How We Rate Dog Food


The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about how we rate the dog foods we review on our website.

What method do you use to analyze each dog food?

Although there are many ways to rate a dog food, we’ve settled on using the only information we feel we can reliably trust.

We read and interpret government-regulated and standardized pet food labels. Nothing more. And we do this in two simple steps.

1. We study the ingredients list
2. We estimate the meat content

How important is meat content to your ratings?

We recognize that protein fed in excess of the minimum nutritional requirement of an animal is simply burned as energy.

However, we also believe in the commonsense logic of mimicking a dog’s natural ancestral diet — in modeling a dog food after what an animal would naturally consume in the wild.

So, we shamelessly favor dog foods rich in meat.

How often do you update your reviews?

Although it’s our goal to maintain the accuracy of our reviews, it’s impossible for anyone to keep all the information for thousands of products up-to-date on a daily basis.

However, we do try to revisit and update each article at least once every 18 months — or more frequently whenever we’re alerted by a reader or a company of a product or recipe change.

How can you be sure a product label is accurate?

The United States Food and Drug Administration regulates all pet food labels. Taken directly from the FDA website

“The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

Any manufacturer breaching this rule would be in direct violation of U.S. Federal Law.

Why are the protein and fat percentages in your reviews different from those on the product’s label?

Because all foods (even human food) contain various amounts of moisture, it would be unfair to compare the protein and fat figures of different products.

So, we use “dry matter basis” to report the nutrient content of every dog food we review. This method mathematically removes all the water from each product.

To learn more, be sure to read my article, “Dry Matter Basis… the Only Fair Way to Compare Dog Foods“.

How do you determine the star rating of a product?

We tend to dislike dog foods made with low quality plant or animal by-products. And we downgrade recipes that use controversial chemicals or plant-based protein boosters.

Yet because we respect a dog’s natural carnivorous bias, we shamelessly favor dog foods rich in meat.

What would a top-rated dog food look like?

In general, a five star dog food is one that is high in meat content and free of any by-products, suspicious chemicals or plant-based protein boosters.

Why don’t you consider the source of a food’s ingredients?

Like you, we truly wish there was a reliable way to know the source of each and every ingredient in a dog food.

But unfortunately, there isn’t.

Not only do most pet food companies conceal the origin of their ingredients, they also change the sources as well as the quality of those ingredients on a regular basis.

And they’re not required to advise consumers (or reviewers) when they do.

Why is the origin of each ingredient so difficult to pin down?

Many raw materials used to make dog foods are bought and sold in commercial-sized lots on the open market.

Bulk prices vary. And so does quality.

From day to day, it’s not unusual for an ingredient to come from a different farm, a different storage facility or a different state.

Even a different country.

Do you test the dog foods you review?

As a small, independent website, The Dog Food Advisor does not have the resources needed to test the thousands of dog food recipes reviewed on our site.

In fact, not even the U. S. Food and Drug Administration has the resources to tackle such a mammoth job.

So, we must rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website.

As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the test results from whatever specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Are third party test results posted on the web considered reliable?

Each dog food you buy is only as good as the last batch from which it was made.

And unfortunately, due to variations in raw materials, processing conditions and ingredient sources, finished dog foods can vary notably from batch to batch.

To be truly useful, tests should be scientifically conducted by high quality commercial laboratories using samples collected from multiple batches.

So, relying on well-meaning websites and other third parties that publish single batch test results on statistically insignificant sample sizes can be extremely misleading to consumers.

Why don’t you consider the additional information found on product packaging and company websites?

Unfortunately, company information can be biased. And much of it is only minimally regulated by the government.

That’s why we’re reluctant to simply re-broadcast a manufacturer’s marketing message. We fear it could be misleading and provide a false sense of security to our readers.

Why don’t you consider a company’s recall history or other news events when you rate a product?

So far, we’ve never been able to find a single scientific study proving the predictive ability of any (human or pet) food recall to reliably forecast another. Most recall events appear to be completely random (and unpredictable).

Since 2008, our ratings have had nothing whatsoever to do with recall histories, legal findings, rumors, lawsuits, customer service incidents, ingredient sources, processing temperatures, feeding style biases (raw versus dry) or any other opinion-based variable.

Each dog food on our website is rated based upon comparison with other products in its own relevant category.

Dry foods are rated based upon comparison with other dry foods. And that same standard applies to wet and raw foods, too.

Don’t you need to be a veterinarian to read a pet food label?

