Dad’s Dog Food earns the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Dad’s Dog Food product line includes four dry 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:
- Dad’s Trail Mix Dog Food
- Dad’s Bite Size Meal Dog Food
- Dad’s Healthy Homestyle Dog Food
- Dad’s Natural Big Dog Chunx Dog Food
Dad’s Healthy Homestyle Dog Food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Dad's Trail Mix
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, beef meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA), chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, natural flavor (source of liver flavor), dicalcium phosphate, dried beet pulp, salt, calcium carbonate, dried cheese powder, iron oxide, artificial color (red #40, yellow #5 & yellow #6, blue #2), vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin, manganese sulfate, natural flavor (source of bacon flavor), copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, cobalt sulfate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||11%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||26%||52%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient soybean meal. Soybean meal is actually a useful by-product. It’s what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Soybean meal contains 48% protein. However, compared to meat, this item is considered an inferior plant-based protein providing a lower biological value.
The third ingredient includes beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.
The fourth item is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized livestock.
What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
We do not consider generic animal fat (especially when preserved in this way) a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “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).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
After the natural flavor, we find dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
The ninth ingredient lists 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.
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 find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Next, the minerals 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.
Thirdly, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
Next, iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
And lastly, this Dad’s dog food recipe also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Dad’s Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Dad’s Dog Food looks 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 25% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 56% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.
Dad’s Dog Food is a plant-based dry kibble using a limited amount of chicken by-product meal or beef meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
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
03/24/2010 Original review
10/24/2010 Review updated
07/21/2012 Last Update