Black Hawk Dog Food

Black Hawk Dog Food Review - Including Puppy, Senior & Grain Free

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Petzyo

Gentle Dog Trainers No.1 Dry Dog Food

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  • Ethically sourced Kangaroo, sweet potato & superfood extras
  • Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
  • Australian owned with hundreds of 5 Star Reviews
  • Priced better than major food brands
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Wondering how to provide the best nutrition to your dog while keeping costs down?

Then maybe BlackHawk dog food is a good choice. This affordable brand has a pretty clean ingredient list and comes in big bags so you can save even more by buying in bulk.

In today’s Black Hawk dog food review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the brand so you can decide if you’d like to give it a try.

  • Black Hawk has both grain-free and regular dry dog food available at a lower price than other premium brands
  • The first ingredient in all their recipes is always animal protein.
  • They use animal protein meal instead of whole cuts.
Young border collie eating food

Black Hawk Dog Food Review


Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste 4/5

Most pups absolutely love the taste of Black Hawk dry kibble. In fact, many dog owners claim their pets scoff down their food as soon as the plate is down. Since the main ingredient in all recipes is always animal protein, it’s no wonder dogs really like the flavour.

Nevertheless, since they have limited protein options available, this brand might not be the best choice for picky eaters. If your pup doesn’t really enjoy chicken, fish or lamb, you should probably buy another kibble.

Because of the relatively low variety in comparison with other brands available in the Australian market, we’re taking off 1 star.

Ingredients 3/5

In general, Black Hawk dog food ingredients are pretty good with plenty of nourishing extras to round up your pup’s nutrition. The main ingredient in all their flavours is always animal protein, and among the first 5 ingredients there’s usually an extra animal protein source like chicken fat. Plus, the entire ingredient list is completely understandable. According to the experts at VCA hospitals,

Select diets with real, recognizable, whole-food ingredients. If the majority of listed ingredients is unfamiliar to you, find another diet - VCA hospitals [5]

As such, Black Hawk ticks this box with ease. However, keep in mind Black Hawk has changed their recipes in the past without any warning. For example, the lamb flavour previously only had lamb, and now it has chicken -without it being clearly advertised on the front of the bag-. These changes were accelerated by the purchase of the company by New Zealand’s Masterpet. If your dog can’t eat or is sensitive to certain ingredients, it’s important you read the ingredient list carefully before purchasing a new bag. This is key even if you’ve fed the same brand for a while!

While Black Hawk’s ingredients are pretty healthful, we’re taking off 2 stars because of the impromptu changes in the recipes and the fact they don’t use whole animal protein sources and stick to meal-type protein.

Protein content 3.5/5

This dog food has a very high protein content: just above 30%. This is in line with official AAFCO recommendations that prescribe 18% minimum crude protein for adult dogs. Because of this, you can be sure your pet will have appropriate nutrition to stay strong and healthy.

However, keep in mind not all of this comes from animal sources and instead is supplemented with protein-rich veggies. All of Black Hawk’s grain-free flavours have peas within the first 5 ingredients, sometimes even in second place just below animal protein. While peas are healthy, they might account for a good chunk of that protein content. Surprisingly, some products from their original line show 3 different animal protein as the first ingredients [3], followed by rice and oats. We’re taking off 1.5 stars because of the high amount of peas in all grain-free flavours.

Additives 4/5

In spite of their fairly straightforward flavours, Black Hawk has plenty of extra goodies that make sure your pup gets all the micronutrients they need. Many of their dry kibble flavours have salmon oil, blueberries, emu oil, dandelion, spinach, yoghurt powder and even peppermint tea! We especially like the emu oil: according to PetMD, emu oil can help to keep their skin supple and irritation-free [1]. However, not many dog food brands add it to their recipes.

