Two Totally Different Dog Foods: California Natural & Eukanuba for Dogs

August 19, 2012

California Natural usually makes a healthy dog food, and this formula is no exception.  The company is proud of the fact that their dog food contains “high quality, wholesome and minimally processed ingredients” that they believe are key to optimum health.  (

California Natural (Click on ingredients list to enlarge)

Looking at the California Natural dog food ingredient list, there is nothing to really dislike except that it doesn’t include enough high-quality meat source in the first four ingredients, and I’d like to see the brown rice further down the list.  Healthy option or not, it’s still a grain and thus, a carbohydrate.  A green or yellow vegetable addition would have nice.  The “rice” shown in the third position doesn’t need to be there at all.  Sea salt is unnecessary but isn’t harmful.  All in all, it’s not a bad food, and I’d give it decent rating.

Eukanuba addresses the fact that large and giant-breed adult dogs require food that supports their “special needs.”  (  The company adds glucosamine and chondroitin to this food for joint support and to support a big canine’s weight.  The larger kibble is designed for larger mouths, as well.

Eukanuba (Click on ingredients list to enlarge)

Eukanuba uses some good-quality ingredients.  There are no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.  The first ingredient is chicken – a good choice.  But that’s followed by corn meal, sorghum, and chicken by-product meal.  By-products are bad. Period!  They consist of rendered ingredients that are best not described.  You have no way of knowing the origin of the rendered ingredients, and all dogs deserve better.

The best pet foods do not contain any form of corn because many animals react negatively to it.  It’s just a cheap source of protein-alternative for the manufacturers.  Sorghum, another grain, is similar to corn in that it is both a starch and contains a bit more protein than corn.  But it is even more difficult for dogs to digest.  However, sorghum does contain antioxidants and has some benefit in a dog’s diet.  As the third ingredient on the list, and carrying so much weight, I’d much prefer to see a high-quality meat in its place.

Except for the addition of salt the remaining ingredients are good.  I won’t feed this product to my dogs because of the by-products and corn.  You’ll have to decide if this is a suitable food for your pup.  Choosing the correct food for your dog is sometimes a case of trial and error but if you begin with a knowledge of what should and should not be in an animal’s diet.  Then make your final selection based on your budget.

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