Southern States Advanced (Dry)


Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Southern States Advanced Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest-tier rating of 1.5 stars.

The Southern States Advanced product line includes 4 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.

  • Southern States Advanced Puppy [U]
  • Southern States Advanced Adult Dog [U]
  • Southern States Advanced Sport Dog [U]
  • Southern States Advanced Active Dog [U]

Southern States Advanced Active Dog was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Southern States Advanced Active Dog

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, corn meal, brewers rice, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), ground wheat, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp, canola oil, natural flavors, yeast culture, flaxseed, potassium chloride, dried egg product, dried brewers yeast, salt, calcium carbonate, malted barley, minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate monohydrate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), brown iron oxide, calcium propionate (preservative), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), butylated hydroxyanisole (preservative), butylated hydroxytoluene (preservative), dicalcium phosphate, lysine

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%20%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%40%36%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except feathers.

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The second ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The third ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

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 seventh 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 eighth 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.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

We also note the inclusion of iron oxide, a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.

We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

Next, this recipe includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

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

Additionally, 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.

And lastly, this food is preserved with BHA and BHT. Both of these chemical additives are suspected cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).

Southern States Advanced Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Southern States Advanced looks like a below-average dry dog food.

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 29%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Southern States Advanced is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.

Not 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.

Southern States 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/26/2017 Last Update

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL! For some reason it didn’t even occur to me, but I thought about flagging my own comment. I knew you would see it then.

  • Nice catch, Patty. This ingredient certainly qualifies for a red flag. It should be fixed, now.

    BTW, if you ever spot a typo or an error like this, it’s best to send me a message using the Contact Us link. Otherwise, I may not see it.

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dr Mike
    Should the animal and vegetable fat be a red flag ingredient too, but was not recognized because of how it is worded?

  • Thanks for posting this information. Unfortunately, this brochure is not for the entire “Naturals” line. The company also offers and Lab recipe, too.

    I’ve contacted the company and they assure me they’ll be forwarding complete information very soon.

  • InkedMarie

    Thank you for posting but not a food I’d feed.

  • Mona
  • Mona
  • Mona

    Around $30 for 40lb bag.

  • InkedMarie

    Am I missing the ingredients and nutritional analysis?

  • Layla’s Mom

    Hi, here’s a link that shows the ingredients and nutritional data for the Southern States Naturals line. Thanks in advance!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Love it!!

  • Cyndi

    Ha ha! Me too! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post it after seeing that comment Patty wrote. (even if she did post it 10 months ago, lol!)

  • InkedMarie

    love this!

  • Cyndi

    You mean this kind of box?

  • Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, I’m unable to locate complete product information (ingredients and nutritional data) for Southern States Naturals anywhere on the company’s website.

    So, until I can get complete label information including the Guaranteed Analysis (protein, fat, moisture, etc.) for each of the products in the line from a company-operated website, I’m currently unable to review this brand.

    Thanks for taking the time to make this suggestion.

  • Aviars mom

    Hey me too. Ive been using the active, until I became more educated about what I was feeding my dog and read this review. Would really like to see a review on the “natural” line by southern states. THANKS SO MUCH! 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m going to guess 3 1/2 or 4 stars. What’s the price on it?

  • Mona

    Hi Mike,

    I enjoy reading the dog food reviews on your site. I recently switched my boxers to Southern States Naturals Chicken, Rice and Pearled Barley and would like to know if you could review this brand and advise of the quality. Here is a link with the ingredients. Thanks in advance!

  • Greater Swissies

    Hi–Has anyone tried Southern States Naturals? I can’t find any reviews on it at all and would love to know how it is rated. Thanks in advance for your time!

  • Pattyvaughn

    He can get those “If it fits it ships” boxes and fill them with the dog food of his choice in plastic bags, figure out where they have to go, when, and have whomever his ground support at home is mail them off when they need to go.

