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Cesar Dog Food Review 2023: Pros, Cons, Recalls and Guide

Cesar Dog Food - Featured Image

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Cesar food a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Cesar has been a staple in the pet food section of grocery and big box stores for decades. This food is especially popular with small dog owners because of its small package sizes and Westie mascot. They offer a variety of food lines, and in the last few years, Cesar has reformulated many of their foods, swapping their first ingredient for whole meats instead of grains and by-products.

This food brand has not always had the best reputation, though, and this is primarily because of its low cost and tendency to be sold in places like grocery and big box stores instead of specialty and high-end pet stores. To better help you decide if Cesar foods are right for your dog, we’re going to further investigate and discuss the quality and nutrition of Cesar foods.

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At a Glance: The Best Cesar Dog Food Recipes

Image Product Details
Winner
Cesar Simply Crafted Chicken Recipe Cesar Simply Crafted Chicken Recipe
  • Made with 5 ingredients
  • No artificial color
  • Convenient tubs with no-fuss
  • Second place
    Cesar Wholesome Bowls Beef & Chicken Recipe Cesar Wholesome Bowls Beef & Chicken Recipe
  • Made in the USA with the world's finest ingredients
  • Crafted without grains
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • Third place
    Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor Recipe Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor Recipe
  • Made with real chicken
  • Re-sealable zipper
  • Specially crafted with 26 nutrients
  • Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Beef Recipe Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Beef Recipe
  • Convenient trays with easy peel-away
  • Made in the USA
  • Crafted without grains and with real meat
  • Cesar Home Delights Chicken Cesar Home Delights Chicken
  • Crafted tender chicken
  • Convenient tubs with no-fuss
  • Serve as a healthy topper
  • Cesar Dog Food Reviewed

    Who Makes Cesar Dog Food and Where Is It Produced?

    Cesar is owned by the Mars Petcare division of Mars, Inc, which is a US company based out of McLean, Virginia. All of their foods are manufactured in US and international factories owned by Mars, Inc. Some of the ingredients Cesar uses in their foods are sourced from a variety of places outside of the US.

    close up of a dog eating from the bowl
    Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

    Which Type of Dog is Cesar Dog Food Best Suited For?

    Cesar dog foods meet the AAFCO guidelines for nutrition for adult dogs. These foods are in small packages to reduce food waste for small dogs. Most of the recipes are high in protein, making them ideal for active dogs. They also offer puppy food recipes, which are ideal for small to medium breed puppies.

    Which Type of Dog Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    While Cesar dog foods all meet the AAFCO guidelines for adult dog nutrition, these foods are not ideal for big dogs due to the small package sizes. They are also not formulated to meet the specific nutrition needs of large breed dogs or puppies. For large breed dogs, we recommend the Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Shredded Blend.

    Another consideration is that most of the Cesar recipes are too high in protein for dogs that need a low to moderate protein diet due to age or medical conditions. For dogs that require low protein food, we recommend the JustFoodForDogs Renal Support Low Protein Diet.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Beef

    Beef is a great source of protein, which supports muscle health, as well as iron, which is essential to cardiovascular and respiratory health. It’s rich in zinc, which supports the immune system, and B vitamins, which support healthy metabolism and energy levels.

    Chicken

    Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, which supports muscle health and has a low likelihood of leading to fat gain. It can also help maintain bone mineral density, which is essential for bone health. It’s a good source of B vitamins and a great source of vitamin B12 and choline. When combined, these two nutrients can help support the function and development of the brain and nervous system.

    Barley

    Barley is a high-fiber grain that supports satiety between meals and may encourage a healthy body weight. It contains soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help improve digestion. It’s a good source of plant-based protein, and it’s high in potassium, which supports cardiovascular and muscle health.

