Source Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Source Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Source Dog Food product line includes three kibbles, 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.

  • Source Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Source Lamb and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
  • Source Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Pea

Source Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Pea was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Source Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Pea

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, peas, tapioca, pea protein, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, pea fiber, menhaden fish oil, salt, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese proteinate, l-carnitine, copper proteinate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%18%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%37%37%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth item is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% 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 meat content of this dog food.

The sixth 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).

After the natural flavor, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

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 one notable exception

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.

Source Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Source Dog Food looks like an above 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 31%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Source Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of named meats and meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating 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.

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

05/19/2013 Original review
05/19/2013 Last Update

  • Crazy4cats

    I remember a lot of shelves being empty. But, if you can find a link with that info I’d appreciate it. I work for Costco and have access to all of our recalls since 2004 on every product. Both food and nonfood items for the entire U.S. Nutra Nuggets appears to be only dry food recalled during 2007. I’ve looked at article after article on the web about that recall and I don’t see Diamond Foods, except they do put the wet food under their name in most articles even though I don’t think they were the manufacturer. I know they have had some since mostly in the south carolina plant.

  • theBCnut

    I know I was feeding Diamond Puppy and some kind of Diamond Adult and both of them were recalled as well as every other Diamond food that was carried in my area. We had very little dog food of any kind for a few weeks.

  • Crazy4cats

    Actually, I’m glad you brought this up. I was horrified that I might have fed my previous dog recalled food during this time as I was feeding Kirkland Signature. So I have been doing some research of the AWFUL 2007 recall debacle. I remembered the Kirkland canned being recalled but not the dry. I looked through Costco’s recall history and Kirkland dry was not recalled during that time only the canned. The Lamb and rice Nutra Nuggests was recalled however. I have googled and googled about that recall and it looks like it was mostly Menu Foods, Nestle Purina and DelMonte that were the main culprits. They mention Chicken Soup and Diamond wet foods, but not dry. I am definitely not recommending or dismissing any of Diamond’s recalls. But, I only see one from the California plant that distributes to my neck of the woods in Western Washington. It was for cat food and resolved pretty quickly. I am still a little leery as my current dogs have digestive issues and am concerned they wouldn’t be able to handle salmonella. But, I’m a little worried about all the pet foods! Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular grain free foods in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve not tried it, but always tempted. I’m good with the Victor for a while. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m sure that won’t be a problem. LOL!

  • theBCnut

    Diamond likes to put off issuing recalls for as long as possible. They had complaints in the salmonella recall almost 6 months before they finally recalled.

  • theBCnut

    Really! I was of the understanding that the melamine recall affected all of the different Diamond facilities. I have no idea who was affected by the aflatoxin recall, but I can’t imagine that it was only the SC plant. The SC plant has been involved in every recall, but they aren’t the only Diamond plant involved in every recall.

  • Woof1

    I asked our retailer. One was Tractor Supply, and the other was a local feed store that carries it. But I can honestly say, we’ve never had one that was recalled in all the years we used it. That being said, you just never know when something could happen.
    One thing I try to do is buy a bag ahead so that hopefully by the time my current supply is used up and I start the new one, word would have gotten out if there’s a recall on the newer bag (this goes for any brand). That’s not always easy to do though.

  • Betsy Greer

    How do you know for certain where your bags actually come/came from?

  • Woof1

    Whenever TOTW has been recalled, it’s been out of their South Carolina plant I believe. Where we live (middle of US), our TOTW bags have come out of their Missouri plant and those have never been recalled. We recently switched to Earthborn, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to TOTW.

  • Tiffani Hallan

    How is the “output” on this? It’s in my lineup to try next.

  • Tiffani Hallan

    RR and 4H have a better price point but their vit. E levels are much lower, if that concerns you. I like to have a pretty good level and Source has 500mg vs. RR’s 225 mg.

  • Tiffani Hallan

    I’m going to try this next when all the grain free 4Health I have is used. This Source has a low phosphorus % which shows it’s a high quality meat meal used vs one with mostly bone content. It also has a high Vitamin E content which is a great antioxidant. I’ll keep yo posted how the dogs do.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Only the grain-inclusive dry food is made by Diamond. The canned foods are made by Simmons and the grain-free dry foods are made by Ainsworth.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Only the grain inclusive. Grain free is made by Ainsworth.

  • Lois NJ

    FYI, 4Health is made by Diamond.

  • http://www.pibblesnme.com/ Bren Lee

    Thank you!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    It has a plant-based protein booster in – pea protein – so less meat.

  • http://www.pibblesnme.com/ Bren Lee

    So then I’m assuming the chicken is also 4 star then. Still like to know why the lamb rated less. Thanks

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    This review is for a 4 star food, so any formula not rated 4 stars is designated as such.

  • http://www.pibblesnme.com/ Bren Lee

    My pit bull mix has been eating Source for quite some time now and he does awesome on it. We alternate days between the chicken and the lamb. I love that it has REAL meat in it and is listed within the first 5 ingredients.

    Curious though, why the lamb and rice is rated at a 3.5 star and there isn’t a rating for the chicken and rice?

  • Storm’s Mom

    The Turkey & Pea looks better than Taste of the Wild, but I’ve never fed Source. I’d also feed it over TOTW because TOTW is made by Diamond, which is the most recall-prone dog food company out there. Having said that, don’t know who makes Source…but presuming it’s not Diamond, I would go with Source Turkey & Pea, personally.

  • Kathy

    How does this stack up against Taste of the Wild Dog Food? We have been feeding our dog Taste of the Wild for 1 1/2 years. I hate to switch, but I was wondering if source is better?

  • LabsRawesome

    Source is over priced for the ingredients that they are using. Poultry fat is a lower grade ing. 4health uses Chicken fat instead. I would stick w/4health & spend the extra $15 on canned or fresh foods to add to the kibble. :)

  • Carol RI

    Is Source better than 4-Health? I have been feeding 4-Health for some time – wonder if switching to Source is worth the $15.00. I will pay if it is better for them

  • Diana

    Thank you for this important information! I love my dog and am really concerned about allergies and the best food for a reasonable price. With so many brands it is difficult to choose!
    This makes it easier, thanks again!!!

  • Germansheppups

    I received a $5 coupon off any size bag, and a $10 coupon off the larger bag in my email yesterday. I had signed up at sourceforpets.com and had asked them a question re calcium/phos levels, so I guess I’m on their mailing list.

  • LabsRawesome

    Source dog food is decent, but over priced for what you are getting. Rachael Ray Zero grain (4 star) or 4health grain free (3.5 star), both Ainsworth made foods, have a much better price point.