Pet-Tao Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Pet-Tao Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Pet-Tao product line includes four canned dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, one for all life stages (Harmony) and one for supplemental feeding only (Zing).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Pet-Tao Zing
  • Pet-Tao Chill
  • Pet-Tao Blaze
  • Pet-Tao Harmony

Pet-Tao Harmony was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pet-Tao Harmony

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Beef, turkey, chicken gizzards, white potato, beef heart, tofu, beef liver, carrots, celery, beef kidney, broccoli, eggs, green bell pepper, catfish, flax seed, button mushrooms, spinach, salt, sardines, olive oil, white vinegar, dicalcium phosphate, biotin, calcium carbonate, garlic, vitamin E supplement, rosemary, clove, basil, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide (source of iodine), vitamin D supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 25%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis11%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%17%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis40%35%26%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

The second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.2

Both beef and turkey are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is chicken gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.

The fourth ingredient is 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 fifth ingredient is beef heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The sixth ingredient is tofu, another name for bean curd. Tofu is a low carbohydrate component made from coagulated soy milk.

Although tofu is high in protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The eighth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The ninth ingredient is celery. Although raw celery can be very high in water, it can still contribute a notable amount of dietary fiber as well as other healthy nutrients.

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, 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.

In addition, 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.3

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).

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.

Pet-Tao Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pet-Tao canned dog food looks like an above average wet product.

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 46%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 48% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 19% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the tofu and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pet-Tao canned dog food is a meat-based product using a generous amount of various named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Caution: The Zing recipe is intended for supplemental use only and may not be suitable for long term daily feeding.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

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.

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

10/16/2011 Original review
04/22/2013 Review updated
04/22/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  3. 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)
  • xSiL

    Ask your local acupuncture vet

  • Angie Hendrickson

    Thank you Sandy, but I was hoping to find somewhere I could purchase it without having to buy an entire case. I’ve already explored the website. I wanted to sample it first by just buying a few cans. Any one know of any where I can just buy a few cans online?

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    from their website store:

    http://holisticpetproductsstore.com/

  • Angie Hendrickson

    Can any one please tell me where I can purchase this online? I cannot find anywhere for the life of me.

  • Dr. Marc Smith

    You remove hull when processed!! Processed soy products are minimally allergenic if at all!! This is still debatable even in human literature!! In our experience, tofu not allergen in dogs whatsoever!!  Whole soy sure can be depending on the levels in food item!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chadmichaelwright Chad Michael Wright

    I’ve used Pet-Tao on my pets and they absolutely love it!  I trust the feeding philosophy of Pet-Tao.  You won’t be disappointed.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    well maybe it’s not an allergen, but I’m actually more concerned about how crappy an ingredient it is for many other reasons. When soy is processed,free glutamic acid is released, basicly meaning the food has MSG. Also, soy products are very high in phytic acid, which is not destroyed by cooking. Also, phytoestrogen is found in high levels in soy product.

  • Shawna

    Ntvs ~~ what about the processing makes tofu non-allergenic?

  • Marie

    Yes, that is true. Hence why it’s red-flagged as a plant-based protein booster, not as an allergen.

  • Ntvs

    The way Tofu is made eliminates Tofu as an allergen source.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Laurie… Unfortunately, I’m unable to help you locate or obtain this product. It would probably be better to contact the company. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Laurie M.

    Pet Tao offers 6 versions of a canned dog food diet.

    Three of them require a Veterinarian’s prescription:

    http://pettao.com/products/23.html

    How would a dog owner go about getting a Vet’s RX in order to feed this food (and tolerate an argument with their Vet, most likely)

  • Shawna

    What the experts don’t tell you is that chia seeds are a much more stable and better source of omega 3 ALA. They don’t have to be ground to be digested and therefore the oil is likely to remain fresh longer :)..

    I’m not versed enough in phytoestrogens. Will have to work on that.. ;) But what I have read is not so much the estrogens themselves but the dominance of them in the diet. We get way more then is possibly healthful.

    But, my concern with flaxseed, flax oil or salmon oil etc in dog foods is omega 3′s extreme instability. If you purchase a bottle of the oil for yourself — it comes in a dark container, must be stored in the fridge and used within a certain timeframe after opening. Flax is to be ground immediately before eating. Yes, they do add tocopherols but they too are quite perishable. Just seems to me that most foods have already turning rancid omega 3′s before they are even fed.. Just my opinion though!!! Chia seeds are a bit more pricey (and still only ALA) but make more sense to me the flax.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Toxed2Loss… By the way, I’m not sure everyone would agree that phytoestrogens are inherently dangerous.

