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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||15%||41%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||32%||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.
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.
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.
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
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Notes and Updates
06/08/2016 Last Update
- 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 ↩
- 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. ↩