Exclusive Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Exclusive Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Exclusive product line lists eight dry dog foods, six claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two for all life stages.

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

  • Exclusive Lamb and Rice Adult
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Adult
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Senior
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Puppy (4.5 stars)
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Large Breed Adult
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Reduced Fat Adult
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Large Breed Puppy (4 stars)
  • Exclusive Chicken and Rice Performance Adult (4.5 stars)

Exclusive Chicken and Rice Large Breed Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Exclusive Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin), cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, ground white rice, corn gluten meal, oatmeal, chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols (a form of vitamin E), beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, egg product, flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, salmon oil (a source of DHA), choline chloride, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, l-carnitine, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%14%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%31%44%

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 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 fourth 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 fifth ingredient is ground white rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably 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 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 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 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.

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, 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, 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.

In addition, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

And lastly, 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.

Exclusive Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Exclusive 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 28%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Exclusive Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

We like this product. However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include corn gluten meal in its recipes. Without this controversial ingredient and minus the brewers rice in certain recipes, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

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

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

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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, 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.

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

09/27/2014 Last Update

  • Jess

    I have a boxer named Molly and she’s almost a year and I have a mutt named Katy who is about 11. I have been feeding them exclusive lamb and rice for a few months now and both my dogs have seemed to have gas problems. I know boxers are naturally gassy ( I’ve come to terms with it lol) but Katy has never had problems with gas. Katy has eaten science diet lamb and rice most of her life but I’ve heard bad things about that food. My main concern is finding a good dog food for my dogs but there’s so much info out that I’m kind of overwhelmed by it all! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! And anybody out there with boxers I’d love to hear what you’ve been feeding yours!

  • Melissaandcrew

    If a dog is showing symptoms of coccidia etc then we do run fecals. Most of the time its extremelly hard to find and they get treated despite the negative fecal. I think most of the time barring repeat exposure most dogs remain intestinal parasite free via the monthly heartworm preventative.

  • Bob K

    I am not a big fan or routine deworming unless something is suspect. What about testing for Giardia, Crypto and Coccidia? Giardia is famous for loose stools.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Fecals only show positive during a certain lifestage of the worm-when eggs are present- therefore that once a year fecal, to me is of little value. With all the strange fosters I have coming and going, we simply deworm with panacur twice a year. Coupled with the monthly heartworm preventative I have never had a problem. For me due to unreliable fecal float potential I feel its peace of mind. For homes without an increased exposure potential then two fecals two to three weeks apart would be a better indicator of worm status.

  • Bob K

    Jennifer – deworming on a regular basis especially if your dog has no issues – Why? Perhaps a yearly fecal test at the vet including Giardia, Crypto and coccidia is safer for the dog along with the proper treatment. No one dewormer does it all, it is better to get a proper diagnosis if you suspect a problem or once a year during your annual visit.

  • theBCnut

    If the dog is used to it, it is very good for a dog to consistantly change their diet. Eating a varied diet is healthy for dogs and people. Dog food companies that want loyal customers for life are the ones that perpetuate the myth that you should pick one food and stick to it.

  • Jennifer
  • Jennifer
  • Jennifer

    That’s because it is now on the Exclusive pet food page at

    http://www.exclusivepetfood.com/dog/ECMD2-0031757.aspx

  • Jennifer

    It is not good for a dogs digestive tract to consistently change their diet. Treats are ok. Mine love carrots and other Vegetables and fruits. They are good for dog as well! Their main diet if changed, should be done in small amounts over time. Changing any animals food everyday can cause digestive problems and high vet bills. I personally care for my animals well being. It will not harm a dog to change his food, but if it works for him, why?? They get their share of treats.

  • Jennifer

    I have been feeding my labs Exclusive since they were young. My black lab went on this dog feed when she was about a year old. I tried Canidae, Blue Seal, Nutro, Purina, and many more top quality brands. She was losing hair, getting head tremors, gained weight, had diarrhea, etc. These are considered the best, right? Wrong!!! Not for my lab. I put her on Exclusive Large Breed and she has a beautiful coat, perfect weight, and is in all around EXCELLENT health! No more issues!! I would not put her on anything else. My yellow lab has been on the Exclusive Brands since a puppy and nothing else. He too is in Excellent health and gorgeous! Don’t assume that it’s the dog food. It may be something else your dog is getting into. Be sure to deworm on a regular basis, get regular checkups and vaccinations.

  • L Price

    Sounds more like you vaccinated them beyond puppy shots.

  • theBCnut

    No food is perfect. AAFCO requires minerals to be within certain ranges, but calcium and phosphorus are the only ones that they actually require to have balanced ratios to each other. Most minerals should be balanced for the other minerals in the diet. So while your dog is getting all the essentials, by only feeding one food, you may be guaranteeing that he never gets the right balance of those minerals. And that is just one example of the shortcomings in how dog diets are formulated. Just like for people, eating variety is the best way to eat a healthy diet.

