Bil-Jac Reduced Fat (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Bil-Jac Dry Dog Food

Bil-Jac Reduced Fat earns the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1.5 stars.

The Bil-Jac product line includes one reduced fat dry dog food.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Bil-Jac website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

Bil Jac Reduced Fat

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 19% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 59%

Ingredients: Chicken by-products (organs only, source of arginine), corn meal, chicken, oatmeal, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, flaxseed, dl-methionine, l-lysine, sodium propionate and mixed tocopherols (preservatives), 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) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis17%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis19%14%59%
Calorie Weighted Basis17%30%53%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-products, what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the good cuts have been removed.

However, here the manufacturer specifies “organ meat only” which makes this item something more desirable, and better described as chicken giblets.

What’s more, raw meat contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat 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 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 third ingredient is chicken, another “raw meat ingredient”. 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 fourth 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 fifth item 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 sixth 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 contains about 45% protein and is rich in 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.

What’s more, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something 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.

The seventh 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 Reduced Fat Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Bil-Jac Reduced Fat 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 19%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 59%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 74%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Bil-Jac Reduced Fat is a plant-based kibble using a limited amount of chicken by-products as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Special Alert

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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Other spellings: Biljac, Bil-Jac

Notes and Updates

02/20/2010 Original review
07/10/2010 Review updated
09/25/2010 Review updated (new recipe)
12/17/2010 Review updated
04/11/2012 Review updated
10/12/2013 Review merged
10/12/2013 Last Update

  • Pattyvaughn

    Coconut oil is processed differently and does not tax the pancreas.

  • Shawna

    Hi Mouse Taylor,

    The kidneys as well as liver, heart and every other organ in the body are made from the amino acids in protein. Dogs with kidney disease actually need “high quality” protein and some feel that the protein need increases. Dr. Lucy L. Pinkston, D.V.M. writes “There is significant evidence, however, that the daily protein requirements actually increase slightly for dogs in chronic renal failure.” http://web.archive.org/web/20041208102742/http://www.dog.com/vet/nutrition/05.html

    When fed high quality proteins they can eat more protein as it produces less blood urea nitrogen for the kidneys to filter. I would not consider the quality of the protein in this food to be high. If one utilizes “nitrogen trapping” an even higher protein diet can be fed.

    I would imagine that the phosphorus could be a bit high from the organ meats as well. Lowering phosphorus to “VERY low” too early has its own consequences and shouldn’t be done.

    You asked if I’ve ever had a dog with kidney disease. Yes, yes I do and I talk about her OFTEN on this site. The dog pictured in my avatar, Audrey, was born (congenital) with kidney disease. Polydipsia and polyuria were noticed as early as six weeks of age but she was not officially diagnosed til her one year blood work check up.

    I once read in the Merck Vet Manual that the life expectancy of dogs with conginital kd is two years of age. Audrey will be seven years old the end of this coming June. She has been on a HIGH protein raw diet since weaning (45 to 54% on a dry matter basis). Obviously, she hasn’t required phosphorus restriction yet either. Other than nutraceuticals, Audrey is unmedicated and has never even required sub-q fluids.

    I do give Audrey coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, ghee etc but not with every meal or even daily. At this point of her disease she hasn’t needed the extra fat to lower her protein. I do use nitrogen trapping as needed though — if her breath gets a little funky or if she gets needy (which is a sign she feels a bit off).

    I feed Audrey high protein and raw but I wouldn’t feed her this food if it was free. Even if it was supplied free of charge for all eight of my dogs, I wouldn’t feed it to even the healthy ones. Just me though.

  • Mouse Taylor

    Adding Fish oil and/ or coconut oil would increase the fat. A lot of dogs have pancreas issues along with kidney disease and to high a fat will cause serious flare-ups. The protein is fine for Kidney dogs in first stages. I don’t get where you think it is not high enough? Have you ever had a dog with kidney disease? My only concern is the PHOS content as it is not listed. That needs to be VERY low..

  • Pattyvaughn

    Now I want to add toilet paper to all my dogs diets. It has to be really digestible, since it falls apart in water.

  • Shawna

    That goes completely against what should be done for dogs with kidney disease.. I’m glad it worked for you but I wouldn’t recommend this for dogs with chronic kidney disease. Fat should be INCREASED as fat is a good calorie source while keeping the phosphorus down. The protein is too low and not exception quality as should be fed to a dog with kd. BHA should not be fed to a dog with liver or kidney issues.

