Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free 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.
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Fish Recipe
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken Recipe
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Fish Small Bites
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken Small Bites
Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Fresh deboned chicken, chicken meal, tapioca flour, herring meal, russet potato, fresh chicken liver, dried egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), fresh whitefish, pea fiber, pumpkin puree, inulin (prebiotic), fresh spinach, fresh whole blueberries, fresh whole apples, fresh whole carrots, fresh whole sweet potato, ground whole flaxseed, monosodium phosphate, sea salt, lecithin, choline chloride, taurine, dried kelp, green tea extract (catechin), glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, Yucca schidigera extract, dried alfalfa, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, vitamins and minerals (sodium bentonite, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vegetable oil, vitamin E acetate, copper proteinate, manganous proteinate, B12 vitamin, niacin, sodium selenite, calcium D-pantothenate, folic acid, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin, calcium iodate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 ), natural flavor, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||20%||34%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||40%||28%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fourth ingredient is herring meal, another high-protein meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The fifth ingredient is russet potato. Sometimes referred to as an Idaho potato, this is the most common type of potato grown in the United States.
Assuming they’re cooked, potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, they’re of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth item is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The seventh ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
The tenth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no nutritional value to a dog.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
Next, we find dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Then, we also find vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
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.
Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free appears to be 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 34% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-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 an above-average amount of meat.
Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free is a plant-based kibble using an above-average amount of chicken and herring as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 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
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Notes and Updates
09/03/2012 Original review
09/03/2012 Last Update