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Essence Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman

By Mike Sagman

Updated: March 21, 2024

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Rating:
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Which Essence Dog Food Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Essence Dog Food earns The Advisor’s best rating of 5 stars stars.

The Essence Limited Ingredient Recipe 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.

Recipe and Label Analysis

Essence LIR Ocean Recipe 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.


Essence LIR Ocean Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

39.8%

Protein

19.3%

Fat

32.9%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Whitefish, herring, whitefish meal, herring meal, quinoa, pumpkin, olive oil, dicalcium phosphate, natural whitefish flavor, calcium carbonate, salt, choline chloride, potassium chloride, dl-methionine, taurine, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), l-carnitine


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredient Analysis

The first two ingredients in this dog food are whitefish and herring, marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

Fish is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.1

Although they are quality items, raw fish contain 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 third and fourth ingredients are whitefish meal and herring meal. Fish meals are considered meat concentrates and contain 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.2

The fifth ingredient is quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.

Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

The sixth ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is olive oil. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

The eighth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

After the natural whitefish flavor, we find calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 Essence product.

With 4 notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, 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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Essence LIR looks like an above-average dry dog food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 40%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 33% for the overall product line.

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 quinoa, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Essence Dog Food

Essence Limited Ingredient Recipe is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Essence Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Essence through April.

No recalls noted.

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

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Sources

1: Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials

2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

A Final Word

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