Lotus Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Lotus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Lotus product line includes 6 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.

  • Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe [M]
  • Lotus Oven-Baked Senior Recipe (2 stars) [M]
  • Lotus Oven-Baked Puppy Recipe (4.5 stars) [A]
  • Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe Small Bites [M]
  • Lotus Oven-Baked Senior Recipe Small Bites (2 stars) [M]
  • Lotus Oven-Baked Puppy Recipe Small Bites (4.5 stars) [A]

Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole ground rye, whole ground brown rice, pollock, ground barley, oatmeal, pea fiber, organic soybean oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dried egg product, brewers dried yeast, pumpkin, apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, blueberries, potassium chloride, olive oil, salmon oil, flaxseed, garlic, salt, zinc proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), calcium carbonate, glucosamine hydrochloride, iron proteinate, chondroitin sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation soluble, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation soluble, and dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation soluble, inulin, Yucca schidigera extract, dried kelp, niacin, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, folic acid, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis24%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%13%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%29%47%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 47%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is rye, a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The fourth ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fifth ingredient is pollock, a protein-rich whitefish native to the central and northeast coasts of the United States.

Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains about 80% 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 sixth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is soybean oil, which is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.

However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3’s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.

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 six notable exceptions

First, brewers yeast can 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.

Next, this recipe contains olive oil. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

In addition, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Additionally, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

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.

And lastly, 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.

Lotus Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Lotus 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Lotus is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

Lotus Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/21/2017 Last Update

  1. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Lilly

    My pets hated it and so do I. I bought both the dry kibble & canned to see if my pets would like it since the dogs love Weruva, and I was told the canned is similar in texture to Weruva. And as it was on sale, I thought why not give it a try. Big mistake! The cats were okay with it, but as for my dogs the kibble did not interest them at all (which is understandable as it’s not their usual brand,) but my biggest problem is with the canned! It’s literally 90% broth with a few chunks of meat here and there! No way is this going to satisfy their appetite, plus it’s mega sloppy & very nasty IMO. I am going to return it all tomorrow. I will stick to canned Weruva, and Castor & Pollox dry kibble with raw bites for my 3 dogs, & canned Tiki for my 2 cats.

  • Julia Holland

    Hi, I have a picky 7 year old, 9.10 lb yorkie. Yorkies tend to have low blood sugar issues, and mine does.He would rather not eat his previous kibbles and heave bile… until i found the lotus small bites lamb, turkey liver and pollock. The serving suggestion is about 1/2 cup, & i actually give him that a couple times a day if needed. He nibbles throughout the day and lets me know if he’s still hungry. He was skinny but healthy before the lotus, he has put on a few ounces but looks much healthier now, and now worries about him not eating…

  • LexLuthor

    I know this is old, but I just found Lotus. Their website is either flat out wrong or they are lying. I’m not sure which is worse. I’ve emailed them and left a vm, but no reply. Lotus is the only food our Havenese eats without a fight, so I’ll stick with them, but not thrilled about.

    They list the large bite and small bite varieties at the same kcal/kg, but give vastly different kcal/cup numbers. There’s also somewhere that says 8oz volume of the large bite weighs 4oz and 8oz volume of the small bite weights 6.67oz. If that were true, then I understand the higher kcal/cup for the small bite. But, its not true. I weighed an 8oz cup of the small bite and it weighs exactly 4oz. Why does their website say it should weigh 6.67oz then?

    Since it really matters what they are eating in kgs, kcal/kg is the correct number to follow and if my dog needs 4oz of weight food/day (per dog food advisor calculator) then it’s correct to feed her 1 cup volume of the small bite. Bottom line is that their feeding recommendation for the small bites is way off (way too low) and the correct amount to feed would be what’s recommended for the large bite.

  • Crazy4dogs

    If it works for your puppy, that’s the most important thing!

  • rumtea

    I adopted a new puppy and she has very wet tool with the food they gave her. I went to a local good reputation high end pet store which has all of the expensive dog food. They gave me some samples. My puppy didn’t think twice and ate this Lotus small bite chicken oven baked for puppy right away. I couldn’t get her to try the other brand because she didn’t eat them. After several days had this food mixed with Wellness puppy can food, her stool improved and has good texture. She seem to be healthy and active so I think the food is good.