Absolutely not. That would be like saying only a licensed medical doctor is qualified to read the side panel on a box of corn flakes.

Although some believe that to judge a dog food label one must possess a long list of educational accomplishments and veterinary credentials after his name, nothing could be further from the truth.

Anyone with a little dedication, a realistic knowledge about product labeling and the willingness to do a reasonable amount of research can learn to read a pet food label.

Why does my dog do better (or worse) on a specific product than your star rating would suggest?

Since there’s no way for us (or anyone) to know how every dog will respond to a particular product, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will deliver specific results.

Each review is based upon government-regulated label information, ingredient quality and meat content only. And nothing else.

Where can I find information about what to expect from a specific dog food?

Our reviews have nothing to do with results. That’s why we created a 2-way blog… to allow readers to share their real life experiences and results with others.

So, for a better idea about what to expect with any dog food, be sure to read the “Comments” section at the end of each review.

I can’t find a review for a specific dog food on your website. But I am able to locate a review of the brand. Why?

In most cases, we rate dog foods by selecting a typical product to represent the full product line. We only rarely rate each individual product.

You can find a list of all the products included in a particular review near the beginning of each article.

Since so many readers are complaining about problems with a particular dog food, shouldn’t you change your rating?

Our reviews and ratings have nothing to do with results and are based solely upon the label.

To see why we intentionally ignore everything else, please be sure to read our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.

Do you award a higher rating to dry, canned or raw dog foods?

All dog foods are judged against their peers. Dry to dry. Wet to wet. And raw to raw. When assigning star ratings, we never compare one type with another.

Is The Dog Food Advisor sponsored by a manufacturer?

Absolutely not.

We never accept money, gifts or free merchandise from any pet food manufacturer in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings. To learn more, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

  • Sharon Louise Carbone

    Hi, I have started using Instinct Raw the lamp patties .. my frenchies love it but one has come up with lumps all under his skin.. i though it might have been mosquito bites.. could it be this new food.. it has only been 6 days.

  • Amanda

    Hi! We just got a puppy and are really appreciating your site – thank you for doing this!

    Have you ever considered doing one for cats??? 🙂

  • John Dozier

    WOW! Thanks for the info. I have been feeding him Orijen Original for the past 6 months so I think I will stick to that. He loves it

  • theBCnut

    I personally haven’t used them because when I started checking into them, they failed all of my standards. They use denaturants in their meat, which is unquestionably an automatic fail. But then they have a rep for using roadkill, which they are licensed to remove in their state. And they won’t answer questions.
    Try looking into Hare Today or My Pet Carnivore.

  • John Dozier

    I am looking into raw for my beagle. Specifically ‘Blue Ridge Beef” brand dog food. Anyone have any experience with this brand I would love any input. Thanks

  • Taunia A

    Would love to see a review on Boka! I think its a great alternative to a lot of grocery store brands! I have used it in the past on my foster dogs.

  • Hi Herc’s Mom,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve added Boka to our To Do list. You should see a new review and analysis soon.

    Thanks again for the suggestion.

  • Amateria

    From my own personal opinion based on the ingredients I would rate it a 4, it only appears to have 1 source of meat and appears to be grain heavy, however I like the ingredients as a whole (I’ve seen some truly bad ones(this isn’t one of them).

    I hope that Mike can review it himself so you get a more professional opinion from him rather than a personal random one from me.

  • Herc’s Mom

    Hi Mike! I couldn’t find my dog food on here and was wondering how it stacks up. I would love to feed the 5 star foods, but I’m feeding a 130lb giant! I understand you probably have a huge list, but I’m hoping you can add my food to the list.

  • Crazy4cats

    Haha! I don’t think you are kidding! ;0The Editor’s Choice List names the top brands. Orijen is made by Champion Pet Foods. In addition, there are two separate lists for puppies, including the one for large breed pups. Hope that helps!

  • Amy

    The transition went well, they were transitioned completely in about 9 days. I thought I saw just the Orijen large breed puppy food on Editor’s list, but could be wrong. Anyway, they absolutely LOVE Orijen, and my 13 year old pug is super finicky. My Shichon is getting neutered today, just went out and bought him a new bed to convalesce in…after all, he is a male so I’m sure he’ll be milking it for all it’s worth……JUST KIDDING!!!! (sort of 🙂 lol..

  • sandy

    Here is the FAQ page for Editor’s Choice:

    EC foods need a minimum of 4 stars. Both product lines of Champion Pet Food (Orijen and Acana) are on EC currently.

