Zach’s Quality Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Zach’s Quality Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Zach’s Qulaity Dog Food 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.

  • Zach’s Black Label Performance Formula
  • Zach’s Chicken and Rice Formula (4 stars)
  • Zach’s Premium Puppy Chicken and Rice Formula

Zach’s Black Label Performance Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Zach's Black Label Performance Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 40%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, and citric acid), beet pulp, lamb meal, fish meal, flaxseed, dried egg product, brewers dried yeast, chicken liver meal, yeast culture, potassium chloride, salt, lecithin, garlic, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese oxide, copper sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, potassium iodate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), sodium selenite, calcium iodate, folic acid, cobalt carbonate, Yucca schidigera extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%19%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%21%40%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%42%33%

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 ground 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 third 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 fourth 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.

The fifth item is lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The sixth ingredient mentions fish meal, yet one more 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

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The ninth ingredient is brewers yeast which 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.

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 two notable exceptions

First, 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 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.

Zach’s Quality Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Zach’s Quality 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the flaxseed and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Zach’s Quality Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

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

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

04/18/2013 Original review
04/18/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Yert

    Are you another hsheehp dont hsleep

  • Charles

    He blocked the vet who made him sweat

  • Charles

    Its a joke with his white coat

  • Charles

    Miiikee with his deadly diet he should be quiet

  • Tim

    They block aroun the clock and mock

  • Paula

    I wonder why I did not lie

  • Paula

    Mike is a scam he put me in spam

  • Ch

    I caught Shawna in so many lies. They bullie and flag. They lie and twist the truth. These people are impostars.

  • Ch

    I spoke the truth about their false information and misleading agenda about the dangers about 38-54%protein recommendation. When I pointed out studies the blocked me and conveniently deleted my posts claiming things that wete not true.

  • Ch

    This site is highly manipulated. They block and delete valid and legit people and posts left and right to give you only one sided information

  • Ch

    Mike it is between you and God and Benjamin Frankling about yoir manipulations, your lies and deceit.

  • Ch

    That old man with his charm causing all the harm.
    He shoulld be quiet with his high protein diet.

  • Ch

    You can’t controll the troll who is on a roll.
    Are you another sheep don’t sleep.

    Soon you too will wake up without make up and see the breakup.

  • Ch

    Shawna thinks she is right but there is no light.
    She missed her education but has deducation to sell you so much meat thats not neat.

    And it is all done with deceit.

  • Ch

    if you challenge the groupies they will turn into booties.
    editor from Virginia will trash you like a Gorilla and chew you up like vanilla

  • Ch

    Hounddog is really young
    With a sharp tonge.

    She is very rude who should be sued.

  • Ch

    Today two posts dissappeared where people promoted low protein

    Yesterday four
    When I said it the history log was gone

    This site is manipulated

  • Ch

    Patty tattletale come on flag me

  • Pattyvaughn
  • RN Nutrition

    What is the “Great Life” thread….?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Read the Great Life thread for yourself.

  • RN Nutrition

    site your sources please…

  • RN Nutrition

    site your sources please… I could find none.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi pam,

    I’m glad you found something that you think so highly of; but, I have to say that nothing is a great for the price if that’s all you’re feeding. If it’s part of a rotational diet that’s a different matter. To feed nothing but the same one food every single day for eight years is a terrible idea. Sorry.

  • pam

    I have been feeding Zach’s for about 8 yrs. It’s great food for the price. Daniel delivers it to my door whenever I call him. I have always fed the chicken and rice. I highly recommend it. It comes in 50 lb bags and I buy 4-6 bags at a time.

  • losul

    Do you get from Costco?

  • RDW

    Zach’s…my mistake!

  • RDW

    I have had my two dogs (one big, one little) on Zacks for 3 bags worth now and couldn’t be happier. They are healthy, they love the food (including my picky eater) and I know its nutritious. Their coats are softer and their digestive tracts adapted very well to the change. Highly Recommend!

  • GSDsForever

    With all due respect, I can’t consider ANY Diamond manufactured food well-made or safe. I would never ever feed or recommend Kirkland for that reason alone.

    Diamond does manufacture many foods and often is tied to lower price points in a category of food — hence, Kirkland/Nature’s Domain, Taste of the Wild, and Canidae — and many buyers are misled by this. But there are also many, many foods that are NOT made by Diamond and that permanently refuse to do business with Diamond.

    And, as HDM has correctly pointed out, Wellness severed all ties with Diamond (for cause) a while back.

    Quality dry foods that are NOT made by Diamond include Wellness, Fromm, Horizon, Pure Vita/Natural Planet/Nutrisource, Champion, Hi-Tek Rations, Timberwolf Organics, Verus, Earthborn Holistic, Victor, Dr. Tim’s, Halo, Canine Caviar, By Nature, Petguard, and more.

    Of those, I’ve personally had the best success with Timberwolf and would recommend most highly their formula ranges, both in exceptionally high quality ingredient sourcing and manufacturing I trust. The company has very high standards, is very discriminating, and hands on. The only other companies I know that compare in how passionate the company is about their formulations and quality standards are Stella & Chewy’s (raw & freeze dried) and Honest Kitchen.(dehydrated). I feed homemade currently. But there are a number of excellent companies out there that offer safer alternatives to Diamond products.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I believe Pied Piper is no more. They were bought out by Great Life, who is known for not being very accurate on their labels.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Cheryl –

    Kirkland and Chicken Soup may both be made by Diamond, but they aren’t the same product and have different formulas. Wellness is not made by Diamond.

  • Cheryl Lantz

    Kirkland from Costco is a MUCH better made product than Zach’s. Kirkland IS made by diamond and is the same formula as Chicken Soup for the Soul. Wellness is also made by diamond. ALOT of other well known foods are made by diamond

  • Cheryl Lantz

    My dogs were on this formula 5 years ago and after 4 months, my dogs hair all fell out and caused severe allergies. It is made by Pied Piper Pet Foods and the formula has ALOT of unidentified ingredients.

  • GSDsForever

    I really enjoy hearing about new brands and good experiences. I haven’t seen this in Costco here yet.

    I look forward to learning more about an affordable option for people there that is not made by Diamond (i.e. Kirkland and Nature’s Domain) or made in China (treats). I love Costco, but always want their dog food/treat aisle to get better quality to match the human stuff in the store.

  • Mastiff 13

    Zach’s is amazing! The quality of the product for the price is hands down the best deal on the market!! Glad to see Costco is now carrying it!! I switched from Blue and they love it!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m not sure what the shipping costs are like but you can purchase Zach’s directly from their website.

  • Deb Vaughn

    Zachs is a small, individually owned business. I have talked with the owner and he is awesome! My dogs were on Zach’s chicken and rice for almost a year before our local supplier stopped carrying it. My dogs loved it, shedding was reduced, waste was reduced and so were allergies. We began using another food, considered high end and my dogs are scratching like crazy and losing hair by the handfuls. I’ve got to find another distributor!!!

  • carole

    This food is not made by Victor. It is produced by a small entrepeneur in Texas and has been picked up by the Dallas Costco. Waiting to see if it goes to Wal Mart also. I have used Zach’s for over four years now and my dogs do very well on it. It has no soy or corn, no gluten and we are very happy with it.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    You might try emailing the company through their website. I sent a question about the food one night and I recieved a reply a couple hours later in the middle of the night. Or you could try contacting Mid Amercia Pet Foods who makes Victor.

  • lilo’smom

    Does anyone know if this food is produced by the same company as victor?