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Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free product line includes one dry dog food, claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable Mix
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, cassava root flour, chicken meal, pea starch, canola meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), dried peas, pea protein, dried egg product, pea fiber, dried beet pulp, dried carrots, natural flavor, fish oil, potassium chloride, salt, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, l-lysine monohydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, dl-methionine, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, copper proteinate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||18%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||38%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 cassava root flour, or tapioca starch. Cassava root flour is a gluten-free, carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The fourth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient is canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production more typically used to make feed for farm animals and to produce biodiesel.
Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
In any case, because canola meal also contains about 37% dry matter protein, this ingredient would be expected to 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 beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is dried egg product, 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.
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, 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.
Next, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, this recipe 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.
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.
Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free Dog Food looks like an 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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.
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 canola meal, dried peas and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Canyon Creek Ranch Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
01/24/2014 Original review
02/13/2014 Product may have been discontinued
02/13/2014 Last Update