Bil-Jac Wet Dog Food (Tubs)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Bil-Jac Trays Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Bil-Jac Trays product line includes four wet dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Bil-Jac Thanksgiving Feast Grain Free
  • Bil-Jac Hearty Stew with Beef and Barley
  • Bil-Jac Country Stew with Lamb and Beef
  • Bil-Jac Country Stew with Chicken and Vegetables

Bil-Jac Thanksgiving Feast Grain Free was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Bil-Jac Thanksgiving Feast Grain Free

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Turkey broth, turkey, chicken, egg product, sweet potatoes, carrots, pea protein, tapioca starch, tricalcium phosphate, dextrose, potato starch, glycine, potassium chloride, salt, guar gum, sage, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, taurine, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 11.1%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%17%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%35%27%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.

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

The third ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2

Both turkey and chicken are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The fourth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The fifth ingredient includes sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a 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.

The eighth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The ninth ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorous. In addition, this additive is used in canned foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.

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, dextrose is the crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar.

Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) should be considered an unwelcome addition to this recipe.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Bil-Jac Trays Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Bil-Jac Trays dog food looks like an above average wet 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Bil-Jac Trays dog food is a meat-based wet product using a moderate amount of poultry or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

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.

Notes and Updates

02/26/2013 Original review
02/26/2013 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • theBCnut

    If you figure on a calorie basis, canned is more expensive than dry. My dog that eats 2 cups of dry might need 3 cans to get the same number of calories.

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    Thanks Mike, I uphold you to finest trophy of websites, possibly! You have helped my three beloveds by your work!

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    That’s right. This is the BEST website I have found on canine nutrition and I love that it is broken down by the different categories and so do my dogs! They are eating healthier and what I thought was good food, was NOT. His dental exams are better, his coat is shinier, and the food isn’t a huge blob of fat and rocks and intestines—- that is what was in the Little Cesars and Pedigree we had used in the past. If you want to questions something, put your hands in their food. That’s how I found things when my dog choked on something. What I found disgusted me and that’s when I researched to find a site like this! I love this site! I have passed it forward to all my friends who are furr-friendly!

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    We do a half and half. Dry in the a.m. and wet at dinner time. It is not more expensive over all, you think that. Overall if you measure out the food, you find, wet can be just affordable as dry.

  • theBCnut

    This review is for the tubs, which means this is like canned food.

  • Shelley Echtle

    Dextrose is down by the 10th ingredient, overall this is good compared to others!

  • Shelley Echtle

    Is this the frozen bag in the frozen foods section of the super market? I found this by the frozen foods and wanted to buy, but wanted to make sure I got the right foods!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I never said dogs shouldn’t be fed wet food. I just said wet food costs more than dry. In fact, I believe wet food is a much better choice than dry food (still not the best thing to feed a dog, but much better than kibble). I don’t think dogs should be fed dry food at all.

  • diannna

    Yes it is but every now and then you should reward your pet with it, Us humans do so why not them? They get tired of eating dry food. Of course I just don’t buy him wet food. I feed him dry food and alternate a day where i’ll put a lil wetfood into this dry food, that way he doesn’t get tired of eating the same dry food and it makes it more enjoyable.

  • diana

    I like to spoon a tablespoon of bil jac wet food into this bil jac grain free dry food. His stools are great, they look normal finally, at first they were watery to the point I wasn’t able to pick up his poo when I would walk him. I was feeding him that nasty beneful wet food, big mistake. I also tried feeding him blue divine delight since it was on sale at petsmart for a dollar but he didn’t really like them, I mean he ate it but he acted very different compared to bil jac wet food he just eats it up.

  • diana

    You’re right Bryan, Mike does a very damn good job on educating us about pet foods. I was a new pet owner a few months ago and have felt so comfortable and confident in making my dog food choices. Thanks Mike =)

  • hanoverboxer

    My dog loves the Bil-Jac wet dog food and since its about 20 cents/can cheaper than the other premium wet dog food brands I think its an excellent choice.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Wet food is much more expensive than dry food.

  • http://twitter.com/TheyCallMeDelly Delgada Jayne

    Would this be a cheaper alternative than the regular dry food version? My neighbor feeds her bully the Bil-Jac dry Adult and she gets nervous when she sees my criticizing her dog food. Maybe they would change it if she got some convincing. :)

  • JellyCat

    Thanks for your response. I do agree that these items are far in ingredient list and my comments about this particular food are exaggerated.
    I was commenting about rating system in general. However, my ideas are not necessarily superior.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi JellyCat and Ohnoesaz,

    Without any further information, I can understand why you might feel I’ve gone easy on Bil-Jac.

    However, dextrose is commonly added to foods like this in very tiny quantities to enable something known as the Malliard reaction. This permits browning and the addition of very subtle flavor improvements.

    Pea protein is a good source of protein but can exaggerate the appearance of more meat content.

    In my opinion, and considering their relative positions on the ingredients list, these items are not important enough to diminish the product’s rating.

    Based upon the total picture here, this product still merits a 4-star rating.

    Hope this helps.

  • JellyCat

    I do agree that Mike does an amazing job.

    However, there is always room for improvement :-)

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

    Perhaps you and ohnoesaz should start your own website.

    Mike does an incredible job with DFA. He breaks down each food, so if there’s an ingredient you don’t like you can avoid it.

  • JellyCat

    I agree with you. I would definitely not award 4 stars to food containing dextrose.
    I think that a rating system that considers both meat content and ingredients is a little more flexible. Such a rating sustem should be standardized into a point system. For instance to get 5* you would have to achieve a minimum of 85 out of 100 points and so on. Every “negative” ingredient should be rated in points, such as corn syrup “-15″ points off if it is #9 on ingredient list out of 20 ingredients excluding vitamins and micro nutrients. In this way each ingredient could be discussed and described as there will be a standardized database. It is definitely a lot of work to create such a system, but this system has a potential to be a lot more inclusive, flexible and objective.

  • ohnoesaz

    When Bil-Jac gets 4 of 5 stars, you know the rating system needs an overhaul.