  • Megan Orvis

    My dog gets fed the same food every day so that I know that he is getting his essentials. We do however switch up his treats and he also sometimes gets to eat his food out of his kong with some gooey melted cheese or some pieces of carrots. We alternate between about 8 different treats so he gets plenty of variety

  • ericschmidt659

    I agree with Hank. My Dutch Shepherd had stomach problems with Diamond but as soon as I switched to Exclusive chicken it all cleared up. I simply love this food. I now have all my dogs on this formula with no stomach problems at all. I am however about to try the Performance formula since Dutchies are like Mali’s with lots of energy.

  • Lynn

    Unfortunately, I fed my 4 dogs (2 chesapeake bay retrievers, black and tan coonhound and basset hound) Exclusive for 10 years before I realized it may have been causing medical issues. This is the only food they ate, they rarely got treats and never got table food. Both chesapeakes and the coonhound passed away due to various types of cancer (lung, liver and bone) between the ages of 9 and 12. In addition, one chesapeake and the basset hound both had diabetes between 8 and 10 years of age. It is hard for me to look at that history and believe the food didn’t play a part in these diseases. My 12 year old basset hound is the only dog left and now eats only all natural dog food and treats.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I definitely have a problem with stating things plainly and not realizing that people have no way of knowing how I meant something without me using a few more words to express myself. And I can reread my posts and still not understand how someone got out of it what they did. Definitely not the case here though, my brain was on holiday, I guess.

  • HanktheCowdog

    Pattyvaughn I think your apology was great! Wish more people would re-read their posts and see how they could be taken as rude….

  • HanktheCowdog

    The Belgian Malinois (police/protection dog) kennel I worked at uses Exclusive w/Chicken… not lamb and rice… have your Father try that, it could be the lamb. I use the Exclusive Chicken for my 14 year old poodle and my 7 month old Blue Heeler…. I have never given them lamb…. and my poodle has a very sensitive stomach. Good luck w/your hunting dog!

  • Pattyvaughn

    TeeHee! Actually, I didn’t forget it, I just didn’t type it. LOL!

  • somebodysme

    AND CRAP…you forgot that one…HAHA!

  • Pattyvaughn

    They also eat bugs, lizards, mice, voles, mountain goats, elk, caribou, fish, and on and on.

  • Shawna

    OMGosh, LOL!!! Betsy is not suggesting that dogs be fed “like humans eating McDonalds, Hardees….” Betsy IS suggesting that like wolves, dogs get a variety of proteins such as “deer, buffalo, rabbits” and variety of starches. If you think about it that way, wolves in the wild definitely do change their diet frequently.

  • Nicole

    Animals in the wild don’t change their diet, wolves eat deer, buffalo, rabbits as a main source of food with occasionally other prey they get ahold of. It’s sad to think that someone believes animals should be like humans eating McDonalds, Hardees, Arbys and other crap.

  • Greg

    I bought the Exclusive Lamb & Rice and at my amazement my dog dug into it. She loves it and I have finally found some dry dog food that she loves. She use to smell of it and walk away. When she got hungry she would eat some of the other type. Thanks for some GOOD STUFF!!! Coco approved!

  • Gina

    I am interested in an analysis of this formula too rather than the one with corn – thanks!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try looking at NutriSource. It is an easy to switch to food. Maybe start with chicken and rice, unless the dog is showing signs of allergies.

  • ShannMB

    Hi, I am writing because my dad just got a dog and where he came from said to feed him what dad has been using because he was basically getting lower quality food at the kennel. So dad put Remington on Exclusive Lamb and Rice. He has been on this food for 3 weeks now and still has diarrhea to where he can’t control it. He was wormed the 1st of every month at the place my dad got him from and is up to date on everything. So, I told him about using pumpkin and I am guessing he needs to switch foods. Not sure what would be bothering him in this food-could the lamb be too rich? Or I guess maybe the grain? He is a well bred hunting dog so dad needs a food formulated for that as hunting season he is worked pretty hard. Any ideas on food or what to try would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and sorry this is so long!

  • Sue/Rick

    We are not happy at all with Exclusive. In the past couple months when we get the food there is alot of waste. It turns to powder. We have one bag left and that is it! We are looking for something else. We have used this food for over 8 years. VERY dissapointed!!! It is the Lamb and Rice Formula.

  • brittaniowner

    Dr. Mike. I respect your opinion and like to read the comments on your website. About the “evidence”. It is perfectly acceptable for my friend and I to use the same computer to comment on this website. Having the same IP address proves nothing. But go ahead and delete our comments. Probably doesn’t matter anyway.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Brittaniowner and “Guest”,

    Your use of multiple identities as evidenced by your recent comments posted here from the same computer IP address is a violation of Our Commenting Policy.

    This rule clearly states:

    “…the use of multiple identities or other deceptive tactics designed to mislead readers are strictly forbidden.”

    Because you have violated this policy, both of your previous comments have been removed.

