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Puppy Chow Complete Chicken Flavor is a low-priced dog food that overall is a lower quality. This product has 11 controversial ingredients, which includes artificial colors and flavors. The food has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat content with mixed meat and fat quality. Nestlé Purina, which owns the Puppy Chow brand, has more than the average number of recalls. But on a good note, they were overall pretty transparent when answering our questions.Read the Full Review Below
This food has a good amount of protein but is high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content somewhat and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, very high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
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 31.25%
Min. Fat 13.64%
Min. Carbs 47.16%
Max. Fiber 5.68%
Max. Ash 7.95%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 27.5%
Min Fat: 12.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 5.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 12%
407 Calories per Cup
This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
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
Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Barley, Egg And Chicken Flavor, Ground Rice, Chicken, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Poultry And Pork Digest, Fish Oil, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Choline Chloride, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement,Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Dl-Methionine, Red 40, Blue 2, Garlic Oil.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has a surprising 11 total controversial ingredients and 3 of them are in the first five ingredients. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Puppy Chow Complete Chicken Flavor is made in the United States.
Meat & Fat Quality
The meat quality of this is mixed. Some ingredients are clearly identified, for example we have Chicken By-Product Meal, Beef Fat, Pork Digest and Chicken. But we also see Poultry which doesn’t show you what animal it was made from. That’s intransparent and controversial. Fish Oil is used as an added oil. We’d prefer an oil with a clearly named source (like for example Salmon Oil), which would be more transparent.
No controversial artificial preservatives are on this food’s ingredients list, excellent. Are they always bad? In short, no. That’s because preservatives have an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions. This food has none of them, so that’s great.
While this food shines for skipping artificial preservatives, it drops the ball (or chew toy) for artificial colors. We found a whopping four of them - Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. All of them are unnecessary because your dog doesn’t care about the color of the food, plus they are potentially unhealthy.
Besides added colors, we found another big no-no: Egg And Chicken Flavor. Instead of adding real eggs and chicken, this food cut a corner and uses artificial flavors. As a dog owner you know that your pup will eat anything from hot dogs to grass, so artificial flavors are not needed and a health concern.
Nestlé Purina, the brand that owns Puppy Chow, has an above average number of recalls. Here are more details on recent recalls.
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?
Puppy Chow is owned by the multinational company Nestlé. It required two emails over two weeks to get the answers below. Like most large companies, many of the customer service answers will read like well crafted marketing messages.
Does Puppy Chow (Nestlé) have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
At Nestlé Purina, we have over 500 nutritionists, veterinarians and scientists who work daily to formulate and make quality changes to our products. We also staff quality control specialists at all of our manufacturing plants that run over 100 quality and safety checks during the manufacturing of our formulas.
This lengthy answer did not answer the specific question that was asked. In addition, the names of the professionals could not be provided.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
(see the previous answers)
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
All of our products are manufactured following stringent guidelines approved by the USDA and AAFCO, and our Purina® Pro Plan® brand Pet Food products have undergone the AAFCO feeding studies for quality, safety, digestibility and palatability.
Since this representative is responding on behalf of a family of brands, they have referenced a few of the other brands that do the feeding trials. Puppy Chow is part of the Purina line, so it appears that they have done the feeding trials. This is confirmed by the AAFCO Statement found on the back of the packaging.
What country are your products manufactured?
The vast majority of our products are manufactured in the US, at Nestlé Purina owned facilities, with ingredients sourced from the US as well.
Vast majority does not mean “all” which is less clear than it could have been.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
Unfortunately, we do not offer public access to our manufacturing plants at this time, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
We also staff quality control specialists at all of our manufacturing plants that run over 100 quality and safety checks during the manufacturing of our formulas.
This is good, but not as not as clear as it could be.
Does Puppy Chow (Nestlé) own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
Do any parts of your product come from China?
A very small number of ingredients are sourced from China, however, these are mainly vitamins and minerals, such as taurine and Vitamin B12, that are not readily available in the US in the quantities we need.
Sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge that many large companies will cite. This means that companies like Nestlé 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.