What Ingredients To Look For In A Good Dog Food?

Ingredients in dog food
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links for products I recommend. If you click a link and buy something, I may receive some compensation. However, you will not pay more because of this.

Have you ever consider the quality of the dog food you are feeding your dog with? Is it of a good quality that is beneficial to him?

Some brands of dog food are particularly bad for your dog. You should avoid buying those if your dog’s health is important to you.

The following provides some tips on what to look for in a dog food. It is important to look at the ingredients and consider how they would affect your dog. You should always bear in mind that quality dog food is essential to your dog’s health. It should meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

What ingredients to avoid

Do not buy dog food that contains BHT or BHA. They are chemical preservatives and could be harmful to your dog.

Do not buy food that has by-products in it. These are often left over from the human market. That means, by-products could be feet, intestines, necks etc.

Grains that are often difficult to digest like corn, wheat, gluten and soy, are often used as a protein source instead of meat. They are not healthy and can cause allergies.

The first 5 ingredients

It is important to consider the first 5 ingredients of a particular dog food. They play a significant role in the overall nutritional make up of the food.

What are the protein sources? I believe the primary source should come from quality animal protein, not vegetable protein or grain. Foods that list 2 or more grains in the first 5 ingredients may have more vegetable protein than animal protein.

What about grains? Two or more grains listed in the first 5 ingredients means your food may have more vegetable protein than animal protein. Grains such as soy, corn, corn gluten and wheat gluten can be difficult to digest. This will mean less nutrition and more clean up.


Are there by-products? Some manufacturers consider by-products inferior sources of protein. Moreover, depending on the source, they can be difficult to digest.

Fat sources

What are the fat sources? Some fats are better than others. We believe the primary fat source in dog food should be animal based. Animal fats contain a profile of fatty acids that are easily metabolized and thus are generally more available to the body.

Specific vs generic terms

Look for an identifiable animal protein such as “chicken meal” rather a generic term, such as “poultry meal”. The generic termed ones can contain any fowl (turkey, chicken, geese, etc.)

Premium dog food

Chicken vs chicken meal

Some manufacturers use chicken in their pet foods. You should look for “Chicken Meal” instead of “Chicken Meat”.


Because chicken meat contains a certain amount of moisture in the meat. However, chicken meal is a concentrated source of chicken protein because most of the water has been removed. Therefore, it only stands to reason that you get a greater “protein content” in 1 pound of chicken meal versus 1 pound of chicken.

Other considerations

Make sure your dog food has bacteria cultures (acidophilus) that enhances digestion. Look for vegetables and fiber for anti-oxidants protection, vitamins and minerals.

What ingredients to look for in good dog food