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, 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.
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Fish (4.5 stars)
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Chicken Small Bites
- Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Fish Small Bites (4.5 stars)
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, fish 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 blueberries, fresh apples, fresh carrots, fresh sweet potato, ground whole flaxseed, monosodium phosphate, sea salt, 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, copper proteinate, manganous proteinate, vitamin B12, niacin, sodium selenite, calcium d-pantothenate, folic acid, vitamin A, 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 flour, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fourth ingredient includes fish meal, another protein-rich 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
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
The fifth ingredient includes potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient includes 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.
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, pea fiber is 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.
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.
In addition, flaxseed is 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.
Next, vegetable oil is 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.
This food also includes dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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 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 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.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and dried alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Oven-Baked Tradition Grain Free Dog Food is a meat-based kibble using a significant amount of chicken and fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/03/2012 Original review
03/17/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