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Tops Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Tops Dog Food product line includes the 5 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Tops Plus [A]
- Tops Hi Pro [A]
- Tops 21 Protein (3 stars) [A]
- Tops Sustain (3 stars) [A]
- Tops Supreme (2.5 stars) [A]
Tops Hi Pro was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Tops Hi Pro
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Pork meal, ground whole corn, soft grain whole wheat, rice bran, soybean meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, beet pulp, salt, calcium carbonate, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate (source of iodine), pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||12%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||27%||47%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The second ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is 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 wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The next ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The fifth item is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 can’t be ignored when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient 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 choice cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
The next ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
The ninth 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.
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 Tops product.
With 3 notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, 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.
And lastly, this product contains 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.
Tops Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Tops Dog Food looks like an average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Tops is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those looking for a better kibble may wish to visit our report which reveals our picks for the Best Dry Dog Foods.
Tops Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Tops product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the date this article was last reviewed ↩
07/11/2020 Last Update