Exclusive Dog Food Review (Dry)

Exclusive Adult Dry Dog Food

Exclusive Dog Food Review

Rating:

Exclusive Signature Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Exclusive Signature product line includes the 8 dry dog foods listed below.

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

Use the following links to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.

Product Rating AAFCO
Exclusive Large Breed Adult 4.5 M
Exclusive Healthy Weight Adult 4.5 M
Exclusive Performance 30/20 4.5 A
Exclusive Adult Chicken and Brown Rice 4.5 M
Exclusive Large Breed Puppy 4.5 G
Exclusive Senior Chicken and Brown Rice 4.5 M
Exclusive Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice 4.5 G
Exclusive All Life Stages Lamb and Brown Rice 4 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Exclusive Signature Large Breed Adult 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.

Exclusive Signature Large Breed Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin), whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, oatmeal, turkey meal, dried plain beet pulp, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dried egg product, flaxseed, fish meal, salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex [source of vitamin K activity], folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate), brewers dried yeast, salmon oil (source of EPA & DHA), choline chloride, blueberries, cranberries, alfalfa meal, dried chicory root, turmeric, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of ascorbic acid), citric acid (preservative), mixed tocopherols (preservative), l-carnitine, Yucca schidigera extract, beta carotene, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%14%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%31%44%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 44%

Exclusive Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The next ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is brewers rice, which 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 lists oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

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

The eighth ingredient is 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.

The ninth 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.

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 Exclusive Signature product.

With 7 notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

In addition, this recipe contains chicory root. Chicory 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, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

We also find brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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.

And lastly, we note the inclusion of menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in its nutrient profiles, we question the use of this item in any canine recipe.

Exclusive Nutrient Content

Based on its ingredients alone, Exclusive Signature Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Which means this Exclusive product line contains…

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, alfalfa meal and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Is Exclusive a Good Dog Food?

Exclusive Signature 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 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

That said, menadione phobics may wish to ignore our rating and look elsewhere for another product.

Exclusive Dog Food Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Exclusive brand.

No recalls noted

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

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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.

References

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials

08/19/2020 Last Update