Unable to Locate Complete Label Info
On Company Website1
Old Yeller Dog Food earns the Advisor’s lowest rating of one star.
The Old Yeller product line appears to include just one dry dog food. Since we could not locate an Old Yeller website, we were unable to retrieve an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for this product.
Thanks to the generosity of one of our readers2, we were able to manually collect the data used to create this Old Yeller review.
Old Yeller Chunk
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal, wheat middlings, animal fat (preserved with BHA), animal digest, brewers rice, salt, brewers dried yeast, brewers dried grains, dried whey, propionic acid (a preservative), choline chloride, calcium carbonate, rice mill by-product, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, vitamin A/D3/E/B12 supplement, red 40, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), ethylenediamine dihydriodide, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, colbalt carbonate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content
|Dry Matter Basis
|Calorie Weighted Basis
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Now, contrary to what you may have heard, corn isn’t necessarily a bad ingredient.
On the other hand, although there’s no way to know from the list entry itself, the corn used in making many pet foods can be similar to the kind used to make feed for livestock.
And that can sometimes be problematic.
What’s more, corn is commonly linked to canine food allergies3.
For these reasons, we rarely consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.4
Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.
Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.5
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this ingredient could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals.
Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The third ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is actually a useful by-product. It’s what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Soybean meal contains 48% protein. However, compared to meat, this item is considered an inferior plant-based protein providing a lower biological value.
The fourth item lists poultry by-product meal… a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.
This stuff can contain almost anything… feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs… you name it.
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The fifth ingredient is wheat middlings… commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.
In reality, middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings.
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 just about anywhere: salvaged roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat… even dead, diseased or dying cattle.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA… a suspected cancer-causing agent.
The seventh item is animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed concoction of unspecified body parts… from unspecified animals. This product is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.
The eighth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice represents the small grain fragments left over after milling whole rice.
This is an inexpensive cereal grain by-product and not considered a quality ingredient.
Brewers dried yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a reasonable addition.
Rice milling by-product is a very low-quality ingredient made from the husks, broken kernels and other agricultural waste of rice grain operations.
We’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food.
Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you… not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
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 no mention of probiotics… friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Next, 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 Old Yeller food product also contains menadione… a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Old Yeller Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Old Yeller Dog Food looks to be a very low quality 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.
Below-average protein. Low fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.
All things considered, Old Yeller is surely one of the lowest quality dog foods we’ve ever reviewed.
Old Yeller Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using only a limited amount of meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand one star.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
- As of 10/27/2015 ↩
- Kane Leung ↩
- White, S., Update on food allergy in the dog and cat, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Vancouver, 2001 ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Shirley RB and Parsons CM, Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632 ↩