Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star
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Recommended

Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor second highest rating, 4 stars.

This has the protein levels found in a cat’s natural prey and more than 90 percent of the protein found in Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein dry cat food is animal-based, with high-quality meat or fish as the first ingredient and no added fillers or preservatives.

Pros
  • High protein content
  • Nutritionally complete and balanced according to AAFCO standards
  • All protein comes from animal sourced ingredients
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
Cons
  • Price is above market average

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein product line includes two cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Chicken recipe 4 A
With Salmon 4 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein Chicken recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Dr Elsey's Clean Protein Chicken Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

67%

Protein

20.5%

Fat

4.5%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, dried egg product, gelatin, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, salmon oil, potassium citrate, fructooligosaccharide, chlorine chloride, vitamins (vitamins e supplement, niacin, vitamin a supplement, thiamine mononitrate, D-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin d supplement, biotin, vitamin B12), minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulphate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, manganesesulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), pottasium chloride, taurine, mixed tocopherols (preservative), salt, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is dried egg product. This is a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The third ingredient is gelatin, a colorless, flavorless, translucent, brittle substance that’s irreversibly derived from the collagen found in the skin and bones of animals.

Although it consists mostly of protein (98-99% non-essential amino acids), gelatin is of only limited nutritional value to a cat.

The fourth ingredient is chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is natural flavor. According to AAFCO, natural flavors are ingredients derived from plant, animal or mined sources, not having been produced by or subject to chemically synthetic processes nor do they contain any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic.

The sixth ingredient is salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to cats and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein Dry Chicken recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 67%, a fat level of 20.5% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 4.5%.

As a group, the brand features an above average protein content of 65.3% and an above average fat level of 19.9%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 6.8% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 30%.

This means that Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein product line contains higher than average protein and fat when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein dry cat food is a source of high quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Has Dr Elsey's cat food been recalled in the past?

Dr. Elsey’s has never been recalled.

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

Dr. Elsey’s was founded in 1987 and is manufactured in Cheyenne, Wyoming, United States.

Besides a full line of cat litter, Dr. Elsey’s also offers dry and wet food for cats. There are a number of options available including single-source protein cat food.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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