The standards set for all pet food safety and the nutritional balance for the best dog foods is the responsibility of the AAFCO. This organization determines and publishes their findings as to whether certain ingredients can be used in your dog’s food and information that will help you compare dog food. The ratings are not static, but range from low to high quality based on the ingredients used. This range exists because there is a demand for foods in all price ranges, low to high. The way to really know what your four-legged friends are eating is to read the labels on the dog food cans or dry dog food bags to determine the best dog food for your circumstances.

We all want the highest quality dog food we can budget. If we are in the market for senior dog food, it is even more important, as many senior pets can be susceptible to diet-related problems. Are you tired of being fearful every time you step out of the house, or are in a crowd…even with friends? You are not alone. There are many of us out here seeking help for our anxiety. Unfortunately, there are many variables when it comes to treating long-standing problems. .

Reading a Dog Food Label

You can either buy or ignore the foods based on what the labels tell you, so it is important to know how to read that label. Don’t just give the label a brief overview. In finding the best pet food for that matter, you should actually read it in depth and completely so you can be assured of the ingredients and quality of your pet’s food. To do this, you will need to know something of what is on the label and what it all means. As a dedicated animal lover, you will probably want to make up your own mind, and not just wait for someone else to give you their recommended dog food.

The name of the food items in the product would normally be the thing that most of us notice first. This first listing can include the primary ingredient or may designate what type of dog the food has been packaged for. So, this first listing could be something like “Beef Dog Food”, or “Intended for Puppies” (or Adult Dogs, or Nursing Dogs, etc.)

This is an important point for your dog food comparison. In the best dog food, when an ingredient is listed first, like our example of “Beef Dog Chow”, then that ingredient is required to make up at least 95% of the total weight, as long as there is not water used in the processing. If water is required for processing, then that ingredient must be at least 70% of the weight when water is included. In other words, if the food is dry kibble in our example, beef must be contained in 95% of the total weight.

Dog's Dish

Here is where it starts to get complicated as you try to determine the best dog food. If the title of the main ingredient uses the word “dinner”, or “formula”, or “nuggets”, or other such words, then the named ingredient has to be 25% of the weight. So, to follow our example, Beef Dinner would have a composition of 25% beef by weight. This would probably not be the best at these levels of ingredients.

Remember that ingredients are to be listed by weight in descending hierarchy. Even in the best dog food, if our beef dinner has to be only 25% beef, then there are other ingredients that are probably greater than the beef by weight, and they will have to be listed ahead of the beef on the label. The product can say its Beef Dinner, but the beef may only be one fourth of the total food contents by weight.

To help you find the best dog food, and to keep it all clear, let’s look at an example:

  • Beef Dinner Ingredients: Corn, meat and bone meal, wheat, beef.

In this Beef Dinner, the corn and the meat and bone meal are actually the principle ingredients, not the beef. You can probably agree that this is not the most healthy of meals.

However, suppose the ingredients on the listing were:

  • Premium Beef Dinner Ingredients: Beef, ground yellow corn, ground rice.

Such a combination would most likely be a candidate for best dog food, since it makes up a more desirable meal, with fewer digestive problems and better nutrition all the way round.