  • There you go Steve! General Delivery is your answer. Our should I say our answer for your dilemma. Now, as long as the shipper delivers to General Delivery, you’re set.

  • So cute! Makes me sad at the same time though. My nephew wants a pug so badly, but his family is “too busy” for a dog.

  • Or, maybe Steve should contact. The manufacturer of his dog food, tell them what he’s doing and ask if they might be able to help. If nothing else they could give him the name of retailers along the route… or they might be interested Ina little corporate sponsorship.
    ; )

  • Pattyvaughn

    The post office has something like this in place already.  I can’t remember if it’s called general delivery or what but the people at his local post office will be able to give him the details.

  • Maybe you can take the 15 lb bag of kibble and freeze dried/dehydrated lamb (Instinct, Stella & Chewy, Grandma Lucy’s) food so he eats half & half so hopefully he doesn’t get tummy troubles.  You should start feeding him some freeze dried now to get it in his system.

  • So, I just got out of the shower because we are getting ready to go to a college b-ball game and this is all I can think…

    Steve is planning to ride his bicycle across the United States. The trip is approximately 3,600 miles and Steve plans to ride his bike 74 miles per day. Steve is taking Fluffy with him on the trip and she eats 3 cups of kibble per day. Steve’s 15 pound bag of kibble contains approximately 30 cups of dog food (give or take since we can’t really compare volume & weight measurements). If Steve starts his trip in San Francisco, where will be be when he needs to buy Fluffy more kibble?

    ; )

    OK, so Steve needs to do some math like this and then call ahead to a police or fire station ahead of the that town explain what he’s doing and ask if he can send a package of dogfood to them that he’ll pick up when he arrives there. Then, he keeps Fluffy on the food he knows she can eat without having to stop every 5 miles because she has the runs.

  • I was thinking the same thing, Sandy. Barring unforeseen things, he could probably pinpoint with pretty decent accuracy based on his dog’s rate of consumption, the size of the bag and where he’d be when he started to run low.

  • Check your bike route with stores that carry the product you end up chosing!

  • steve

    first I have to say thanks to everyone who has sent back ideas. I dont really want to switch but I cant carry a 40 lb bag! If i go with the smaller one (15lbs) I believe, I may end up in an area where I cant find that food and be stuck all of a sudden feeding him something that does not go well with him. I was considering freeze dried because of it weight but was unsure of how good they are or availability.  

    So I will look into these differing ideas and see how it goes.  I will keep you posted.  Thanks again for the info.  Any is appreciated.

    Steve & Guinness

  • Freeze dried could be an option as well.  Stella & Chewy’s, Nutrisca, Nature’s Variety.  If you have a place where you can get warm water you can even reconsitute freeze dried or dehydrated foods like Grandma lucy’s or The HOnest Kitcken.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Great idea, Betsy! Never even thought of dehydrated!

  • Gosh, if I were going on a cross country bicycle trip with my dog, I’d pack something lightweight.  The first thing that came to mind when I read this was ZiwiPeak  Daily Dog dehydrated.  Once opened, I believe they say to use the bag within two to three months.  A little of the stuff goes a long way.

    That being said, I didn’t read much more in this thread about your dog or why you’re needing / wanting to switch… I’m just dishing up my first thought.  

    Be safe and have fun on that ride!

  • Storm’s Mom

    steve – how long before your trip starts?  It would be best if you could get him used to frequently/randomly switching foods (different brands, different proteins, etc) before your trip – that way it would not matter what you picked up along the way and you would not need any time to transition him from food to food. But, to get him to that point may take some time, depending upon how long he’s been on this one food, how he reacts to the first switch you make with him, etc.

  • steve

    Can anyone help me?  I am planning a cross country bicycle trip with my Wheaten Terrier and am concerned about being able to feed him regularly a good food.  He presently eats only Holistic select lamb.  I dont mind to switch his food as long I can feed him consistently a good food.  Any ideas would be helpful.


    Steve & Guinness!