FirstMate Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The FirstMate product line includes 4 dry dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
Use the links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- FirstMate High Performance (5 stars) [U]
- FirstMate Wild Caught Fish Meal and Oats [A]
- FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats [A]
- FirstMate Free Range Lamb Meal and Oats (4 stars) [A]
FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, potassium chloride, choline chloride, calcium propionate, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-pantothenic acid, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), glucosamine hydrochloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||13%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||29%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is 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 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 fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat 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.
The fifth ingredient is tomato pomace, which is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The sixth ingredient is potassium chloride, a nutritional supplement sometimes used as a replacement for the sodium found in table salt.
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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
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.
And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
FirstMate Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, FirstMate Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 5 %.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
FirstMate is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
We review the company’s FirstMate Grain-Free Dog Food line in a separate report.
FirstMate Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/05/2018 Last Update