Everyone wants the best for their beloved dog. There are endless choices in the dog food market that are available nowadays. The problem lies in how do consumers decide which of the products is good and which ones aren't.
Dog food manufacturers are required by law to list the products ingredients by weight. The list is in descending order of weight. What you are going to want to see is a high quality digestible meat protein as one of the first ingredients.
One of the first things that you will notice is that you will notice about the ingredient list is that many of them contain meat by products instead of meat. The next question that needs to be asked is what these are. Some research told me that they are a mixture of things such as liver, blood, bone, brains, cleaned intestines. Most sources agree that meat by products are not bad for dogs.
You might also see a term used is "meat meal". According to the AAFCO (Association American Feed Control Officials) meat meal is defined as "rendered product from mammal tissues exclusive of any blood, hair, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts that may occur unavoidably in good processing practices," (Copywrite Dog Food Project 2004-2012). We must be very careful here to state that dogs need the meat protein and meat meal provides this for them.
What To Look For:
I am certain that you were asking yourself why I am giving you all of this information. I was providing you with some background before I got to this section. The Dog Food Project recommends a food that contains one or more sources of concentrated animal protein in the form of meal. The project also recommends using one that uses high quality ingredients.
This is still a bit confusing to me. The next question I want answered is "Is the dry enough?"
Nothing can beat the convenience of dry. If you are on a budget, dry beats out every single time.
I finally found some good advice on dogfoodadvisor.com. It stated that topping a high quality dry with a high quality wet food will be a better choice for your dog.
Search for a food that has a high proportion of meat. Remember that dogs are carnivores. The meat source should be listed. This means to look for poultry, beef, or lamb. If the source is meal it should also state what type of meal it is rather than just meat meal.
The third ingredient should be some kind of vegetable. Please avoid ingredients such as such as corn. Dogs cannot digest corn. Also avoid wheat.
You will also want to steer clear of meat by-products. By-products will contain ingredients that are not allowed in meat meal.
I realize that it is quite confusing. The most important part to remember is to read the ingredients. The first ingredient should be meat, then some sort of meat meal. Then next ingredient should be some sort of vegetable that is not corn or wheat. You can also supplement your dog's diet with topping his dry food with some wet.