Bil-Jac Raw Frozen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Bil-Jac Raw Frozen product line includes just one dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, meat by-products, cereal food fines, poultry, poultry meal, animal liver, fish meal, eggs, cane molasses, dried beet pulp, wheat germ meal, brewers dried yeast, phosphoric acid, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, salt, niacin, biotin, choline chloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), dl-methionine, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, inositol, ascorbic acid, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, cobalt carbonate, potassium oxide, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||14%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||31%||41%|
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 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.1
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 third ingredient is cereal food fines. Cereal food fines are an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.
This waste ingredient can possibly contain a measurable amount of sugar left over from the manufacture of breakfast cereals. Food fines are commonly associated with the lowest quality dog foods.
The fourth ingredient lists poultry. Is this chicken, turkey, duck or what? Although poultry can be considered rich in essential amino acids, we would have preferred this item to have been more specifically identified.
The fifth ingredient is poultry meal. Poultry meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.
The sixth ingredient is animal 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 seventh ingredient includes fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
The eighth ingredient is eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The ninth ingredient is molasses which can be rich in minerals, but it’s also a less refined form of sugar with a glycemic index in humans similar to maple syrup.
Like table sugar (and in excessive amounts), molasses has the potential to raise a dog’s blood sugar.
The tenth 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 next ingredient is wheat germ meal. Wheat germ is a nutritious by-product of the wheat milling process and also rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and minerals.
However, since it contains at least 25% plant-based protein and depending upon the amount, this ingredient can boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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, 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.
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.
Bil-Jac Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Bil-Jac Raw Frozen dog food looks like a below average 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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
With meat dominating the ingredient list, we’re surprised to find the Guaranteed Analysis (published by Bil-Jac) reflecting such a low protein and fat content.
What’s more, it’s surprising to find the use of animal meals in this “raw” recipe. Meat meals are typically found in dry kibbles and are rarely used in raw-type dog foods.
Even considering the protein-boosting effects of the wheat germ meal and brewers dried yeast, this still looks like the profile of a raw product containing only a below average amount of meat.
Bil-Jac Raw Frozen dog food is a meat-based raw product using a moderate amount of beef and meat by-prodcuts as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
04/03/2011 Original review
12/07/2012 Review updated
12/07/2012 Last Update