Alpo Dog Food (Dry)

(1.0 / 5)

The Alpo Dog Food product line includes two dry recipes.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage:

Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Alpo Prime Cuts Savory Beef Flavor [M]
  • Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics [M]

Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 21
Fat 11
Carbs 61

Ingredients: Ground yellow corncorn germ mealbeef and bone mealsoybean mealanimal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols(form of vitamin E), pork and bone meal, egg and chicken flavor, animal digestcorn gluten meal, salt, potassium chloride, dried peasyellow 6red 40, choline chloride, yellow 5, natural grill flavor, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, l-lysine monohydrochloride, manganese sulfate, blue 2, dl-methionine, niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 18% 10% NA
Dry Matter Basis 21% 11% 61%
Calorie Weighted Basis 19% 24% 57%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second ingredient is corn germ meal, a meal made from ground corn germ after much of the oil has been removed. Corn germ meal is a protein-rich by-product left over after milling corn meal, hominy grits and other corn products.

However, the protein found in corn germ meal (about 25% dry matter basis) must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The third ingredient is beef and bone meal, a dry rendered product from (beef) tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Beef and bone meal may have a lower biological value than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

On the brighter side, beef and bone meals are meat concentratesand contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.

Read more:  Adirondack Dog Food (Dry)

In any case, beef and bone meal is not considered a better quality dog food ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is pork and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from (pork) tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.3

Pork and bone meal may have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

On the brighter side, pork and bone meals are meat concentratesand contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.

After the egg and chicken flavor, we find animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With six notable exceptions

First, this food includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Read more:  Annamaet Grain Free (Dry)

Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?

In addition, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.5

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Additionally, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this dog food contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Alpo Dog Food The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Alpo Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 21%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 61%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 21% and a mean fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 61% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn germ and corn gluten meals, soybean meal and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Alpo is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of beef and bone meal or meat and bone meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.