Caliber Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Caliber Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Caliber 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.

  • Caliber Sport 24-20 [A]
  • Caliber Maintenance 21-10 [A]
  • Caliber Ultra 26-18 (3.5 stars) [A]
  • Caliber Puppy 30-20 (2.5 stars) [A]
  • Caliber Advantage 24-18 (2.5 stars) [A]
  • Caliber Professional 22-12 (2.5 stars) [A]

Caliber Maintenance 21-10 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Caliber Maintenance 21-10

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, pork meal, ground soft whole wheat rice bran, soybean meal, chicken fat, beet pulp (sugar removed), natural chicken liver digest, salt, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis21%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%11%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%26%52%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 26% | Carbs = 52%

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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fourth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The fifth 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient is 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.

The eighth ingredient is chicken liver digest which is made from the enzymatic breakdown of liver tissue. Digests are commonly used by pet food manufacturers as flavor enhancers.

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 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. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this 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.

Caliber Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Caliber 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 24%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 57%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal in this recipe and the corn gluten meal contained in others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Caliber is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named and unnamed meat or meat by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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.

Caliber 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.

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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.

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 Chewy.com 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

10/04/2017 Last Update

  • Jermaine Burns

    Right. I have a pitbull and had him on beneful but he never seemed to be gaining weight. I switched him to caliber ultra and wow. Weeks later he’s huge and strong

  • texas hunter

    i don’t know folks i been feeding the caliber 24/20 for quite a while now and the dogs haven’t looked better . and these ain’t poodles either they are high powered hard worked stock dogs and hounds which are mainley used to hunt wild boar . a very tuff job done on a regular basis . dogs maintain their weight and energy level really well with this feed .

  • Shawna

    Good post Pam!!

    That kind of thing (like the car manufacturer) happens ALL the time.  DuPont, a well respected and very profitable company, did it with a chemical called PFOA.  The chemical is so pervasive that it is found in new born babies and polar bears who would have no direct contact.  It kills birds from the fumes, causes deformity in babies still in the womb etc.  DuPont actually lied to get the chemical passed for use.  The EPA found out and fined DuPont more money than any other company in the histroy of the EPA’s existance.  The EPA gave DuPont 10 years to get the product off the market.  But guess what, it’s still here…  AND it is lining many of the bags of kibble that we feed our dogs.  As well as french fry boxes, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, non-stick teflon frying pans etc…

    Something similar happened with aspartame..

    I KNOW this goes on all the time but I never really thought about how it could factor into our dogs’ lives on a daily basis (other than PFOA)…  Thanks for making me think :)…

  • Pam Casira

    I bet the dog food companies pay someone the big bucks to do number crunching (profit vs quality)–just like anything else.

    Take car manufacturers, for instance, they know when something is wrong. But if profit sufficiently exceeds the cost of potential lawsuits and other fees, they won’t recall or fix the problem…

    Also, there’s probably enough people out there that want to save a dollar or two OR they just don’t want to be inconvenienced OR they’re ignorant.

    That’s how people can continue making garbage for dogs. How much could it possibly cost to grind and mix together trash that no one else wants? Especially if you can turn around and sell it as “balanced” and “nutritious” and “your dog will love the taste…”.

  • Wow. What Caliber handgun do you think would be more humane to just shoot your dog with versus feeding your dog Caliber dry dog food? I say .45 acp.

    Mike, where do you find some of these truly awful foods? I read an ingredients list and a review like this, and it seems like there can’t possibly be another one out there that’s as bad or worse, because you’ve reviewed sooo many. But then BAM! another hot bag of trash being marketed as “food”. So sad.

  • erin c.

    The gov’t needs to change their list of what can be used for food.

    Is there a list somewhere or someone who goes around and shows companies what they can put in pet food and still get approval?

    I can’t imagine people coming up with this garbage without help.