Country Vet Premium dog food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Country Vet Premium product line lists three dry dog foods. Although each recipe appears to be named for specific life stage or lifestyle, we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Country Vet website.
- Country Vet Premium Puppy Formula
- Country Vet Premium Active Formula
- Country Vet Premium Maintenance Formula
Country Vet Premium Active Formula Dog Food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Country Vet Premium Active Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Poultry by-product meal, pearled barley, ground corn, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole grain brown rice, beet pulp, poultry flavors, dicalcium phosphate, flax seed, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, bentonite, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, egg product, brewers dried yeast, Yucca schidigera extract, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, vitamin E supplement, niacinamide, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), ethylenediamine dihydroiodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite, mineral oil, calcium proprionate, lecithin
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||20%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||40%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, poultry by-products are those unsavory and inedible leftovers deemed “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The second ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The third item lists corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
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 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 sixth item 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.
After the poultry flavor, we find dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
The ninth 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.
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, 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 find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Thirdly, the listed 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.
And lastly, this Country Vet product line 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 Premium Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Country Vet Premium Dog Food appears to be a below-average kibble.
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 29% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Near-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 a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and if these recipes had included probiotics and chelated minerals, we’d have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Country Vet Premium dog food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Those looking for a better kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Country Vet Dog Fuel.
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
05/10/2010 Original review
12/10/2010 Review updated
09/06/2012 Last Update