update