[…] more people are recognizing the benefits of emu oil for pets for reducing inflammation or joint pain, moisturizing skin & coat, soothing irritated skin, healing flea bites, and relieving allergy symptoms. – Jeffers Pet [4]

On the other hand, this brand also stays away from sulphites. These compounds were traditionally used in pet-grade food, but nowadays experts advise against them. In fact, RSPCA Australia states sulphites cause dangerous vitamin B1 deficiencies that can even cause death. Because of that, you should avoid them at all costs. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about sulphites with Black Hawk, since they use naturally-occurring tocopherols and rosemary extract to preserve the food.

PRO TIP: Remember to only buy dog food without sulphites, and those that only use human-grade proteins

The only detail we don’t like, and we’re taking a star off because of it, it’s that it lists "natural antioxidants" in the ingredient list, without specifying what those are. It’s important we know everything going into our dog’ system!

Variety 3/5

This brand has two main ranges: original and grain-free. On top of that, they also offer a limited range of wet food, although their main product is traditional dry kibble.

While many of the products on offer are based around chicken, Black Hawk also has recipes based on lamb, salmon, kangaroo, ocean fish and beef. Nevertheless, if your dog has intolerances to these mainstream proteins, Black Hawk might not be the best option since they don’t offer more exotic flavours like venison or sardines.

In spite of this, the brand is still a good choice if you want to tailor your dog’s diet to their size. As you probably already know, the nutritional needs of large and small breeds are very different, and Black Hawk offers options that cater to those specific needs.

Both their original and grain-free lines have options for small and large breeds, albeit limited. Keep in mind that Black Hawk grain-free only has one flavour available made for small and large breeds -chicken-. That means if your dog doesn’t like chicken or is allergic, you won’t have a grain-free option tailored to their size. On the other hand, their original line only has lamb and rice available for small breeds, while large dogs get chicken and rice. Again, if your dog can’t eat those ingredients, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Finally, this brand also has a special variety for working dogs. This option has even more protein and fats than their other products, but it has grains and only comes in one flavour profile -lamb-.

Because of their limited options, especially when it comes to puppy, small and large breed adult dogs, we’re giving Black Hawk 3 stars in this category.

Price 5/5

Black Hawk is one of the more affordable quality dog foods in Australia! Their puppy food in particular is a pretty sweet deal when compared with other brands. This brand is also a great option if you’re looking for an affordable grain-free option for your dog that won’t break the bank. Plus, for the price, it has a nicer ingredient list than other options within this price range.

If you want to save even more, we recommend buying in bulk and through online retailers, as it will be easier to shop around and compare prices. Since this is still an affordable brand, and it’s available in large bags, we’re giving Black Hawk 5 out 5 in this category.


Black Hawk Puppy Food Review

Labrador Retriever Puppy eating from his bowl

Of course, our Black Hawk dry dog food review wouldn’t be complete without looking at their puppy options. Plus, since Black Hawk was one of our choices in our best puppy food roundup, we think it’s very important to dive deeper into the brand’s puppy kibble options!

Black Hawk Puppy Flavours

Their original line has 3 puppy options available: all-breeds, small breed and large breed. The all-breeds puppy food comes in two flavours, lamb rice and chicken rice. In contrast, their size-specific kibble only has one option per breed size: large breed puppies have chicken and rice, while small breed puppies have lamb and rice.

On the other hand, their grain free line only has one puppy option: ocean fish for all breeds. This is a fairly small selection, especially if your puppy has an extra-sensitive stomach and can’t have lamb, chicken or fish.

Ingredients and Recipe

In spite of the limited flavour options, we really like the composition of their original large-breed puppy recipe. While it does have rice, it’s also packed with other goodies that fit the needs of large and giant puppies. For example, it has both glucosamine and chondroitin to keep their joints healthy, and it’s also highly caloric to keep up with their fast growth.

All in all, we think Black Hawk puppy food is great if you’re looking for an affordable kibble for your large- or giant-breed puppy.


Black Hawk Dog Food Vs Royal Canin: How Do They Compare?

If you’re wondering if you should buy Black Hawk or Royal Canine dog food, it’s important to understand their similarities (and differences).

