How Do We Evaluate Dog Foods?

How Do We Evaluate Dog Foods?
How Do We Evaluate Dog Foods? 2018-07-06T18:03:57+00:00

Selecting a balanced and complete dog food is not an easy task. Walk through any pet store, and you’ll see aisles of dog food alternatives. The best way to choose a food for your dog is to read the ingredients label.

We believe that:

Recognizing which ingredients to look for and which to avoid can make the selection much easier.

What are the ingredients we look for?

Meat, meat and more meat products. The main nutrient in dog foods should be protein so appropriate diet for these animals must be based on meat.

Meat and fat products must be identified by species. If the species cannot be acknowledged, neither can the quality.

Grains are in dog food only because:

  • They’re cheaper than meat products
  • They are needed to hold the kibble bits together

Where grains are used, we search for high-quality whole grains. Avoid those products that make abundant use of grain fragments in their foods.

Fruits and vegetables are valued, particularly where these substitute grains in dog foods. Organic ingredients are also valued.  However, organic grains are no substitute for meat content.

What are the ingredients we avoid?

Foods including any type of by-products, above all those of indeterminate origin (“animal”, “poultry”, etc).

Our advice is:

Avoid any products that use nameless “meat”, “animal” or “poultry” products in their foods.

Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, especially those believed to be carcinogenic or that are excluded from use in the human food chain. Meats and fats that are not identified by species. These could be anything, and are almost undoubtedly of very low quality.

Our Dog Food Reviews

In our dog food reviews we access foods based on the quality of ingredients. We value the foods that contain the suitable ingredients for dogs and penalize the foods that contain bad ingredients.

Guaranteed analysis is not very useful in comparing foods. If you use the guaranteed analysis information to compare foods, it is necessary determine the dry matter for each nutrient.

In the cases in which the levels of protein, fat and fiber calculated are in agreement with the values established by AAFCO (Association of American of Feed Control Officials) we will not make a comment about this precise point. However, if the dog food reviewed is not in harmony with reference standards we will alert you about that fact.

Our goal is not make a quantitative evaluation because the information about this issue is not very precise in all dog food labels. Additionally the nutrient’s requirements vary with age, breed, life stage (e.g. pregnancy, nursing), and exercise level for example.

The following list represents the points that we access when we are doing the reviews and some example of positive and negative aspects we take into account.

dog food evaluation

Protein –Is the main ingredient!

Positive aspects:

  • Quality meat ingredients
  • Named meat meals
  • Named meats
  • Negative aspects:

    • Corn gluten, gluten meal
    • By-products meals
    • Soy
    • Absent information about these point

    Fat and Oil

    Positive aspects:

    Negative aspects:

    • No specific fats
    • Mineral oil
    • Absent information about these point


    Positive aspects:

    • Whole ground grains (rice, oats, barley, … )
    • Corn in reasonable amounts, as a source of carbohydrates, unless the animal is intolerant or allergic

    Negative aspects:

    • Potato product, mill run, fragments of any kind
    • Unspecified grain sources like cereal food fines
    • Absent information about these point


    Positive aspects:

    • Brown rice, oats, fruits and vegetables
    • Negative aspects:

      •  Corn bran, peanut hulls, rice hulls, oat hulls, soybean hulls
      • Absent information about these point

      Fruits and vegetables

      Positive aspects:

      • Fresh, unprocessed or organic fruits and vegetables
      • Good examples: blueberries, peas, carrots

      Negative aspects:

      • Apple pomace, grape pomace, citrus pulp
      • Absent information about these point


      Positive aspects:

      • Natural flavorings: specific stocks and broths
      • Liver of specified animals

      Negative aspects:

      • Glandular meal
      • Artificial flavors
      • Absent information about these point


      Positive aspects:

      • Natural antioxidants
      • Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Rosemary, Sage, or Clove Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid and other forms of Vitamin C

      Negative aspects:

      • Chemical preservatives
      • BHA (Butylated Hydroxysanisole), BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), Ethoxyquin, TBHQ (Tertiary Butylhydroquinone),
      • Absent information about these point


      Positive aspects:

      • Absent

      Negative aspects:

      • Present
      • Examples: Cane molasses, corn syrup in any form, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, glucose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycolCane molasses, corn syrup in any form, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, glucose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycol


      Positive aspects:

      • Absent

      Negative aspects:

      • Present:
      • Examples: Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, other “numbered” dyes


      Positive aspects:

      • Chelated or sequestered mineral (Examples: chelates, proteinates, amino acid chelates or complexes, polysaccharide complexes)
      • Nonacidic, time released versions of Vitamin C (Ester C, Calcium Ascorbate, Stabilized Vitamin C or L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate)
      • Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol, Natural Tocopherol)
      • Natural sources of Vitamin K (Egg yolk, liver, oats, kelp, alfalfa)

      Negative aspects:

      •  Menadione in any form (also listed as vitamin K3 or “vitamin K supplement”)
      • Yeast Culture
      • Sulfate and oxide based mineral supplements (e.g. zinc oxide, iron oxide)
      • Absent information about these point

      We hope our reviews will help you to choose the right food for your dog. Our goal is to give you information about dog foods that are complete and balanced and that you should select to feed your dog. At the same time alert you about the hazards of some dog foods available in the market. With this information you can do a conscious decision about the dog food you prefer.

      Why was the Dog Food Selector created?

      Each dog has unique needs... The approach "one food for all dogs" isn't the more suitable. Dogs have different sizes, different life stages, unique breed characteristics, health conditions and a few other factors... Choosing the right food for your dog may help him or her life a longer and healthier life! We exist to make that task easier for you.

      How does the Dog Food Selector work?

      It's quite simple... It's a 1-2 step process. You just have to fill in the form with your dog's characteristics, like gender, age, size, activity, health conditions and a few other important data and click "search". Then, you'll see a list of dog foods with the highest review score. If you wish you can see all the detailed review of each individual dog food.