  • Shawna

    Elevated creatinine is a sign of kidney issues.. This is a POOR quality food for a dog with potential kidney problems.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    I love their demonstration about it disintegrating in water. Lots of things will fall apart in water, but that doesn’t make them a good food.

  • Dwt

    I bought the BilJac reduced fat for my dog who’s creatinine was elevated. when mixed with water, it disintegrates. I mix it with another dry food and make a stew for my 3 dogs. They like it! I don’t think it’s very appealing on it’s own though.

  • Barrons7

    Regarding BHA content in Bil-Jac, BHA is used in all foods that are not absolutely fresh. The manufacturers are not required to list it, and it is not listed in amounts.
    One way you can figure how much is used is by finding out the shelf life of the food.
    I believe Bil-Jac has a shelf life of about 6 months, due to how it’s processed.
    Most other foods have a shelf life of 1 year to 1 1/2 years.
    Can you imagine this sitting in a pet store window in the sun, with the flavored, fat covered kibbles? (The ones that are hard, are extruded, and covered in flavored fat.)
    Smell rancid?
    Bil-Jac won’t, because they are not a conglomerate, Kelly foods (Bill and Jack Kelly) want their food back, if it is not fresh.
    The recent recall was not forced on Kelly foods, but instituted by them, due to their concern of the product quality and freshness. This is the first recall in 65 years of operation.
    Barb Cole

  • Barrons7

    Please read my information on Bil-Jac on the two star area.
    You are supposed to feed Bil-Jac at appx. 1/3 the amount of other foods.
    My elderly Schipperke started to have kidney and liver problems, and it was suggested I put her on Hills Prescription foods.  If I recall, it was the egg and rice variety.
    I had been feeding Bil-Jac for awhile, with excellent results. After I bought the Hills Science Diet food for her, I looked at the ingredients and dropped my jaw. The ingredients were akin to cardboard.
    I wondered if the carb, protein, fat amounts that were recommended in the Hills prescription food might just be in one of the Bil-Jac foods.
    The reduced fat was almost the same values, and it is a great food. I switched her to that, and she lived for 4 more years, very healthy, and no reoccurances of any of the genetic problems, when the fat was removed from the chicken, as it is in the reduced calorie.
    Removing the fat from the chicken skin is the only difference in the regular Bil-Jac and the reduced calorie.
    Barb Cole
    Barb Cole

  • Erika

    There are about 354 calories per cup of this food so 1/2 cup would be about 177 calories.

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  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    JulieG, the reviews on this site are done solely on the ingredient panel of the food.  You were fortunate to have your companion with you for so long!  Not all foods work for all dogs.  Obviously you had some success with this food.  However, it does seem to use lesser quality ingredients (by-products) and artificial preservatives (BHA), which is the reason I would not feed this food. 

  • JulieG

    My dog lived 17.5 years eating Bil Jac reduced fat.  She died last month and had kidney disease for at least the last five years.  I put her on special food for that but then she wouldn’t eat it, back to Bil Jac we were.  This review really surprised me. People always ask me what I fed her.  

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Scarleto,

    You don’t need a low fat food to keep a dog’s weight down,  especially since your dog is only 2 years old – still a pup.  He needs the energy the fat and the protein supplies. My 4.5, 7 and 10 year olds maintain their figures eating non-low fat, non-diet foods. I do keep an eye on their calories. I would rather feed them 1 cup of good, high protein, moderate fat, low carb, nutritionally dense food than 2 cups of a low fat, food with filler that makes it harder for them to lose weight as dogs don’t metabolize carbs well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Q4zkRL9uI

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Scarleto,

    Unfortunately, calorie information is only available on the package or from the Bil Jac company.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • SCARLETO

    I HAVE A 2YR. OLD 20 LB. POODLE. I AM FEEDING HIM BIL JACK REDUCED FAT SUPER PREMIUM DOG FOOD. HE LIKES IT. BUT I WANT TO KEEP HIM AT 20 LB. MY QUESTION IS HOW MANY CALORIES IN A HALF CUP OF NTHIS FOOD. THANK YOU, CHARLOTTE

  • Rebecca

    Hi Greg, the Dog Food Advisor has an article with recommended weight loss dog foods – here’s the link: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/weight-loss-dog-foods/. Hope this helps.

  • greg

    I should clarify. I got stuck for a better word & chose color. I meant her mood & energy.

    Thanks,
    GP

  • greg

    I tried this food on my obese labradoodle for around 3 months and his color or weight didn’t improve. Can anyone help or advise me of what would be a better food for weight loss?