Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free product line includes 8 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.
Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.
- Pristine Grass Fed Lamb and Lentil [A]
- Pristine Grass Fed Beef and Chickpea [A]
- Pristine Free Range Chicken, Turkey and Lentil [A]
- Pristine Grass Fed Beef and Chickpea Small Breed [A]
- Pristine Wild Caught Salmon and Chickpea (4 stars) [A]
- Pristine Grass Fed Beef and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites [A]
- Pristine Free Range Chicken and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites [A]
- Pristine Wild Caught Salmon and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites (4 stars) [A]
Castor and Pollux Pristine Grass Fed Lamb and Lentil was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Castor and Pollux Pristine Grass Fed Lamb and Lentil
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb, lamb meal, organic pea protein, organic chickpeas, organic peas, organic lentils, organic tapioca, chicken meal, whitefish meal, turkey meal, organic sunflower seed meal, organic coconut oil, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, natural flavor, organic flaxseed, organic alfalfa meal, organic apples, organic blueberries, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, salt, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), rosemary extract, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||18%||36%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||33%||37%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains up to 73% 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 lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
The third 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.
It’s important to note that the next three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
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.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The eighth ingredient is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The ninth ingredient is whitefish meal, yet another high protein 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
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 six notable exceptions…
First, we find sunflower seed meal, a by-product of the oil extraction process – and an item more typically found in feed for livestock.
Although sunflower meal contains about 34% protein, it 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.
Next, we note the use of coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2
Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
In addition, we find flaxseed, 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 food includes alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
We also note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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 Pristine
Grain Free Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.
Above-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 pea protein, chickpeas, peas, lentils, sunflower seed meal, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing at least a notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include pea protein in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient and minus the other plant-based proteins, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free is a dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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
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.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
11/29/2018 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