Ol' Roy is the store brand, or private label brand, of Walmart. It is not uncommon for large retail stores to sell their own private label brands that are produced for them by dog food companies. In this case, Ol' Roy is manufactured by Doane Pet Food, which is owned byMars pet food division. It is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Mars pet food also makes Pedigree and other brands. Mars is one of the biggest dog food manufacturers in the world, with headquarters in McLean, VA, and annual global sales of $11.8 billion in 2007. Mars acquired Doane Pet Care in 2006.
Ol' Roy is named for Sam Walton's bird dog, Ol' Roy. According to The New York Times in a 2004 article, Ol' Roy is the top-selling dog food in the United States annually by some 20 percent over the next nearest food, which is estimated to be Pedigree Dry Food for Dogs, with sales of almost 214,000 tons in 2003. Ol' Roy dog food was created in 1983.
Private label brands like Ol' Roy are lower-priced alternatives to name brand dog foods. According to the stores that sell them, they are similar to the name brands in terms of ingredients and quality. They can become popular because they are sold in the store for less, as is the case with Ol' Roy. However, private label brands usually provide less information about the product than name brands. It can be hard to find out who makes the product, what the ingredients are, or other important information.* The source may only say, "Distributed by Walmart." The only place you can buy such private label brands is in the store which commissions them. For example, you can only buy Ol' Roy at Walmart.
There have been complaints about Ol' Roy but it's hard to judge how valid they are. Some people disapprove of the food because it costs less and comes from Walmart - just as some people disapprove of Walmart in general. Other pet owners may have valid complaints specifically about the food itself. You can find quite a few sites online where people report problems with the food including this one.
As far as recalls are concerned, Ol' Roy was heavily impacted by the pet food recalls in 2007, with millions of products recalled. Most of the products seem to have been canned and pouch food. In 2008 Mars Petcare issued a voluntary recall involving products made at its Everson, IL, plant due to concerns about Salmonella and these products included some Ol' Roy foods. Mars subsequently closed the Everson plant. In 1999 a fungal toxin led to the recall of dry dog food made by Doane Pet Care, before it was purchased by Mars, at one of their plants. The brands affected included Ol' Roy, along with 53 other brands. In that case, 25 dogs died.
As mentioned above, it can be hard to find information about private label brands such as Ol' Roy. Walmart doesn't maintain a web site for the food so there is no information about ingredients, guaranteed analysis, or other information about the food online from the store that sells it. I have pieced together as much information as I could for this review from several sources but in some cases the information is conflicting.
In addition to the Ol' Roy pet food made for Walmart by Mars, Del Monte has made snacks and jerky treats under the Ol' Roy label; and the Sunshine company has made dog biscuits for Ol' Roy. I couldn't find out if these companies are still making these products for Walmart. These products have been subject to recalls in the last several years.
Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), corn gluten meal, natural flavor, brewers rice, salt, potassium chloride, color added (titanium dioxide, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #40, blue #2), choline chloride, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, niacin, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, manganous oxide, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, folic acid, vitamin D-3 supplement, cobalt carbonate.
When Walmart says that Ol' Roy is comparable to name brand dog foods (of similar quality), they are correct. Judging by the ingredients, Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition is similar to Pedigree and some other popular brands you can find in grocery stores and sold in Walmart. It's probably a better food than some you can buy in your local store. That's based on a look at the ingredients.
The first five ingredients are, in order, ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal, and animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid).
Ground yellow corn is used as a protein source in some dog foods and as a source of carbs and energy. However, in most cases dogs can only digest about 54 percent of the corn in dog food (unless it is slow-cooked at lower temperatures). Your dog is not going to get the maximum nutrition from ground yellow corn.
Meat and bone meal, according to AAFCO, means: "the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices." This part of the animal, especially in dense meal form, is high in protein so it will boost the protein percentage in the food, and your dog probably won't mind eating it (dogs often eat some questionable things), but meat and bone meal isn't a good quality part of an animal. Plus, it can come from any kind of animal.
Soybean meal is a plant source of protein. It provides about 48 percent protein but it's a plant source of protein which means it's not as good for your dog as animal protein. Again, it can boost the protein percentage in the food without the manufacturer actually having to use much or any real meat.
Poultry by-product meal comes from any or assorted poultry, so it's not quite generic but it's not really a named protein source either. As a by-product meal it includes "ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices." Again, your dog might not mind eating this ingredient but it's not considered a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid). Animal fat is a generic fat. You don't know the source of this fat. It could come from any animal. Additionally, the fat has been preserved with BHA - Butylated hydroxyanisole. BHA is used as a food preservative but it has also been linked to cancer and many dog foods today avoid using artificial preservatives in favor of natural preservatives such as vitamins C and E. Citric acid, used here as a preservative, is not the same as vitamin C but it is a natural preservative.
Other ingredients to note include corn gluten meal and brewers rice. Corn gluten meal is another ingredient that is often used to boost the protein percentage in dog foods. Brewer's rice is a by-product of rice milling. It's described as the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. Brewer's rice is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice, which reduces the quality. It can help add texture to dog food but it's not really a desirable ingredient.
The quality of the ingredients in this food appears to be relatively low. There is very little meat protein. There are a number of ingredients included which seem designed to boost the protein percentage without including actual meat protein.
There are several ingredients which cause special concern. In addition to the artificial preservative BHA, the food contains a number of dyes and artificial colors: titanium dioxide, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #40, and blue #2. Dogs don't need dyes and colorings in their food and some of these dyes have been linked to illnesses and carcinogens.
Finally, the food contains menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity) - a synthetic form of vitamin K. AAFCO and other dog food governing bodies have not determined that vitamin K is necessary for dogs. Natural vitamin K is easily found in fish meal, liver, kelp, and other sources and is easy for your dog to metabolize. The same is not true of synthetic vitamin K. It has been linked to weakened immune systems, hemolytic anemia, allergic reactions, toxicity, and other problems.
I can't be sure of the guaranteed analysis of this food. I found two separate analyses posted online, with the moisture percentage missing in one case. Walmart does not post this information on their web site.
Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): This product contains approximately 298 calories per 8oz cup (per a customer representative).
Walmart says that Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition meets AAFCO's nutrient profiles for all life stages.
Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition appears to contain between 21 and 25 percent protein. However, judging from the ingredients, much of this protein seems to come from protein boosters such as meat and bone meal, corn, and soybean meal. These are not good animal sources of protein for your dog. Even if they are easy to digest, they do not provide the best quality nutrition for your dog. The fat appears to be around 10-11 percent which is within the recommendations provided by the NRC (9-15 percent for an adult dog). However, the source of the fat is the generic "animal fat" - an unnamed source.
You should notice that the food's AAFCO statement is based on a nutrient profile for the food and not on feeding trials. Both nutrient profiles and feeding trials are acceptable to AAFCO, though feeding trials (which cost a lot more to carry out) are generally considered better from a consumer's standpoint.
Walmart has a good reputation for saving people money. Ol' Roy does not necessarily have a good reputation as a dog food. They were hard hit by the recalls in 2007 but they do not appear to have had many problems with recalls since that time. However, I think you have to consider some of the consumer complaints found online about the food since that time.
This food seems like a slightly below average food that uses a lot of protein fillers to try to increase the protein percentage.
Ol' Roy Dog Food has received our 1 paw rating.