Review of Cesar Dry Dog Food
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||A|
|Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor||1||A|
|Cesar Porterhouse Flavor||1||A|
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, chicken by-product meal, ground yellow corn, ground wheat, brewers rice, meat & bone meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA & citric acid), corn gluten meal, soybean meal, natural flavor, dried beet pulp, glycerin, salt, phosphoric acid, sugar, water, potassium sorbate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, fish oil (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), filet mignon smokey natural flavor, dried peas, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, colors (red 40, blue 2, yellow 5 & 6), niacin, dried carrots, d-calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, potassium iodide, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||15%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||32%||42%|
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 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.
In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.
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 third ingredient is corn. Corn 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 corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (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 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
The ninth 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 corn gluten and soybean meals 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.
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 7 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, we find glycerin. Glycerin is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.
In addition, we note the use of 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 contains 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.
Additionally, 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.
And lastly, 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.
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 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Above-average protein. Near-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 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.
Has Cesar Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Cesar.
- Cesar Dog Food Recall of October 2016 (10/7/2016)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
Get Free Recall Alerts
Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.
More Cesar Reviews
The following Cesar dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
A Final Word
The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.
However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.
For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
02/01/2021 Last Update