The Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free with Raw Bites product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for adult maintenance.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken meal, organic peas, organic tapioca, organic pea protein, potato protein, organic sunflower meal, organic potatoes, organic coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon, whitefish, organic alfalfa meal, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), salt, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dried blueberries, dried yeast culture, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||16%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||34%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third 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 fourth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
The sixth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
However, even though pea protein and potato protein contain over 80% protein, these ingredients would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like these 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 seventh ingredient is sunflower meal, a by-product of the oil extraction process – and an item more typically found in feed for livestock.
Although sunflower meal contains about 34% protein, it 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient is coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
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 alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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 Organix
Grain Free with Raw Bites Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Since this recipe contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.
That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.
With that in mind…
Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free with Raw Bites Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products, potato protein, sunflower and alfalfa meals, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a notable amount of meat.
Castor and Pollux Organix Grain Free with Raw Bites is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5.
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.