What to feed to a dog is the most important decision all dog owners have to make. The food your dog eats has a direct impact on his health and happiness. Understanding your dog’s nutritional needs is the key to finding a good dog food.

The growing number of different dog foods available on the market is only making your job of finding the right one harder. Every manufacturer claims that his brand is superior to others, but is that truly the case? To help you navigate your way in a dog food aisle we will list 8 factors of a good dog food you have to consider when buying for your pooch.

1.Named protein as the first ingredient

A good dog food should definitely have a meat as its first ingredient. Dogs are mainly carnivores, thus they need more meat compared to other ingredients. Proteins provide energy, build muscles and tissues, and help your dog stay strong. Hence, always check if the meat is the no 1 ingredient.

Furthermore, you want to know the exact source of the protein in your dog’s food. Foods that list meat, meat and bone meal, or meat meal should be avoided at all costs. The type and origin of these ingredients are questionable. Hence, look for foods that have chicken, beef, turkey, or other named meats as the main ingredient. This way you know exactly what goes into your dog’s tummy.

2. AAFCO seal of approval

When picking the food for your dog, check if it is labeled as “complete and balanced”. The AFFCO seal of approval means that the food is tested and meets your dog’s nutritional needs. According to AAFCO adult maintenance dog foods should have a minimum of 18% proteins. For puppy growth and development foods, the required minimum is 22% of proteins. This statement also ensures that all the other micro and macronutrients are present in the right amounts.

3. High-quality ingredients

High-quality dog foods are usually made from locally sourced ingredients. This means that the ingredients were fresh before they were processed. Hence, these foods contain all the necessary nutrients your dog needs. On the other hand, frozen and preserved ingredients lose the necessary nutrients, hence causing a dog to develop nutrient deficiency.

4. Quality sources of carbohydrates

Thanks to the marketing of the pet food industry a lot of owners think that carbohydrates are bad for dogs. But if you look at wolves, they still eat grass, fruits, and vegetables from the stomachs of their prey. Hence, carbs aren’t bad for dogs as long as they come from high-quality sources. Look for foods that contain brown rice, barley, and potatoes. Foods that contain corn, wheat, and soy should be avoided at all costs.

5. All natural

There is a lot of dog food brands that make their formulas only from natural ingredients. These foods may cost a bit more compared to other brands, but your dog’s health is priceless. Natural dog foods don’t contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and by-products. Furthermore, you can rest assured that your dog isn’t eating GMO ingredients.

6. Trustworthy manufacturer

There is a lot of dog food manufacturers that are dog owners or veterinarians who are in this business because they love dogs. On the other hand, you have brands that are there just for profits. You should check if a particular brand had any recent recalls and are, they willing to answer your questions. A trustworthy manufacturer will gladly give you information regarding their product. Generally, no matter how good the food seems, if that company had any recent recalls you shouldn’t buy their product.

7. Transparent label

Learning how to decipher dog food labels is your duty as a dog owner. Things can seem a bit confusing at the beginning, but pretty soon you will get the hang of things. The important thing to know is that the ingredients are listed in order of highest quantity. Hence, meat should always be listed as the first ingredient. But you shouldn’t stop reading there since some brands list bad ingredients at the end of the label and in tiny print.

8. Less is more

The ingredient labels on dog foods are getting longer and contain some exotic ingredients. Those ingredients are present only in traces, and your dog isn’t getting anything from them. Foods that lave lesser ingredients are easier to digest, won’t cause allergies and have a higher concentration of necessary nutrients.


With so many different dog food options, finding the right formula for your dog can be a real struggle. Thus, next time you go shopping for your pup’s food remember these 8 factors of a good dog food. This way you will be able to make an informed decision and pick a food that will meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

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