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It’s time we finally got into the meat (pardon the pun) of dog food ingredients.  In earlier posts I’ve told you about the benefits of using premium dog foods.  We’ve also discussed the trick that dog food companies will use to trick you into thinking that their food is made up primarily of meat.  We even talked about varying formulas, where the amount of ingredients changes from batch to batch.

Now we’re going to look at a few specific dog foods and analyze the ingredients so you can take a look at your dog food and decide if you need a change.  Remember the first five ingredients make up the majority of the dog food and it should be made primarily of meat.

First up lets look at the popular Kibbles and Bits:

Corn, Soybean Meal, Beef & Bone Meal, Wheat Flour, Animal Fat (Bha And Citric Acid Used As Preservatives)

So with Kibbles and Bits, the first ingredient is corn.  It’s not meat.  In my mind this alone is a reason to shop for a new food.  Then we have Beef and Bone Meal which is the bones with whatever meats remain ground up and dehydrated.  This is a low quality protein source.  Lastly we have animal fat.  This is another low quality protein source.  It is the fat of an animal… notice it doesn’t say which animal.  Worded this way it can be whatever is leftover.

Next Let’s Take a look at Pedigree – Adult:

Ground Yellow Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Byproduct Meal, Animal Fat

First I want to point out that this food does that trick where it makes it look like corn is less a part of the food than it really is.  Also, meat is not the first ingredient, and that alone would cause me to keep on shopping.  They have the ground yellow corn as the first ingredient and corn gluten meal as the third.  Then we have meat and bone meal.  Notice this doesn’t specify which kind of meat, but the same as before this is the meat that is attached to the bone and is dehydrated and ground up.  Our fourth ingredient is Chicken Byproduct meal.  This is parts of the chicken that are left over like organs, beaks, and feet.

I’m going to admit that the next food we discuss is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.  I don’t like this brand, but because it is available in so many vet offices I feel it needs to be covered.

Let’s take a look at the premium dog food, Science Diet Small Bites Adult formula:

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal

Here we have the first ingredient as Chicken and the fifth ingredient as Chicken Byproduct meal.  This is better than the first two foods we looked at.  However, corn is the second ingredient.  Wheat is the fourth.

I wouldn’t describe this as a bad choice but when you start looking on your own you will learn that for the same money, you can do better.  Keep an eye out for the multiple ingredients listed in different ways with Science Diet in general.

Next Lets take a look at the popular Eukanuba Small Bite Adult Main Dog Food:

Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain barley

I consider this a pretty good quality food.  Your first two ingredients are meat, Chicken and Chicken Byproduct meal.  It does contain corn which is a common allergy among dogs.  Be careful on that front.

While we’re analyzing dog foods, lets take a look at what I feed my dogs.

Pro Plan Dry Dog Food, Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula:

Salmon, brewers rice, canola meal, oat meal, fish meal (natural source of glucosamine)

First one of my dogs does have a sensitive stomach and since its good nutrition, I feed it to my other dogs as well.  The first ingredient is Salmon.  Fish Meal is the last ingredient.  That is two higher quality sources of protein in the first five ingredients.  Notice there is no corn.

Next lets take a look at one of the foods that is considered a premium food but is available at most grocery stores.  Iams Proactive Health Minichunks Dog Food Dry:

Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E)

In my opinion this is not a bad food for your dogs.  It’s definitely one of the best you’re going to find at your grocery store.  The only thing I don’t care for is that corn is the second ingredient.  You do have three different proteins in the first five ingredients:  Chicken, Chicken Byproduct meal, and chicken fat.

Other popular brands of dog food are Nutro, Blue Buffalo, Natural Balance, Royal Canin, and Wellness.  To analyze your dog food or to choose another, I would recommend going to Pet Food Direct.  They have the ingredients listed and other handy information.

If you want help from me to analyze your dog food, just leave a comment and I’ll help as much as I can.