Premium Pet Food Ingredients

Premium pet food can improve your dog's health, reducing allergies, illness and anxious energy. Knowing what ingredients for which to look can help you select food that will be best for your dog.

Protein Sources

When checking out ingredient labels, proper protein sources should be listed just by the name of the protein, such as turkey, chicken or beef. Any type of protein is acceptable for your dog as long as he does well on it.

Protein is a common source of pet allergies, however, so if your dog suffers from excessive itching or ear infections, you may consider changing the protein source you feed. Dogs with allergies often do well on unique protein sources, such as duck, buffalo or venison.

Another common ingredient in premium pet food is protein meal. This will be listed as chicken meal, turkey meal, etc. Meal is ground flesh and skin without any fur, feathers, bone, head, feet or entrails.

Avoid foods that list protein sources as just meat. This is often low-quality meat of an unknown source, which may not be healthy for your dog. Also avoid meat byproducts, which can include feathers, head, feet and other unhealthy parts of the animal.

Fruits and Vegetables

Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, so they need a certain amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets as well. Premium foods recognize this and add ingredients that are most healthy for your dog.

Healthy vegetable sources include:

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • peas
  • squash
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • spinach

Most vegetables are fine to feed your dogs, but you should avoid:

  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • mushrooms

Anything from the nightshade family, such as potatoes, should be cooked or given in small amounts.

Many allergy-free foods include potatoes since they are unique to most dogs.

Avoid foods with corn and wheat, which have no nutritional value for dogs and often cause allergies. They are used as cheap filler, and premium foods won't include them.

Fruits are usually used less frequently in foods, but you may see premium foods with bananas, apples or berries, which can be excellent antioxidants. Avoid grapes and raisins.


There is a lot of debate about whether or not dogs need grain in their food. Since dogs would only get grain in the wild from the stomachs of their prey, many health experts contend that they don't need it added to their food. Because of this, there are many grain-free foods available on the market today.

There are some grains that are more suitable for dogs, however. As stated before, corn and wheat have no nutritional value for dogs. Brown rice, not white rice, and barley are both healthy grains often found in high-quality food.

Additional Ingredients

Premium foods may also add healthy ingredients omitted from lower quality foods and vitamins that help your dog flourish. Common vitamins include vitamins A, B, C, D and E as well as omega-3s and other mineral supplements.

Additional ingredients can include, eggs, which provide additional healthy protein and yogurt, which restores good bacteria in your dog's stomach.

Avoid foods that add preservatives or dyes, which aren't healthy for your dog.