What to look for in the perfect dog food Ingredients to look for, and ingredients to AVOID.

Here’s a fun one. A Washington State pet store owner is going to extreme lengths to prove that all of the dog and cat food in her Paw’s Natural Pet Emporium stores are fit for human consumption. She’s eating nothing but dog and cat food for an entire month. Dorothy Hunter told Fox News:

“You would be surprised how tasty dog and cat food can be when it’s made right,” she told the Tri-City Herald last week. “You really are what you eat and it’s the same for your pets. I decided to eat this food for a month just to prove how good it tastes, as well as showcase its nutrition.”

Hunter is trying inspire others to read food labels on everything they purchase, whether it’s for the 2- or 4-leggeds in your household.

What pet parents should look for in dog food

The Whole Dog Journal recommends looking for these ingredients in dog food:

  • Lots of animal protein in the top few ingredients
  • Species specific animal protein (chicken, beef, lamb, etc)
  • Ingredients that augment the total animal protein in a meal

They also suggest avoiding:

  • Meat or poultry by-products
  • Generic fats (such as animal fat)
  • Added sweeteners
  • Artificial colors and preservatives

Don’t buy any pet food or treats made in China. Read through the ingredients carefully in all packaged pet food to make sure none of the ingredients are outsourced from China either. Look for a large variety of vegetables and fruits.

I feed my Sanchez and Gina a combination of raw food and grain free kibble enhanced with freeze dried ingredients, by Great Life. Vegetables and fruits include jicama, and freeze dried pumpkin, squash, parsley, papaya, kale sprouts, broccoli sprouts, yams, blueberries, cranberries and artichoke. While I do eat and love all of those fruits and veggies, I don’t think I’ll be diving into their dog food anytime soon.

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina.

3 Comments

  • Heather c.

    This pet food tester is braver than me. I try to make my own “whole food” pet foods wherever possible, & supplement with some very carefully chosen pet foods in between. Kitty is 23 yrs old & counting, my JRT is 16 1/2 yrs, & my youngest, my border collie is now 10 yrs. They are all as active as can be hoped for, I believe largely because of the good cuts of raw steak & cooked veggies they get frequently (except for kitty, who just goes with the raw cuts of steak, chopped up with a little bonemeal or diatomaceous earth). But thank you for sharing.

  • Jana D.

    I am sure she genuinely believes in her products.
    I am also sure that there are better and worse dog foods out there, as with people food for that matter.

    But I have always cooked for my dogs, and they have lived ripe old ages without chronic diseases and such. Maybe I am just lucky, but I don’t think so.

    Eating processed and/or canned food all your life cannot bode well.

    I do mix in a bit of kibble now and then to my dog’s food , just to make sure he crunches on something – but it is all real food and basically he eats what I eat or I eat what he eats – however you want to look at it .

    Naturally he doesn’t get chili con carne and stuff he shouldn’t be eating , onions and so on – but a good chicken and vegetable soup, or risotto with meat and veg …any day.

    He is 11 and carries himself as well as other dogs aged 5 -6 in the “hood”

  • Anonymous

    Considering the fact that I would never feed my dog “dog food” under any circumstances, (dog food = processed waste products) I can’t say I respect her choice. Not healthy for her, not healthy for pets. My dog eats what I eat; they are omnivores, after all. I am informed. I have taught small animal nutrition at the college level and I own an animal hospital. They can put all kinds of pretty labels on the bag and make all kinds of claims about “wild salmon” and “venison” etc – it’s all b*&^sh%t. There are no regulations in the US controlling what goes into pet food. At. All. Forget the bag and the can. Just dish up an extra plate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.