  • Judith Western

    Can of lotus dog food.. pork exploded when I started to open it

  • Joey Yates

    So my wife doesnt really believe in reading instructions. She got two small bags. One Duck and one Chicken. Terrible idea! Like Ive (we’ve) learned through test after test; our boy is sensitive to gluten. I said f it and got a big bag of the fish recipe. WAY LESS INGREDIENTS! Fish , potato, egg and pea are probably 80% of the food. The rest is excellent looking nutrients and flax. Im going with the fish now but still would recommend the Duck in an instant.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Kyburz-
    Try filling out this form. Maybe they will get the request quicker!


  • Kyburz Willowynd

    I’m curious as to whether you are going to update your page to reflect some of the newer oven-baked lines this company has come out with. Also, any thoughts on the issue of oven-baked vs. extruded varieties? I’ve been reading a bit about this and it is making me worried about serving kibble that has been extruded. Thanks for any thoughts!

  • Joey Yates

    We got a small bag of the new Grain Free Oven Baked Fish and while he didnt scarf it down by itself, as soon as I added the Evangers Hunk of Beef it was on lol. I want him to have more fish than his Evo and Lotus provide. One thing is the big bag of Fish recipe is $15 more than the duck o_0 So kinda glad he doesnt absolutely love it. Will keep a small bag around though.

  • Mim506

    I purchased the canned food for my cat who became sick from eating it, he was taken to vet and found out the food caused issue, I notified company CSR who informed me that the President had been issued the information and would be in touch…….well $500 in vet bills and 2 months later (October 2014) no call from Lotus regarding matter. Well one thing for sure good news will always keep, but BAD NEWS will hunt you down. DO NOT BUY LOTUS PET FOOD THEY DO NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT!!!!!!

  • Jeremy

    Because the food is baked, the kibble is less dense than extruded kibble. You buy the bags by weight, but feed by volume, so a lighter less dense kibble would provide extra volume at the same weight.

  • nectarmom

    It could be that is in indeed allergy season and this might not have a thing to do with the food.

  • Ronda

    The package states 20 more cups per bag in a 25 lb bag. what does this mean really ?

  • martine

    Has anyone had itchy paw problems from this food. Or itchy skin. MY dog is itching like mad and it may be related not sure. Thanks

  • Joey Yates

    We tried 14 different dry foods with most not being touched by our Goldendoodle Harry. Until we got a sample from our local high end pet food store of the Oven Baked Duck. It was suggested by the clerk because he had a picky eater too. Boy was he right. Hes white with super sensitive skin and prone to allergic patches on his back. We reluctantly had him eating Taste of the Wild High Prairie. he would eat it eventually but I wanted him to love his food since he was 8 and while he came from a loving family, he was eating Pedigree =(. He also started to develop a spot on his back. Switched to the Lotus and hes full of energy and his new coat after a spring shave is super nice. Spot is gone as well. I supplement with EVO Turkey and Chicken and can tell he loves his food. So glad hes getting two 5 star foods! His teeth look better, his beard is cleaner, he doesnt rub his face after eating, his energy level is high and his poops are works of art. We are dog sitters and everyone loves Harry’s food. Plus I think hes cocky about having the best.

  • modelburnbook

    I’ve tried the Lotus puppy food and the lamb. Both seem to give both my dogs very wet stool, which is unfortunate as one is a Pomeranian…there has been many partial baths lately :-/

  • InkedMarie

    Wow, that is low

  • Interesting! I emailed them about the composition of their “fish meal” a while ago (when I was trying the GF Duck) and they got back to me the next day or so.

  • Erik

    Yes, it’s been 3 years since I had problems with Lotus Chicken (right after they changed the bag size form 30 to 25 lbs). I switched to Halo Spots Stew Chicken and my dog has been great ever since.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    That and I’ve emailed them at least five times with various questions and they’ve never responded.

  • Yeah, if they had sardine meal and pollock meal instead of just “sardine” and “pollock”, I would’ve been far more impressed (would’ve hopefully boosted the protein content, too!). Not terribly impressed with the soybean oil, either, but if it’s just 1 of many in a rotation, it wouldn’t bother me. I vaguely remember a discussion on here about the sketchiness of the company.. was it because of the huge variance of kcal/up with their regular vs small bites? (which is the case with this new one, too)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Wow there’s almost no meat in that. Not a single meat meal and loaded with peas. Soybean oil? Yuck. I’d steer clear of this food. MAJORLY sketchy company anyways. They’ve got pretty bags but I wouldn’t touch any of their products.

