I’ve recently stumbled across Sportmix dog food.
My dog was having an upset tummy, and a friend recommended it. Said it worked wonders for their furball.
Now, if you’re like me, you remember the recall of Midwestern Pet Foods from 2021. So, I was a little suspicious of Sportmix, to say the least.
But I decided to give it a chance and explore it anyway. After all, we all hope that pet manufacturers learn important lessons from these sad events.
What do I think about Sportmix Premium? Let’s dive into Sportmix Premium dog food review and find out!
Sportmix Premium Overview
Sportmix dog food is produced by Midwestern Pet Foods. They are located in Indiana, with several production facilities across the Midwest, USA.
Sportmix range has 4 brand lines: Originals, Wholesomes, CanineX, and — you guessed it — Premium.
The Sportmix Premium brand line has 5 dry dog food formulas:
- Sportmix Premium Energy Plus
- Sportmix Premium High Energy
- Sportmix Premium Maintenance
- Sportmix Premium Stamina
- Sportmix Premium Puppy Small Bites
The first four recipes are intended for adult dogs, whereas the last is meant for puppies.
All the formulas meet the AAFCO nutritional guidelines for dogs.
Recipe and Label Analysis
In this section, you will find a detailed overview of one of the Sportmix Premium recipes.
Ingredient List: Meat Meal, Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Brewers Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Menhaden Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Copper Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Oxide.
*Bold denotes controversial items
- Crude Protein: 24%
- Crude Fat: 20%
- Crude Fiber: 4.5%
- Moisture: 10%
Calorie Content: 400 kcal/cup
The first ingredient and the main protein source is an unnamed meat meal. In the words of Chewy, this particular meat meal is “a combination of animal proteins, including but not limited to chicken, pork, and beef.”
Meat meals can be a solid source of protein — or not. It’s next to impossible to determine an actual nutritional value for unnamed ingredients.
Either way, it’s generally accepted that whole meats are superior protein sources. With them, it’s clear what kind of meat we’re feeding our furry friends. On the other hand, meat meals provide additional minerals — but carry a higher risk of allergic reactions.
Ground yellow corn is the next ingredient and primary grain. Corn is often debated as a cheap filler. It is cheaper, but is it just a filler?
Not necessarily. Corn provides energy, dietary fiber, and other nutrients.
However, it’s also one of the most prominent GMO crops and hard to digest. Digestibility issues might be mitigated by the fact Sportmix corn is ground. Still, there is a possibility it contains glyphosate.
There were probably better options for grains, though.
The third ingredient and the main fat source is chicken fat, preserved with mixed tocopherols.
Chicken fat is a good source of animal fat. The formula is intended for active dogs; it should provide enough energy for their daily activities.
What about mixed tocopherols? These are just various forms of vitamin E used to prevent the oxidation of chicken fat. In other words, vitamin E stops it from turning rancid.
Chicken by-product meal is the next ingredient and the second animal protein source. This ingredient is used to complement meat meal and raise the overall protein.
Chicken by-products can include all sorts of things: gizzards, livers, blood, bone, spleen, animal fat, and other parts. They are allowed but not of particularly high quality.
The sixth ingredient is ground brewers’ rice. Brewers rice consists of small parts of white rice that didn’t make it into human products.
Brewers rice, i.e. white rice can provide additional nutrients to complete the grains’ nutritional value in a recipe. As the sixth ingredient, the amount is acceptable.
The next ingredient is dried beet pulp. This ingredient has been a topic of some discussion. Namely, whether it’s a cheap filler or a nutritious addition.
The beet pulp will provide some amount of minerals, vitamins, and surely fiber. It’s not pointless, but it’s also not an ingredient to get super excited about.
The following two are, though, since they both provide Omega-3s. The order in which they appear is also important.
A short Biology 101 overview: Omega-3s and Omega-6s are fatty acids that are crucial for heart health. They also contribute to healthy skin and shiny fur in dogs.
Omega-6s are pretty much everywhere, but Omega-3s are harder to obtain. They are usually found in fish and some plants.
Menhaden fish meal is an excellent source of complete Omega-3 fatty acids. But, the additional benefit of this fish is that it lives in the mid-ocean, deeper than most other commercial fish.
How is that a benefit, you might ask? Since menhaden fish inhabits deeper levels, it’s also less exposed to mercury and other marine pollutants.
Ahh… Unagi salmon roll (if you don’t get this reference, please watch “Friends” together with your canine).
It’s also important that menhaden are listed just before flaxseed. Flaxseed is another source of Omega-3s (alas, incomplete). But it’s clear that there is more fish in this recipe, so your dog will get those jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring glam coat.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty standard and include various vitamins and chelated minerals.
These vitamins and minerals are important for pet nutrition since they participate in many bodily processes. Dogs absorb chelated minerals more easily than unchelated and reap benefits faster.
