Zignature Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Zignature Dog Food product line includes the 18 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 check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Zignature Pork Formula [A]
- Zignature Duck Formula [A]
- Zignature Goat Formula [A]
- Zignature Lamb Formula [A]
- Zignature Turkey Formula [A]
- Zignature Catfish Formula [A]
- Zignature Salmon Formula [A]
- Zignature Zssential Formula [A]
- Zignature Whitefish Formula [A]
- Zignature Guinea Fowl Formula [A]
- Zignature Venison Formula [A]
- Zignature Kangaroo Formula [A]
- Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula [A]
- Zignature Small Bites Lamb [A]
- Zignature Small Bites Turkey [A]
- Zignature Small Bites Trout and Salmon Meal [A]
- Zignature Small Bites Zssential [A]
- Zignature Small Bites Kangaroo [A]
Zignature Venison Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Zignature Venison Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Venison, venison meal, chickpeas, peas, chickpeas flour, sunflower oil (preserved with citric acid), flaxseed, dehydrated alfalfa meal, natural flavors, salt, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin Bl2 supplement), dl-methionine, dicalcium phosphate, taurine, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, cobalt proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), mixed tocopherols preserved, DHA, potassium chloride, l-carnitine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||17%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||35%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is venison. Although it is a quality item, raw venison 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 second ingredient is venison meal. Venison meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh venison.
It’s important to note that the next four out of six ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Chickpea flour
- Alfalfa meal
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 must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The seventh 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.
Next, alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%). This item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
After the natural flavors, we find salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.
However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.
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 Zignature product.
With 3 notable exceptions…
First, we note the use 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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help 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.
Zignature Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Zignature Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Which means this Zignature product line contains…
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 peas, chickpea products, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Zignature is a grain-free dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.
Zignature Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Zignature. 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
06/07/2020 Last Update