Enhance Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

PRODUCT MAY HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED

Enhance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Enhance product line includes two dry dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Enhance Puppy
  • Enhance Professional Athlete

Enhance Puppy was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Enhance Puppy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 34%

Ingredients: Poultry by-product meal, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brown rice, ground corn, dried beet pulp, whole wheat, corn gluten meal, rice bran, flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, dried egg product, choline chloride, dicalcium phosphate, garlic powder, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, niacin, biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), ethylenediamine dihydroiodide (source of iodine), folic acid, cobalt carbonate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis31%21%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%23%34%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%45%27%

The first item 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 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 poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The third 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.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is 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.

The sixth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The seventh 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.

The eighth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

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.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The tenth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

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, 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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, this food also contains 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.

And lastly, this food 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.

Enhance Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Enhance dog food looks like a below 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 34%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 34%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 34% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 71%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the corn gluten meal, flaxseed and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Enhance Dog Food is a plant-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of poultry by-product or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating 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

05/23/2010 Original review
12/23/2010 Review updated
09/16/2012 Review updated
07/23/2013 Product has been discontinued
07/23/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. 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)
  • Jhov4

    Unfortunately this food has been dicontinued, and is no longer available

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lou… Check out this website for the information about Enhance. Hope this helps.

  • Lou Stefely

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ve just read your article “The Truth About Corn” and find it very interesting.
    Of course, I’m sure you can guess my next question: Where can I find the recipe for the individual Enhance products?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lou… I used Enhanced Professional Endurance Formula to represent the entire product line. But this recipe doesn’t contain. Three of the others actually do. But corn isn’t toxic. In our opinion, corn is simply an ingredient of only minimal nutritional value. Be sure to visit The Dog Food Advisor library and check out my article, “The Truth About Corn”. Hope this helps.

  • Lou Stefely

    I’m confused by Jonathan’s comments from back on August 5, 2010.
    Jonathan is addressing the issue of corn in dog food, however I do not see corn listed as an ingredient in the review of Enhance brand dog food.
    We are transitioning our dogs to this product as we’ve heard good reviews from people we know.
    Thanks in advance for clearing this up for us.

  • Jonathan

    Roger, what foods does your store carry just outta curiosity…

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Roger… I checked the company’s website and see no change to the ingredients list or Guaranteed Analysis since we last updated this review on 12/23/2010. The current review matches verbatim the company’s website data. Maybe they’ve changed their ingredient or manufacturing quality. If so, that would be unknown to us.

  • Roger Prows

    This brand has significantly changed as of a few months ago for the worse. Should be re-evaluated, very low quality now. Bad enough I pulled it from the shelves of my store.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Erin… I’m so sorry to hear your rescue is losing weight. In many ways, dogs can be a lot like us humans. Your dog may enjoy “topping”. This has worked for Bailey (our fussy eater). We mix a good quality wet food with his kibble each time he eats. This may do the trick for your dog.

    Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized reviews and product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Bob K

    Erin – Please read the review of Enhance above as it is a 3 star food. There are over a thousand different dog food formulas reviewed on this website. Look on the left colum for the “Search by brand”. Does your petshop have any reasonably priced 4 or 5 star foods? Did you vet do a complete fecal including Giardia, Coccidia and Cryptosporidiosis? Remember to transition to new foods slowly. Do not be tempted to overfeed your thin dog. Dogs like people should gain or loose weight slowly and always read the bag for brand specific feeding details. Since she is thin, I would feed the upper amount for her weight or breed class.

  • Erin

    Hi! I work at a pet shop that recently started carrying the Enhance Professional 30-22 Athlete line (amongst a couple others).
    My dog is a greyhound/dutch shepherd mix. She is approximately 50 pounds (and dropping). I adopted her from our local shelter about a month ago and have been fighting tooth and nail to get her to eat a food I have been a long time supporter of. Science Diet Large Breed Puppy (She is 11 Months). I have fed Scence Diet to all of my pets. Foster cats, current pet cat, and dogs I have had in the past. This dog, though, she WILL NOT touch it. She lets it sit in her bowl for days.
    However, I came home tonight, and offered her a trial pouch of Enhance. She gobbled it up like she hadn’t eaten all day! (Mostly because she hadn’t.)
    My question is, as an avid Science Diet user, how does Enhance compare to their food?
    I need/want to put weight on this poor girl. She looks terrible so thin, and she’s been to the vet with a clean bill of health (they just recommended she gain some weight).

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Michael… HiTek Rations is already on my To Do list. Unfortunately, due to our current backlog of reviews, it could still be a while longer before I get to it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Michael

    Can you check Good Dog Complete 27. The site is hiteckrations @hotmail.com.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Michael… Based upon the star ratings alone, Enhance looks to be slightly better than Pro Plan (not the Pro Plan Selects line). Unfortunately, since each dog responds to a particular food in its own unique way, I cannot provide customized product recommendations. Please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food” for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Michael

    I need some help, i want to get Enhance Lamb for my pitts aan my wife wants to use Pro Plan Lamb. which is the better one for me.

  • Antonio

    Lori,

    Enhance is a decent dog food, and the facility is located about 45mins from my parents house. Even after Ainsworth purchased the Enhance brand the facility has remained A+. If your dogs are thriving on the product then it’s the right food for your dog, and I’ve seen a lot of dogs both working and pets alike thrive on Enhance dog food so you have made a good choice.

  • Lori

    I use the Enhance puppy and hunter’s edge, I LOVE the results I get from both. I raise rotties, and my adults and puppies look better than they ever have, I use to feed Iams, and Eukanuba. The dogs eat less, coats are very shinny, excellent body weight!
    The cost is affordable.
    I would highly recommend this product!!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Micah… We review dog foods by product lines. So, our rating for Enhance Dog Food already includes our ratings for Hunter’s Edge and Pro Athlete.

  • Micah

    I would really like to see a review done on the Hunters edge blend and the Pro athelete blend as well please. These are used by a lot of guys in the sporting dog world. Please let me know!

  • Jonathan

    You are too easy on corn! Grains are not a natural foodstuff for dogs. And of all the grains, corn is the least digestible, in all of its forms. Hey, a dog’s digestive track is like, a 1/4 of ours… and WE can barely digest the stuff! This food has two low quality grains between “meal” and “fat” meaning the true bulk of the food is the low quality grains. Feed Grade corn with it’s thick cell walls that a doggy tummy can’t break down and process as usable protein, and a nutrition-free grain fragment of rice. And form a brand that prides itself on nutrition? If corn is a “possible” allergen, AND a grain, why not just avoid it all together? There is no benefit to it’s presence in dog food. The government subsidizes corn so that farms can sell it at a loss and still make a profit, so it is simply one of the cheapest fillers dog food manufacturers can use to keep their food bulked up and their profits high. When I see corn before the fat, the food immediately gets a “do not recommend” label from me. I’ve seen too many dogs that have slowly developed health problems because of corn. Plus, the synth vitamin k in this overpriced junk does less than impress.