Red Flannel Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Red Flannel Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Red Flannel product line includes six 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.

  • Red Flannel Adult Formula
  • Red Flannel Prime Formula
  • Red Flannel Large Breed Formula
  • Red Flannel Puppy Formula (3 stars)
  • Red Flannel Hi-Protein Formula (2 stars)
  • Red Flannel Canine Select Formula (2 stars)

Red Flannel Large Breed Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal (natural source of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine), ground wheat, ground yellow corn, brewers rice, chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols (form of vitamin E), dried beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), ground flaxseed, dried egg product, calcium carbonate, brewers dried yeast, salt, potassium chloride, monocalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, l-carnitine, niacin, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, manganous oxide, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), sodium selenite, calcium iodate, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%13%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%29%47%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (conventional meat).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The second ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

The third ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).

The fourth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth 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 sixth 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 chicken flavor, we find 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.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of 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.

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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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.

And lastly, this product contains 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.

Red Flannel Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Red Flannel looks like an 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

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

When you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast contained in this recipe, and the corn gluten and soybean meals contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

We like this product. However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Red Flannel Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken by-product or meat and bone meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Recommended.

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

Those looking for a far superior kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Infinia Dog Food.

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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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

03/17/2010 Original review
02/16/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Colleen Whitlow

    Beth, you are spot on! I have the money and the smarts to give my animals the care they need- do you think my horse looks good? I don’t use anyone’s opinion to formulate my animals’ care. I use facts and research, not opinion. Because you think I’m doing something wrong, doesn’t make it so. I use research and results to form my personal opinion on what I feed and products I use on my animals. My dog is thriving and I get numerous people asking what I feed him because he looks so good. The same with my horse- I know what I’m doing, and that’s all I need. Your opinion is just that- your opinion. When you have seen what I have seen when it comes to dog issues, and have seen the results that I have seen, THEN your opinion will matter to me. But until then, your opinion is just your own opinion. No hard feelings!

  • Beth Knuth

    If you have the money to feed and care for horses like appears in the picture then you have the money and the smarts to find proper healthy food for your dog. Just my thoughts on the matter.

  • Colleen Whitlow

    I forgot to mention that my dog came from animal control and had bloody mucousy runny stools several times a day when I got him and was eating Science Diet for the month he was there. I got him on the Red Flannel and saw nice firm small stools after about 10 days. His coat was dull and rough, but now it’s outstanding- as I knew it would be. So all you non-believers, keep on non-believing. I’m going to give my dog what he needs, whether you agree with it or not. Everyone has their own opinion~

  • Guest

    I just read some of the comments from people who think this food is terrible- LOL!
    My dog came from the pound and was eating Science Diet (gasp). He has mucousy, bloody, runny stools several times a day. After about 2 weeks on the Red Flannel Prime Formula, he developed- and kept- firm small stools and has maintained it ever since. He was at the animal control for over a month and was a wandering stray previously. His coat was dull, and he scratched all the time- with no fleas. It was a no-brainer for me to order the prime formula and get him on it right away. I knew that it worked on skin but didn’t know it would clear up his intestinal issues.
    So all you non- believers can keep on non-believing. And for those who need help for their dog, you can order Red Flannel from any Purina dealer.

  • Colleen Whitlow

    The only reason I’m feeling compelled to comment on this review is that I sold the Red Flannel Prime Formula for many years with shocking results. Dogs that were on steroids for itching stopped scratching on this food. Dogs who had hot spots and “mange” were “cured” by this dog food. Yes, it has wheat and corn- oh my! But it is soy-free, and after using this product myself on dogs that scratched for no reason with hot spots and had it completely eliminate the skin problems, it appears that soy must be quite an allergen. Of course, pet owners aren’t told that. The vets make more money with steroids and supplements than simply telling the customer to feed a different food. I can’t count the number of dogs that were diagnosed with mange and undergoing aggressive mange treatment, that cleared up completely and permanently with this food. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would not believe it either. Now I will feed nothing but the prime formula to keep my own dog’s skin healthy and his coat so very shiny. This dog food is inexpensive and works wonders on dogs with skin issues.

  • Timothy Sullivan

    I think by the info that is supplied and common sense tells me, Red Flammel Dog food is OK for short term use like a rotation with my regular brand of top line dog food.But for the Quality and Health of my Best Friends LIFE She should be fine feeding her 3-4 bags a year. To save money !!! My Brandy is a chocolate lab very smart and loving. Thank you for reading !!

