Country Vet Dog Fuel dog food gets the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Country Vet Dog Fuel product line includes four kibbles, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- Country Vet Dog Fuel Large Breed Adult
- Country Vet Dog Fuel Large Breed Active
- Country Vet Dog Fuel Large Breed Senior
- Country Vet Dog Fuel Large Breed Puppy
Country Vet Dog Fuel Large Breed Puppy was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Dog Fuel Large Breed Puppy
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), beet pulp, fish meal, rice bran, poultry liver digest, dried eggs, flax seeds, canola seeds, dried brewers yeast, fish oil, salt, calcium sodium aluminosilicate, potassium chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, Enterococcus faecium, choline chloride, calcium propionate, chicory root, dried lecithin, sodium bentonite, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, zinc methionine complex, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, niacinamide, copper lysine complex, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese methionine complex, manganous oxide, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfate complex (source of vitamin K activity), ethylenediamine dihydriodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, cobalt glucoheptonate and cobalt carbonate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 0.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||18%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||37%||37%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The third item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth 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.
The fifth ingredient includes beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The sixth ingredient is fish meal, another high-protein meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
The seventh item is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The eighth item is poultry liver digest, made from the enzymatic breakdown of poultry liver. Digests are commonly used by pet food manufacturers as flavor enhancers.
The ninth ingredient mentions dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The tenth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
The next ingredient is canola seed. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
In any case, plant-based oils contained in canola seeds are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
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, brewers yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, 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.
Thirdly, this food also 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.
Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
And lastly, this Country Vet recipe 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.
Country Vet Dog Fuel
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Country Vet Dog Fuel 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 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing at least a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Country Vet Dog Fuel is a grain-based dry food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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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Notes and Updates
05/12/2010 Original review
12/11/2010 Review updated
09/09/2012 Last Update