Rate your dog's food!

How does your dog’s food rate in terms of good nutrition? Use this scoring system to help you make the best dietary choices for your companion.

You want to feed your dog the best possible diet, but with so many products on store shelves these days, how do you decide which ones will offer your companion optimum nutrition, especially when ingredient labels can be so difficult to decipher?

This scoring system will help you make the right selections. Here’s how to do it.

Start at 100, and subtract or add points as follows:

Subtract 10 points…

• For every listing of “by-product”

• For every non-specific animal source reference (e.g. meat, poultry, meal or fat as opposed to beef, lamb, or chicken, etc.)

• If the food contains BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin

Subtract 5 points…

• For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source (specific examples should be wheat, barley, oats, etc.)

• If the same grain is used two or more times in the first five ingredients (e.g. “ground brown rice”, “brewer’s rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain)

Subtract 3 points…

• If the protein sources are meat meal and there are less than two meats in the top three ingredients

• If it contains any artificial colorants

• If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn

Subtract 2 points…

• If corn is listed in the top five ingredients

• If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil

• If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources)

• If the food contains soy or soybeans

• If it contains wheat (unless you know your dog isn’t allergic to wheat)

• If it contains beef (unless you know your dog isn’t allergic to beef)

Subtract 1 point…

• If the food contains salt

Add 5 points…

• If any of the meat sources are organic

• If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist

• If it is baked, not extruded

Add 3 points…

• If the food contains probiotics

• If it contains fruit

• If it contains vegetables (not corn or other grains)

Add 2 points…

• If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free

• If it contains barley

• If it contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds)

Add 1 point…

• If the food contains oats or oatmeal

• If it contains sunflower oil

• If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin

• If vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free

• For each different specific animal protein source

Once you’ve assessed the product using the above system, take a look at your final figure and rate the food as follows:

94–100+ =     86–93 = B      78–85 =     70–77 = D

Is it time to switch your pet to a higher quality food?