  • New Lotus grain-free fish recipe: http://www.lotuspetfoods.com/dry-dog-fish.php#

    Too bad it’s so low in protein (25% GA) 🙁 ..looks like a relatively unique recipe that, could’ve been a very interesting option for a rotation if not for the low protein 🙁

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Just checked the site – you’re right. I thought everyone was referring to a volume measurement and I was kind of thinking to myself that it was strange they base their measurements on half cup increments rather than one cup increments lol. In that case – no idea, they are defying the laws of physics.

  • losul

    i thought they were referring to 1 cup of volume weighing 4 ounces

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Oh man that sucks! I used to get pink almost every year right up through into college. I suspect it had something to do with swimming because once I finished swimming competitively I didn’t get it anymore, not sure though. My friends nicknamed me raccoon lol

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The kcal. shouldn’t be the same because the smaller kibbles will create more density. I’m assuming the 4 oz. is referring to volume? If you pack more kibble in the density will increase and there will be more weight packed into the same volume cup. I agree though that there shouldn’t be that significant of a difference in kcal per cup, I would think more along the lines of 50 – 100 kcal. more for small bites than for large bites.

  • Pattyvaughn

    There are definitely some dogs and cats that I am more allergic to than others and I can usually tell by the way their fur feels if they are going to be one of them.

  • GSDsForever

    LOL! Sorry, couldn’t help it — but that is funny. And I’ll tell you this, which you may be able to appreciate as a fellow animal lover . . .

    Not only am I super, super allergic to *cats* (among other things) and have every possible allergic reaction to them + asthma triggered, but I really don’t even *like* them. And yet I have fostered a whole big litter of kitties — albeit in a secured deck/pation outside. But still.

    I wasn’t even a listed foster for the agency, just one of “their people,” and it was either my home on the deck or euthanasia :-(. They were cute though, I learned a lot, and I even ended up having a favorite and another one that just was super sweet. I’ve also crawled under way too many cars and gone into other places getting scraped up & scratched attempting to rescue cats and kittens. I am a diehard sucker for animals.

    Interesting fact: I read that a person could be immune to their own pet & breed if having grown up around it, but still allergic to other dog breeds. Strange!

  • GSDsForever

    As far as I know and can recall, Timberwolf calorie counts have not changed much over the years. They’ve always been high . . . and currently are about 520-560 cal/cup. I consider that “up there” and am happy with it.

    And I’ve had the opposite result from yours. My GSD could *not* keep weight on with any other brand & I tried so many high end/super premiums. This is the ONLY brand that allowed him to gain needed weight, gave him perfect body weight and a gorgeous, glossy coat that feels like silk that people always comment on.

    I remember at the time, my vet asked me to please bring in the bag so she could look at the ingredients & guaranteed analysis because the results were so impressive. She likes to keep track of what foods her clients are feeding and how the dogs do, tries to learn about new foods/diets. She strongly recommended that I keep feeding these formulas in rotation.

    I’ve always been able to feed less of this kibble than most others. I remember that finding this food & learning that I needed to feed multiple times a day, particularly when he was younger, for this specific dog & his working schedule made such an incredible difference.

  • Pattyvaughn

    They are definitely breaking the laws of physics.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Me Too, and cats!! And anything airborn. I hate that sand in the eyes feeling or the almost sunburnt feel.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Thanks. Its from allergies and, dont laugh, I am allergic to dogs…

  • Melissaandcrew

    Just rec an email telling me the cals per cup for small bites is higer because “I get more kibble pieces” in the cup. Now as I said my math is not my strong point but yes you would get more pieces but if the volume (4oz) is the same wouldn’t the cals be the same? Unless of course there are 6 oz of sll bite and not 4?

  • GSDsForever

    Oh man, I’m sorry to hear you have conjuctivitis! Feel better soon. 🙁
    That would drive me crazy. I hate anything involving my eyes!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer that makes any sense. I’m really not sure they are capable of it.

  • Melissaandcrew

    I left a message on their machiine and sent an emaill. Have not heard back yet

  • Pattyvaughn

    Wow!! They are breaking the laws of physics all over the place.

  • Pattyvaughn

    HaHaHaHa!! That is just so special!

  • Melissaandcrew

    I saw that and got even more befuddled thinking the same thing as you…opposite should be true. Ssme a s the 4oz cup..the cals should be the same unless there is say 6 oz of the small bites per cup.

