Darford Zero/G Dog Food (Dry)


Product May Have Been Discontinuedn

Darford Zero/G Dog Food gets the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Darford Zero/G product line includes 2 dry dog foods.

Since we could not locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these products on the Darford website, we’re unable to report life stage recommendations.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Darford Zero/G Turkey and Chicken
  • Darford Zero/G Sardine, Whitefish and Mysis Shrimp

Darford Zero/G Turkey and Chicken Dog Food was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Darford Zero/G Turkey and Chicken

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Turkey, chicken, chicken meal (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols), turkey meal (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols), peas, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, pea starch, flax seed, poultry fat (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers yeast, mysis shrimp, salmon meal (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sunflower oil, tomato pomace, alfalfa, natural flavors, dl-methionine, vitamins (dl-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E), niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), salt, choline chloride, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulphate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate), kelp, chicory root, probiotics: dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, rosehips, blueberries, bilberries, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis30%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%17%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%35%36%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 36%

The first two items in this dog food include turkey and chicken. Although they are both quality items, raw poultry contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, these 2 ingredients would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

Which brings us to chicken meal and turkey meal, the next and (more likely) the dominant meat ingredients in this recipe.

Chicken and turkey meals are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

The fifth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.

The sixth ingredient includes buckwheat, a carb-heavy fruit similar to rhubarb and notable for its gluten-free seeds.

Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is not a cereal grain.

The seventh ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a nutritious member of the legume family. They are rich in protein and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

Chickpeas contain about 22% protein which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.

The ninth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like carbohydrate extract probably used here as a gel-like binder for making kibble.

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 three notable exceptions

First, the company appears to have applied friendly microorganisms to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

Next, chicory root is naturally rich in a substance called 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.

And lastly, this food also 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.

Darford Zero/G Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Darford Zero/G Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.

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 33%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

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

In addition, even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils and peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

The recipe’s use of legumes in place of grain or potatoes make this recipe a potential candidate for those looking for a kibble with a relatively lower glycemic index.

Bottom line?

Darford Zero/G Dog Food is a legume-based dry kibble using a notable amount of chicken and turkey as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

However, Darford appears to be in receivership and does not return phone calls or respond to our emails.

Not recommended.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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Notes and Updates

05/11/2014 Last Update