Under the Sun Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Under the Sun Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Under the Sun product line includes two dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Under the Sun Original Adult Dog Food [M]
  • Under the Sun Original Puppy Food (3.5 stars) [G]

Under the Sun Original Adult Dog Food was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Under the Sun Original Adult Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 22% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 59%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, milo, brown rice, oatmeal, millet, rice bran, suncured alfalfa, chicken, chicken fat, flaxseed, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), parsley, pumpkin, sage, green beans, carrots, cinnamon, rosemary, butternut squash, blueberries, zucchini, tomatoes, apples

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis20%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis22%11%59%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%25%54%
Protein = 21% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 54%

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 milo. Milo is another name for sorghum, a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, milo can be considered a quality non-meat ingredient.

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 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 fifth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The sixth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The seventh ingredient is suncured alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

The eighth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The ninth 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.

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 three 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, 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 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.

Under the Sun Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Under the Sun looks like an above-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 22%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 59%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line.

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

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Under the Sun 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 3 stars.

Recommended.

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.

Under the Sun Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/05/2016 Last Update

  • Lance Becvar

    I have tried many types of dried dog food for our beagle, terrier mix, and this one is most appealing to our extremely fussy dog. I also notice that he has less problems with number 2, he is more regular. I would highly recommend this dog food to owners of smaller, high energy dogs.

  • Amateria

    They didn’t reply to you but they did reply to someone else saying that we will indeed be getting the new formulas, just don’t know when.

  • Susan

    I purchased Under The Sun Original Adult & its crap crap crap, the kibbles have bite of kibble pieces stuck to them & the kibble bag is full of kibble powder as I get 1/2 way down the bag it’s worse, I have to sift 1 cup at a time in a sifter so all the kibble powder & kibble pieces comes off the kibble, I contacted Canidae in Australia showing them a video of what’s wrong & they still haven’t gotten back to me…Now I know why UTS formulas have been changed in America & we are getting all their old formulas in Australia…cause its not selling in America cause its crap..