Under the Sun Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Under the Sun Grain Free product line includes the 6 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.
Use the links to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Under the Sun Grain Free with Lamb [M]
- Under the Sun Grain Free Puppy (4 stars) [G]
- Under the Sun Grain Free with Chicken [M]
- Under the Sun Grain Free with Whitefish [M]
- Under the Sun Grain Free Large Breed with Chicken [M]
- Under the Sun Grain Free Small Breed with Chicken [M]
Under the Sun Grain Free with Lamb was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Under the Sun Grain Free with Lamb
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb meal, green peas, garbanzo beans, yellow peas, canola oil, suncured alfalfa, lamb, flaxseed, natural flavor, taurine, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), parsley, pumpkin, sage, green beans, carrots, cinnamon, rosemary, butternut squash, blueberries, zucchini, tomatoes, apples, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||12%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||27%||48%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
It’s important to note that the next 3 ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Green peas
- Garbanzo beans
- Yellow peas
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that will be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fifth 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.
The next ingredient is dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
The seventh item is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 eighth 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.
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 3 notable exceptions…
First, we note the addition 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.
Next, this recipe includes dried fermentation products, which are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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.
Under the Sun Grain Free
Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Under the Sun Grain Free looks like an above-average dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Which means this Under the Sun product line contains…
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, garbanzo beans, alfalfa and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Under the Sun Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include so much plant-based protein in its recipe. Otherwise, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.
Under the Sun Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Canidae product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Canidae Dog Food Recall (5/5/2012)
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
11/01/2019 Last Update