Mulligan Stew Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Protein = 29% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 52%

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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%11%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

Highly recommended.

Those looking for a nice wet product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Mulligan Stew canned dog food.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/04/2010 Original review
02/23/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    As most of you know, I finally got everyone settled on Fromm 4Star Salmon a la Veg for their base kibble and I’ve been adding Fromm 4Star, Wellness, Instinct Healthy Weight and Mulligan Stew canned foods. I also add prebiotics/enzymes every day and probiotics 3 times a week. There are some other specialty supplements thrown in, too. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to add in another kibble to their rotation but it’s hard to do without Laverne having some issues. Since they love Mulligan Stew canned food (even my cat eats it heartily….I don’t see the attraction lol!) I decided to order a small bag of their Salmon dry. A back story to this is that I tried using Mullligan Stew dry about a year or so ago (can’t really remember) and Stella couldn’t handle the size of the kibble so I stopped using the dry. I’ve used the canned for years now. Well, with Stella gone (rip my love) I thought I’d give it another go. When the bag came I used it as treats and they loved it. I now have them half M.S. and half Fromm and they’re stool is the best it’s been yet! Laverne was the one I was worried about and hers is great, but even Hazel’s and Lucy’s have improved. I thought they were pretty good in the stool dept., but hey lol! So….I think I found my other kibble to add to the rotation. I will be using Chewy’s a lot because I can’t get any of the Mulligan Stew (canned or dry) locally, but that’s fine.

  • InkedMarie

    When I read of a company having poor customers service, they go to my “do not buy from” list. There are way too many other foods out there, with good customer service, to choose from.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Oh and I’ll check my email now! I haven’t checked it yet this morning. :)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I know. I was amazed at the number of companies that didn’t respond to my inquiries about the calcium levels. I would say about 1/4 of the companies I emailed never responded – pretty disappointing. This is also a food Susan Thixton approves of so I was under the assumption the customer service would be good. :(

  • InkedMarie

    With all the dog food recalls, you’d think that dog food companies would bend over backwords to answer questions.
    (BTW, sent you an email last night).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Has anyone ever spoken to this company’s customer service? After several ignored emails over the past two weeks and numerous phone calls that were not answered Mulligan Stew’s customer service is proving to be as illusive as Canine Caviar’s.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Thanks, Betsy!  I appreciate your confidence in me.  When I said that Stella didn’t do as well, she really couldn’t handle the larger size kibble.  I also tend to like going to the store to buy my dogs’ food in person, but I do order online at times, especially when there’s a great sale.  Mulligan Stew is not readily available to me atm, so even though I’d use it and think it’s great, I probably won’t be soon.  If you have any questions about it Diane from MS will be quite helpful, I’m sure.  Good luck with it in your rotation! 

    Btw, the canned food (according to Diane) may also be fed to cats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Hi Jan,

    Yes, that does help! I value your opinion.

    In reading Susan Thixton’s comments abut Mulligan Stew, it does sound as though MS holds their product to very high quality standards. I really like what I’ve read about the company, but have been trying to wrap my brain around some of those more “questionable” ingredients. That being said, I am certainly no scientist and believe that even with some of those ingredients listed above in red, there may be a synergy factor, that I’ll probably never understand, that needs to be taken into consideration.

    I use what I feel are high quality foods that are made by companies whom I feel I can trust ~ and can’t imagine using anything less. Mulligan Stew does sound like one of those companies. : )

    I had actually intended to return this bag of food, which is unopened; but have decided to put it into the rotation. I’d like to feed both of mine the same thing, but if my Cavalier can’t do the larger kibble, I’m sure my Golden will have no problem with it. Now, I’m excited for them to try it!

    Thanks, Jan! : )

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Hi Betsy!  I admit I haven’t used Mulligan Stew in awhile (the dry, at least).  I still have and use the can every once in awhile. The food is a fantastic food, if it works for your dog.  It is a baked food and the kibbles are rather large.  Stella (r.i.p.) did not do as well as the other dogs on it and I wanted a food to feed all of them, so I stopped using the dry.  I had to mail order it, but Diane from MS is wonderful to work with!  I’m still a FB friend of hers.  The other dogs liked it and did well on it.  The canned food is awesome, but does smell…like cabbage.  I would consider using it again.  Like I said, the dogs like it.  The canned food, and the dry, feeds well.  Good output, so to speak lol.  Stellar company!  Hope this helps. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Hi Jan,

    I wondered if you happened to give Mulligan Stew a trial at your house?  I know I hadn’t heard you mention using it with any sort of regularity since I’ve been frequenting DFA.  I recently picked up a bag, but was still on the fence about feeding it and would love to hear your comments.  I became intrigued by it as it’s a food of which Susan Thixton thinks very highly.  : )

  • Lynn

    This food is awesome.  I have had my dogs on the canned for over a year now.  And yes Diane is awesome to talk to.  My Papillon had some hair loss on her hinds legs and within 6 weeks of being on the Mulligan Stew her fur grew back.  She is 12 and has tons of energy and sings for each of her meals :)