    The Editor’s Choice is not just about the star rating. It includes many factors.

    How is the food transitioning going? I like to transition in steps. Pick a food with a higher star but not going to the extreme of some 5 star foods right away. I start with a 3-3.5 star food for fosters and then go to 4-4.5 and so on.

  • Amy

    I am new here, as of today. I have just switched my 13 year old Pug to Orijen Senior dry food, and my 6 month old “Shichon” to Orijen puppy dry food. Before I had them both eating Diamond Grain Free “All life stages” dry food. According to the reviews here, Orijen is a good food. My question is this (I haven’t found the answer anywhere on the site so I’m asking ya’ll) Why do many of the Editor’s Choice foods have a less than 5 star rating? I’m confused, I thought 5 star meant the best, which Orijen is, in both of the above categories, yet it does not appear on the Editor’s Choice lists and I’ve noticed that many on the Editor’s Choice list have fewer than 5 stars. Thanks!

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Here is a dog feeding calculator:
    You will probably have to modify it some to fit your dog, but it is a good place to start.

  • Barb Yelenik

    How much would I feed my 5lb Maltese a day

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I think the star rating does have some input from the guaranteed analysis/meat content, and when appropriate, the fat to protein ratios, but the ingredients probably make up the biggest part.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Yeah, they might have to change the format slightly. Like a page with a list of links to each individual variation within a line. Or, perhaps a tab on the single page that simply switches the information below for each variation. I’m under the assumption that the star ratings are calculated based on the ingredients alone. If so, that’s something that could be auto-filled too. The guaranteed analysis numbers may still need to be entered, but such a thing wouldn’t be too time consuming.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Interesting idea! I could definitely imagine that speeding things up for Dr. Mike and his crew, though it would still need to be reviewed by a human, and the number of stars would probably need to be chosen by a human as well, especially when taking into account multiple flavors/formulas of a line of food.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Since it seems to me that this site requires manually filling in or creating each products page individually it could be helpful to simply write a simple software program that fills in a page by simply cutting and pasting the list of ingredients into a single box. There is definitely a system in use that attempts to use a uniform language and rating system. Such a program could be used by visitors to the site to evaluate a product that may not be listed. It certainly would reduce man hours a great deal as well as allow the site to cover more products and revisit them more frequently. To even cover each individual variation of a product.

    Just a suggestion, I’m not a programmer, but it occurs to me that it wouldn’t take too much to write such a simple program.

  • Lindi Harris

    Are you going to rate Kasiks soon?

  • Laura Duggan

    Hello, would you consider adding Canadian Naturals to your list? I feed raw and home made, but I work with a rescue and we are looking for a kibble we can confidently recommend to adopters. Thanks in advance, Laura

  • Colleen Goodreau

    I recently found out that my Golden Retriever has multiple bladder stones and will need surgery. I was feeding her Orijen and then switched to Lifetime both containing 6-8% Ash. They will need to test the stones to officially determine the cause but what should the Ash content be? and it looks like Acana doesn’t contain any ash? Would that have been more appropriate to use? (She’ll probably be on a specially diet anyway but I’m just curious….)

  • debm

    I use Blue Buffalo Life Protection formula for my senior German Shepherds. What is yoyr opinion?

  • Brian Johnson

    Thanks for the clarification!!

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Brian-
    I’m assuming that you are looking at the American Natural Premium dry dog food. It is rated 4 stars, but the varieties that have a different number next to it in parenthesis are different. So, yes, the others are all 4 stars. The differences are usually due to protein levels in the different varieties. The lower stars usually having a little less protein or some questionable ingredients. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  • Brian Johnson

    New to the forum, and have a question about the ratings (ex. below):

    Exhibitor’s Choice
    Endurance Plus (5 stars)
    Sensitive Care (3.5 stars)
    Grain Free Duck Meal and Pork Meal
    Grain Free Ocean Fish Meal and Potato

    Can I assume that the 5 stars is the highest rated recipe and the 3.5 is the lowest rated recipe, with the remaining recipes falling somewhere in between the upper and lower rating?

    Any help would be appreciated… thanks!!

  • Angie

    Hey LabRawesome, the Lamb/Salmon are 75 /25lbs and Turkey are 65/25 lbs. Please keep it in mind that I am in Ontario, Canada.

