Health Food for Dogs: A Look at Commercial Formulas

Commercial health food for dogs is not always all that nutritious when it comes to ingredients. Owners should look for quality ingredients that mostly come from protein, with limited carbohydrates and grains.

Ingredients Detrimental to Dog Health

Healthy dog food is meant to have higher quality ingredients like whole vegetables and real meat wihout meat by-products, while lacking additives, preservatives, sweeteners, artificial flavors and coloring. Be wary of these ingredients that have little nutritional value and possible health side effects:

  • Propylene glycol
  • Animal digest
  • BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin
  • Corn syrup, fructose, sugar, sorbitol
  • Nonspecific meat and bone meals or by-products, like 'poultry meal'
  • Animal fat and vegetable oil
  • Corn cellulose, corn bran, brewer's rice, corn and wheat glutens

Foods Necessary for Dog Health

Ingredients that should be in health dog food include named proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, including:

  • Chicken, lamb, and beef and specific meals, like 'chicken meal' as the first ingredient
  • Named fats and oils, such as 'chicken fat' or 'flax oil'
  • Rice, barley, oats, sweet potatoes
  • Proteinates, amino acid chelates or complexes, polysaccharide complexes
  • Ester C, calcium ascorbate, tocopherol

Commercial foods that contain the phrase "complete and balanced" are guaranteed by the AAFCO, or Association of American Feed Control Officials, to have the minimum nutrients required for healthy nutrition levels.

Any commercial dog foods labeled as 'natural' or 'organic' are not bound by any FDA guidelines when it comes to ingredients and how plants are grown or animals raised, so be sure to check the label for proper nutrients.