Dog Food with No By-Products

Dog food choices are almost unlimited these days, but not all brands are created equally. Rather than making food with high-quality ingredients, many brands fill their food with cheap fillers such as corn, wheat and meat byproducts.

Value of Healthy Foods

Just as humans feel better when eating healthier, dogs thrive on healthy dog foods. They improve coat and skin quality, energy level and general overall health. Because many dogs are allergic to grain or byproducts, removing those ingredients from food can reduce itchy skin and ear infections.

In addition, dogs can't digest meat byproducts. These can include hair, teeth, feet and other undigestible animal parts that your dog's body can't use as a protein source. The parts your dogs doesn't digest then turn into sugar in their system, causing your dog to have more nervous energy than he would on a healthy diet.

Though higher quality foods are more expensive, owners feed less because their dogs need to eat less to receive the same nutrients. In addition, a healthier dog means lower veterinary bills.

What to Look For

There are many brands of food that don't contain meat byproduct, and they're easy to spot since dog food manufacturers must list their ingredients on the label.

Foods with high-quality ingredients will have protein, brown rice or barley in the first three ingredients. The protein will be listed as the type of protein that it is, for example, turkey or chicken. Any food that just advertises "meat" should be avoided. Protein sources may also be listed as turkey meal or chicken meal. This is also fine.

Peruse the rest of the ingredients to ensure that meat byproducts, corn, wheat, dyes or preservatives are not listed. Acceptable ingredients include vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli, squash, cauliflower and zucchini or fruit such as apples, bananas or berries. Vitamins and dairy sources such as eggs or yogurt may also be included.

High-Quality Brands

There are many options for byproduct-free food these days, ranging in quality from raw diets and grain free diets to regular protein-based kibble.

Some of the most cost effective options include Candidae and Natural Balance, which provide a variety of protein sources at a reasonable price. These also use grains such as brown rice, but Natural Balance does have grain free options. Also cost effective is Merrick's, which includes flavors such as Turducken that dogs gobble up like treats.

Though a little more expensive, Solid Gold, Newman's Own and Innova make high-quality food without byproducts. These foods are a little more expensive because they contain more protein than other options. For example, Innova will often have two or three protein sources in one food and also provide a raw version that is grain-free.

On the higher end, brands like Blue Buffalo and Orijen may cost more than most, but many of their brands are completely grain-free. These foods rely on potatoes for carbs, which many experts contend is better for dogs, which wouldn't eat grains in their natural environment.

However, this list isn't inclusive. There are many high-quality brands available. If you spend time comparing labels, you will find a byproduct-free kibble that your dog loves.