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Heartland Reserve Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Heartland Reserve product line includes 3 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.
- Heartland Reserve Lamb and Dried Carrots and Green Beans Banquet [U]
- Heartland Reserve Turkey and Cranberries, Carrots and Green Beans Banquet [U]
- Heartland Reserve Chicken and Dried Carrots, Green Beans and Apples Banquet [U]
Heartland Reserve Lamb and Dried Carrots and Green Beans Banquet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Heartland Reserve Lamb and Dried Carrots and Green Beans Banquet
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, sorghum, lamb meal, soybean meal, corn protein concentrate, dried carrots, dried green beans, brown rice, canola oil, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, d-biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||21%||8%||64%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||20%||19%||61%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 corn. Corn 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 corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fourth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
The sixth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 seventh ingredient is corn protein concentrate, a dried, starch-free powder made from the internal portion of a corn kernel.
A component rarely found in dog food, corn protein concentrate is more commonly used to make feeds for aquaculture (fish farming).
Containing about 80% protein, this inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, 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.
Heartland Reserve Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Heartland Reserve Dog Food looks like a below-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 21% and a mean fat level of 9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 63% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal and corn protein concentrate, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a very limited amount of meat.
Heartland Reserve is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a limited amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 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.
Heartland Reserve Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Heartland Reserve. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
06/21/2019 Last Update
- “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 01/15/2018 ↩