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Choosing the best food for my dog

The best dog food

Do you know how to choose a quality feed? Do you know how to differentiate a suitable feed from one that is not? Do you know if you have chosen a food that will be beneficial for your dog?

Dry, wet, dehydrated, BARF, homemade diet… each manufacturer defends its elaboration system and thousands of consumers defend one type of food or another.

But how would you choose the most suitable nutrition for a dog?

We have prepared a definitive guide to identify the elements you should consider when making a decision about feeding your dog. We will help you to know those aspects that allow you to read the labeling of any product and give you many clues about the things that are important and those that are not.

Your dog’s diet, throughout his life, and the quality, origin, balance and nature of his nutrition will determine in a very important way how his well-being, health, quality of life, aging and without a doubt it will also have an impact on his visits to the veterinarian and his longevity.

Table of Contents

Quality dog foods

Ingredients, ingredients and more ingredients. With sense and with the necessary balance. Ingredients, as in your diet, are the essential part of our nutrition.

We all know the effects of a diet poor in vegetables, we all know the effects of excess fats, industrial products, excess sugars… it is no different in dogs, their diet is not so different.

The key to proper nutrition in dogs is also based on what they eat, in the proportions and quantities… it cannot be otherwise.

Dog food or any dog food product or nutritional supplement, snack, cookie, can or bar, can be of very good quality or very unsuitable for any dog. Even some may be of very good quality and very appropriate for a dog, but may be an unbalanced source of nutrients for dogs in particular states or stages.

The quality of a dog food is not a subjective matter. We can determine for ourselves, objectively, if a product is or is not of quality and if it is or is not appropriate for our dog.

In this article, we are going to explain and detail to the maximum all the information you need to decide how you want your dog’s food to be and we are going to give you all the necessary information so that at any time you can differentiate a high quality food from one that is not, with all the nuances.

Different types of food, which is the best?

Dry food or nuggets.

It is usually presented in bags or sacks. They usually differentiate the products according to the stage of the dog, the size, the breed and in some cases they emphasize some deficiency, pathology, disease or special need of the dog.

The elaboration process consists of mixing all the ingredients in their state of incorporation, a homogeneous mass is obtained with the necessary humidity level to submit them to an extrusion process by means of which a paste is obtained that after a cooking process in which the humidity is extracted, it is taken to the desired shape. Finally it can be coated with some ingredient that can improve the flavor or the conservation of the final croquette.

The process of moisture extraction, drying and cooking facilitates the preservation and packaging of the product and results in formulas that can be kept for up to two years in their original packaging.

Wet dog food

With a process similar to that of dry dog food, the objective is to obtain a more palatable wet paste for the dog. In this case they are cooked in a slow process at low temperature and then canned. Once canned and sealed, the can is then subjected to a sterilization process to eliminate any bacteria

The BARF diet -Biologically Appropriate Raw Food-.

According to the literal translation, we are talking about a diet based on the raw intake of meat, offal, bones and a complement of fruit and vegetables.

This diet tries to assimilate the natural and wild diet of the ancestors of today’s dog. It is the way the wolf feeds in its natural habitat.

Home cooked diet

It is to cook at home and to offer daily the mixture of ingredients, nutrients and necessary elements controlling where and how they are bought and cooking them ourselves. In many cases even some of these foods are not cooked in order to maintain all their natural properties.

The aforementioned diets and other alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages, as well as their fervent followers and detractors.

Those in favor of prepared dry feed defend it for its convenience, stability, conservation and ease of consumption.

The detractors add that the industrial process eliminates the good and that we cannot control the ingredients that are being used.

About the wet diet it is also said that in reality 80% of the content is water and little else and that such long conservation dates end with the nutritional properties of the food.

Against the BARF diet many argue that they are diets poor in fiber, minerals and other necessary elements such as vitamins, calcium, acids… It is also indicated that it would be necessary to submit BARF to freezing or sterilization processes to eliminate bacteria and parasites.

In favor of the homemade diet, it is argued that we have control of all the ingredients and the origin and conservation. Against it, it is argued that we are hardly presenting a balanced, varied food, rich in all the necessary nutrients and that we are hardly able to stabilize that formula for a long time. In addition, it requires time of dedication to buy, cook, conserve and offer the food in the most optimal conditions.

