iVet Dog Food gets the Advisor’s above-average rating of 4 stars.
The iVet Healthy Gourmet product line includes 7 dry dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, one for growth (Large Breed Puppy) and one for all life stages (Small Breed Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- iVet Canine Energy
- iVet Canine Maintenance
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Senior Diet
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Canine Adult
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Small Breed Puppy
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Large Breed Puppy
- iVet Healthy Gourmet Canine Reduced Fat (3 stars)
iVet Healthy Gourmet Canine Adult dry dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
iVet Healthy Gourmet Canine Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, oatmeal, pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), dried beet pulp (sugar removed), flaxseed (source of natural omega-3 fatty acids), fish meal (source of natural DHA), natural flavor, dried egg product, dried brewers yeast, Yucca schidigera, minerals (potassium chloride, 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), beta-carotene, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), niacin, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||13%||53%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||29%||48%|
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 item lists 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.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, brewers rice has nothing to do with the process of brewing beer.
The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth item lists 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient mentions fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
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, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
After the natural flavor, we find 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, brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
And lastly, this food does contain 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.
iVet Healthy Gourmet Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, iVet Healthy Gourmet Dog Food looks to be an average kibble.
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.
With its apparently lower meat content, the Reduced Fat product merits a downgrade of its 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.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-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.
We are pleased to see the company has now removed the menadione from its previous recipes and has also decreased the average fat content of its product line.
iVet Healthy Gourmet Dog Food 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.
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)
02/06/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