PetGuard Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

PetGuard Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The PetGuard product line includes one dry dog food.

Unfortunately, we were unable to locate AAFCO nutrient profile information on the product’s official webpage.

PetGuard LifeSpan

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Fresh chicken, chicken meal, ground whole brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat preserved with vitamins C and E (natural mixed tocopherols), whole eggs, dried carrots, dried celery, dried sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, calcium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), garlic powder, dried kelp, alfalfa meal, monosodium phosphate, potassium chloride, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, vitamin A acetate, d-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E supplement), ergocalciferol (source of D2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), choline chloride, inositol, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), zinc amino acid chelate, calcium amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, folic acid, manganese amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%17%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%35%39%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% 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 ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

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 chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is celery. Although raw celery can be very high in water, it can still contribute a notable amount of dietary fiber as well as other healthy nutrients.

The ninth ingredient is dried sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

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, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

In addition, we note the inclusion of alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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

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.

PetGuard Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, PetGuard 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

PetGuard is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

PetGuard 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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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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Notes and Updates

05/10/2017 Last Update

  1. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)