  • Lynn

    This food is awesome.  I have had my dogs on the canned for over a year now.  And yes Diane is awesome to talk to.  My Papillon had some hair loss on her hinds legs and within 6 weeks of being on the Mulligan Stew her fur grew back.  She is 12 and has tons of energy and sings for each of her meals :)

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Hi Mike S.!  I just got a pamphlet from Mulligan Stew about their dry and can foods and found out that the avg. carb % of the Chicken formula is 35% (on a dry matter basis) as stated on the pamphlet.  The Lamb and Salmon also state 35% carbs.  Pretty low considering and a little bit different than 52% stated in the review.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Hi Mike S., I noticed in your review above that you mentioned the absence of chelated minerals in this food.  I found it interesting that after speaking with Diane, customer service for Mulligan Stew, she said that the vits/mins come from the ingredients included in the food naturally, similar to Nature’s Logic.  If so, this food has become more attractive to me.  I have already fed their canned food with good results and am going to try their dry soon.  Just thought I’d let you know.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Just had a lovely conversation with Diane from Mulligan’s Stew.  She was very helpful and answered all my questions satisfactorily.  I am going to give this food to my dogs, along with the canned food, starting in Feb.  I like the science behind the food.  I have used the canned food before and love it for my 4.  They loved it, too.  I’ve never used the dry, but I think I’ll go for it and see if they like it as much as the canned.

  • Pingback: Baking vs. Cooking, Extrusion Process - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Linda… Manufacturers that bake their kibbles claim they preserve more nutrients. However, I’ve never been able to find a peer-reviewed scientific study that confirms these claims.

  • Jonathan

    The claim with baking is that it uses lower temperatures and maintains more of the integrity of the fresh meat used (in this case the salmon) which is probably why there is not an added fat closer to the top of the ingredients. I feel the effect is probably marginal.

  • Ron

    Hi Linda,
    In my opinion baked is baked, it still uses high temps. for the most part. So I would not say its superior.
    It seems to be good marketing though.

  • Linda

    I noticed on another site that Mulligan Stew is a baked kibble. Is baking superior to the processing of regular kibbles?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Gaye… A good diabetes diet isn’t just about fiber but also finding foods with a decreased ability to raise a dog’s blood glucose (sugar) levels. More information about this subject can be found on our FAQ page regarding the topic, “Diabetic Dog Food”.

  • Jonathan

    Gaye, take a look at Wellness Core Ocean Formula. It has 7% fiber, is grain-free, higher protein, low carb, and therefor, should have a lower glycemic index as well.

  • Gaye

    I was disappointed to see the molasses added to this product. I have a diabetic dog who requires a high fiber dog food and finding one is very difficult. Unfortunately, that ingredient just knocked this food off my list. Does anybody have any other ideas other than the corn-based Medi-Cal, Hill’s, and Purina? I’ve looked all over and am presently just adding my own fiber in the form of steamed green beans and bran.

  • Sue

    I switch my dog’s food every month for variety and I always go back to Mulligan stew. It is becoming hard to find though (2 pet stores in my area have stopped carrying it because of low sales) I think people just haven’t heard about it. My dog loves it and not to enter the “too much information” territory, but Mulligan stew gives him the best poos ever! I always go back to this food because if that. I think there is a lot of fiber in it or something. I recommend this food!

  • Carroll

    This comment is for Dan. Our lab is prone to ear infections due to allergies as well, and Mulligan Stew is one of the only foods he can tolerate. It is baked at a very low temp, so it is very easy to digest. Kirby’s ears are perfect on it. Another good food for him is Canisource, which has a limited ingredient list. Kirby’s ears flared up on the grain-free foods, largely because I think the protein content was too high for him. He seems to do best with a protein content of 26-29%

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Dan… Your question is a good one. You’re certainly not alone. Many seem to be confused about the role of yeast in ear infections.

    Now, personally, I find it difficult to believe the yeast in a food (including Mulligan’s Stew) could “infect” a dog. Yet it is quite possible your dog could be allergic to the yeast ingredient itself.

    Finding the cause of any allergy can involve a considerable amount of guess-work (another name for diagnosis) as well as trial and error. If you believe your dog is actually allergic to this ingredient, then (like all potential allergens), your best hope can be to seek out and avoid all dog foods that contain yeast. And there are quite a few.

    And remember, most allergies aren’t even related to food in the first place. I’ve read that less than 10% of all canine allergies are the result of food. They can also be related to fleas and microscopic mite infections.

    Plus (like with humans) allergies can be atopic (related to environmental pollutants). For example, carpet mites (very common, by the way).

    If you feel your dog is allergic to food, you may want to consider a grain-free (not just wheat-free) diet. To understand why this could be an issue, be sure to read my article, “Dangerous Canine Diseases Linked to Grains in Dog Food“. Hope this helps.