So what is the best type of food: Dry, Wet, Barf or Homemade? Which one do you recommend for my dog?

None of the four is the most suitable. Barf and Homemade may seem to be the most appropriate, but they are not. Neither dry or wet are the worst.

As always, it is a bit more complex. It is neither the industrial process nor the control we have over it.

The secret of good nutrition is the formula. The ingredients. The content. It can’t be any other way. We are what we eat. In all cases the importance lies in what we are considering as ingredients of each formula. In their quality and in the most appropriate proportions. In what they include and what they do not include as well.

We can add some concepts that can, in general, generate some consensus.

  1. Packaged dry feed, canned wet food, dehydrated and chopped and packaged products, bring us convenience.
  2. Refrigerated, frozen or refrigerated food has risks of breaking the cold chain and requires more attention.
  3. Cooking food improves its quality, palatability and eliminates many risks of infection or nutritional degradation.

Ingredients are the key

Let’s see what are ingredients and what are not ingredients.

The packaging

The packaging, the first impression we get is the bag or the can:

Wolves running, green mountains or wild rivers, pictures of red meat or fruit on the sack or on the label of the can. That’s not quality, that’s just pictures.

Many manufacturers go to great lengths to communicate the quality of the dog food through the image.

The bag and can are not an ingredient, and the name even less so. Some contain the word nature, wild, natur, fish, meat or names that want to communicate positive concepts about the product.

In other bags there is a dog like ours and they explain that this feed is the appropriate one for that specific breed. Let’s not fall into that. Let’s ignore this part, it’s not quality, it’s only image.


Advertising is not nourishing. The best selling brand, the most famous brand.

The best feed or the best wet food for our dog, can be found in a specialized store, it can be a little known brand, it can be advertised on TV or on the networks and we can find it easily… also the worst brands or dog food products can be found in the same aisle of the same establishment.

The best known brand is not the best, although in some markets or segments of people the best known is the best… just like in human life. It’s no different.

Dog food brands that invest a lot of money in advertising, just do that, they don’t have to make the best food for your dog, or not all of them. There are great products that are advertised and great advertisements of very low quality brands.

The best selling brand is simply that, the best selling, it is not the best, nor the most recommended, nor the one that best suits your dog… although in some markets the best selling brand may be the best or one of the best.

Conclusion, neither sales, nor presence, nor television make a good brand. A good product has to be differentiated by other things.

Read the label

Why don’t we read the label? On the label of the product we can see if it is of quality or not?

Although the law still allows some excesses and some cheating, manufacturers are obliged to detail what they include in their recipe.

As a rule, and it is usually true, he who has nothing to hide and manufactures a high quality feed has nothing to hide and nothing to invent. The ambiguity in the ingredients or the lack of understanding on the part of the user comes more from the hand of those who manufacture a low quality feed… it seems logical.

Discard some elements

What we have to discard. The worst of each house.


1st forbidden word: SUBPRODUCT.

This is the way the law lets me say that I put chicken parts but without saying which ones. Chicken by-product or by-products of animal origin is the way to mask parts of the chicken that do not provide any nutritional value and are not valid for human consumption, without wanting to go into lurid details, if necessary to explain them, here we camouflage as chicken parts such as the beak, nails, crest, bones … do not serve for nothing, only allow the manufacturer to indicate the word chicken and confuse the user.

Discard any food product, dry or wet feed or supplement that includes the word by-product in its ingredients, and the more the worse.

Do the same with snacks or dog cookies. They are the same problem.


2nd forbidden word. FLOUR

Chicken, meat or fish meals are usually offal, leftovers and surplus that the slaughterhouse discards for human consumption. In practice, these flours have little or no nutritional value. We can validate some flour in the case that it is of a specific origin, of a specific protein and with a minimum complementary presence.

In short, seeing FLOUR or a SUBPRODUCT as the main ingredient is clearly a sign that we are buying a very low quality product. The word flour or by-product is a way of not really saying what part or what quality of meat it is.

Split ingredients

3rd habit of cheaters. SPLIT ingredients.

