Best Dog Food Ingredients | What SHOULD be on the Label



Best Dog Food Ingredients | What SHOULD be on the Label

How to determine what is Best Dog Food Ingredients, what SHOULD be on the Label,

The best start is to check out the website of your preferred dog food first and foremost.

Most manufacturers making a high quality, premium dog food will have easily accessible ingredient lists on their websites.

I found some web sites almost impossible to find an ingredient or nutritional analysis on, and I would suggest this as a warning that they have something perhaps to hide.

Look for locally grown food in their manufacturing process. See this Orijen Review for example. They use Fresh and Regional Ingredients, Food used in this product is fit for human consumption, No Outsourcing (100% China free), They use free range poultry, wild caught fresh fish delivered daily, and free range red meats.

A list of what they don't use is an easy way to determine if the food is healthy. This is on the Acana website : Made With no grain, no corn or glutens, no inappropriate oils or vegetable protein sources. Acana formulas are also ethoxyquin-free, with no artificial flavors, no colors or no preservatives, and absolutely no genetically modified ingredients.

Here is another EXAMPLE of what is not used on another label: produced without the use of herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilizers, no irradiation used, does not contain chemical additives or preservatives, colors or dyes, hormone and antibiotic free)

This is an indication of a manufacturer that is responsible and really does put your pet’s health and nutrition first.



Chicken as opposed to poultry by-products. Any named meat or fish is desirable such as chicken, turkey, venison, lamb, beef, herring etc.

Chicken meal as opposed to meat meal. Meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product which will be more concentrated with the good qualities of the meat. This applies to any protein source such as chicken meal, turkey meal, venison meal, buffalo meal, herring meal, salmon meal, etc.

Having two different meat sources is the best product to look for.

An example of an excellent protein based food is Wellness Core which lists deboned turkey, turkey meal and chicken meal as the first 3 ingredients : (SEE My Wellness Core Review Here.).

Look for statements such as: Food used in this product is fit for human consumption, No outsourcing, Local and Fresh human grade ingredients, organic ingredients, free range poultry/meat sources.

The meat will be human grade which means it is clean and free of bones, blood, feathers, heads, feet, hooves, entrails etc., and also fresh and edible as opposed to rotten or spoiled.



Grains such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, or if the product is grain free, then potatoes, or sweet potatoes would be choices of excellent carbohydrates.

Whole grains as opposed to the highly over processed mill run and flours.

Avoid corn and wheat and any of their derivatives in any dog foods. They are not nutritious, cause allergies and illnesses and are usually used as cheap fillers.


Whole fruits and vegetables as opposed to none in some dog foods.

Look for any of the fresh fruits and veggies that we eat such as carrots, peas, spinach, greens, apples, berries etc.


Named fats from quality sources such as chicken fat, sunflower oil, canola oil, salmon oil, or lamb fat, etc.


Mixed Tocopherols (a natural source of Vitamin E), is the most common natural preservative. A dry dog food with natural preservation will have an expiry date, which is what you want to look for.

A kibble that will last indefinitely is over processed and way to synthetically preserved with harmful chemicals.


Premium Vitamins such as Mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E), choline chloride, vitamin A, vitamin D3, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12, folic acid, biotin, Vitamin B6,

Chelated Minerals such as Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, And Copper Amino Acid Chelate.

Probiotic Microorganisms such as Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product for digestive health.

Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids sourced naturally from ingredients such as flax seed, a specified fish oil and canola oil. – Supports healthy skin and coat.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help support long term bone and joint health.

Salt is also a necessary mineral and should be iodized or sea salt.



  1. If you fur babies are doing so much better on the new food then that is what you should stick with. It looks like you are a caring, generous and loving person and thank you for rescuing dogs.
    I’m not familiar with Wholesome, but if it is this brand , then it is an excellent choice.

  2. i just would like 2 no bout wholesome dog food is it good dog food
    we do not have a lot of money but were feeding him purina n then he was getting ear infections n both ears n then he had a bad rash took him 2 the vet n they said its the food we are feeding him so we got him on wholesome n the vet did what they had 2 do got him on meds n ear wash but sense we got him on wholesome hes been alot better the rash is all gone n ears are a heck of alot better i just want whats best 4 my son max n hes 5 months old we rescued him from humane society n he was only 2 months

  3. I’m surprised to see Blue Buffalo on this list because they have had several recalls, and so has the Diamond brand company which, as far as I know, makes Taste of the Wild. Also, I was wondering why you don’t have Hy-Tek Naturals brand included on your list for best dog foods. They have grain-free products that seem to definitely meet/exceed the best brands criteria and their website claims they have never had any recalls and the product is made in the USA. Was there something about the Hy-Tek brand that didn’t quite make the cut, or did you just not include it in the A-Z list of natural foods for some other reason? I was just wondering what your assessment of Hy-Tek was. They are certainly better priced than most of brands on your list (they are priced comparable to Taste of the Wild) and appear to have the superior ingredients you have named. Would like to know your thoughts on this brand. Thanks.

  4. My 8 year old German Shepherd was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure at the beginning of October 2013. He is doing well after a lot of care and emergency intervention. But the vet has him on Hills Prescription K/D (Renal Help). I feed him organic chicken and rice, twice a day, with the suppliment of Hills (2 to 3 cans daily). He’s 80 pounds. A friend recommended Honest Kitchen. I want to make a better choice than Hills. In your opinion, would Honest Kitchen “Verve” or “Zeal” be a good choice what with his kidney issues. Or would you have another recommendation.
    Thanks so much for this site and all the work you’ve put into the research. I shared it on my Facebook page.
    Be Well.

  5. Check with your local pet stores. A few of them run frequent buyer programs. Usully they are buy 10 get one free. These programs help rescue groups and people alone out alot. With this buyer program it becomes easier to buy the more exspensive dog food. You also have to know that with the higher quality dog food you will be feeding less. The “bad” ingrediants are fillers that don’t get absorbed into your dogs system and pass right through. So with a better dog food they gain the nutrition thats needed and eat less, because they fill up faster. This also means they will use the bathroom less, making your job easier. So just remember when you go to buy dog food and you see that it’s a higher price, that you are actually going to use less and the bag will go further. Also know that in the begining your dog is going to try to eat just as much of the new as they did the other dog food. this is because they are use to eating that much to gain the nutrition that’s needed and to get that “full” feeling. It’s going to take you physically feeding less to get them use to it.

  6. Party Animal is a good food. It is organic and has vegetables that you can see in it. It also comes in grain free.

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