Zignature is a premium dog food brand that produces a number of high-quality, meat-based, limited-ingredient recipes.
We’ll examine the brand’s philosophy, corporate history, and manufacturing process below, and analyze a few of their recipes in detail, so you can pick the best one for your pet.
Zignature is made by Pets Global, Inc., an independent, holistic wellness company with a passion for animal welfare. A family owned and operated business, Pets Global, Inc. was founded in 2010, with the goal of producing recipes that provide your pet with total nutrition.
Unlike some other pet food manufacturers, which produce foods under a dozen or more brand names, Pets Global Inc. only produces two brands: Zignature Dog Foods and Fussie Cat Premium Cat Foods.
All Zignature Dog Foods are manufactured in one of two US-based facilities, one of which is located in Perham, Minnesota, and the other in Mitchell, South Dakota. All of the ingredients used in Zignature recipes are sourced from France, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.
Pets Global Inc. is headquartered in Valencia, California.
By and large, most dog owners who try Zignature dog foods end up being very pleased with their decision.
Most of Zignature’s recipes received very good reviews on Amazon (as well as the sites of other retailers), and Dog Food Advisor rates most of the company’s recipes as 4- or 5-star products (the primary difference between 4- and 5-star products was usually protein content — those with higher protein content received higher ratings).
Many owners tried Zignature Dog Foods in an attempt to avoid grains, potatoes or other ingredients that sometimes cause itchy skin and other problems for some dogs. In most cases, they reported that Zignature did the trick, and helped to soothe their pup’s skin issues.
Additionally, most owners reported that their dog loved the taste of Zignature’s various recipes.
We weren’t able to find any reported recalls for Zignature Dog Foods.
Zignature produces both kibble and canned dog foods. Each of the brand’s recipes are made with high-quality meats, meat meals, and low-glycemic vegetables, and without any of the artificial ingredients that owners typically like to avoid.
In total, Zignature produces 26 different formulas, including 13 kibbles and 13 canned options. Each of the formulas in each product line are designed to be nutritionally similar so you can rotate between different formulas if you like.
Note that Zignature uses slightly different language than K9 of Mine and most other manufacturers do, as they refer to their individual products as “formulas,” rather than “recipes.” This doesn’t mean anything to your dog, nor does this naming convention have any nutritional implications, but it is worth mentioning.
All of Zignature’s dry foods feature a high-quality, whole protein at the beginning of the ingredient list. This is followed by a premium meat-meal, and then a number of low-glycemic vegetables are used to provide the carbohydrate content.
All of Zignature’s kibbles are grain-free and limited-ingredient, which means that they won’t include any unnecessary additives or ingredients, providing only the essential nutrients your dog needs and no mysterious extras.
While the specific ingredients used vary slightly from one formula to the next, most are broadly similar in terms of nutrition and quality.
We’ll use Zignature’s Trout and Salmon Meal Formula as a case study for the brand’s dry formulas.
The Guaranteed Analysis (the nutritional information printed on the food’s label) for Zignature’s Trout and Salmon Meal Formula is as follows:
However, it is often better to compare different dog food formulas and recipes by using a dry matter basis (the nutritional content of the food once the water is removed). This is especially important if you are comparing foods with varying moisture content.
Below, you can find the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content for the Trout and Salmon Meal Formula using a dry matter basis:
Trout, Salmon Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Pea Flour, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Natural Flavors, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Citric Acid), Dried Beet Pulp, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate), Choline Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 supplement), Blueberries, Carrots, Cranberries, Lactic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite. Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.
Zignature’s kibble-based product line includes 13 different formulas, each of which is based on a different protein (or combination of proteins). Some of the proteins included in these recipes are pretty common ingredients used in dog foods, while others are based around exotic proteins, which aren’t often included in many other commercial foods.
Each of these recipes are otherwise pretty similar, as they’re all comprised of similar carbohydrates and fats. Accordingly, you’ll want to focus on the primary protein when picking a recipe for your pup.
Dog Food Advisor examined and rated seven of the formulas in Zignature’s dry food product line. Four of the products (Duck, Lamb, Venison, and Kangaroo) received 4-star ratings, while three of the products (Pork, Catfish, and Zssential) received 5-star ratings.
The primary difference between those products that received a 4-star rating and those that received a 5-star rating appears to be the protein content.
Most of the products that earned 5 stars from Dog Food Advisor have a 30% or higher protein content (based on Guaranteed Analysis), while those that earned 4 stars had protein contents of about 26%.
However, it is important to note that all of the Zignature dry foods have protein levels that exceed the AAFCO recommendations for adults (18%) and puppies (22%).
When it comes to our top picks for Zignature Dry (Kibble) we recommend these recipes, which each received 5-star ratings through Dog Food Advisor and boast 30% or higher protein content:
Zignature also produces a very impressive line of canned foods.
By and large, their canned foods are made according to the same basic template as their dry foods. Consequently, they’re of similar quality, and they appear to be equally tasty to dogs (in fact, most dogs probably prefer the canned versions).
We’ll examine Zignature’s Lamb (Canned) Formula in greater detail below.
The Guaranteed Analysis for Zignature’s Lamb Formula is as follows:
While the guaranteed analysis for any food provides helpful information, it is important to compare the nutritional content of different foods using a dry matter basis (especially when comparing wet foods with dry foods).
