Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★½

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix product line includes one canned dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Chicken, Vegetable and Brown Rice Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, turkey, chicken liver, peas, potatoes, dried egg product, potato starch, oat fiber, brown rice, carrots, red peppers, flaxseed meal, apples, cranberries, blueberries, dried spinach, sunflower oil, sodium phosphate, choline chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodate, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), salt, calcium carbonate, dextrose, glycine, dried bananas, garlic, flaxseed oil, guar gum, potassium chloride, xanthan gum, l-carnitine

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%22%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%44%21%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 21%

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 turkey, another quality, raw item.

The fourth ingredient lists chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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 potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The seventh 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.

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

The ninth ingredient is oat fiber, one of the richest sources of soluble dietary fiber of any cereal grains.

Soluble fiber is especially known for its ability to lower cholesterol in humans (which may not be as important for dogs).

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, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, we find sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

In addition, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Next, we note the use of dextrose, 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.

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix canned dog food looks like an above-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 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include dextrose in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.

Castor and Pollux 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

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

12/01/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. 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)
  • Hope26us

    Bazuhi, I buy this dog food from Amazon for a better price then petsmart. They also carry it at sprouts.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Dog foodie gave the complete explanation including the manufacturer explanation. Pressure cooked bones are cooked until they are soft and to the point of crumbling apart. This is a completely different process from bones that are cooked during the process of cooking meat to a safe temperature. What aren’t you understanding?

  • billnmartha

    I have always read that cooked chicken bones are a huge no-no: They can cause intestinal perforation. So why is this manufacture putting them in their canned products???

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi SammyTT,

    I’m not sure how this website you linked gets their ratings because it doesn’t seem to make sense or have a specific agenda for providing these ratings. Sometimes sites like this have ratings based on what customers like or review the product. If you click on the product is does take you to a specific Amazon site, so they might just be a merchant that carries these products.

    While Ceasar isn’t the bottom of the barrel, it does get a much lower rating on DFA than Castor & Pollux. Here’s the DFA rating for the specific Ceasar product they rated:

    You might want to do some research on various canned foods on DFA. There are some very good brands that cost less to feed than Ceasar and you can purchase them wherever you would like to purchase, i.e. a retailer or online. Good luck in your search!

  • SammyTT

    I’ve been considering this, or the CESAR Canine Cuisine that’s recommend at for my german shepherd. Which one do you suggest? It needs to be canned food.

  • CR


    I recently bought some Castor & Pollux “Natural Ultramix” canned dofood at PetSmart. Natural Castor & Pollux is owned by Merrick Pet Care. It costs $3.00 a can.

    There was no change in her diet except for a small portion introducing her to the Ultramix.

    My dog had diarrhea for the next three days. The third day the diarrhea was bloody, so I rushed her to the vet.
    After a full exam and numerous tests, my vet could not find anything wrong with my dog except for colitis, and suspected the Natural
    Ultramix was the likely cause. The bill was $383.

    Colitis is an inflammation of the colon. Viruses and bacteria can cause colon infections. Most are food-borne illnesses or “food
    poisoning.” Common bacterial causes include Shigella, E Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

    I contacted Castor & Pollux who asked for a copy of the vet bill.
    Then they asked for the Medical Notes. I had my vet fax that to them.
    After two weeks, they requested my dog’s medical history. Again, my vet obliged and faxed it to them.

    Finally they called and said their vet agreed my dog had a reaction to their food, so “out of good faith,” they would send me some of the same dog food.
    Why would I want more of the same food that poisoned my dog? I declined their offer and asked they help with at least half of the vet

    Another week passed before they left a voicemail again admitting my dog had a “dietary intolerance to their food,” but weren’t going to do anything about it because their vet said their food was fine. How does their vet know? Is he/she on the manufacturing line?

    If the food was fine, why did my dog have diarrhea for
    three days after eating it?

    Where is the warning on the can’s label that the dog food
    may cause severe diarrhea, and possible death if not treated?

    I asked to speak to a manager, but she wasn’t available and
    did not return my call.

