Health Extension Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Health Extension product line includes seven 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.
- Health Extension Lite
- Health Extension Original
- Health Extension Little Bites
- Health Extension Lite Little Bites
- Health Extension Lamb and Rice
- Health Extension Allergix Buffalo, Whitefish and Chickpea
- Health Extension Allergix Chicken, Turkey and Chickpea (4.5 stars)
Health Extension Original was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Health Extension Original
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Organic deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid), lamb meal, menhaden fish meal, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, egg product, organic apple cider vinegar, ginger, fish oil (source of DHA), primrose oil, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, salt, green tea extract, dl-methionine, vitamin A acetate, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid, biotin, inositol, dehydrated kelp, zinc polysaccharide complex, iron polysaccharide complex, manganese polysaccharide complex, copper polysaccharide complex, cobalt polysaccharide complex, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, pectin, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||20%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||40%||38%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
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 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 lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
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.
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, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, this recipe contains fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
And lastly, this food also 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.
Health Extension Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Health Extension Dog Food 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Health Extension Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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.
Health Extension Dog Food
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.
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A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
05/18/2015 Last Update