Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes (Dry)

(4 / 5)

The Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes product line includes 6 dry dog foods.

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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Lamb Meal and Brown Rice [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Salmon Meal and Brown Rice[A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Buffalo Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Salmon Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood ALS Special Diet Chicken Meal and Field Pea Grain Free [A]
  • Blackwood 5000 ALS Special Diet Catfish Meal and Pearled Barley (3.5 stars) [A]

Blackwood All Life Stages Special Diet Buffalo Meal and Field Pea Grain Free was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 31
Fat 17
Carbs 44

Ingredients: Buffalo meal, field pea, chickpeas, lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whitefish meal, tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, chicken cartilage, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, natural flavor, whole ground flaxseed, menhaden fish oil, lecithin, monosodium phosphate, dl-methionine, kelp meal, apple, ground rosemary, ground thyme, ground cumin, ground yellow mustard, crushed red chili pepper, salt, pumpkin meal, l-lysine, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, blueberry, cranberry, choline chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 28% 15% NA
Dry Matter Basis 31% 17% 44%
Calorie Weighted Basis 27% 35% 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is buffalo meal. Buffalo meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh buffalo.

The second ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The third ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Field peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient includes whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The seventh ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The eighth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 four notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, this recipe includes menhaden fish oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

And lastly, this food includes chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes Dog Food The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipes looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blackwood Grain Free and Sensitive Diet Recipe is a plant-baseddry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.