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Cesar Classics Pate T-Bone Steak Flavor is a mid-priced wet dog food with overall lower quality. This product has 6 controversial ingredients, which unfortunately includes artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. The food does have pretty well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs, but overall the meat and fat is low-quality. On a positive note, Cesar has a below-average number of dog food recalls. The company was also very open and helpful when answering our transparency questions.Read the Full Review Below
This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 44.44%
Min. Fat 19.44%
Min. Carbs 25.00%
Max. Fiber 5.56%
Max. Ash 11.11%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 8.0%
Min Fat: 3.5%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 1.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 82.0%
93 Calories per Cup
This product has a below average amount of calories for wet food. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Sufficient Water for Processing, Beef By-Products, Meat By-Products, Liver, Beef, Chicken, Chicken By-Products, Added Color, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Carrageenan, Dried Yam, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Erythorbic Acid, T-Bone Steak Flavor, Guar Gum, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Nitrite (For Color Retention), Vitamin A, D3, and E Supplements, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1).
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has surprising 6 total controversial ingredients and 2 of them are found in the top five ingredients. This is something to be aware of because the first five ingredients make up most of the product.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Cesar makes this product in the United States.
Meat & Fat Quality
The meat quality of this product is not great. Four of the meat ingredients, beef, chicken, beef by-products and chicken by-products identify the specific animal they come from, but the by-products don’t help us understand what part of the animal. However, the other 2 meat ingredients meat by-products and liver do not make it clear what animal these ingredients are coming from, this is concerning. Since there are not any added fats, the majority of the fat content is coming from the meat, so the same concerns exist.
This Cesar product uses an artificial preservative called Sodium Nitrite. It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, there are 11 artificial preservatives we consider controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions. Unfortunately, Sodium Nitrite is one of them.
Cesar uses the generic coloring ingredient called “Added Color” in this product.
They also have an artificial flavor they have added called “T-Bone Steak Flavor”.
This brand has fewer than the average dog food.
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Cesar is part of the Mars family of brands and was pretty responsive. It only required one email, and they responded in 4 days. Not lightning fast, but compared to the average it was not a bad response time.
Does Cesar have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
We have two nutritionists on staff for better checks and balances. One is full time and has done 7 years post graduate work in nutrition, his work has been published in peer reviewed Veterinary and Nutrition journals for over 30 years. His work is also cited in the NRC Nutrient Requirements for Dogs and Cats. The other is a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist (DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR) who has an office in our headquarters but is considered part time so he can continue his work in academia.
The detail here is great, but they were unable to share the specific names of these individuals.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
Developing pet foods involves teams of Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences. Mars Petcare has been developing pet foods for over 80 years and the nutritional knowledge and expertise of our associates goes into every diet we produce.
This response felt more like a marketing response and dodges the actual question. They were unable to provide any names of the individuals involved in the formulation of the product.
Do you test your products using the AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
This depends on the diet. Both ways of ensuring nutritional adequacy are acceptable methods and the method employed on a particular diet is listed on the diet itself within the nutritional adequacy statement. For those products that are formulated to meet nutrient profiles, we utilize our extensive database of the nutrient content of our ingredients and well as analytical values of key nutrients in order to ensure the delivery of the nutrient profiles of our diets.
Every dog food label will list of the AAFCO Statement, which tells you if a feeding trial has been done. There is much debate on the effectiveness of these trials, but we feel it is insightful to hear how a manufacturer views them as part of their product development.
What country are your products manufactured?
Cesar: Our main meal & treats are currently manufactured in the USA. Our SIMPLY CRAFTED™ is made in Thailand.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
No, they cannot be visited by the public.
We found that most large multinational companies like Mars have manufacturing facilities that are not open to the public.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
Quality is the cornerstone of every aspect of our business and the number one responsibility of all our employees, suppliers and distributors. At Mars Petcare, we have a vision for making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®. The health and wellbeing of pets is our absolute priority. Our products are manufactured in strict compliance with the stringent guidelines set down by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as each state's feed regulations and in many cases our own guidelines far exceed them. Under the Mars Supplier Quality Assurance Program, all of the raw materials that we and our suppliers use must meet our strict global internal quality and safety requirements, in addition to local laws and regulation. Our robust global standards, which apply at every stage of the supply chain, allow us to ensure that all of our products are safe, nutritious and enjoyable, meaning owners can feel confident that their pets will thrive on our products.
Does Cesar own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
In the U.S. we employ 25,000 Associates across 6 segments: Mars Food, Mars Drinks, Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate, Mars Symbioscience and Wrigley. We employ more than 75,000 Associates worldwide. We have 37 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 43 U.S. states have Mars operations. For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them. By growing our footprint in the U.S., we are better able to introduce new products to meet consumer demand for greater choice and variety.
In short, they own the facilities.
Do any parts of your product come from China?
We source our ingredients for our North American plants as close to our facilities as possible. We do not purchase meat-based ingredients from China. Our vitamins and minerals often come from China, as that is often one of the only locations to source these ingredients globally, similar to human foods. Mars has an extensive Supplier Quality Assurance program, which includes audits and visits from our own associates to these suppliers.
We learned from speaking to many companies that sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge. This reality means that companies like Mars who are supplying massive distribution channels will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.