Chopping or separating ingredients so that the worst ones do not appear in the first positions. For example, we put 8% meat and 4% meat from three different flours and meat by-products and we list the first 8% meat as the first ingredient, leaving the three flours separately with 4% each, when in reality the product contains 12% meat flours as the main ingredient.

The same can be done with cereals 5% wheat, 5% corn, 6% wheat starch, 6% oats etc… a 7% of meat will be placed as the first ingredient and the manufacturer will be actually including 22% of cereals with no nutritional value for the dog. It is not illegal, it is not toxic, but we will not be consuming a quality product and the manufacturer tries to hide that reality.

Let’s remove things

If you have the ability to identify what is not good in a dog food formula or in any food product, we will be discarding qualities and in the end we will know what is good or objectively tolerable / necessary.

By identifying the most harmful practices, we will discard those manufacturers who are not willing to offer us a product with all the guarantees. Shall we continue?

What we must not admit

4th trick of the pirates… the exact understanding of each thing

Ingredients that are not understood, codes and abbreviations. Ingredients that can be harmful and ingredients that only bring problems (or can cause problems):

NO: Preservatives or flavorings as such with some code.

These are chemical products that do not guarantee any nutritional contribution and can be the source of any intolerance, allergy or unwanted reaction.

AVOID: Gluten, sugar or sorbitol. SALT either

Sweeteners or products with high glycemic index that can cause or worsen diabetic processes.

NEVER: NON-SPECIFIED flours or by-products.

They can hide even dead or sick animals or harmful parts.

Reject any feed that includes the word meat meal, animal product meal, meat by-product meal, etc.

When a meal is a quality meal the manufacturer will make an effort to clearly specify what it is… chicken meat meal, veal meal etc… may be an acceptable choice for a quality feed.

NO: Menadione, Ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT.

These are preservatives or vitamin substitutes. Remove them from their feed.

BEST NO: Corn,

No nutritional contribution necessary for the dog, filler product for its economic price, difficult to digest and one of the main causes of allergies in dogs.

Shapes and colors

5º The shape or color of the kibble.

Certainly the chewing of the kibble allows the dog to perform a kind of “dental cleaning”, although not as exaggerated as some show it. The right kibble will allow the dog to ingest the food in a more leisurely way, since the chewing it must do is more entertaining than ingesting the food in its wet form. Both elements, the chewing and the rubbing of the kibble in the jaw are positive.

In color and shape we will not agree so much. Different colors indicate different industrial processes and the incorporation of colorants. Be sure that the dog does not care much about the shape or color of the feed. The smell and taste will attract him.

The price of the feed

6º The price of a feed.

A 20kg bag of dog food in a hypermarket or store can be found for 10 or 12 euros. Do you think there is anything good in that food? Bread is much more expensive and so is any industrial food. So what’s in that dog food?

Once again we must go to the knowledge that the label gives us. The information of the ingredients and the formula are the only way.

As a guideline, we will say that a feed in a medium or big bag format for less than 3 euros per kg, can be suspicious. In smaller sack presentation formats, prices below 5 euros per kg are also suspicious.

The taste… how well it eats it.

7º The great trap… It eats it very well

Often, we have heard how someone or we ourselves believe in the virtues of a dog food because our dog eats it easily. And like other times when we have switched to a theoretically better feed, the dog did not eat it so easily.

This sometimes happens, as with human food, to make a human food more palatable is easily achieved with more sugar, more salt or more fat. With dog food something similar happens.

With the right chemical flavorings or low quality fats, a dog food is made more palatable.


8º Finally… cereals

There are many and of varied characteristics, but basically we will say that cereals such as wheat or corn are not necessary. They have always been used as fillers to reduce the cost of the recipe. Dogs do not need these carbohydrate sources. In some cases they are responsible for intolerances, allergies, indigestion and many other problems.

Which ones can we find interesting? In some cases oatmeal and in recent times quinoa and chia seeds are incorporated, although we do not pronounce on the matter.

In any case, brown rice for its contribution in fiber, for its low glycemic index and for being a cereal of high digestibility, a powerful carbohydrate and practically hypoallergenic.

Quality content. The formula.

