Billie's Bowl Dog Food

Billie's Bowl Dog Food Review -
A Look Under The Hood

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Gentle Dog Trainers No.1 Dry Dog Food

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  • Ethically sourced Kangaroo, sweet potato & superfood extras
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  • Australian owned with hundreds of 5 Star Reviews
  • Priced better than major food brands
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Looking for an affordable dog kibble? Billie’s Bowl is an Australian brand that promises a high-protein diet at a low cost. But does it live up to their claims? In our Billie’s Bowl dog food review, our experts have gathered everything you need to know about this kibble:

  • Billie’s Bowl dog food is Pet Stock’s home brand that debuted in early 2021.
  • This small brand only offers 6 kibble recipes but offers puppy and senior options.
  • All recipes include grains and have “meat & meat by-products” as the first ingredient.

Billie's Bowl - 2 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Chicken recipe: Meat & meat by-products (chicken, beef, lamb &/or pork), lupins, wholegrain wheat, wholegrain barley, cereal by-products, tallow, essential vitamins & minerals, beet pulp, natural antioxidants.
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Grained kibble.
  • Recipe Range: Adult kibble (beef and chicken); Puppy (regular and large-breed; both chicken); Senior kibble (fish)
  • Suitable For: All life stages depending on the recipe.
  • Cost: $
  • Australian Owned: Yes.

Billie's Bowl Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

If you’re always looking for budget-friendly dog food brands, Billie’s Bowl might have popped on your radar. Is this kibble worth the price? How does it compare to other options? Here are the basics:

Taste 3/5

This seems to be a regular kibble in the taste department. We appreciate that, according to the label, these recipes don’t include artificial flavourings.

Other than that, it is very likely picky eaters won’t be tempted to finish their bowl considering the kibble size and flavour. There are no complaints about the smell of the actual food or unexpected GI troubles after eating.

As always, if you’re dealing with a picky eater, try adding an enticing homemade topper. This can be anything that makes food tastier but doesn’t add too much sugar or fat. Some of our favourite toppings include boiled chicken pieces, cut-up innards (from beef or chicken) either raw or cooked, pureed pumpkin and grated carrots.

Considering this food seems to be pretty regular in the taste department, we’re giving this brand 3 out of 5 stars.

Ingredients 2/5

Billie’s Bowl dog food has a very short ingredient list. While sometimes this is positive, in this case we, aren’t loving it. Let’s break down the ingredient list.

To start with, this brand doesn’t provide a guaranteed analysis. Instead, they have a “typical analysis” showing the overall percentages of protein and fat in the kibble. In general, brands looking to cut corners avoid having a guaranteed analysis because it implies consistent testing and analysis. Technically, if a consumer were to independently analyse the food, a guaranteed analysis proven inaccurate could make a lawsuit easier. In contrast, a “typical analysis” blinds a brand against possible repercussions if the food were to differ from that description. Here at Gentle Dog Trainers, we think a guaranteed analysis is a better way of showing an accurate picture of the food. So, this isn’t a great start for Billie’s Bowl.

As for the percentage themselves, they look fairly standard. The chicken recipe features “24% crude protein”, and “12% of crude fat”. This falls in line with the recommendations of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which states adult dog food should have a bare minimum of 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat [1]. Compared to other home brand kibbles, Billie’s bowls composition is in line with most brands.

While the composition of the recipes is nothing to write home about, we have issues with the actual ingredients.

All recipes (regardless of the “flavour” advertised) have “meat & meat by-products” as the first ingredients. In parenthesis, it’s indicated that this meat can be “beef, chicken, lamb &/or pork”. Following the meat, lupins, wholegrain barley, whole grain wheat and cereal by-products make up the bulk of the food.

Keep in mind that ingredients appear in order of quantity. However, the first 2 to 6 ingredients are roughly in the same proportion and the manufacturer can switch them around to make the food look better. How do you know when the “bulk ingredients” end? In this case, the ingredient that follows cereal by-products is tallow, which is only added in moderate to small quantities. This indicates that everything up to this point was in larger quantities.

So, how can you read Billie’s bowl dog food ingredient list?

Simply put, this brand is doing ingredient splitting. This is a common practice among pet food manufacturers where they break up ingredients to make the recipe look better. SO here, we have meat, lupins, barley, wheat and cereal by-products in roughly the same amounts. The cereals can be anything, but very likely are by-products of wheat and barley. If the brand didn’t “split” them, either barley or wheat would likely have been the first ingredient.

Looking at the ingredient list, 4 out of the 5 main ingredients are cereals. Meat is only a moderate addition. While cereals per se aren’t harmful to dogs [2], they are better as a minor component of a dog’s diet. With Billie’s bowl, cereals are front and centre, which we don’t love.

The rest of the ingredient list keeps using blanket terms (essential vitamins & minerals, “natural antioxidants”) that point at a recipe that changes depending on what is cheaper at any given time. In general, not good for dogs that need consistency.

We’re not loving the recipes high in cereals, and the use of general terms to cover who knows what, so we’re giving this brand 2 out of 5 in this category.

Protein content 2/5

Billie’s bowls advertise that “their first two ingredients are meat”. Our team isn’t sure who made these claims: according to the ingredient list, the first ingredient is “meat & meat by-products”, and the second is lupins. Just to clarify, lupins are beans used to bulk up dog food. No second protein in sight. Only for this, we’re not loving this brand.