  • kelly

    That’s my son on the front of the Red Flannel Puppy Food!! I’m in St. Louis, MO and I can’t find anywhere to buy it.

  • Gail

    Thank you.

  • LawofRaw

    I hear ya. Okay, all the best wishes for you and your doggie. I’m glad at least that the company making Red Flannel are employing jobs out there, and that’s got to be one positive.

    Oh just one more thing…..About how you say that your dog turns his nose up at anything else. Have you heard of the ‘Take the bowl away after 20 minutes’ tactic? It ultimately works for even the most stubborn of dogs. You just have to persist for days even. And the good thing about that is, unlike for cats, is that dogs can survive for lengthy periods of time with out food, relying on their fat reserves for energy and the like.

    Anyway, like I said, whatever you do, I hope it turns out for the best in the long run.

  • Gail

    I know this dog food has it’s downs more than ups, but i will keep my dog on this food as i have tried several(and i mean several) other foods in the past and he turns his nose up at them. I look at it like this……if he doesn’t like it..he won’t eat it. And if i get a bad bill of health from the vet, then i’ll change his diet. also my dog has shown no signs of being ill. he doesn’t hide from us, he doesn’t whimper, his nose is always wet and cool, his coat is very, very shiny,and he plays several times a day, and his stool is the way a dog’s stool is suppose to be. All in all…….yes if i ate McDonald’s for a long time i would end up with health problems along with anyone else who did the same thing. And as i grow older(just like my dog is) i will show signs of aging,(just like my dog will). In the end we will grow old gracefully together and be happy doing it.

  • LawofRaw

    You could probably eat McDonalds for a year and almost be okay on the outside for the most part, apart from gaining weight and being out of shape, Add some more continuous years of the same and the likelihood for developing heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, etc before time, is increased greatly. Dogs are instinctively wolves as well as sharing their mDNA, and hence in addition to the fact that they can’t talk (human language….so they can’t tell you how they feel), they will often hide when feeling unwell, as this behaviour mimics that of sick or injured wolves in the wild who hide such weaknesses from possibly being taken advantage of, from other wolves or animals.

    So my point is, you may not know of, or see the gradual damage such a poor food as this, may do, until it’s too late and you’re having to deal with huge veterinary bills and headaches (although the vets won’t mind).

  • Gail

    I was just curious on what was being said about the food i feed my dog.

  • LawofRaw

    I often wonder why those who defend these foods after reading an informative review on it and hopefully gaining a better understanding about why this is not so good and why that is controversial etc etc, still do? Not everyone can be a shill, so I figure things like, it may be the package design. It just may be so attractive in design that it mesmerizes those addicted. Or it may be loyalty. We humans, just like doggies are loyal creatures. Or perhaps it’s the psychological trap of living in denial of the facts just presented before them. Dr. Michael Parenti calls this type of thing as someone’s “fall back position” Of course, it may be also just be the fact that their doggies are really doing well on such a diet. Or their perception leads them to believe that. It may very well be a case that the dog is getting a food source irrespective of its quality and thus the mere eating of the food and hence processing that food, warrants or justifies an owner’s perception that their dog “is doing great” on an otherwise ordinary and conventional grain ridden commercial pet food.

    And not forgetting the old, “every dog is different” argument! “And some dogs do well on this and not so well on other foods” etc etc. I suppose this is true to a degree. Is that to say that…you know…some people may do really well on McDonald’s and not so well on a nutritious and healthy home cooked meal?

  • Gail

    I agree with you too! Every dog is different in they’re own way. My Lab has never shown a reaction to this food. I mean sure his stool smells terrible, but i believe it’s suppose to that’s why they call it poop!!! He is very energetic and very loving and smart and whenever it’s feeding time……he’s right there waiting. So i say there’s nothing wrong with Red Flannel.

  • Gail

    Where are you located?

  • Gail

    I have a 6 year old black lab named duke and we have been feeding him red flannel food for almost a year now and i have not seen him act any different than he always does, he is full of life, strong and very, very smart! I say it’s a good food!

  • InkedMarie

    That’s great your dog is doing good on this food but it is not a great food.

  • Gail

    My black Lab has been eating Red Flannel dog food for almost a year and he has showed no signs whatever of being sick! This is a great dog food!!!!!! Just saying!!