There’s only one way… the formula… the ingredients

What the best dog food should contain

We have already said what allows us to identify a poor quality dog food and we have listed some of the things it should not contain. Now let’s clarify what we should find on the label of a dog food.

Quality protein

Meat and fish. Chicken, duck, venison, lamb, lamb, fish, salmon, sardine, rabbit, pheasant, wild boar, deer… each and every one of them. Each manufacturer chooses according to his preferences. The most common is chicken and generally chosen by many breeders. It is the most common, the most affordable and it is rich in everything a dog needs…

We must demand from a dog food that contains chicken or any other meat that clearly indicates the nature of the meat and the form… chicken meat, fresh duck meat, boneless or dehydrated or hydrolyzed lamb meat, any of the forms is valid. Also whole chickens, because the carcasses, the cartilages and the bones in their measure and proportion, together with the meat, also provide us with other nutrients.

The integration in some formulas of the word hydrolyzed or dehydrated, taking into account that it continues indicating meat of… will mean that it has been able to be submitted to that drying process to be able to transport or store it before being added in the formula. We must value that meat protein with the mention dehydrated or hydrolyzed in a positive way, as long as it clearly mentions what type of meat it is.

There are feeds or diets for dogs in the market that include among their ingredients suspicious percentages of 8%, in the last years, dog food products have been developed that reach 75% of animal protein in their recipes.

What is the most appropriate ratio?

We insist that any assessment we can make in this regard depends primarily on the quality of the protein. For example, no matter how much flour or chicken by-products a dog food contains, it will always be harmful and insufficient, whatever its percentage.

On the other hand, a formula that includes fresh meat suitable for human consumption previously hydrolyzed in a % of 40% will be more than acceptable.

What is the best protein for a dog?

What is the best source of protein to feed a dog?

There is no single source of protein to feed a dog. Many different proteins can complete the best nutrition and complete the formula of a dog food or the product we are going to choose to feed him.

Meat and fish will give us all the necessary contribution to feed our dog. Many dog foods and recipes include one or several of these sources.

Each one can provide us with different things and at different times or in different situations we can opt for one or the other. Get to know them:

Chicken and Turkey

High protein value, easily digestible meat. Flavor very appreciated by dogs, rich in vitamin B, phosphorus, selenium, potassium and sodium.

Properties of reinforcement of the immune and neuronal system, the protein content improves its maintenance and muscle development, the vitamin A contained in chicken helps eye health.

Chicken meat contains Tryptophan, which prevents depressive states and provides comforting sensations.

Chicken and turkey meats are low in fat which will not make them as tasty as others that have a higher fat content -red meat-. Suitable for slimming diets and for older dogs.


Duck meat, like lamb, is characterized by its flavor and its nutritional power.

It has a higher caloric content than chicken meat. Duck meat is widely used in mono-protein diets for dogs with meat allergies. It is hypoallergenic and very appropriate for dogs with food sensitivities or intolerances.

It is a very tasty and aromatic meat that is quickly appreciated by any dog.


Like duck, it is a very potent meat calorically. Very tasty, it easily appeals to any dog’s palate. Also for sensitive stomachs or allergic dogs. Its price is higher than that of chicken, so usually recipes that include lamb will be a little more expensive than those with chicken.

Use lamb in case of sensitivity, intolerance, allergy or for very fine tastes.


Very digestive, with high quality protein. Especially used as an allergen-free diet to treat intolerances or sensitivities.

Easily digestible and low in fat.

Wild boar

High in protein and low in fat and cholesterol. Wild boar meat is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Powerful flavor.


Some people compare deer meat for its properties and benefits to fish because of its high content of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

It is a meat with a high protein value and easy digestion. It is rich in amino acids and rich in antioxidants because the diet of deer includes a very high proportion of red fruits and wild foods.

It is a meat with a low fat content and we find it in the unsaturated form, which is very beneficial.

Beef can be divided in three: Veal, animal of less than 18 months, Cow, older than 18 months and Ox, older than 48 months.


Excellent as a source of protein for adult dogs with normal activity. Some consider it as white meat because of its high nutritional value. It is more expensive than other meats and contains the most protein.

