Bil-Jac Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Bil-Jac product line includes 9 dry dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for maintenance, three for growth (Puppy recipes) and two for all life stages (Adult Select and Sensitive Solutions).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Bil-Jac Adult Select
- Bil-Jac Puppy Select
- Bil-Jac Senior Select
- Bil-Jac Small Breed Adult
- Bil-Jac Large Breed Adult
- Bil-Jac Small Breed Puppy
- Bil-Jac Large Breed Puppy
- Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions
- Bil-Jac Reduced Fat (1.5 stars)
Bil-Jac Adult Select was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Bil Jac Adult Select
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-products (organs only, source of arginine), corn meal, chicken by-product meal, oatmeal, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, flaxseed, dl-methionine, l-lysine, sodium propionate and mixed tocopherols (preservatives), salt, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, niacin, biotin, choline chloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), ascorbic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, inositol, BHA (a preservative), ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, cobalt carbonate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||20%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||40%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken by-products, what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the good cuts have been removed.
In most cases, chicken by-products are the unsavory leftovers of processing frequently deemed “unfit for human consumption”.
However, here the manufacturer specifies “organ meat only” which makes this item something more desirable, and better described as chicken giblets.
Once again, this item is inclusive of water and is subject to the same drying effects of cooking previously described.
The third ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried 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 fourth ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products a less expensive, lower quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The sixth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The seventh ingredient is brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The eighth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
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 exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Next, 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 food is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
Bil-Jac Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Bil-Jac looks to be a below-average dry 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, if we omit the lower-rated Reduced Fat product, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include BHA in its recipes. Without this controversial ingredient, we’d have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Bil-Jac is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken and chicken by-product meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
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: Biljac, Bil-Jac
Notes and Updates
02/21/2010 Original review
07/10/2010 Review updated
09/24/2010 Review updated
12/17/2010 Review updated (menadione and eggs removed)
11/20/2011 Review updated (added Sensitive Solutions product)
04/11/2012 Review updated
04/21/2013 Added AAFCO profile statements
04/11/2012 Last Update