FirstMate Dog Food Review (Dry)

FirstMate Wild Pacific Caught Fish Meal and Oats Dry Dog Food

Review of FirstMate Dry Dog Food

Rating:

FirstMate Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The FirstMate product line includes the 5 dry dog foods listed below.

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

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Product Rating AAFCO
FirstMate High Performance 5 A
FirstMate Wild Pacific Caught Fish Meal and Oats 5 A
FirstMate Cage Free Chicken Meal and Oats 5 A
FirstMate Free Range Lamb Meal and Oats 4.5 A
FirstMate Cage Free Duck Meal and Oats 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

FirstMate Wild Pacific Caught Fish Meal and Oats 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.


FirstMate Wild Pacific Caught Fish Meal and Oats

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Ocean fish meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat (mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, brewer's yeast, dicalcium phosphate, 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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%13%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%29%43%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is ocean fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains 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.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.

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 next 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.

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 brewers yeast, which can also 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.

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

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other ingredients.

But realistically, items located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this FirstMate product.

With 3 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.

Nutrient Analysis

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

Which means this FirstMate product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

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

Our Rating of FirstMate Dog Food

FirstMate 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.

Has FirstMate Brand Dog Food Been Recalled?

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to FirstMate.

No recalls noted

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

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More FirstMate Brand Reviews

The following FirstMate dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

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

08/11/2021 Last Update