Jake’s Choice Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Jake’s Choice Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.

The Jake’s Choice product line includes five dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Jake’s Professional’s Choice 31/22 [A]
  • Jake’s Choice 18-6 Sporting Dog Formula [M]
  • Jake’s Choice 21-12 Sporting Dog Formula [M]
  • Jake’s Choice 24-20 Sporting Dog Formula [A]
  • Jake’s Choice 27-16 Sporting Dog Formula [A]

Jake’s Choice 24-20 Sporting Dog Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Jake's Choice 24/20 Sporting Dog Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Poultry and porcine meal, ground yellow corn, ground wheat, poultry fat (preserved with BHA), wheat middlings, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp, poultry digest, ground flaxseed, fish meal, dried brewer's yeast, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, calcium propionate, choline chloride, l-lysine hydrochloride, iron sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, manganese proteinate, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, riboflavin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, thiamine mnonitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, and floic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%23%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%44%34%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 34%

The first ingredient in this dog food is poultry and porcine meal. Poultry and pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than either fresh poultry or pork.

Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.

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 wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fourth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

The fifth ingredient includes wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

Unfortunately, the variations in nutrient content found in wheat middlings can be a critical issue in determining their suitability for use in any dog food — or even livestock feeds.1

In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically associated with lower quality pet foods.

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.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

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.

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 poultry digest. A digest is a chemically hydrolyzed brew of slaughterhouse waste. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste.

The ninth 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of 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.2

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

Next, 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.

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.

And lastly, this product also includes 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.

Jake’s Choice Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Jake’s Choice looks like a below-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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-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, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

However, with 44% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 22% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Jake’s Choice is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of poultry and pork meal or poultry meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not recommended.

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.

Jake’s Choice Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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

02/14/2017 Last Update

  1. Wheat Middlings as defined in an article by Wikipedia
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials