Pinnacle Grain Free (Dry)
Pinnacle Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Pinnacle dog food product line includes three kibbles, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pinnacle Duck and Potato Recipe
- Pinnacle Chicken and Oatmeal Recipe
- Pinnacle Trout and Sweet Potato Recipe (3.5 stars)
Pinnacle Duck and Potato Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pinnacle Holistic Duck and Potato Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck meal, duck, oatmeal, oat flour, potatoes, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), alfalfa meal, natural flavor, flax seed (source of omega-3 fatty acid), potassium chloride, salt, kelp meal, organic quinoa seed meal, vitamins (choline chloride, a-tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, folic acid), minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, ferrous sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, manganous sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), lecithin, rosemary extract, sage extract, pineapple stem (source of bromelain), papain, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||14%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||31%||46%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is duck meal. Duck meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh duck.
The second ingredient is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck 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 third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The fourth ingredient is oat flour. Since oat flour is nothing more than finely ground oats, it provides about the same gluten-free nutritional content as raw oats.
The fifth ingredient includes potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.
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 eighth ingredient is 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.
After the natural flavor, 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.
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 note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Next, this food includes quinoa seed meal. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
And lastly, this food also 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.
Pinnacle Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pinnacle 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 26% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
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 alfalfa meal, flaxseed and quinoa seed meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Pinnacle Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry meal and fish 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.
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
02/15/2010 Original review
09/21/2010 Review updated
06/15/2012 Review updated
12/28/2013 Review updated
06/25/2015 Last Update