However, the confusing claims get worse. As we mentioned above, these recipes have between 24% and 25% crude protein as per the typical analysis. However, it isn’t clear how much of this comes from animal sources.

As we showed, 4 out of the 5 main ingredients aren’t meat. Barley, wheat and “cereal by-products” add some protein, and lupins are quite rich in proteins. This probably means that the “24% protein” is likely based on vegetable protein, with meat being a secondary source. While not detrimental to your dog’s health, vegetables are a poor substitute for good quality meat and animal protein. The whole marketing of this brand is built around offering kibble with animal protein as the main ingredient, and this is just untrue.

On top of the actual protein percentage, we have issues with the ingredient choice in itself. As we’ve mentioned, the first ingredient is “meat & meat by-products (beef, chicken, lamb&/or pork)”. The use of a generic term for the so-called main ingredient of the food is concerning. It signals that the actual recipe will vary from batch to batch depending on the cheapest meat by-product available. While we appreciate that at least the possible sources are named, the generic term suggests the brand priorities profit over quality. Meat by-products can sometimes also contain “meats” from unknown sources, such as roadkill [3]. Unfortunately, there is little regulation of these terms.

The only other animal product in the ingredient list is tallow and this is nice to see. Tallow is the product of rendered animal fat, and is healthy for dogs in moderate quantities. It’s a better option than palm or soybean oil, so we were happy to have it on the list.

Nevertheless, the addition of tallow isn’t enough to change our opinion. We don’t like the openly misleading advertising or the use of blanket terms for the protein sources. The overall protein is also bulked up thanks to the lupins, meaning the actual meat is likely minimal. We’re giving this brand 2 out of 5 in this category.

Additives 3/5

Despite the less than stellar results in the categories above, Billie’s bowl does a good-enough job with its additives.

Besides the core of the food (cereals, legumes and meat) the rest of the ingredient list only has four more items. Tallow, “essential vitamins & minerals”, beet pulp and “natural antioxidants” round up the list.

These ingredients have their shortcomings. We don’t love the use of generic terms for vitamins and minerals, which means there is no way of knowing the specific components of this pre-made mix. And, while our team likes the use of natural antioxidants, it would be better to know exactly what kind this is. Beet pulp is a cheap ingredient that bumps up the fibre content without adding more nutrients, so we’re neutral about it.

Of course, there are no fruits or veggies added to the recipe. However, at this price point, a bare-bones kibble is expected.

There is nothing outwardly terrible about the additives in this food, but they don’t make the rest of the recipe better either. We’re giving this brand 3 out of 5 in this category.

Variety 2/5

As we’ve mentioned above, this brand offers six different kibble recipes. However, upon closer inspection, it is clear these distinctions are for marketing purposes only.

For example, the adult kibble comes in both “chicken” and “beef” flavours. Nevertheless, both of these recipes have the exact same ingredient list. The contents are probably the same, regardless of the kibble you choose.

This brand does offer some extra recipes: two for puppies (regular and large-breed); and one for seniors. However, the use of blanket terms in all these, and the minimal difference with the adult options, make us doubt the actual change among them. There are also no options for owners looking for low-grain or grain-free options. It’s important to note that not even the “fish” kibble for seniors has significant differences: just that one of the meat by-products could be fish. We wouldn’t feed this one to a senior dog.

Because of the blatant misleading tactics and the use of pretty much the same kibble across recipes, we’re giving this brand 2 out of 5 in this category.

Price 4/5

This is the category where Billie’s bowl shines. This is a home brand, so it’s not a surprise it’s so affordable. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest dog foods you can find.

Of course, because of the low price, there are no small bags. If you’d like to try it, you’ll have to get the 10kg bag, which is a lot if you’re unsure about a new food.

This is an affordable kibble option, so we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars.


Do Not Buy If…

We’re not fans of this dog food, but sometimes people want a cheap option. Regardless, we recommend avoiding this brand altogether if you:

  • Want a low-grain or grain-free dog food: All the recipes are grained, and four out of the first 5 ingredients are cereals and/or legumes. This puts Billie’s Bowl in the high-carb category, and cereals make up a majority of that.
  • Have a senior dog: Senior dogs need high-quality food based on animal protein. This isn’t it. The high cereal percentage in these foods will likely lead to weight gain and not much else.
  • Have a sensitive or allergic dog: The exact composition of these recipes changes from batch to batch. If you own a dog with food sensitivities or that needs to be slowed into new foods, this brand isn’t a good fit. It will be impossible to know whether a new bag is similar to the previous one. On top of this, the high cereal content also makes food intolerances more likely due to the higher gluten percentage.

Final Verdict

Our team wasn’t a fan of this food. Of course, at this price point, there are few options to compare. There are some mid-range foods with a very similar composition for double the price, so if those were your brands of choice, Billie’s Bowl would be a good swap.

However, if you’re looking for high-quality food and have the budget for it, we would go for a slightly pricier but better mid-range dog food. Your dog’s long-term health is worth it!

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References

  1. MSD Veterinary Manual. AAFCO Nutrient Requirements for Dogs. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/multimedia/table/aafco-nutrient-requirements-for-dogs
  2. Best Pets Veterinary Hospital. Pros and cons of grains in dog food. https://bestpetsvet.com/pros-and-cons-of-grains-in-dog-food/
  3. Dog Food Advisor. The truth about animal by-products in dog food. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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