Member’s Mark Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Member’s Mark Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Member’s Mark product line includes seven 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.

  • Member’s Mark Exceed Lamb and Rice [A]
  • Member’s Mark Exceed Puppy Formula [A]
  • Member’s Mark Exceed Chicken and Rice [A]
  • Member’s Mark High Performance (2 stars) [A]
  • Member’s Mark Complete Nutrition (2 stars) [A]
  • Member’s Mark Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable [M]
  • Member’s Mark Exceed Grain Free Salmon and Pea [A]

Member’s Mark Exceed Lamb and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Member's Mark Exceed Lamb and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 47%

Ingredients: Lamb, chicken meal, ground barley, brown rice, grain sorghum, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried peas, lamb meal, fish meal, dried egg, pea protein, dried plain beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, salt, natural flavor, whole flaxseed, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%16%47%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%34%41%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 41%

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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third 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 fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

The ninth ingredient is 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.1

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

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, we find pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% 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 meat content of this dog food.

Next, 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.

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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

We also note that 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.

And lastly, this recipe 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.

Member’s Mark Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Member’s Mark looks like an 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 30%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 47%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, pea protein, brewers yeast and flaxseed in this recipe, and the soybean meal contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include animal fat in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient and minus the menadione, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Member’s Mark is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named and unnamed meat and meat by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not 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.

Member’s Mark 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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A Final Word

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

12/17/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • fladogs

    I talked to Sam’s Club and the company that made the dog food, Mars back in January. Both said they hadn’t heard any other complaints. It was the Member’s Mark green bag. I don’t think the name was Exceed, but I can’t remember now. I quit buying the Member’s Mark brand after what happened to our dogs.

  • Gene

    Did either you or Hendershot ever hear anything back. I am totally sure that Exceed dog food is causing health problems. We haven’t had the pronounced problems you have but out of 8 dogs in 4 different households we’ve had 2 deaths and 5 with incontinence issues. Only 1 out of 8 dogs is not showing issues and she is just a puppy.

  • Gene

    5 years ago I started using grain free Exceed and had great success. I talked most of my friends and family into using it. Recently (just before the new bags) everyone was having problems with this food. Out of 8 dogs, 2 deaths and 5 others are having health issues. The first sign of trouble we have noticed is increased water intake then incontinence then death. The two deaths were both labs by different friends, one was very old and the other was relatively young. My oldest shepherd started getting sick before my younger one. My niece has 2 schnauzers and a lab mix. Her lab mix is doing the worst out of her three. The only one not showing problems is a schnauzer puppy. I’m switching to Orijen, my niece can’t afford that so she is going to try Hills Science Diet which I don’t like because of the high vegetable content. Please, if you care about your dog Beware Exceed dog food.

  • Tracy Metzger

    I started using Member’s Mark dry food when I added a rescue Greyhound to my family. He was allergic to every other type of food. Finally, I was talking to a wonderful lady with a Greyhound Adoption agency about the problem and she told me the racetracks often use Member’s Mark because the dogs did well with the product. I quickly switched over and my boy has never had any problems since. I also have a very large Mastiff and he does well with the product as well.

  • fladogs

    Any news on the dog food? We are working on getting it tested. Hopefully soon. Did you call Sam’s Club and the company who made the dog food, Mars?

  • nwwishopper

    I was switching over food for my 70 lb Labrador Retriever from Eagle Pack to Member’s Mark Exceed Lamb and Rice formula that I had purchased January 4 2017 at a Sam’s Club in Eau Claire Wisconsin. I had mixed in the Member’s Mark food slowly. When I was up to 50% Member’s Mark food, the dog started to have excessive drooling. One day back on her old dog food and she is fine. I can’t link it to the dog food specifically, but am now concerned and will contact my vet and local Sam’s Club today.

  • Hendershot

    I will give them a call as well, I was finally able to get that information but I have not called them yet. The dog food company my boyfriend works for uses this company….
    Great Plains Analytical
    9503 Congress Ave.
    Kansas City, MO 64153

    Phone number- 816-891-7337

  • fladogs

    I went to our Sam’s Monday and they said there haven’t been any complaints. The lady actually has 2 big dogs and feeds them this same dog food, and they are fine. She got on the phone with Loss Prevention and they don’t have a recall or complaints on this dog food. Today I called Sam’s at 888-301-0332 and talked to Janeen and Celeste. I told them the whole story and that you have a similar story. They asked that you call them so they can document your story as well. Then they transferred me to the company that makes the dog food, Mars Co. (I believe she said). I told Mary Lou the whole story and she got info and my vet’s info and will have someone investigate. She also hasn’t heard of problems with it, but she asked that you call her too so they can file a report. Mary Lou’s # is 800-420-7267. So please call Sam’s and Mary Lou at Mars when you can. I did give her the lot # that you took a picture of. I don’t have my lot # unfortunately. We still want to get the food tested here. Let me know what you find out if you are able to test yours. Thanks!

