Sportmix Premium Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Sportmix Premium product line includes nine 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:
- Sportmix Premium Large Breed Adult
- Sportmix Premium Puppy Small Bites
- Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Chunk
- Sportmix Premium Stamina Adult Mini Chunk
- Sportmix Premium Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars)
- Sportmix Premium Energy Plus Adult Mini Chunk
- Sportmix Premium High Energy Adult Mini Chunk
- Sportmix Premium Maintenance Adult Mini Chunk
- Sportmix Premium Hunter’s Select Adult Mini Chunk
Sportmix Premium Large Breed Adult was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Sportmix Premium Large Breed Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: 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, salt, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, 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|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
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 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 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 includes 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 meat can come from anywhere. Road kill, dead zoo animals, diseased or dying livestock — even (although unlikely) euthanized cats and dogs.
Like chicken by-products meal, meat meals can also be considered high protein meat concentrates.
Although this item does contain all the amino acids a dog needs, we do not consider meat meal a quality component.
The fifth item 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 lists 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 next ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet one more protein-rich meat concentrate.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, 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, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
The eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The ninth item mentions 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.
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.
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 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 27% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 69%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Due to its better quality ingredients, the Lamb Meal and Rice recipe has been upgraded to 3 stars.
Sportmix Premium Dog Food is a grain-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of generic meat and chicken by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
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
05/16/2010 Original review
12/16/2010 Review updated
09/11/2012 Last Update