    Hopefully this helps,

  • LabsRawesome

    Hey Betsy, thanks for the info. 🙂

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Labs,

    I had been considering it for a while myself and the only place I found it was For example, the turkey is $66.52 for 24.8 lbs and its 460 kcals / cup.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hey Angie, I just took a look at their canned foods. They are 90% meat, definitely 5 star food as well. I would love to try the whole line, but it’s not available in my area. Do you know price/bag size? 🙂

  • Angie

    Thank you, Mike.

  • Angie

    Thank you LabRawesome, I will add it to my rotation.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Angie, I would not hesitate to add Boreal kibble into my rotation. With protein @ 30% and judging from the ingredient list, I’d say it’s a 5 star kibble. 🙂

  • Hi Angie. Thanks to your suggestion, I’ve now added Boreal to our To Do list. However, due to our current backlog, it could be a while before Sandy and I get to it. Thanks again for the tip.

  • Angie

    Can you review Boreal Dog Food made in Canada but I am sure its available in the States. I am looking to add it to my rotation.

    Thank you,

  • Guest

    for back up food orijens freeze dried is a good food to have on hand and some of their freeze dried treats a one year shelf life

  • Pattyvaughn

    Feeding the same dog food over long periods of time may cause allergies. The way dog food is processed and stored likely killed any probiotics that were once put in it. And old Omega 3s are thought to be worse than no Omega 3s at all. Bone meal is not the best way to get calcium for sure. The best way to ensure the health of your dog is to rotate through a number of good quality foods, add your own probiotics and animal based Omega 3s.

  • JoAnneTea

    I am also interested in having a backup dog food in case of emergencies. I wasn’t impressed with the Pet’s Banquet because it has corn as a main ingredient, which may cause allergies and isn’t very digestible. I don’t see a source of Omega 3 fatty acids. I’m not sure Bone Meal is nutritious. I like to see a prebiotic and probiotics for a healthy immune system and digestion. I found Amazon carried Legacy Premium dog food, but its seems expensive. The ingredients are listed at Its better quality, but lacks probiotics. Instead, I chose to buy mylar one gallon bags and oxygen absorbers to preserve the same high quality dog food my furbaby is already used to eating.

  • Linda Hallinan

    The Act is this country’s basic food and drug law. It defines food as
    “articles used for food or drink for man or other animals…and articles used
    for components of any such article.” There is no requirement that pet foods have
    pre-market approval by FDA. The Act does require that pet foods, like human
    foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful
    substances, and be truthfully labeled. Additionally, canned pet foods must be
    processed in conformance with low acid canned food regulations (Title 21,
    Code of Federal Regulations, Part 113, abbreviated as 21 CFR 113).

  • Dave

    Would love to see a review on Pet’s Banquet. It’s emergency dog food for storage ( Thank you! 🙂

  • Rhonda

    Could you review the grain free, limited ingredient version of Zignature? Or tell me if it rates the same as the regular version? I am searching for a grain free duck food that doesn’t include turkey and/or fish and this one fits that bill. I do not want to feed anything less than a 4 Star food (and I am supplementing with raw). I would appreciate input on this diet.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Totally! Someone else mentioned Boreal a couple of weeks ago too, and I think Dr Mike responded to that comment to say it’s on his radar screen. In any case, it’s probably on his radar screen. I do know he has quite a backlog though, and trying to get the Editors Choice list out too, so it may be a while before we see it.

    Your comment reminds me of when I first came onto DFA, and it seemed like all the reviews were of 1-2 star brands, and I was always wondering why Dr Mike kept reviewing the “bad ones” when all I really wanted to hear about were the 4 and 5 star ones 🙂 …the “positive ones” ..until it dawned on me that it’s probably actually the 1-2 star ones that are the most important ones to get out there to effect change, because it helps people see that what they are feeding isn’t very good for their dog, etc 🙂 Fwiw, I am sure that Boreal’s review, when it comes out, will be far more “positive” than “negative”.

  • Douglas Cope

    Good point. The review doesn’t necessarily need to be positive. I just bought the bag and suggested it for review.

  • Storm’s Mom

    With 29% protein being the highest of any of the Boreal varieties, I wouldn’t consider this “adhering to the ancestral model of protein versus carbs” at all. The ancestral model calls for about 56% protein, see: as well as a variety of sites that come up when googling it.

    I agree that otherwise it looks good..probably a 4 start on here…and if/when it becomes available out here (I’m in BC), I may give it a try.. with a canned topper for additional protein, though.