It is a meat without carbohydrates and is a good source of potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, especially B12, niacin, B6 and riboflavin.


Suitable for healthy dogs with normal activity. Meat considered red. It is the most common or the most found in dog feeds or preparations because its price is lower than beef without losing quality, if nutritional contribution. Free of sugars and carbohydrates.

It has less B vitamins than veal and is rich in potassium and zinc.


Not appropriate for a dog with accentuated physical activity. Meat more difficult to find. Low nutritional contribution although it is rich in minerals such as iodine, manganese, zinc and selenium. Suitable in low protein diets, for weight loss or for senior dogs.


Salmon is an excellent source of healthy protein and considered of high biological value due to its natural contribution of omega fatty acids.

It is a fish rich in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Phosphorus, selenium, iodine and potassium, vitamins B6 and B12, D and E and thiamine and niacin stand out.

Highly appreciated by dogs for its flavor and aromatic properties. This flavor is due to its fat content of 12%, fat rich in omega-3 and 6 acids with a protein content of 18%, close to that of beef.


Tuna is an oily fish rich in proteins of high biological value.

It is an important source of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D, B3, B6, B12 and minerals such as selenium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and iron.

Its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids helps protect the cardiovascular system and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Tuna is considered a fatty fish, with a 12% contribution. Tuna is normally used in dog foods combined with other protein sources to balance the nutritional formula of the feed.


Sardine is an affordable and easy to find fish. Within the availability this fish is one of the cheapest options to get a very rich diet in Omega-3.

Sardine in a dog food will give health and beauty to the dog’s coat. The reinforcement of the immune system and cognitive health are also some of the advantages of this fish in the nutrition of our dogs.

Sardines alone will not provide all the dog’s nutritional needs, so we should always find a dog food that combines sardines with other protein sources such as salmon or some meats.

White Fish

These include cod, hake, monkfish or whiting. They are not cheap products and do not provide the amount of calories necessary for normal activity in adult dogs.

They can be used for very low calorie diets or in transitory periods of need to lose weight.

The dog’s diet should be supplemented with other sources of protein.

White fish provide us with most of the positive properties in terms of nutrients and benefits of oily fish.

What other ingredients are beneficial?

Other ingredients to consider in your dog’s food

We have already seen the key importance of proteins and their origin, quality and quantity that we must contemplate in our dog food. But we still have a very important part to complete the recipe.

What other ingredients complete the best dog food?


Cereals are not necessary for any carnivorous animal. In the case of the dog, which is considered an omnivore, the worst way to complement a formula is cereals.

Originally, cereal was incorporated into dog food formulas for production and price reasons. A very cheap carbohydrate is needed to be able to mix and extrude the feed. Cereal was the best candidate.

In particular, cereal such as wheat or corn is not only not necessary, but is responsible for many of the problems in the diet of many dogs as it is often responsible for problems of nutritional imbalance, intolerances or allergies, digestive problems and others.

Rice… always brown rice

Brown rice is a good way to complete your dog’s diet. It is the most suitable carbohydrate to obtain the necessary texture and the necessary nutritional complement that accompanies the protein.

Brown rice is unrefined, has not been subjected to any chemical or industrial process, is hypoallergenic, highly digestible and has a low glycemic index.

Its satiating effect and its mineral and fiber content are very adequate.

Potato or Sweet Potato

Both potato and sweet potato are a quality carbohydrate. Since the carbohydrate is not as necessary for the dog as it is for the production of the feed or as a complement, the potato or sweet potato can be the most suitable.

In particular, sweet potato is much better because of its nutritional value. The also called sweet potato has a lower glycemic index, so the sugar level will be lower.

In this case we will have to consume it in a controlled way, because our dog can gain weight with this type of carbohydrate.

Sweet potato is rich in fiber and very tasty. We should not exceed 10% in the formula of our feed or nutritional recipe.


Lentils, peas or chickpeas are the most commonly used. They are not strictly a carbohydrate, or we should not consider them as such, we should consider these ingredients as vegetable protein as well as carbohydrate for its mixed contribution, which helps us to maintain in optimal conditions tendons, ligaments and musculature of the dog. A feed with the presence of legumes in its formula is much more appropriate than other feeds.

