Quick Review
  • Nutrition - 8/10
    8/10
  • Ingredients - 7/10
    7/10

Review Summary

Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Formula is a high-quality small breed dog food. It has significantly above average proportion of protein and fat and a considerably below average carbohydrate proportion.

While the nutrient ratios of this dry dog food are considerably above average, it still contains a slightly lower proportion of protein and a higher proportion of carbohydrates than we would consider optimal. However, this nutrient profile may be more suited to smaller breed dogs who are less active.

This formula contains a range of high-quality meat ingredients including Venison, Lamb, and Duck. These are excellent sources of protein and fat and are easily digestible. To add to this, legumes such as Lentils, Peas, and Chickpeas are present. These are deemed high-quality sources of carbohydrates. In addition to their carbohydrate content, they provide fiber for healthy digestion.

Unfortunately, Pea-byproducts like Pea Protein are also present. These are considered lower-quality ingredients often used in a technique known as Ingredient Splitting. There are other notable ingredients such as Tomato Pomace which is used as a source of soluble fiber and added oils to help boost the levels of Omega Fatty Acids.

The substantial number of meat and vegetable ingredients in this formula means this dog food is unlikely to be suitable for those with dietary sensitivities or allergies. However, this dog food is very well suited for the majority of small breed dogs without dietary issues and who are not extremely active.

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Pros

Satisfactory Protein and Fat Proportion

Contains A Range of High-Quality Meat Ingredients

No Grains

Cons

Contains Pea By-products

Low Level of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

A Full Review of Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula By Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula Packaging

Nutritional Analysis

The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula Calorie Breakdown Chart

Carbohydrate Content Analysis

Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet, and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 33% of Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower.  This is significantly below average for a Dry Dog Food.

The carbohydrate content of Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula appears to be from multiple sources, including a range of legumes and small quantities of fruit. Both of these sources of carbohydrates are considered relatively high-quality and are far superior to alternatives like grains.

A more detailed analysis of their benefits will be discussed later. However, despite the proportion of carbohydrates being significantly below average, it is still somewhat higher than ideal and could be lower to reflect a dog’s natural diet more accurately.

Protein Content Analysis

Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 29% of Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is significantly above average for a Dry Dog Food.

Three meat-based protein sources provide the majority of the protein of Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula. These are Venison, Lamb, and Duck which are all considered high-quality sources and contain the full selection of amino acids needed for growth and repair. Also, the meal based meats are a more concentrated form of protein, and these will be discussed in more detail later.

This proportion of protein should be sufficient for most dogs but may be insufficient for those who are very active. Ideally, Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula could contain more protein to mimic a dog’s natural diet better.

Fat Content Analysis

Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 37% of Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula calories are derived from Fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is significantly above average for a Dry Dog Food.

Venison, Lamb, and Duck are all considered relatively high-fat meat ingredients. As a consequence the fat proportion is high, but this is not a negative attribute as the overall proportion is still very reasonable.  The fat content of this formula should provide your dog with an efficient source of energy for high levels of activity.

Unfortunately, these meats contain low levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids compared to other meats or fish ingredients which is unfortunate as they can provide a range of health benefits.

Calorie Density

Calorie Density is essential to understand as it determines the portion size of food your dog will require per day or meal. Calorie Density is commonly measured in calories per kg or per cup.
Dog food formulas with high-calorie densities can be more cost efficient to purchase while recipes with lower calorie density can be advantageous to dogs attempting weight loss or who are relatively inactive.

Overall Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula contains an average of 3,719 kcal/kg or 370 kcal/cup.

Disclaimer

Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values, and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.

Guaranteed Analysis – Taste of the Wild – Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula

Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crud, Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 32.00%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 18.00%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 4.00%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10.00%
  • Zinc (Min) – 150 mg/kg
  • Selenium (Min) – 0.35 mg/kg
  • Vitamin E (Min) – 150 IU/kg
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.8%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.3%

Ingredient Analysis

The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.

