iVet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The iVet Dog Food product line includes seven dry recipes. Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- iVet VetBasics Energy
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Adult
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Senior
- iVet VetBasics Maintenance (3 stars)
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Reduced Fat (2 stars)
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Small Breed Puppy (4 stars)
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Large Breed Puppy (4 stars)
iVet VetBasics Energy was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
iVet VetBasics Energy Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground whole grain corn, barley, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E), and citric acid), corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), flaxseed, natural flavors, fish meal, dried egg product, dried brewers yeast, minerals (potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, salt, zinc sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite), vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||17%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||35%||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 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 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 brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth 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 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.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 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 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
After the natural flavor, we find 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
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
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, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, brewers yeast 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.
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 dog food also 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.
iVet Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, iVet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, flaxseed and brewers yeast in some of the recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
iVet Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source 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.
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
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Notes and Updates
08/23/2010 Original review
02/06/2012 Upgraded from 3 to 4 stars (removed menadione, lower fat)
08/06/2013 Review updated
08/06/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