Castor and Pollux Organix Grain-Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★½

Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free product line includes four dry 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.

  • Organix Grain Free Small Breed
  • Organix Grain Free Chicken and Potato
  • Organix Grain Free Lamb and Peas (4 stars)
  • Organix Grain Free Salmon and Peas (4 stars)

Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free Small Breed was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free Small Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken meal, organic peas, organic tapioca, organic pea protein, potato protein, organic sunflower meal, organic potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, organic coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), organic alfalfa meal, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), salt, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dried blueberries, dried yeast culture, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis32%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%15%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%32%37%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 32% | Carbs = 37%

The first ingredient in this dog food is organic chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient includes organic peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

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

The sixth ingredient is organic potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though the last two items contain over 80% protein, these ingredients would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like these 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 seventh ingredient is organic sunflower meal, another plant-based protein booster. Sunflower meal is a by-product of the oil extraction process – and an item more typically found in feed for livestock.

Although sunflower meal contains about 34% protein, it would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

The eighth ingredient includes organic potatoes. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth 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.

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, this recipe includes organic coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1

Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

Next, we find organic alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, 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 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.

Castor and Pollux Organix
Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Since this recipe contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.

That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.

With that in mind…

Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 36%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein, potato protein, sunflower meal and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing at least a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Castor and Pollux Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is dependent upon the quality of the data a company chooses to publish.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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".

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.

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Notes and Updates

06/08/2016 Last Update

  1. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  2. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  • Shea

    Has anyone tried the new formulas? I just bought the small breed recipe to add into my little dog’s rotation. I needed something with less fat and calories and this looked really good.

  • semcrae

    has soy – not using

  • Bonnie Shugar

    Ricky (my 7 y/o baby boy), is MalteseXShih Tzu and has never been healthier on this food. It took a very slow integration, i.e. a few kibbles mixed in with his Wellness for Small Breeds (previous brand), then 1/3 Organix mix per day, the next week, week 2, 50/50, etc. I completely trust this company and like I said, Ricky has never been healthier ūüôā I would argue 4.5 star to upgrade that mark to a 5 star.

  • mopsie1

    Sadly, we used to love this food but after almost two years on it, our dog suddenly developed anal gland problems and loose stools. After talking with our vet, she said maybe to go to the Organix food WITH grains. But that’s not been great, either. We switched to Wysong Epigen with great success but then they switched their formula, so now it’s back to the drawing board. Why do these companies all keep switching their formulas?!

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Lindsay-
    My dogs had the same rough start. Only I had two of them with it. Very stressful. Now, every time, they have a loose stool, I panic that it is back. I didn’t realize that our lives would revolve around dog poop for two years. We actually have a rating system. LOL! But, they continue to be a little sensitive too. I’ve been using Victor grain free kibble recently with great success. I am going to stay on it for a while to keep things stabilized. I may put this food on my future list to try out due to your recommendation. Also, wanted to recommend Victor to you if you need a kibble to rotate to in the future. Take care.

  • Lindsay Ramos

    Every dog is different but my experience with this formula has been positive. I have a short haired female lab mix (some pit and possibly boxer mixed in there). She had intestinal parasites when we first got her from the shelter, which were difficult to get rid of but we finally by working with the vet. Still after she tested negative, her poo was…pretty disgusting. That whole ordeal lasted about a year until I finally found this and the issue resolved within a week! I get the 14.5 lb bag delivered from Amazon every month or so for about $37, which is awesome. She’s now 3.5 and a very healthy and happy pup with a shiny coat and great teeth! I think the raw hide plays a bigger role in the latter.

  • Jane

    A while back, I stopped using this brand’s dog treats when I found out some of their ingredients were SOURCED FROM CHINA, even though they are made in the US. I got this from the company themselves when I called & asked them directly. I believe they had plans to change that, so maybe they have now, but I certainly would NOT FEED MY PET ANYTHING SOURCED FROM CHINA. There have been deaths associated with other brands of pet food/treats sourced or made in China, most especially the whole JERKY TREATS made in China situation recently (google it). ALWAYS CHECK WHERE YOU PET’S FOOD & TREATS ARE MADE & WHICH COUNTRIES THE INGREDIENTS ARE SOUCED FROM. They can be made in the US but sourced from other countries.

  • Shelley

    We had the same problem about 2 months ago after feeding this food for 2+ years. Turns out the company has been sold and relocated to TX! We switched to Wellness!

  • Susan Price

    I adopted a 5yo Chocolate Lab mix last week and was told this is what she was being fed. After less then 24 hours she developed loose stools then last night (1 week on) every 1 1/2 to 2 hours she had horrible smelly diarrhea. I had been trying rice and boiled chicken with her kibble for the last 2 days but last night was bad. This morning I switched to a completely different brand (tiny amount mixed w her rice) and no more issues. Not sure if we just got a bad bag or what but we will not be going back to C&P.

  • jolieqe

    Oops should have read this post before submitting my question. Which potatoes are ok for dogs if not the white kind?

  • jolieqe

    Howdy, can someone clarify where this food is missing the half star to make it a 5 star recipe? Any concerns about soybean? My cousin’s dog is on this and I”m thinking of trying it (my dog is on Fromm but I think she’s got ear issues from an ingredient in there). Looking for made in the USA of course…

  • Betsy10360

    Looks like Castor & Pollux has added some new items to their Organix line since Dr. Mike’s most recent review. ¬†The ingredients look the same (although I’m clicking back and forth trying to compare). ¬†Wonder if it’s just that the kibble size is smaller for the small breed formula. ¬†  

  • tony82

    i just took my dog off this for freshpet due to my schnauzer vomiting, this is expensive food. is this food really that good? what is good food? 

  • Dog Food Ninja

    I was with ’em right up until “organic soybean meal”. I don’t care how organic it is, it’s still soybean meal. And on top of that, white potatoes! Phytoestrogens and lectins and enzyme blockers, oh my!

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