There are so many dog food choices available that it's hugely important to know how to compare them in order to pick the best fit for your pet. Learn how to make an informed choice here.
If you're confused or overwhelmed with trying to navigate the confusing world of dog food ingredients, labels and manufacturer's claims... then this page is for you!
On it, you'll find a system that shows you how to objectively evaluate any dog food by taking a close look at it's ingredients.
That way you can compare as many different products as you want without having to rely on 'creative' labeling, advertising or manufacturers claims.
To give you a bit of extra help making those dog food comparisons, you'll also find tips and advice to help you decipher dog food labels and get to the truth behind the 'gobbledegook', slogans and claims that you'll find slapped all over the food bags!
This dog food analysis technique featured on this page will show you how to 'rate' any food according to the quality/type or absence/presence of certain ingredients.
If you want to, you can start by analyzing the dog food you're currently using, and then compare it to any other brand/s you're interested in. Or you can just start out by looking at the products you're thinking of switching to.
This method of grading dog food in order to make dog food comparisons was developed by Great Dane owner, Sarah Irick.
Sarah has very kindly given me permission to reprint her 'Dog Food Grading Scheme' here, and would like you to know that....
This food grading system is specifically to help those who have
trouble deciphering dog food labels and the many articles about what
If you have a quality dog food and are not looking to make
a change, or if you know about reading dog food labels and can choose a
dog food on your own, then by all means continue as you are.
However if you are looking for a quality food and would like some guidance on choosing between seemingly equal brands in the store, and you'd like more to base your information on than a friend or store clerk's recommendation, please feel free to use this handy guideline.
But be aware that there may be other important information
by breed type or size (i.e. in giant breed puppies you need a food with
lower protein levels than is typically available in puppy foods, even "large breed" puppy foods), so you will need to research that as well)'.
You need to start with the list of the ingredients for the food you want to grade/rate.
It's easy to find an ingredient list for any particular food on the manufacturers website, or use the one on the dog food bag.
With the ingredient info. in front of you:
94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 = F
Although this may sound a little complicated, it's really very simple. It will take a little time as you need to look closely at the ingredients and do some basic math, but it well worth the effort!
Once you've analyzed a couple of different varieties of food, you'll
be able to make some very useful dog food comparisons, and you'll start
to have a much clearer idea of whether a food is 'good' or not - and
whether it's suitable for your dog.
To save you some time (and brain effort!) I've done some of the math for you - see the resulting 'Report Cards' for 48 of the most popular dog food brands (rated using this system) on our Dog Food Ratings page.
NOTE: It's important to realize that dog food ingredient lists and formulas do change from time to time! I'd recommend double-checking the ingredient list of any food you're considering to make sure there haven't been any significant changes recently, before you start making comparisons
When you're comparing foods, your most important tool are the dog food bags (or pouches, cans etc.) themselves.
Both the advertising/PR slogans and the nutritional and ingredient information need to be examined and understood.
BUT, there can be a lot of information on these labels, and reading it is one thing, but understanding what it all means can be something else entirely!
So, to help you out here is a quick run down of some of the most
commonly seen wording on dog food bags (and what it means), plus a look
at the ingredients that you want to see, and those that you don't....
If you're interested in learning more about feeding your dog, and how the right diet can dramatically improve his health, check out these books....