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Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

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Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

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Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

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Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: June 5, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Rating:
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Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Each recipe below includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Pristine Grain Free Grass-Fed Beef and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites 5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Check out the detailed recipe and nutrient analysis for Pristine Grain Free Grass-Fed Beef and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites below.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Pristine Grain Free Grass-Fed Beef and Sweet Potato with Raw Bites

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

36%

Protein

18%

Fat

38%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Beef, chicken meal, turkey meal, organic sweet potatoes, organic potatoes, chicken fat, organic sunflower seed meal, dried egg product, natural flavor, whitefish meal, salmon, flaxseed, whitefish, chicory root (source of inulin), organic blueberries, organic apples, salt, potassium chloride, 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), taurine, choline chloride, minerals (zinc methionine complex, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide), mixed tocopherols for freshness, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, citric acid for freshness


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 32% 16% NA
Dry Matter Basis 36% 18% 38%
Calorie Weighted Basis 31% 37% 32%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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 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.

The next 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.

After the natural flavor, we find whitefish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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 Castor and Pollux product.

With 5 notable exceptions

First, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

In addition, this recipe includes sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Next, 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.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

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

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

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

Our Rating of Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Castor and Pollux Pristine Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Castor and Pollux through July.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Castor and Pollux Brand Reviews

The following Castor and Pollux dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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