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Thread: Trader Joes Dog Food

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Trader Joes Dog Food

    Any thoughts on it? I want to feed my dogs the most natural healthy stuff, not sure where this fits among that....

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  3. #2
    Member missk4012's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: Trader Joes Dog Food

    I have no personal experience with this food, but the review on looks REALLY thorough. I copied and pasted it for you below, beware, it's LONG...

    The Trader Joe’s Dog Food product line includes two kibbles… each designed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

    The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

    Trader Joe’s Lamb and Rice Dinner
    Trader Joe’s Chicken and Rice Dinner
    Because our search for an official Trader Joe’s Dog Food website was unsuccessful, the stock of a local Trader Joe’s store was used as a source for much of the data reported here.1

    Trader Joe’s Chicken and Rice Dinner was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

    Trader Joe's Chicken and Rice Dinner
    Dry Dog Food

    Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

    Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground brown rice, ground rice, ground whole wheat, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid), flaxseed, herring meal, tomato pomace, alfalfa meal, whole dried egg, natural flavoring, brewers yeast, kelp, lecithin, salt, dried whey, potassium chloride, rosemary and sage extract, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid complex, vitamin B12 supplement, iron amino acid complex, niacin, calcium pantothenate, ferrus sulfate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganese amino acid complex, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid complex, riboflavin, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin

    Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

    Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

    The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

    The second ingredient is brown rice… a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.

    The third ingredient is ground rice. In a good grade (an unknown factor here), rice can be a quality hypoallergenic ingredient.

    This particular form is bran-free, making it lower in fiber and other beneficial nutrients.

    The last two items presented here are both rice ingredients… brown rice and ground rice. Though they’re a mixture of different quality cereal grains, there’s a bigger issue to consider here.

    The questionable practice of ingredient splitting.

    You see, if you were to add the two items, the combined rice content would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list… likely nudging out the chicken meal as the true first ingredient in this dog food.

    The fourth ingredient is wheat. Now, contrary to what you may have heard, wheat isn’t necessarily a bad ingredient.

    On the other hand, although there’s no way to know from the list entry itself, the wheat used in making many pet foods can be similar to the kind used to make feed for livestock.

    And that can sometimes be problematic.

    What’s more, wheat is commonly linked to canine food allergies2.

    For these reasons, we rarely consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

    The fifth 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.

    The sixth ingredient is 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.

    The seventh ingredient is herring meal… like chicken meal, another high protein meat concentrate.

    Unfortunately, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

    But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

    We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

    Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

    The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. 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.

    The ninth ingredient is 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.

    The tenth ingredient is whole dried eggs… 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.

    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, brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in other healthy nutrients.

    Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

    Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

    What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

    In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.

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

    And lastly, this food also 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.

    Trader Joe’s Dog Food
    The Bottom Line

    Judging by its ingredients alone, Trader Joe’s Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.

    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 27%, a fat level of 12% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

    As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.

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

    Free of any plant-based protein boosters, we get the impression this kibble contains a moderate amount of meat.

    However, with no assurances from the company the herring meal is ethoxyquin free, we find it diffiuclt to award this product a higher rating.

    Bottom line?

    Trader Joe’s Dog Food is a grain-based dry kibble using a modest amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein… thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.


    A Final Word

    This review is designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food. However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Abbylynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Ohio in Nomansland

    Re: Trader Joes Dog Food

    I feed 4health. It is a 4 star rated food by the dog food advisor. I have been studying dog foods for months now. I am no pro,....but I honestly would be concerned with the "Ethoxyquin" is not proven as to whether it has been used in the fish, This is just my opinion. I am sure there will be more opinions to come.

    ~While you were busy judging others your closet door came open and a lot of skeletons fell out.~

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  6. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Re: Trader Joes Dog Food

    From reading the ingredients on the first one listed, that contains a lot of grains. I feed the raw diet, however there are good quality kibble foods as well. Wellness core, tast of the wild, orijen, innova, blue buffalo wilderness, solid gold, natural balance to name some. I've found that dogs do better on a grain free or at least low grain (usually called limited ingredient) diet.

  7. #5
    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Fort Wayne, IN

    Re: Trader Joes Dog Food

    It's a decent food, but you could do much better. I wouldn't specifically avoid it or anything, but for perspective, Beneful and most grocery store brands get a score of 1is/5, while "premium brands" like Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo get a 5/5. So with a 3.5/5 score it's a middle of the road food. I would read through the reviews on the site linked earlier ( and decide for yourself what you can afford to buy, what you're comfortable feeding and what's available in your area. The reviews all give a thorough breakdown that can help you understand what makes some foods better than others. Good luck in picking a food!
    Sydney "Squidnog the Science Dog" (beagle x rat terrier x ACD) & Buddy "Buckles McButterbean" (Norfolk terrier x dachshund)

  8. #6
    Senior Member anoukaimee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015

    Re: Trader Joes Dog Food

    My dog won't touch the lamb and rice. Was disappointed because it does get good reviews and is quite cheap.

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