What’s in a scoop?


I knew I wanted to write a post about dog food, whats best, whats worst, and everything in between.  But I wasn’t exactly sure how to write something that could be useful for a dog owner as a quick stop resource to check and see what direction to go in when choosing food for their furbabies.

I was reading this post on dogfoodadvisor.com and it occurred to me that it would be an informative exercise to take the top 30 bestselling dog foods on Amazon.com and see what we could learn from breaking down the first five ingredients of each.  This will be a weekly series of 3/week to avoid information overload.

The number one bestseller on the list is Taste of the Wild Bison and Venison Formula:

The first 5 ingredients are:

Bison-Venison: First two ingredients are pure protein sources, that is an amazing start because dog’s are naturally carnivores and their main source of nutrition should always be straight protein sources like this.

Lamb meal-Chicken Meal: “Meat Meals” are the dehydrated end product of a process called rendering, which is when a meat stew is baked then dried, leaving a meat powder packed with protein.  The thing to look for with “meat meals” is that the source is clearly identified(like in this case).  “meat meals” from waste meat or other unidentified sources is usually a good sign of poor quality.

Egg product: Another good ingredient, the AAFCO defines “egg product” as “Product obtained from egg graders, egg breakers, and/or hatchery operations that is dehydrated, handled as liquid or frozen. These shall be labeled as per USDA regulations governing eggs and egg products (9CFR, Part 59). This product shall be free of shells or other non-egg materials except in such amounts which might occur unavoidably in good processing practices, and contain a maximum ash content of 6% on a dry matter basis.

I’m happy to see a dog food with great “first 5” ingredients be #1 on the Amazon list.  This is definitely a healthy option for any dog!

The number 2 bestseller on the list is Taste of the Wild Salmon Formula

**Interestingly the first 5 ingredients are different in this formula than in the Bison/Venison outlined above.  It’s a good lesson to learn that even though a food is from the same company, different formulas can have different ingredients.

The first 5 ingredients are:

Salmon: Pure protein source, check

Ocean Fish meal: “meal meat” that has a specific source, check

Sweet Potatoes-Potatoes: Sweet potatoes/Potatoes are whole ground grains that provide necessary carbohydrates for our pups.  When looking for the carbohydrate source in dog foods it’s important that the source is identified and is not a fragment source(potato product, middlings, mill runs)

Canola oil: Fat source, when looking at the fat source in a dog food we want to make sure that the source is named(no non specific sources) and we want to avoid mineral oil.

Another good entry from Taste of the Wild in the second position.

The Third bestselling dog food is Diamond Naturals Beef formula

The first 5 ingredients are:

Beef Meal: “meat meal” with named source, check

Peas: Whole ground carbohyrate source, check

Cracked pearled barley: Our first grain on the list, I have found that many dogs do not handle grains well.  It makes sense that a pure carnivore’s biology is not meant to ingest grains, and for me personally, I stick to grain free food.  That being said this particular grain is a good source of nutrition(as far as grains go)

Ground white rice-rice bran- Carbohydrates with named sources

This food seems very underwhelming.  There is a glaring lack of a pure protein source in the first few ingredients and the presence of a grain in there makes me think that I would pass this choice over when choosing a food for my own dogs.

The first 2 bestseller’s on amazon’s list are definitely great choices for any dog.  The third entry is probably a 6/10 for me, for the reasons listed above.  It’s not a bad choice for dog food per se, but there are other options out there that are much more healthy for our dogs. Make sure to check back next week for entries 4-7 on the list!

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