Bruiser Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Bruiser product line includes five dry dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Bruiser Healthy Weight
- Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix
- Bruiser Complete Nutrition
- Bruiser Healthy Variety Mix
- Bruiser Small Crunchy Bites
Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, whole wheat, high fructose corn syrup, beef meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA), water, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, propylene glycol, salt, dicalcium phosphate, brewers rice, calcium carbonate, dried beet pulp, potassium sorbate (a preservative), carboxymethyl cellulose, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, cheese powder, ferrous sulfate, artificial color ( red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6), l-ascorbyl 2 polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), garlic powder, niacin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, cobalt sulfate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||12%||54%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||27%||50%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fourth ingredient is high fructose corn syrup (or HFCS). HFCS is a corn-based sugar mixture commonly used to make soft drinks, cookies and candy. Sugar is an empty nutrient — just as unhealthy for dogs as it is for humans.
The fifth ingredient includes beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.
The sixth item is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized livestock.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
The seventh ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food.
The eighth item is chicken by-product meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, this recipe contains the controversial food moisturizer, propylene glycol. Propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in making cat food.
But it can still be found in some lower quality dog foods.
Next, we find iron oxide and other artificial colors. Iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
In addition, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Next, this dog food also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.
And lastly, 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.
Bruiser Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Bruiser dog food looks like a below-average dry 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the soybean meal and corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.
Bruiser dog food is a plant-based kibble using a below average amount of beef or chicken by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
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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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
02/04/2013 Original review
02/04/2013 Last Update
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