Pet Chef Express Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Pet Chef Express product line includes 7 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.
- Pet Chef Express Lean (3 stars) [M]
- Pet Chef Express Lamb Meal and Rice [A]
- Pet Chef Express Salmon Meal and Rice [A]
- Pet Chef Express Chicken Meal and Rice [A]
- Pet Chef Express Grain Free Chicken (4.5 stars) [A]
- Pet Chef Express Grain Free Buffalo and Duck (4.5 stars) [A]
- Pet Chef Express Grain Free Whitefish and Duck Meal (4.5 stars) [A]
Pet Chef Express Lamb Meal and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pet Chef Express Lamb Meal and Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, milo, oat groats, canola oil, millet, fish meal, dried beet pulp, potato product, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flax seed, monosodium phosphate, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, lecithin, chicken cartilage, dl methionine, potassium chloride, l-lysine, choline chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, cranberry, Yucca schidigera extract, oligofructose (prebiotic), glucosamine HCL, kelp meal, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, vegetable oil, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||16%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||33%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
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 milo. Milo is another name for sorghum, 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, milo can be considered a quality non-meat ingredient.
The fourth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The fifth 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.
The sixth ingredient is 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 seventh ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich 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.
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.
The ninth ingredient is potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry primarily consisting of potato pieces, peelings and culls.
With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato product is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.2
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, 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.
Next, 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.
In addition, this recipe contains oligofructose, another name for fructooligosaccharide (FOS). FOS is an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Next, we note the inclusion of vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
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.
Pet Chef Express Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pet Chef Express 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 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
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 peas and flaxseed in this recipe, and the chickpeas and lentils contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pet Chef Express 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 4 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.
Pet Chef Express 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
12/15/2017 Last Update