    According to an article published in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and available online at PubMed of the National Institute of Health, phytoestrogens like those found in flaxseed and soy have been shown to decrease the risk of certain cancers (in humans), too.

    It appears there’s some hype on both sides of this issue. To get a better total picture of the controversy with phytoestrogens, the current Wiki article references a number of articles typical of the different opinions.

    Regarding flaxseed oil and omega 3 fatty acids, the following text is taken directly from my FAQ on dog food ingredients:

    There are many different kinds of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Yet not all of them are created equal.

    Fish oil contains the prized EPA and DHA variety. These two fatty acids possess the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

    On the other hand, plant-based sources of omega-3 oils (especially flax seeds) contain a much higher content of ALA (an omega-3 fat not as readily utilized by the body).

    Yet ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA by the animal. However, this conversion process (of ALA to the superior EPA and DHA type) is notably limited (especially in dogs).

    Bottom line? Fish oil is superior to flax and canola oils. But these plant-based omega-3 fats are probably better for a dog than no omega-3 at all.

  • sandy

    And I only know what “BTW” and “IMO” and “IMHO” mean….

  • sandy

    Oh…that’s how you make a smiley face…I didn’t how!!!

  • sandy

    In the “Orijen White Paper” it states DHA & EPA omega 3′s are from animal sources and are readily used by the body, where as ALA omega 3 comes from plants (soy, flax, canola) and must be converted to EPA and DHA to of any nutritional benefit for the dog or cat which their bodies do not readily make this conversion.

    I’m sure someone can find a research paper on this… ;)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Toxed2Loss… I don’t doubt that much of what I say about soy, flaxseed oil and many other ingredients is probably in error. The problem is that even if I could assure you (and all my readers) that at least half of what I have to say here is absolutely true, I couldn’t even tell you which half of what I write about is true and which is not.

    Yikes!

    And that’s just one more reason to be cautious to not accept everything “scientific” as the final word.

    As I’ve said in these pages many times before, welcome to what best-selling author Michael Pollan refers to as the Age of Nutritionism. Nutritionism is not a science (like it may sound), but an ideology. A religion. A belief that scientists, veterinarians and animal nutritionists have the credentialed ability to engineer a dog food more perfect than Nature. More perfect than real food.

    In rating and discussing dog food here, I tend to use as my gold standard for comparison a dog’s natural ancestral diet, and not to exalt science at the exclusion of the obvious intent of Mother Nature. And common sense.

    That’s why I’ve created The Dog Food Advisor as a blog, leaving unlimited space below each article for folks to share what they know or have read. This allows each of us to draw our own conclusions.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Mike,
    I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of facts about soy, incase you were unaware…

    According to a report I read on The Townsend letters, the premier nutritional peer review journal, entitled “The Third International Soy symposium.” there are a lot of problems with soy. The summary is soy causes premature aging and senile dementia, 5 years ahead of your peers. It is a known carcinogen. It contains significant amounts of genisteine, a phyto estrogen and causes reproductive disorders, fertility issues, early menstruation in females and enlargement of breast tissue in both boys and girls, estrogen dominance issues and feminizing of males.

    In addition, from other sources (which I can’t pull off the top of my head but cited in a paper I wrote on milk and dairy) flax seed oil is/can be toxic and contains more phyto estrogen than soy. They are the highest phyto estrogen producing plants. I know both are hyped to be beneficial, but that’s just it, it’s hype.

    I also read a book by Dr. Rex Russel, “What the Bible Says About Healthy Living. In it he cited an expert that stated omega 3s can only come from animal sources. Plant oils are omega 6s, and 9s and do not combine to form 3s. That too, was hype by the vegetarian community and not backed up by science. He also stated that it had been passed around so much, and the error copied that most people accept it as true.

    Just thought you would want to know.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    Good deal, Doc. :-)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hey Ninja… You’re right. So, I’ve now red flagged tofu. Yet not so much for its potential to be allergenic to some animals but rather its ability to affect the overall protein content of a food. I’ve edited the report to reflect this fact. Thanks for bringing this oversight to my attention.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    Hey Mike, shouldn’t tofu be red-flagged for the same reason other soy products are? Or is there a reason a dog with a soy allergy wouldn’t have an issue with tofu?