How to Choose a Good Dog Food

What to Look For:

The first ingredient should be meat, not grain.  Dogs are carnivores at heart, but have been bred to need some carbohydrates.  Grains are added to dog food because it is cheaper and helps hold kibble together.  Avoid corn meal, soy and wheat.  These ingredients are harder for a dog to digest and can cause allergies.

The source and quality of the protein should be whole food sources like chicken, beef, turkey lamb, fish,and others.  Watch for non-specific sources such as ‘meat.’  The next source should be a meat meal, again stating which animal.

Next come vegetables, excluding corn, beets or wheat.  I recommend grain free food.  These frequently use potatoes to hold them together.  If fruit is used instead of vegetables, this is also fine.

A Quick Dog Food Type Comparison

A Quick Dog Food Type Comparison

Feed-Grade Ingredients Cooked at Nutrient-Destroying Temperatures

Leave any food listing corn, corn meal or soy because it is not easily digestible and is a cheap filler.

Don’t buy dog food that contains meat byproducts.  As I wrote in my last blog, this is where you get ground up dogs, cats, tumors, flea collars, beaks and oh so many other things that you do not want to feed your buddy.

Watch out for BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin and propl gallate, known to be carcinogens.

We look for foods with a high protein value.  In our case over 30%.  We supplement the food with a fish oil pill in the morning and a coconut oil pill before dinner.  Our boys consider them as treats.

If you would be interested in a wonderful site for reviewing dog foods go to

Another Chart




For those who want to make their own.

DIY Homemade Dog Food Recipe


1 1/2 cups brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 lbs ground turkey

3 cups baby spinach, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

1 zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen

Homemade Dog Food from Damned Delicious

Homemade Dog Food from Damned Delicious


In a large saucepan with 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add ground turkey and cook until browned, making sure to crumble it.

Stir in spinach, carros, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is cooked through, 3-5 minutes.

Let cool completely.

Check with your vet.

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12 thoughts on “How to Choose a Good Dog Food

  1. Marty

    Hi Janina, Thanks for offering your expertise. We have a Shitzu and a shitzu/pug mix. We give them quality food but they have sensitive stomachs.
    The Shitzu/pug suffers from allergies and we have tried many different food combinations with no success so far. we may have her tested to find what the problem is.
    I will check her current food and make sure there is no grain.
    They love carrots as a treat. They don’t get sick but it is not all digested either.


  2. Alice

    I have enjoyed reading your web page about dog food. I love my dog and want the best for her. Thank you for posting the recipe and instructions to make the homemade dog food. I will have to make it for my dog. Do you have more recipes for homemade dog food?

  3. admin Post author

    Thank you for your comments. I will be adding more recipes as I go, including treats. We have a dehydrator and make chicken, pork and chicken jerky. I go to the farmer’s markets and talk to vendors, esp dog food and treat vendors and am going try dehydrated biscuits also..

  4. admin Post author

    Thanks for the comments. You may want to try making your own dog food or try Blue Basics, if you haven’t already. Always check your food labels for anything you don’t recognize.

  5. admin Post author

    I totally understand. Just look for a dog food that is top quality. The reason I mention Earthborn is the Primitive gets 5 stars and has never been recalled. We used Wellnes for quite a while but it is very expensive. The link provided is to a great site that will let you know which foods are best.

  6. ches

    What we feed to our dogs is so important and this article will give the dog loving reader some tips on what not to buy.
    We found out our little dog was allergic to soy and this allergy made him extremely uncomfortable and miserable.
    Most of the common dog foods you get from the supermarket will have all kinds of derivatives in them and soya is one that I think should be avoided at all costs.
    In the end, we had to make sure he had just meat or fish with added rice and a few choice veggies. He recovered within days of his new diet and became a happy healthy dog. Great post. Ches

  7. admin Post author

    Thanks so much for your review. I’m sorry your puppy had so much trouble and I’m glad you figured it out. I have written on allergies that make dogs miserable.

  8. Kim

    Hi Janina, I have been looking for a good article on how to choose the best dog food for our new pets.
    You have done a great job here with detailing it out. I’m glad I came across your article.
    I had no idea that grain was not good for dogs and after reading the ingredients on the food we bought, well, to say the least, it’s not so good, more grain than anything else.
    So off to the pet store again with more knowledge on what to look for.
    Thanks for the article,

  9. Janina Post author

    Thanks for your comments. It is always good to hear that I’ve been a help. Good luck with your new pets.

  10. Karl

    Great article, you are spot on. I went from organic dog food to another brand without looking at the ingredients and within a week my Bella developed hives and became allergic to the food. It was hard to pinpoint at first because she had been given 2 different kinds of treats and some leftover chicken but I cut everything out and it was the food that did it. I know what to buy now. Thank you for the great article!

  11. Janina Post author

    Thanks for the comment. I’m glad I helped.  I am now using Tru Dog Boost, on top of Earthborn. We’re really pleased. I am still reading up on dog foods.

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