Kibbles ‘n Bits receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Kibbles ‘n Bits product line includes 8 dry dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Kibbles ‘n Bits website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Small Breed
- Kibbles ‘n Bits ‘n Beefy Bits
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Weight Maintenance
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Meals Grilled Chicken
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Homestyle Roasted Chicken
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Homestyle Grilled Beef Steak
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Meals Oven Roasted Beef
- Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Savory Beef and Chicken Flavor
Kibble ‘n Bits Original Savory Beef and Chicken Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Kibbles 'n Bits Original Savory Beef and Chicken Flavor
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (BHA used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), calcium sulfate, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), dl methionine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||23%||10%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||23%||56%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is relatively useful by-product — what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 third item lists beef and bone meal, a dry rendered product from (beef) tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1
Beef and bone meal has a lower biological value than most other meat meals.
Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2
On the brighter side, beef and bone meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.
In any case, beef and bone meal is not considered a better quality dog food ingredient.
The fourth item is wheat. Wheat is nutritionally similar to corn and subject to corn’s same shortcomings and problems.
The fifth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized livestock.
What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
We do not consider generic animal fat preserved with BHA a quality ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is corn syrup. Corn syrup consists mainly of glucose, a sugar capable of causing an unhealthy rise in a dog’s blood sugar.
The seventh ingredient is 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.
In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically found in the lower quality pet foods.
After water, we find animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, this Kibbles ‘n Bits product contains the controversial food moisturizer, propylene glycol. Propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in making cat food.
But it can still be found to this day in lower quality dog foods.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Kibbles ‘n Bits Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Kibbles ‘n Bits appears to be a below-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 24% and an average fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate portion size of 58% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 39%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Yet when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.
Kibbles ‘n Bits dog food is a plant-based kibble using only a limited amount of beef and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
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.
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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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
12/26/2009 Original review
07/31/2010 Review updated
05/17/2012 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Shirley RB and Parsons CM, , Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632 ↩