The Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free product line includes 3 canned 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.
- Pristine Grass Fed Lamb, Carrot and Apple Stew [A]
- Pristine Free Range Chicken, Pea and Carrot Stew [A]
- Pristine Free Range Turkey, Carrot and Apple Stew [A]
Castor and Pollux Pristine Free Range Chicken, Pea and Carrot Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, water sufficient for processing, organic chicken liver, organic pea protein, organic peas, organic carrots, dried egg product, potato starch, calcium carbonate, organic flaxseed, sunflower oil, salt, sodium phosphate, organic dried alfalfa meal, 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), organic dried spinach, potassium chloride, salmon oil, guar gum, organic rosemary, organic sage, xanthan gum, Yucca schidigera extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.4%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||21%||29%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||42%||24%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient 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 third ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The fourth ingredient is is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though it contains over 80% 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 meat content of this dog food.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
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, we find flaxseed, 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, we note the use of 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, 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.
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 Pristine
Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free 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 42%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 29%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing at least a notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include pea protein in its recipe. Without this controversial, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Castor and Pollux Pristine Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.