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Sportmix Dog Food Review 2022: Recalls, Pros & Cons & FAQ

Sportmix Dog Food Review

Our Final Verdict

We give Sportmix dog food a rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars. 

Introduction

Sportmix is a dog and cat food brand that is owned by Midwestern Pet Foods, which was founded in 1926. This family-owned business is now in its fourth generation and the company prides itself in providing complete and balanced nutrition for dogs. The Sportmix brand is heavily focused on performance and providing a diet geared more toward active, working dogs.

Sportmix is inexpensive and offers three different product lines for dogs. Today we’ll take an in-depth look at this brand and all they have to offer for our canine pals. We will talk about quality, ingredients, reputation, and just about everything you can think of so that we can provide a fair and unbiased review of the Sportmix brand.

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At a Glance: The Best Sportmix Dog Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Winner
SPORTMiX Premium High Energy SPORTMiX Premium High Energy
  • High protein and fat for dogs with more energy requirements
  • Inexpensive
  • Fortified with supplemental flaxseed
  • Second place
    SPORTMiX CanineX Performance Dog Food SPORTMiX CanineX Performance Dog Food
  • High protein and fat for dogs with more energy requirements
  • Chicken meal and chicken fat are the first two ingredients
  • Dogs take well to the taste
  • Third place
    SPORTMiX Bite Size Adult Dry Dog SPORTMiX Bite Size Adult Dry Dog
  • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
  • Contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Inexpensive
  • SPORTMiX Premium Maintenance SPORTMiX Premium Maintenance
  • Highly palatable formula contains tasty chicken flavor
  • Formulated for dogs who require a lower level of energy and protein
  • Provides digestibility and energy support
  • SPORTMiX Premium Small Bites Puppy SPORTMiX Premium Small Bites Puppy
  • Specially formulated nutrient-rich diet for growing, active puppies
  • 100% guaranteed for high palatability and easy digestion
  • Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy skin and coat
  • Sportmix Dog Food Reviewed

    We will take an in-depth approach to this review by going over some frequently asked questions, discussing ingredients, and other key points we’ve picked up along the way.

    Who Makes Sportmix and Where Is it Produced?

    As we mentioned, Sportmix is part of Midwestern Pet Foods, which is a company that has been around for nearly 100 years. It is a family-owned company that began in the Midwest and has kept a firm hold on its Midwestern values throughout the history of the company and into the modern-day.

    The foods are made right here in the USA in four different locations across the country including, Evansville, Indiana where the corporate office is located as well as Monmouth, Illinois, Chickasaw, Oklahoma, and Waverly, New York.

    Which Types of Dogs Is Sportmix Best Suited For?

    Not only is Sportmix more geared toward owners wanting a dry food-only diet that are looking to save on overall costs, but it is also best suited for active dogs that expend a lot of energy. The higher protein-to-fat ratio is not suitable for dogs that participate in little activity, as it could ultimately lead to weight gain. If you do have a dog that is less active and you are searching for a compatible Sportmix variety, the Maintenance recipe would be the most suitable choice.

    Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    a black tan and white dog eating food from a bowl
    Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

    Since Sportmix aims its focus on performance for active and working dogs, they craft these foods with higher protein and a heavier fat content to suit the energy needs of dogs that fall into this category. If you own a dog that is only mild to moderately active, or your dog is considered overweight or obese, this probably isn’t the best food for your

    Also, if you are on the hunt for a food that offers real meat as the number one ingredient in their foods, you need to find another brand because none of Sportmix’s recipes contains real meat as the number one ingredient, though some recipes do offer either chicken or beef meal, which isn’t so bad.

    If your dog suffers from allergies and requires special dietary considerations, this brand derives its foods from unspecified meat meals, beef meals, chicken meals, and chicken by-products. Chicken and beef sources are some of the most common forms of allergens that dogs suffer from. In addition, corn and wheat are also potential allergens, though not as common. Sportmix does not offer any limited ingredient recipes or any recipes ideal for allergy sufferers.