    Whole Grain Corn

    While corn is often looked down upon in dog foods, this is a nutritious addition to dog food. Whole grain corn is high in fiber and supports digestive health. It may even help reduce the risk of developing diseases like cancer and heart disease. It’s a good source of antioxidants, which enhance immune system function, and a variety of B vitamins. It’s also lower in calories per cup than many other whole grains.

    Organ Meats

    Different Cesar food recipes feature different organ meats, like beef lungs and chicken liver. Different organs provide different nutrients, but organ meats tend to be more nutritious than muscle meats. They’re often higher in iron and B vitamins, as well as fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin E. While eating organs may seem icky to many Westerners, they are a highly nutritious addition to dog food.

    Meat By-Products

    This is another ingredient that often gets a bad reputation in pet food but is actually extremely high in nutrients. Meat by-products are the edible portions of an animal’s body after the desirable meat cuts have been removed. These by-products can include organ meats, blood, bone, and other edible and clean tissues. Meat by-products tend to be higher in protein than muscle and straight organ meats, as well as being rich in nutrients like collagen, glucosamine, and iron.

    Minimal Waste Packaging

    While we tend to look for larger package sizes to get a better deal on items, this isn’t a practical approach when it comes to feeding small dogs. Cesar takes the risk of product waste out of things by only offering their products in small packages. These packages are designed with feeding small dogs in mind. They are often portioned in such a way that you will have little to no food leftover after a meal, allowing you to maximize your spending and reduce the waste of uneaten food.

    Recyclable Packaging

    Many people are becoming more eco-aware due to the negative impacts that things like single-use plastic have had on the planet. While all of the Cesar wet foods come in plastic packaging, these packages are fully recyclable. This reduces your ecological footprint by reducing the amount of plastic ending up in landfills. It is important to note, though, that the dry dog food packages are not currently recyclable.

    Grain-Free or Not Grain-Free?

    Currently, all of the Cesar loaf recipes are grain-free recipes. Some of their other recipes are also grain-free. While grain-free diets may be preferred by some people, it’s important to understand that grain-free dog foods or foods that contain legumes or potatoes have shown a link to heart disease in dogs. It’s important to read the ingredient list and talk to your vet before switching your dog to these foods. Many of the foods are not clearly marked as grain-free diets, so it can be easy to overlook.divider-paw

    A Quick Look at Cesar Dog Food

    Pros
    • Need to read ingredient lists to determine if most foods have grains or not
    • Real meat is the first ingredient
    • Limited ingredient recipes available
    • Nutrient-dense recipes
    • Great option for small breed dogs
    • Meets or exceeds AAFCO guidelines for all adult dogs
    • Recyclable packaging
    Cons
    • All loaf recipes are now grain-free
    • Need to read ingredient lists to determine if most foods have grains or not
    • Some recipes feature potatoes and legumes

    Recall History

    Cesar dog foods have only had one recall, which was a voluntary recall that occurred in 2016. This recall was only for their Filet Mignon loaf. This recall occurred because a manufacturing problem resulted in small pieces of plastic getting into the food. Due to the risk of choking on the pieces, Mars Petcare recalled the food.

    Reviews of the 3 Best Cesar Dog Food Recipes

    1. Cesar Simply Crafted Chicken Recipe

    The Simply Crafted Chicken, Carrots, Barley & Spinach is our favorite Cesar dog food recipe because it only includes five ingredients. Four ingredients are in the product name, and the fifth ingredient is water. This food is exceptionally high in protein, coming in at around 71% protein content on a dry matter basis. This protein content is too high for most dogs on a daily basis, but it makes for a nutritious food topper, treat, or part of a food rotation.

    Due to the limited ingredients in this recipe, it’s suitable for dogs with a variety of food sensitivities, except those sensitive to chicken. It’s low in calories, making it suitable for dogs that need to lose a little bit of weight. The protein content helps maintain muscle mass, even if weight loss is occurring. Many users report this food being good for their dogs with delicate digestive systems.