Below, you can find the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content for the canned Lamb Formula using a dry matter basis:
At an impressive 43% dry matter protein analysis, Zignature’s canned foods pack a protein punch!
Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Peas, Carrots, Chickpeas, Lamb Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Sun-cured Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Cranberries, Blueberries, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid)
Like their dry food formulas, most of the canned formulas produced by Zignature contain a few primary proteins (typically derived from the same animal), while the carbohydrate content is provided by low-glycemic vegetables.
However, they also offer one formula – Zssentials – that contains a variety of different protein sources.
Also like the dry formulas, all of the canned formulas in Zignature’s product line contain a few antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries or cranberries. Moreover, they’re made without grains, potatoes or chicken-based products.
Oddly, Dog Food Advisor gives Zignature’s entire canned product line a 5-star rating, but each individual recipe receives only a 4- or 4.5-star rating.
Nevertheless, as with the dry foods produced by Zignature, the primary difference between the 4- and 4.5-star products relates to protein content.
Those in the former category have 8% protein content (guaranteed analysis), while those in the latter have 9% protein content.
When it comes to our top picks for Zignature Canned / Wet formulas we recommend these recipes, which each received 4.5 stars from Dog Food Advisor
Zignature’s 26 formulas are easily some of the best foods available to dog owners. Let’s talk about some of the pros of Zignature.
Each formula features a premium whole protein at the top of the ingredient list, and a handful of Zignature formulas feature two or more. And while Zignature uses a number of relatively standard whole proteins, such as pork, duck, and turkey, they also produce foods containing goat, guinea fowl, and other exotic proteins.
These proteins are often helpful for dogs battling food allergies. In fact, all of Zignature’s foods are made without the most common canine allergens, such as corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or chicken-based products (eggs, chicken meal, etc.).
Given that Zignature’s formulas are all limited-ingredient recipes, made without the most common allergic triggers, and available with several different exotic proteins, they are fantastic for dogs with food allergies.
Limited ingredient formulas basically refer to foods where the manufacturer avoids adding fillers or mystery ingredients, keeping ingredient lists as short as possible.
Limited ingredient formulas are often better to use for dogs with allergies because it can be easier to detect which foods are causing a problem (as opposed to a formula that includes chicken, beef, grains, eggs, and cheese, in which case it would be difficult to determine which ingredient is problematic).
Zignature’s formulas also provide high-quality secondary proteins in the form of a meat meal (made from the same species as one of the primary proteins). And while meat meals may not sound appetizing to people, they’re incredibly nutritious (they provide more protein per ounce than whole proteins do) and dogs typically find meat meals to be delicious.
The carbohydrates used in Zignature’s formulas are also very impressive. None of the products include grains, nor do they use potatoes. Instead, they rely on things like peas, chickpeas, and lentils to provide the carbohydrate content for the food.
Each Zignature recipe includes one or more ingredients that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sunflower oil, salmon, salmon meal, or flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight inflammation and promote proper skin, coat, and joint health, among other things.
Each recipe exceeds the AAFCO requirements for all life stages, so you can use these formulas for puppies, adults, and pregnant or lactating females. They are all made in the USA from ingredients sourced from reliably safe locations, including Australia, New Zealand, and France.
Nutrition, quality, and food-safety aside, most Zignature recipes seem to be very palatable to dogs.
There are three or four minor issues with Zignature foods, but we wouldn’t consider any of them to be “deal breakers.” Nevertheless, it is important to consider the good and the bad when picking a food for your four-footer.
One of the first things some owners may find troubling is that Pets Global Inc. is a relatively new company. However, they certainly aren’t a brand-new startup, and they’ve proven to be impressive over the eight years they’ve been in business. Additionally, they’ve never been forced to initiate a recall in this time.
Some owners may note that chicken is conspicuously absent from all Zignature products. None of the recipes utilize chicken as the whole protein, nor do any use chicken meal as the secondary protein. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, and many owners will actually consider this a positive characteristic, but some dogs like chicken more than any other protein.
Additionally, Zignature products are not fortified with any probiotics (beneficial bacteria that help promote proper digestion), which is slightly disappointing. However, there are a number of standalone canine probiotic supplements on the market, which you could use if you like.
However, the single biggest drawback to Zignature foods is simple: They’re quite pricey – even by premium dog food standards. A high price tag is to be expected of most high-quality dog foods, and it is all but guaranteed for those that are also grain-free, given that chickpeas, lentils, and peas are more expensive than grains like corn and wheat.
Zignature dog foods are quite impressive and deserve serious consideration from all owners. They have all of the important features most owners will want in a dog food, including premium proteins and high-value carbohydrates.
They’re probably best suited for owners who are looking for grain-free options, as well as those with dogs who suffer from food allergies and require a limited-ingredient diet. And, because they are rich in protein and feature only low glycemic vegetables, they may be a good option for diabetic dogs (just be sure to solicit your vet’s advice first).
Zignature foods aren’t cheap, so they aren’t a viable option for budget-limited owners, but the canned products may make good (and somewhat affordable) toppers in some cases.
Have you fed your dog Zignature? What does your dog think of this brand? Share your impressions in the comments!
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.