Demystifying Dog Food - Part 2

If you have missed the first part, click here. In this sequel we continue to look at dog food ingredients and what you need to know to make an educated decision to determine the quality of your dog food. 

I will conclude the post with a list of things to look out for, both beneficial and harmful for dogs along with a food scoring chart. I got the list when I was fostering dogs with the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas and I find it to be very beneficial. The list also scores some of the popular dog food out there. If you have a favorite dog food, you can use the list to gauge the relative quality of the food. If you need any help, feel free to send us an email at and we will be happy to walk you through the process or even circulate it for you. 

The "with" rule


This nomenclature rule allows manufacturers to name the pet food after a relatively minor ingredient. This ingredient needs to be 3% of the total product weight when dehydrated.  

Consider the product - Purina Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Beef.  Going through the list of ingredients, we can see this primary ingredients in this package are Corn and Poultry-by-products. By the way Poultry doesn't necessarily mean Chicken. By-Products are parts of animal deemed unfit for human consumption. The eye catching steak picture on the bag is in marginal quantity. Picture of a corn field might have been a better indication of this particular dog food. 





The counterintuitive "Flavor"  

The word "Flavor" allows manufacturers to get away completely from including the advertised ingredient in the dog food. i.e. Chicken flavored food might not have any chicken in it.

This beef "flavored" treat has pork liver as the primary ingredient. Beef is way down in the ingredient list. 


Here is another interesting one. This was one that took be by surprise and is very unsettling. Where is the peanut butter? 



As mentioned above, I wanted to leave you with a list of things to look out for in your dog food.

 Below are some dog foods already graded.



 If you want more detailed analysis, please visit the source links below.


Please note, you should always consult a vet before making any changes to your dog’s food.


Source  : AAFCO 

Source: Dog Food Advisor

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