  • losul

    Yeah, there’s alot of inconsistencies with their claims that don’t make any sense. Did you notice also that they claim there is 20 cups more in a #25 bag of theirs vs a 25 pound bag of most extruded kibbles?

    If their food is more dense, and weighed more per volume, the exact opposite should be true.

    I always weigh the different kibbles I have used, which is only a few, but they have all weighed right about 3.7 +/- 1/10) ounces per cup.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Yes I thought of that but its still 4oz of either according to the website.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Conjuctivitis is the pits!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Bigger pieces leave more air space between pieces, so 1 cup would have less, but I don’t think it should make that much difference, unless they were really big pieces.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Never mind, apparently I did. This conjunctivitis is going to be the death of me!

  • Melissaandcrew

    totally missed that. Did I by chance miss a phone number as well, lol?

  • losul
  • Melissaandcrew

    I wish it were a higher cal option, but I am highly suspicious. Now math is not my strongest subject, but I fail to see how a kg of two items can weigh the same, have the same stated calorie content and a 8ozcup holds 4 oz of either. And yet, one 4 oz amount is suddenly 200 plus calories more than the other..

  • Melissaandcrew

    Problem is you can’t. If you take a look around their website, I can not find an email nor a phone number to call them. Just a link to a facebook page which also provides no contact info.

  • InkedMarie

    One of the Timberwolves was way up there, years back. I had a foxhound who needed to gain weight and that did not work!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yeah, I thought it was strange that they say baked foods can have more meat, but they didn’t use more. Why bring it up? Unless they are hoping that people will take their word for it and won’t check.

  • GSDsForever

    Some extruded may be puffed up a lot; I have lowfat salmon treats that are light as air.

    Some extruded is not. My extruded food is calorie dense and weighs a similar amount per cup to Lotus’s; it also contains far more meat.

  • GSDsForever

    Well beats me, y’all.

    I’m just posting what it says exactly on both the bags in store and website.

    I take what is published manufacturer information at face value. Now, if they’re not telling the truth, as is being suggested here, I don’t get into speculating without evidence.

    If it were a food *I* were planning to feed, and I had that concern, I would contact the company directly. I do know that some of their other claims in their website FAQs are suspect.

  • Melissaandcrew

    I would guess kcals per cup to be between 395 and 415

  • Melissaandcrew

    Earthborn primitive used to claim close to 700 per cup…then it suddenly changed to 400 something..they claimed changes to labeling laws or something to that effect

  • Melissaandcrew

    Its not. Something is not right. Both the chick. Large bite and the small bite report the same kcals per kg..both hsve 4oz per cup and yet they claim 200 more kcal per cup sm bite. Same for lamb etc

  • Pattyvaughn

    I wonder if they aren’t 100% honest about the calorie count.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Lotus Grain Free Small Bites confused me like no other dog food has. I had to feed Storm about 1.5x the suggested serving just to keep him from losing weight…and yet the kcals/kg were sky high. It just seemed like the really low fat was too low to compensate for the high kcals/kg? I don’t know, it just floored me. It’s not one I’d feed again for that reason ..it’s too expensive for what you get in the # cups I ultimately had to feed.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I know extruding sort of puffs up the kibble, so each piece has more air in it, but I’m still surprised that this is that calorie dense with the fat as low as it is. I find that kind of unbelievable. And like you I don’t likr the ingredient list or the GA.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    WOW, I didn’t realize Lotus was that calorie-dense. Maybe the most calorie-dense kibble? I agree about the packaging I love it. I also like that calorie-density. I don’t like the protein levels, fat levels, ingredients or price though.

  • GSDsForever

    This is flat out not true — that the most meat in any extruded food out there is 30%.

    The one I feed, a gently cooked extruded (10 min, 200 F) one is very rich in meat. It always has been, and its newest formulas include even more. 80% meats/20% veggies/fruits/herbs/seeds are the formula ratio . . . and no grains (or white potatoes).

    And this controversial claim that baked is always better is old, came into vogue over a decade ago and was popularized by foods like Wellness SuperMix. It’s a gimick.

    Better than generalizing and speculating and making unsupported claims about either would be to ASK for the specific from a company. How much meat by weight do you include? What percent of your formula is carbs/non animal protein? What percent of your overall proetin comes from animal protein? What is the % digestibility of your food? What is the digesitbility of each component, the protein, the fat, the carbs? And how high temperature and for how long is your food cooked? How do you preserve nutrients included in your formula.