The formula doesn’t have artificial flavors or artificial colors.
Crude protein content in Sportmix Energy Plus is 24%. This protein content corresponds to the AAFCO guidelines for the dog nutrition and maintenance phase (>18%).
However, this formula is meant for active and working dogs. Active dogs need strong muscles to support all their daily activities.
So, it might be good to look at other formulas with higher protein content.
Furthermore, the sources of protein — meat meal and chicken by-products meal — leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality.
Remember that working and active dogs need high-quality protein, second only to maybe puppies’ formulas.
Fat is another story. Crude fat content in this recipe is 20%. This amount may be too much for regular dogs — but active dogs need energy. Lots of it.
Furthermore, looking at the sources — chicken fat, menhaden fish oil, and flaxseed — fat might be the best part of this formula yet.
All of these are high-quality sources, and the amounts are appropriate.
Not only will they support the dog’s body inside, but these sources also make your dog a picture-worthy athlete. They contribute to healthy skin and fur. Get your dog ready for the cover of “Dog’s Health.”
Finally, there is fiber. The amount of crude fiber is 4.5%. This meets the AAFCO guidelines (<5%).
Let’s discuss the sources of fiber. You will notice there are no peas and legumes in this formula.
Understandably so. Those ingredients could put too much pressure on the dog’s digestive system. And we don’t want that for a physically active dog.
Instead, the manufacturer opted for corn and brewers rice. We salute the fact that there are no legumes, but a high-quality whole grain or ancient grain would have been a better choice.
As for the calories, the Premium line falls into the average category. Most dog foods have anywhere from 350–600 calories per cup. Higher calories are great for active dogs, lower content is used for weight management.
After all, this formula does have the word “premium” in the title.
Overall, the nutritional value of this formula is mediocre at best. Menhaden fish meal is a great ingredient, but primary proteins and fiber sources could have been much better.
Sportmix Premium Reviews
The pet owners are satisfied with Sportmix Premium dog food.
Several commenters mentioned that their dogs had trouble putting on weight and did so after switching to these formulas. This could be because of corn.
Additionally, some dog parents say their dogs had digestive problems, which were resolved with Sportmix Premium dog food. This could be due to the absence of peas and legumes.
The pet owners also praise the coat and fur of their dogs after being on this dog food. This is a given with high-quality Omega 3 fatty acids.
A minor portion of dog owners complains about the odor of the pets’ stool after eating this dog food.
A typical review for SPORTMIX Premium Energy Plus looks something like this:
“I have a bully who has a sensitive tummy. He loves this food and has no stomach issues. It’s actually firmed up his stools compared to his other, more pricey food.”You can read more Sportmix Premium reviews on Chewy.
Sportmix Premium Recalls
Sportmix dog food has been around for a long time. Up until recently, the brand has had no recalls.
However, in December 2020, there was a massive recall of Midwestern Pet Foods’ products. This recall included Sportmix Premium products.
This recall was voluntarily expanded in January 2021. In their final report, FDA announced that Midwestern Pet Foods had killed 130 dogs and made another 220 sick. The reason was aflatoxin poisoning.
Another recall was issued in March 2021 due to potential salmonella contamination. This recall also included Sportmix Premium dog food, and many other Midwestern Pet Foods’ brands.
FDA regularly updates its website for current and ongoing recalls.
Sportmix Premium may be affordable dog food, but its ingredients could be better.
If you’d like more premium dog food, check out the following alternatives.
Merrick Grain-Free provides the most crude protein of all the dog foods listed in this article (32%). The protein comes from multiple animal sources — real salmon, salmon meal, and whitefish meal (the first 3 ingredients).
Carbs are also better. This formula includes sweet potatoes and regular potatoes as the main carb source.
The fish in the formula will provide plenty of healthy Omega-3s for your dog.
Ultimates is another Midwestern Pet Foods brand. This dog food contains slightly less crude protein (22%), but the protein comes from lamb meal and beef meal. Not chicken by-products.
Furthermore, the main carb is brown rice. Brown rice is a healthy and nutritious whole grain, more complete than corn.
Ultimates dog food is only slightly more expensive than Sportmix Premium dog food.
Sportmix Premium is an ok dog food.
A few ingredients are really well–combined and provide important nutrients. The shining example would be the menhaden meal/flaxseed combo — in appropriate amounts, with great Omega 3 fatty acids.
However, other ingredients barely deserve the word “premium.”
The biggest issues are unnamed meat meals, chicken by-products, and corn.
We are used to seeing these in cheaper dog food. They do provide nutrients, but whole meat and whole grains would have been a much better option.
Overall, Sportmix Premium is a solid budget dog food. Especially if your main concern is Omega-3s and digestive issues.
But, in terms of maintenance and specific dietary needs, there are much better alternatives.
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