Inukshuk Professional Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Inukshuk Professional Dog Food product line includes three dry recipes, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance (Inukshuk 30/25).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Inukshuk 26/16
- Inukshuk 30/25
- Inukshuk 32/32
Inukshuk 30/25 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), fish meal (herring & anchovy), whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, whole brown rice, dried beet pulp (sugarr removed), dried brewers yeast, corn gluten meal, fish oil (herring oil preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), kelp meal, malted barley flour, salt, potassium chloride, calcium propionate, flaxseed, taurine, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C activity), zinc methionine, Yucca schidigera extract, l-lysine hydrochloride, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, riboflavin (B2), vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), cobalt sulfate, folic acid, selenium yeast, biotin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin E supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||28%||31%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||51%||24%|
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 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 third item 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
The fourth ingredient includes 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 wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The sixth 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 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.
The eighth ingredient includes brewers yeast, which 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.
The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
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.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, 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.
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 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.
We also note 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.
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.
Inukshuk Professional Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Inukshuk looks like an 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 33% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 83%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast, corn gluten meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
However, with 51% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 25% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is a meat-based kibble using a notable amount of chicken and fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
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
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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.
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Notes and Updates
10/09/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