Variety Dry Dog Food gets the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Variety product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Variety Homestyle Recipe Mom’s Dinner with Turkey
- Variety Homestyle Recipe Sunday Brunch with Lamb
- Variety Homestyle Recipe Grandma’s Dinner with Chicken
Variety Mom’s Dinner with Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Variety Mom's Dinner with Turkey
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey meal, dehulled barley, brewers rice, oat groats, ground wheat, chicken, rice bran, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, cranberries, parsley, natural flavor, dried egg product, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, vegetable oil, lecithin, citric acid, rosemary extract, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||23%||11%||58%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||25%||53%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The second ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
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 oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
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 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 seventh 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 eighth 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 ninth 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.
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, vegetable oil, is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
In addition, 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.
And lastly, this dog food also contains 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.
Variety Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Variety dog food looks like an 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 58% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-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 below-average amount of meat.
Variety dry dog food is a plant-based kibble using a modest amount of poultry or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and the inclusion of more meat, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
02/19/2013 Original review
02/19/2013 Last Update