Love Grub Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Love Grub Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Love Grub product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.

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.

Love Grub

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 47%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, pork meal, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), feeding oatmeal, pearled barley, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavors, dried egg product, brewers dried yeast, sunflower oil, menhaden fish meal, salt, dried kelp meal, dried whey, potassium chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, calcium pantothenate, biotin, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, D3 supplement, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, citric acid, mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E), and rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%17%47%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%36%40%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 40%

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

The second 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 third ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. Pork meal contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The fourth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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 ingredient is feeding oatmeal. Feeding oatmeal is a by-product of rolled oats “and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats, with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process of commercial milling”.1

This inexpensive cereal grain by-product is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in cattle and hog feeds.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

After the natural flavors, we find dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 five 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, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

In addition, we note the inclusion of fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

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. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Love Grub Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Love Grub looks like an 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 60%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Love Grub is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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.

Love Grub 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.

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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

09/02/2018 Last Update

  1. As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2012 Official Publication, p. 420
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials