In addition to this Beneful Healthy Fiesta dog food review, you can find detailed information about Nestle Purina, manufacturer of Beneful, in our main review of Beneful Brand Dog Food. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control. These shorter reviews provide some information about the main ingredients and any ingredients that stand out, the guaranteed analysis, and any special concerns about each food.
Beneful Healthy Fiesta Ingredients
Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), chicken, soy flour, rice flour, water, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, animal digest, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, dried carrots, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried tomatoes, avocado, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, Yellow 5, ferrous sulfate, Red 40, manganese sulfate, niacin, Blue 2, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, Yellow 6, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.
Many of the ingredients in Beneful’s kibbles are similar from one product to another, as is the case with many brands of dog food, so if you don’t see an ingredient discussed in this review you can check some of the other Beneful reviews and it may be discussed there.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
The first ingredient in Beneful Healthy Fiesta Dog Food isground yellow corn. What this means is that, by weight before cooking, there is more ground yellow corn in this food than any other single ingredient. If you look at the third ingredient listed you will see that it’s corn gluten meal. Now, corn itself is not a “bad” ingredient, though it has received bad press from a lot of bloggers and owners. It’s a source of plant protein and omega-6 fatty acid, and it provides other vitamins and minerals. Depending on how it’s prepared, corn can provide a lot of protein. For example, ground yellow corn is only about 7 percent protein; but corn gluten meal can be up to 60 percent protein. So, you can see why dog food manufacturers like it. It’s also relatively inexpensive. Plus, contrary to what many people think, most dogs can digest it without any trouble. It does not have the bioavailability of most meat proteins, however, so dogs that eat a corn-based diet will produce more waste. People who claim that corn “causes” food allergies are incorrect. Corn is one of the ingredients that can lead to food allergies, but so are many meat proteins such as beef, chicken, and lamb. Any ingredient that shows up in a lot of dog foods can eventually become a common dog food allergen.
Note: I’m not telling you to feed your dog a corn-based diet. I’m simply telling you that it’s not the horrible ingredient that many people claim. The problem comes when dog food companies over-use it or use it as a substitute for meat protein. A meat-based diet is certainly preferable. This food looks like it contains quite a bit of corn, in one form or another.
The second ingredient is chicken by-product meal. Chicken = good. Meal = good. By-product = not so good.
AAFCO defines chicken by-product meal as: “the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.”
That certainly doesn’t sound appetizing but, I should say that most AAFCO definitions make anything sound terrible. There’s nothing really wrong with those parts but they are not the best parts of the chicken or the muscle meat that most people want to feed their dogs. But these are named by-productswhich are better than the vague “animal” by-products, so that’s a point in their favor. Since they are made up in a meal, that means that they are concentrated and most of the moisture has been removed. They will contain more protein than if they were simply chicken by-products.
The food also contains whole wheat flour. Again, this isn’t necessarily a “bad” ingredient, but it doesn’t provide much, if any, nutritional value for dogs. This ingredient is usually used as a filler and as a binder to hold the food mixture together.
For fat the food contains animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E). This form of animal fat is less desirable since the source is unknown. “Animal” could refer to anything. It does use a natural preservative.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
The food also contains chicken as the 6th ingredient, which means whole chicken. This ingredient still contains the moisture and fat but it also contains the muscle meat and other things that we like to see in chicken. Chicken is a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin and Selenium. Chicken is a very high quality ingredient in dog food, but we normally like to see an ingredient like this further up the list.
Propylene glycol is a chemical relative of ethylene glycol which is anti-freeze, but they are not the same. Its use has been linked to Heinz Body Anemia in cats and it is no longer used to make cat food, at the insistence of the FDA. However, research has not shown that propylene glycol is harmful to dogs in any way. It’s also used in some human foods, especially fast foods. It’s used to control moisture, to help with the effects of the breakdown of fats, and as a solvent for food coloring. This ingredient is found in 4 percent of all dog foods.
The food also contains sugar which, of course, your dog doesn’t need.
You can also find animal digest in the food. According to AAFCO, animal digest is defined as: “material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.”
The problem with animal digest is you don’t really know what it is or where it’s coming from. It’s not a very desirable source of protein.
Calcium propionate (a preservative) is also found in this food. This is an anti-fungal preservative that is often used in preserving breads to prevent mold. In humans it has been linked to damaging the stomach lining by exacerbating gastritis and inducing severe ulcers. Of course, dogs have much stronger stomach acids than humans do, so they may not be at risk for these problems. This ingredient has also been linked to behavioral changes in children and migraines. Does it have negative effects on dogs? There is no evidence at this time to indicate there are any negative health effects on dogs. It is found in about 3 percent of dog foods. Make your own decision on whether this is an ingredient you choose to feed to your dog.
The food also contains a number of added colors which dogs don’t need. Coloring is typically added to dog food to impress the owner. The added colors include: Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2, and Blue 1. Some of these colors have been linked to tumors and allergic reactions.
In addition to whole wheat flour, there is also soy flour, and rice flour. These ingredients are used as binders by petfood companies to hold the mixture together during the extrusion process. They don’t provide much nutrition, however. Because they are relatively inexpensive, they are sometimes overused by manufacturers and act as fillers.
The food also contains menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity) which is synthetic vitamin K. This ingredient can cause immune problems, allergic reactions, and it’s toxic in high doses, among other issues. AAFCO and the FDA do not require dog food companies to include any vitamin K in their products. Natural vitamin K is easy to obtain in liver, kelp, and fish meal, among other foods.
Finally, the food also contains added vitamins and minerals.
As far as I can tell, the only ingredients that make this food a “fiesta” food are the additions of dried tomatoes and avocados buried in the middle of the ingredient list.
- Crude Protein (Min) ….. 25.0%
- Crude Fat (Min) ….. 10.0%
- Crude Fiber (Max) ….. 4.0%
- Moisture (Max) ….. 14.0%
- Calcium (Ca) (Min) ….. 1.1%
- Iron (Fe) (Min) ….. 175 mg/kg
- Selenium (Se) (Min) ….. 0.2 mg/kg
- Vitamin A (Min) ….. 10,000 IU/kg
- Linoleic Acid (Min) ….. 1.5%
- Vitamin E (Min) ….. 100 IU/kg
Calorie Content: 3693kcal/kg; 1675kcal/lb; this food contains 360kcal/cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Animal feeding tests using Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) procedures substantiate that Beneful Healthy Fiesta provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages of dogs.
Dry Matter Basis
Figured on a dry matter basis, this food contains approximately 29 percent protein and 11.6 percent fat. That’s a moderately high amount of protein, though much of it appears to be plant-based (corn). The fat percentage is rather low. The fiber percentage is approximately 4.7 percentage which is typical for most dry dog foods. The carbohydrates in the food are estimated to be approximately 45 percent which is definitely high.
Beneful Healthy Fiesta Dog Food has a relatively high protein percentage but much of it is plant (corn)-based. The fat percentage is rather low in this food. The carbohydrate percentage is very high at 45 percent. There are also some ingredients in this food that most people will want to avoid, if possible. Not the worst food you can buy but not really recommended either.
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