Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Sport Dog Active Series Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Sport Dog Active Series product line includes 5 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.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Sport Dog Active Series Bird Dog – Peas and Flax Free Whitefish (4 stars) [A]
- Sport Dog Active Series Cub – Peas and Poultry Free Buffalo Formula [A]
- Sport Dog Active Series Dock Dog – Peas and Poultry Free Buffalo Formula [A]
- Sport Dog Active Series Field Dog – Peas and Flax Free Chicken Formula (4.5 stars) [A]
- Sport Dog Active Series Tracking Dog – Peas and Poultry Free Buffalo Formula [M]
Sport Dog Active Series Cub – Peas and Poultry Free Buffalo Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Sport Dog Active Series Cub – Peas and Poultry Free Buffalo Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Buffalo meal, oat meal, dried sweet potato, pork meal, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), catfish meal, cassava root, pumpkin meal, salmon oil, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, monosodium phosphate, choline chloride, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, manganese chelate, salt, inulin, yucca schidigera extract (probiotic), vitamin e supplement, zinc sulfate, dried cranberry powder, dried blueberry powder, ascorbic acid, copper sulfate, selenium yeast (probiotic), niacin supplement (vitamin B3), D-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), vitamin a acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, dl-methionine, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B8), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid, zinc chelate, iron sulfate, iron chelate, manganese sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, copper chelate, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product (probiotic), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product (probiotic), dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation (probiotic), dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product (probiotic)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.6%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||22%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||43%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is buffalo meal. Buffalo meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh buffalo.
The second 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 third ingredient is dried sweet potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried sweet potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The fourth ingredient is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The fifth ingredient is coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
The sixth ingredient is catfish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.3
The seventh ingredient is cassava root. Cassava is a root vegetable and the source of tapioca starch. This item is rich in carbohydrates and calories while its nutrient profile is otherwise unremarkable.
The eighth ingredient is pumpkin meal. Without knowing more, we would assume this item to be a meal made from dried pumpkin seeds after their oil has been extracted.
If so, this protein-rich item becomes a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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 5 notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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.
Next, Yucca schidigera is a natural extract made from a flowering desert plant and used in pet foods to control fecal and urinary odor.
In addition, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
Next, 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.
And lastly, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Sport Dog Active Series Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Sport Dog Active Series Dog Food looks like an above-average 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Sport Dog Active Series is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.
Sport Dog Food
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Special FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
09/18/2018 Last Update
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