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1-Star Dog Food Brands: You Better Stay Away From Them!

Written by

Mary Nielsen

Reviewed by

Updated on:

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When it comes to dog food, price is usually closely linked to quality – the better the quality, the higher the price. Unfortunately, many dog owners are not aware of just how poor quality the cheaper foods are. Misleading labels don't make it any easier for them either.


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The quality of your dog’s diet will play a key role in determining his total health and wellness. A 1-star dog food will not provide your dog with the quality nutrition he needs and it could lead to undernourishment or other health problems, some of which could be quite costly to treat.

If you are feeding your dog a 1-star dog food, you should seriously consider upgrading to a better brand.

What Goes Into a 1-Star Dog Food Brand?

In order to understand why 1-star dog food is so bad for your dog, you first need to have a basic understanding of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Dogs are primarily carnivorous animals which means that the majority of their diet should be comprised of animal-based ingredients – things like fresh meat, poultry, fish, and eggs as well as animal-based fats like chicken fat and salmon oil.

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A dog’s diet should be rich in protein with moderate fat content and low carbohydrate content. The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests a minimum protein content of 18% for adult dogs and 22% for puppies with 5% minimum fat content for adults and 8% for puppies.

Dogs have no specific requirements for carbohydrates in their diet, but their food should ideally contain no more than 5% crude protein.

Now that you know what your dog’s diet SHOULD look like, you can better understand why a 1-star dog food is a poor choice. For one thing, most 1-star dog foods list a plant product as the first ingredients – in fact, many of them list two or three carbohydrates (particularly corn, wheat, and soy ingredients) at the top of the list.

Not only is this a bad sign because these grains offer very limited nutritional value for dogs, but it also means that most of the protein in the recipe comes from plant-based sources.

Furthermore, many dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. High-quality dog foods are often grain-free, made with starchy vegetables, beans, or legumes or, if they do contain grains, they are whole grain which offers good digestibility for dogs.

1-Star Dog Food Brands: You Better Stay Away From Them! 1

Another problem with 1-star dog foods is that the proteins and fats used in the recipe are often by-products or unnamed sources. For example, 1-star dog foods usually use chicken by-product meals, or worse, poultry by-product meals.

It is difficult to judge the quality of by-products and unnamed ingredients (like poultry meal versus chicken meal) because the quality varies greatly from one batch to another and you can’t know for sure where those ingredients come from.

Low-quality fats like plant oils and tallow are loaded with saturated fats but they frequently don’t contain the omega oils or essential fatty acids dogs need. Healthy fats are required to give your dog a concentrated source of energy and they also promote immune health as well as skin and coat health.

Finally, 1-star products are also usually loaded up with artificial additives and synthetic supplements. Most low-quality dog foods are cooked using the extrusion process which subjects the ingredients to extremely high heat, destroying a significant amount of the natural nutritional value in the raw ingredients.

To make the recipe meet AAFCO nutritional requirements, the manufacturer must use synthetic supplements to add those nutrients back. Synthetic supplements are not necessarily bad for your dog, but they are hard for him to absorb and utilize so a large portion of these nutrients goes to waste.

In terms of artificial additives, these are usually used to improve the appearance and palatability of the product – they do not contribute any nutritional value.

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Well Known Brands of 1-Star Dog Food

The truth of the matter is that 1-star dog foods are bad for your dog – it is as simple as that. Although these products may be labeled “complete and balanced” by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the nutrients provided by these products come from low-quality, often questionable sources.

Your dog is a carnivore which means that most of his nutrition needs to come from animal products – 1-star dog foods rely heavily on plant products which could not only compromise your dog’s nutrition but could lead to a host of digestive issues and other health problems.

To give you an idea what kind of dog food brands offer 1-star quality, consult the list below:

  1. Alpo Review
  2. Big Red
  3. Dads – Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
  4. Caliber
  5. Chef Michaels
  6. Dog Chow Review
  7. Everpet
  8. Kibbles N' Bits
  9. National
  10. Ol Roy
  11. Pedigree
  12. PMI Nutrition
  13. Purina Dog Chow
  14. River Run
  15. Twin Pet

If you are feeding your dog one of the 1-star dog food brands listed above, your dog could be suffering from malnutrition or other diet-related health problems without you realizing it.

The quality of your dog’s diet plays a key role in determining his overall health and well-being, so it is definitely not something you want to pinch pennies on.

Simply put, even if the manufacturer's packaging claims various health benefits, if you feed your dog a 1-star dog food you are risking his health and wellness. That's not something that any dog owner ever wants to do.

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