Horizon Complete Dog Food receives the Advisor’s above-average rating of 4 stars.
The Horizon Complete product line includes five dry dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Horizon Complete Adult
- Horizon Complete Puppy
- Horizon Complete Senior
- Horizon Complete Large Breed Adult
- Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy
Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain oats, chicken, whole grain rye, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E,) pea fibre, flaxseed, egg product, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), carrots, apples, alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, blueberries, l-lysine, choline, salt, dicalcium phosphate, fructooligosaccharides, dl-methionine, dried saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation extract, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, pineapple, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Rhizopus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulphate, iron proteinate, zinc sulphate, zinc proteinate, manganous oxide, maganese proteinate, copper sulphate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, magnesium oxide
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||16%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||33%||40%|
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 barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The third ingredient lists whole oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fourth item 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.
The fifth ingredient is rye. Rye is a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.
The sixth ingredient lists 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 seventh ingredient is pea fiber, a mix of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls.
The eighth 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.
The ninth ingredient is salmon oil. 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.
The tenth 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.
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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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.
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.
Horizon Complete Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Horizon Complete appears to be an above-average dry dog food.
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 30% and an average fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest an overall carbohydrate content of 47% for the full product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Horizon Complete is a grain-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a higher-rated grain-free kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Horizon Legacy Dog Food.
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
07/14/2010 Original review
05/07/2012 Last Update