Cesar Dog Food Review

Cesar is a pretty recognizable brand, and everyone knows the cute Westie on their packaging. This dog food is meant for small breeds, and the brand has one of the widest assortment of flavors out there. But are they really good for your dog? In this Cesar dog food review, we’re taking a look at their vast number of products Cesar has to offer to determine whether or not this dog food is a good choice for your dog.

Cesar Dog Food Brand History

Cesar dog food has roots that go back to 1936. It started as a canned dog food called Kal Kan, a niche business that used slaughtered horses to produce affordable dog food. While this doesn’t sound appealing to us, dog food was seen much differently back then. In 1946, Kal Kan was incorporated and honestly sold their products as canned horse meat. 

The company continued to expand until they were bought by Mars Inc in the 1960s. Yes, Mars. The same company that makes chocolate candy bars.

In the 1960s, dog food manufacturers were using surplus vegetables and meat not fit for human consumption to make dry dog food. As time went on, though, people started to see their dogs as members of the family and looking at dog food a little differently. Mars rebranded, changing their dog food name to Pedigree in an attempt to stay engaged with changes in the dog food market. 

Eventually, Mars launched the Pedigree Select line which was marketed to small breeds. In the late 1990s, it rebranded as Cesar dog food, playing on the idea that little dogs have big personalities. It was around this time that the brand adopted the famous Westie branding, which is still used today. 

All About Nutrition for Small Breeds

All About Nutrition for Small Breeds

Before you can decide if Cesar dog food is the best dog food for your pet, it’s important to understand the nutrition that small dogs need. Before we get into the Cesar dog foods products in our review, let’s take a close look at how small dogs are different and they need in their food. 


It might be easy to assume that small dogs do not have high caloric requirements, but the truth is that, per pound, they need more calories than big breeds. Small dogs have high metabolic rates. This is always something to consider, but it’s especially important in puppyhood. You have to choose a pet food that has the right mix of ingredients to meet the needs of your dog.


It’s a common belief that dogs are strictly carnivores, but this isn’t true. Yes, they love grilled chicken, but they also need fruits, vegetables, and grains to get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. That’s why choosing food made specifically for small dogs is so important. 


Small dogs have a reputation for being easier to care for than large breeds because they don’t require as much exercise. But small dogs have a lot of needs when it comes to diet. Because their metabolisms are so high and they don’t have large fat reserves, small dogs burn carbs quickly which can lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. For this reason, they need calorie-dense food multiple times a day. 

Symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs include lethargy, seizures, muscle tremors, and weakness. If you suspect hypoglycemia in your dog, call your vet right away.


Dry foods that are made for small dogs are not only formulated correctly, they are also the perfect size for tiny mouths. Small kibble is easier for small dogs to chew and pose less of a choking risk. 


Small dogs need to eat frequently to keep their blood sugar up, but this has to be balanced against maintaining a healthy weight. If the food you’re giving your dog isn’t the right food for them, eating it multiple times a day will lead to excess weight gain and even obesity. Obesity is very hard on small dogs, and it leads to osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, joint injuries, and more. 


Small dogs live a lot longer than large breeds, and it’s important to consider this long lifespan when choosing the best dog food. Look for something rich in antioxidants to prevent free radical damage and stay healthy later in life. Senior dogs may develop health problems that require specific restrictions or prescriptions, so talk to your vet when your dog starts to get up there in years. 

What to Look for on the Label

There are some specific phrases to look for to make sure you’re getting the best dog food for your small dog. 

When you see the words “complete and balanced,” it means that the food contains the minimum amount of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to ensure that they won’t suffer from a vitamin deficiency. 

Make sure you get the right life stage formula for your dog. For example, puppies should not eat adult food and vice versa.

What about Specialty Foods for Small Breeds? 

What about Specialty Foods for Small Breeds

There are a lot of fads rising in popularity at the moment, including grain-free, raw, and homemade diets. These are considered non-traditional and you should always talk to your vet before choosing one.

Contrary to popular belief, most dogs do just fine when eating grains, and they provide a lot of beneficial nutrients and fiber. That said, there are situations when a dog does experience a reaction to grains. In this case, talk to your vet. You’ll likely need to do an elimination diet to determine if there is an allergen present and what it is. 

Cesar Dog Food Review

One of the most astounding things about Caesars food for dogs is the size of their product line. We’re going to break it down one Cesar dog food at a time to show you just how many there are to choose from and decide which is the right dog food Caesar variety for your dog. 

