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 Puppy Formula
- Red Flannel Large Breed Formula
- 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
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 indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||13%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||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 feathers.
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. And aside from its energy content, this grain is 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Red Flannel is a plant-based dry dog food 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.
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.
Red Flannel Dog Food
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A Final Word
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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
08/09/2015 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