Blackwood ExPro dry dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Blackwood ExPro Dog Food product line includes one kibble, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
However, considering ExPro’s “all life stages” profile, we find the following warning posted on the company’s website contradictory…
Is this a food supplement — or a complete and balanced dog food suitable for all life stages?
Blackwood ExPro Total Diet Supplement
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rice flour, dried plain beet pulp, wheat flour, herring meal, egg product, brown rice, chicken liver meal, porcine plasma, brewers dried yeast, chicken, natural flavor, menhaden fish oil, lecithin, whole ground flaxseed, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Yucca schidigera extract, ascorbic acid, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), choline chloride, l-carnitine, vitamin E supplement, mineral oil, 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||37%||26%||30%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||48%||23%|
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 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 third ingredient is rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is wheat flour. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The sixth ingredient is herring meal. Like chicken meal, herring meal is also considered a meat concentrate.
The seventh 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient is chicken liver meal, a dried, nutritious product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.
The tenth ingredient is porcine plasma. Plasma is what remains of blood after the blood cells themselves have been removed. Plasma can be considered a nutritious addition.
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, 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.
Next, this recipe contains this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Thirdly, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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 ExPro Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood ExPro 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.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the slight protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a generous amount of meat.
This is a very good dog food. However, because of its confusing AAFCO life stage and feeding recommendations, we’re reluctant to award Blackwood ExPro pour highest rating.
Blackwood ExPro Dog Food is a meat-based dry kibble using an above-average amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Highly recommended (supplemental or intermittent feeding only).
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
09/18/2011 Original review
03/22/2013 Review updated
03/22/2013 Last Update