Alpo Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Alpo Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.

The Alpo product line includes 2 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Alpo Prime Cuts Savory Beef Flavor [M]
  • Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics [M]

Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 21% | Fat = 10% | Carbs = 62%

Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, corn germ meal, beef and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols, pork and bone meal, egg and chicken flavor, poultry and pork digest, corn gluten meal, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, natural grill flavor, l-lysine monohydrochloride, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, red 40, ferrous sulfate, dl-methionine, yellow 5, manganese sulfate, blue 2, yellow 6, niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis18%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis21%10%62%
Calorie Weighted Basis19%22%58%
Protein = 19% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 58%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second ingredient is corn germ meal, a meal made from ground corn germ after much of the oil has been removed. Corn germ meal is a protein-rich by-product left over after milling corn meal, hominy grits and other corn products.

However, the protein found in corn germ meal (about 25% dry matter basis) must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The third ingredient is beef and bone meal, a dry rendered product from (beef) tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Beef and bone meal may have a lower biological value than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

On the brighter side, beef and bone meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.

In any case, beef and bone meal is not considered a better quality dog food ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can 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 fifth ingredient is beef tallow, a fatty by-product of beef rendering. Tallow is high in saturated fats. However, this fat is typically associated with lower quality pet foods.

The sixth ingredient is pork and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from (pork) tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.3

Pork and bone meal may have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash (about 25-30%) and lower essential amino acid content.2

On the brighter side, pork and bone meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.

After the egg and chicken flavor, we find poultry and pork digest. Digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.5

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

And lastly, this dog food 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.

Alpo Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Alpo Dog Food looks like a below-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 21%, a fat level of 10% and estimated carbohydrates of about 62%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 21% and a mean fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 62% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn germ, corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Alpo is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a limited amount of named meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not 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.

Alpo 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.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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In any case, it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

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Notes and Updates

04/29/2019 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, , Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  3. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for meat and bone meal as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2012 Edition
  4. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, , Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  5. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)