- A good quality protein source that is specifically named and should be one of the first two ingredients.
- Whole, unprocessed grains and vegetables.
Ingredients to Avoid:
- The use of multiple fragments of a single food, such as brewer's rice and wheat bran, which are the by-products of another food manufacturing process. Brewer's rice is a waste product of the alcohol industry. Wheat bran is the fibrous hull removed from the nutritious wheat kernel.
- Generic fats and proteins
- Artificial preservatives (such as BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin)
- Artificial colors
- Propylene glycol (used to keep chewy foods moist)
- Sweetners (such as corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin)
It may be beneficial to switch your dog's food every few months. This should be done gradually over a few days to help prevent stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea. Only feeding one food may result in excessive levels of one nutrient and deficient levels of another. Changing foods may help to prevent the development of food allergies.
AAFCO Definitions of Dog Food Ingredients
(AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials)
- Meat: "Meat is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without that accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels..."
- Poultry: "Poultry is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails..."
- Meat Meal: "Meat Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except is such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
- Poultry Meal: "Poultry Meal is the dry rendered products derived from a comnination of clean flesh and skin with our without accompanying bone derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails..."
- Meat and Bone Meal: "Meat and Bone Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
- Meat By-Products: "Meat By-Products is 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..."
- Poultry By-Products: "Poultry By-Products must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera..."
- Poultry By-Product Meal: "Poultry By-Product Meal consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
- Animal By-Product Meal: "Animal By-Product Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents... This ingredient definition is intended to cover those individual rendered animal tissue products that cannot meet the criteria as set forth elsewhere in this section..."
- 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."
- Animal By-Product Meal: "The rendered product from animal tissues, exclusive of any added hair, hoof, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices."
- Onions and onion powder (can cause anemia in some animals)
- Grapes and Raisins (can induce kidney failure in some animals)
- Macadamia nuts
- Alcoholic beverages
- Xylitol (sweetener that is toxic for dogs)
Hazardous Household Plants
Aloe, Amaryllis, Andromeda Japonica, Asian Lily, Asparagus fern, Australian Nut, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Belladonna, Bird of Paradise, Bittersweet (American and European), Black Locust, Branching ivy, Buckeye, Buddhist Pine, Caladium, Calla lily, Castor Bean, Ceriman, Clematis, Cordatum, Corn plant, Cycads, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Daylily, Devil's Ivy, Dieffenbachia, Dumbcane, Easter lily, Elephant ears, Emerald fern, English Ivy, Eucalyptus, Ferns, Fiddle-leaf philodendron, Gold dust dracaena, Florida Beauty, Foxglove, Glacier Ivy, Gladiolas, Golden Pothos, Heavenly bamboo, Honeysuckle, Hurricane Plant, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Jerusalem Cherry, Jimson Weed, Kalanchoe, Lantana, Lilies (all Lilium species), Lily of the Valley, Lupine, Marble Queen, Morning Glory, Mother-in-Law, Mountain Laurel, Narcissus, Needlepoint Ivy, Nephthysis, Nightshade, Oleander, Panda, Peace Lily, Philodendron, Poison Hemlock, Precatory Bean (rosary pea), Privet, Red Emerald, Rhododendron, Ribbon plant, Sago Palm, Satin Pothos, Schefflera, Striped Dracaena, Sweetheart Ivy, Tulip, Water Hemlock, Wisteria, Yew, Yucca.