Blackwood Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Blackwood Dog Food product line includes three kibbles, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages, one for growth (Puppy) and one for adult maintenance (Lean Adult).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Blackwood Adult Dog Everyday Diet
- Blackwood Puppy Food Growth Diet
- Blackwood Adult Dog Lean Diet (3 stars)
Blackwood Adult Everyday Diet was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Blackwood Adult Dog Everyday Diet
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, millet, oat groats, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground grain sorghum, dried plain beet pulp, menhaden fish meal, rice bran, carrot, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, egg product, brewers dried yeast, natural flavor, whole ground flaxseed, chicken cartilage, salt, fish oil, dl-methionine, lecithin, potassium chloride, l-lysine, calcium carbonate, rosemary powder, ground thyme, ground cumin, mustard seed powder, crushed red chili pepper, cranberry, apple, pumpkin meal, kelp meal, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine HCL, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, vitamin E supplement, mineral oil, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, selenium, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||33%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is brown rice, 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 third ingredient lists millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.
The fourth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The fifth ingredient lists chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
The ninth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, the company appears to have applied friendly microorganisms to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
Next, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.
However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.2
In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide… an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
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.
Blackwood Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.
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.
Due to its apparently lower meat content, the Lean Diet product has been assigned to our next lower category.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.
Near-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 moderate amount of meat.
Blackwood Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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
09/07/2011 Original review
03/11/2013 Review updated
03/11/2013 Last Update