Cesar Canine Cuisine is owned by Mars, Incorporated, a worldwide manufacturing concern probably best-known as a candy manufacturer. Mars has annual sales of some $30 billion and is headquartered in McClean, Virginia. They are entirely owned by the Mars family. Their pet care division is headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee. In addition to Cesar, they also own the bestselling Pedigree, Nutro and Royal Canin pet foods, as well as a number of cat foods.
The company has numerous manufacturing facilities through the United States and several plants in Canada. They also have manufacturing facilities in Europe.
The well-known company logo for Cesar is the adorable West Highland White Terrier. The company donates to therapy dog groups and dogs in school reading programs.
There are no listings of FDA recalls or any voluntary recalls for Cesar products that we could find at the time of this review.
Cesar Cuisine and Treats specializes in wet or canned foods. Their original Cesar product was a pate but they have expanded their products to include savory delights, gourmet filets in sauce, treats, a sunrise breakfast, puppy & senior food, and canned meaty selects. Their products are probably most popular with owners of small and Toy breeds though the company also encourages people with larger dogs to buy their products.
Meat by-products, sufficient water for processing, animal liver, chicken, poultry by-products, wheat flour, beef, minerals (potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium sulfate, zinc sulfate, cobalt sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide), added color, wheat gluten, sodium tripolyphosphate, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, sodium nitrite (for color retention), filet mignon flavor, xanthan gum, cassia gum, carrageenan, salt, guar gum, vitamins (thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b1), vitamin e supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin k activity), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), vitamin d3 supplement)
Here's the good news... The ingredients in this canned food could be worse. That's about the end of the good news. Looking at the first five ingredients, the first ingredient is meat by-products. Not only is this an unnamed meat source (meat could be from any kind of animal), but by-products are less desirable parts of the animal. AAFCO defines meat byproducts as:
"The non rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves."
Some of those parts would be great for your dog, if they were prepared carefully, but they're usually not in a pet food plant.
Water is the second ingredient and it's not unusual to see a lot of moisture in a canned food, though this food contains 82 percent moisture which is very high.
The third ingredient is animal liver. Liver is great for dogs but not when it comes from an unnamed source. "Animal" means it can come from any kind of animal. You always want to see specific, named ingredients in your dog's food whenever possible.
The fourth ingredient is chicken and that's good. When you see "chicken" listed this way it usually refers to whole chicken so this will also contain a lot of moisture. If you remove the moisture, this ingredient would appear much lower on the list. The fifth ingredient is "poultry by-products." Here you have the same problem as with other by-products, except they come from poultry. They can come from any kind of poultry so it's still not a specific, named ingredient and it is still by-products.
Next you see wheat flour which is basically a filler ingredient. It doesn't provide much nutrition for your dog, though the company might make a case that a canned food needs a little flour for processing. Canned foods, in general, have far fewer grains than kibble foods, partly because they are manufactured differently. They don't go through an extrusion process that requires them to be made into a dough or batter. But they do require a few ingredients to help them stick together. That's why you see ingredients like guar gum added.
This food also contains xanthum gum and cassia gum, which are used as thickening agents and to help the food "gel." That seems like a lot of thickening agents. Plus it contains wheat gluten, which is sometimes used for the same purpose - and to increase the protein percentage. The food also contains carrageenan which is another thickening agent often used with proteins (and with dairy - you might find it in your ice cream). I would guess this product holds its shape very well! None of these thickening ingredients are harmful and you can find them in foods you eat, but there are a lot of them in this food.
The food does contain beef as a source of protein, which is good, but it's very far down the list of ingredients. It also contains dried plain beet pulp which is a good insoluble fiber that provides a source of energy and helps keep things moving along the gastrointestinal system.
The food contains menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin k activity) which is a controversial ingredient and which has been linked to toxicity and mutations. According to AAFCO, vitamin K is not required in dog foods at all.
You can also note the presence of sodium tripolyphosphate in this food. I wasn't familiar with this ingredient so I had to look it up. According to FoodandWaterWatch.org, sodium tripolyphosphate or STPP is a suspected neurotoxin per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances. The food grade form of this ingredient may cause acute skin irritation and prolonged contact with it should be avoided. The FDA considers the chemical to be "generally recognized as safe" as a food preservative." However, this really doesn't sound like the kind of preservative you want your dog to eat. STPP seems to be used most often with fish, but it's used in this food as a preservative, apparently.
The overall quality of ingredients here looks rather poor due to the unnamed meat sources, the added coloring, and the controversial ingredients.
To figure the dry matter basis of this food we can apply the following formula:
Cesar Meaty Selects Filet Mignon Flavor provides 50 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government's recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). There is a lot of meat protein in this food even if it comes from less desirable sources. The 22.2 percent fat in Cesar Meaty Selects Filet Mignon Flavor is also well above the government's recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog). The fiber content is a little high.
Could not find an AAFCO statement but the company states: "This product should only be fed to adult dogs." Presumably this food is only for adult maintenance, though we would like to see an AAFCO statement verifying that the food is nutritionally adequate for this life stage.
Mars is a very large company and they can command plenty of resources for their manufacturing concerns. They own the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, a research organization in the United Kingdom, where they do research for their pet food brands. Per Wikipedia, Cesar is one of the brands which uses research from Waltham.
As already mentioned, Cesar is not listed in the FDA database for any recalls.
Based on its ingredients, Cesar Meaty Selects Filet Mignon Flavor appears to be a lower quality food. Dogs probably love the taste of this food and the other Cesar flavors. Cesar has been around for a long time and many people and their dogs seem to like it but I can't give it a very high rating with some of the ingredients it contains.
Cesar Meaty Selects Filet Mignon Flavor has earned our 2.5 paw rating.