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4health Mature Adult Dog Food Review

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Dog Food Insiders Rating

3 Paws

3 PAWS

In addition to this 4Health mature adult dog review, you can check our main review of 4Health dog food for even more information on how the food is made, recalls, company history, and their quality control history.


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Product Overview

As with many private label brands, information about 4Health is harder to find than for national brands. However, Tractor Supply Company does provide ingredients and nutritional information on their company web site, so you can find out more about this food than many other private label foods. They advertise the food in their store circulars, too. Since it is a private label brand you can only buy it at Tractor Supply Company stores.


 

Ingredients In 4health Mature Adult Dog

Lamb, lamb meal, oatmeal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, millet, white rice, egg product, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, natural flavor, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, taurine, dried kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, 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, vitamin E supplement, chondroitin sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride.


 

Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Like other 4Health dog foods, the first two ingredients in this food are meat proteins – lamband lamb meal. Both of these ingredients provide good protein for your dog. Lamb probably sounds better, but lamb meal is a concentrated form of lamb that has had most of the moisture removed. It contains several times as much protein as the lamb.

The next five ingredients are carbs: oatmeal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, millet, and white rice.

Oatmeal is a good source of dietary fiber as well Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Manganese.

Whole grain brown rice and, later the white rice, provide Manganese. The brown rice also provides Selenium and the white rice provides Folate. In general, whole grain brown rice is usually considered more nutritious than white rice. If you are concerned about arsenic in rice, brown rice has been found to contain more arsenic than white rice. However, at this time the FDA says that there is not enough arsenic in pet foods to harm dogs. Whether they change their opinion or other things change, we can’t predict. If you are uneasy about feeding your dog a food that contains rice, there are many good dog foods that are either grain free or which contain other grains than rice.

Cracked pearled barley is a good dietary fiber and a good source of Manganese. It’s also a good plant source of omega-6 fatty acid. Millet doesn’t provide a lot of nutrients but it does provide Manganese and omega-6 fatty acid, as well as some small amounts of other vitamins.

Additional Ingredients Of Interest

Some of the fat in the food comes from the lamb and lamb meal but a lot of the fat comes from the chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). Chicken fat is a good named source of fat. It’s also high in omega-6 fatty acid. Mixed tocopherols are a form of vitamin E, so they’re a natural preservative.

I’ve singled out tomato pomace, not because it’s a “bad” ingredient, but because it is often misunderstood by dog owners. It’s a by-product of the tomato processing industry (think ketchup and other tomato products). We’re so used to thinking that “by-products” are bad that many people assume that tomato pomace must be a bad ingredient, too. Actually, it’s not. Tomato pomace is made of the pulpy part of tomatoes and the seeds. It’s pulverized, dried and turned into a red powder, and, at the end of the process, it can be added to other things like dog food where it’s usually added at 3-7 percent of the entire mixture. It contains lots of vitamin E, lycopene (carotenoid, antioxidant – major good thing), and fatty acids like linoleic and linolenic acids. It’s also got about 20 percent protein, 15 percent fat, and 25-57 percent crude fiber – including about 4 percent soluble fibers. So, it’s not the filler that it’s sometimes portrayed as. Tomato pomace has some very good nutritional value in dog food. Some by-products from the human food industry are actually good in pet foods.

The food also contains ocean fish meal. I mention this because ocean fish meal is kind of a vague term. AAFCO doesn’t specify what kind of fish is meant by “fish meal” or “ocean fish meal.” Lots of dog foods use these terms, even some of the best dog foods. It does allow for some wiggle room, meaning the “ocean fish” could be different kinds of fish, though it’s often menhaden. The ocean fish in the food can vary from one batch to another or be a mix of fishes. I’m not personally aware of any dogs that are allergic to specific kinds of fish, but I thought you should know this. Otherwise, the ocean fish meal is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid and protein. Diamond, which makes 4Health for Tractor Supply, says their fish meals are ethoxyquin-free.


