Oven-Baked Tradition dog food receives the Advisor’s second-tier rating of 4 stars.
The Oven-Baked Tradition product line includes 12 dry dog foods. Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Oven-Baked Tradition website.
- Oven-Baked Tradition Small Breed Puppy
- Oven-Baked Tradition Small Breed Lamb
- Oven-Baked Tradition Small Breed Senior
- Oven-Baked Tradition Small Breed Chicken
- Oven-Baked Tradition Small Breed Whitefish
- Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Puppy
- Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Lamb
- Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Senior
- Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Chicken
- Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Whitefish
- Oven-Baked Tradition Large Breed Puppy
- Oven-Baked Tradition Large Breed Chicken
Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Whitefish was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Oven-Baked Tradition Medium Breed Whitefish
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Fresh whitefish, ground whole barley, herring meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground pearled barley, ground whole flaxseed, monosodium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, sweet potato, sea salt, choline chloride, inulin, Yucca schidigera extract, garlic powder, taurine, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate, acai berries, vitamin E supplement, beta-carotene, spinach, dried kelp, broccoli, apples, blueberries, pears, bananas, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus casei, vitamins and minerals (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, ferrous sulphate zinc oxide, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, copper sulphate, manganous oxide, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, sodium selenite), natural flavor. (this product may contain trace amounts of peanut)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||16%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||33%||45%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish. Whitefish is a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost… reducing the meat content to a fraction of its original weight.
The second ingredient is barley. barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The third ingredient lists herring meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, herring 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
Herring are small ocean fish related to menhaden. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
The fourth item 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 fifth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The sixth ingredient includes canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.3
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The seventh ingredient is barley. We’d assume barley is listed here again because it’s pearled rather than whole. The term “pearled” means the grain has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran.
The eighth 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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.4
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Next, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
And lastly, 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.
Oven-Baked Tradition Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Oven-Baked Tradition Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.
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 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Oven-Baked Tradition Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of fish, lamb or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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Notes and Updates
02/06/2011 Original review
03/05/2012 Review updated (added many new recipes)
03/05/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Oven Baked Tradition Website, 3/5/2012 ↩
- Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005) ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