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How to Grade Your Dog's Food


Start with a grade of 100

  1. For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points 

  2. For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points 

  3. If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points 

  4. For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points 

  5. If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points 

  6. If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points 

  7. If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points 

  8. If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points 

  9. If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points 

  10. If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points 

  11. If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points 

  12. If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points 

  13. If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points 

  14. If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to beef), subtract 1 point 

  15. If it contains salt, subtract 1 point 

Extra Credit 

  1. If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

  2. If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points 

  3. If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points 

  4. If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points 

  5. If the food contains fruit, add 3 points 

  6. If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points 

  7. If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points 

  8. If the food contains barley, add 2 points 

  9. If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points 

  10. If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point 

  11. If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point 

  12. For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point 

  13. If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point 

  14. If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A

86-93 = B

78-85 = C

70-77 = D

<70 = F


With all the variety of different foods on the market today, it's no surprise that many people think they are feeding high-quality food but in turn, after grading their food with the table on the left, the product is less than desirable.  Please know there are many high-quality foods on the market that won't require you to actually spend more food on your dog's food than your own, but ensuring that your dog is eating ingredient-rich food is beyond important!  All the brands mentioned below scored a 90 or above using the table to the left.

Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy

Authority Harvest Baked

Authority Harvest Baked Less Active


Beowulf Back to Basics

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice

Burns Chicken and Brown Rice


Chicken Soup Senior

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance

EaglePack Holistic

Flint River Senior


Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold


Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables

Merrick Wilderness Blend

Nature's Recipe

Nature's Variety

Nutro Max Adult

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice

Nutro Ultra Adult

Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry

Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult

Solid Gold


Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry

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