  • Hendershot

    I am in Kansas City, Missouri, sorry I forgot to mention that earlier.

  • fladogs

    Thanks for giving us the contact info for getting the dog food tested. I’ll make a report to the FDA also.

  • Hendershot

    Make sure to make a report to the FDA about your experience, I already did it.

  • Hendershot

    I know someone who works for Sergeants, they make dog treats and pills, and he is going to get me the contact info for the company they send their food into to have it tested. I can let you know the info as soon as I do!

  • fladogs

    We are in Ocala, FL. Where are you? We have bought it for years and bought the last bag December 10. We threw away the bag and poured the dog food into a big Rubbermaid container. We did keep a gallon or two of it but threw the rest away yesterday. 🙁 I have the Sam’s receipt but not the bag. Please let me know what you find out. Where are you sending it to be tested? I’d like to have ours tested also.

  • Hendershot

    I’m sending mine in to have tested. You should do the same. I’m so sorry for your loss, we bought ours around the same time and my dog died January 7th, 2017.

  • Hendershot
  • fladogs

    Our two perfectly healthy dogs got sick 2 weeks ago. We have been feeding them the Member’s Mark dog food and had just bought a new bag December 10, 2016 in Florida. One died Tuesday. We thought maybe it was parvo, but neither ones were puppies or old. I hate to think it could have been the food poisoning them, but their symptoms were similar to yours. I wonder if it was the same lot # as the food you bought. 🙁

  • Hendershot

    My dogs were eating this food and dog #1 had her anus become inflamed and she started bleeding very badly. Dog #2 started urinating on everything (took her to the vet and had her treated for a UTI but she was still having symptoms after the medication was finished), vomiting, and her eye wondered off to the side. Two days within changing their food, dog #1-the anus swelling went down and the bleeding slowed down, dog # 2- eye went back to normal but she was in such bad shape, due to the fact that she would finish dog#1’s food if she didn’t eat it, that the vomiting and urination continued and she was having a hard time keeping the new food down. I contacted the vet and gave her chicken and rice but it took her a few hours to be interested in even taking a bite. On her last day, she lost most of her muscle control, and had to be put to sleep. I wouldn’t recommend feeding your loved one this food unless you are interested in slowly watching your dog be poisoned to death. Both dogs exhibited symptoms of tainted dog food and Sam’s Club’s response was “we apologize for your inconvenience, please take your receipt and the bag of food back to the store for a full refund”…I’m guessing my dog isn’t their first victim.

  • Amateria

    That’s not how the ratings work anyways, if the food has a lot of fat that ruins the rating same with lots of carbs and if it’s got more fat than protein.

    There’s a lot that goes into the foods rating.

    You’d be quiet surprised the food I can buy considering my income lol.

  • April French Leavitt

    I have now switched to this food, the grain free formula because I am on Disability and can’t afford much more. I have a hard time believing that it is only 2 1/2 stars for Grain Free

  • bojangles

    Hi lwe6576,

    “Someone made a comment elsewhere that if it isn’t indicated on the product that it came from a foreign country, then it is made in the USA. I have found that that particular statement is not true. If it isn’t on the bag that it is made in the USA, then it has ingredients from a foreign country, most likely China.”

    This is from the Federal Trade Commision, who govern these things:

    “Must U.S. content be disclosed on products sold in the U.S.?”

    “U.S. content must be disclosed on automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products. There’s no law that requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content. However, manufacturers and marketers who choose to make claims about the amount of U.S. content in their products must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy”

    Hope this helps!

  • bojangles

    Hi theBCnut

    AAFCO labeling requirements and the FTC (who govern these things) say nothing about pet foods being:

    “allowed to say “Made in the USA” if there is at least one more step to completing the product after it arrives here”

    What they actually say is:

    “For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S”

    And the definition of “all or virtually all” is:

    “all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of US origin”

  • theBCnut

    Even “Made in the USA” does not guarantee that it was sourced in the USA. They are allowed to say “Made in the USA” if there is at least one more step to completing the product after it arrives here. Congress at work…

  • lwe6576


  • lwe6576


  • lwe6576

    Where is this dog food made/ingredients originate from where? Nothing on the bad to indicate where this dog food is made or where the ingredients come from. Someone made a comment elsewhere that if it isn’t indicated on the product that it came from a foreign country, then it is made in the USA. I have found that that particular statement is not true. If it isn’t on the bag that it is made in the USA, then it has ingredients from a foreign country, most likely China. If a bag of food/treats does not have made in the USA, I’m not feeding it to my dogs.