What's in my dog's food?

Pet food manufacturers are realizing that educated consumers are demanding better ingredients in dog and cat food, and they know they want to see meat as the first ingredients.  Unfortunately, just having "meat" as the first ingredient is not enough.  It's having the right combination of meats and meat meals that are beneficial, so don't be fooled by this label deception.  

Where's the meat?

Great question. Finding the right food for your pet that contains valuable and healhty ingredients  can be challenging.  What we feed our pets contributes to their health, longevity, energy level and overall behavior.  Who doesn't want a well behaved and healthy dog? But finding the right food can be a frustrating lesson in patience when bombarded by televison and magazine ads, ill-advised clerk recommendations and limited time to research what's good. Thankfully, there are guidelines for food manufacturers and according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) all ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight.  Simply stated, the heaviest items come first.  Therefore it's imperative that we understand what the first listed ingredients are and how they relate to the quality of the food.


So what do we look for?  When evaluating any dog food… you’re always looking for a high quality, digestible meat-based protein… as close to the top of the list as possible, however in our opinion it should be first. Even better if the protein source is either free-range or pasture raised, one that hasn't been shot full of hormones or antibiotics.    


A whole food protein source at the top of the list of ingredients - Look for single named meat sources, for example; beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, etc.  Avoid products with descriptions that are non-specific descriptions like 'animal', 'meat' or 'poultry'.  You'll also find many commercials foods that contain the meat meals.  These are fine as secondary ingredients when paired with the primary meat protein source.  And always make sure the meal is labeled as coming from a specific meat source.  


Very Important: Steer clear of these items at all cost...meat by-products, meat digest, brewers rice, corn meal, corn gluten, wheat gluten, soy protein, corn, BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin, artificial colors, and flavors.  


"Nutrition plays an extremely important role in your dog's overall health and life span, just as it does with humans. What all living, breathing beings eat, matters. The trick is figuring out exactly what you are feeding your dog when you look at a pet food label!"  Jess Braun , DVM

5 Signs of a Healthy Dog


  1. Clear Skin and Coat

  2. Clear Eyes and Ears

  3. Healthy Teeth and Gums

  4. Strong Immune System

  5. Good Energy