Mulligan Stew Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Mulligan Stew product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Mulligan Stew Fish Recipe
- Mulligan Stew Lamb Recipe
- Mulligan Stew Chicken Recipe
Mulligan Stew Fish Recipe was selected to represent the othe products in the line for this review.
Mulligan Stew Fish Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Salmon, brown rice, oats, salmon meal, whitefish meal, whitefish, trout, dehydrated alfalfa meal, flaxseed, eggs, herring oil, rice bran, dried cane molasses, dehydrated cabbage, natural fish flavor, inulin (from chicory root), l-methionine, l-cysteine, dried kelp, salt, beta-carotene, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, selenium yeast, dehydrated horseradish, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative), potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||11%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||25%||48%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third ingredient is oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The next two ingredients are salmon meal and whitefish meal. Because they are considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Following the meals, we find two more fish ingredients — whitefish and trout, additional quality, raw items.
The eighth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
Next, herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.
In addition, although molasses can be rich in minerals, it’s also a less refined form of sugar with a glycemic index in humans similar to maple syrup.
Like table sugar (and in excessive amounts), molasses has the potential to raise a dog’s blood sugar.
Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
This recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
And lastly, based upon the information provided on the company’s website, we are unable to confirm the presence or absence of any chelated minerals in this product. Chelated minerals are usually associated with better quality dog foods.
Mulligan Stew Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Mulligan Stew looks like an above-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 29% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Mulligan Stew is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of fish, chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a nice wet product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Mulligan Stew canned dog food.
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
04/04/2010 Original review
02/23/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