Doc’s Choice Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Doc’s Choice product line includes two dry dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Doc’s Choice Premium Adult
- Doc’s Choice Premium Puppy
Doc’s Choice Premium Adult formula was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Doc's Choice Premium Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal (top grade, natural source of glucosamine), oven-roasted whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, chicken fat (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E) , alfalfa meal, whole flaxseed, oatmeal, brewer's dried yeast, salt, vitamin A supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin D supplement, menadione sodium bisulfate complex (vitamin K supplement), thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, biotin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), choline chloride, cobalt carbonate, zinc oxide, iron carbonate, copper sulfate, ethlenediamine dihydroiodide, manganous oxide, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||14%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||31%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second item is 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 third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
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 is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
The sixth 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is brewers dried yeast, which can be a controversial item. Dried yeast contains about 45% protein and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, we feel yeast should be considered a nutritious addition.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, 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 dog food 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.
Doc’s Choice Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Doc’s Choice dog food looks like an average dry 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 32% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
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 effects of the alfalfa meal, flaxseed and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing an above average amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and minus the chicken by-products, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Doc’s Choice dog food is a plant-based kibble using an above average amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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.
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Notes and Updates
07/23/2011 Original review
01/23/2013 Review updated
01/23/2013 Last Update