Grade Your Dog Food

Go through each question and keep a running tally for the dog food you are grading:

  1. For every listing of “by-product,” subtract 10 points.
  2. For every non-specific animal source (meat, poultry, meat meal, animal fat) reference, subtract 10 points.
  3. If bone meal appears in the top six ingredients, subtract 10 points. If bone meal appears after the top six ingredients, subtract 5 points.
  4. If the food contains BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points.
  5. For every grain “mill run” (flour, bran, gluten, or anything not expressed as simply the name of the grain or whole grain) subtract 5 points. Subtract an additional 2 points for each of those that is a gluten.
  6. If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (ground brown rice, rice bran, brewer’s rice, rice flour are all the same grain), subtract 3 points each time it is used after the first time.
  7. If the food contains any kind of animal digest subtract 5 points.
  8. If the food contains any artificial colorants, peanut hulls, or powdered cellulose, subtract 3 points each.
  9. If the food contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 4 points each.
  10. If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 1 point. If the fat source is beef tallow or an unspecified animal fat, subtract 2 more points.
  11. If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points.
  12. If the food contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
  13. If the food contains wheat, subtract 2 points.
  14. If the food contains beef, subtract 1 point.

EXTRA CREDIT: Earn back points for extras that are good for your dog!

  1. If the first two ingredients are specific animal proteins e.g. chicken, chicken meal, lamb meal, turkey, etc, add 2 points.
  2. If the food contains probiotics (natural enzymes for digestion), add 4 points.
  3. If the food contains fruit, add 4 points.
  4. If the food contains vegetables (not corn or other grains), add 3 points.
  5. If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points.
  6. If the food contains barley, oats or oatmeal, or quinoa, add 2 points each.
  7. If the food contains flaxseed oil (not just the seeds) or salmon oil, add 2 points.
  8. If the food contains alfalfa, kelp, seaweed, spinach or spirulina, add 2 points.
  9. If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point.
  10. If you know whether the food is ethoxyquin-free, add 2 points.
  11. If the food contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point.
  12. Add one point if any of the following ingredients are included:
    Taurine, Chicory root, Garlic, Yucca schidegera,
    Cinnamon, Cottage cheese, Cloves, Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  13. If you know all production of the food to be tested for salmonella, add 4 points.
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