  • Dan

    Mike,

    This may be a dumb question, but our lab is prone to yeast infections in his ears. Our vet advised us to avoid dog foods containing wheat products. Is the selenium yeast contained in the Mulligan Stew a product of wheat, and/or do you think it might contribute to his ear infections?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Sue… I get the impression from your comment you believe you’re writing to the Mulligan Stew company. We only review dog foods here on this website. You may want to contact the Mulligan Stew customer service department directly to get your question answered. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Sue

    Our 8 yr. old lab is on Purina One Weight Control and we limit how much he can have because we have to keep his weight down even though he is 92 lbs., you can still see a waist and some indention of his ribs. Is your food suitable for him? He gets about 2.5 c. twice a day now. I didn’t see any comments from people with older dogs or those that tend to be big eaters.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Karby… You may be able to find the food you’re looking for by calling the food’s customer service department. And (good news) we’ll soon (December???) be activating our online Dog Food Locator Directory to help you search by zip (or postal) codes. I think you’ll find this new free service quite useful

  • karby

    Yes, I cannot find this food either. I want to feed this food but it is out of stock on the company site. I have no idea how to get it. Most of the places listed on their site that carry in my state don’t. Sounds like a nice food…..but if I can’t get it, I can’t feed it. If anyone knows how to get this food let us know. Thanks

  • Sharon

    Mike, I have a correction on that adoption date above it was January of 2010 not 09 Jazz was 2 when we addopted him.

  • Sharon

    Hi Mike, Wanted to let people know I have a almost 3year old Husky/Lab Mix I adopted in January 2009 that is doing exceptionaly well on Mulligan Stew, When we first brought him home I tried a few different types of food (He seem to have allergies, was itiching alot, had alot of hair loss, bad gas) we tried Organix and Natural Balance first but he was still having the issues I mentioned then my son suggested the Mulligan Stew, he’d heard about it from a friend so we decided to try it & he loved it & was doing very well on it but decided to try a 5 star food that would be alittle easier to find (Blue Buffalo Wilderness) Jazz really never seemed to like it much but did eat it before long many of the issues I listed returned so needless to say I went back to the Mulligan Stew and Jazz seems happy I did & is doing well once again. I do give him half a can of food mixed in with his Mulligan Kibble at his dinner meal. I mix up the Mulligan Stew canned foods along with several of the Merrick canned foods & he LOVES! getting that dinner meal. The Mulligan Stew dry food can be a challenge to find but in my opinion is worth it, if you go to their web site mulliganstewpetfood.com you can find a retailer in your area, call them to see if they sell it, the retailer I called ordered it for me. Wanted people to know that this 4 star food in my opinion & in Jazzy’s opinion is as good as any 5 Star food! Thanks Sharon

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Eileen… I responded to these questions with my comment regarding your comment on the California Natural review. Hope this helps.

  • EILEEN

    i have a 3 yr old shitsu w/diareah issues. I have had him to 3 different vets and they ran all the tests and said to just keep trying until i find the right food. He seems to do best on fish.
    I had him on calif natural herring & sweet potatoe last and he did great for 3 months and then diareah. I always go back to Purina EN in the can (which has beef as an ingredient, but they just changed the formula to chicken. I also give him pumpkin for fiber. Would you recommend the fish mulligan stew or is it too many ingredients for someone who might have allergies? What about brown rice is that bad for allergies

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Patty… Although it’s also rich in mineral nutrients, molasses is a less-refined form of sugar with a glycemic index similar to maple syrup. Like table sugar (and in larger amounts), molasses has the ability to increase a dog’s blood sugar.

    Brewers yeast is another controversial item. Although it is a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in other healthy nutrients. Many also believe yeast repels fleas and supports a dog’s immune system.

    Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

    What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve never been able to scientifically verify.

    In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, we feel yeast should be considered a nutritious addition.

  • Patty

    Hi Mike,

    I was wondering about the molassas listed here; you have it marked in red as controversial, but I don’t see an explanation. what is the controversy?
    Also, I was looking at Merrick’s rating. It sounded good, but I’m concerned about the 2 yeast items. I’ve been given to understand that yeast is something of a concern as regards “bloat”. My puppy is half German Shepherd mix, so I’m trying to be careful of that.
    Thanks,
    Patty

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lisa… Kibbles are bakery goods (kind of like meat-flavored cookies). Most kibbles do not use meat as the primary ingredient in their recipes. It’s quite common to find the main after-cooking ingredient in these foods a grain (or some other non-meat item, like potato). To us, the word “moderate” means “average” compared to other similar products.

    And by the way, there’s usually very little difference between a 4 and a 5-star food. Whether your dog is in public competition or simply a family pet shouldn’t make any difference in your choice. These are two of our best dog foods. Either should make your Border Collie very happy.

  • Lisa

    I’ve been feeding my 4yr old Border Collie Mulligans Stew Chicken formula (DRY). I’m having a hard time finding it in my area. The review “basically a grain base kibble, with moderate amounts of quality meats”, makes it sound like a 2 star. I read a review on Fromm’s? A 5 star dog food & it seems it kind of said the same thing. I have a pet, not a show/competitor dog, although you should see him jump/catch a ball in the air. Should that make any difference in the star catorgory I look in? Thank you