The main difference between Black Hawk and Royal Canin lies in their ingredients. While all Black Hawk products have animal protein of some kind as the first ingredient, Royal Canin’s first ingredient sis always a carbohydrate like rice or oats. On the other hand, Black Hawk always indicates the source of protein -like chicken meal, or lamb meal- while Royal Canin simply mentions animal fats, animal protein or poultry protein.

PRO TIP: Royal canine doesn’t specify their animal protein sources, and this can be a problem if your dog tends to be allergic to certain proteins.

On the flip side, Royal Canin has an incredibly large flavour and nutrition profile variety: you can find anything from breed-specific foods -for example, for rottweilers or retrievers- to age-specific options, or flavours made to keep their teeth healthy, lighter options for overweight dogs, hypoallergenic foods and everything in between. However, they don’t have any grain-free options.

In spite of the larger variety, Black Hawk’s protein sources are healthier, and they offer grain-free options if you want that for your pup. Because of that, we recommend it over Royal Canin.


Do Not Buy If…

While Black Hawk is a good option for many pets, you might want to choose another brand. This is not the right choice if you:

  • Would rather feed your dog actual meat instead of protein "meals": instead of plain protein cuts, Black Hawk’s main protein sources come in meal form. However, the choice between protein meal and pure meats is a bit controversial among pet owners. We want to give the best to our dogs, and that usually involves offering high-quality proteins. A good rule of thumb is looking for plain protein as the main ingredient (i.e. Chicken, lamb, kangaroo…). But protein meal isn’t necessarily bad, you just have to ensure the fat to protein ratio isn’t off.
  • Want dog food that’s 100% Australian: while still being an Aussie company, as of October 2020 Black Hawk is owned by Masterpet in New Zealand. While the brand originally stated their recipes wouldn’t change, owners report major differences like swapping sweet potatoes for tapioca and regular potatoes.
  • Have a diabetic dog: Blackhawk’s dog food recipes list peas, tapiocas and potatoes within the first 5 ingredients, which means they form the base of the food. However, while healthy, all three of these veggies have a relatively high glycaemic index. If your pup is diabetic or needs to control their glucose levels, you should focus on finding a kibble that uses sweet potato or chickpeas instead.
  • Have a pup with sensitive stomach: in January 2020, Black Hawk voluntarily recalled several products due to mould concerns. While no dogs had been reported as severely ill, several owners complained of mould appearing on brand new packages and some pups suffered from bloody diarrhoea and vomits. All products concerned show a best before date ranging from February 2, 2021 to June 4, 2021. While only this specific batch was affected, you might way to stay on the safe side if your dog is prone to diarrhoea.

The Verdict

As you can see, Black Hawk is an excellent choice for those with a smaller budget that still want to give high-quality nutrition to their dogs. Of course, there are other options in the market with even better ingredients and nutritional profile, but they come with a hefty price tag. If you have several dogs, or just don’t have a never-ending food budget, this brand is a great option to keep your pup healthy and nourished.

We hope today’s Blackhawk dry dog food review helped you make a good choice adapted to your personal needs!

References
  1. Curley, Kendall. May 8, 2018. How to Care for Your Wrinkly Dog.  https://www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/2how-care-your-wrinkly-dog
  2. Rao, Shoba. January 16, 2020. Black Hawk issues voluntary recall on pet food in Australia. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/black-hawk-issues-voluntary-recall-on-pet-food-in-australia/news-story/df0f498642edcab4d3ea09e49f13467f
  3. Black Hawk. Original dog food – lamb and rice. Ingredient list. https://blackhawkpetcare.com/au/dog-food/original-dog-food/dog-food-lamb-and-rice
  4. Jeffers Blog. What is Emu Oil? https://www.jefferspet.com/trending/content/what-emu-oil
  5. VCA hospitals. Nutrition - General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/nutrition-general-feeding-guidelines-for-dogs
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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