Legumes are a good source of fiber and protein, iron and mineral salts. They will help us to improve the appearance and health of our coat and skin.

This vegetable protein is also necessary for the immune system and cellular repair.

The legumes will have an effect of increasing the dog’s feces, so we will have an increase of the intestinal transit and cleaning of the anal glands. Its high fiber content improves the intestinal activity of the dog and its flora.

Legumes are also suitable in many cases as they are a source of energy while low in calories. Fantastic in situations of overweight or low activity.


More and more manufacturers include fruits in their dog food formulas. The most commonly used are apples and berries… Are they appropriate? Are they a fad?

Fruits are a very good source of vitamins and fiber. They contain an important amount of antioxidants and are a highly digestible food.

Red fruits such as blueberries and wild berries are a very potent source of antioxidants.

Apples and pears are rich in fiber, vitamin A and C and contain antioxidants. They are low in calories and in their % suitable a good complement for the main proteins (meats or fish).


Dogs are not vegetarians and no dog would choose to be vegetarian in the wild.

Vegetables, introduced in the usual diet of a dog, can be beneficial, but always as a complement to their diet and as an added part to their diet, which should always be based on meat.

Zucchini, rich in vitamin A, calcium and minerals, helps the renal health, strengthens the heart and strengthens the bones.

Spinach for its fiber that favors intestinal activity and for its presence of vitamins A, C, E, B and F.

Peas, for their vitamins A and C, strong presence of antioxidants and good source of energy.

Pumpkin, for its intestinal transit, it favors the reduction of constipation, lots of fiber, many antioxidants and diuretic properties.

These and any other vegetable should be included in the recipe in a reduced %. Their presence in the daily amount should be low.

Herbs, flowers and plants

Their presence will always be testimonial, in a very small percentage. Some of them can be an interesting contribution for their benefits. Let’s list them for their properties:

  • Hawthorn: Used to treat heartworm disease.
  • Chamomile: Treatment of vomiting.
  • Turmeric root: anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins and minerals. It acts in the elimination of infections.
  • Aloe Vera: decrease of inflammations, anesthetic and improvement of the immune system and improvement of intestinal problems.
  • Alfalfa: Rich in proteins, fiber, minerals and vitamins A and C.
  • Valerian: Muscle relaxant, insomnia, inflammations and nervousness.
  • Calendula, wound healing, pain relief, infections and burns. Lymphatic drainage, stimulation of the immune system and liver function.
  • Nettle: Reduction of inflammation, anemia, blood purifying, skin detoxification, urinary problems and improves immune system.
  • Dandelion: Powerful antioxidant, improves the immune system, digestion and kidney function and stimulates the liver and elimination of wastes.

Flavorings and preservatives

Discard any food with the presence of chemical references or strange identifications that accompany the word flavoring, flavor enhancer or preservative.

On the contrary, a good feed with high quality proteins, fresh meat or dehydrated meat are already the guarantee of flavor so that the dog eats it easily.

On the other hand, rosemary, thyme, green tea, chicory root, chamomile, fennel can be the best natural preservative for the feed as well as providing powerful antioxidant agents that are also interesting for the dog.

Other ingredients

There are a multitude of ingredients that we can find in formulated dog food. Many feeds have included them for years, others are more recent and some experts consider that many of them are subject to fads or somewhat “absurd” trends.

It is very important, when we choose the feed for our dog or when we are thinking about the best feeding formula for a dog, that we always have in mind the ingredients or qualities that we should NOT accept because of quality or because, directly, they are going to harm his health.

Regarding the ingredients that we see included in a recipe or formula, in short, we will have to consider that each ingredient can respond to a benefit or a contribution.

Let’s see the most common and that act as a complement. (We must take into account that the presence of these ingredients in our feed, will be totally complementary and will not have an important degree of participation, we will always find them in very small quantities and always in the last ingredients due to their % of presence in the recipe.

Mussel or green-lipped mussel:

Very accepted in recent years. It is beneficial for the regeneration of cartilage in those dogs with severe joint problems.

Seaweed or sea plants:

Seaweed improves pigmentation of coat, muzzle, pads. Important source of minerals and act as a potent anti-plaque/anti-tartar that promotes dental hygiene in dogs.