  • Douglas Cope

    Hello. I just ran across a new to me dog food called Boreal that claims to adhere to the ancestral model of protien versus carbs. It is made in Canada. reading the bag, it looked promising so I bought a bag of the lamb mixture to try. Perhaps worth looking at as a possible review.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It says on their website that their formulas are AAFCO compliant. It has to be on the bag too.

  • Does it not say on the bag?

  • S Cush

    I just bought hi-tec naturals. My dogs love it. But I am wondering if it is AFFCO approved.

  • M.Stewart

    I would also like to see a review of the Lifetime line of dog foods. They market their food as corn,wheat, and by-product free, all for a very reasonable price compared to other foods such as Fromm’s. It would be interesting to know if they would be rated on the same level quality-wise, because then the choice comes down to price – which would lead to Lifetime taking the win.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hmm…for my dogs I’d go Alpaca just because I’ve never come across it and they’ve never eaten it before but rabbit is great too – my dogs love rabbit, especially when I can get them whole rabbits. Either would be worth a try.

  • Red

    Haha, you guys get lots of nifty raw companies in the states; save some awesomeness for us! I’ve been debating whether to try Carnivora or SM first. As we’ve discussed before, she’s not doing her best on Nature’s Variety. Alpaca VS Rabbit?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I love Carnivora – I’ve ordered their supplements in the past (I especially like the Earth Greens). I wish I could get their raw food in the states. Springs Meadows looks pretty good too – Alpaca, yum.

  • Red
  • Red

    It’s sold in only two places in Canada as far as I know. I often send customers to DFA to help them make a new food decision, and just thought this would be a new one to include.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I have never heard of this brand, looks like a pretty good food though. I don’t think it’s sold here in the states. I’m going to guess the chicken and salmon formulas would be 5 stars and the lamb formula would be 4 stars.

  • Red

    Hi Mike. If you’re short on new dog foods to review:

    Thanks 😉

  • ownerofhappydog

    What are your qualifications for rating dog foods?

  • Melissaandcrew


    A little confused here. If she is supposed to do research on what flavor food YOUR dog likes best, then you simply need to buy a variety of foods and try them for your dog-recording the results. She could then research each ingredient in the food, and do a chart on “good ingredients” and “bad ingredients” and their effects on the body, and what proper nutrition, kcals  etc are needed for your dog to be healthy weight etc.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Does her research have to be on flavor preferences?  Could it be on why they add certain ingredients to the food, which ingredients are considered flavor enhancers versus nutrition?

  • StacieC

    My daughter is doing a science fair project on what flavor canned food our dog likes best.  She needs to do research on this but we can’t find any research on flavor preferences.  Do you have any suggestions or know of any websites to get some facts?

  • Shawna

    Those who smoke know the risks though… I’m quite certain that if those with sick and dead dogs knew there was a risk with these treats they would have avoided them..

  • steph

     its really up to the owners on how much they offer to their dogs. your comment was the almost the same as, my uncle died from lung cancer. why do they sell cigarettes.. chicken jerky wasn’t a necessary part of their diet, yet you continued to feed it on a daily bases.

  • Joannzp

    We fed our dogs Alex (8yr old Corgi) and Kingsley (5yr old Sheltie) 1/2 chicken jerkey treat  per day.  Alex died from liver failure and Kingsley got very sick but we were able to save him in September 2012.  Why do they still allow these treats to remain on the shelves!

  • Shawna

    Betty gates ~~ Not sure who your post is addressed to but I have some info..

    The FDA did a review of foods taken from grocery stores in one city in the US several years back.  The FDA discovered that the ingredients meat and bone meal, beef and bone meal, animal fat and animal digest CAN be contaminated with petobarbital from euthanized animals.  However, they did DNA testing on those samples and found no horse, dog or cat DNA.  Guessing that leaves dairy cattle and zoo animals..  Additionally since they only tested foods in one area it is possible that rendering plants providing those same foods to other areas of the country may include euthanized pets.  They do know (its on video) that euthanized animals are rendered.

    So, any food using any of the 4 ingredients potentially could have pento in it and that pento may come from euthanized animals.  One AAFCO (I think it was) official admitted to pets being rendered into dog food in an interview (video interview — I think Mike has the video here on DFA).

    OHHH forgot, Susan Thixton of the Truth About Pet Food website has a quote/link to the EPA’s website showing for absolute proof that euthanized animals from “animal shelters” are being used to make pet food.   Right there in black and white on a “government” website (which Susan links to in her article)..