  • guest

    When you use the words “no offense” it pretty much means that the original poster is going to take offense. You are insinuating that Susan isn’t making the right decision by feeding her pets the same diet for years. I agree with
    brittaniowner. Some dogs have gastric upset when you switch foods. In my experience, my dogs prefer to stay with the same food.

  • brittaniowner

    Betsy Greer, “No Offense”, but some dogs do better with one type of food. Gastric upset isn’t fun for dogs or humans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    No offense, Susan, but I cannot understand what sort of logic there is behind the thinking that any living creature should be fed the same food, day after day, for years. It actually makes me sad when I think about it.

  • Susan

    We have used Exclusive for years and find our dogs have great coats, all are very healthy and no issues with gas. I think its a great food and a fair price.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Willard,

    Thanks for the correction. Apparently, when we last visited the Exclusive website on January 31, 2013, these pages were missing or not active.

    When I visited today, it looks like the entire website has been recently updated to now include all the label information for each product.

    Thanks again for calling this to my attention.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Atwistedyarn,

    This product line was just updated in November 2012.

    Please notice the manufacturer, PMI Nutrition, has removed all information about this product from the Exclusive Dog Food website.

    Without this information it’s impossible for anyone to check the accuracy of this recipe.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dr Mike listed the ingredients of the Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice Formula as an example of their foods.  The different formulas will all have small differences.

  • Atwistedyarn

    Someone needs to reevaluate this food as the Adult lamb and rice forumla does NOT have corn in it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Wow, no, I’m sorry,  I wasn’t considering how my tone would come across when I made that post.  I should have politely said that you will have to find out if there is anything the company is willing to do to work with you, instead of the rude way I answered.  I can’t imagine what foolishness I had running through my head when I answered the way I did.  Again, I’m sorry I was rude and didn’t frame my answer even vaguely politely.

  • InkedMarie

    Get on the telephone and call them. 

  • Laurabwva

    @undefined:twitter
    ….. sorry for your inconvenience, i thought someone else may have had
    the same problem. I have been waiting for an answer from the company
    for several weeks now and I might be able to find someone here who might
    know something about it. sorry for the imposition.

  • Laurabwva

    @pattyvaughan:twitter ….. sorry for your inconvenience, i thought someone else may have had the same problem. I have been waiting for an answer from the company for several weeks now and I might be able to find someone here who might know something about it. sorry for the imposition.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Why would you think anyone here would know the answer to that.  Email or call the company.

  • Laurabwva

     I still keep checking back, someone please leave me an answer.

  • Laurabwva

    I have been purchasing the lamb formula for my dogs for quite some time. My local feed store has decided they no longer want to deal with the hassle of the buy 6 get one free cards. So if i continue to shop at the store how do I continue the coupon cards on my own?

    I have found another supplier in the area (much farther away) but since I bought in bulk last time I won’t need more food until February. What do I do if they do not offer the coupon cards either? Or pocket the free bag?

  • LATechGuy

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mention we supplement with treats based on activity level! I’m sorry! I’m so used to mentioning it in conversations I forgot I didn’t mention that!

  • LATechGuy

    As I stated in my comment previously, we supplement our dog foods with an egg, and treats throught the day depending on activity level of the dog.  This dog food is not labeled as puppy food, it’s adult, and adults “require” 18%.  The treats are higher protein.  His puppy is also on the verge of being adult soon anyways.  The dog is happy, healthy, and eats all the food given to him with great fervor, whereas other foods were not so easy to get him to eat. 

  • DeniseA

    Hound Dog Mom,

    That is great advice!  Thank you.  I was upset to see that most of the lower calorie foods were rated “average” or “3 star” quality and the 5 star rated foods were all in the 450+ calorie area. I didn’t really want to sacrifice the quality.  What you are saying totally makes sense….plus I just need to get this one a little more activity and continue to watch her as she tends to eat from the other dogs bowls every chance she gets – which is a lot of the reason she has gained the extra weight.  If they walk away from their bowl for even a second she gets right in there.  It doesn’t work to separate them when eating because they only eat when I am there – if I walk away they walk away.  Unless I feed her and then put her in the house when the others are outside eating but she will be very upset and I think the other dogs wouldn’t eat.   Otherwise I could try feeding in shifts – but not sure how that would work.  Anyway I will have to experiment a little to see what will work out the best.  It will be worth whatever I have to do to continue to feed them all excellent quality food.  I am the proud parent of 4 big dogs (a few failed fosters) so easy things have become a little more challenging the past year (went from 2 dogs to 4 dogs in the past year) It is a challenge being a single “mom.”..but wouldn’t trade it for anything!  :)  Thanks again! I feel much better.

  • InkedMarie

    I adopted a dog who was overweight….I used Wellness Core’s reduced fat and fed her the amount for what she *should* have weighed

  • Hound Dog Mom

    DeniseA –

    The best way to get the most accurate calorie count is to contact the company. However you can calculate it yourself using the following formula:

    Nitrogen Free Extract = 100-(crude protein + crude fat + crude fiber + moisture + ash)

    M.E. (calories per kg) = [(3.5X% Crude Protein)+(8.5X% Crude Fat)+(3.5XNitrogen Free Extract)]X10

    To get calories per cup you’d divide the calorie per kg result from above by the number of calories in a kg (generally there are 8-9 cups per kg.).