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    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good & Bad)

    Let’s look at the main ingredients used throughout the Sportmix recipes. We have dug through every product offered by this brand and made a list of the top ingredients found throughout the recipes. Of course, not all recipes include the same list of ingredients, but this helps us take a closer look into what the food is made of so that we can make the best, most informed decision.

    Labrador dog eating
    Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

    Meat Meal

    Meat meal is the rendered product derived from animal meat and tissue which typically excludes blood, hair, hooves, hide trimming, stomach, rumen contents, and horns. A meat meal is a dried product that is absent of moisture and fat. Not all meat meals are of the same quality. Some meat meals are of high quality, are easily digestible, and are sourced from whole meat. On the other hand, low-quality meat meals can be derived from just about anywhere including old meat from grocery stores, roadkill, dead or diseased livestock, and even euthanized pets.

    Sportmix offers some recipes that specify the meat source, such as beef meal or chicken meal, while other recipes list the first ingredient as “meat meal,” meaning there is no tracing back to an original animal source. Meat meals contain high amounts of protein and are rich in amino acids, but quality and sourcing are important. When deciding on which Sportmix is right for you, we’d recommend choosing the recipes that have specified meat meal sources.

    Chicken Fat

    Chicken fat is used to enhance the taste and consistency of dry kibble. It’s a lower-cost ingredient that has some essential health benefits in a dog’s diet. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, which is an essential omega-6 fatty acid. It is a great energy source that would be part of a dog’s natural diet.

    Chicken By-Product Meal

    Chicken by-products are the dry rendered parts of the chicken that remain after the choice cuts of meat are removed from the body. This can include organs, feet, beaks, and more. Chicken by-products contain a high amount of protein and can be nutritious, though some do prefer to steer clear of by-product meals when looking for dog food.

    Corn

    Corn is a controversial dog food ingredient both in terms of health and overall nutritional value. Corn is a very inexpensive cereal grain that is commonly added to dry kibbles as it does save the manufacturer a lot of money. Corn has been scrutinized for being a common allergen, but studies have proven otherwise. It’s not a highly digestible grain, but overall, it does add some moderate nutritional value to a dog’s diet.

    Ground Wheat

    Wheat is one of the many grain options you will find in grain-inclusive diets. Dogs can safely eat and digest ground wheat. In fact, it is an excellent source of digestible carbohydrates and healthy amounts of fiber, which help maintain energy levels. It makes for a good choice of grain to complement a meat-based diet.

    There have been concerns over wheat as a potential allergen, but dogs tend to suffer more from chicken, beef, dairy, and egg allergies. If you have concerns about your dog having a potential allergy, you need to contact your vet and get to the bottom of it. That way you can avoid the allergen and keep your dog comfortable.

    white boxer dog eating
    Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

    Meat Meals Instead of Real Meat

    In all of the Sportmix formulas, protein comes from meat meals, either specified or unspecified rather than real meat sources. We discussed above that meat meal is the dry, rendered product of animal meat and tissue that is absent of fat and moisture.

    Sportmix has plenty of recipes that feature “meat meal” as the number one ingredient, leaving the meat source unspecified. For dogs that suffer from protein allergies, this can be problematic as there’s no way to tell what kind of animal source it was derived from.

    Some recipes do specify the meat in the meat meals, which is limited to chicken meals and beef meals. While meat meals can be of good quality, we like to look for real meat as the number one ingredient and Sportmix doesn’t offer that.

    Fat-to-Protein Ratio and Ingredient List

    Most Sportmix recipes feature above-average protein, above-average fat, and below-average carbohydrates since the brand is more so geared toward heavily active dogs with high energy needs. They do offer the Maintenance recipe for dogs that don’t have high energy requirements but overall, a lot of Sportmix recipes may not be appropriate for a lot of dogs.

