Sportmix Premium (Dry)

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Sportmix Premium Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Sportmix Premium product line includes eight 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.

  • Sportmix Premium Puppy Small Bites
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Chunk
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Mini Chunk
  • Sportmix Premium Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars)
  • Sportmix Premium Stamina Adult Mini Chunk (1.5 stars)
  • Sportmix Premium Energy Plus Adult Mini Chunk (1.5 stars)
  • Sportmix Premium Maintenance Adult Mini Chunk (1.5 stars)
  • Sportmix Premium Hunter’s Select Adult Mini Chunk (1.5 stars)

Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Chunk Dog Food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Chunk

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, ground yellow corn, meat meal, ground wheat, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, fish meal, flaxseed, salt, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, niacin supplement, choline chloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, calcium iodate, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, magnesium oxide

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%20%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%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 (conventional 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 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 third ingredient is meat meal, “the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”.1

Since in this case the source animal is not known, this item could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized pets.

On the brighter side, however, meat meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.

Although this item does contain all the amino acids a dog needs, we do not consider meat meal a quality component.

The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

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.

The seventh ingredient includes 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 eighth 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 two notable exceptions

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

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Sportmix Premium Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Sportmix Premium 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 29%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

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

However, the higher fat-to-protein ratio associated with certain recipes may not be appropriate for every animal.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Sportmix Premium is a plant-based dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product or generic meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not 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

05/16/2010 Original review
03/30/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Jana Maria Shaw Church

    My dogs are getting sportmix premium adult mini chunk in the green bag. They seem to like it.

  • chiapink

    Was going to mention this, good job!

  • GabE

    Hey folks I need some reviews of Sportmix Wholesomes !! thanks

  • guest

    Only a trace of it will be in the food , sportmix is at least 95% grains

  • fieldchamp

    Sportmix will never be in the league of Victor dog food.
    this food is way behind in the nutrition . most field dogs will overheat with it . It’s more intended for people that can’t afford or are just to tight to get the right dog food with proper ingredients. before I would feed sportmix
    I would get a bag of ground yellow corn soak it and feed it. that’s about all sportmix is look under a scope and see for yourself

  • Dogsr4me

    I emailed MidWestern and asked for a definition of their meat meal and here is their answer;

    “Meat Meal consists of Beef Meal and Pork Meal. We use 80% Beef Meal and 20% Pork Meal.
    We find that dogs really love the high Beef Meal content and the Beef Meal we use is superior to Meat & Bone Meal which is ground up skeleton remains of Cattle, Pig, and Lamb. Its all Bones with no meat at all.”

  • Guest

    P.S.  To add to my reply to Tammy, I direct this question at site moderator.  Could you please review the new sportmix wholesomes line?  Thanks :)

  • Guest

    Hello Tammy, Sportmix has a new naturals line called wholesomes out.  The chicken/rice will be available on shelf at TSC in replacement of pro pac adult.  Go to sportmix site and read for yourself.  I was feeding pro pac and when it was pulled from shelves without notice I had melt down.  TSC told me they are pulling it in effort to push 4Health.  I caled MidWestern directly and got the scoop.  It was not their choice but in order to make room on store shelves they had to pull a brand.  Pro Pac adult mini chunk is not top seller, performance is.  Therefore you should see Sportmix Wholesomes on shelves of the larger TSC stores by February :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    This is a dog food review site, not a dog food manufacturer.

  • Tammy

    I wish u had a All Natural Dog Food Sportmix food in a 40 – 50 lb. bag. I had taken my dog offf the Sportmix because of the Ingredients. Please try to change the food, My dogs like the food but I don’t like all the garbage thats in it.

  • Red

    SportMix has a new line called Wholesomes. I have fed the Black Bag 24/20 before and really liked it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Me too!!  And let’s not forget the meat meal.  There wasn’t much about their foods that I liked, but I’m no expert, so I was wondering what the “expert” thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/who-makes-what-in-pet-food.html?3e3ea140

    I know this information is probably already dated (06/06/2012), as I believe Canidae for one is now manufactured by Ethos and not Damond. Does anyone know of a better or more comprehensive list of brands and who manufacturers them?

