Doc’s Choice Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

Protein = 29% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 49%

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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%14%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%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 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

Recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/23/2011 Original review
01/23/2013 Review updated
01/23/2013 Last Update

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Michaelcomaha,

    Menadione is still listed as an ingredient on their website, I believe Dr. Mike goes by the product website.

  • Michaelcomaha

    I just bought a bag of Doc’s Choice because I have two older dogs who are very ppicky eaters and this pelleted food is something different that they will sometimes eat when they won’t eat the better quality kibble I have, and sometimes they’ll eat this over cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast.  Anyway, I don’t see that they list menadione sodium bisulfate complex on their label anymore, so maybe your review made them see some light.

  • TeaInTheSahara

    The sticker on their packaging is misleading – it states that 3 Stars is “best quality” !  I am e-mailing them to let them know that this needs to change – because of that sticker, I was assuming that Doc’s Choice was rated “best quality”! Glad I finally came to this site!

  • Carol B

    Hi mike
    as you can see, i don’t use these sites, as have posted again on your raw food section (sorry) don’t want to waste your time….. Just to say thanks for the very speedy responce. hope their maybe someone out there with an Inuit that may be able to help fingers crossed.
    again thanks for the responce.
    Carol

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Carol… Sorry to hear about your dog’s issues. In this limited venue, there’s no way for me to know what could be causing this. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Carol B

    Hi Mike, what a good website.. the thing is I have 2 dogs, 1 a lab cade 5years, 2 a northen inuit Rolo 2years, we had feed the 2 on technical for 2 years, then changed due to up-set tummies.. we now feed them Barking heads for the last 6 mths.. both dogs were doing ok, then after a mth, rolo started again with runny poos, he is full of beans no signs of illness, just the runny poos, have done all that the vets requested , boiled rice and chicken for 48/72 hours all went well so off on their hols a week in kennels, at home the runny poos started again. he has had an antibiotic injection when it first started this year… I should say this was what happened at the same time last year.. but with lots and lots of trips to the vets… i really think it is the food, but can not find anything for an inuit do you know of any food that may help ….any responce will be most welcome…….thanks carol (england P’borogh)

  • Jonathan

    “oven-roasted whole grain corn”? BWAHAHAHA!!! That’s as good as Science Diet calling corn “maize meal” on the ingredients list of their Nature’s Best line. lol