FirstMate Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The FirstMate product line includes the 4 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- FirstMate High Performance (5 stars) [A]
- FirstMate Wild Caught Fish Meal and Oats [A]
- FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats [A]
- FirstMate Free Range Lamb Meal and Oats (4 stars) [A]
FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, potassium chloride, choline chloride, calcium propionate, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-pantothenic acid, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), glucosamine hydrochloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||13%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||29%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second 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 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 next ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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 tomato pomace, which 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.
The sixth ingredient is potassium chloride, a nutritional supplement sometimes used as a replacement for the sodium found in table salt.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other ingredients.
But realistically, items located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this FirstMate product.
With 3 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, this food 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 recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
FirstMate Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, FirstMate Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Which means this FirstMate product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
FirstMate is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
We review the company’s FirstMate Grain-Free Dog Food line in a separate report.
FirstMate Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this FirstMate product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
02/24/2020 Last Update