  • Mike P

     I don’t get it Patty.I would avoid corn and by products 100% of the time…JMO

  • Pattyvaughn

    Lets just suppose you don’t work for the company and you actually know what your talking about.  What is it that makes this “one of the best foods on the market”?

  • Walterwoods57

    The Black Bag 24/20 is one of the best foods on the market. Probably the most popular sporting dog food next to Pro Plan.

  • Pingback: sportmix dog food | All About Pets()

  • Rogertiller

    I can get the SPORTMIX LAMB at a nearby store (J.CO FEED) on hwy99 for $29.99 and the diamond is $31.99 and they are both 40# bags

  • Rogertiller

    What do you guys think about SPORTMIX LAMB MEAL & RICE FORMULA? how would you compare it to DIAMOND LAMB & RICE?

  • Bob K

    Whitney – This food is nothing special and there are dozens of dog foods from different mfgs. with similar formulas. You said, “mine just happen to be allergic to Soy meal, corn meal, wheat meal” How did you come to this conclusion? How was the allergy diagnosed? Are you saying your dog is allergic to ground corn meal but not ground yellow corn?

    Here are the first several ingredients for the Sportmix Premium Large Breed Adult: Chicken by-product meal, ground yellow corn, ground brewers rice, meat meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of natural vitamin E), dried beet pulp, menhaden fish meal, dried egg product, flaxseed,

    Remember to transition slowly to a new dog food.

  • Whitney

    Teresa Stahl – one you should quit breeding your dog. There are too many out there without homes because of people like you who I am sure just breed to make money. Shame on you for using a defensless animal to make more money.
    I have three Pit Bulls and this is the only dog food we can put them on due to many allergies our one male has. We just experienced the worst with him when the place we get the Large Breed bags from ran out and they accidently suggested the wrong bag that had Soy Meal in it. We went back to him itching and digging his feet and ears. We also experienced my other male pooping every hour or so. When before they were accidently switched due to a screw up at the store we never had this issue. Pit Bulls have many skin issues and mine just happen to be allergic to Soy meal, corn meal, wheat meal, and the metal in the collars. I LOVE this dog food and was disappointed when the store told me on accident they were no longer carring the food. I personally feel that this food is amazing for ones with Pit Bulls that need that high in Protein to keep up with their energetic life styles and that extra satisfaction for the owner that the cost is affordable.

  • Michelle

    Teresa, you should put your dogs on a better food. This food is a 2*. I would not use this food at all, especially for a pregnant dog. It also sounds like you are stressing your bitches by breeding them each time they come into heat.

  • melissa

    Teresa-

    I would consult your vet as to other causes-and be sure that they have been tested for diseases that can cause re-absorption etc like brucellosis, and I would never feed a food that contains or MIGHT contain ethoxyquin to a female used for breeding.

  • Teresa Stahl

    I do want to add in all fairness, our Chihuahuas did have great coats, small amounts of stool, we didn’t have c-sections and our litters were much larger. But, all litters had something wrong with one or more puppies. None of us had ever had problems like this before. It is a nightmare. Praying my litter due in 2 weeks has no lasting effects of this food. I did forget to mention a litter of 7 born to a 4 1/2# Chihuahua a couple weeks ago. They were 3 days over the due date from last breeding. All puppies were born looking like “pinkie” mice. they were the size of your thumb, hairless and only two had life after the birthing process. All 7 died.

  • Teresa Stahl

    Two friends and I started using Sportmix in March 2011. We started breeding our female Chihuahuas in April 2011. In June 2011 litters started arriving. We got cleft palates, hydrocephalus, bitches that didn’t take (thank God!), a bitch that spontaneously aborted her litter, fading puppies, etc. I called the Midwest Pet Foods sales rep for our region. He said that this food is NOT intended for breeding dogs. It has no DHA in it. He said it was formulated for outdoor hunting dogs not used for breeding. I told him the bag needs to be labeled. Another call to the main office and I am told the sales rep misinformed me. It is an all life stage food. We had a hydro litter from a repeat breeding on a young bitch that 7 months earlier had a litter of 4 that were all healthy. This litter was a litter of 4…all hydro puppies.