  • LabsRawesome

     I’m sure they’re all doing just fabulous on by product meal, wheat, corn, brewers rice, and menadione! Imagine how much better they could do with a food with some actual real meat in it.  :)

  • Eiringhighplainspets

    We run a kennel where we breed several large breed dogs as well as Corgis. We feed different variations of Red Flannel for each and all of our adult dogs have various jobs…cattle dogs, hunting dogs, agility, and show. All of our dogs have nice shiny coats, healthy body inhabitous, they always maintain their body fat and condition thru whelping and nursing. We have tried some of the more expensive dog foods and always come back to Red Flannel. This review does not do it justice and the ingrediants on my bags (Prime, High Pro, and Puppy) are not the same as here!
    To each you own, this is just our experiance!

  • Michelle Freedman

    You can buy it at any Purina Dealer in your area.  Just go to the homepage at http://www.purinamills.com  (lower left corner!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer
  • [email protected]

    I do not know what it is about this dog food but i have a black lab and she simply loves it.the only propblem is i can not find out where to buy it.

  • silverghost

    I’ve had 2 dogs with medical problems and found that red flannel was the best dog food for them. The 1st one had diarrhea w/blood after several vets visits with no solutions I looked to dietary issues trying some rather costly foods. Visited a different feed store and was looking at some more high priced foods. Then remembered that more money isn’t always best. Bought the cheapest bag and within a week the stool was almost normal. The other dog had seizures, on red flannel she only had seizures 1-2 a year. If I didn’t make it to the feed store and just picked up something at walmart the diarrhea and seizures came back so as far as I concerned ratings don’t mean much.     

  • Pingback: red flannel dog food | All About Pets

  • Citorrie

    Im trying it now for the last months i mix it with river run it have gave me just so far

  • Somebody

    these are not the ingredients listed on the bag of red flannel high protein i have here at home.  I can’t really use this 

  • melissa

    If your budget is limited, shopa round. Propac is fairly decent and like 28.99 for a 33# bag.

  • Rskuhn

    joanna – Red Flannel is a 2 star food, how about feeding your dog a better food at a similar price?   You can contact Red Flannel or look on their website for other sellers in your area.  Would you want to eat the same food all your life?  Boring !!  Perhaps you live near a Menards which sells Diamond Natural (4 Stars)  or Nutro Max (3 Stars).  Costco sells Kirklands which is a 4 Star food.  Blains Farm and Fleet sells Taste of the wild and several other dog foods.  Remember to transition slowly to a new dog food.  Its not that hard with this website to guide you.  Just look at 3 stars or higher and you will be doing your dog a favor.  If your dog ate a Chicken based food with success look for another Chicken based food.  

  • jonna

    i need advise. I have a 4 yr old Pitt Bull and she has ate nothing but red flannel dog food her whole life. The store i buy from is closed for good and i dont know how to find out what food to put her on now???

  • Nicole

    Our dog started eating Red Flannel about 2 weeks ago and he is in his 3rd day in the hospital and hanging on. I’m not sure if it is the food that caused his issue, but I am almost certain that the lack of “good” protein product in this dog food didn’t help him any. He’s suffering with ITP which is a condition in which the immune system attacks his own platelets thus resulting in his bodies own ability to clot his blood. His platelets were at 13k when he went in and the norm is 200k-500k. A number under 50k can result in internal bleeding b/c the body isn’t able to heal the tiny little bursts in the capillary beds. His blood protein level is at ~4 and the normal range is above 5.5. I’m not saying that this wouldn’t have happened had he eaten a different brand of food, but I certainly don’t think that the lack of nutrition did him any good. By the way, I checked the bag sitting in our garage and the first ingredient is corn. I wish I had researched this brand.

  • joe grey

    thank you all for the great info, switching from purina dog chow with a 14 year old choc lab survived the ingredients with no issue to red flannel. my thanks to all input and allowing me to review the different types of reviews. I am going to try to compare to exclusive where its more expensive but perhaps has more digestible matter therefore, saving since we wont have to feed as much.
    joeg.

  • Gordon

    That’s shocking J.W. Abbott. That speaks volume of their Quality Control.

    What do you get when you cross a red back spider and a funnel web spider? Red Flannel with cockroaches. Sorry, couldn’t help myself, Anyway I’m off.

  • J.W. Abbott

    My biggest complaint with Red Flannel is that the last bag I bought had several hundred roaches in it and I now have a major roach problem in my house.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    ShamelessRawFoodie… Thanks for the links. Great articles.

