Sonny’s Pride Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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Sonny’s Pride Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.

The Sonny’s Pride product line includes two dry dog foods.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • Sonny’s Pride 26/18 Endurance Formula
  • Sonny’s Pride 24/20 High Energy Formula

Sonny’s Pride 24/20 High Energy Formula was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Sonny's Pride 24/20 High Energy Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Poultry & porcine meal, wheat flour, poultry fat (preserved with BHA), whole ground corn, corn gluten meal, wheat middlings, brewers dried yeast, dried beet pulp, poultry digest, ground flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, dicalcium phosphate, artificial garlic flavoring, calcium propionate, choline chloride, l-lysine hydrochloride, iron sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, manganese proteinate, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, riboflavin supplement, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, and mineral oil

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%23%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%44%34%

The first ingredient in this dog food is a mixture of poultry and pork meals. Together these two items are considered a meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry or pork.

The second ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. 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 poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

The fourth item is 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 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.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 is wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically found in the lower quality pet foods.

The seventh ingredient is 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.

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.

The ninth ingredient is poultry digest. A digest is a chemically hydrolyzed brew of slaughterhouse waste. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste.

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.

The tenth item 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.

The next item is 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.

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, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.

However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.2

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

In addition, this food also 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 also 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.

Sonny’s Pride Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Sonny’s Pride Dog Food looks like a below 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 27%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 76%.

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 meal and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Sonny’s Pride Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry and pork meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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.

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Notes and Updates

07/04/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012
  • The Dog Whisperer

    People feed this to their dogs?!?! I’m so glad I dedicated almost an entire chapter in my book to exposing the dog food industry for the sham it really is!

  • Jonathan

    Well. This is just gross!

  • erin c.

    middlings? really?

    “In reality, middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings.”

    Have they no shame?