Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes product line includes 6 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.

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.

  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Lamb Meal and Brown Rice [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Salmon Meal and Brown Rice[A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Buffalo Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Salmon Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Chicken Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood 5000 ALS Special Diet Catfish Meal and Pearled Barley (3.5 stars) [A]

Blackwood All Life Stages Special Diet Buffalo Meal and Field Pea Grain Free was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Blackwood All Life Stages Special Diet Buffalo Meal and Field Pea Grain Free

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Buffalo meal, field pea, chickpeas, lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whitefish meal, tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, chicken cartilage, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, natural flavor, whole ground flaxseed, menhaden fish oil, lecithin, monosodium phosphate, dl-methionine, kelp meal, apple, ground rosemary, ground thyme, ground cumin, ground yellow mustard, crushed red chili pepper, salt, pumpkin meal, l-lysine, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, blueberry, cranberry, choline chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis28%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%35%38%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is buffalo meal. Buffalo meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh buffalo.

The second 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 third ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Field peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient includes whitefish meal, another protein-rich 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

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

The eighth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 four notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is 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.

Next, this recipe includes menhaden fish oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

And lastly, this food includes 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.

Blackwood Grain Free
and Sensitive Diet Recipes Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipe is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals 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.

Blackwood 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

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.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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

09/23/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • dad

    This brand is such a waste. You wonder how it can even stay in business.

  • Polo And Cody

    That’s true. Imagine if you missed the ingredient and your dog was allergic to chicken. That would be terrible. But defending them a little, maybe they’re just trying to make it taste good to dogs. You wouldn’t wanna eat a u tasty meal, Wouldya?

  • Pingback: Best Dry Grain Free Dog Foods | Story Blog()

  • Pingback: Dog Food Recalls, An Update - Dog Wonders()

  • Erika

    Some of these ingredients seem odd to me. Why would a dog need ground cumin and red chilli pepper? Wouldn’t they be kind of spicy for a dog?

  • Burgiss

    Blackwood Pet Food, LLC
    38281 Industrial Park Road
    Lisbon, Ohio  44432
    330-205-4433 Cell
    330-313-3646 Fax Direct
    Matthew Golladay
    Vice President
    [email protected]

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Oh, and after checking the blackwoods website, I was surprised to see that the 5000 catfish and barley formula still contains chicken meal! Kinda defeats the purpose of a unique protein food when you throw is chicken.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    With only a paltry 23% protein, the 5000 line doesn’t deserve any higher rating than the 2000. If it merited a higher rating, mike would have mentioned it as an outlier in a separate review. But it deserves no such mention. In fact, I think 4 stars is already a bit high for a food with such lackluster protein content.

  • hounddogmom12


    If you read the top of the review it states:

    “The Blackwood Original Recipe product line lists 3 dry dog foods… each claimed to meet AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

    Blackwood 1000 Every DayBlackwood 2000 Active DietBlackwood 5000 Alternative Diet
    Blackwood Dog Food 2000 Active Diet was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.”

    When there are multiple products within the same line only one is chosen to represent all because the ingredients and nutrient profiles are so similar that there is no point in review each individually. If Mike felt that there was something about the 5000 formula that was significantly different than the others and that it deserved a different rating that would have been noted in the review or a separate review would have been done. If you look at the reviews for every brand one formula is picked to represent the whole line.

  • Burgiss

    Not really. This piece reviews Blackwood Dog Food 2000 Active Diet. I’d like to see the same kind of detail for the 5000.

    Thanks, Lynda

  • hounddogmom12


    The Blackwood Alternative 5000 has already been reviewed. It’s falls under the Original Recipe (which includes Blackwood 1000 Every Day, Blackwood 2000 Active Diet, and Blackwood 5000 Alternative).

  • Burgiss

    Blackwood Pet Food, LLC
    38281 Industrial Park Road
    Lisbon, Ohio  44432
    330-205-4433 Cell
    330-313-3646 Fax Direct
    Matthew Golladay
    Vice President
    [email protected]


    I have contacted Mr. Golladay several times by email and he has always answered. We have been successfully feeding Blackwood Alternative 5000 (catfish and barley) to my Westie for several months. He was diagnosed with bile syndrome in December, and had developed an intolerance for chicken and lamb. We get the food in 48 hours, with free shipping, from:

    Hope to see a future review of this food on the Dog Food Advisor site.


  • Hi Terrance… Unless you can see an actual nutritional analysis (not the label) for any specific product, I can only assume the company has taken its supplementation scientifically and added only what the recipe requires for it to meet their published AAFCO profile standards.

  • Terence Tan

    Pet foods which include vitamins, such as Vitamin A Supplement. At the same time some include liver in their recipe. Won’t this particular pet food be overdosed with Vitamin A? Or do you think the Vitamin A supplement already inclusive of the vitamin A in liver ?

  • Cheryl… Try the Contact Us page on Blackwood’s website. Hope this helps.

  • Hello,
    I have looked & looked but I cannot find a phone number for
    Blackwood dog food. I would like to try it but it’s not available around Wisconsin. Can you help?
    Thanks so much:)

  • Pingback: Blackwood Special Diet Dog Food | Review and Rating | Organic Rapeseed Oil()