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Gaea Dog Food (Dry)



Gaea All Life Stages dog food receives the Advisor’s second-tier rating of 4.5 stars.

Gaea All Life Stages product line includes one dry kibble, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Gaea All Life Stages Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, lamb meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon meal, herring oil, dried chicken liver, alfalfa, flaxseed meal, dried kelp, potassium chloride, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, dried Enterococcus faecium, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, cranberry powder, Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation solubles, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), sunflower oil, Yucca schidigera extract, niacin supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, riboflavin supplement (sources of vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, beta carotene, folic acid, selenium yeast, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, rosemary extract, bromelain (from pineapple), papain (from papaya)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis25%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%17%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%35%41%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 41%

The first two ingredients in this dog food are chicken meal and turkey meal. These meals are both considered meat concentrates and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

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 includes lamb meal, another protein rich meat concentrate.

The fifth 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 sixth item includes salmon meal, yet one more high protein meat concentrate.

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

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears2 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The seventh ingredient is herring oil. Herring oil is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential nutrients needed by every dog to sustain life.

The eighth ingredient is dried chicken liver, a dehydrated product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of 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, 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.

Thirdly, we also note the inclusion of enzymes, compounds designed to aid in the digestive process.

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

Gaea All Life Stages Formula Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Gaea All Life Stages Formula looks to be an above-average dry dog food.

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 28%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 47%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-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 moderate amount of meat.

However, based upon the meat-dominated ingredients list, the company may be on the conservative side in its label’s reported protein and/or fat content

Bottom line?

Gaea All Life Stages Dog Food is a rice-based kibble using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

02/26/2012 Original review
08/30/2013 Product may have been discontinued

  1. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of fish as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Per description on the Timberwolf website
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