  • betty gates


  • Truman Schrock

    when a person takes a little extra time and learns just a few of the basic facts you soon can see the benefits of feeding a quality pet food, I find these reviews to be very helpful, Thank Dr Mike for all the hard work you do & have done

  •  I had a few minutes and looked it up.

    Protein 21%
    Fat 9%

    Ingredients : Corn Meal, Wheat Middlings, Meat and Bone Meal, Animal and Vegetable
    Fat, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Brewers Yeast, Natural
    Flavors, Corn Gluten Meal, Salt, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper
    Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A
    Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12
    Supplement,  Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K
    Activity), Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine
    Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid,
    Choline Chloride, Biotin, Vegetable Oil, (Preserved with Calcium
    Propionate, Citric Acid, BHA, BHT).

    They claim so I’ll quote “Trust Southern States. For nearly 100 years, we’ve provided only the very best in animal nutrition.”   

    Ummmm I hope people don’t read that and trust them because looking at the ingredient list alone it doesn’t look like they are providing the best of anything for dogs!   I don’t think I need Mike to say how this one will rate, I think I could take a good guess and be on target.  

  • cheryl179

    Hi Mike,

    What is your opinon on the grain-free food from this company?


  • Hi John,

    Good news. After visiting these links you sent me I’m finally able to locate the product information for Southern States. 

    However, due to our current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before Sandy and I get to it.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to find these important links.

  • Hi John,

    I’d love to review Southern States Naturals dog food. However, I’m unable to locate complete product information for this brand on the company’s website.

    So, unfortunately, I’m unable to evaluate Southern States Naturals at this time.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • John

    Do you have any information on Southern States Naturals Brand dog food?

  • InkedMarie

    Pro Plan has already been reviewed…. look under Purina, there are four Pro Plans that have been reviewed. They’re 2.5, 3 or one 4 star

  • Mgmnancy126

    what about Proplan?

  • Conniel

    FreeHand 4 Energize Grain Free (5 stars) it is for us. Thank you so much Mike! I love their mission and hope they are immensely successful! 

  • Hi Conniel,

    Finally, Sandy and I got FreeHand posted. They certainly have a commendable mission.

  • Conniel

    I keep checking back everyday in hopes of seeing your review on FreeHand!

  • Kim

    I would like to know if you have a veterinary nutritionist involved in the review of the products. Also when considering the “meat content” do you factor in that ingredients are listed in the preprocessed weight.

  • Savedbyraw

    Will you please rate Answers Pet Food Raw diet?

  • Conniel

    Any results on FreeHand Mike? 

  • guest

    I’d love to see Mike’s advisory as well! 

  • Conniel

    Wonderful news, thanks so much. How long does the process take and will you post it to FB? Or, do we just keep checking back with the website? Paws crossed we have good news!

  • Hi Conniel,

    I’ve already been in contact with Freehand and they have already made arrangements to get this information to me. Hope this helps.

  • Conniel

    Sorry Mike, can you tell me where they should send the information?

  • Conniel

    Thanks Mike, I’ll send your reply to FreeHand! Really appreciate all you do!

  • Hi Conniel,

    I still haven’t heard back from the company. I need the Guaranteed Analysis from their labels. Yet the information is not posted on the website.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Conniel

    Hi Mike, have you received the information you need to rate FreeHand dog food yet? Looking forward to seeing how they stack up – hoping for good results!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Cervi_jean, Merrick  is 100% China free.

  • Hi Cervi_jean,

    I agree. Country of Origin could always be helpful to us for ratings. However, where does one go to find such proprietary information?

    Federal Law does not require manufacturers to disclose such information.

    You may wish to read these two articles to get a better understanding of the issue facing us:

    Still Think Your Dog’s Food Is 100% China Free?
    The Problem with Dog Food Reviews

    Hope this helps.

  • Cervi_jean

    For all of your food reviews, it should be added in where these company obtain their vitamins and minerals — and I’m including the high-end foods. So far, I have found only a few who do not get them from China. I don’t care how ‘safe’ they say it is or how many so-called ‘experts’ they have checking on the plants. If there is Melamine in baby food, do you really think they pay attention to what goes into pet food? Personally, no foods, treats or toys from China or numerous other countries passes the lips of my pets. Buyer beware.

