Zignature Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Zignature product line includes three dry dog foods. Since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Zignature Lamb Formula
- Zignature Turkey Formula
- Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula
Zignature Turkey Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Zignature Turkey Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, peas, pea flour, chickpeas, sunflower oil (preserved with citric acid), pea protein, flaxseed, natural flavors, dried beet pulp potassium chloride, calcium chloride, salt, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), blueberries, carrots, cranberries, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, preserved with mixed tocopherols
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.2%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||34%||20%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||40%||31%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The third ingredient lists peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour makes a slightly healthier substitute for wheat and can support more stable blood sugar levels.
The fifth ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, beans and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
Even though chickpeas contain about 22% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
The sixth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like peas, chickpeas and pea protein can all notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual 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.
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 find 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.
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 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.
Zignature Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Zignature Dog Food appears to be an above-average kibble.
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 33% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas, chickpeas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Zignature is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of turkey, lamb and salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
However, with 40% of the total calories in this food coming from fat as compared to just 29% from protein, this product may not be appropriate for every dog.
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
08/05/2012 Original review
08/05/2012 Last Update