    Neither baked nor extruded is automatically better.

  • GSDsForever

    I watched in a high end pet supplies chain recently, as several people bought this brand and said very positive things about it. So I thought I would post a few thoughts, which helps me sort out what I think of a brand for next time someone asks me. LOL.

    Pretty signature artwork on the bags . . . 🙂

    HIGH CALORIE: One striking feature is that some of its formulas are VERY high calorie, which definitely makes it stand out on the market. ~700 cal/cup for one, 677 cal/cup another, etc. Many brands have about 350 calories, with most premiums/superpremiums roughly 400-500. (My own favorite, for comparison, is 520-560.) Some of this varies between “small bites” and “regular bites,” but is something to be aware of when buying. This is a rare find in a commercial store (vs, say shopping sled/mush dog and hunting dog recommendations), which could be good or bad for dogs. Some dogs really need very high calorie, nutrient dense foods to keep weight on and eat enough, often referred to as “hard keepers” and dogs that burn through a lot of energy. OTOH, many, many pets are overweight already; and some will keep eating past their needs and their owners will keep giving more & more food to satisfy them.

    SELF-MANUFACTURE in own 2 facilities in small batches, one for cans and one for dry — in U.S. and Canada. And all ingredients, save a few from New Zealand, are sourced from US/Canada. That can be positive.

    GRAIN-FREE and with grains are offered, which is positive.

    BAKED: I’m not sure what to make of their claims here . . . , They make a number of sweeping claims I don’t see supported anywhere & of which I am skeptical. 1)Baking automatically retains 100% nutrients, all vitamins, all antioxidants from their included fruits & veggies, and 100% of proteins vs 20% lost by extruded foods. 2)Baking vs extruding allows them to use more meat than all other extruded brands.

    PROTEIN: It’s not a high protein brand, even in their grain free or puppy. Generally protein is moderate, although 18% for seniors to me is concerning. It is an old myth that most seniors need less protein; seniors need more high quality and bioavalaible protein because their systems are not as adept at processing foods as when they were younger. Further, the main ingredient by weight (after water) is a *high* glycemic grain flour, rye, which probably especially for a senior should not be where most of its calories and protein is sourced.

    STARCHES: There are a lot of ground whole grains in the formulas with grains, some low glycemic like barley and some high. A large percentage of these formulas seem to be grain flour based. So it would be a good idea to consider the digesibility of each of these (and digestibility of each grain’s components, protein vs starch vs overall) and glycemic index/load.

    In the Grain-Free (Duck), the carbs used are tapioca flour (#3, or #2 removing water weight), dried green peas + pea fiber, dried white potatoes, and dried sweet potatoes in that order. Positively, there is duck meal 2nd, before all these starchy carbs, and fish meal follows right after tapioca. Tapioca flour, white potatoes are very high glycemic; while peas and sweet potatoes are less so. I’d want to know whether, after all the starchy carbs are added together, they make up the majority of the food by weight or whether the duck/duck meal/fish meal does.

    FIBER: I am not sure why this brand ingredient splits and adds pea fiber, when they already have peas and so many fiber included ingredients in both the grain free and the grains included formulas. 6% fiber, in my opinion, is excessive in the grain free formula. Ash is also high at 8.5%.

    FAT: The fat is on the low side, which could cause problems for dogs, at 12% grain free, and VERY low for senior, at 8%. This could give a dry, flaky, lackluster coat and skin. Puppy is better at 16%. I also do not like that they use soybean oil primarily for fat, though farther down the list they do use olive & salmon. It is naturally preserved, but much soy oil is industrially produced pretty harshly treated & contaminated, with cooking oils that are not cold pressed/mechanically extracted and organic chemically extracted with hexane or high heat that damages the fats, deodorized, etc. And most soy & soy oil are GMO (top 3 GMO crops) and pesticide laden with things like RoundUp, unless specified otherwise.

    FISHMEAL: It’s naturally preserved, but I’d want to know which fish varieties (and does batch to batch vary), what grades, oily/nonoily, farmed/wild, and heavy metal tested or excluding species that are high in mercury, etc.

    Some good fruits & veggies are included & I liked that. There’s glucosamine & chondroitin added, though probably not very helpful at amounts listed. Omega 3 is too low. Vitamin E is on the low side. Calcium-phosphorous look balanced, but those with growing large breeds & susceptible to joint problems would want to check exact amounts present. Some pre/probiotics are included, a positive.

