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Scroll to the bottom of page to see the dog food we feed our dogs and puppies.
Making the decision of what to feed your puppy can be a difficult one, so we've put this page together for you to help you make the best decison for your family and your new puppy. This page contains dog food scores, good and bad ingredients, and how to score the dog food for yourself.
An organization, using dogs for service, has done research resulting in dogs with healthier joints if switched to adult dog food at 6 months of age. Reaserchers also recommened not feeding large breed puppy food because developing puppies are not getting the nutrients they need for the first six months, resulting in the prolonged use of large breed puppy food due to the shortage of nutrients. If you start out on puppy food and switch to adult at 6 months this will keep the puppies joints from growing too rapidly and can ultimately avoid joint problems. Some premuim dog foods advise keeping the puppy on the same food through all stages of their life which has also been a positive alternative.
Here are some foods that have already been scored. Dog Food scores
94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 = F
:Dog Food scores:
Alpo Prime Cuts / Score 81 C
Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy / Score 114 A+
Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+
Authority Harvest Baked Less Active / Score 93 B
Beowulf Back to Basics / Score 101 A+
Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F
Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice / Score 83 C
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice / Score 106 A+
Burns Chicken and Brown Rice / Score 107 A+
Canidae / Score 112 A+
Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+
Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F
Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B
Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A
Diamond Performance / Score 85 C
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice / Score 106 A+
Dick Van Patten's Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+
EaglePack Holistic / Score 102 A+
Eukanuba Adult / Score 81 C
Eukanuba Puppy / Score 79 C
Flint River Senior / Score 101 A+
Foundations / Score 106 A+
Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 B
Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D
Innova Dog / Score 114 A+
Innova Evo / Score 114 A+
Innova Large Breed Puppy / Score 122 A+
Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+
Member's Mark Chicken and Rice / Score 84 C
Merrick Wilderness Blend / Score 127 A+
Nature's Recipe / Score 100 A
Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice / Score 116 A+
Nature's Variety Raw Instinct / Score 122 A+
Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal and Rice / Score 81 C
Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy / Score 101 A+
Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B
Nutro Max Adult / Score 93 B
Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice / Score 98 A
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B
Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Wheat Free / Score 86 B
Nutro Natural Choice Senior / Score 95 A
Nutro Ultra Adult / Score 104 A+
Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F
Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry / Score 109 A+
Pro Nature Puppy / Score 80 C
Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Score 94 A
Purina Benful / Score 17 F
Purina Dog / Score 62 F
Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F
Purina One Large Breed Puppy / Score 62 F
Royal Canin Boxer / Score 103 A+
Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+
Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+
Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F
Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F
Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A
Solid Gold / Score 99 A
Summit / Score 99 A
Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry / Score 120 A+
Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+
Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A
Pet food ingredients
All pet foods call themselves "premium" but are they made with human grade ingredients or diseased/decay meat and left-over grain fragments unfit for human consumption? How to distinguish good vs bad ingredients? What ingredients are used in premium pet food? What ingredients should be avoided and why?
A good diet should contain human grade and natural ingredients, with no by-products, fillers and additives (artificial flavor and color). Here is a list of ingredients found in our products.
Alfalfa - A source of nutritional fiber, micro-nutrients, iron and chlorophyll. Aids in healing allergies, stomach ailments and bad breath, cleanses the kidneys and removes poisons from the body, neutralizes acids, is an excellent blood purifier, improves the appetite and aids in the assimilation of protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Amaranth - An excellent source of carbohydrates and linoleic acid. It also has great flavor that complements the flavor of barley, oats and rye. Calms the stomach, reduces tissue swelling, removes worms and parasites from the digestive tract.
Apples - Fresh apples are an excellent source of pectin, which is a natural fiber responsible for removing toxins, reduces risk of heart disease and is beneficial for diabetic animals.
Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus subtilis fermentation extracts - contain all-natural enzymes (plant origin) that help digest plant and animal, protein, fats, oils, starches in the body. Also act as a probiotic and help to reduce stress and prevent sickness.
Barley - A highly digestible natural whole grain, providing excellent quality protein, carbohydrates and fiber. It is an excellent source of B vitamins and Lysine, an essential amino acid lacking in many dog food ingredients.
Beta-carotene - Antioxidants such as beta carotene neutralize free radicals and protect against certain cancers, cataracts and heart disease. Carrots and sweet potatoes are good source of beta carotene.
Brewers Yeast - (Nutritional Yeast) A rich source of the B vitamins, contains 16 amino acids, 14 minerals and 17 vitamins. Protects, binds and rids from mycotoxins, which cause liver and organ damage.
Brown Rice - Contains a generous supply of B vitamins, plus calcium, phosphorus, and iron. A source of complex carbohydrate, provides quick energy and is higher in protein than milled white rice.
Blueberries - Blueberries are rich in vitamin A & C, potassium and fiber. Fresh blueberries provide flavor, taste and color of fresh fruits.
Canola oil - Cold pressed canola oil does not contain hexane, which is used to extract many other vegetable oils. It is high in linoleic acid, Omega-3 fatty acid, necessary for a healthy coat.