    Pros
    • Only contains five ingredients
    • Great source of lean protein
    • Suitable as a topper, treat, or rotated food item
    • Limited ingredients are suitable for dogs with some food sensitivities
    • Low in calories
    • Supports muscle mass
    Cons
    • Too high in protein for daily feeding
    • Contains chicken

    2. Cesar Wholesome Bowls Beef & Chicken Recipe

    Wholesome Bowls Beef

    The Wholesome Bowls Beef, Chicken, Carrots, Barley & Green Beans Recipe is a high-protein dog food with a dry matter content of around 59%. It’s not suitable for dogs who need low- or moderate-protein foods. However, this food can help maintain muscle mass and healthy body weight. It contains barley, carrots, and green beans, which are all nutritious additions to this food. They add a variety of vitamins and minerals to the food.

    Many people appreciate the fact that the ingredients in this dog food are visually recognizable. This is a low-calorie food, making it suitable for dogs that need to lose weight. It’s a good source of fiber, which supports digestive health. This food is suitable for picky eaters, and it is gentle on the digestive system.

    Pros
    • Good source of protein
    • Supports muscle mass and healthy body weight
    • Contains multiple vitamins and minerals
    • Visually recognizable ingredients
    • Low in calories
    • Good source of fiber
    Cons
    • Not suitable for dogs requiring low or moderate protein
    • Contains chicken

    3. Cesar Rotisserie Chicken Flavor Recipe

    Wholesome Bowls Beefs

    The Rotisserie Chicken Flavor & Spring Vegetables Garnish food is a dry kibble that is formulated for small mouths. Dry dog food helps support dental health since it helps to keep the teeth clean. The kibble size and shapes are designed for small dogs to easily eat, and while crunchy, they are not too hard for small dogs to eat.

    This food contains multiple nutrient-dense ingredients, like chicken, whole grain corn, ground wheat, and meat and bone meal. It’s a good source of lean protein, and this food can help support muscle mass and help your dog maintain a healthy weight. It’s also a good source of fiber to support a healthy weight and healthy digestion. This food is suitable for picky eaters.

    Unfortunately, this food is only available in bags up to 5 pounds, making it wholly impractical for feeding as a primary food source for a large dog.

    Pros
    • Formulated for small dogs to eat
    • Supports dental health without being too hard to chew
    • Contains multiple nutrient-dense ingredients
    • Good source of lean protein
    • Supports muscle mass and healthy body weight
    • Suitable for picky eaters
    Cons
    • Only available in bags up to 5 pounds

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    What Other Users Are Saying

    • Chewy – “Ingenious! My older dog had decided he’d eaten “his” food long enough and he wanted people food (meat)! I was buying, cooking, cutting up chicken to sprinkle on top of his food. You just saved me a LOT OF TIME by providing this food topper. He loves it and eats all of his food now. Thank you so much!”
    • Amazon – “I have tried other types of Cesar foods but (1) this doesn’t make their breath stink; (2) when heating this up the smell is great (unlike others that make me want to puke!); and (3) my dogs love this!!! Home Delights can be difficult to find but SO worth it!” If you’re interested in reading more honest reviews from reviewers on Amazon, click here for more.
    • Cesar – “My pup was very impressed with this product. I don’t usually give her wet food so I mixed a little dry food in with it as well & she loved it & ate it right up! The big chunks of real meat and veggies were very nice to see. Would definitely repurchase!”

    divider-pawConclusion

    The Cesar dog food lines are highly nutritious foods that are formulated with small dogs in mind. However, they’re nutritionally appropriate to meet the needs of any dog size. The package sizes are small enough to reduce waste when feeding a small dog but are unlikely to be large enough to be cost-effective for feeding medium and large dogs.

    There are multiple great options available from Cesar, and all of them provide high protein content from nutritious ingredients, like chicken, beef, and organ meats. These provide a variety of nutrients to support the overall health and wellbeing of your dog.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Cesar

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