Paw Tree Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Paw Tree product line includes 5 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.
- PawTree Real Chicken and Brown Rice [A]
- PawTree Real Chicken and Oatmeal (4 stars) [A]
- PawTree Real Turkey and Brown Rice (3 stars) [M]
- PawTree Real Trout and Barley Poultry Free (3 stars) [M]
- PawTree Real Whitefish and Brown Rice Poultry Free [A]
Paw Tree Real Whitefish and Brown Rice Poultry Free recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Paw Tree Real Whitefish and Brown Rice Poultry Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Whitefish, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, oatmeal, pearled barley, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, millet, tomato pomace, pea protein, flaxseed, sea salt, potassium chloride, fructooligosaccharide, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, calcium carbonate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), choline chloride, coconut oil, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried apples, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried pumpkin, dried sweet potato, dried broccoli, dried parsley, mixed tocopherols, taurine, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||14%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||30%||46%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.1
Although it is a quality item, raw fish 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 menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
The third 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 fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
After the natural flavor, we find millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.
The ninth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The next ingredient is 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.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, we find flaxseed, 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, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
In addition, we note the inclusion of coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.3
Because of its proven safety4 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
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.
Paw Tree Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Paw Tree 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Paw Tree is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
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.
Paw Tree Dog Food
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.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/26/2019 Last Update
- Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Wikipedia definition ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