Cesar Original Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Cesar Original product line includes 17 canned dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Cesar Original with Beef
- Cesar Original with Duck
- Cesar Original with Lamb
- Cesar Original with Turkey
- Cesar Original Top Sirloin Flavor
- Cesar Original Filet Mignon Flavor
- Cesar Original T-Bone Steak Flavor
- Cesar Original Grilled Chicken Flavor
- Cesar Original with Chicken and Beef
- Cesar Original with Chicken and Veal
- Cesar Original with Chicken and Liver
- Cesar Original Pork Tenderloin Flavor
- Cesar Original Porterhouse Steak Flavor
- Cesar Original Smoked BBQ Chicken Flavor
- Cesar Original Senior with Chicken and Rice
- Cesar Original Puppy with Chicken and Beef
- Cesar Original with Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor
Cesar Original Filet Mignon Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Cesar with Filet Mignon Flavor in Meaty Juices
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, beef by-products, liver, meat by-products, beef, chicken, chicken by-products, calcium carbonate, natural flavor, added color, sodium tripolyphosphate, carrageenan, dried yam, xanthan gum, potassium chloride, salt, erythorbic acid, natural filet mignon flavor, guar gum, zinc sulfate, vitamin A, D3, and E supplements, sodium nitrite (for color retention), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||19%||28%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||37%||39%||24%|
The first item is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
Three of the next six ingredients are all animal by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs, heads, ovaries or developing fetuses — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).1
What’s worse, the ingredient labeled “meat by-products” is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although animal by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider ingredients like these quality items.
Now, returning to the list, the third ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified.
For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The fifth ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
The sixth ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.3
Both beef and chicken are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
Next, we note the inclusion of sodium nitrite, a controversial color preservative. Sodium nitrite has been linked to the production of cancer-causing substances (known as nitrosamines) when meats are exposed to high cooking temperatures.
In addition, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, we find no detailed listing of the minerals included in this product. So, there’s no way for us to know with certainty if these minerals are chelated.
Non-chelated minerals are considered more difficult to absorb.
The Bottom Line
Cesar Original Dog Food
Judging by its ingredients alone, Cesar Original Dog Food looks like a below-average wet 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 45% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs as compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a significant amount of meat.
Cesar Original is a meat-based wet dog food using a significant amount of species-specific and generic by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Those looking for a higher rated food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Cesar Gourmet Filets canned dog food.
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
01/14/2010 Original review
08/18/2010 Review updated
05/27/2012 Review updated
12/25/2013 Review updated
12/25/2013 Last Update