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How Does Your Dog Food Rate?


Welcome to K9Cuisine's Dog Food Rating Tool. With this tool you can see how your dog food stacks up. 

To use this tool you will need the ingredients list from you dog's food. You will answer a series of questions after which the food will receive a score and a grade A, B, C, D, F. While this may take you a few minutes to complete it is time well spent.

This questionnaire is 12 questions long. Please be sure to have your dog food handy before starting. Click the 'Start' button below to begin.

How does your dog food rate?
 

Why Ask About Corn?

Though there is still a controversy over whether corn is a good or bad ingredient to have in dog foods, the bottom line is that corn is used in most dog foods because it is cheaper than costly meat ingredients and fills out the food more.

While this also makes the food more affordable to consumers, it takes the place of other ingredients that could provide more well-rounded nutrition for your pet. Having corn as an ingredient in your dog food is not terrible, however corn-based ingredients should be as low on the list of ingredients as possible. You should avoid foods that list corn in the first 3 ingredients.

Why Ask About Soy?

Soy can be found in an increasing number of pet foods as it is a cheaper, plant-based protein source and can provide bulk to the food. Often times dog foods do not list Soy as an ingredient, but rather list it as "vegetable protein" or as a "vegetable broth" which can make it difficult to identify.

Though there is no definitive answer as to whether or not Soy is healthy for dogs, it has been proven to cause problems in humans when high amounts are consumed. Like Corn, if Soy is an ingredient in your food, it should be as low as possible on the ingredients list.

What are Animal By-Products?

Animal by-products are essentially the portions of the animal that remain after the slaughtering process. These are the items that are typically deemed as unusable and not meant for human consumption. This can include feet, heads, brains, spleen, organs, and intestines to name a few (with the exception of livers, hearts, gizzards and necks which are not considered by-products).

While some manufacturers source these by-products from places where the product has been properly handled and is technically okay to consume, the problem is there is simply no way for the consumer to know exactly what type of by-product has been used. We would not recommend purchasing dog food that contains generically labeled by-products that are not properly identified.

Gluten is it Bad For Your Dog?

Wheat, or another Gluten product, is often included in dog food as either a meat substitute or an alternative protein source. Gluten is what remains after whole grains such as wheat, barley and rye have been processed and the nutrients and carbohydrates have all but been removed.

Due to the high risk of intolerance, if you are not certain that your dog does not have a gluten allergy, then it is best to avoid products that include wheat or other grains that contain gluten in them as it can potentially cause digestive issues. Additionally Glutens are inferior sources of protein compared to meats. Also note that some manufacturers use Gluten to increase the protein amounts displayed in the nutritional analysis, making the food appear better than it really is.

Meat...It's What's for Dinner!

Though your cute and cuddly puppy may not seem like it, they are in fact still very closely related to their canine ancestors. As such your pet craves meat in their food and the more the better. Choosing foods that contain more than one source of protein in the top five ingredients, provide the protein that your dog craves.

Some dogs are unable to eat certain kinds of proteins and thus, it can make it difficult to find foods that contain the meat and protein sources needed. If you are having trouble finding a food to meet the needs of your dog, please give us a call, we would be happy to help.

Avoid Artificial Coloring in Your Dogs Food

Though we may not be able to ask them directly, it is safe to assume that your dog does not care what color his food is. With that, there is absolutely no reason it should be included in your dog's food.

It is well known that some manufacturers include artificial coloring in foods as a gimick to entice customers to purchase "colorful" foods as some customers mistakenly assume that the various colors indicate a well-balanced food with fruits and vegetables. Even if the foods are well balanced you should avoid these as the artificial coloring is not good for your dog.

BHA...BHT...What are They?

BHA stands for Butylated Hydroxyanisole, and BHT for Butylated Hydroxytoluene. Both of these ingredients are added to oils as a preservative because they slow the deterioration of the oil and keep it from going rancid. There are a number of pet food manufacturers that use these ingredients in their foods (even some premium foods).

BHA and BHT are included in our rating tool because there have been numerous studies that have shown that both ingredients promote liver disease and other potentially serious medical problems. Although this ingredient is approved by the FDA and is "generally recognized as safe", those approvals are specific to low dosages. In humans this is likely less of an issue, however our diets consist of a wide variety of foods. However in your Dog's case, the food that you feed them is likely the only thing the eat.

Added Fats, the Type Makes All the Difference

Animal fats are a necessary ingredient in dog food as they provide nutritional balance (when present in moderation). However, the type of animal fat plays an important role in determining its nutritional value.

Animal fats are produced during the rendering phase of an animal. While many different animal fats such as beef, fish, salmon, and chicken are good fats for your dog, these fats are also more costly. As such you should avoid foods that list generic sources of fat as you are unable to know for sure where those fats come from.

