Lotus Dog Food Review (Dry): Evidence-based Analysis

Lotus Dog Food Reviews

Lotus Dog Food ReviewLotus dog food review has evaluated this brand for a C+ rating. It scored 75/100 points on our scale.

Recommended brand.

The below NextGen Dog’s Lotus 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 Lotus dry dog foods (oven-baked) are manufactured by a family owned and operated bakery in Canada. All ingredients are sourced in North America (USA and Canada).

The brand offers these other oven-baked dry dog food recipes:

  • Lamb Recipe
  • Chicken Recipe for Seniors
  • Grain-free Duck Recipe
  • Grain-free Turkey Recipe
  • Grain-free Fish Recipe

For this NGD Lotus dog food review, company’s Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe has been chosen to represent their line of over-baked dry dog foods.

Ingredients

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

Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Rye, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Pollock, Ground Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Fiber, Organic Soybean oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast, Pumpkin, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach, Blueberries, Potassium Chloride, Olive Oil, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed, Garlic, Salt, Zinc Proteinate, L-Ascrobyl-2-Polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Calcium Carbonate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Iron Proteinate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation soluble, Dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation soluble, and Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation soluble, Inulin, Yucca schidigera extract, Dried Kelp, Niacin, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Pantothenate, Folic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.

Let’s take a closer look at the most important ingredients and sources of nutrition that may have the biggest impact on dog’s health.

Most important ingredients

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

Chicken is an excellent, high quality source of protein.

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: Chicken that has been ground or reduced in particle size by rendering.

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].

Whole Ground Rye: Rye is considered a grain and is an excellent source of carbohydrates.

It has a high concentration of lignans which help maintain cell health in canine’s body in the same manner as antioxidants [6, 7, 8].

Whole Ground Brown Rice: Unpolished rice after kernels have been removed.

Brown rice is another highly nutritious carbohydrate source high in vitamin E and fiber [9, 10].

Pollock: This is a type of fish. There are many reasons fish may be good for dogs.

Fish are rich sources of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Research has shown many health benefits associated with fish-rich diets.

Ground Barley: Consists of 8% sound barley and must not contain more than 3% heat damaged kernels, 6% foreign material, 20% other grains and 10% wild oats.

Barley is also a grain. It is an average nutritious source of carbohydrates and fiber, which has some known health benefits [11, 12, 13, 14].

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a whole-grain that is a nutritious source of carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins [15].

Oatmeal is made from coarsely ground oats and is considered gluten-free when pure.

Pea Fiber: This is fiber derived from peas.

Fiber has many known health benefits. It contributes to bowel health and satiety [16, 17, 18, 19].

Organic Soybean Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid): Soybean oil is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids, which have known health benefits [20, 21].

Fat is an essential part of a balanced diet and is important to the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

According to AAFCO, the term “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.”

Dried Egg Product: Egg product is obtained from egg graders, breakers or hatchery operations that is then dehydrated and handled as frozen or liquid.

It is free of shells and other non-egg materials. It is labeled and governed by USDA regulations for eggs.

What this means is that the egg product is essentially eggs, but in a form that is more convenient to use in a manufacturing plant.

Eggs are highly nutritious and digestible and are an excellent source of protein and vitamins [22, 23, 24]. Research on egg consumption in dogs is still lacking, however.

Other additives

Lotus dog food has added probiotics including dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation soluble, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation soluble, and dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation soluble.

Studies show that probiotics are very be beneficial to a dog’s gut health [25, 26]. However, it’s possible to argue that it may be difficult to include enough probiotics in dog food and have them survive. Cooking and extruding will have a significant effect of bacteria’s survival.

Research is contradictory on this. Some studies evaluating commercial probiotic-rich pet foods show very low levels of organisms present [27, 28].

Other studies indicate that probiotics can be effectively incorporated in dog foods and successfully infest canine’s gut with healthy bacteria [29, 30].

An owner really wanting to use a probiotic is better off giving a supplement directly rather than relying on diet.

Suspicious ingredients

Lotus dog food has added yucca schidigera extract which is used mostly to reduce fecal odor.

It reduces the fecal ammonia content and may be harmful in very high doses [31, 32].

Further research suggests that it may potentially have anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis [33].

It’s unlikely that the amount of yucca schidigera added to this dog food will have any adverse effects.

The bottom line on ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe are average.

Lotus dog food contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Ingredients are listed in order by weight. Chicken as a meat source will contain about 80% water by weight and therefore is likely to be the biggest contributor by weight, but not necessarily the biggest contributor to nutritional value.

The whole grains listed can be superior sources of nutrients, but occasionally at the expense of digestibility.

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

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe.

  • Protein: 24% minimum
  • Fat: 12% minimum
  • Carbohydrates: undetermined
  • Fiber: 4.5%

Calories: 3,612 kcal/kg (405.9 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 [34].

Fiber is beneficial to dogs in many ways but further research is required on several health benefit claims [35, 36, 37, 38].

However, crude fiber listed on Lotus dog food labels are not a particularly accurate measure of actual total dietary fiber content [39].

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

Lotus dog food has no specific certifications to evaluate.

Nutrition claims

On their website and/or packaging, Lotus has claims that may affect consumer’s choice.

Natural/Holistic: Lotus brand is marketed as “natural” food for pets. Lotus also claims their food to be superior to other holistic dog foods.

Terms such as “natural” and “holistic” have no actual definition under AAFCO or FDA. They are used solely for marketing purposes.

Over-baking: The company claims that oven baking increases the quality of the food by retaining more of the vitamins and protein when compared to diets made by extruding. They also mention that baking allows for more meat to be used than extruding.

While there is more heat and shear stress to the ingredients during extrusion as compared to baking, extrusion provides better starch cook for enhanced digestibility [40, 41].

Heat does destroy several of the vitamins but this happens with baking as well [42].

In fact, baking often raises temperatures of food even higher than that of extruding [43].

Studies show that extruded dog food would be more likely to have better carbohydrate digestibility [44]. Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether baking may preserve slightly more proteins or not as claimed since there’s no evidence to that.

Either way, the difference between the two processes is likely minimal and this is more of a marketing term than it is science.

Chicken Recipe: The term “Chicken Recipe” placed at the end of Lotus dog food name means that the diet must contain at least 10% moist or 25% dry chicken by weight.

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: Lotus dog food line meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance when evaluating their diet using food composition tables of the ingredients.

Feeding Trials: Lotus 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.

Lotus 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

Lotus over-baked dry dog foods are made in small batches in a family owned and operated Canadian bakery. All ingredients are sourced in North America (USA and Canada).

The company also has their own pet food manufacturing facility in Torrance, California, USA, where they produce canned pet food.

There is no information available on their website about quality testing performed on their foods. Our calls and emails to the company to inquire about testing did not receive a reply.

Testing, safety and quality control

At the time of writing this review, there was no information available about safety testing or quality control on the company’s website.

A representative did not return calls or emails, therefore we cannot comment on this company’s quality and testing policies at this time.

Recalls

The company has been in existence since 2003 and has no recall history.

Summary of Lotus Dog Food Review

This brand has scored 75 points out of possible 100 points for a fair C+ rating, according to our Dog Food Rating System.

Lotus Oven-Baked Chicken Recipe dog food shares many of the characteristics of a decent quality 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 the ingredients are source in USA and Canada. However, company’s testing policies could not be determined.

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