Blackwood Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%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.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears1 to be ethoxyquin-free.

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 mineralsminerals 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

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

09/07/2011 Original review
03/11/2013 Review updated
03/11/2013 Last Update

  1. Blackwood Customer Service via email, 9/7/2011
  2. EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012
  3. Wikipedia definition
  • Liang777

    My husky Jack love Blackwood very much.

  • InkedMarie

    These are the companies that wouldn’t get my business. I’m lucky. I feed Darwins, Brothers, The Honest Kitchen and Dr. Tim’s. Every one of them has been exceptional in their customer service to me.

  • Bob K

    Hound Dog Mom – You are so correct, just go their websites and look for a phone number, address and online question submission form.  Many dog food companies operate in near secrecy.  Asking a simple question let alone file a complaint is difficult to say the least and in some cases almost impossible sad to say.  Many dog food companies do not even make their own products and we have dog food companies who claim to be dog food mfgs. yet they own no mfg. facilities.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    When I was making my calcium list, I called and emailed dozens of companies and I was just shocked at how many had poor customer service. There were a handful that never answered their phone during business hours and never returned my emails, several more that took well over a week to respond to emails and some that their customer service reps I spoke to seemed to have no clue about the food.

  • InkedMarie

    Quite a number of years ago, I fed Blackwood (before it got sold to whomever bought it) and they had great customer service. Been a long time but I’m thinking the gal I used to talk to was named Kelly. This was when you had to order from them. Too bad it’s gone to heck.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Blackwood does have horrible customer service. I wanted the calcium content of their foods awhile back and I called three times on different days during their business hours and never got an answer. I finally emailed them and it took them three weeks to respond.

  • disappointed

    Rude management and poor customer service. Orders are faithfully late.

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  • Hunter3300

    I have a MH (Master Hunter) level gun dog (black Lab) that has run hunt tests and field trials and always finished to the std in hunt tests with ribbons or placed 4 for 4 in the field trial(s) that he ran in…smart dog that can handle a high level of pressure…..he has been fed Blackwood 2000 since he was a pup and currently is still eating blackwood products.  It is a good product I just wish they had a local retailer here in Sacramento so I wouldn’t have to pay for the shipping cost!

    Good customer service…order was late and I was out of food during the holidays…had ordered #2 40lb bags…they expressed shipped me a smaller bag no charge.

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  • Laurie

    Extremely rude customer service, as was my experience with this company.

  • KoiraHoitaa

    Okay, okay, good. :)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi KoiraHoita… The word “artificial” was an error in my description of fructooligosaccharide. I’ve now edited this phrase to “alternative” sweetener. Rest assured, it’s completely natural. Hope this reassures you.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Gordon… Fructooligosaccharide is indeed a prebiotic. A desirable item, for sure. And that’s how it’s always been portrayed in my reviews. However, I’ve been incorrectly describing it as an “artificial” sweetener. But since it’s completely natural, I’ve changed the phrase to “alternative sweetener”. Plus I’ve now included a footnote to Wikipedia for clarification. Thanks for calling this to my attention.

  • Gordon

    Isn’t fructooligosaccharide a prebiotic? I would have thought that it is OK, especially since it’s naturally extracted from plants and fruits.

  • KoiraHoitaa

    I’m pleased to know that Blackwood is making foods not full of plain “poultry meal”. My only concern is the frucsdhgtsaosaccaride. Spell check please?!? Lol. I’m concerned that, like other artificial sweetners, that it may pose a risk as a carcinogen. Is it “safe”?