    With that said, in general, the lower the calorie content the lower the quality of the food, the higher the calorie content, the higher the quality of the food. Most of the 5 star foods on this site have well over 400 calories per cup with several having over 500 calories per cup. Most of the lower rated foods will be in the 400 or less range.  The reason for this is because low quality foods contain cheap fillers (carbs) while higher quality foods contain more meat which also results in more fat/protein and calories. There is no reason you need to feed a low calorie food for weight loss and personally I wouldn’t. Pick a quality food and just feed less. If your dog is still hungry mix in some canned plain pumpkin or pureed veggies to add some bulk without adding many calories. An even better option would be going with a canned, dehydrated or raw food. Because these foods have a high moisture content they are less calorie-dense so the dog can eat a larger volume of food for the same amount of calories. Canned, dehydrated and raw foods are also more species appropriate and usually have more protein than dry food.

  • DeniseA

    I have one slightly over weight dog and my vet has recommended a lower calorie food.  I was feeding my dogs Canidae which is a highly rated food however it has 468 calories.  My vet recommended switching to a lower calorie food.  He said there are a lot of dog foods out there that have around 300 calories.  A local feed store recommended the Exclusive Chicken and Rice Reduced Fat however I cannot find any calorie information on the bag or their website – so how am I supposed to know if it is a lower calorie food? Any insights?

  • Laurabwva

     For those who would like to know, The bag I fed my dog was the Chicken and Rice Formula, Reduced Fat for Adult dogs…..AKA the green bag.

  • Shawna

    Does the food your dad feed have more protein..  Twenty-two percent is the “minimum” required for a puppy..  Dogs really need significantly more protein then 22% and especially puppies (in my opinion).  Every cell of the body uses the amino acids in protein for growth, repair, apoptosis (cancer prevention) etc..  I really hate seeing foods this low in protein :(

  • LATechGuy

    I had just gotten a dog a few months ago, and she’s a whippet mixed with a blue heeler.  We resued her from a kennel and she had worms and kennel cough (we promptly took care of both) and her shedding was horrendous.  We finished feeding her a bag of Purina dog food and I immediately started looking for something else.  After digging through scores of dog food opinions and researching which ingredients were not beneficial for dogs and which were absolutely horrible, I went to a local store on the recommendation of a friend.  After looking through bags and bags of dog food and getting discouraged over all the foods that had corn, soy and all other kinds of things, I found Exclusive Lamb and Rice formula (being told that lamb is one of the better meats to feed a dog for their skin and coat). 
     
    The Eclusive Lamb and Rice formula does NOT contain any corn gluten or other types of ingredients that blatantly stood out to me as horrible, so I bought an 18lb bag for right at $25 after tax, and the location I get it from has a customer rewards program that every 8th bag you get is free!
     
    After having fed her Exclusive Lamb and Rice for a few months, I’ve found out that Exclusive is shifting their warehouse and the food in my area is currently on backorder. Our dog enjoys the food and does very well on it.  The only time she has gas is when she burps from having eaten her food too quickly (and it’s always when she has her nose in my face thanking me for feeding her, she’s funny like that).  Her coat has softened up, her gums are no longer white (she was anemic at one point from the worms), her shedding has lessened dramatically, and although she still sheds some, I have adjusted my cleaning from every day to once a week with minimal fur buildup on the floor.    She has eaten this food dry but seems to enjoy her food a little when moistened either by squirting it briefly with water and shaking the dish to let the kibble absorb it, or mixing it with a raw egg. Her stool is small and firm, and she’s about as happy as she can be.  She hasn’t gotten sick once, aside from a vet office that messed up her surgery when she was getting fixed. That wasn’t the foods fault though.  I’ll be switching her back to Exclusive Lamb and Rice when the food becomes available in my area again.  She’s on Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine formula and she doesn’t eat all of her food even when mixed with an egg (which she absolutely goes nuts over).  Lamb and Rice would be the only formula from Exclusive I would feed my dog, and I’m very glad I do. Good ingredients, and my dog enjoys it. My dad just started feeding his 9 month lab Lamb and Rice by Exclusive, and his dog loves it as well. 
     
