Quality Care Plus (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Quality Care Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Quality Care Plus product line includes four 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.

  • Quality Care Plus Adult 26-15
  • Quality Care Plus Performance 30-22
  • Quality Care Plus Puppy/Reproducing 28-18
  • Quality Care Plus Reduced 20-10 (2.5 stars)

Quality Care Plus Adult 26-15 Dog Food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Quality Care Plus Adult 26-15

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), brown rice, oat groats, corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dried beet pulp, natural flavors, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried egg product, dried kelp, flaxseed meal, calcium carbonate, lecithin, dicalcium phosphate, monosodium phosphate, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate monohydrate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (biotin, calcium pantothenate, folic acid, vitamin A, B12, D3 and E supplements, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate), l-carnitine, dl-methionine, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast culture

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%17%46%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%36%39%

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 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 oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fifth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% 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 sixth ingredient includes corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

After the natural flavor, we find 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.

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, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

In addition, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Quality Care Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Quality Care Plus Dog Food looks like an average dry 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 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten, alfalfa and flaxseed meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Quality Care Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and minus the corn gluten meal, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.

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.

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.

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Notes and Updates

07/03/2014 Last Update