McAdams have really broken the mould with their baked foods. Rather than just knocking out another high-end extruded food with a slightly different ingredients list to their competitors, McAdams have re-examined pet food production from the bottom up and have come up with a truly novel and unquestionably high quality product.
Although there are several factors that make McAdams stand out, the production method and the meat content are by far the most interesting.
McAdams make their biscuits through a process of slow baking at relatively low temperatures and then gentle air drying over a period of around 4 hours. Unlike conventional extrusion which generally involves very high temperatures and pressures that may have an adverse impact on natural nutrient levels, McAdams' less severe technique is very likely to leave more nutrients intact making the food healthier for our dogs.
And then there's the meat content. When McAdams was first launched in 2015, it was the first dry food in the UK to use only fresh meats with zero meat meal. Since most authorities agree that fresh meats, even when used in dry pet foods, are both more nutritious and easier to digest than meat meals, this was a big step forward for complete dog foods.
But not content with the run of the mill fresh meats that are available to the rest of the industry, McAdams went to the length of sourcing their own whole free range chickens direct from DEFRA approved British farms which must make it amongst the highest quality meat we're aware of in any dog food.
The one problem is that there isn't quite enough of it. Since fresh meat is very high in moisture, you can only add so much before the mix gets too sloppy to form biscuits. But 50% fresh meat (around 23% on a dry-matter basis) doesn't provide quite enough protein on its own so McAdams are forced to top-up with a little pea protein. While this trade-off is understandable given McAdams' staunch opposition to meat meal, we just don't believe that pea protein is better for dogs than meat meal which is why we're unable to award the full 5 stars.
This minor issue aside, McAdams is still an outstanding food.
Needless to say, it is free from all of your usual nasties like artificial additives, added sugars, salts and any of the ingredients most often linked with health problems making it a good hypoallergenic option for sensitive dogs. McAdams is also grain free which will be music to the ears of the growing numbers of grain-sceptics out there.
The primary carbohydrate in McAdams is nutrient-packed sweet potato - an excellent source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. A small amount of tapioca is also added to provide the necessary amount of starch to allow the mix to bind into a biscuit.
The list of healthy additions like fruits, vegetables and botanicals is impressive from green lipped mussels (which can really help with joint problems) to seaweed, spinach, cranberries and several nutritious herbs.
As you might expect, McAdams is not a cheap option. In fact, despite the relatively low recommended feeding amounts, the price per day still puts it in our top 10 most expensive dry foods on the site but bearing in mind the quality of the ingredients and non-intensive production method, the price tag seems quite justified.
So, what's in the bowl? McAdams is exceptional. The gentle production method coupled with the dedication to sourcing excellent ingredients really makes it stand out amongst other dry dog foods. Only the slightly low meat content keeps it from our top score.