Cesar Sunrise Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Cesar Sunrise product line includes 4 canned dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, 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 Sunrise Grilled Steak and Eggs Flavor
- Cesar Sunrise Scrambled Egg and Sausage Flavor
- Cesar Sunrise with Smoked Bacon and Eggs Flavor
- Cesar Sunrise Chicken and Cheddar Cheese Souffle
Cesar Sunrise Grilled Steak and Eggs Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Cesar Sunrise Grilled Steak and Eggs Flavor
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, beef by-products, liver, meat by-products, beef, chicken, poultry by-products, calcium carbonate, natural flavors, sodium tripolyphosphate, added color, carrageenan, liquid grilled steak flavor, dried yam, xanthan gum, potassium chloride, salt, erythorbic acid, egg product, guar gum, zinc sulfate, sodium nitrite (for color retention), vitamin A, D3 and E supplements, 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%||28%||20%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||51%||15%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is beef by-products, otherwise known as slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of a slaughtered cow after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, beef by-products are all those unsavory leftovers of meat processing usually deemed “unfit for human consumption”.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this stuff can include almost anything else — heads, ovaries or developing fetuses.1
Although this item does contain all the amino acids a dog needs, we do not consider beef by-products a quality ingredient.
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 fourth ingredient is meat by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
This ingredient is similar in nature to the beef by-products already discussed.
However, unlike beef by-products, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality 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”.1
Both beef and chicken are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The seventh ingredient is poultry by-products, or slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered poultry 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 — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
Although this item is high in protein, we consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single species item (like chicken by-products).
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, 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, 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.
Thirdly, we note the inclusion of egg product, a dehydrated 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.
Next, we also note the presence 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.
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.
Cesar Sunrise Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Cesar Sunrise looks like a below-average canned 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 44% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned dog product containing a significant amount of meat.
Cesar Sunrise is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named and generic meat by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
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
01/15/2010 Original review
08/19/2010 Review updated
05/28/2012 Review updated
12/21/2013 Review updated
12/21/2013 Last Update