The Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix product line includes one canned dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, turkey, chicken liver, peas, potatoes, dried egg product, potato starch, oat fiber, brown rice, carrots, red peppers, flaxseed meal, apples, cranberries, blueberries, dried spinach, sunflower oil, sodium phosphate, choline chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodate, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), salt, calcium carbonate, dextrose, glycine, dried bananas, garlic, flaxseed oil, guar gum, potassium chloride, xanthan gum, l-carnitine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||22%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||44%||21%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is turkey, another quality, raw item.
The fourth ingredient lists chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The ninth ingredient is oat fiber, one of the richest sources of soluble dietary fiber of any cereal grains.
Soluble fiber is especially known for its ability to lower cholesterol in humans (which may not be as important for dogs).
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 five notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, we find sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
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.2
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 note the use of dextrose, a crystallized form of glucose — with a flavor significantly sweeter than common table sugar. It is typically used in pet food as a sweetener and as an agent to help develop browning.
Without knowing a healthy reason for its inclusion here, dextrose (like most sugars) can be considered a nutritionally unnecessary addition to this recipe.
And lastly, this food contains 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.
Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 44%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include dextrosein its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.