Maintain Chunks Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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Maintain Chunks Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest-tier rating of 1 star.

The Maintain Chunks product line lists one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Maintain Chunks Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 18% | Fat = 7% | Carbs = 67%

Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, wheat mill run, meat and bone meal, cooked wheat, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols – a source of vitamin E), salt, natural flavor, tomato pomace, potassium chloride, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), minerals (zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vegetable oil, lecithin, citric acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis16%7%NA
Dry Matter Basis18%7%67%
Calorie Weighted Basis17%17%66%
Protein = 17% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 66%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is wheat mill run, also known as wheat middlings. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat middlings is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

In reality, wheat mill run is nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically found in the lower quality pet foods.

The third ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.2

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.3

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this ingredient could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.

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

The fifth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

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 sixth ingredient includes 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 pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.

However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.

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, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, this food contains vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

In addition,we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this 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.

Maintain Chunks Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Maintain Chunks looks like 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 18%, a fat level of 7% and estimated carbohydrates of about 67%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 41%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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.

Bottom line?

Maintain Chunks Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a limited amount of meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

A Final Word

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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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

03/29/2017 Last Update

  1. “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 4-4-2014
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  3. 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
  • LeahA

    LOL. True that!!

  • neezerfan

    Even the name of this is disgusting.

  • dchassett

    As long as people keep buying low quality, species inappropriate foods with complete garbage in them, the manufacturers will continue to make it. Companies are in it for the money, most have no concern for our animals. It’s the consumers that have to stop buying crap food for their animals and these manufacturers would either be forced out of business or forced to put quality ingredients in their foods.

  • Kim Millard

    This review totally grossed me out. How can people manufacture this swill then charge money to people to feed it to their companion animals??? Disgusting