Southern States Advanced Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Southern States Advanced product line includes four dry dog foods. Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage or lifestyle, we found no AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product website. So, it’s impossible for us to report life stage targets for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Southern States Advanced Puppy
- Southern States Advanced Adult Dog
- Southern States Advanced Sport Dog
- Southern States Advanced Active Dog
Southern States Advanced Active Dog was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Southern States Advanced Active Dog
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn meal, brewers rice, animal and vegetable fat, ground wheat, corn gluten meal, beet pulp, soybean oil, yeast culture, flaxseed, potassium chloride, dried pasteurized eggs, brewers yeast, natural flavors, salt, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, choline chloride, (preserved with calcium propionate, citric acid, BHA, BHT), dicalcium phosphate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, l-lysine, manganese proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, cobalt proteinate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||20%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||40%||36%|
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 (real 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 cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The third 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 fourth ingredient is animal and vegetable fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.
The vegetable fat mentioned here can be considered a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 oils in any fat is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
We do not consider this anonymous mix of such vaguely described items a quality ingredient.
The fifth 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 sixth 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is soybean oil. This item is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.
However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3′s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.
The ninth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is 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.
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.
Next, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, 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.
Southern States Advanced Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Southern States Advanced Dog Food looks like a below-average kibble.
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 28% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
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 yeast products, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Southern States Advanced Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.
Please note some products have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
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Notes and Updates
11/18/2012 Original review
11/18/2012 Last Update