Health Extension Dog Food ReviewHealth Extension dog food review has evaluated this brand for an excellent A rating. It scored 90/100 points on our scale.

Highly recommended dog food brand.

The below NextGen Dog’s Health Extension dog food review analyzes product’s ingredients and nutrition, sourcing and manufacturing, any certifications and marketing claims used.

This dog food review was hand-written by a certified veterinarian and used an evidence-based evaluation approach for accuracy.

All the ingredients are sourced in the USA. This dog food is manufactured by a three generation family-owned company based in the USA.

The following Health Extension dry dog food recipes are available:

  • Little Bites
  • Allergix Grain Free Buffalo and Whitefish
  • Allergix Grain free Chicken and Turkey
  • Lite Little Bites
  • Lamb and Brown Rice
  • Lite Adult Dog Food

For this NGD Health Extension dog food review, company’s Health Extension Original Dog Food recipe has been chosen to represent their line of dry dog foods.

Ingredients

Health Extension dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profile requirements, which ensures adequate nutritional value for canines.

Ingredients: Organic deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid), lamb meal, menhaden fish meal, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, egg product, organic apple cider vinegar, ginger, fish oil (source of DHA), primrose oil, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, salt, green tea extract, dl-methionine, vitamin A acetate, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid, biotin, inositol, dehydrated kelp, zinc polysaccharide complex, iron polysaccharide complex, manganese polysaccharide complex, copper polysaccharide complex, cobalt polysaccharide complex, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, pectin, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product.

Most Important Ingredients

Organic Deboned Chicken: Defined as clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, exclusive of feathers.

The term “deboned” obviously implies this meat source was used without bone.

Health Extension dog food claims to use only organic chicken meat. Organic does have a legal definition per the AAFCO requirements for pet food labeling.

Organic refers to “a formula feed or a specific ingredient within a formula feed that has been produced and handled in compliance with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program.”

Chicken meat is an excellent source of protein for dogs.

Since ingredients are listed by weight and raw chicken contains up to 80% water, this ingredient contributes much less to overall nutrition when cooked.

Chicken Meal: This refers to chicken that has been ground or reduced in particle size.

Meat meal is a dried product made through rendering. It can be a highly nutritious and concentrated source of protein that improves the amino acid profile of dog food [1, 2, 3, 4].

Rendering is the process of separating the components that make up chicken, allowing the protein portion to be more concentrated. It’s considered a good source of protein [5, 6, 7].

Ground Brown Rice: This is unpolished rice after kernels have been removed.

Brown rice is a highly nutritious complex carbohydrate source that’s high in vitamin E and fiber [8, 9].

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a whole-grain that is a nutritious source of carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins [10]. When pure, it is considered gluten free.

Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid): The definition of poultry fat is fat obtained from poultry tissue during rendering.

Only the fatty matter natural to the product should be present.

No added free fatty acids or other materials obtained from fat should be added. If an anti-oxidant is used, as it is in this case, the common name must be listed along with the term ‘preservative,’ or ‘preserved with.’

A balanced diet will contain fat, which is critical for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and chicken fat, while not appetizing, is a nutritious source.

Mixed Tocopherols are a Vitamin E compound derived from sources like vegetable oils, fish and nuts and used for preserving foods. They are safe to use [11, 12].

Vitamin E itself has several health benefits for dogs as an antioxidant helping with absorption of free radicals and may be beneficial in cancer and cardiovascular disease [13, 14, 15, 16].

Ascorbic acid is basically Vitamin C. It is used as a preservative in this case because of its antioxidant properties. Vitamin C has many documented health benefits for humans but the evidence is inconclusive for dogs [17, 18].

Lamb Meal: Lamb is a great source of protein. It can be useful for dogs with allergies to beef or chicken [19, 20, 21].

Lamb meal is a rendered lamb, meaning the protein, fat and other portions of the lamb have been separated. This is a very dense source of protein.

Meat meal is a rendered source of proteins. Studies show that meat meal is a highly nutritious and concentrated protein source for pets [22].

Rendering is the process of separating the components that make up lamb, allowing the protein portion to be more concentrated. Studies show it to be safe and healthy for pets [5, 6, 7].

Menhaden Fish Meal: Menhaden are not generally used for consumption, but rather it’s used to produce fish oils and fish meal.

Fish meal is defined as the clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings with or without the oil portion extracted.

Fish meal is a highly digestible protein containing significant amount of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Fish meal is a popular choice of a highly digestible protein containing significant amino acids, vitamins and minerals [23, 24].

The health benefits of supplementing dog diets with fatty acids is well documented and can help boost an immune system [25].

Knowing sources of fish used in fish meal is important [26].

Flaxseed: Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and both soluble and insoluble fiber.

This is a healthy source of essential fatty acids for dogs that can improve dog’s coat, hair and skin [27, 28, 29].

Dried Beet Pulp: Beet pulp is the dried residue from sugar beets. It is a common ingredient in many pet foods and is used as a good source of insoluble fiber [3031, 32]

It is also moderately fermentable and thus benefits intestinal transit time and can improve dog’s stool quality.

Studies suggest that including beet pulp as an alternative fiber source is promising as there’s a growing body of evidence to its health benefits for pets [33, 34, 35].

Brewer’s Dried Yeast: It can look controversial since this is a byproduct of the beer making process, but brewer’s dried yeast is actually rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients for dogs.

Research shows that brewer’s yeast is completely safe to include in dog food and can increase the palatability of the diet as well as be a good source of Vitamin B [36].

More studies have shown it can even improve physical performance in dogs among other things [37].