 

The Truth Behind the Mystery Meat

As in the previous questions, the trend continues here. When reading an ingredient list and generic (i.e. non-specific) terms are used to describe ingredients like meat sources, then that is an indication that there may be "meat" included in the dog food that the manufacture does not wish to disclose.

This is more commonly used as a method to disguise the usage of meat by-products and other less savoury meat sources. Though these foods are often cheaper; if you see terms such as "meat", "poultry", "meal", or "fat", it may be time to look at alternative dog food options.

Salty Dog?

Salt is a fundamental mineral for life. We need it as humans and your dogs need it as well. However as with anything, salt consumption should be done in moderation to prevent serious health problems. The FDA has established minimum guidlines for the amount of salt that should be found in pet food, however at this time there are no established maximum levels.

Take a look at the ingredients in your dog food and see if salt is listed. If it is, make sure that it is listed low on the ingredient list. A general rule of thumb is that salt should be listed below any of the main ingredients in the formula. Also keep in mind that many of the other ingredients also contains salt (such as chicken breasts). If you do not see salt specifically listed, it may be that the sodium content is provided by one of the other ingredients and that is okay.

Is Your Food Organic?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has strict guidelines around what food items can be labeled as Organic. In short these guidelines state that Organic items are those that are produced without excluded methods such as genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Essentially organic items are those that only include natural substances versus synthetic.

As organic foods are becoming more and more popular for human consumption, the dog food industry is also following suite. Though these foods are often times more expensive, you can rest assured that you are feeding your dog food that is packed with wholesome, healthy and safe ingredients.


Pro-Biotics
Hormone and/or Antibiotic Free Ingredients
Vegetables (other than corn and grains)
Fruit(s)
Barley
Flax Seed Oil
Oats or Oat Meal
Sunflower Oil
Zinc
Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin

Last Question!

There are a number of other factors that we consider when rating dog foods through this tool. Please take a look and see if your food contains any of the following ingredients and mark all that apply.

Once you have completed, click the See Results button to view the rating for your dog food. We hope that you found this tool helpful!

 

 

Congratulations! Based on the information that you provided, your food received an A rating! This rating indicates that your food is likely doing a great job in providing well balanced nutrition for your dog. An A rating means that your food scored between 90 and 100 with our formula. Foods with this rating typically do not contain non-specific animal by-products, mystery meat sources, or BHA/BHT.

Congratulations! Based on the information that you provided, your food received an B rating! This rating indicates that your food is likely doing a great job in providing well balanced nutrition for your dog. An B rating means that your food scored between 80 and 89 with our formula.

Based on the information that you provided, your food received an C rating! This rating indicates that some aspects of this food could be improved in order to provide greater nutritional value to your dog. An C rating means that your food scored between 70 and 79 with our formula. You may want to discuss this food with your Veterinarian to ensure it is the correct choice for your dog.

Based on the information that you provided, your food received an D rating! This rating indicates that several aspects of this food could be improved in order to provide greater nutritional value to your dog. An D rating means that your food scored between 60 and 69 with our formula. You may want to discuss this food with your Veterinarian to ensure it is the correct choice for your dog and if not then choose a food with a higher rating.

Based on the information that you provided, your food received an F rating! This rating indicates that this food may be failing at providing a good nutritional balance to your Dog. An F rating means that your food scored below 60 with our formula. You should discuss this food with your Veterinarian to ensure it is the correct choice for your dog and if not then choose a food with a higher rating.

Understanding Your Rating

Thank you for taking the time to rate your dog's food! Understanding the quality of the food that you are feeding your pet is vital to ensuring they have a well balanced and nutritional diet.

This tool uses the information that you provided to calculate the rating that you see here. This tool does NOT place an emphasis on any particular brand or individual product, giving you an unbiased rating based on the information you have provided. The results of this formula are shown as a letter rating based on the score calculated. The table below shows the score required to achieve each letter rating.

Score Range Rating
90 - 100 A
80 - 89 B
70 - 79 C
60 - 69 D
> 60 F

Disclaimer - The K9Cuisine.com Dog Food Rating Tool is intended to be an aid to pet owners, enabling each to understanding the food that they feed their dogs and the ingredients contained therein. With the vast amount of dog foods available on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to see through the marketing and packaging and decipher the ingredients label. Please note that K9Cuisine is not a licensed veterinarian and is not offering medical advice on the care and feeding of your pets. Rather this tool should be used to identify if you should research a particular food further and/or consult with your family veterinarian.

This tool is also not all encompassing as there are a number of factors such as breed, breed size, and age to name a few that should also be considered when choosing a food for you pets. Instead this tool is focused on the broader factors as they relate to nutritional value.

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