When evaluating the nutritional value of a dog food brand, the first place you need to look is the ingredients list. If the list is a mile long and filled with unidentifiable ingredients, it is a safe bet that the food won’t be especially good for your dog. California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food has a remarkably short ingredients list consisting of only twelve items. Granted, ingredients like “minerals” and “vitamins” include more than one nutrient, but most dog food labels do not list these ingredients individually. California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food is made with a single source of protein, a single source of carbhohydrate, and it does not contain some of the nutrient-poor fillers that many dog food formulas are filled. In essence, California Natural dog food is what it claims to be – natural. If you are looking for a healthy commercial food for your adult dog, California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food may be a good option to consider. Before you purchase this brand of dog food, however, you would be wise to consider the ingredients used to make this dog food and how they impact the total nutritional value of the product.
Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Rice, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed, Natural Flavors, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamins, Rosemary Extract
Explanation of Top 5 Ingredients
The top 5 ingredients included in California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food are: chicken meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil, and flaxseed. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:
Chicken Meal – Though at first glance you may be tempted to think chicken meal is a low-quality ingredient because of the word “meal,” you would be greatly mistaken. Chicken meal is actually a much more concentrated source of protein than fresh chicken – it contains about 300% more protein, in fact, than fresh chicken. According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), chicken meal consists of all the same parts of the chicken as whole chicken, but the chicken has been rendered (cooked) to remove most of the moisture content. Whole chicken contains about 70% water, 18% protein, and 5% fat whereas chicken meal contains about 65% protein and 12% fat. The fact that chicken meal is the top ingredient on the list means that this dog food formula is a very good source of high-quality protein.
Brown Rice – Brown rice is a whole-grain carbohydrate that provides your dog with dietary fiber in an easily digestible form. It is important to note, however, that dogs only require moderate amounts of dietary fiber and carbohydrate in their diet, however, so brown rice should be considered only to be of moderate nutritional value. One thing to be wary of with this ingredient is that there are different kinds of rice that can be used in dog food and not all of it consists of whole rice grains. The California Natural website lists this ingredient as whole-grain brown rice, however.
Rice – Because this ingredient is so similar to the previous ingredient on the list, it may be tempting to gloss over it. While brown rice is a whole-grain carbohydrate, the white rice used in this formula is a much less nutritious form of rice. White rice consist of the leftover grains after the healthy outer shell has been removed from whole grains of brown rice. This ingredient provides your dog with energy in the form of calories, but it doesn’t provide much nutritional value.
Sunflower Oil – Healthy oils are an important ingredient to include in dog food formulas because they help to maintain your dog’s skin and coat. Sunflower oil, however, is a less nutritious oil than other seed oils like flaxseed oil or vegetable oils like canola. This oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids but it does not contain any omega-3 fatty acids. It is also important to note that the quality of sunflower oil can vary greatly and it is difficult to tell the quality of the type used in this dog food formula.
Flaxseed – Though sunflower oil may not be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed is. This ingredient is one of the highest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, in fact, it is contains about 19% protein as well. The California Natural website does not state whether the flaxseed is whole or ground which could impact its benefits for this formula.
Other Notable Ingredients
Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include natural flavors, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins, minerals, and rosemary extract. This formula does not contain any artificial preservatives – it uses vitamin E as a natural preservative instead. Other vitamins which are included in this formula are niacin, calcium, beta carotene, B12, riboflavin, thiamine, biotin, and folic acid. This formula is also supplemented with taurine, and amino acid which helps to support healthy muscle and tissue development.
Salt, or sodium chloride, is a common ingredient in many dog food formulas including this California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food formula. While salt is an important part of a dog’s diet, many dog foods contain this ingredient in excess. The ingredient label does not list how much salt is in the formula so it is difficult to assess the nutritional value of this ingredient. The ingredient label for this formula also makes no mention of probiotics. Many dog food formulas contain this ingredient to help support healthy digestion – this California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food formula loses points for not including this ingredient.
Though California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food does not include probiotics, it does contain a variety of chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are those which have been attached to a protein molecule to make them easier for your dog’s body to absorb. Some of the minerals found in this formula include iron, zinc, manganese and calcium. The final ingredient on the list, rosemary extract, acts as another natural preservative.
The fact that California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food lists chicken meal as its number one ingredient is impressive – it means that this formula is an excellent source of concentrated protein. Even if the first ingredient were whole chicken, it would not make the formula better. Listing whole-grain brown rice as the second ingredient is also somewhat beneficial when compared to other formulas that use filler ingredients like corn or wheat gluten instead. Though the first two ingredients on the list for this formula are considered to be of high or moderate nutritional value, that is where things stop. The third ingredient, white rice, is of little nutritional value and sunflower oil is less nutritious than other seed oils. Overall, California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food can be considered a moderate source of nutritional value for your pet.
This California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice Adult Dog Food formula receives a paw rating of 3.5 out of 5. This formula gains points for listing chicken meal as the first ingredient and it does not lose points for listing brown rice second. Several of the other ingredients on the list, however, could be healthier which would bump up the overall rating for this formula.