    The ingredients list I put below is copied directly off their website.
    Ingredients for Lamb and Rice: Lamb, lamb meal, brewers rice, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley,
    oatmeal, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, chicken fat preserved with mixed
    tocopherols (a form of vitamin E), natural flavor, flaxseed, fish meal*,
    potassium chloride, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, dried
    chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, yucca schidigera extract, dried
    Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus
    fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried
    Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum
    fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate,
    copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium
    iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin
    sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate,
    manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6),
    vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.*naturally preserved with citric acid, mixed
    tocopherols and rosemary extract
     

    Crude Protein, min
    22.00
    %

    Crude Fat,
    12.00
    %

    Crude Fiber,
    3.00
    %

    Moisture, max
    10.00
    %

    Calcium, min
    1.30
    %

    Phosphorus, min
    1.0
    %

    Zinc, min
    200
    mg/kg

    Selenium, min
    0.30
    %

    Vitamin E, min
    150
    IU/kg

    Omega-6 Fatty Acids, min
    2.20
    %*

    L-Carnitine, min
    30
    mg/kg*

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids, min
    0.3
    %*

    Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), min
    0.025
    %*

    Glucosamine Hydrochloride, min
    300
    mg/kg*

    Chondroitin Sulfate, min
    100
    mg/kg*

    *Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog
    Food Nutrient Profile.

  • Laurabwva

    Ok, heres the second review.  My dogs seemed to enjoy the food, they didn’t eat as much as BB. Stools were a little loose at first only because I didn’t switch over gradually. It was like soft serve ice cream but within a couple days it was much firmer. The bag (35#) has lasted longer than expected. All three seemed to take to it well with no problems. I did notice that there is corn gluten meal in every flavor except for the lamb and rice so if there are dogs out there who are sensitive to it they might want to be wary of it, but it isn’t #1 in the ingredients list, that tells me that the food has a very small amount and is not primarily made of corn gluten meal. So I wasn’t too concerned with it. All in all the dogs like it there was very little changed in their digestive system during the switch over. I am happy with the product and will continue to buy. Thumbs up! :-)

    Caution: some dogs do have allergies and i am aware that some dogs are more sensitive to certain foods than others. Always ask the manufacturer to send you a trial bag or get a complete list of ingredients before feeding it to your pet. My pets have no known allergies, therefore I felt comfortable switching foods with common ingredients.

  • Laurabwva

    I just started feeding my dogs (Bull Mastiff, pit bull, and black lab) exclusive. I did not taper their food. I was feeding them Blue Buffalo and loved the results but the high cost is a big factor in feeding three large dogs. I switched to find a dog food that produces the same performance and over health in my dogs as did the Blue Buffalo, although the BB caused my Bull Mastiff to have bad gas. That was another reason for switching…we couldn’t breathe!  LOL… When this bag is finished I will let you know how my dogs liked it and how their stools were and if it causes them any problems or gas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.mathna Gary Mathna

    I have a 10 yr old Greyhound and have been feeding Exclusive for 5 yrs. No problems,except I have to add something for him to eat it. Mostly I put in a tablespoon of yogurt to prevent gas. Not much excessive stool. Coat is great looking, except for lots of shedding. I find it a good product for the price. I did notice a difference in color and shape. Glad to have that question answered. I would recommend this to anyone and give it time. Greyhound have
    real sensitive stomachs and there have not been any problems. In a time trial he can still run 35 mph. 

  • bulldogger

    exclusive has changed their formula and manufacturing plant. i have been feeding exclusive for many years with no problems. in the last few weeks i have received bags of the chicken and rice that have moldy and rotten smelling food. this food is not fit to feed to the hogs.

  • Dogsr4me

    Here is additional information I received from them regarding where their food is now processed;
    “Our products are now manufactured for us by American Nutrition in PA and Texas Farm Products in TX. Some of our products were manufactured by Diamond in the past. None of our products was ever made at the South Carolina plant and none of our products are involved in any pet food recalls. Again, we selected new manufacturing partners in order to maintain a consistent supply of products with superior nutrition and high safety standards. The recipes for your pet’s diet has not changed. Thank you. Let me know if you have any further concerns.”

  • Dogsr4me

    Here is the response I just received;
    “Thank you for contacting PMI Nutrition. In order to maintain a consistent supply of our products with the highest safety standards, we have upgraded our manufacturer. The formula of our diets has not changed, but you may notice a slight difference in the color and shape of the kibble due to different manufacturing equipment. Again, the formula has not changed but the source of ingredients will be different which can result in a change in the foods color. In more sensitive pets, it may take a few days to get use to the new ingredients (the ingredients are the same but will be from a different source). Our proteins and grains are all still from the USA, with the exception of the lamb meal which will come from New Zealand as in the past. If you have any further questions or concerns or if I can be of further assistance in any way, please let me know. Thank you”

  • Dogsr4me

    I just purchased 2 bags of the Puppy Chicken & Rice (reg), when I opened the 1st bag I noticed the kibble was not the same as the previous bags , the shape and color had changed and it seems a little drier. My dogs did not seemed as thrilled to eat it. I went ahead and opened the 2nd bag to check and see if I had just gotten an odd bag but it also had the same changes to the kibble.  I have been very happy with food up until this point.  I did contact the company and am waiting for a response.  This also happend to the cat food from this company, they changed the kibble with no notification on the bag or their site. I did also write to them asking about the differences and they did confirm the cat food was changed.
       My question is why is there no notice to the consumers that these changes have taken place?