  • http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/214/6/1039 ShamelessRawFoodie

    Ed – Vet Karen Becker’s email newsletter today included a news article about a cat food study, complete with a link to the study. Imagine that! I’ve provided the link below so that you can read a pet food research study.

    Providing this information doesn’t mean I agree with the study. In fact, like Jonathan says, I don’t need a study about nutrition. Nutrition isn’t rocket science. If the majority of foods weren’t so over-processed and nutrient-deficient, we wouldn’t be having this dialogue. Superior feeding is this: nutrient-dense species-appropriate whole foods – yes, REAL FOOD.

    Here’s the link to the two-year research study, and below that is the link to the news article. Also interesting to note is that the research study was funded by the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare.

    http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/214/6/1039
    Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in the adult domestic cat, Felis catus

    http://www.petfoodindustry.com/News/Research_finds_cats_prefer_food_similar_to_their_natural_prey.html
    Research finds cats prefer food similar to their natural prey

  • Jonathan

    I think that Antonio’s finding says it all. This guy receives funding from a major dog food company. There is your hype. I don’t need a study to prove that natural ingredients are better than processed leftovers. I don’t need to see a peer reviewed study that says dogs maintain health better on raw natural food. As Cathy likes to say, nutrition shouldn’t be rocket science.

    Now, the people who need “studies” to prove their foods can sustain doggy-life are the people using the unnatural industrial by-products of the cereal grain industry. They are always the first companies that run around spending money “proving” that their crap can keep a dog alive. That’s hype. I have never seen a commercial for Wellness Core or Orijen. Nor have I seen one for Pro Pac or Earthborn. I have seen one Blue Buffalo commercial.

    But what about the other side? I have, over my life, seen hundreds of TV and print ads for Iams, Dog Chow, Chef Michaels, Eukanuba, Science Diet, and Pedigree. And these are the foods that vets “recommend” and scientists tell people on TV are nutritionally balanced.

    By the way, no one has ever suggested that food must be expensive to be good. But with the difference of $1 a pound for Pro Pac Chicken and Rice versus and $1.50 a pound for Blue Chicken and Rice, I think it’s woth noting that Blue is a better food, and it’s not crazy expensive. Then again, if you can’t afford Blue, Pro Pac is quite nice.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Ed… Let’s take what you just said and also look at it from the other way around. Anyone who suggests to another it’s better to spend $1/pound for dog food rather than $3 should also be willing to provide that evidence, too. And that would be you, Ed. Apparently, you weren’t able to find that “scientific” study at Cornell involving those clinical “trials” you were enlightening the rest of us about.

  • Mike P

    Sorry Ed , it was all Brads fault ..

  • Antonio

    I don’t doubt Dr. Wakslag’s findings, and it’s possible there is some truth to his study, but I would be careful to jump on board w/ his advice because according to this article I haven’t done the research that Dr. Wakslag has, so I really don’t know if his research is accurate or not, but I suppose there is some truth to it, but I would be leary of his findings for one particular reason http://www.pawnation.com/2011/03/22/choosing-the-best-dog-food-8-things-you-should-know/ this article states that he does receive he does receive funding from one of the major pet food companies, so I have my guess about which one it is. See quote from article below:

    “When choosing a food, look for one that fits your pet’s flavor preferences, lifestyle, medical conditions and environment, says Susan Wynn, DVM, AHG, a nutritionist for Georgia Veterinary Specialists in the Atlanta area and a clinical resident in small animal nutrition with the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.”

    Use the food for six to eight weeks to see how it affects your dog, says Wakshlag, who accepts some research funding from a major pet food manufacturer.

  • ed

    I think it is fair that if someone on here suggests to another that it is better to spend $3lb for food rather than $1, that person should provide the evidence, not me.

  • ed

    “There’s no scientific evidence that any food is better than the next,” says Joseph Wakshlag, D.V.M., Ph.D., an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Pets can thrive on inexpensive food or become ill from pricey food. If your animal is active and healthy, the food is doing its job. A higher price could mean better ingredients and better quality control during and after manufacturing. But you might also be paying for pretty packaging, marketing, or a fancy name.”