    I’d want to know overall digestibility/residue for this food. I rarely ever feed a food without finding that out first.

  • Guest

    Potatos are carbs …

  • hassella

    hello, My dog was on Lotus Dog, and he had a very similar situation, only his intestines actually started to twist, and if he didnt have surgery he would have died. Prior to the surgery he had been vomitting and high diarrhea. Same lymph note and intestinal issue though.. it scares me.

  • PetFoodInsider

    One thing most people don’t know is that Lotus opened up their own cannery a couple years ago and has since had to pull canned dog food off the shelves of distributors on 3 separate occasions. They didn’t ever claim it was a recall, however, they pulled the product from their own retail stores as well because the consistency was watery and consumers kept returning the product. The pet food distributors (Pet Food Experts, Animal Supply Company, American Distribution) all mandated credit for the faulty product. This was never mentioned in Whole Dog Journal because the owners of the cannery never revealed the manufacturing problems which have been pervasive since they began producing their own food.

  • GrandmaGwen

    I too noticed changes in my 13 year old chocolate lab once the bag size shrank. Bo had been thriving on Lotus for all of his life – until the bag size changed. Now his stools are quite loose & he’s lethargic. Also, he just seems to have larger amounts of stools. More filler? Taking Bo to the vet tomorrow to get checked out. Thank you for the tip about Halo. I’ll get my sweet “pup” started on that tomorrow!

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  • jadedserf

    I hope your dog is recovered now.  Did you feed your pet the grain free lotus?  I just picked up a bag for my pooch and am concerned.

  • Jankinm

    I have a dog that needs a low protein diet due to a liver issue.  I ordered Lotus online after hearing great things about it.  Within a week of being on this food, my dog started vomiting and had diarrhea – after much testing, they cut her open and biopsied her intestines and lymph nodes, which were thickened, the specialist thought it was cancer.  It turns out it was irritable bowel syndrome – they told me to switch her back to her old food, and she’s doing wonderfully now.  I’m not sure whether it was this specific food or an ingredient (even though she has eaten chicken in other foods before), but I feel that it’s important people are aware of the experience I had on this food.

  • Waterwings

    Almost done this bag of Grain-Free Duck.. had high hopes that this would be a great addition to my chicken-allergic guy’s rotation.  No grain, no potato, etc ..but, I think it’s just too low in fat (GA of 12%) for my guy. He’s done great on kibbles 4-6% higher in fat, but on this one he struggled to keep the weight on (if anything, I overfed the portions, too).  The protein level is also a titch lower than the lowest % I like to see.. the protein and fat combined are low enough to make me concerned about the high amount of carbs in the food.  I’d have to add wet food to this one to feed it in the future, I think.  He really liked it, though..and I like the fact that it’s a baked kibble..and I even found the kibble shape endearing …it’s the same width as “normal” kibble, but 3-4 times taller – reminds me of angel food cake 🙂  Even has a neat little design on the top.  Just wish it had higher protein and fat 🙁

  • moonchild

    This might be too high a protein to give alone to your yorkies – especially if one is rubbing his head on the carpet – could be a sign of liver shunt….best to have their bile acid count done, and mix this with home steamed pureed vegatables….just a thought

  • Dbourdeau134

    A CKC breeder of champion dog lines told me that some dogs become allergic to kibble….she likes raw but every vet I talk to is against feeding raw. The breeder stated that it may take a year or two on the same kibble to find out that the dog is allegic to it as it buids up in the dogs system over time….hmmmmm.  My yorkies have benn eating Lotus chicken for about 2 years…..less paw chewing than when they were on Inova low fat.  It is difficult to find the small bites…so I feed them the regular kibble. Since they chew paws and one will now rub her head at times after eating, I am thinking about switching to Lotus lamb. Please not they also will eat fresh chicken tenders that I boil. Any comments? They do need to drop some weight but they walk every day for a half hour.

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  • Nanette

    My dogs have been on Lotus for most of their lives, healthy and strong.  My 14 year old Husky/Shepherd mix was sick last year, and had lost nearly 10 pounds (alot for a 55 pound dog!).  She was finally diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, and had a spleenectomy.  As she recovered, we mixed fresh liver, chicken, or beef with her kibbles daily.  Once she put the weight back on, we switched to mixing with Lotus canned, spiked with a treats like Canadian bacon or a few table scraps to spark her appetite.  I believe the Lotus has been very good for her.  It’s now been 7 months since her surgery.  After her check-up today, the doc said it was boring.  We love boring check-ups! 