    Clearly, Castor & Pollux, which is owned by Merrick Pet Care Inc., does not care about the quality or safety of their food, nor will they stand behind their product. The label on their dog food says the food
    is backed by their 100% satisfaction guarantee, and to contact them if you are not completely satisfied.

    Poisoning my dog and a $383 vet bill does not constitute
    my satisfaction, and contacting them obviously does not matter either.

    Be warned.

  • That recipe along with some others have bones in them on purpose. I feed some of the Merrick canned foods that have bones regularly (Smothered Comfort and Wingaling).

  • DogFoodie

    Hi Jim,

    The bones are meant to be fed to your dog.

    Here’s some information from the Castor & Pollux website:

    Chef’s Note:

    We want to reassure you the chicken bones in ORGANIX® Butcher & Bushel Organic Choice Chicken Wing & Thigh Dinner with Fresh-Harvest Sweet Potatoes are there on purpose. If you notice on the can, there is a note from the chef that states the purpose of the chicken bones: “Our slow cooked, whole chicken thighs/wings are marinated tender chicken cooked on a softened bone. This special cooking process makes the bone soft and safe for your dog to enjoy. Feel free to serve whole, remove, or break apart the soft chicken bones for ease of pet consumption.” The bones also provide the full flavor your dog loves. The food is pressure cooked inside the can and this process is what softens the bones.

  • Jim Stafford

    Guys, this morning I had my third experience of a foreign object in a can of their dog food. This time there were two fairly large chicken bones. I’m done with them.

  • Jessica

    My mom and I feed Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix, Organix, and Butcher & Bushel (we also feed Blue Buffalo and Dave’s) to our 6 dogs. Three are senior labs and one of those has allergies. One is a spitz mix with epilepsy, one is a pit bull, and one is a border collie mix. They’ve all done great on this food for years. The oldest lab (now 13yrs) has started to develop itching on her skin, but it is apparently not due to food. My mom mixes the wet food with Blue Buffalo Life Protection for her dogs; I mix it with Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete. All of them have done really well on this combo for years.

    Furthermore, they don’t have problems with food transitions. I wonder if it may be due, in part, to the fact that we have always mixed different protein sources. We can change across all the foods I’ve mentioned and none of them ever have digestive problems.

  • Pingback: Best Canned Dog Food: A Few Extra Years For Your Dog | Best Dog Treats For Your Happy & Healthy Dog !!()

  • Missimin

    My male dog eats Freshpet Select but my female didn’t like the texture so I bought the grain free Castor and Pollux and she loves it. 

  • Lili

    I found the Ultramix for adult dogs at Wholefoods cheaper then on Amazon for $46.95 30lb bag

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I really didn’t check, but the difference is probably a little more fat/protein/calories.  Imho, if your Maltese is eating the puppy and doing fine on it, I would think it’s alright to continue feeding it.  Just watch that your little dog stays in a healthy weight.  The adult food usually has less calories/protein/fat.  Others can comment if I’m wrong on this.  

  • LriMar

    Can you tell me what the difference is between CP Ultramix puppy and the adult is. My Maltese loves it but he will be 1yr  old in June.Should I switch to adult? I have read the cans and they are pretty much the same.Since he is so tiny,I thought puppy food size is easier for him to eat. 
    BTW I was feeding him Wellness but went back to CP after the recall.

  • Bazuhi

    Hello, Cathy here..I got this brand in the puppy food based on your reviews and am very very happy with it and so are my puppies. Now as things always happen I went to purchase more puppy formula and found that it was being discontinued at all my local Petsmart stores, even the adult looks to be going away. This was in December, I off course ran to 4 stores and bought all on hand so I should be good for a bit. I now am reseraching and trying different brands so I can have a replacement once Castor is all gone. I choose the Merrick brand.. my pups love it… problem…13oz can.. half the weight is liquid it is not a solid can of dog food as others are so it takes pretty much a whole can to feed 2 8lb puppies. I also noticed on some foods you list Guar Gum and on this one you do not list it even tho it also has it in the food. Just wondering is all.