Carrots - A natural source of beta-carotene. An antioxidant, essential for interacting with free radicals caused by environmental pollution. It is believed to minimize hypersensitivity, allergies and cancer.
Chelated minerals - Amino acid (protein) bound chelated minerals are digestible forms of minerals which are easily absorbed by the body three to ten times greater than common minerals.
Chicken - Edible portion of deboned chicken meat. Certified by USDA as fit for human consumption. Highly digestible, excellent source of amino acids and a source of good quality protein. It is also very palatable to dogs.
Chicken & Turkey Meal - Hormone free, antibiotic free and ethoxyquin free. Human grade meat, flesh tissue and skin only.
Chicken Fat - Source of Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Human grade fat naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid.
Chondroitin sulfate - The fluids in the joints is depleted in older dogs. Chondroitin Sulfate attracts fluids to the joint's cartilage matrix, making them more resilient and mobile. Additionally, numerous studies point to chondroitin sulfates as being positive modulators of inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.
Cranberry - Prevents the spread of bacterial infections in kidneys and the urinary tract. Helps prevent Cystitis.
Digestive enzymes - Hydrolyzes proteins, fats, oils, starches and carbohydrates for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Eggs - An excellent source of protein and contains all the essential amino acids.
Filtered water - Water which is filtered to remove impurities such as asbestos, chlorine, pesticides, heavy metals such as lead and a variety of chemicals that are known carcinogens.
Fish meal - Fish meal is highly palatable and a good source of protein, fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids which are all critical for healthy skin and coat, normal reproduction, proper body function and improved growth rate of young puppies.
Flax seed/flaxseed meal - Also known as linseeds, flax seed is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds are high in fiber that adds bulk to the diet. Omega-3 essential fatty acid in flax seed also improves shine of the dog and cat's coat. It also aids in movement of food through digestive system.
Kelp - Rich in vitamins and contains 30 minerals, controls the thyroid and regulates the metabolism which aids in the digestion of foods and the burning of calories, also with brain and nerve function.
Peas - Dogs and cats love the flavor and taste of garden peas. Peas are high in magnesium and soluble fiber. They are a great representative of the "Green" vegetable group.
Garlic - Fights parasites in intestinal tract, repels fleas and ticks and boosts immune system. It is also a palatability enhancer and helps to lower blood cholesterol and promote digestion of food.
Glucosamine - Substance made by the body's cartilage cells. Glucosamine is naturally occurring amino sugars found in all tissues of the body and are the integral part of the "glue" which holds tissue cells together. Glucosamine is the biological chemical that forms the major cushioning ingredient of the synovial fluids of the joints and surrounding tissues. It also helps prevent osteoarthritis by slowing degeneration and/or rebuilding cartilage. Along with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine helps in the treatment of osteoarthritis and the development of bones, cartilage and skin tissues.
Grapeseed oil - Rich in vitamin E and is loaded with Omega-6 (linoleic) fatty acids which is excellent for the skin and coat.
Lactobacillus, Acidophilus, Streptococcus faecium fermentation extracts - Probiotics for better digestion and absorption of nutrients, they act to exclude and prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing and creating digestive upsets, help to prevent sickness and stress.
Lamb - Finest American lamb, hormone free, antibiotic free and ethoxyquin free. Human quality meat.
Lecithin - Used in the digestion and absorption of fats.
Linoleic Acid - Omega-6 essential fatty acid for healthy skin and coat.
Minerals - Complete balanced minerals containing amino acid chelated minerals.
Oatmeal - Oatmeal is highly digestible source of carbohydrates, protein and nutritional fiber. It also provides balanced amino acids, essential for re-building healthy muscle tissues.
Ocean whitefish - A good source of essential Omega-3 fatty acid in abundance, to counteract the excess Omega-6, for dog and cat's healthy skin and coat.
Omega-3 essential fatty acid - Omega-3 fatty acid plays critical role in therapy of immunosuppression. Fresh fish and flax seeds are the primary sources of Omega-3 EFA.
Omega-6 essential fatty acid - Omega-6 fatty acid is rich in corn, cotton, sunflower and soybean oil, generally gives rise to pro-inflammatory chemical messengers. Linoleic acid is an important source of Omega-6 EFA. It helps develop healthy and shiny skin and coat.
Omega-6 & Omega-3 Fatty acids ratio - A balance ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids (4-6:1) is important for good health. It can improve the coat and help to avoid hot spots, hair loss and allergy problems caused from flea bites, repeated licking and from a fat imbalance.
Prebiotics - Made of primary sugars such as glucose and sucrose. These are food for probiotics.
Probiotics - Natural micro-flora containing enzymes and friendly bacteria that help the digestion process, thus providing more efficient utilization of food and eliminates some gas problems and bloating after meals.
Quinoa - A highly nutritious grain, rich in amino acids and is an excellent energy source.
Rosemary - A stimulant of the circulatory system, to treat bad breath, stimulates the hair bulbs to new growth. Employed for its savory usage.
Sage - Strengthens the mind and concentrating abilities. It aids in healing skin sores and skin eruptions and removing dandruff. It has been mostly employed in disordered states of the digestion and for its savory usage.
