Member’s Mark Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

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

The Member’s Mark product line includes six 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.

Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.

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 denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher 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 Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Member’s Mark Dog Food 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 includes both grain and grain-free dry dog foods using a moderate amount of named and unnamed meat and meat by-product meals as its main source 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 Member’s Mark. 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.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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In any case, it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

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Notes and Updates

05/24/2019 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials