Muenster Premium Dog Food earns the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Muenster Premium product line includes four dry dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s 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.
- Muenster Premium 18-6
- Muenster Premium 21-8
- Muenster Premium 26-18
- Muenster Premium 27-13
Muenster Premium 26-18 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Muenster Premium 26-18
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Poultry by-product meal, ground corn, ground grain sorghum, rice bran, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), porcine meat meal, corn distillers grains with solubles, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp, ground flaxseed, animal digest, salt, yeast culture, potassium chloride, zinc amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), choline chloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine, biotin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, cobalt carbonate, zinc sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene, Yucca schidigera extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||20%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||40%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, poultry by-products are those unsavory and inedible leftovers deemed “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
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 sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is porcine meat meal. Porcine meal (also known as pork meal) is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.
The seventh ingredient is corn distillers grains with solubles, a by-product of the ethanol (bio-fuel) industry. This low quality ingredient is frequently found in cattle feed and only rarely used to make pet food.
The eighth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 ninth 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 tenth 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, 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.
Next, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, this food also 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.
Muenster Premium Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Muenster Premium 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the corn gluten meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below average amount of meat.
Muenster Premium dog food is a plant-based kibble using a below average amount of lower quality meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
02/05/2012 Original review
02/05/2013 Last Update