Dogswell Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Dogswell product line lists two dry dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance (Happy Hips) and one for all life stages (Vitality).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Dogswell Vitality Chicken and Oats
- Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats
Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Dogswell Happy Hips
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, oats, barley, peas, brown rice, natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, flaxseed, tomato pomace, dehydrated alfalfa meal, sweet potatoes, zinc proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, iron proteinate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate, glucosamine hydrochloride, apples, blueberries, carrots, garlic powder, chicory root extract, manganese proteinate, folic acid, calcium iodate, cobalt proteinate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, chondroitin sulfate, taurine, choline chloride, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product (source of lipase), dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.1%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||13%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||29%||47%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient 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.
After the natural flavor, we find 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 ninth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is 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.
Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
In addition, this food contains 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.
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.
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
And lastly, this food includes 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.
Dogswell Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Dogswell looks like an above-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 27% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Near-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 peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Dogswell Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
The line also lists six Dogswell canned dog foods and are reviewed by the Advisor in a separate report.
Those looking for a grain-free kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Dogswell Nutrisca.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
03/07/2015 Last Update
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