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Ed – I wondered what all the ruckus was about on the Red Flannel Dog Food page. I agree with the others who insist that you provide a web link of the study you describe – “Cornell studied various brands over the years and found no documented benefit to feed the “better” foods.; Just Google Joseph Washlag, he is the nutritionist behind the study.” (Ed’s words in quotes)

    I googled Joseph Wakshlag (Not Washlag) and I just spent about an hour trying to find the study that you describe. I didn’t find the study, and I presume that you also didn’t find a study or you would have posted the link. I did find a page that lists the contact information for Wakshlag, including an email address. Since you’re the one making the claims of a Cornell study, it’s your duty to support your statement:
    http://www.vet.cornell.edu/hospital/nutrition/contacts.cfm
    Joseph J. Wakshlag, MS, DVM, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition
    Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
    607-253-3060
    [email protected]

  • Tracey

    Ed, I find it odd that you claim that it’s “marketing hype”, when actually, most of the foods that I consider to be of a better quality, do little to no mainstream marketing at all…

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Ed… Let me make this clear. In science, we’re not interested in one man’s opinion. We don’t care about hunches and theories. We’re looking for facts. Where’s Dr. Wakshlag’s peer-reviewed study? Send us a link, please.

  • Antonio

    I found a article here w/ Joseph Wakshlag http://www.pawnation.com/2011/03/22/choosing-the-best-dog-food-8-things-you-should-know/ , most of the things he talk about are common sense, about not overfeeding and don’t let price be a major indicator, but he did not remotely indicate that cheaper ingredients are always better, he was simply saying you don’t always get what you pay for with some of the more expensive foods, which I think we all should realize that, considering how a single company can produce anything from (Bird Beak Dog) to ( Dog Food Caviar) while using the same ingredient source, meaning it’s highly unlikely they are sourcing their proteins from different suppliers when making the different labels for the pet food companies. My motto is try to get the best for the least cost, and ultimately judge how your dog look and respond on a product. That’s how I make my decision, I don’t follow the hype or trend of the day for my choices.

  • Mike P

    Well said Doc, and I”m sorry to take it to the level I did with Ed .

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Ed… No. I’ve never claimed to have tested (or tasted) a single dog food in my life. But since you continue to reference these “scientific” “trials” comparing price to some unknown criteria, I think we (the readers) here are all entitled to seeing this original published peer-reviewed study so we can read it and judge it for ourselves. How about leaving us a link?

  • ed

    Just Google Joseph Washlag, he is the nutritionist behind the study.

  • Antonio

    Ed, I don’t doubt what you are saying, I’ve saw dogs live to rip healthy years eating cheap food and dogs die at a young tender age eating Premium brands of the day. But I’m curious do you have a reference or link to the study performed at Cornell? I would like to review it for myself..

  • ed

    Doc,

    And to be fair, you have never done feeding trials on any of these foods, right?

  • ed

    I have fed all different price points over the years and honestly from the mid-grade up, I have never seen any difference in the condition of the dog. In fact, several dogs have done much better on cheaper foods.

    I laugh when I read or hear people say that after 3 days on expensive Brand X the dog looked better, acted better and had more energy. It is a fantasy brought on by rationalizing the cost of the food.

    Cornell studied various brands over the years and found no documented benefit to feed the “better” foods.

    It is all marketing hype.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Ed… What criteria are these Cornell “experts” using to determine what’s “better” for my dog? Longevity? Quality of life?

    Just because my car gets my family of 4 from New York to Los Angeles in the same amount of time as your car doesn’t necessarily imply we don’t need but one brand of car. Something tells me a cross-country trip made in a Cadillac is safer and better for my back than that same trip experienced in a Hugo.

    The whole purpose of the Dog Food Advisor is to improve the quality of consumers’ (and their dogs’) lives and to help them not get ripped off (by judging value). We’re not using price anywhere in the official parts of this website. So, any study of “expensive vs cheap” is irrelevant here. We’re rating meat content and quality alone. And nothing else (especially price).

    A dog food selling at a medium price (or a high price, like so many so-called veterinary “prescription” products), should use more costly ingredients. As a consumer, I feel justified in expecting at least value for what I pay for a food. There’s a big difference between value and price.

    I also love my family (and that includes my dog) too much to allow me to put them at risk by driving around in a cheaply made car. That’s my choice. As it is also yours.

    We can talk about price. No problem. But let’s focus here on the prize.

  • Antonio

    LOL, chill out guys and keep it informative. I think we understand that nutrition can and does play a vital role in the logetivity of our pets. I guess I just have a problem paying $40plus a bag for Eukanuba when Diamond Naturals, Pro Pac, Victors, just to name a few run so much less for what I deem to be safer ingredients.

  • Mike P

    I did spell nutritional wrong !!