However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Venison
  • Lamb Meal
  • Duck Meal
  • Lentils
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Peas

Low-Quality Ingredients

  • Pea Protein
  • Pea Flour

Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients

  • N/A

In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review

The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula contains four sources of meat or fish.

The primary meat source present is Venison. Venison is considered a high-quality source of protein. Venison has lower levels of saturated fat than other red meats. It also contains a similar range of vitamins and minerals such as Iron and Vitamin B6. Unfortunately, Venison does contain a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Venison. However given that Venison is the first listed ingredient, its proportion will still be relatively high even after the cooking process.

The secondary meat source present is Lamb Meal. Lamb Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Meat Meal is a concentrated form of meat that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much more abundant in protein and other nutrients. Lamb Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Lamb but in higher concentrations. This includes Vitamin B12 and high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Another meat source present is Duck Meal. Duck Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Meat Meal is a concentrated form of meat that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much more abundant in protein and other nutrients. Duck Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Duck but in higher concentrations. This includes high levels of selenium and phosphorus.

Ocean Fish Meal is considered an average quality source of fish. It is a concentrated form of fish that has already had most of its moisture removed. Ocean Fish Meal is likely to have a relatively high protein content which is ideal for a dog’s diet. Unfortunately Ocean Fish is a vague description. For this reason, it’s difficult to gauge precisely what fish the meal is made of. Also, this makes it difficult to estimate the quantities of fish oils such as Omega 3 and Omega 6.

In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review

Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula contains Peas, Lentils and Garbanzo Beans (also known as Chickpeas). These are all members of the legume family of vegetables. Legumes are famous for having a relatively high amount of protein for a vegetable. Legumes also contain a high amount of fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Pet foods often use legumes as a replacement for grains in grain-free pet food. Protein from vegetables such as legumes should not be a replacement for protein from meat. Instead, it should act as an additional protein source.

Pea Protein is a by-product of Peas. Pea Protein is considered a low-quality ingredient. It is often used as a cheap way to increase the overall level of protein in a dog food without including additional meat or fish content. While the protein in Pea Protein is not harmful, plant-based proteins such as this are considered inferior to meat and fish-based proteins as they do not contain the full range of needed amino acids. Pea Protein is one of the most common ingredients used in a technique called Ingredient Splitting.

Canola Oil is derived from a modified version of Rapeseed. Canola Oil is most commonly added to dog food to supplement the levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. These Fatty Acids are crucial for a dogs skin, coat and brain development. While Canola Oil is not the ideal source of the Omega Fatty Acids, it does have a high ratio of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Sources with high ratios, such as Canola Oil, are considered superior. However, Canola Oil can be a controversial ingredient due to the fact it is genetically modified.

A noteworthy ingredient present in this formula is Tomato Pomace. Tomato Pomace is made up of tomato skin, seeds, and pulp. Its most beneficial feature is that it contains very high levels of soluble fiber which can aid and regulate digestion. Those high levels of fiber are the primary motivation behind this ingredients inclusion in most formulas as Tomato Pomace has little nutritional value.

Pea Flour is a by-product of Peas. Pea Flour is considered a low-quality ingredient. Pea Flour is similar to Pea Protein but also contains a considerable proportion of carbohydrates. Pea Flour is often used as a cheap filler and the carbohydrates and plant-based protein it provides are inferior to the nutrition other whole ingredients can provide. Pea Flour is an ingredient commonly used in a technique called Ingredient Splitting.

Dried Chicory Root or Chicory Root Extract is an additive or supplement to dog food. It can provide a range of health benefits including soluble fiber to enable regular passage of stool, probiotics to aid and promote digestion, as well as potentially eliminate or prevent intestinal worms. While these benefits are not fully proven, there is strong evidence behind them. The proportion of Chicory Root used in most dog food recipes is tiny and does not contribute meaningful nutrition. Find out more in Dried Chicory Root In Dog Food.

Full Ingredient List – Taste of the Wild – Appalachian Valley Small Breed Formula

Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein, canola oil, egg product, duck meal, pea flour, tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, 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.

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