Is your dog food cutting the mustard?

We all want to make sure our dogs are getting healthy, safe foods. Especially with the many pet food problems that continue to claim lives. (To keep abreast of the latest news, Therese at PetSitUSA does a fantastic job of posting up-to-date facts on pet food recalls.) It can be hard to sift through all the advertising and positioning. With that in mind, I offer the following chart and quiz to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, literally.

Here are some foods that have already been scored.

If your dog food is not listed in this chart, keep reading. There is a quiz at the end to help you calculate its score.

Brand/Formula

Score

Grade

Merrick Wilderness Blend

127

A+

Nature’s Variety Raw Instinct

122

A+

Innova Large Breed Puppy

122

A+

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium

122

A+

Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry

120

A+

Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice

116

A+

Authority Harvest Baked

116

A+

Chicken Soup Senior

115

A+

Innova Evo

114

A+

Innova Dog

114

A+

Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy

114

A+

Canidae

112

A+

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken

110

A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables

110

A+

Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry

109

A+

Burns Chicken and Brown Rice

107

A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult

106

A+

Foundations

106

A+

Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato

106

A+

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice

106

A+

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice

106

A+

Nutro Ultra Adult

104

A+

Royal Canin Boxer

103

A+

ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley

103

A+

EaglePack Holistic

102

A+

Nutro Natural Choice Oatmeal

101

A+

Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy

101

A+

Flint River Senior

101

A+

Beowulf Back to Basics

101

A+

Royal Canin Bulldog

100

A+

Nature’s Recipe

100

A

Summit

99

A

Solid Gold

99

A

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula

99

A

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Lamb and Rice Puppy

98

A

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice

98

A

Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold

97

A

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice

97

A

Nutro Natural Choice Senior

95

A

Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach

94

A

Nutro Max Adult

93

B

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold

93

B

Authority Harvest Baked Less Active

93

B

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice

92

B

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy

87

B

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice

87

B

Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Wheat Free

86

B

Diamond Performance

85

C

Member’Mark Chicken and Rice

84

C

Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice

83

C

Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal and Rice

81

C

Eukanuba Adult

81

C

Alpo Prime Cuts

81

C

Pro Nature Puppy

80

C

Eukanuba Puppy

79

C

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium

73

D

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies

69

F

Bil-Jac Select

68

F

Diamond Maintenance

64

F

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+

63

F

Purina One Large Breed Puppy

62

F

Purina Dog

62

F

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice

23

F

Purina Beneful

17

F

Purina Come-n-Get It

16

F

*How to grade your dog’s kibble (dry food): Start with a grade of 100, then:

  • For every listing of “by-product“, subtract 10 points
  • For every non-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points
  • If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
  • For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points
  • If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewers rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
  • If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points
  • If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
  • If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3points
  • If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points
  • If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points
  • If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points
  • If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
  • If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
  • If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
  • If it contains salt (sodium chloride), subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

  • If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
  • If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points
  • If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
  • If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
  • If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
  • If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
  • If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
  • If the food contains barley, add 2 points
  • If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
  • If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
  • If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
  • For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as only one protein source, but “chicken” and “” as 2 different sources), add 1 point
  • If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
  • If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

Scoring:

  • 94-100+ = A
  • 86-93 = B
  • 78-85 = C
  • 70-77 = D
  • 69 and below = F
[*I am not able to give proper credit because the original author has been lost. If you know who came up with it, or if you have scores to add, please let me know.]
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