Bil-Jac Stews (Tubs)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Bil-Jac Stews Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Bil-Jac Stews product line includes 4 wet 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Bil-Jac Hearty Stew with Beef and Barley [M]
  • Bil-Jac Grain Free Country Stew with Lamb and Beef [M]
  • Bil-Jac Grain Free Chunky Stew with Chicken and Vegetables [M]
  • Bil-Jac Grain Free Harvest Feast with Turkey and Sweet Potatoes [M]

Bil-Jac Grain Free Chunky Stew with Chicken and Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Bil-Jac Grain Free Chunky Stew with Chicken and Vegetables

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, egg product, sweet potatoes, green peas, pea protein, modified tapioca starch, potato starch, tricalcium phosphate, dextrose, glycine, potassium chloride, guar gum, salt, thyme, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, magnesium oxide, ferrous sulfate, taurine, zinc oxide, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, copper glycine complex, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese glycine complex, biotin supplement, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, potassium iodide, beta-carotene, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 11.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%17%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%35%27%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 27%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) 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 fourth 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 fifth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

The sixth 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 this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

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, dextrose is a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.

Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.

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.

Bil-Jac Stews Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Bil-Jac Stews looks like an average wet 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 44%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Bil-Jac Stews is a meat-based wet dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Bil-Jac 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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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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.

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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.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

09/09/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Pitlove

    At first I thought she was talking about AKC because she said “American kennel standards” lol

  • theBCnut

    LOL!! AKA is usually Also Known As. I could see this used many ways with dog food.

  • Diva Chloe

    I’ve seen it on dry food bags but not on canned food.

  • Pitlove

    No problem. Each commercial diet will have an AAFCO statement on the back of the bag or can letting you know that is complete and balanced and for which lifestage.

    Edit: Ah I see that Dr. Mike states he was unable to find an AAFCO statement for this food. That is very strange.

  • Diva Chloe

    Duh, I couldn’t remember the acronym-Thanks, I edited my comment.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Kathy-

    I’ve never heard of AKA before, could you explain what that is? As far as I know, the only organization that a dog food nutrient profile needs to legally be in compliance with is AAFCO.

  • Kathy Green

    I would love for these reviews to show if the foods are balanced via American Kennel standards. The labels get confusing with vague descriptions like “balanced”, but not enough detail to reassure us that it meets AKA standards

  • Shea

    I might try this as a topper to my terrier’s dry nutrisource food. Looks like it has good ingredients and no carrageenan!

  • theBCnut

    If you figure on a calorie basis, canned is more expensive than dry. My dog that eats 2 cups of dry might need 3 cans to get the same number of calories.

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    Thanks Mike, I uphold you to finest trophy of websites, possibly! You have helped my three beloveds by your work!

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    That’s right. This is the BEST website I have found on canine nutrition and I love that it is broken down by the different categories and so do my dogs! They are eating healthier and what I thought was good food, was NOT. His dental exams are better, his coat is shinier, and the food isn’t a huge blob of fat and rocks and intestines—- that is what was in the Little Cesars and Pedigree we had used in the past. If you want to questions something, put your hands in their food. That’s how I found things when my dog choked on something. What I found disgusted me and that’s when I researched to find a site like this! I love this site! I have passed it forward to all my friends who are furr-friendly!

  • Shelley Holder Norman-Echtle

    We do a half and half. Dry in the a.m. and wet at dinner time. It is not more expensive over all, you think that. Overall if you measure out the food, you find, wet can be just affordable as dry.

  • theBCnut

    This review is for the tubs, which means this is like canned food.

  • Shelley Echtle

    Dextrose is down by the 10th ingredient, overall this is good compared to others!

  • Shelley Echtle

    Is this the frozen bag in the frozen foods section of the super market? I found this by the frozen foods and wanted to buy, but wanted to make sure I got the right foods!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I never said dogs shouldn’t be fed wet food. I just said wet food costs more than dry. In fact, I believe wet food is a much better choice than dry food (still not the best thing to feed a dog, but much better than kibble). I don’t think dogs should be fed dry food at all.

  • diannna

    Yes it is but every now and then you should reward your pet with it, Us humans do so why not them? They get tired of eating dry food. Of course I just don’t buy him wet food. I feed him dry food and alternate a day where i’ll put a lil wetfood into this dry food, that way he doesn’t get tired of eating the same dry food and it makes it more enjoyable.

  • diana

    I like to spoon a tablespoon of bil jac wet food into this bil jac grain free dry food. His stools are great, they look normal finally, at first they were watery to the point I wasn’t able to pick up his poo when I would walk him. I was feeding him that nasty beneful wet food, big mistake. I also tried feeding him blue divine delight since it was on sale at petsmart for a dollar but he didn’t really like them, I mean he ate it but he acted very different compared to bil jac wet food he just eats it up.

  • diana

    You’re right Bryan, Mike does a very damn good job on educating us about pet foods. I was a new pet owner a few months ago and have felt so comfortable and confident in making my dog food choices. Thanks Mike =)

  • hanoverboxer

    My dog loves the Bil-Jac wet dog food and since its about 20 cents/can cheaper than the other premium wet dog food brands I think its an excellent choice.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Wet food is much more expensive than dry food.

  • Would this be a cheaper alternative than the regular dry food version? My neighbor feeds her bully the Bil-Jac dry Adult and she gets nervous when she sees my criticizing her dog food. Maybe they would change it if she got some convincing. 🙂

  • JellyCat

    Thanks for your response. I do agree that these items are far in ingredient list and my comments about this particular food are exaggerated.
    I was commenting about rating system in general. However, my ideas are not necessarily superior.

  • Hi JellyCat and Ohnoesaz,

    Without any further information, I can understand why you might feel I’ve gone easy on Bil-Jac.

    However, dextrose is commonly added to foods like this in very tiny quantities to enable something known as the Malliard reaction. This permits browning and the addition of very subtle flavor improvements.

    Pea protein is a good source of protein but can exaggerate the appearance of more meat content.

    In my opinion, and considering their relative positions on the ingredients list, these items are not important enough to diminish the product’s rating.

    Based upon the total picture here, this product still merits a 4-star rating.

    Hope this helps.

  • JellyCat

    I do agree that Mike does an amazing job.

    However, there is always room for improvement 🙂

  • Perhaps you and ohnoesaz should start your own website.

    Mike does an incredible job with DFA. He breaks down each food, so if there’s an ingredient you don’t like you can avoid it.

  • JellyCat

    I agree with you. I would definitely not award 4 stars to food containing dextrose.
    I think that a rating system that considers both meat content and ingredients is a little more flexible. Such a rating sustem should be standardized into a point system. For instance to get 5* you would have to achieve a minimum of 85 out of 100 points and so on. Every “negative” ingredient should be rated in points, such as corn syrup “-15” points off if it is #9 on ingredient list out of 20 ingredients excluding vitamins and micro nutrients. In this way each ingredient could be discussed and described as there will be a standardized database. It is definitely a lot of work to create such a system, but this system has a potential to be a lot more inclusive, flexible and objective.

  • ohnoesaz

    When Bil-Jac gets 4 of 5 stars, you know the rating system needs an overhaul.