    P.S. to Nacht – hope Jindo is okay too! 

  • Nacht248

     My Jindo has been on Lotus for a year. However when Lotus shrunk their 30lb. bag to 25lbs., their formula or quality of ingredients may have changed as well. From the point I fed her from the 25lb. bag, within a week started looking old and lost weight and energy. I didn’t figure out what was going on until nearly through the second 25lb. bag I took her in for her yearly check-up. All is ok except a reading fro her liver is super high. We are going in Monday for Xrays and hopefully all will be well. I decided to investigate and ended up bringing a bunch of Halo dry chicken home. I could tell within 2 days she was doing better after 3 days, her fur is fluffy and full and she has her energy back and looks like her old self again. It’s had to say what in the Lotus was affecting her, but I can say it def. was the Lotus that was the problem.

  • Allen1910

    I don’t know if you talked to the owners of the Lotus brand or any of the retailers that make it, but one major notable difference with Lotus that wasn’t mentioned in your review is that their dry food is baked. With the traditional extruded process, the most meat you can fit into the food is 30%. Baking the food allows them to add up to 40%. From what the company itself has told me, they add the full 40 in every batch.
    Also, they have stated that all their ingredients, with the exception of the New Zealand lamb and green muscle, come from the United States. And they state that most of their ingredients are holistic before the cooking process.
    I don’t know how you calculate your percentages, but this information I have presented comes straight from the Lotus Company.

  • sandy


    No problem. Here’s an article for starters…called “Orijen White Paper” at http://www.championpetfoods.com/library/



    For dog food, protein + fat + moisture + ash + carbs = 100. So if you have more protein, you end up with less carbs. If you have less protein, you end up with more carbs.

    Dogs don’t have a dietary requirement for carbs but unfortunately kibble has to have some kind of binder (carb) to be formed into kibble. This binder (carb) can be from plant, legume, or vegetable or grain (corn, barley, potato, garbanzo bean, tapioca, etc). Check out the video “Best and Worst Types of Dog Foods”. Since dogs are still 99.5% gray wolf by DNA, they should eat their “ancestral diet” for best health which is fresh raw food and organs and bones and other gross stuff like that. But today, we like quick and easy no mess convenience like kibble. Feeding a dog kibble everyday is like feeding your child a cereal bar or a Happy Meal everyday, everymeal. It’s not food in it’s best form and kibbles can vary greatly in quality of ingredients from healthful to poisonous. A dog’s immune system is in its gut, so feeding a high quality, highly bio-available, species appropriate food will keep your dog in good health.

  • Hi Lynne… The vast majority of highly rated foods on this website are above-average in protein. We usually shun carb-heavy dog foods.

  • Lynne

    I confess, I know much less about nutrition than I should, and the whole issue of carbs confuses me. Many of the highest rated foods on this site have above-average carbs. Isn’t that a bad thing? Or does it have something to do with balancing the carbs out with protein? Please forgive my question, I’m trying hard to understand all of this!

  • sandy


    Not necessarily. It depends on how much of the “grain free” stuff they put in it. Example – look up Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free.

  • Lynne

    The above-average carbs in this food concerns me. Wouldn’t the grain free Duck version have lower carbs since it is grain free?

  • Marilys

    My 2 dogs – sadly not with me now – were on Lotus throughout their whole loves. A Sheppard Huskie mix & a Red Dobie. They both lived until they were 16 + years old, had very few health issues & I really beleive it had a lot to do with the Lotus food. I have just rescued a 3yr old Red Dobie & she for sure will be on Lotus food !!

  • Loie

    I have been pulling my hair out for 10 months over my Yorkiepoo’s finicky eating habits. I have been through at least 4 kinds of food for him. He seemed to like Taste of the Wild, but I have finally figured out that he likes flavor variety. So the owner of a pet boutique gave me several samples to try in addition to the TOTW food. Lotus grain free duck was one of the samples. My little man has gone nuts over it! ( at least for now). Since the protein level is a bit high for his breed, I just sprinkle several kibble in with his other food. No digestion problems yet, and he picks the Lotus out and eats it first! I am keeping my fingers crossed! I am anxious to read more reviews on this food!

