Summit Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The Summit Original product line includes four dry dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages, one for growth and maintenance, and two for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Summit Original Large Breed Recipe
  • Summit Original Adult Recipe (3.5 stars)
  • Summit Original Puppy Recipe (4.5 stars)
  • Summit Original Reduced Calorie Recipe (3 stars)

Summit Original Large Breed Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Summit Original Large Breed Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 12% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, whole brown rice, rye, barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavour, lamb meal, salmon meal, whole dried egg, rice bran, flaxseed, dried kelp, potassium chloride, choline chloride, l-lysine, sodium chloride, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, inositol, niacin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, calcium iodate, manganous oxide, selenium yeast), chondroitin sulphate, dl-methionine, dried rosemary

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%11%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%12%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%27%49%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is rye, a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth 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.

After the natural chicken flavor, we find lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The ninth ingredient is salmon meal, yet another high protein 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

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 four notable exceptions

First, 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.

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

In addition, this food includes 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.

And lastly, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Summit Original Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Summit Original looks like an above-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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 12% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

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

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?

Summit Original is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source 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.

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.

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Notes and Updates

05/30/2010 Original review
12/30/2010 Review updated
04/24/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • OceanSkye

    Unfortunately, they’ve stopped production of the Summit Holistic- a product I LOVED!!! and have used with all my dogs & puppy litters with great success… including a couple of dogs that seem to have issues with ingredients in other foods- VERY SAD to see this discontinued. :(
    So, I am attempting to move to this food since they have revamped the recipe significantly for the better. Still missing LOTS of the ingredients of the holistic however yet similar price to what we were paying for the holistic- for less quality…
    However, with a couple of dogs with sensitive tummies, the closer I can get to the Holistic variety *without breaking the bank* – since the next step up is the ‘GO’ which is almost double what the Holistic cost- the better. I’m hoping that getting from same manufacturer will also help reduce the amount of dietary changes. Will see how it goes…

  • Tenar

    Why does the economical, inferior kibble (Summit original) come in a smaller bag size than it’s more
    luxurious and better counterpart (Summit holistic)?
    Should’t it be the other way around?

    Are the minerals in the new recipe chelated?

    What is the function of the dried rosemary?

  • Tenar

    The recipes have been changed and the bag size reduced. Now there’s rye, barley and whole brown rice instead of corn and selenium yeast instead of sodium selenite.

    It’s good that they got rid of the corn but that’s still a lot of grains in this kibble.

    Are the minerals in the new recipe chelated?

    weird: It says that the Summit product line is “Only available in Canada” but you can find it in some pet stores in Israel.

    http://www.petcurean.com/for-dogs/summit/originals-three-meat-adult

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.c.webb Deb Webb

    I’ve fed my great danes summit 3 Meat Protein nearly all their lives. The modest protein levels have been favored to manage growth. http://greatdanetraining.net