Dry Cesar Classics Dog Food

While Cesar is well known for its wet dog food, the brand offers a dry dog food option, too. Real meat is used as the first ingredient. The issue with this is that raw meat contains a lot of water that is lost during cooking. That means that even though meat is the first ingredient, it might not make up most of the food’s content when all is said and done. 

By-product meal is included in all three flavors of Cesar dry dog food. While poultry meal is considered a high-quality ingredient, by-product meal generally is not. It’s made of all of the pieces of the animal that are left behind, including beaks, feet, and other things you might not want your dog to eat. That said, by-products are loaded with protein and have as many as three times as much as fresh meat. 

Other ingredients in this Cesar dog food include corn, wheat, and brewer’s rice. These grains provide carbs and fiber but are not nutritionally complete. 

Further down the list of ingredients are corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and dried peas. All of these contain a lot of protein, but they are not as beneficial as animal protein. Keep this in mind when looking at the overall analysis of the food. 

There are other ingredients that you should know about, too. Beet pulp is a bit controversial. Some people think it’s an inexpensive filler while others believe it has a lot of value as an added fiber. 

These Cesar recipes also contain added sugar, which is never something you want to see in dog food. Yes, you need to maintain proper blood sugar levels with small breeds, but this should be accomplished with more wholesome ingredients. 

Although these Cesar recipes do not contain artificial flavors or fillers, they do have artificial colors, which is a bit disappointing. 

Cesar dry dog food are not the best option in their products, but it does come highly recommended by people who feed it to their pets. Flavors of these Cesar classics dog foods include the following:

  • Filet Mignon Flavor and Spring Vegetables
  • Rotisserie Chicken Flavor and Spring Vegetables
  • Porterhouse Flavor and Spring Vegetables

Simply Crafted

Cesar Simply Crafted food is up next in our dog food review and it’s the best Cesar dog food we found. Each high quality pet food is made with limited ingredients and they contain no artificial colors, flavors, fillers, or preservatives. These Cesar dog food recipes come in small, easy-to-use tubs, pre-portioned for easy feeding. Simply Crafted can be used as a meal or snack, and it makes a great topper for dry foods. 

These Cesar dog foods include pieces of real fruits and vegetables that you can see. Specific products and their ingredients include:

  • Oven Roasted Chicken
  • Chicken, Carrots, and Green Beans 
  • Chicken, Carrots, Potatoes, and Peas
  • Chicken, Carrots, Barley, and Spinach
  • Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Barley, and Spinach
  • Beef, Chicken, Purple Potatoes, Green Beans, and Red Rice
  • Beef, Chicken, Purple Potatoes, Peas, and Carrots

Cesar Minis Dog Food

Minis are Cesar classics dog food in small loaves or filets in gravy that come in a split container so you can serve smaller portions. They’re made without grains and use real meat as the number one ingredient. Each Cesar dog food Mini provides your dog with balanced nutrition in a soft, mouthwatering texture. The flavors include:

Home Delights

This Cesar dog food is one of their most extensive dog food products, with 13 different flavors in all, though not all of them are easy to find. Cesar dog food Home Delights use real meat as the number one ingredient and are so delicious, they’re tempting to even picky eaters. The easy-to-use trays and peel-away freshness seals make mealtime a breeze and keep the ingredients fresh. Use these as a meal or as a topper to dry food. There are a lot of products in this line of Cesar dog food to choose from, like:

  • Beef Stew
  • Slow-Cooked Chicken and Vegetables Dinner in Sauce
  • Pot Roast with Spring Vegetables
  • Turkey, Green Beans, and Potatoes Dinner in Sauce
  • Grilled Ribeye Steak Flavor with Vegetables in Sauce
  • Grilled New York Strip Steak Flavor with Vegetables in Sauce
  • Grilled Porterhouse Steak Flavor with Potatoes and Bacon in Sauce
  • Hearty Chicken and Noodle Dinner in Sauce
  • Harvest Potluck with Turkey in Gravy
  • Sausage Flavor with Egg and Cheese in Sauce
  • T-Bone Steak, Egg, and Cheese Flavor in Sauce
  • Chicken and Turkey Casserole in Sauce
  • Scramble with Turkey, Spinach, and Cheese in Sauce