  • DAB – Your store dropped Natura because they probably don’t support P&G who tests on animals. I too quit using the Natura products when they took over. I commend any retailer for keeping to their ethics and not out for the buck. If you were feeding Innova, you could also be included in the lawsuit

  • DAB

    Just started the Lotus Chicken dry food for my 2 yorkies. it was reccomended by an independentdog botique owner who recently to my surprise dropped NATURAbrands which include Innova which I was feeding my 2 “girls.” Claas action suit happening? Anyway, they seem to enjoy the food….with the Innova they had begun to scratch themselves or chew their paws….alergies? I am watching them now on the new food….still chewing paws and scratching but not nearly as much. I really want them on an excellent diet not too high in protein (one girl has a liver shunt —surgically corrected 2 years ago). Some foods are just way too high i protein for yorkies in general I was told by the internist. If there is a better food for them, I would love to know which i is. Thanks.

  • Antonio

    Mike, that’s a interested peice, I honestly didn’t know that sorghum was more digestible than sweet potatoes. Interesting to know since it is something that’s in my dog(s) current diet.

  • Hi Amy… There are other manufacturers that claim to bake their kibbles. Although these companies insist baked kibbles are healthier than the standard extruded variety, I’ve never been able to find a peer-reviewed scientific study to confirm this claim. If anyone reading this knows of such a study, please send me the link. And I’ll post it.

    The main carb ingredient in many grain free products is usually (but not always) potato or sweet potato. In a 1999 study by Murray et al at the University of Illinois, potatoes were found to have about the same total digestibility as most cereal grains (with the sole exception of sorghum). So, in most cases, grain free foods shouldn’t be considered any more digestible than standard grain-based kibbles. Hope this helps.

  • Amy

    Hi! I am trying to find a high quality dry dog food for my one year old Australian Labradoodle. He recently tried Nature’s Logic and liked it, but no one around us carries it. What do you think of the added benefit that Lotus is a baked kibble (the only one on the market – right?) I have read this is a huge benefit. Also do you find the grain-free or low grain foods can be hard for some dogs to digest?

  • My new adopted 1 year old maltipoo Lucky-Peluci loves Lotus food ! I started him with the puppy formula b/c he was underweight and had him try each flavor after that. He liked them all but went nuts for the grain free Duck kibble.
    Also the kibble does not have an unpleasant strong smell like a lot of dog foods on the market.

  • C

    When I culd not find my usual dog food, I picked up a bag of Lotus Chicken- it seemed to me to have good ingredients however, I have found by trial and error that my dog (mini-poodle) hates peas and does not digest pea products well. If there are dried peas in dog food, he actually picks them out and discards them. So, just a heads up to other folks that your dog might have this oddity as well.

  • Natalie Alchadeff

    My dog will not eat Lotus Lamb formula. She does not like the taste

  • Hi Dawn… I’ve added the new Lotus Grain Free Duck recipe to the product line. The line’s average protein, fat and carb content remain mostly unchanged. So, even though the new formulation is grain free, the meat content of the new product appears to be in line with the rest of the recipes in the group. Thus, no need for its own separate review. That keeps the rating at 4 stars. Thanks for the tip.

  • Dawn

    Hi Mike,
    Lotus came out with a grainfree Duck dry dog food. Have you taken a look at it? Or can you please add it your list to review?

  • Hi Julieann… The Lotus Senior product contains just 18% protein (20% dry matter basis). This feature plus the low fat content suggest this product is exceptionally low in meat content. Although many people worry over high protein diets for seniors, the most recent research disproves such theories. For a better underatanding of our take on this issue, please read my article about Low Protein Dog Foods. This should help you see the shortcomings of these low protein designs. Hope this helps.

  • Julieann

    Mike why does the senior have 3 star compared to the others?
    I just bought a bag for one of my dogs that is a senior I was trying to put him on a better food, he really doesn;t like the home cook too many veggies for him. My other picky eater eats merrick wilderness with lotus or tiki on top with boiler chicken breast

  • Hi Emily… Your story about your experience with Lotus dog food is disturbing. Please consider calling the FDA’s Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area. That should get the company’s attention.

  • I thought this brand of dogfood was of high quality UNTIL I found a melted plastic bag in a can of Lotus Turkey Stew. The lot number of that case of food is POLTP5131A. I have emailed Lotus twice to alert them to the contaminant in their product and for possible recall and have received NO response whatsoever, which is appalling and indicative that this pet food company does not care. Emily Hay