Southern States Advanced (Dry)

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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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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.

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Dog Food Coupons
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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

06/26/2017 Last Update