Should Natural Dry Dog Food Be Avoided?

Natural dry dog food is not bad for your dog. Low quality, conventional dry dog food can be. The right kind of natural dry dog food should contain all of the vitamins and nutrients your dog needs to grow healthy and strong, and it should not contain fillers, by-products or synthetic additives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol, and ethoxyquin. By-products, fillers, and chemical preservatives can cause everything from to constipation to cancer.

Anatomy of Quality Natural Dry Dog Food

A high quality, nutritious natural dry dog food product will have a 40/50/10 ratio. This means the product will contain 40% meat, 50% veggies, and 10% carbohydrate. It should also include essential vitamins and minerals, and proteins and amino acids.


A well-balanced, healthy natural dry dog food should contain Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid and Choline.


Twelve minerals are known to be essential nutrients for dogs. These include: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chlorine, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, and Iodine.


Although most pet food labels do not list the amounts of essential nutrients in grams, they must state guarantees for the minimum percentages of (crude) protein. Puppies weighing up to 12 pounds require 56g of protein per day, adult dogs weighing up to 33 pounds require 25 grams of protein per day, and pregnant/nursing dogs require 69 grams per day. To convert protein percentages to grams, multiply the crude percentages times the weight of your dog's daily portion. For example, if you feed your dog a 1-lb (454-gram) can of food per day, and the food contains 8% crude protein, the grams of protein would be 0.08 x 454 = 36 grams.

Amino Acids

Dogs need ten essential amino acids for optimal body functioning. In your dog's body, the ten essential amino acids build muscle and tissue, and they regulate antibodies within the immune system and the transfer of nerve impulses. Arginine, histidine, lysine, methionine, phenyalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, isoleucine and leucine are the ten essential amino acids that dog's need for optimal body functioning.

Natural Dry Dog Food "Preservatives"

Many natural dry dog food companies use "natural" preservatives such as Vitamin C (ascorbate), Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), and oils of rosemary, clove, or other spices, to preserve the fats in their products. Although the shelf life for naturally preserved dog food is 6 months compared to 12 months for conventional preservatives, natural preservatives are safer for your dog.

Reading Natural Dry Dog Food Labels

When purchasing natural dry dog food, stick to premium brand and holistic natural dry dog foods. These are the best bet for your dog because they do not contain fillers, by-products or harmful chemical preservatives. That said, you should always read the labels carefully and never fall for marketing tactics such as colorful pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables on the packaging or cute commercials. When in doubt, read, read, and read!