Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Pure Vita Grain Free product line includes three 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.
- Pure Vita Grain Free Salmon and Peas
- Pure Vita Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato
- Pure Vita Grain Free Bison and Pea (3.5 stars)
Pure Vita Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
PureVita Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, peas, sweet potato, pea flour, pea starch, turkey fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), alfalfa meal, flax seed, natural turkey flavor, dicalcium phosphate, tomato pomace, sunflower oil, potassium chloride, salt, cranberries, calcium carbonate, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), dried brewers yeast, blueberries, apples, turmeric, taurine, chicory extract, lecithin, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), lactic acid, glucosamine hydrochloride, choline chloride, garlic, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), chondroitin sulfate, l-tryptophan, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||18%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||37%||41%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The fifth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is turkey fat. Turkey fat is obtained from rendering turkey, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Turkey fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, turkey fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
The ninth 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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 seven notable exceptions…
First, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
Next, this food 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.
In addition, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
We also note the inclusion of brewers yeast, which 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.
Next, chicory extract 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.
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Vita 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 27% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products, alfalfa and flaxseed in this recipe and the pea protein contained in the Bison formula, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Pure Vita Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of turkey 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, and when appropriate their fat-to-protein ratios.
Pure Vita Dog Food
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
10/19/2015 Last Update
- 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) ↩