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Horizon Pulsar Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman

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Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

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Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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Updated: March 22, 2024

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Rating:
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Which Horizon Pulsar Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Horizon Pulsar Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Horizon Pulsar Dog Food product line includes the 7 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Recipe and Label Analysis

Horizon Pulsar Grain Free Salmon Meal Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Horizon Pulsar Grain Free Salmon Meal Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

30.8%

Protein

16.5%

Fat

44.7%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Salmon meal, red lentils, peas, pea starch, salmon, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), flaxseed, carrots, apples, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, blueberries, fructooligosaccharides, hydrolyzed yeast, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, pineapple, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Rhizopus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate , d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulphate, iron proteinate, zinc sulphate, zinc proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulphate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, selenium yeast, magnesium oxide


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 28% 15% NA
Dry Matter Basis 31% 17% 45%
Calorie Weighted Basis 27% 35% 39%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The second ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

The third ingredient lists peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils and peas each contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The next ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like carbohydrate extract probably used here as a gel-like binder for making kibble.

The fifth inclusion is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 sixth ingredient is salmon oil, which is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The next ingredient is 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.

The eighth ingredient is liquid egg product, an aqueous form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The next six items include a series of nutrient-rich vegetables and fruit

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage
  • Blueberries

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 Horizon product line.

With 4 notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

In addition, we find selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Horizon Pulsar Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Which means this Horizon product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Horizon Pulsar Dog Food

Horizon Pulsar includes both grain-free and grain-inclusive dry dog foods using a significant amount of named meat meals as their dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Horizon Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Horizon Pet Nutrition through May.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Horizon Brand Reviews

The following Horizon dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials


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