We have a pet: a beautiful golden and I worry. Constantly.  I worry about her food. I worry about her coat. I worry about her turds and I worry about the dreaded word Cancer. It’s a constant feeling. A nag that won’t let go.  And so I started researching dog health and dog food. Reading up everything I could get my hands on. I am no expert, but over time I understood a few things and I would like to share them.  Let’s start with pet food. The most essential of all.

If we dig a little we find that there is a lot of material that can be found on which is the best diet for your dog. Raging debates advocating raw food diet, vegetarian diets, grain free diets, plain old commercial kibble: each proclaiming its virtues are common. But that’s a story for another day.

For this article I assume that like me, you too, buy commercial pet food. The three part article focuses on:

  • Reading a pet food label
  • Comparison of ingredients
  • What you should NEVER see in your dog food label!

 There is no doubting that commercial kibble is GOD sent to most working professionals. To have the convenience of opening a bag and having the dog food ready to serve is something that cannot be overlooked. However, the commercialization of the industry and the sheer amount of money involved should make us all cautious if not downright suspicious.

No matter what the glossy advertisements with the healthy pooches happily bouncing around say, you should always look at the ingredients list.

For that list to make sense it is vital that, we as consumers, know how to read a pet food label. So before picking up a bag of dog food, no matter what your vet or the pet shop or the “breeder” says, pause for a moment and consider these factors while reading the label.

  • First ingredient

As per regulations, all dog foods brands list the ingredients of the dog food in order of weight. The first ingredient is the most important because there is more of that than any other ingredient that follows. It’s always good to see rich ingredients like Deboned chicken, Organic chicken, Chicken meal, Lamb meal , Fish meal, Duck, Duck meal as opposed to Ground whole corncorn gluten mealpoultry by-product mealmeat and bone meal. A good rule of thumb is to look for a good source of protein in the dog food. 

  • Top ingredients

The top 10 ingredients usually comprise 80% or more of a dry pet foods entire formula! So scan through the list.

  • Different names of same ingredients

Some brands name their contents in different ways. For ex: ground corn, corn gluten, corn barn. If you were to group all of the corn ingredients as one, they might far out-weigh the amount of meat in that food, and be the first listed ingredient. 

So what should you see in your dog food label?

Here are a few basic ingredients you should look for.

  • Real Protein meat such as chicken, chicken meal, fish, fish meal, lamb or lamb meal, is a source of high-quality, highly digestible protein.
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and oats supply complex carbohydrates and healthy fibre not found in most processed grains
  • Veggies and fruitsuch as carrots, potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, papaya, mango, and apples provide essential phytonutrients, antioxidants and enzymes, plus natural vitamins, minerals and fibres that promote and maintain health and wellness. 

I shall leave you here to mull over this information on dog food label basics. In my next article, I shall attempt to compare the ingredient list of few popular dog food brands and present you with the results that would help choose the best dog food for your pet.

Check out and try our dog food collection

September 26, 2014 by barksnlicks team

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