Chicken Soup for the Soul (Dry)

(4 / 5)
Chicken Soup for the Soul (Dry)

The Chicken Soup for the Soul product line includes seven 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.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy (5 stars) [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult Small Bites [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult Large Breed [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Weight Care (3 stars) [U]
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy Large Breed (4.5 stars) [U]

Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 27

Fat 16

Carbs 50

Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, peas, oatmeal, white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, potatoes, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, flaxseed, duck, salmon, egg product, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried chicory root, dried kelp, carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 24% 14% NA
Dry Matter Basis 27% 16% 50%
Calorie Weighted Basis 23% 33% 44%

The first two ingredients in this dog food are chicken and turkey. Although they are quality items, raw poultry 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

Chicken and turkey are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The fourth ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The ninth ingredient is white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The next 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.

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, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, flaxseed is 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.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

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.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Food looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 29%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Chicken Soup for the Soul is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.