Some feed recipes are incorporating it in their formulas. Some laboratories have synthesized this ingredient and offer it as an added complement. This is the base food of the largest animal in the world, the whale.

It is a very rich source of omega-3 acids.

Among the benefits of krill in dog food are the improvement of the cardiovascular system, control of cholesterol and triglycerides, relief of inflammation processes, cellular and cognitive health, kidney health and therefore, blood cleansing and a powerful healer of the skin and coat that will look healthier and shinier.

Salmon oils or fish oils

It has always been used as a supplement that added to feed or to the dog’s daily diet, it provided the properties it has.

Nowadays, many brands, not only those recipes based on fish, incorporate fish oils in their feed or prepared dog food formulas.

Its most outstanding benefits are its powerful contribution of Omega-3 and 6, as a healer of the immune system, joints, skin, hair, reduction of blood pressure, helps fight overweight, renal health… it is one of the most powerful nutritional complexes that we can add to our dog’s food.

Chondroprotective agents

Natural cartilage, clam extract, green-lipped mussel, pork cartilage, salmon, sardine, chicken skin.

If a good dog food or that dog food formula you have chosen includes these ingredients, we are making an additional contribution to their joint protection, which will benefit us in the future.

Obviously, if our dog suffers from a chronic or accentuated pathology related to the joints, our veterinarian may choose to add a daily supplement.

Vitamins and minerals

We do not need them as an added supplement. Nor are they necessary under normal circumstances or in an unnatural form. If our feed is well formulated and balanced with the doses of protein and quality that preserves all its properties, supplemented with ingredients to complete the formula, our dog will be receiving the varied and necessary dose for a complete nutrition.

Prebiotics or probiotics

We can find them in the composition of ingredients with FOS or MOS, although the best way to obtain these components is through ingredients such as microalgae or beet pulp, chicory root or yeast.

How to quickly detect VERY low quality feed?

Example 1: National feed, for sale in pet stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, agro-shops and garden centers.

Packaged in a very colorful bag, with high quality pictures, with phrases such as: developed by veterinarians, with high protein content, with meat and vegetable ingredients, with vitamins and minerals and some slogan that pretends to recommend the feed as very suitable to cover all the nutritional and energetic needs of our dog.

At first glance, anyone could, without knowing the price, think that the product we are seeing seems to be of reasonable quality and adequate to cover all our nutritional needs.

Let’s look at the ingredients:

  1. First ingredient “cereals” as is, without further indication.
  2. Second ingredient “meat”, as is, without further indication.
  3. Third ingredient, vegetable by-products.

We have no idea what it contains. Although the manufacturer indicates that this formulation contains 20% protein or more, or less, we do not even know what this protein is, nor its quality.

Totally discarded for lack of information. Impossible that it is a quality feed.

The price, 20kg, 22.5 euros in an online store that will take the feed home without paying transport if you buy two bags. Selling price less than 1€/kg

Let’s break down that price: Of those 22.5 euros you pay, approximately 2.5 euros are VAT, about 3.5 euros will correspond to transport, approximately between 3 and 5 euros are the seller’s profit and approximately 5 euros more will be the manufacturer’s profit and 2.5 euros for packaging, handling, transport and storage.

How much is left for the cost of the feed? Approximately 5 euros, if we have made a mistake in the calculations it will not be much more, maybe 7 euros.

In any case this feed has a total production cost of 0,25€ per kg.

A 30kg dog will eat between 400 and 500 grams.

We will be feeding our dog with a daily cost of 12 euro cents a day.

What do you think? 12 cents a day to fully feed our dog… maybe we are not going to give him a lot of quality, right?

Maybe at that price we are actually harming his health?

Even if you are not an expert you may conclude that it is not a good feed.

In our opinion it is not, the consumption of this food for a long time is not going to bring us any health benefit, on the contrary.

We have no doubts, it is a very low quality feed that will have a negative impact on the health, welfare, longevity and veterinary visits of our dog.

Example 2: Own-brand feed in a large chain of specialized pet stores. On sale only in that chain of stores and on Amazon.