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Taurine is also added to the food. Taurine is an amino acid that is sometimes added to better dog foods to try to avert heart problems such as dilated cardiomyelopathy. These problems aren’t common in dogs but it’s thought that a taurine deficiency can contribute to causing these problems when they do occur, so adding taurine can help.

The food also contains blueberries and cranberries, possibly as antioxidants. It has rosemary extract which is used as a natural preservative. Vitamin E supplement and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are also used as natural preservatives. And it has yucca schidigera extract which is used to reduce stool odor.

The food also features dried skim milk. There’s nothing particularly wrong with dried skim milk and many dogs can eat foods that contain it without any problems. It contains lots of protein (33-36 percent) and it could be added to the food to boost the protein percentage. I point it out here because it is chock full of lactose – about 50 percent. If your dog happens to be lactose-intolerant then he might have trouble with the food, depending on how much dried skim milk is in the food.

There are also fermentation products in the food, probably with the thinking that older dogs may need some help digesting their food and absorbing nutrients? I’m not sure. They may or may not be useful here.

The food also contains L-Carnitine, a form of carnitine, which helps the dog’s body transform fat into energy and muscle mass. It is often added to weight management foods to help dogs lose weight.

Finally, the food has vitamins and chelated (“proteinated”) minerals added. Chelated minerals are bound to amino acids so they are easier for your dog to absorb.

Ingredients Used To Assist Mature Dogs

The food also contains some ingredients that could be of benefit to a mature dog over seven years of age. The food is formulated for this age group and it contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint problems and arthritis. This seems appropriate but most dog foods don’t really contain enough of these supplements to help a dog with these problems. If your dog has joint problems or arthritis it’s best to talk to your vet about supplements. You can add your own supplements to his food and make sure he’s getting the kind and amount that he really needs. Most supplements are easy to find at health food stores, drug stores, or big box stores like Walmart or Costco. Glucosamine, chondroitin, CoQ10, Sam-E, green-lipped mussels, and MSM are all readily available. If your dog is experiencing any pain you can talk to your vet about pain management. Sometimes just a buffered aspirin for dogs is enough to help with mild arthritis pain. Or your dog may need an NSAID. Talk to your vet.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein ….. 20% (min.)
  • Crude Fat ….. 10% (min.)
  • Crude Fiber ….. 3% (max.)
  • Moisture ….. 10% (max.)
  • Calcium ….. 1.1% (min.)
  • Phosphorus ….. 0.9% (min.)
  • Zinc ….. 175 mg/kg (min.)
  • Selenium ….. 0.4 mg/kg (min.)
  • Vitamin E ….. 150 IU/kg (min.)
  • Taurine* ….. 0.1% (min.)
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids* ….. 1.7% (min.)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids* ….. 0.25% (min.)
  • Glucosamine* ….. 720 mg/kg (min.)
  • Chondroitin Sulfate* ….. 240 mg/kg (min.)
  • Caloric Content: 3,421 kcal/kg (320 kcal/cup) Calculated Metabolizable Energy

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profile.

Tractor Supply Company states the following in their description of this and other 4Health foods: “Mature Adult Formula for Dogs 7+ Years of Age is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your adult dog.” It also says that it is formulated for all life stages. However, this is NOT the same as an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. AAFCO statements are present on the packaging of 4Health products but it would be nice if the company would make them available on the web site.

Summary

Mature Adult Formula for Dogs 7+ Years of Age might be an acceptable food if you have a very fat older dog and you would like him to lose weight. It only has 20 percent protein and 10 percent fat. 320 calories per cup is on the low side, too. The food contains an estimated 50 percent carbohydrates along with L-Carnitine to encourage turning fat into muscle mass. In addition, the lamb and lamb meal in the food are boosted in terms of protein by egg product, ocean fish meal, and dried skim milk, suggesting that there isn’t that much lamb protein in the food. I wouldn’t feed this food to an older dog if he was slim since it will probably make most dogs lose weight. This is kind of a disappointing food.

4health Mature Adult earned our 3 paw rating.


 

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