Grade Your Dog Food

It can be a daunting task to say the least to determine which food to buy for your dog.
Here is a chart I received from a vet tech to aid you in determining if what is in the bag is everything the package claims it to be!
Please keep in mind there are some things to consider even with this chart!  What breed do you have, how old is your dog, is your dog over weight or under weight, a working dog or very active dog, any health issues with your dog?  Please keep in mind although we do encourage all to seek the advise of their vet, just as importantly, we encourage everyone to do their OWN research and determine for themselves what is best for their dog.  Not many vets out there are also nutritionist, therefor you will more than likely only be getting their “personal” opinion, not “professional” opinion.  For this, you would need to consult with a vet that is also a nutritionist specialist.
Also note the rating of a couple that are commonly sold in vet’s clinics across the nation.  Don’t assume just because your vet carries a certain brand that it is the best you can buy your dog or even the proper choice for you dog.  Again, do your homework.
What you put into your dog is the # 1 factor that will tell you not only how long they will live but the quality of life they will have as well………of course that statement does not include any genetic disorders some dogs are born with.

My first recommendation is for that of a raw diet or at LEAST a 50% raw diet.  I say that because those of that travel may feel a 100% raw diet will prove to be very difficult when traveling.  So if your dog is adjusted to a quality dry kibble already, a trip will not shock his system.

Here is a link to a wonderfully written page on the subject and fears of a raw diet;

Areas of Caution with vegetables;

Vegetables. A few things to note, from Sue Johnson’s Switching to Raw: “The cabbage family which includes cabbage, broccoli, kale and the like, fed in large amounts have been noted to decrease thyroid function. This does not mean they cannot be used as a part of your vegetable mix. The same is true of vegetables that contain high amounts of oxalic acid, such as spinach and chard. They may interfere with calcium absorption and irritate urinary conditions. The nightshade family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, green and red peppers [and eggplant], is sometimes
found to aggravate arthritic conditions. The skins of potatoes and the eyes should not be fed raw since they contain solanine which is poisonous. Onions have been found to cause hemolytic anemia in dogs and are best avoided. Aside from onions, potato eyes and skins, any vegetable can be used in moderation as part of the vegetable mix. “

Here is a good way to grade dog food.  Selecting an “A” grade food is vital for the long term health of your dog.  What you choose today, will show tomorrow!
• For every listing of “by-product”, subtract 10 point
• For every no-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or fat: subtract 10 points.
• If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
• For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source subtract 5 points. 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
• If the protein sources are not meat meal, and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients,
subtract 3 points
• If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
• If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points
• If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points
• If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points
• If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract
2 points
• If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
• If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
• If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
• If it contains salt, subtract 1 point
Extra Credit:
• If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
• If any food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points
• If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
• If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
• If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
• If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
• If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
• If the food contains barley, add 2 points
• If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
• If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
• If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
• For every different specific animal protein source  (other than the first one; count & “chicken”
“Chicken Meal” as only one protein source, but “chicken & fish” as 2 different sources), add 1 point
• If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
• If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add
94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
7 8-85 = C
70-77 = D
<70 = F
Dog Food Ratings for Many of the Most Popular Dog Foods
Although I have not investigated my theory but I believe Nature’s Variety foods have high quality ingredients that are not listed on this scoring system that if they were, these foods would rate much higher than shown here.  Nature’s Variety products includes Instinct, Prarie & Raw Foods
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 For The Dog Lovers Soul Adult / Score 109 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+
Eagle Pack Holistic Chicken / Score 114 A+
Eagle Pack Natural / Score 94 A
Eagle Pack Large and Giant Breed Puppy Food/ Score 94 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+
Kirtkland Super Premium Lamb, Rice, & Vegetable / Score 104 A+
Kirkland Puppy Chicken, Rice, & Vegetable / 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
ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley / Score 103 A+
Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Score 94 A
Purina Beneful / 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+
Timberwolf Organic Lamb and Vegetable / Score 136 A+
Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+
Wellness Super5Mix Senior Dry Dog 15 lb. Bag / Score 110 A
Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+
Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+
Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck & Turkey / Score 111
Nature’s Variety Instinct Chicken / Score 118
Nature’s Variety Prairie Chicken / Score 116
Nature’s Variety Prairie Salmon Meal & Brown Rice / Score 115
Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Organic Chicken / Score 119
Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Chicken / Score 110
Glossary of Terms used in Dog Foods

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One Response to Grade Your Dog Food

  1. admin says:

    Here at Classic Schnauzers, our choice dog foods are Nature’s Variety RAW, ALWAYS fresh raw products such as turkey & chicken necks and fresh raw veggies, and for our dry kibble we choose Prairie & Taste of the Wild. In order to stay within a protein & fat percentage that best suites this breed, I recommend only using these flavors in the “Taste of the Wild” brand; Pacific Stream (protein/fat percentages 25/15), Sierra Mountain (25/15) and Southwest Canyon (29/15). We all want our dogs to be healthy and live a full long life. It is even more imperative my dogs health is optimal because we are not only showing them but breeding them. I always say a pups health starts at conception! This means mom and dad need to be not only of a healthy gene pool but always in excellent condition inside and out! I also provide my dogs with a daily supplement from NuVet Plus. Visit them at

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