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  • Mpomerleau

    I have a 50lb 6 month old boxer and he is on Exclusive Lg breed puppy and has terrible gas.  He has loose stool occasionally.  This is the only food I’v fed him.  Is this normal or will he grow out of this? 

  • Awhitmanmom

    I feed my 90lb German Shepherd Exclusive chicken and rice formula and it has helped him with gas and stools. He isn’t really a big fan of any dry food but I cook a hamburger or a piece of chicken and mix it in and he will eat it. He is a very picky GSD, he is even fussy about his treats. 

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Cheryl… You asked, “Is PMI Nutrition owned by Purina?”.

    As far as I can tell, PMI is owned by Purina Mills. But the Purina brands we’re all so familiar with are actually owned by the Dutch conglomerate, Nestle.

    Purina Mills, with its familiar red and white checkerboard, was sold (back in 2001?) to Land O’ Lakes. So, it appears PMI and the more familiar Nestle Purina are no longer related.

    You can read more about this strange history in the Internet Wiki article entitled, Nestle Purina PetCare. Hope this helps.

  • Cheryl

    Mike, Is PMI Nutrition owned by Purina? A friend told it is owned by Mars

  • Kim

    I have been using Exclusive (maroon bag for appoximatly 10 yrs. I am extremely pleased with the benefits. My dogs are very healthy, eat less, have less stool, and are happy dogs. I moved last year to another state, yet anytime I pass through old town, I pick up a couple large bags I contacted the grainery on how to find it local for me. I am that pleased to stick with the brand. The benefits far outweigh the cost.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi John Saf… Bloat is a serious acute (not chronic) life-threatening condition. 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.

    In any case, you can learn more about bloat in this article by Drs. Foster and Smith. Or please check back for a possible response from one of our other contributors. Hope this helps.

  • John Saf

    I have three 6-month-old golden retriever puppies, one female and two males. I switched them to Exclusive Brand Puppy formula two weeks ago. I have recently noticed that their stomachs look like they have swallowed basketballs. After reading some of the above questions, I, too, am wondering if they are developing issues with bloating due to gas as a result of eating this dog food. Thanks

  • melissa

    Michelle-

    I have owned big, and small dogs and never have used size or breed specific formulas. I just monitor what they eat and how much. I have never looked at this review and was shocked to see in the comment section that a 30lb bag(3 star rated food) was $54?!?!?!?! A 29.7lb bag of Acana GF Wild Prairie in my area is $49.75-they also offer(Champion) a frequent buyer program and a breeder program bringing the cost even lower.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Michelle… There are many good dog foods that have large breed formulas (although I don’t believe these breed-specific recipes are all that important anyway). Unfortunately, I don’t track the constantly changing prices on the products I review. So, it would be impossible for me to make specific recommendations. Please check back for possible suggestions form our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Michelle

    Mike, Not sure if you can answer this quesiton or not. We are feeding our puppies (12 month old golden retr. and 6 month old lab/german shepard), the puppy large breed formula from exclusive as we were told it would keep them from gaining wieght/growing too quickly. We need to find a cheaper formula and most don’t have a large breed option. Is this a concern, or just find a good formula for them. Thanks for you help.

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Rachel… The only products I’m aware of that Exclusive produces are listed at the top of this review.

  • Meagan

    Rachel- My advise is to not worry about a weight managment food and to just cut back on what they are eating now and up the excercise to what they can handle for their health. Weigh them monthly to see is they are losing the lbs. Good Luck!

  • Rachel Thomure

    We have 2 4yr old Golden retrievers, Exclusive has done wonders for our female after switching from Science Diet to EXC. LAmb & Rice about 2 years ago, took care of loose stool BUT was wondering if Exclusive has a weight management product out or coming out. They are really packing on the pounds especially our male.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi James… My reviews are not based upon the amount of stool your dog leaves behind in the yard, the gas he produces in your home or the appearance of his coat. I have no doubt that based upon your (gas, stool and coat) criteria, this could certainly be a 5-star product.

    However, based upon the amount of meat used to make this recipe and the apparent quality of its ingredients, Exclusive is only a 3-star dog food.

  • Bob K

    James – The star rating is based on actual food analysis not because someone says their dog looks great. 3 Stars isn’t bad but perhaps you can move up to 4 or 5 star food for the same money or less. There are many Chicken and rice based foods. What did you feed your dog before Exclusive? If you moved from a 1 star food to a 3 star food like Exclusive, you see the value a better food provides your pet. Many people would say 3 stars is pretty good and if it’s easy for you to get for a decent price, why change if your dog is having excellent results.

  • James

    I’ve had my mixed lab on exclusive’s lamb and rice for a few months now. He hasn’t had gas at all and like others have said it cuts the stool amount in the yard in half or even better maybe. 3 stars? Really? That’s a joke! His coat is healthier, nails stronger, and all around looking better. It’s my personal opinion that exclusive is one of the best dry dog foods on the market.
    Five stars *****
    -James

  • yvonne

    ive been feeding my dog, a pit bull, the chicken formula. he ate it at first but now will not touch it.im going to switch brands and see if that fixes the problem.

