Which Cesar Dry Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
Cesar Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.
The Cesar product line includes the 3 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor||1||U|
|Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor||1||U|
|Cesar Porterhouse Flavor||1||U|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, ground wheat, meat and bone meal, whole grain corn, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with bha and citric acid), corn gluten meal, natural flavor, dried plain beet pulp, water, chicken meal, glycerin, salt, sugar, potassium sorbate (preservative), phosphoric acid, potassium chloride, natural filet mignon flavor, choline chloride, dried peas, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, dried carrots, yellow 6, l-tryptophan, red 40, yellow 5, blue 2, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, vitamin A supplement, blue 2, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||14%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||31%||43%|
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 wheat. Like corn, wheat 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 wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1
Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.
Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. So, the meat itself can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — which can make identifying specific food allergens impossible.
Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this to be a quality item.
The fourth ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
The fifth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient includes chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the choice cuts have been removed.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from just about anywhere: salvaged roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat… even dead, diseased or dying cattle.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
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 Cesar product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find sugar. Sugar is always an unwelcome addition to any dog food. Because of its high glycemic index, it can unfavorably impact the blood glucose level of any animal soon after it is eaten.
Next, this recipe includes 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.
In addition, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Additionally, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
And lastly, this recipe contains 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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Cesar Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten and soybean meals and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Cesar Dry Dog Food
Cesar is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named by-product and unnamed meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.
Cesar Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Cesar through August 2022.
- Cesar Dog Food Recall of October 2016 (10/7/2016)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Cesar Brand Reviews
The following Cesar dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Cesar Classics Dog Food Review (Wet)
- Cesar Filets in Gravy Dog Food Review (Cups)
- Cesar Wholesome Bowls Dog Food Review (Wet)
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.
08/12/2022 Last Update