  • Debtee88

    This could be severe yeast overgrowth, or it could be early Cushings or a similar problem. Has he had a senior blood panel done? If possible, I would do that. If that is not feasible, I would at least get him onto a 5-star food as per this site, and stop all toxins that are considered ‘normal’ (i.e., vaccines, heartworm, most flea meds unless absolutely necessary), and see if a couple of months of better nutrition and no toxicity added help him start to improve. If this IS yeast gone wild (from a diet with high carbs, i.e. more than about 45% carbs), you should see at least a BIT of improvement within 3-6 weeks. Also, a shampoo like Eqyss Micro-Tek is VERY soothing and is antifungal, so can help the external problem for a couple of days or so at a time. (And sorry, I think Iams sucks, the food you are feeding is mainly OATS and only 19% protein, it will keep stressing your dog’s system if his problem is excessive carbs creating excessive yeast. You need a food with about 32-35% protein and maybe 40-45% carbs max. Right now your dog is trying to survive on about 70% carbs!! Poor thing, their systems are totally not built for that!)

    You might want to check for great expert nutritional help, but first try giving your dog a good nutritional balance that dogs are meant to thrive on, and see how he does. I have had some grooming clients notice improvement in just 1-3 weeks, but it’s more obvious in 4-6 weeks. Two clients were going to have their dogs put to sleep due to the unresolved problems, and were thrilled at what ‘correct’ food did!! 

  • Hi Ed K,

    I agree. Nutreco dog foods – Wholesome Blend and Lifetime – do indeed look very interesting. All of them are on my To Do list for future analysis.

    Sandy and I are planning to get to them in the near future. So, be sure to check back soon.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ed K

    This companies foods are not on the review . . can anyone tell me why? . .they’re at least 5 star

  • Linda

    Hi our lab had lost patches of hair had sores on her and diarrea and even vomiting ,We even went down to a two item food.. duck and potato, still no improvments .So i paid the two hundred dollars for the allergy test and she is allergic to corn ,wheat, rice potatoes, brewers yeast ,,kelp,pork.So it give you the foods that do not contain what the dog is allergic to there is one on the market it is Halo spots stew …So i feed that and i also cook turkey, chicken  barley , peas carrots i do cooking all day or two days then we shred the meat we do everything up in three day supplies and seal a meal it and freeze it i take out 1, 3 day serving at a time and keep that refrigerated you cant take out aweeks worth it starts to get bacteria then they get sick just like we would , and i add that to the Halo so they have some crunch and some very great homemade food i use no salt or any seasoning …the great thing also about paying for the allergy tests it told us what grasses she is allergic to what bushes trees and weeds ,even rodent urine or dropping, which she is also allergic to ..since i paid that 2 hundred dollars we are only going to the vet for updates on shots and no more skin problems no more diarrhea ,no more ear infections or hot spots .. it was well worth it and after 1 1/2 years of constant changes and different meds she is doing super fantastic and it was worth every penny ,,No more meds …..The test is by the Spectrum group Spot allergy report ..I have the book it has everything you can think of .It contains her name a lab order number the book has pages if things they tested for and it has le her lead a good life now ..Hope this helps you …

  • Cscharfeld

    I agree on the allergies.  My Aussie mix had the same problem.  My vet suggested the skin test for allergies and she was allergic to 42 of the 80 substances tested for!  She has been on allergy shots for the past 7 years and has had absolutely no problems since.  She has a beautiful coat and no itching.  We moved from TN to FL and our new vet couldn’t believe she had allergies… It’s worth the cost for the relief and her quality of life. 

  • Terrolynng

    It’s very possible that your dog is allergic to something other than his food — like your carpeting, grass, fleas, his own bed, vaccinations, dust, mold, mildew, etc.  Unless you decide to get the allergy tests that he needs done, you’ll never know what he’s allergic to, and unfortunately for him, will only continue to suffer.  Poor guy! I agree with Shenderson55:  Iams food is crap.

  • Shenderson55

     As a long-time volunteer for a pug rescue, I have seen this problem many times.    Your dog may be having an allergic reaction to grain in his diet. Sadly, most vets seem to be clueless about the importance of a grain-free diet. Suggest you feed a high quality grain-free food with a single source of unusual protein like salmon or duck.  Give no treats or human food, either.  Add Sea Buckthorn oil, 1 tsp per 20 pounds of body weight 2 x daily.  I bet you see results quickly.  BTW–Iams is really awful food.  Please let us know how he does.