  • Anna

    I have my 12.5 lb Male Chinese Crested on Chicken Rice Adult Red bag when it comes to dry. I then notice he likes canned food better, so I’m going to try to ‘up’ his protein intake or something. He’ll be 13 the 28th here

  • Anna

    Some people say the cup feeding amounts have to do with vitamins. I say it mainly has to do with calories and experience.

  • Anna

    Oh man!! Calories can be a big part of why my dog eats what he eats

  • Meagan

    I bought the adult lamb and rice to my dogs diamond naturals beef and rice a week ago. My catahoula’s stools have firmed up and he goes less than he was. I realize this food is a dollar a pound and only three stars, but I wanted to see if the probiotics would help with his soft stools. After the Diamond Naturals beef and rice/Exclusive lamb and rice mix is gone I will probably mix Earthborn Primitave Natural/Diamond Naturals chicken and rice.

  • Meagan

    I have recieved my email from PMI Nutrition if anyone would like to know the kcal/cup for the adult lamb & rice and chicken & rice.
    Meagan,
    Thank you for your interest in our Exclusive diets. The Exclusive Lamb & Rice contains 350 kcal/cup and the Exclusive Chicken & Rice Formula has 390 kcal/cup. Please let me know if you have any other questions or if I can be of further assistance in any way.
    Thank you.
    Cassie Scott
    PMI Nutrition
    1-800-332-4738

  • Meagan

    Warren-Did you happen to find out the kcal/cup for any of these products? I am waiting for a response still, but jw if you got one.
    Thanks

  • Meagan

    Just bought a bag of the adult lamb and rice. I will be mixing it with their diamond naturals beef and rice. Hoping the probiotics help Bolt’s loose stools. His first stool is fine the next two or three are very soft. Didn’t start happening until I switched him for BB to diamond naturals.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meagan… You’re right. The Adult Lamb and Rice recipe is a little better than the others. However, I try not to single out a specific recipe with a special rating unless it is what I like to call an “outlier” (something so unique on the upside or the downside that it would deserve special recognition). This one doesn’t really stand out enough to give it special recognition.

  • Meagan

    Mike-I really think that the adult Lamb and rice should be three in a half stars. It does not contain corn gluten meal and with the exception of brewers rice the ingredients before the fat are all OK ingredients.
    Lamb, lamb meal, brewers rice, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, oatmeal, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols (a form of vitamin E). The protein content for DM is 24% and the fat 13%. I guess that is a little low, but when I compared it to diamond naturals adult lamb meal & rice formula it is 26% protein and 16% fat.
    To me that is not a huge difference. What do you think Jonathan?

  • Meagan in iowa

    Tom-Sorry to hear about your puppy’s digestive issues. However Mike does not sell or produce dog food and this is not the producers website.

  • Tom

    The large breed puppy chicken, since You have changed the packaging is giving my dog horrible gas! Iam going to have to switch brands :(

  • Greg

    I highly reccomend Exclusive. I have been using Exclusive C&R for 3 years starting when I purchase of a new Brittany pup. The Brittany is a high energy hunting, running machine. I switched my old 9 year lab mix, with very bad hips (shelter dog) at the same time. The Brittany runs miles every day and the lab is so much healthier. Great value for the money, very healthy dogs, muscular bodies and shiny coats.

  • Kristi

    I adopted a very sick and malnourished lab mix a few years ago. We went through 3 brands of dog food over a 2 1/2 year period and he still had yucky ears and itchy paws. Our local feed store dealer told us about the good reviews they received about Exclucive, so we gave it a try. It cost about the same as what we were feeding, but a bag lasts a lot longer! I got in a bit of trouble with the vet cause Caesar gained too much weight and had to cut back, but he was very happy with his ears and his skin and coat really look great. I’m very glad we finally found the right fit for our dog. :)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    HI Brenda… If you and your dog like this dog food, then by all means, please continue to use it. However, the fact any dog food contains corn is not the only reason it’s rated the way it is. There are many other factors that determine the star rating here. Please be sure to see our FAQ page and look for the topic, “How We Rate Dog Food”.

  • Brenda

    I have been using Exclusive for the past 3 years on my Rat Terriers. My females are healthy, and the male is extremely muscular. They are all very energetic and happy. I feel that I am feeding a very good quality food. My dogs don’t have abnormal amounts of gas or any allergies at all. Their stools are small, and their coats are shiny. My vet recently gave them all a clean bill of health, and we even had a litter of puppies last year who were all healthy. I am going to stick with this food until (or IF) it gives us problems. I also like the “buy 6 bags get one free” program. We get ours at a local feed store. I would personally rate this food at least 4 stars, as the very first ingredient in some of the popular veterinarian brands is corn and I don’t think it’s fair to criticize this brand for having that ingredient farther down the list.

