Best & Worst Dog Food Ingredients: What You Need To Know Before You Decide On The Best Dog Food Brand

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I’m of the opinion that we all come to decide on the best dog food for us (and our dog) in our own way… over time.

There is no ONE single best way, just like there is no ONE single best dog food brand.

For example:

  • When you get your very first dog, you may start out choosing the cheapest and/or the most convenient dog food at that time. (I know I did.)
  • Later, you might upgrade to one that seems better and/or healthier on first glance — even though you’re not exactly sure, because it’s hard to make sense of the labels and ingredients. (Seriously!)
  • Over time — and maybe a few dogs later — you begin to trust your own firsthand experiences more than ever before. You also rely on advice from friends & relatives. You see bits & pieces from ads and commercials for dog food. You ask your vet for their personal opinion. And you research online to see what others are saying.
  • Eventually, you will come to feel rather strongly about a certain type of dog food or brand of dog food.

The point: we are all at different places in our search to find the best dog food brand for our beloved pets.

Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that the following information will be helpful. Because even well-respected veterinarians change their minds over time, as they experiment and learn new information.


Choosing The Best Ingredients In Dog Food

For the record, I don’t believe that there is only one best dog food brand that you should be feeding your dog.

That said – to each his own. If you happen to believe that strongly about one particular brand or type of dog food, then I applaud you for being at peace with something that works… for you. Whatever you choose to do — as long as it’s not harmful to your dog and you’re not belittling to those who don’t do what you do — then more power to you!

However, if you are at that point in the journey where you are still searching for the right dog food… just keep in mind that much of what you read online contains a multitude of opinions — and even rants — from dog owners who feel very passionately about their dog food choices.

What it really comes down to is the list of ingredients in the dog food and the order of those ingredients on the dog food label.

Good to know: Any ingredient that appears after Salt on the label is only included in a minuscule amount. So keep that in mind!

I strongly encourage you to do a little research yourself and become familiar with the dog food ingredients list on your favorite brands of dog food. Then, make an informed decision that you feel comfortable with, based on what you believe is the best dog food brand for your dog.

Hopefully, these resources will assist you…


Pet Food Labeling

First, some things you should be aware of with regard to pet food labeling:

How Dog Food Labels Are Regulated

What To Look For On Dog Food Labels

Dog Food Label Reading 101

The FDA’s Tips For Reading Pet Food Labels

How To Make Sense Of A Dog Food Label

Understanding Pet Food Labels

Vet Tip of the Day: Spend oodles on “human grade” food for your pets? Know that it only means human-style sanitary, not human-style healthy.
Patty Khuly, Veterinarian


Dog Food Ingredients

Here’s what you need to know about ingredients in dog foods:

4 Things To Look For + 4 Things To Avoid When Buying Dog Food

How To Understand Pet Food Ingredients

Meat vs Meat Meal

Pet Food Ingredients Listed From Best To Worst

Ingredients To Avoid In Dog Food

Meat Meal: That Mysterious Meat Ingredient In Dog Food

Imagine that a German Shepherd puppy begins eating a wheat, barley, corn, or soy-based diet from the moment it is weaned. If inadequate levels of calcium and vitamin C are absorbed, what are the chances that its hips, elbows, spine, and other cartilaginous structures are going to form properly? I would say “Not good”. Most people familiar with dogs know that this breed has a reputation for horrible hip dysplasia. But, they also have serious allergies and other immune-related disorders. This, of course, is no coincidence. Once it is understood that the allergies form in the area of the gut that is being damaged or coated by the ‘glue’, it is easy to see why the trouble breeds like the German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, and others have their ‘genetic’ tendencies such as allergic skin and ear problems, orthopedic abnormalities, intervertebral disc ruptures, and cancers.
John B. Symes, Veterinarian


Dog Food Comparisons & Reviews

Here are some helpful dog food comparison charts and reviews:

Dog Food Analysis

Dry Dog Food Comparison Chart

Compare Your Pet’s Food

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Comparison

Consumer Search

When shopping for dog treats, look for a short list of ingredients. Also, stay away from corn, wheat, and soy – potential dog allergens.
Patty Khuly, Veterinarian


The Takeaways…

Here’s a summary of the best advice I’ve learned from veterinarians and other dog experts regarding dog food ingredients:


Finally, here are some great tips for choosing the best dog food brand that you can afford.


Here’s what I suggest to my clients: Look at the dog food labels. In the GUARANTEED ANALYSIS look for the Protein content to be at least 30%, the Fat to be at least 18%, preservatives to be via Vitamin E and/or C, and look for Omega Fatty Acid to be present.
TJ Dunn Jr, Veterinarian


I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner -- currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians -- whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog -- how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.

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