Pet food brands often mention that brewer’s dried yeast will repel ticks and fleas on dogs. However, studies proven this to be untrue [38].

In human trials, brewer’s yeast has shown to potentially be effective against common colds and serve as anti-inflammatory for other illnesses and may even have positive effect on obesity [39, 40, 41].

All the claims about brewer’s yeast causing health problems in dogs currently has no scientific basis.

Other Additives

Omega-3s: Health Extension dog food has added omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Research has shown benefits of both when used alongside a healthy diet [424344].

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: This diet also has added glucosamine and chondroitin which have been shown to potentially improve joint health and function, but evidence is inconclusive [45, 46, 47].

The amounts in this diet are unlikely to have much therapeutic benefit, and a supplement separate from diet is generally necessary to see appreciable results.

Suspicious Ingredients

Health Extension dog food has no ingredients added that could be harmful or unhealthy to dogs.

The Bottom Line on Ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in Health Extension Original Dog Food recipe are above average.

The organic meat sources and whole grain rice are evidence of attention to quality.

Health Extension dog food also contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

The ingredient list is ordered by weight. Chicken is first on the list since meat contains significant water, thus making it heaviest. This doesn’t indicate that it is the biggest contributor to overall nutrition.

One important limitation of dog food labels is its inability to provide information on the quality of ingredients.

While the quality of the ingredients can’t be determined by the label, the ingredients themselves are all wholesome, nutritious, healthy and appear to be well-balanced.

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of Health Extension Original Dog Food recipe.

  • Protein: 24% minimum
  • Fat: 18% minimum
  • Carbohydrates: not specified
  • Fiber: 4.0%

Calories: 3,678 kcal/kg (418 kcal/cup) calculated metabolizable energy.

Adult dog food protein content is typically in the range of 20-35% which is appropriate for most healthy dogs [48].

Fiber is beneficial to dogs in many ways but further research is required on several health benefit claims [49, 50, 51, 52].

However, crude fiber listed on Health Extension dog food labels are not a particularly accurate measure of actual total dietary fiber content [53].

Certifications and Claims

Dog food manufacturers can have their foods tested and certified to meet specific regulations.

Some companies often use obscure or undefined statements. Below, we analyze all certifications and claims made by the company for accuracy and definitions.

Certifications

Health Extension dog food has no specific certifications to evaluate.

Premium/Holistic Claims

Health Extension dog food brand claims to be “Holistic” food for dogs.

On their website, the company claims that offering this holistic dog food will provide the benefits of a healthier life.

They mention a unique blend of supplements separates their dog food from other “Super Premium” dog foods.

Terms “Premium” and “Holistic” have no actual definition under AAFCO or FDA. They are used solely for marketing purposes.

Health Extension also claims to contain “Vet’s Choice Health System.” AAFCO has regulations about what can be claimed as a veterinary recommended or approved product.

“Vet’s Choice Health System” is too vague, and per AAFCO’s regulations it may or may not fall under the same category as “vet recommended” or “vet approved.”

In case AAFCO’s requirements are applied in this case, then the diet requires a survey of a statistically sound number of veterinarians who recommend the product. We were unable to locate any evidence this has been done.

AAFCO Requirements

The nutrition standards set by the AAFCO are voluntary.

The presence of a statement by the AAFCO on the dog food’s label is the most important indicator of dog food’s nutritional adequacy.

Ingredient Requirements: Health Extension dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages when evaluating their diet using food composition tables of the ingredients.

All of Health Extension’s dry dog foods meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for the purpose they are intended.

Feeding Trials: Health Extension dog food has not undergone any food trials with dogs.

Diet trials are the most stringent and costly AAFCO standard, and the highest AAFCO standard that can be met. The lack of a diet trial does not necessarily indicate that this dog food isn’t high quality.

Although the AAFCO statement claims to be adequate nutrition for all life stages, this diet may not be appropriate for puppies, especially large breed growing puppies that need very precise ratios of vitamins and minerals to calorie content.

Other Evaluations

Other factors are taken into consideration for the final assessment of this dog food brand.

“Best Use By” Date on the Label

When considering dog food’s quality control, it is important to have a “Best Use By” date present on the label to ensure proper shelf life.

Health Extension dog food includes a “Best Use By” label on their packaging.

While seemingly inconsequential, the presence of this date is an important indicator of a dog food’s quality and the company’s commitment to safety.

Manufacturer and Brand

All the ingredients are sourced in the USA.

The manufacturer of Health Extension dog food line is a three generation family-owned company based in the USA.

The company claims to have the endorsement of the American Canine Association (ACA), which is a company that offers a variety of services, including canine registries. We were unable to corroborate these claims on the ACA’s site.

Contact information is available on the bag and consumers are encouraged to call with questions or concerns.

Testing, Safety and Quality Control

When contacted over the phone, we were told that Health Extension has several check points for safety testing, including testing the raw ingredients, in-house manufacturing tests, and final product testing.

While the specifics of the company’s testing policies cannot be commented on, their presence is a reassuring indicator of commitment to pet food quality.

Recalls

At the time of this writing, Health Extension brand has never had any recalls.

Summary of Health Extension Dog Food Review

This brand has scored 90 points out of possible 100 points for an excellent A rating, according to our Dog Food Rating System.

Health Extension Original Dog Food recipe shares many of the characteristics of a high quality nutritious dog food.

This brand does not claim any certifications, but it meets AAFCO nutrition adequacy requirements and includes a “Best Use By” date.

While ingredients listed are limited in giving insight to their overall quality, they are appropriate for dogs. There are no added artificial flavors or colors.

The manufacturer is located in the USA and undergoes standard safety testing to assure quality.

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