    Outside of the main ingredients, discussed above Sportmix does offer up some good sources of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty acids that are great for skin and coat health. They also put in a blend of vitamins and minerals for a more balanced meal.

    Legal Controversy

    Following a disastrous recall that started in late 2020, Midwestern Pet Foods became tied up in a class-action lawsuit. Pet owners of the dogs that became ill or passed away have sought restitution for the damages in a 35-page lawsuit.

    The FDA also issued a warning letter to Midwestern Pet Foods after an inspection of the facility highlighted violations at the manufacturing plants. They have since confirmed that they are taking many additional steps and preventative measures to ensure the safety of their foods and are cooperating in accordance with the FDA letter.

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    A Quick Look at Sportmix Dog Food

    Pros
    • Fortified with a blend of vitamins and minerals
    • Designed for canine athletes and working dogs with high energy needs
    • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids support skin and a shiny and healthy coat
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Concerning recall history that resulted in many deaths and illnesses
    • FDA brought about concerns regarding violations in the manufacturing plants in August of 2021
    • No recipes feature real meat as the number one ingredient
    • Some recipes contain unspecified meat meals while others have corn as the top ingredient

    Recall History

    It’s always a good idea to get a glimpse into a company’s reputation and recall history so that you can see what kind of issues they have experienced and how they were handled. Up until 2020, Sportmix hadn’t had a recall history but in 2020 and 2021, there were some recalls worth noting:

    Aflatoxin Recall

    Until 2020, Sportmix had gone without any recalls but as of December 30, 2020, Sportmix Energy Plus and Premium High Energy were recalled due to the FDA warning that at least 28 deaths and 8 illnesses in dogs had been reported in dogs that had been fed these dry foods stemming from certain lots.

    This recall expanded significantly and by January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods recalled all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant with an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022, after the number of illnesses increased and the total death count continued to rise. By the end of the recall, over 100 deaths had been reported.

    This recall was attributed to elevated levels of aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus which can be produced by molds found in grain, specifically corn that has been exposed to a lot of moisture. High levels of aflatoxin can cause serious illness and death to pets, so the FDA advised all owners feeding their pets these foods to stop immediately and get in contact with their veterinarians.

    Salmonella Recall

    Another recall hit Sportmix foods on March 27, 2021, when an FDA alert was issued after routine sampling of the products by the manufacturer found that some of the foods were possibly contaminated with salmonella. Midwestern Pet Foods pulled lots from several of their brands, including Sportmix, and from what we can see, no illnesses were reported during this recall.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Sportmix Food Recipes

    Here, we will look at three of the most popular dog food recipes that Sportmix has to offer. You can take a quick look at the ingredients, guaranteed analysis, and caloric content while we go over both the good and the bad of each recipe.

    1. SPORTMiX Bite Size Adult Dry Dog Food

    SPORTMiX Bite Size Adult Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Ground Yellow Corn, Meat Meal, Ground Wheat, Soybean Meal, Chicken Fat
    Protein Content: 21% min
    Fat Content: 8% min
    Calories: 3,205 kcal/kg, 315 kcal/cup.

    The Sportmix Bite Size Adult Dry Dog Food recipe contains a lower amount of protein and fat compared to a lot of the other recipes, making it more suitable for dogs with fewer energy requirements. The food is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals that dogs need in their daily nutrition and there are some omega 3 and 6 fatty acids included for skin and coat health.

    If you look at the first ingredient, it’s less than appealing. While corn is fine to have as an additive in dog food, it has no place being the number one ingredient. A dog’s diet consists primarily of meat and an inexpensive additive as the top ingredient reveals one reason why we consider this food more low-quality compared to a lot of competitors. When you look at the second ingredient, it’s an unspecified meat meal. We like to know what kind of meat our dog food is derived from.

