Pupford Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Pupford product line includes 2 dehydrated 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.
Use links below to compare price and package sizes at Amazon.
Pupford Premium Chicken Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Pupford Premium Chicken Recipe
Dehydrated Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken dehydrated, chicken, coconut meal, banana meal, sweet potatoes, salmon powder, chicken liver, lentils, potato starch, natural flavor, pumpkin, natural potato flavor, carrots, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, flaxseeds, blueberries, apples, cranberries, parsley, orange peel powder, sunflower lecithin, papaya, spray dried egg product, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), yeast extract, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), carob, betaine hydrochloride, taurine, l-lysine, dl-methionine, New Zealand green mussel, potassium chloride, choline chloride, calcium hydroxide, l-carnitine, fumaric acid, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, thyme extract, Yucca schidigera extract, salt, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, biotin, manganese sulfate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol, potassium iodide, sodium selenite, folic acid, vanillin, citrus peels extract, turmeric extract, cloves extract, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||20%||39%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||40%||32%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is dehydrated chicken. Dehydrated chicken is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh chicken.
Plus (unlike chicken meal) dehydrated chicken is never exposed to high temperatures during processing, so it preserves more of the meat’s natural nutrients.
The second ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 third ingredient lists coconut meal, also known as copra meal.
Copra meal is a by-product of coconut oil production and is more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although copra meal contains about 25% protein, this ingredient is lower in some essential amino acids. So, its nutritive value is considered inferior to other oil meals (such as soybean meal).
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 actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is is banana meal, an energy-rich item made from sun-dried green bananas. It’s used here as a carbohydrate binder and a substitute for cereal grain or other starchy components.
Banana meal is more typically associated with animal feeds.
The fifth ingredient lists 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.
The sixth ingredient is salmon powder, a concentrated source of quality marine protein that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Like other fish meals, salmon powder is typically derived from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The seventh ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The eighth ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
After the natural flavor, we find pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, this food includes 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, we find dried egg product, a dehydrated 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.
In addition, we note the use 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.
Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.
A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.
This recipe also contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Pupford Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pupford 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 36% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the coconut meal, lentils, and flaxseeds, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing a notable amount of meat.
Pupford is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.
Pupford 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
03/07/2019 Last Update