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You can find more detailed information aboutDel Monte, manufacturer of Kibbles ‘n Bits, in our main Kibbles n’ Bits Dog Food review. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control measures.
Kibbles n’ Bits Dog Food is widely available in most grocery stores. This company also spends more money on marketing and advertising than most other companies. The readily available access to this food along with its low price and a strong marketing strategy has made Kibbles n’ Bits Dog Food one of the most popular dog food brands in the United States. Unfortunately, we have found that almost every Kibbles n’ Bits Dog Food blend contains ingredients that are significantly below industry average. We are especially upset with ingredients such as food coloring, which may possibly be linked to causing cancer in some dogs. Overall, we see a lot of room for improvement in this dog food.
Ingredients in Kibbles ‘n Bits Small Breed Mini Bits Savory Chicken & Beef Flavor Dog Food
Corn, soybean meal, beef & bone meal, ground wheat, animal fat (BHA used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, titanium dioxide (color), calcium sulfate, yellow 5, red 40, yellow 6, BHA (used as a preservative), DL-methionine.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Because the name of this food contains the term “flavor,” it indicates that the food falls under the FDA’s flavor rule. This means that the food doesn’t necessarily contain actual chicken or beef. It only has to contain enough of these flavors to be detectable to the FDA when tested. You can read more about FDA labeling requirements in the longer Kibbles ‘n Bits review.
The first five ingredients in this food are: Corn, soybean meal, beef & bone meal, ground wheat, animal fat (BHA used as preservative). Since ingredients are listed by weight before cooking, corn and soybean meal are the predominant ingredients in the food. These are not “bad” ingredients but they are plant sources of protein. The protein they provide is not as easily absorbed by dogs as meat protein. Corn and soybeans are also common allergens for many dogs who have food allergies or sources of food intolerances for dogs. Ideally a dog food will have a named meat protein as the first or second ingredient in the food.
The third ingredient is beef & bone meal. This is a single ingredient and it’s another source of protein. In fact, it can contain 45 to 50 percent protein which is why it’s often used in dog food. It boosts the protein percentage in the food. It’s also a meat source of protein. However, it’s generally considered a lesser quality ingredient. The AAFCO definition for this ingredient is: The rendered product from beef tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. If it is processed well, such as steamed from healthy bones from cows fit for human consumption, there is little to worry about. However, not all beef & bone meal comes from such sources. Lots of beef & bone meal comes from parts of cows that are not fit for human consumption and they are not as careful about what goes into the processing. Beef & bone meal is usually used in lower quality dog foods.
The fourth ingredient in the food is ground wheat. This is a form of wheat flour in dog food. It’s considered to be a cheaper, filler ingredient when used in dog food. As the fourth ingredient in the food, you can expect this ingredient to make up a lot of the food without providing much nutrition for your dog.
The final ingredient in the first five is animal fat preserved with BHA. This ingredient is problematic in a couple of ways. Animal fat here is an unidentified source of fat. The fat could be from any kind of animal, including road kill. And it is preserved with an artificial preservative that has been linked to cancer and seizures – BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). Named fats, such as chicken fat, for example, preserved with natural preservatives like vitamin E, are better for your dog.
Taken all together, these first five ingredients are not good for your dog. They rely on grains and legumes instead of providing named meat protein. They use lesser quality ingredients. They use an unnamed fat source and an artificial preservative. And they use cheap filler ingredients. And that’s just in the first five ingredients.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
The remainder of the ingredients are, at best, harmless and, at worst, actually harmful to your dog. None of the ingredients in the food appear to be optimal for dog foods.
The food contains corn syrupwhich is probably added for taste. Your dog doesn’t need added sugar in his food. The food also contains wheat middlings which are a poor quality filler ingredient. They can range from floor sweepings to slightly better quality. They provide protein and nutrients to horses and livestock but, even at their best, dogs and cats have problems digesting them.
The food also contains animal digest – identified as the source of the chicken flavor in the food. Animal digest is defined by AAFCO as: material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed 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. Since it comes from generic “animals,” it could come from any kind of animal, including road kill. Here it provides the chicken flavor so, presumably, this animal digest contains some chicken parts. But probably not solely chicken or it would be identified as “chicken digest.”
The food also has propylene glycol. There seems to be some concern online about this ingredient but, in this case, the concern is probably misplaced. This ingredient is not unusual in many dog foods. It is a cousin of ethylene glycol which is found in antifreeze. Propylene glycol is now being used in pet-friendly antifreeze. According to the Tufts Veterinary Newsletter, a medium-sized dog would have to ingest about 20 ounces of propylene glycol before getting seriously ill. A dog only has to drink about two ounces of ethylene glycol to get sick. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for dogs. It’s slightly sweet and it’s used in dog foods and other animal feeds as a preservative.
Finally, the food contains a number of artificial colors that should be avoided, including caramel color and titanium dioxide, as well as more BHA as a preservative. Dogs don’t need artificial colors in their food. Dyes are only added to dog food to appeal to you, the buyer. Your dog doesn’t care what the food looks like. Some of these artificial colors have been linked to cancer and other illnesses. There’s simply no reason to give your dog something that he doesn’t need that could possibly be harmful to his longterm health. Whenever you see a dog food that contains suspiciously bright colors, you should check the label to see if it contains some of these harmful colors and dyes. Likewise, BHA has also been linked to cancer (read more here).
- CRUDE PROTEIN ………. 21.0% MINIMUM
- CRUDE FAT ………. 8.0% MINIMUM
- CRUDE FIBER ………. 4.0% MAXIMUM
- MOISTURE ………. 18.0% MAXIMUM
- CALCIUM ………. 1.2% MINIMUM
- PHOSPHORUS ………. 0.90% MINIMUM
- POTASSIUM ………. 0.80% MINIMUM
- ZINC ………. 125 mg/kg MINIMUM
- VITAMIN A ………. 5100 IU/kg MINIMUM
- VITAMIN D ………. 500 IU/kg MINIMUM
358 calories per 8 ounce cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Kibbles ‘n Bits Mini Bits Savory Chicken & Beef Flavor dog food provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.
Dry Matter Basis
On a dry matter basis, this food contains approximately 25.6 percent protein and 9.8 percent fat. This is a moderate amount of protein and a low fat percentage. Most of the protein appears to be plant-based from corn and soy so your dog may not digest it as well as meat protein. Fiber makes up about 4.9 percent of the food which is about average for most kibbles. The food contains an estimated 50 percent carbohydrates which is on the high side for all kibbles.
This food has a higher percentage of protein than most other Kibbles n’ Bits formulas, though it still has an estimated 50 percent carbohydrates. It doesn’t contain some of the harmful ingredients that the other formulas contain but it still contains potentially harmful dyes and artificial preservatives. It’s not quite as bad as some other Kibbles ‘n Bits formulas but we still can’t recommend it very highly.
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