Artemis AGARx Immune Support (Dry)

Rating:

PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED

Artemis AGARx Immune Support Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Artemis website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

Artemis AGARx Immune Support

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey, turkey meat, brown rice, pearled barley, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserve with vitamin E, C and rosemary extract), dried eggs, fish meal, natural flavoring, canola oil, flaxseed, fresh potato, fresh carrots, fresh peas, whole fresh apples, cranberries, dried chicory (prebiotics), salt, potassium chloride, lecithin, garlic, dl-methionine, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid, biotin, inositol, dehydrated kelp, chelates of zinc, iron, Agaricus blazei murill, manganese, copper and cobalt, potassium iodate, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, sage extract, Aspergillus oryzae fermentation soluble (digestive enzyme), Enterococcus faecium and Lactobacillus acidophilus (probiotics)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.2%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis23%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%16%51%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%33%45%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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 turkey. Like all meats, turkey is also mostly water. So, it is subject to the same after-cooking water reduction as chicken. This makes turkey’s contribution to the overall protein content of this food less significant.

The fourth item is described as turkey meat. We have no idea why the company chooses to list both turkey and turkey meat as two separate items.

The fifth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The seventh 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient includes dried eggs, 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 tenth ingredient is fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. The term “fish” does little to properly describe this ingredient. Due to the variable fat content found in fish, we would have preferred to have known the species.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears1 to be ethoxyquin-free.

After the natural flavoring, we find canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.

Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

Next, 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.

Thirdly, if you’re wondering about the “immune” nature of this dog food, we call your attention to an ingredient listed as Agaricus blazei murill.

This is the name of a special medicinal mushroom known for its purported ability to stimulate the immune system.

Agaricus mushrooms are used by some as “alternative” cancer and immune system drugs.

Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

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.

Artemis AGARx Immune Support Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Artemis AGARx 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

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.

With no sign of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Artemis AGARx Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using only a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Those looking for a wet food to go with this kibble may wish to visit our review of Artemis Fresh Mix canned dog food.

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

03/28/2010 Original review
10/28/2010 Review updated

11/16/2012 Last Update

  1. Artemis Customer Service, 10/25/2010
  2. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  3. 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)