Wild Calling! Xotics Essentials (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Wild Calling! Xotics Essentials Dog Food gets the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials product line includes 3 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.

  • Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Bison Meal
  • Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Rabbit Meal
  • Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Kangaroo Meal (3 stars)

Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Bison Meal was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Bison Meal

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 25% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredients: Bison meal, sweet potato, bison, lentils, tapioca, turkey fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dried peas, flaxseed, natural flavor, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dried seaweed meal, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), salt, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis23%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis25%15%51%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%33%45%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 45%

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

The second ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The third ingredient is bison. Although it’s a quality item, raw bison 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 fourth ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The sixth ingredient is turkey fat. Turkey fat is obtained from rendering turkey, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Turkey fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, turkey fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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.

After the natural flavor, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1

Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

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, 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.

Next, we find dried seaweed meal, a product made from a family of brown algae known as Fucaceae (Rockweed). Although it does contain a number of healthy nutrients, seaweed meal is primarily used as a source of inexpensive carbohydrates (about 60% dry matter).

This item is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in feeds for cattle, horses, hogs, hens and sheep.

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.

Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials 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 25%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, dried peas and flaxseed in this recipe and the pea protein contained in another, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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.

Wild Calling! 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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A Final Word

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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

02/02/2017 Last Update

  1. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  2. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  • Jane

    $73.00 for 21lbs and only 3 1/2 stars? Wow, that’s what I call a rip off. You can pay $33 for 35lbs for Costco’s Nature’s Domain for that. Zignature is also making 2 new flavors and one is kangaroo as well. Zignature is $65 for 28lbs for the kangaroo flavor. Some other flavors a ten dollars less.