    Pros
    • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
    • Contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Corn is the first ingredient
    • Contains unspecified meat meal
    • Some dogs refused to eat the food

    2. SPORTMiX Premium Energy Plus Adult Dry Dog Food

    Sportmix Premium Energy Plus

    Main Ingredients: Meat Meal, Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Brewers Rice
    Protein Content: 24% min
    Fat Content: 20% min
    Calories: 3,755 kcal/kg, 400 kcal/cup

    Sportmix Premium Energy is geared toward dogs that have higher energy requirements, hence the name. This formula features a 20% minimum fat content in the guaranteed analysis, which is quite high. This can work well with dogs that are expending lots of energy putting in work and being active, but you don’t want to offer this to dogs with mild to moderate activity levels, as it could result in weight gain.

    The first ingredient on the list is an unspecified meat meal. We don’t like that real meat isn’t listed as the top ingredient and we don’t like that they don’t specify the meat source of the meat meal. Owners of allergy sufferers steer clear; you need to avoid allergens and there’s no way of eliminating allergens when protein sources aren’t specific.

    Corn is the second ingredient and while it can provide nutrition, it’s also an inexpensive ingredient that makes us question why other, more high-quality animal protein ingredients aren’t listed ahead of it. This food is also inexpensive, but we don’t feel the quality holds up.

    Pros
    • High protein and fat for dogs with more energy requirements
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Unspecified meat meal is the first ingredient
    • Not ideal for dogs with low to moderate activity levels

    3. SPORTMiX CanineX Performance Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

    SPORTMiX CanineX Performance Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Peas, Pea Starch, Dried Yeast
    Protein Content: 30% min
    Fat Content: 22% min
    Calories: 3,550 kcal/kg, 375 kcal/cup

    Of the three recipes we are discussing today, this one is our favorite. It may be a meat meal as the first ingredient but we’re happy to report that it is specified as a chicken meal. To top it off, it’s followed by chicken fat, which we also like. This recipe is super high in both protein and fat, so if you are looking for inexpensive food for a high-performing dog, it may do the trick.

    If you have a less active dog, you want to avoid this recipe. There’s no reason a dog with low to average energy requirements needs this much fat in its diet. Per the reviews, dogs seem to take well to the taste overall.

    This is a grain-free line, so it’s best to check with your veterinarian to ensure a grain-free diet is necessary for your dog as there is an ongoing FDA investigation into grain-free diets and a potential link to heart issues. The investigation is not limited to the Sportmix brand of Midwestern Pet Foods, as it includes several popular dog food brands.

    Pros
    • High protein and fat for dogs with more energy requirements
    • Chicken meal and chicken fat are the first two ingredients
    • Dogs take well to the taste
    Cons
    • Not ideal for dogs with low to moderate energy requirements
    • Lacks real meat in the ingredient list
    • Grain-free diets are under investigation by the FDA

    What Other Users Are Saying

    When you dive into the reviews of the varying Sportmix recipes, you’ll notice that they are mixed. While some people love that the foods are budget-friendly and their dogs take well to the overall taste, others are disappointed with the ingredients and overall quality.

    Sportmix has had many loyal customers over the years and until recently, had a great reputation with no recalls. There have been many reports of dogs thriving on Sportmix throughout their lives, while some pet parents try it out with no success. The recent recall, however, did have pet owners turning the other way due to the immense concerns over their pet’s health.

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    Conclusion

    Sportmix is a dog food that has been around for a while and went a very long time without any recalls. It did make mainstream news headlines due to a recall that took place starting at the end of 2020 and into 2021 that resulted in many deaths and illnesses, which caused the brand’s reputation to take a huge hit.

    When we investigated their recipes and the list of ingredients, not a single recipe in any of their product lines features real meat as the first ingredient. All recipes feature either an unspecified meat meal, a specified meat meal, or ground corn as the first ingredient. Quite frankly, we aren’t impressed, and we feel like the quality is a top concern here.

    While the brand has received praise from plenty of dog owners for being price friendly and well tolerated by their dogs, we believe there is much room for improvement with the brand and there are plenty of other choices on the market that will offer better quality at a reasonable price and work for dogs of all activity levels.

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