  • http://burnemupkennels.blogspot.com/ Burn Em Up Kennel

    I raise hunting Beagles and also field trial in AKC and ARHA. I am also a guide for Dry Creek Outfitters. My hounds must perform on a daily basis, for 8 hours or more a day. I have fed it all (whats available to me) over the years Diamond, Diomand Naturals, Black Gold, Sportsmans Pride, and just finished a trial run of Victor (4 star rated). The SportMix is by far the best food I have fed my kennel. My hounds perform and look great on this feed. Clean up is one black hard turd a day. The Victor has the best lable but my hounds started dropping weight, dull coats and more clean up. Sportsmans Pride was equally good to the SportMix, but I cant get it close by anymore. I too use to be a dog food nazi, but after a few years I just had to feed what my hounds did best on, and that is SportMix and Sportsmans Pride.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Meagan… I never select the “best” formula. Or the worst one either. I always try to choose the recipe that best typifies the overall product line.

  • Meagan

    Thanks Mike. One more thought. Should it be the display formula instead of the large breed? I had thought you always chose the better formulas in the product line for that part. Thanks again have a great day!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meagan… I’d tend to agree with your assessment here. The Lamb Meal and Rice appears to be made with better quality ingredients than its siblings. So, I’ve upgraded this product to 3 stars. Thanks for the tip.

  • Meagan

    But wouldn’t the meals out weigh the rice?

  • Meagan

    I realize this food doesn’t appear to be the greatest but the lamb meal rice formula looks a hell of a lot better than the one that was chosen for the whole line of the premiums. No by products and two named meals. The rice is splitting I get that.

  • Jonathan

    Meagan, if your bf’s dad can get Sportmix, then chances are really good that the place he buys from has Pro Pac too. Pro Pac is made by the same company, but it is a 3-star food. And it’s not super expensive… $25.99 for 33lb’s. Maybe you should show him with website! :-)

  • Meagan

    My bf’s dad feeds this to their dogs. (2 coyote hounds, 2 Border Collies and a JRT.) I would recommend he change them to Diamond Naturals, but it is 40 min drive to get it around there and the Sportmix is 5 min away. I know he would not change. :(

  • Jonathan

    Ashleigh… I’m sure you are a lovely puppy mom and you probably love your dogs like they were your own kids (who are all very cute I might add!) but I would love for you to read Mike’s article on the dangers of low quality cereal grains (which are most certainly the ones being used here) and his article on what “meat meal” is made from. Your anecdotal evidence of healthy puppies is great… and it speaks to the fact that Sportmix, at the very least, doesn’t use any dangerous chemical preservative or artificial colors. Hence its higher rating than, say, Puppy Chow. But being that nutrition is so important for lactating bitches and (especially) for brand new baby animals, you may want to reconsider you chosen food after reading those articles. Pro Pac makes a lovely puppy food (and is made by the same company that makes Sportmix!) and it usually come to around 30 bucks a bag. So if price is an issue, Pro Pac is a good compromise. And if price isn’t an issue, why not try a really high quality food like Blue Buffalo or Wellness? If your dogs are strong and healthy on this stuff, just imagine how energetic and handsome they could be on a 4 or 5 star food!

  • Ashleigh

    Hello everyone. We have been breeding, showing, and guiding our German Shorthaired Pointers for a few years now and we love this food. Before we were using Black Gold and they had some issues with mold in thier packaging plant where we purchased ours from, so we were forced to find something else. We tried the Diamond Naturals food and our dogs did not do well with it. We had dull coats and very runny and large amounts of stools even sveral weeks later. We were recommended to try SportMix’s Maintenance Mini Chunk formula, as it was summer time, by our trainer. The dogs have done well with it ever since. We use the Maintenance over the warmer months and the Energy Plus over the colder, winter months. Our dogs coats are shinny and healthy, thier teeth aren’t perfect, but are still clean from buildup, and thier energy levels are where they should be four thier breed. So far, after two years of SportMix use, we are very happy.