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, 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 fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), ground wheat, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp, canola oil, natural flavors, yeast culture, flaxseed, potassium chloride, dried egg product, dried brewers yeast, salt, calcium carbonate, malted barley, minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate monohydrate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), brown iron oxide, calcium propionate (preservative), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), butylated hydroxyanisole (preservative), butylated hydroxytoluene (preservative), dicalcium phosphate, lysine
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 a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
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 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.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat 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.
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 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 canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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.
We also note the inclusion of iron oxide, a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
Next, this recipe 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.
We find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Southern States Advanced Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Southern States Advanced looks like a below-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 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, flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Southern States Advanced is a plant-based dry dog food 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 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.
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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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
06/24/2014 Last Update