Surely we think that being the own brand of an expert chain, we will not find a low quality feed.

Price, 15kg, 30€, 2€/kg. Approximate production value around 1€/kg.

Ingredients: Dehydrated meat (20%) although in reality the first ingredient is cereals, which make up at least 36% of the formula. Complemented with few ingredients but with an acceptable additional composition of oils, liver, animal fats, yeast and some fruit and vegetables.

At first sight, by the bag, its commercial information and the way the product is presented, it may seem to be a quality feed, but we think it is not.

It is a product with a clear defect of protein and an excess, 36% of cereals, totally unnecessary for the dog and that do not contribute any benefit for its health or its need of protein or energetic contribution.

On the protein side it would be difficult to save it, but in general it is not very recommendable.

How to detect a good feed?

Example 3, feed from a brand considered one of the best in the world. This North American brand bases its strategy on the origin of the ingredients and the cooking processes. Price for 11kg – 60 euros. – Selling price 5.5 euros kg.

Ingredients: Fresh chicken (14%), dehydrated chicken (14%), whole red lentils, whole green peas, whole chickpeas, fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart) (5.5%), dehydrated herring (5%), chicken fat (5%), dehydrated turkey (5%), eggs (4%), raw flounder (4%), fish oil (3%), whole green lentils, whole yellow peas, pea fiber, pea starch, raw turkey liver (0.5%), salt, dried seaweed, fresh whole apples, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole carrots, fresh whole pears, fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole zucchini, fresh whole zucchini, fresh beet greens, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh turnip greens, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole Saskatoon berries, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, milk thistle, rose hips, turmeric.

In our opinion the formula and ingredient list are impeccable. A 61% of ingredients of good quality protein origin, fresh or dehydrated meat, which is totally valuable, complemented with various meats and fish, eggs and oils.

The presence of vegetable protein, fruits and vegetables, completes in an unbeatable way.

All the active components that we have mentioned in this article. Each element contributes a necessary part in the complete nutrition.

In the formula the manufacturer clearly transmits his expertise, his knowledge about food and his ability to work with so many ingredients.

Impeccable, totally recommended. Maximum quality, high price… difficult to improve.


Example 4, Feed from national manufacturer, without cereals with salmon and venison with sweet potato 61,50 euros the bag of 15kg. – 4 euros / kg.

Fresh salmon (27%), dehydrated venison (24%), sweet potato (16%), yellow peas, chicken fat (7%, preserved with natural tocopherols, source of vitamin E), apple pulp, dehydrated beet pulp, pea protein, salmon oil (2%), flaxseed (1.5%), dehydrated spinach, pumpkin, dehydrated carob, tomato pulp, seaweed.

Very complete formula, simple but with all the contributions of good quality protein and in an excellent balance between meat, fish and sweet potato. Without cereals and with all the essential supplements.

More than 60% of quality animal protein. Grain-free, supplemented with sweet potato, peas, apple and beet. With active components such as oils, seeds, fruit and vegetables. Presence of algae, carob and tomato.

In our opinion an impeccable formula, with the main ingredient in importance that is the protein in origin meat and fish, with the advantages of both and with the best existing source of carbohydrate, the sweet potato.

100% recommended for adult dogs. Maximum quality, best price.


A good dog food, a good barf diet, a good homemade food or a can or ration of dehydrated dog food can be, indistinctly, the best food for our dog… PROVIDED THAT it complies with the basic precept that we have exposed in this extensive article:

The best food for our dog is that which undoubtedly contains the ingredients in their proper quantity, quality and variety. You knew that, of course.

In practice:

– Between 40% and 70% of fresh or dehydrated meat or fish protein in the total ingredients.

– Single or multiple sources of different proteins.

– No flours, no by-products and no ingredients we don’t understand.

– No corn and no wheat or minimal presence of some starches.

– Supplemented mainly with brown rice, sweet potato, legumes, vegetables, apples or pears, red fruits, some roots or peas.

– With some functional ingredients at the end of the list for complementary contributions as mentioned above.

And finally, common sense will also help us to choose a food product. The price, the recommendation of some experts, the information available on the networks, the reading of reliable information will also help us a lot.