  • John

    Our Boxer has been on Exclusive since she was a puppy and is 5 years old now. Sice they “Improved” the formula she has had gas, runny eye’s and anal gland issues. I just bought Infinia-Bison and am going to try it. The price is High $54.00 for a 30lb bag, hope it helps. We get our food from a local feed store and they keep the card on file to get the 6th bag free. Ask you supplier about the program Exclusive has they are probably keeping the free bags and adding the profit from it to there bottom line.

  • Warren

    Okay. Thanks, Mike for your quick response to my question and this informative website! Without your website, one might think by spending money on above average priced food — like Hills Prescription Diet, Eukanuba, Iams, and Purina Pro Plan to name a few –, one is getting above average quality food, when, in fact, one is getting average (3-star) quality food. I was one of those people. I was feeding my Golden Retriever Purina Pro Plan until my brother turned me onto Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul (4-star) based on your website, which has saved me money while giving my dog better quality food. Thanks again!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Warren… Unfortunately, we don’t track calories here. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer.

  • Warren

    I am curious what the kcal/cup is for the Exclusive dry dog food products. It is not listed on the bag nor website.

  • Melissa

    I have a total of 6 dogs and have been feeding Exclusive Lamb & Rice for over 10 years. I like the fact that there is no chicken,
    beef, pork, wheat, soy, corn or fillers. Five of my dogs are over 10 years, with the oldest(a Chocolate Lab) turning 17 in May. The Lamb & Rice is a great product for dogs with sensitive stomachs and highly recommended for the Akita breed(which I have 2, that are 11 years old). I do have to agree with Jody tho, something has changed and has given them all bad gas. I would still recommend Exclusive and will stay with it since all dogs are healthy and have no other problems.

  • http://www.kmfeed.com Michelle

    michael,
    we received post cards from our Purina representative. we keep track of the cards in our store and mail them to Purina when the customer has bought 6 and we gave them the free one. That way we can get our money back from Purina. Your feed dealer should be able to get these from Purina.

  • michael

    Thanks Michelle for your comment I been buying exclusive for a couple of month already I got a provider 2 blocks from my house but the point is that they don’t have idea about that especial promotion,If somebody is been using that especial please let me know how to do it, thanks .

  • http://www.kmfeed.com Michelle

    Michael,

    You can find a dealer in your area by going to the exclusivepet.com website. Just put in your zip code and one should come up if it is available.

  • michael

    Hi every one I have a question did somebody know how can I get the especial program buy 6 and get one free thanks

  • jody

    I have been using exclusive with my dogs for two years now. Both are mixed breeds and are pretty healthy. I have noticed that since exclusive has changed their packaging making it “new and improved” they have started having problems such as bad gas and ear infections. I don’t know if it was the addition infinia or what but I know have to switch foods (can’t deal with the gas). The person at the store assured me that the ingredients haven’t changed just the packaging (per their rep.), but I can totally tell a difference in my animals.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Rachel… Dogs are a lot like us humans. Each responds to a given food in its own unique way. There is no reason to make your dog eat a food if he doesn’t like it. I’d just stay with what your dog likes. There’s not enough difference between these two foods. Hope this helps.

  • Rachel

    I feed my dogs exclusive lamb and rice and they love it, i have one dog i was feeding earthborn primitive natuarals grain free(5 star food) and now he will only eat the exclusive.
    My question is should i make him eat the earthborn or is it ok that he eat the exclusive?

  • Sandy

    I have a Buff Cocker Spaniel who developes food allergies a couple months after a new brand.She will vomit bile 3-4 am everyday.I finally tried Exclucive 5 yrs. ago. Chix/rice.No problem and now she is on Exclusive Silver.I want to try the INFINIA.It’s supposed be better.

  • Glen

    Mark, the ingredient lists for all but the lamb & rice still include corn gluten as a primary ingredient- people take notice…infinia looks real good: likely costs quite a bit more, I’ll have to check if I can get it.

  • ron payne

    I raise English Bulldogs and feed Exculsive chicken and Rice large adult breed. My adults have a nice coat,they like the taste and it is highly digestable. As a added feature, I do not have problems with worms. The stools are firm with minimal clean-up. I like the Buy 6 bag and get 1 free.

  • Gina

    My dog was raised on the Exclusive dog food from puppy through adult. He looks amazing and has always had a nice coat. This dog food is highly digestible, so much that my 50 lb aussie only gets 2 cups a day and there is not a whole lot to clean up in the yard ;-)
    I am now feeding him the Exclusive Lamb & Rice as it is slightly lower in fat but he is still doing awesome. FYI – The L&R is the only one without Corn Gluten Meal. You also cannot beat the Buy 6 get 1 Free program!

  • Mark

    Hello, i am a Purina dealer that sells the Exclusive products. I believe that you have not reviewed the products as of July 1. There has been an ingrediant change. Also they now have out a new product called Infinia. i believe you will find this product to be listed in your 5 star foods.
    Thank You for your time and please review the products once again.
    Mark