Flint River Ranch began making dog food in 1993, and it is available for online purchase only. Founder Jim Flint recognized the marketplace need for a dog food product that people could order online from their homes. The food is free from chemicals, and customers order it straight from the company instead of going through a grocery store or pet market outlet, which means the food is fresher, according to Flint.
The Different Lines and Their Ratings
Flint River Ranch makes six types of dog food: original kibble; original nugget; lamb, millet and rice kibble; duck and oatmeal nugget; trout and potato nugget and senior kibble. Almost all the varieties received a rating of 3.5 out of five stars from the DogFoodAdvisor website, a site run by Dr. Mike Sagman, an authority on evaluating dog food. The senior line fared worse, receiving only two stars, and the lamb, millet and rice fared better, receiving four stars. The 3.5-star rating puts Flint River Ranch dog food in the mid-tier overall.
The Ingredient Breakdown
You should read the pet food label to see the ingredient list. Look for quality ingredients, which provide nutritional value, as opposed to filler ingredients, which provide little nutritional value. Sagman selected the duck and oatmeal nugget formula as an example to be further analyzed.
- The first ingredient, duck meal, is a quality ingredient with 300 percent more protein than duck.
- The second ingredient, oatmeal, is a quality ingredient because of its fiber and B-vitamin content.
- The third ingredient, millet, also contains B vitamins and fiber.
- Oat flour, the fourth ingredient, provides nutrients similar to raw oats.
- Potatoes are the fifth ingredient, and they provide little nutritional value for dogs.
- The sixth ingredient, canola oil, contains omega-3 fatty acid dogs need.
There are other ingredients, but they become less important the further down they are in the ingredient list; ingredients are listed in order of greatest to least based on what percentage of the diet they make up.
Too Many Carbs
Although Flint River Ranch dog food contains mostly quality ingredients, it did not receive the highest or even an above-average rating from Sagman. The problem is that the food is weighted too heavily on the carbohydrate side and lacks adequate protein. Dogs don’t need any carbs; although, it’s OK for them to eat some, which is no more than about 14 percent of the diet. Flint River Ranch duck and oatmeal nugget contains 55 percent carbs, but the ratio should be the opposite: 14 percent carbs and 55 percent protein.
Not Enough Protein
The best dog foods contain mostly meat-based protein. Although Flint River Ranch duck and oatmeal nugget dog food lists a protein — duck — in the name, it mostly contains carbs. It can do this because, although duck meal is the main ingredient, there are more types of carbs in the food, which are listed as separate ingredients. Dogs also need some fats in their diet, such as fish oil, canola oil or pork or chicken fat.
What makes Flint River Ranch dog food slightly better than average is that it’s oven baked, which more closely mimics the way people cook their food, instead of being extruded, a mass-production means of producing dog food. Baking is a healthier way to produce dog food because it retains vitamins better than extruded food. It is also easier for dogs to digest.
Between Average and Above Average
Flint River Ranch duck and oatmeal dog food contains quality ingredients. That earned it a recommendation between average and above average from Sagman. However, because it’s heavy on carbs instead of protein, it did not receive a solid better-than-average rating or an excellent rating.