Sweet potatoes - Excellent source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. The starch in sweet potatoes converts to sugar easily and provides quick energy. Sweet potatoes are not part of the "Night Shade" family.
Sunflower Oil - Source of Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Cold pressed, naturally preserved and is rich in linoleic acid. It is known for producing a beautiful skin and coat, as well as a visible sheen.
White Rice - Of all grains, rice is the most easily digested and least likely to cause allergic reactions. Rice clears up psoriasis and is an anticancer and antidiarrheal. Rice lowers cholesterol and prevents kidney stones.
Vitamins - Complete vitamins including antioxidants, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-tocopherols.
Yeast culture - All natural live yeast culture, it acts to stimulate microbial and enzyme populations in the animals digestive system. Live yeast cultures plus dried fermentation solubles.
Yucca schidigera - Yucca is a desert plant, it is a natural source of digestive aid. It is also known to reduce breath and fecal odor. Used by the Indians of the southwest for skin disorders, skin eruptions and helps avoid inflammation.
Ingredients to Avoid
Animal digest - A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor, it must correspond thereto. Animal digest is a cooked-down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Any kind of animal can be included: goats, pigs, horses, rats, etc. The animals can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination.
Animal fat - Obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting. Animal fat is a byproduct of meat meal processing. The origin of the contributing animals is never known, and the resulting oil is very low in linoleic acid - an essential fatty acid that is important for skin and coat health.
Artificial flavors and colors - Humanly-contrived additives, used to enhance a product and to appeal to the human eye. Use of these ingredients can conceal damage or inferiority, or make the product appear better than it actually is.
BHA/BHT - Short for Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), both of which are chemical preservatives. BHA and BHT have been banned from human use in many countries. In the US, they are still permitted in pet foods.
Beet pulp - The residue from sugar beets which has been cleaned, freed from crowns, leaves, and sand, and extracted in the process of manufacturing sugar. Beet pulp is added to some pet foods to act as a fibrous stool hardener.
Chicken by-products - Consist of the rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Chicken by-products are an inconsistent ingredient because of the multiple organs used, their constantly changing proportions and their questionable nutritional value. Chicken by-products are much less expensive and less digestible than chicken meal.
Chicken digest - A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed chicken tissue. Chicken digest is a palatability enhancer made by reducing (cooking down) chicken meat and fat into a concentrated liquid or dry product.
Ethoxyquin - A chemical preservative that is not approved for human use.
Lamb by-products - Consist of the rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered lambs, such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Lamb by-products are an inconsistent ingredient because of the multiple organs used, their constantly changing proportions and their questionable nutritional value. Lamb by-products are much less expensive and less digestible than lamb meal.
Lamb digest - A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed lamb tissue. Lamb digest is a palatability enhancer made by reducing (cooking down) lamb meat and fat into a concentrated liquid or dry product.
Meat by-products - The non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. Meat by-products are not meat. They can include almost any part of the animal other than meat. Because any mammal can be used, cheaper meats like horse, pig, or goat are often included.
Poultry - The clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination of thereof - exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails. Poultry is an unpredictable ingredient, which can contain any type of fowl, including buzzards, geese, and other birds.
Poultry by-products - Consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice. This is a low-quality, inconsistent ingredient, with constantly changing proportions, and questionable nutritional value. The origin can be any fowl (turkeys, ducks, geese, buzzards, etc.), instead of a single source, like chicken. Poultry byproducts are much less expensive and less digestible than chicken.
Poultry digest - A palatability enhancer made by reducing (cooking down) meat and fat into concentrated liquid or dry product. Poultry digest can be made from any fowl (turkey, geese, buzzards, etc.) This is an inconsistent ingredient which can contain unpredictable birds unsuitable for human consumption.
Poultry fat - Obtained from the tissues of poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting. Poultry fat is a by-product of meat processing. The origin of the contributing animals is never known; the source can be any fowl (turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, etc.) and the resulting oil is very low in linoleic acid -- an essential fatty acid that is important for skin and coat health.
Turkey by-products - The rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice.
Wheat gluten - The tough, viscid nitrogenous substance remaining when wheat is washed to remove the starch. Wheat gluten is a cheap by-product of human food processing, the result of washing wheat and letting the starchy liquid dry. It offers almost no nutritional value, and serves mostly to bind the food together.
How to grade your dog's food:
Start with a grade of 100:
1) For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points
2) For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points
3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
4) For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source,subtract 5 points
5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewer's rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points
7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3points
9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 morepoints
10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil,subtract 2 points
11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points
12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point
1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or
nutritionist, add 5 points
3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points
9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than
the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point
13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point
94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 = F
We start our puppies on Costco's puppy food. It is rated at a score of 110 A+
Nature's Domain is only available at a few Costco's around the U. S. mainly in the mid-west. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or allergic to wheat, this is a great choice. The alternative to this food is Taste Of The Wild that can be bought all over the U.S.
is made with salmon meal and ocean fish meal for quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this formula offers great nutrition for overall health and vitality for all dogs.
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