  • Dadsgirl99pr

    I changed my dog to this food after noticing my little one losing weight. I got him from an owner that I’m pretty sure gave him human food, so when I gave him strictly kibble (I don’t agree with mixing human food with kibble and little by little take him off of it) he would eat just enough to live. That and when I bought the food I didn’t know the difference between good quality food and not. So I JUST served him half a can like 10 minutes ago and he ate it all in record time. I am so glad he likes it! I’ll wait a few weeks to see if it’s a good fit for us. Crossing fingers!

  • Anonymous

    Ooops, sorry, this one is not a pellet/kibble, but rather canned. Anyway, either canned or kibble, it carries a higher price tag.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I’ve heard about the higher price tag this dog food pellet, carries. “If you happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Umm, I meant, if you’re happy with this food and its results re your dog, then stick with it I say.

    May I ask if you feed your dog, an RMB (raw meaty bone) a day. Great for teeth maintenance.

    A raw meaty bone a day, keeps the vet away.

  • Dan

    Our 3+ year old female lab has been on this food along with their Ultramix dry for over a year. She gets half a can plus a cup of dry in the morning and the second half and a bit more dry in the evening. It’s the only food we were able to find that she would eat. Go figure, a finicky eating lab! Her coat is gorgeous and activity level is high. It’s a bit high priced but Amazon delivers it cheaper than the locals.

  • Janie

    Thank you very much Mike..I got a few cans of this yesterday and tried my shih tzu’s on it and they didnt like it ..turned their nose up at it and walked away. My shih poo had no problem with it ..looked like a very good dog food..thanks again.

  • Hi Janie… Yes the Chicken, Vegetable and Brown Rice is a newer and very similar product. It would probably receive the same rating (5 stars). The C&P Ultramix canned product line appears to have been recently upgraded to include a few more recipes. So, this review is currently on my To Do list for updating. Hope this helps.

  • Janie

    Was wondering if this reviews also covers the chicken, vegetable, and brown rice stew adult that is on the market . I could not find it on the list . Thanks for your great work and reviews.

  • sandy


    Are you thinking about feeding the can food for breakfast instead of kibble or using the can food as a topper to make the kibble more interesting? Or replacing the raw meal from time to time with the can? In any case, can food is a step up from kibble so I don’t think you could go wrong to add it to your feeding regime as long as it’s for “growth” or “all life stages”.

  • Nola

    My 11 month old dog has been eating castor & pollux’s organix puppy kibble as breakfast, and he gets Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw for dinner. I can’t afford S & C for both meals for a 70lb puppy. However, he really does not enjoy kibble anymore. Would switching to this canned food for one of his meals be a good idea? I’ve never done canned food before so I wasn’t sure if it would go alright with the raw.

  • Hi Carla… Great idea. I always suggest owners of senior pets consider feeding canned foods. From a dental and periodontal standpoint, these softer foods are so much more comfortable. She’s fortunate to have you taking such good care of her.

  • Carla Marie Rupp

    My dog Lucky loves Ultra (from Whole Foods), all three types, and now that she lost some teeth (she’s 15 years), I crush the chunks a bit with a fork, and feed in small amounts.

  • Danette

    Sea Salt is a much healthier salt for those who worry about their dogs hearts. I don’t know of any other dog food that is made with sea salt! I can really appreciate this dog food.

  • Bnai Silverbush

    My 6-month-old poodle/jack russell/beagle mix has been on the canned puppy formula and enjoys eating it. He ate a low-quality brand for 10 days while staying with family because their dog eats a different food (Kibbles N Bits) and of course he gorges himself on his dog-friend’s food for the entire 10 days. (Peer pressure. hmph.) His coat was frizzy and dry-looking when I picked him up–He had lost so much of the beautiful gloss his coat had developed! After a week of being back on his Castor & Pollux, the amazing gloss returned to his coat and the frizz was again replaced by his usual sleek waves. fur returned to it’s slick waves