Cesar Dog Food (Dry)

(1 / 5)
Cesar Dog Food (Dry)

The Cesar product line includes 3 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.

  • Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor [A]
  • Cesar Roasted Lamb Flavor [A]
  • Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor [A]

Cesar Roasted Lamb Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 30

Fat 15

Carbs 48

Ingredients: Lamb, chicken by-product mealground yellow cornground wheatbrewers ricemeat and bone mealcorn gluten mealanimal fat (preserved with BHA & citric acid), soybean meal, natural flavor, dried beet pulp, glycerin, salt, phosphoric acid, sugar, water, potassium sorbate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, fish oil (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), natural roasted lamb flavor, dried peas, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, niacin, dried carrots, blue 2red 40yellow 5yellow 6, d-calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, potassium iodide, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 26% 13% NA
Dry Matter Basis 30% 15% 48%
Calorie Weighted Basis 26% 32% 42%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains up to 73% 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 by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except feathers.

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The third ingredient 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 fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fifth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient includes meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. So, the meat itself can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — which can make identifying specific food allergens impossible.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this to be a quality item.

The seventh ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% 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 eighth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

The ninth 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.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, we find glycerine. Glycerine is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.

In addition, we note the use of sugar. Sugar is always an unwelcome addition to any dog food. Because of its high glycemic index, it can unfavorably impact the blood glucose level of any animal soon after it is eaten.

Next, this recipe contains dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Additionally, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloringin any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, 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.

Cesar Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Cesar 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 30%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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 corn gluten and soybean meals and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Cesar is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named by-product and unnamed meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not 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.