Zignature Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Zignature Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Zignature Dog Food product line includes seven grain-free dry recipes.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Zignature Turkey Formula
  • Zignature Whitefish Formula
  • Zignature Duck Formula (4 stars)
  • Zignature Lamb Formula (4 stars)
  • Zignature Zssential Formula (5 stars)
  • Zignature Kangaroo Formula (4 stars)
  • Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula

Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Trout, salmon meal, peas, pea flour, pea protein, flaxseed, chickpeas, dehydrated alfalfa meal, natural flavors, salmon oil, sunflower oil (preserved with citric acid), dried beet pulp, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, salt, chlorine chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12), blueberries, carrots, cranberries, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.2%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%16%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%33%38%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is trout, a freshwater species closely related to salmon. Trout is rich rich in omega-3 fatty acids but also contains about 80% 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 salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% 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 meat content of this dog food.

The sixth 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.

The seventh ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

After the natural flavor, we find salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 four notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, we find 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.

In addition, 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
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Zignature looks like an above-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 33%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-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 pea products, flaxseed, chickpeas and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Zignature is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Zignature 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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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 Chewy.com 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

05/17/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Diane

    Nulo is a really good food if you want to look into that. Grainfree also

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    It’s safe, I agree. But, not necessary, unless the dog has a specific type of allergy, such as dust mites.
    There are other gentle shampoos that would do the trick. For example: https://www.chewy.com/veterinary-formula-clinical-care/dp/43540
    So, rather than go to a dermatologist and get a diagnosis and treatment specific for their pet, they spend more than they have to on shampoo. Malaseb is not cheap.

  • Pitlove

    Yes this is true, however given the gentle cleansing nature of Malaseb and having an understanding of what both active ingredients do, I find it is usually safe to recommend if a skin condition is present.

  • Susan

    Yes, online or I buy from Pet Shop a vet doesn’t have to prescribe Malaseb its excellent, do the weekly baths or every day if needed… join this Face Book group its called “Dog Issues, allergies and other information support Group” you’ll learn heaps & get your dog more comfortable… https://www.facebook.com/groups/240043826044760/

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