  • Shawna

    VERY NICE!!!!  Smart puppy 🙂

  • I think there was something in the Buffalo Blue chicken and rice puppy formula that was getting her sick. She basically stopped eating it, so she made the connection before we did! We switched to Life’s Abundance and her stools are now perfect, and have been for weeks. Thanks for the help!

  • I’ve never had a dog with a sensitive stomach so I don’t have any food suggestions, other than going with a single protein and/or limited ingredient food. But would recommend a good probiotic. Here’s some info on probiotics. Probiotics can do wonders as can digestive enzymes.  Could you possibly be overfeeding?  I see she’s a puppy and eats more than an adult would, but could it be too much?

    Here are some foods with single proteins:  Avoderm Revolving Menu, Horizon Pulsar, Canine Caviar, Natures Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Balance LID, Natures Select Salmon and Sweet Potato, California Natural, Great Life, Acana Lamb & Apple and Duck & Pear recipes, Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast, Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain or Pacific Stream, Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free, Natures Recipe has 2 Easy to Digest recipes (not sure what makes it easy to digest, but just listing it), Pinnacle

  • My dog is 13 yrs old & he has a skin condition, not a disease. He has no hair fr. his neck to his tail. His tail is hairless & he constantly itches. He has an odor & his skin is very oily. The vet took a patch & sent it away that is how we know he has no skin disease. The vet put him on Iams veterinary formula, which is kangaroo. He has been on it for a week & no signs of improvement. The vet said he is allergic to something but doesn’t know what. I took him to a dermatologist & he couldn’t tell me which was $250.00 & said for more test it would cost an additional $400.00, which we do not have the money. I bathe him every 3 days to help with his itching. Any suggestions?

  • Shawna

    Try a kibble without rice, potato or other grains 🙂

    We just yesterday had a discussion on the Taste of the Wild thread about how the lectins (proteins that bind with sugars) in grains and potatoes (as well as other foods) can cause problems like irriatable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, leaky gut etc.  The lectins in these ingredients bind with a sugar called n-acetyl glucasamine which protects the lining of the stomach. 

    May not be the problem but worth a try in my opinion. 

  • My wife and I think our 10-month-old goldendoodle has a sensitive stomach. Her stool is often soft and she’s hasn’t even been eating that great as of late. We’re sick of just going to the vet and feeding her that prescription can stuff. Can you recommend a food for dog’s with sensitive stomachs? We were feeding her Life’s Abundance but transitioned to Buffalo Blue rice and chicken because they don’t sell L.A. at the store. Thanks!

  • sandy
  • Debsnugbug

    My dog is dealing with a massive liver infection and I had her on High protein high fat diet and did great on it.. but with this health issue having to redo everything like fast…   So have been looking at food.  My vet suggested several.  I finally found Nutro Natural Choice Lite that is 17% protien and 8% fat.  I don’t like I went from a 5 star food to a two star food but the vets assure me for my dogs medical needs this is the best thing to do.  Don’t just go by the star ratings but also go by what the vets reccommend. 

  • Glenn

    Prescription Diet u/d at the vet is what you need, Trudy. Trust me!

  • Shawna

    Tsavich ~~ not all proteins are high in purine..  It’s not necessary to limit all proteins but rather any foods (like spinach) that are moderate to high purine foods.

    Animal nutritionist Lew Olson has some good info on her website

    I can’t vouch for the food and haven’t admittedly even looked at the ingredients but Flint River states they have low to modertate purine, but not necessarily low protein foods.

    And lastly, vet Dr. Karen Becker has a video and article on at home ways (like urine test strips) to help you prevent a medical emergency for your at risk Dalmatian..  Bummer 🙁  Such a great beed!!!

    Best of luck to you in finding that just right food and keeping your baby healthy and happy!!!!

  • aimee

    Sorry to hear about your dog…. you won’t find a non prescription food with a protein level that low as AAFCO min is 18 percent protein.

    See this link for information on urate stones and remember the solution to pollution is dilution.. in other words lots of water to keep your dog’s urine on the dilute side. Good Luck!  

  • Tsavich

    I have been looking for a low protein dog food that is not a prescription. It.’s seems that the dog food company’s love and rave about high protein, but my 1 yr. old dalmatian just had bladder surgery due to thousands of urate crystals that were built up in his bladder from to much protein in his diet, it is common in Dalmatians. Now my dal. will have 4 urine tests a year and have to be on a low protein food, 15% or lower. Thank you for any suggestions. I’m new to this site, but I love it. Trudy