  • Mike P

    Well who are we to argue what some fancy pants cornell professor ? Thanks for savin me some money Ed . Next bag I’m back on the ole roy ….NOT. I can’t find that extensive study on “how cheap garbage food is better than higher cost more nutrisional foods for dogs’ . Can you give us a link to that study Ed ? I would love to read it . Did I spell Cornell right ? Still searching …

  • ed

    I think it is what the nutritionists at Cornell discovered, that there is very little evidence that expensive foods are any better than mid-grade foods costing half, or even a quarter, as much.

    This is scientific fact.

  • Mike P

    Don’t know Ed ? Maybe all those hours of huntin with all the runnin and all have something to do with it . I’m not in to doctorin so it could be the genes they have . Maybe with better food the would be a huntin for 20 years instead of 15 ? Most of those doctor types say exercisin and good food = a longer life . Unless they have some bad genes . Anyway pretty interestin stuff Ed

  • Antonio

    Ed, I share many of your passions about the working dog, the acceptable PROVEN ideologies on nutrition, but this is a forum and people are subject to their own opinion of right/wrong concerning their pets. Most people really have the same goal in common when it come to our dogs, and that is provide the best nutrition for the least amount of money, unfortunately that doesn’t always go hand and hand. More money doesn’t equal better nutrition and less money doesn’t equal poor nutrition, but we have to be fair in how we view many of the posts and allow others to be subjective to their opinions.

  • ed

    My point is that these dogs undergo stress way way way beyond the average Labradoodle. If SportMix in the Black Bag was so bad how in the world do those trial dogs run mile after mile after mile in 90 degree heat day after day.

    Many of those dogs are also kenneled outdoors in Winter.

  • Mike P

    Ed My thought is….not everyone owns huntin dawgs and they are not wrong in feedin a huntin dawg wut thay feed em . Just as some of us are not wrong , or consider wasting our money on companions , frinds , our walking buddies , or our couch dogs, on what we feel are higher quality food . Got your point though

  • ed

    I don’t know anything about Red Flannel but Brad’s point is well taken. I have seen many dogs live well beyond 15 and hunt until close to that age eating the cheapest Blue Seal feeds, not even the very good Pork & Barley.

    People seem to want to feed their dogs like people, but they are wrong in doing that and wasting a ton of money.

  • Meagan

    To me this website is for people that care about their pets and want to do better for them. Brad do you even have any dogs???

  • Mike P

    Not cool Brad for calling people stupid for wanting to do the best for their dog . I live in a rural area and alot of folks view animals in a different way here . Half of these view them as simply animals and any old slop will do . Others view them as family members and are treated as such . I won’t call the first half I mentioned stupid because thats how they were raised and thats what they believe . To laugh at Valerie’s tragic end to her dogs life is very rude . Having gone through this twice in less then a year myself I take offense to your light hearted remarks to Val ..Just my opinion Brad

  • Brad

    Are you people retarded? You actually thin dog food needs to be $50 a bag to be ok for dogs? Red Flannel is actually higher rated than Purina and Ole Roy and millions of people use those feeds everyday. Being raised on a farm it amazes me how stupid people are about pet care and this theory that all the ingredients must be natural or it will harm your dog. You actually think Red Flannel killed your dog? LOL

  • valerie

    We used red flannel for 3 to 4 months. I did not see the worning’s in time to save my dog. I am not 100% sure the dog food is what killed my dog but I would like to save other pets if possible. My dog layed around with lack of energy (I thought do to his age of 9), he did vomit acasionaly, and he was loosing his hair. The real trouble started on a saturday when he wanted out to go to the bathroom over and over. We were gone for the day when we got home I new something was wrong. He was druling from the mouth would not eat or walk. He started pissing blood and one and a half days after going to the vet he died!!! We think he went into reanal failure. DONT USE THIS FOOD. I also know of several others that had simaler probalems.

  • south carolina

    We purchased Red Flannel adult dog food from a farm and feed store recently to try. We have 5 dogs that are part of our family. Red Flannel seemed to have very close to the same nutritional values as what we were using but for less money. After only 10 days of using this dog food 3 out of our 5 dogs were vomiting 3-4 times a day. All of our dogs lost energy and became sluggish. They lost weight and the spark in their eyes became dim. So, we began a research on the ingredients in Red Flannel and we were shocked to find out that it was made of cheap fillers with no nutritional value!!
    We immediately went back to our previous food and within 24 hrs we could tell a our dogs were getting back to their old spunky selves (no more vomiting). Just thought we would share this with others.