The Caliber 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.
- Caliber Sport 24-20 [A]
- Caliber Maintenance 21-10 [A]
- Caliber Ultra 26-18 (3.5 stars) [A]
- Caliber Puppy 30-20 (2.5 stars) [A]
- Caliber Advantage 24-18 (2.5 stars) [A]
- Caliber Professional 22-12 (2.5 stars) [A]
Caliber Maintenance 21-10 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, pork meal, ground soft whole wheat rice bran, soybean meal, chicken fat, beet pulp (sugar removed), natural chicken liver digest, salt, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||11%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||26%||52%|
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 pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fourth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The fifth 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The eighth ingredient is chicken liver digest which is made from the enzymatic breakdown of liver tissue. Digests are commonly used by pet food manufacturers as flavor enhancers.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, 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 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.
Caliber Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Caliber 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 24%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 57%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal in this recipe and the corn gluten meal contained in others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Caliber is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named and unnamed meat or meat by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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.