I read this post on another dog forum written by a member, and I thought its pretty good and I got very educated by it Ingredients which automatically rule out a food. If these are anywhere in the ingredients list, put it down and look for something else. A non-meat first ingredient is an automatic no go. Meat by-products: By-products can vary ... they can consist of the internal parts of animals such as necks, heads, undeveloped eggs, feet, intestines, lungs, spleen and liver. Although by-products are used by many manufacturers, are these ingredients you would knowingly feed your pet? Corn: Corn products are difficult for dogs to digest. Food Fragments: Lower cost by-products of another food manufacturing process. Examples include wheat bran and brewer's rice (a waste product of the alcohol industry). Meat and bone meal: "Meat and bone meal" and "beef and bone meal" are inexpensive sources of animal protein. The protein in a meal containing a large amount of bone may be poorly digestible and fail to provide adequate nutrition. Animal Fat: Animal fat is a "generic" fat source that is most often made up of rendered animal fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans. Look for a named fat source, such as poultry or chicken fat, that is naturally preserved. Chemical Preservatives: Chemical preservatives include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol (also used as a less-toxic version of automotive antifreeze), and ethoxyquin. BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are potentially cancer-causing agents. The long term build-up of these chemicals (that may be eaten every day for the life of your pet!) have not been thouroughly studied and may ultimately be harmful. Sweeteners: Sweeteners such as corn syrup, sugar, and cane mallases are usually added to lower quality foods to increase their appeal. Dietary sugars can aggrevate health problems, including diabetes. Beef Tallow A low quality fat product. SugarThis is not an ingredient most people would expect to find in dog food, but many foods do, in fact, contain sugar, especially the semi-moist brands. In fact, some semi-moist foods contain as much as 15% sugar. The sugar adds palatability and moisture, and aids in bacterial contamination prevention. Dogs do not need this amount of sugar, which can stress the pancreas and adrenal glands, causing diabetes. Completely devoid of protein, vitamins and minerals, sugar is, literally, empty calories. Food colorings These still commonly used in pet foods today despite the fact that they are not necessary and some have been linked to medical problems Stuff to look for Rice A combination of brown and white rice. The white rice for digestibility and the brown for its added nutritional value. A diet product that is 100% brown rice can be somewhat hard for some animals to digest. Rice is good, corn is not. Meat vs Meal Pet food labels found in grocery and mass marketers like to use Chicken or Lamb to represent real meat. â€“ (Contains 70% moisture). This leads you the consumer to believe that their product is meat based. Chicken or lamb meats are heavier than grains prior to cooking. The moisture contained in the meats (70%) is reduced by 2/3rds after the cooking process, leaving the total formula as a grain base food after processing. Therefore, pound for pound, meal is better than meat as its basically a concentrated form of meat, less water, more protein! Wheat Wheat is ok, as long as its not in the top 3 ingredients Other Ingredients and what they are for Chicken Fat (Omega 6) Essential fatty acids, maintains moisture in skin cells and is easily digested. Fish Meal (Omega 3) Essential fatty acids, controls skin inflammation, helps relieve itching & hot spots. Flax Seed (Omega 3) Essential fatty acids, helps reduce allergy problems caused from flea bites and gives the coat a shiny luster. Sunflower Oil (Omega 6) Essential fatty acids, prevents scruffy, dry coat and maintains moisture in skin cells. Lecithin Helps emulsify cholesterol and aids in the digestion and absorption of fats that feed the coat. Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) Essential fatty acids, helps to prevent moisture loss from cells that cause flaky, dry skin and coat. 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. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Nourishes and heals the skin. Biotin Aids in the growth and health of hair. Cranberry Meal Prevents the spread of bacterial infections in kidneys and the urinary tract. Helps prevent Cystitis. Rosemary Is a stimulant of the circulatory system; to treat bad breath; stimulates the hair bulbs to new growth. Employed for its savory usage. Apple Meal Rich in soluble fiber, lowers blood cholesterol levels and normalizes blood sugar. Amaranth Vitamin packed herb, calms the stomach, reduces tissue swelling, removes worms and parasites from the digestive tract. 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.. Yucca Used for its reduction of both breath and stool odor ! A cleansing agent. Used by the Indians of the southwest for skin disorders, skin eruptions and helps avoid inflammation.. Eggs An excellent source of protein and contains all the essential Amino Acids.. Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Streptococcus Faecium fermentation extracts Probiotics. Better digestion and absorption of nutrients, they act to exclude and prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing and creating digestive upsets, helps prevent sickness and stress.. 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.. COPPER AND IRON A deficiency of iron causes nutritional anemia. A small amount of copper will improve utilization of iron.. Beet Pulp (Sugar) CONTROVERSIAL â€¢ AAFCO - Beet Pulp is the dried residue from sugar beets which has been cleaned and extracted in the process of manufacturing sugar. â€¢ Natura uses it because - "it as a good source of fiber and a stool hardener". However, it is not found in their Innova or California Natural products. â€¢ Solid Gold doesn't use it because they believe it is: "Added to pet food to slow down the transition of rancid animal fats (think toxic waste). This holds the waste in. Kidneys and liver work overtime. Dogs may chew their lower backs. Feet may swell, so the dogs lick their feet. Sugar is a contributing factor to ear infections and cataracts". Beet pulp is rather controversial, many think that it is an excellent additive and source of fiber and that all sugar has been completely extracted before being added as a pet food ingredients. If this is the only "problem" ingredient in a kibble, other factors will have to help you decide. Brewers Rice â€¢ AAFCO - Brewer's Rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. â€¢ Natura will not use it because they state it is a "lower quality rice product that is missing many of the nutrients found in Ground Rice and Ground Brown Rice." Solid Gold says that is the sweepings from the floor of the mill. Rice Bran â€¢ AAFCO - Rice Bran is the outer coating of the rice kernel, with little or none of the starchy part of the germ. â€¢ Natura and Solid Gold reject it because it is "an inexpensive source of fiber that is considered a filler ingredient", i.e. devoid of nutrient value. Sorghum â€¢ AAFCO - Sorghum is the ground grain of the sorghum plant. â€¢ Natura alleges that although sorghum is good source of carbohydrates, it is low in digestibility. Side Note Condemned parts and animals rejected for human consumption can be rerouted into commercial pet foods. These condemned parts are referred to as the 4 D's: dead, dying, diseased or decayed. We believe this is one of the most despicable practices in the pet food manufacturing industry. Some manufacturers have a lower standard regarding the quality of ingredients they use to make pet food. A recent example of this practice is the discovery of Pentobarbital in major pet foods, including supermarket brands. Pentobarbital is a chemical used to euthanize animals. Many holistic veterinarians feel that daily ingestion of pentobarbital can be harmful. Many manufacturers cut costs by using the cheapest ingredients available at the time a food is made. Since costs rise and fall, some manufacturers will vary ingredients from batch to batch .. resulting in changed nutrient values for each batch and possible digestive illness. Some manufacturers have lower standards regarding the freshness of ingredients they use to make pet food. You can not determine the freshness of ingredients by reading a label; you must trust the pet food manufacturer.