Eukanuba Labrador Retriever (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Eukanuba Breed Specific Formulas

Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Dog Food gets the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

Eukanuba Labrador Retriever meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal (natural source of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine), chicken flavor, brewers rice, dried beet pulp, fish meal, dried egg product, potassium chloride, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), calcium carbonate, salt, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), sodium hexametaphosphate, Fructooligosaccharides, dicalcium phosphate, flax meal, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), dl-methionine, choline chloride, vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), inositol, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), brewers dried yeast, vitamin E supplement, l-carnitine, beta-carotene, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis23%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%14%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%31%46%

The first item in this product lists 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.

Which brings us to corn meal, the second and (more likely) the predominant ingredient in this dog food.

Corn meal is a coarsely ground flour made from dried 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 third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fourth ingredient lists 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.

After the chicken flavor, we find brewers rice. Brewers rice represents the small grain fragments left over after milling whole rice.

This is an inexpensive cereal grain by-product and not considered a quality ingredient.

The seventh 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.

Fish meal is yet another meat concentrate.

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

Fish meal is commonly made from the by-products of commercial fish operations.

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, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find only a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

The ninth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

Fish oil is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and (depending on the level of its purity) should be considered a healthy 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 four notable exceptions

First, brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient 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, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

And lastly, we note 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.

Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Dog Food looks to be an 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26%, a fat level of 14% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 52%.

Below-average protein. Below-fat. And above-average carbs as compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this is the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

For other recipes, be sure to check out the Advisor’s summary of the Eukanuba Breed Specific product line.

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.

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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

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Other spellings: Eukenuba, Eucanuba

Notes and Updates

06/11/2011 Original review
01/11/2011 Review updated
10/19/2012 Last Update