Classic Loaf in Sauce

The Cesar Classics Loaf in Sauce dog food recipes use real meat as the first ingredient, along with some organ meats like lung, heart, and liver. These wet dog food recipes use ingredients rich in protein and low in fat, making them a great choice for this Cesar dog food aimed at small breeds. There are some by-product meals in these Cesar dog food recipes, which isn’t ideal, but they do pack a lot of protein. Some of these Cesar dog food recipes do include artificial coloring and thickening agents, but there are so many to choose from, it’s important to look at the ingredients list of the product you choose. Flavors in this Cesar classics line include:

  • Filet Mignon Flavor
  • Chicken and Liver Recipe
  • Grilled Chicken Flavor
  • Beef Recipe
  • Grilled Steak and Eggs Flavor
  • Porterhouse Steak Flavor
  • Smoked Bacon and Egg Flavor
  • Grilled Chicken and Beef Recipe
  • Duck Recipe
  • Lamb Recipe
  • Top Sirloin Flavor
  • Scrambled Egg and Sausage Flavor
  • Chicken and Veal Recipe
  • Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor
  • Turkey Recipe

Filets in Gravy

Cesar dog food Filets in Gravy are meaty, moist foods that work well as a meal or a topper. They do contain some by-product meals, but there are also organ meats and added vitamins to up the nutritional content. These Cesar dog food recipes are a little hard to find and include:

  • Filet Mignon Flavor
  • Prime Rib Flavor
  • New York Strip Flavor
  • Rotisserie Chicken Flavor
  • Turkey Recipe Filets

Loaf & Topper in Sauce

Cesar Loaf & Topper in Sauce is a flavorful wet dog food variety that is a mixed bag nutritionally. Depending on the recipe, you’ll find fresh meats and organ meats, but there are also some by-product meals and artificial colors. There are a lot of these Cesar dog food recipes to choose from, though, like:

  • Rotisserie Chicken with Bacon and Cheese  or Spring Vegetables
  • Filet Mignon Flavor
  • Angus Beef Flavor with Bacon and Cheese
  • Filet Mignon Flavor with Bacon and Potato
  • Prime Rib Flavor
  • Ham and Egg Flavor with Potato and Cheese
  • New York Strip Flavor

Cesar Puppy Dog Food

Cesar puppy pet food has a lot of great ingredients that are great for supporting small breed puppies through rapid periods of growth. Each food recipe uses real meat and organ meats, like beef tongue and liver. There are two flavors:

  • Puppy Chicken and Beef Recipe
  • Puppy Lamb and Rice Recipe

The Final Verdict of Our Cesar Dog Food Review

Overall, Caesar dog food is a middling option for dog food. The dry dog food isn’t all that impressive, and some of the wet dog food recipes use questionable meat sources and by-product meals. 

Generally, Cesar wet dog food has average amounts of protein, but the sources are not always clearly named. As we mentioned, real meat contains a lot of water. It loses its moisture during cooking, so although these are listed as the primary ingredient, it doesn’t work out that way when all is said and done. By-product meals are common in these Cesar classics recipes. These are not necessarily bad because they do contain a lot of protein, but they may come from parts of the animal that you’d rather your dog not eat. 

We do have to point out that a lot of these Cesar dog food recipes include organ meats, which are great sources of protein with minimal fat, one of the things that stands about about Cesar classics dog food ingredients.

There are good and bad things about each of these Cesar products. Before you choose the best one for your dog, make sure you take a look at the ingredients so you know what you’re feeding your dog. A lot of people who choose Cesar dog food love the products and generally, it gets pretty good reviews.

Which Cesar Dog Food Product Is Best? 

There is one exception to the criticism of meat by-products and questioning where the protein comes from, and that is Cesar’s Simply Crafted dog food. In our opinion, Simply Crafted is the best Cesar has to offer. Each food uses very menial ingredients. The simplest flavor in the Cesar wet dog food line has only two ingredients: water and chicken! You can see the fresh fruits and vegetables right in this wet dog food and each Cesar classics Simply Crafted recipe contains no artificial flavors, fillers, preservatives, or colors. If you’re looking for Cesar’s product that stands out above the rest, it is the Simply Balanced line. 

Little Dogs, Big Appetites

There are a lot of great things about owning a small breed dog, but they do require special care. Like the iconic Cesar Westie, small dogs require special dietary needs. Cesar Classics dog food has so many products to offer that it’s not surprising that not all of them are of the highest quality. If you want the best thing Cesar has to offer, stick with the Simply Balanced dog food recipes.

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