PC Nutrition First Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The PC Nutrition First product line includes nine dry dog foods. Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- PC Nutrition First Senior
- PC Nutrition First Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
- PC Nutrition First Toy and Small Breed (4.5 stars)
- PC Nutrition First Adult Salmon and Potato (3.5 stars)
- PC Nutrition First Adult Lamb and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
- PC Nutrition First Salmon and Potato Grain Free (5 stars)
- PC Nutrition First Weight Control Chicken and Brown Rice
- PC Nutrition First Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice (4.5 stars)
- PC Nutrition First Adult Lg Br Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
PC Nutrition First Adult Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
PC Nutrition First Chicken and Brown Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, brown rice, oatmeal, dehulled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols source of vitamin E), natural chicken flavour, tomatoes, whole dried egg, herring meal, flaxseed, salmon oil (source of DHA), brewers yeast, whole sweet potatoes, whole carrots, whole blueberries, whole cranberries, whole apples, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, sodium chloride, chicory root, choline chloride, vitamins & chelated minerals (vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin C, inositol, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin K, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulphate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, copper sulphate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum), dl-methionine, Yucca schidigera, dried rosemary
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||17%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||35%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient 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 third 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 fourth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fifth ingredient is 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 sixth 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.
After the natural chicken flavor, we find tomato, a nutrient rich vegetable consisting of about 72% carbohydrates.
The eighth ingredient is whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The ninth ingredient includes herring 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
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 five notable exceptions…
First, salmon 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the 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.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, chicory root is rich in 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, 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.
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.
PC Nutrition First Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, PC Nutrition First 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 28% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
PC Nutrition First is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, lamb or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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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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".
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Other spellings: President’s Choice
Notes and Updates
05/12/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