The principles of selecting a suitable food for your dog

Thank you very much for updating this thread. I found your post very interesting and informative. It will also be useful for people whose dogs have specific dietary needs.

Rhebden - after reading your post again, there are a couple of things that I would like to ask. I take your point about too much protein being wasteful as it is just deaminated and excreted but I wonder if you have any figures for what this figure might be?

The other thing that I was curious about is your comments about carbohydrate, particularly rice. I have a feeling that pet owners are beginning to believe that grain free = good and any food with grain in it = bad. You mentioned rice being easy to digest. My own dogs have food with brown rice in it and I would prefer that to a grain free product that is heavy in white potato as there is more for the dog, nutritionally speaking. As you say, some grain is not very good for the dog but do you think that pet owners need to understand that grain is not all bad? If so, how do we get that across in the face of the increasing number of grain free pet food that is coming onto the market?

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Thank you for the link. I am going to study it because sometimes I wonder about a dog having too much protein. I understand that excess protein is just excreted in the urine. That is rather wasteful so how much is too much?

Change is very necessary otherwise your dog may get bored of eating same type of food again and again. I keep changing the type of food my dog gets every other day so that he stays excited about the “newness” on his food bowl.

Thanks for the input. This has helped me learn a lot about the dog food that I should be feeding my 4 legged friend!


This article from a veterinary practice contains useful advice on what to look for when choosing pet food. The content is mostly similar to our previous discussions on this thread. I think it sums it up quite nicely and would be most helpful to dog owners, new and not so new:

When looking for a good commercial dog food, here are some important things to look out for;

A protein (meat) source should be listed as the number 1 ingredient, rather than cereals/grains being the highest percentage.
Choose a food that lists the specific protein type, if the label says ‘chicken’ or ‘beef’ it usually means fresh prepared chicken/beef.
Avoid food that lists ‘meat’ rather than a particular type, meat means it could be any type of protein and it may change from one batch to another, which isn’t ideal for dogs with sensitivities to certain proteins as you cannot guarantee what protein has been used.
Avoid foods listing ‘animal derivatives’ as the protein source. This could mean any products and parts of the carcass, it could cover high quality meat or it could include low quality body parts with little nutritional value.
Artificial colours should be avoided, if your pet food is multicoloured, don’t be fooled into thinking the green is vegetables! Just like with humans, artificial colouring should be avoided where possible.
There is also a trend at present for ‘grain free’ commercial pet foods, there is lots of information circulating the internet saying grains are bad for dogs, however this isn’t strictly true as there are many types of grains.

Wholegrain rice is easily digested by dogs once it’s well cooked and it contains a lots of natural nutrients including three B vitamins, iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium and omega-3 oils. It’s also a excellent source of fibre, which is important for intestinal health. If this was listed as the grain choice it would be preferable over a food that uses wheat, which is regularly linked with dietary intolerance in dogs.

We’d recommend avoiding foods which list ‘cereals’ or ‘grains’ rather than the particular type. This can refer to any product of any cereal including wheat, rice, oats, barley, maize etc. so you cannot guarantee which type of grain has been used.


It is all pretty complicated - no one single rule for what is good really applies although a “baddies” are easily identified and yet still Bakers sells!!
Probably the hardest part is knowing the quality of the food ingredients - so when your chosen grain free seems to be using sweet potato, in our mind its the gorgeous fluffy cooked middle, but is it just low quality husks imported from thousands of miles away? How can we tell?
Price is a good guide i suppose, but is it also worth considering the size and the history of the company producing it? eg is Burns “better” than JWB and if so is this because JWB is part of the Mars empire and Burns is independent? Maybe factory visit reviews would be the icing on the cake but how many will allow that to happen


Earlier this year David added the article ‘Why dog food matters’ to the website. It is very useful for pet owners who are wondering what to feed their dog.

This article is so helpful. It will make you understand everything about dog food. I wonder if you have same article about dog supplies?

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