Great Canadian Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

The Great Canadian Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest rating of 2 stars.

The Great Canadian Dog Food product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Great Canadian Dog Food Performance [U]
  • Great Canadian Dog Food Lamb and Rice [U]
  • Great Canadian Dog Food Premium Canine [U]
  • Great Canadian Dog Food Canine Maintenance [U]
  • Great Canadian Dog Food Country Maintenance (1.5 stars) [U]
  • Great Canadian Dog Food Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars) [U]

Great Canadian Dog Food Lamb and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Great Canadian Dog Food Lamb and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, rice, wheat, middlings, chicken fat preserved with vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), wheat shorts, corn gluten meal, poultry meal, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, yeast, sodium bentonite, betaine hydrochloride, potassium chloride, natural chicken liver flavour, ferrous sulphate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, copper sulphate, folic acid supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, selenium, manganese oxide, calcium pantothenate supplement, riboflavin, menadione metabisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), biotin supplement, vitamin D supplement, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis23%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%16%51%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%33%45%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The next ingredient includes wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

Unfortunately, the variations in nutrient content found in wheat middlings can be a critical issue in determining their suitability for use in any dog food — or even livestock feeds.1

In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically associated with lower quality pet foods.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient lists wheat shorts, the fine particles of wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat flour and other processing waste from what’s known as the “tail of the mill”.

Similar to wheat middlings, wheat shorts are nothing more than an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

The next ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is poultry meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.

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

But realistically, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this 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, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

And lastly, this food contains 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 either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

The Great Canadian Dog Food Review

Based on its ingredients alone, The Great Canadian Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal in this recipe and the soybean meal contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

The Great Canadian Dog Food is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Great Canadian Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Great Canadian product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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.

Notes and Updates

01/27/2020 Last Update