Maximum Bully Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Maximum Bully Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Maximum Bully product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Maximum Bully All Life Stages

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 24% | Carbs = 32%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), white rice, whole barley, oatmeal, rice bran, dried plain beet pulp, millet, pea protein, spray dried egg product, yeast extract, fish meal, salt, flaxseed meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin K (menadione sodium bisulfite complex), calcium pantothenate, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), zinc oxide, iron sulfate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, sodium selenite (selenium), zinc amino acid complex, calcium carbonate, iron amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, sodium selenite, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, calcium iodate, pumpkin, cranberries, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast culture, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis32%22%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%24%32%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%47%25%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 47% | Carbs = 25%

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 pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The seventh ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% 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 meat content of this dog food.

Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago1, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

In addition, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

In addition, this food includes 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 food 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.

Maximum Bully Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Maximum Bully looks like an above-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 36%, a fat level of 24% and estimated carbohydrates of about 32%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 69%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient and minus the pea protein, we may have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Maximum Bully All Life Stages is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

However, menadione phobics may wish to ignore our rating and look elsewhere for another product.

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.

Maximum Bully 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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Notes and Updates

02/11/2017 Last Update

  1. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances