Dog Food: Ratings of Sources
Total of 17 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
The 2014 List
by Susan Thixton
Our AssessmentSusan Thixton maintains this blog about all things pet food related, as well as PetsumerReport.com (listed below). She publishes a yearly list of the foods she would feed her own pets (available for a donation, starting at $10). All are from small brands. Frozen (raw and cooked) and dry varieties are listed, but no canned foods.
by Susan Thixton
Our AssessmentOn this site, Susan Thixton rates big- and small-brand dog foods based on their first five ingredients: Five quality ingredients earn 5 paws, four earn 4 paws, etc. (Canned food can earn a maximum of 4 paws, because the extra water or broth -- although beneficial -- doesn't count as a quality ingredient here.) Thixton reports on the manufacturing facilities and supply chains for each brand. Controversial ingredients are flagged. Because of the different criteria, several 5-paw brands here don't make Thixton's list of favorites at TruthAboutPetFood.com.
Recalls & Withdrawals
by U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Our AssessmentThe Food and Drug Administration posts pet food recalls here, organized by date. This is the website to visit to find out whether a dog food you're feeding -- or considering feeding -- has been recalled.
Dog Food Reviews
by Mike Sagman
Our AssessmentDogFoodAdvisor.com rates dog foods from 1 to 5 stars, based on their ingredients and nutritional value. Site owner Mike Sagman gives a bottom-line assessment, highlights controversial ingredients and often answers reader questions and comments. A large number of foods earn the site's highest rating, but that number is dwarfed by the many foods that score lower -- sometimes substantially so.
Best Dry Dog Food
by Editors of PetFoodRatings.org
Our AssessmentThis website rates dry dog foods based on their ingredient content and quality. Editors also rate the foods' cost, but they don't take that into consideration when making their top picks. Discussion is brief but adequate. Foods with high meat content rank highest. Some well-known brands -- such as Alpo Prime Cuts -- are highly criticized for the use of cheap fillers and by-products.
Diet Options for Dogs
by Mary Straus
Our AssessmentMary Straus is a self-described "dogaholic" who is knowledgeable about dog health and nutrition. This site includes a lengthy and informative discussion about feeding needs (for homemade diets and otherwise), with specific commercial food recommendations. Straus briefly explains why she recommends each food, but she doesn't rate the foods.
Whole Dog Journal's 2013 Canned Dog Food Review
by Nancy Kerns
Our AssessmentEach year, Whole Dog Journal publishes a list of approved canned dog foods. The criteria used are rigorous, with an emphasis on high-quality protein sources. The accompanying article explains why canned food is better for dogs than dry, and what ingredients to look for in a quality canned food (and which ingredients to avoid).
Whole Dog Journal's 2013 Dry Dog Food Review
by Nancy Kerns
Our AssessmentHere, Whole Dog Journal makes its dry food recommendations. Although this publication advocates wet food for dogs (it's higher in protein and lower in carbs), editors do find some acceptable dry foods -- mostly premium ones.
FAQ: Feeding Your Dog Properly
by Tracie Hotchner
Our AssessmentTracie Hotchner, author of "The Dog Bible" and host of the syndicated radio show "Dog Talk," names dog food brands that she feels are the best overall. She feeds her own dogs Halo Spot's Stew kibble -- but adds that dogs need fresh or canned food as well to supply more protein. She says Halo Spot's Stew canned, Newman's Own, Weruva, Evanger's 100% Organic and The Honest Kitchen are good brands.
Dog Food Brands
by Contributors to RateItAll.com
Our AssessmentThis site features consumer ratings of a wide range of dog food types and lets you sort by ratings and by confidence (ratings based on a large number of user reviews). Like most such websites, the quality of the reviews varies greatly, but many are interesting to read and several varieties get lots of feedback. Orijen stands out for its high score, with more than 450 ratings posted.
by Contributors to OnlyNaturalPet.com
Our AssessmentAt this natural pet-retail site, customer ratings (and the number of ratings) are provided right on the main page. Reviews list pros and cons and a bottom-line opinion about whether the reviewer would recommend a dog food to a friend, along with a brief write-up. Reviewer identities are verified prior to their reviews being posted.
by Contributors to Petco.com
Our AssessmentPetco is a large pet supply company that lets customers provide reviews and ratings of dog food and other products. Although many foods get only a handful of ratings, some get high grades in dozens of reviews. Ratings are shown right on the main page, but many get similar ratings, so it's not easy to find the best-rated foods.
Choosing a Healthy Dog or Cat Food
by Editors of Dogma
Our AssessmentThis site is owned by a pet store with two locations in Orange County, Calif. The site has all the usual sales links, such as toys, bowls and treats, but it also has one page devoted to nutrition, which is well researched and in agreement with other sources. There are no ratings or recommendations, but there's a list of foods to avoid because they contain by-products, animal digest, hydrochloric acid or other undesirable or unhealthy substances.
BARF Frequently Asked Questions
by Bree Weasner
Our AssessmentBARF is an acronym for "biologically appropriate raw food" (sometimes referred to as "bones and raw food"), and this site is one of the most complete sources of information we found -- a must for anyone interested in learning about raw food diets for dogs. The information is provided by those experienced with the BARF diet and from books written by experts. The site has an excellent question-and-answer page and covers everything from vegetarian raw food diets to the myth about feeding raw food causing a dog to develop blood lust and start stalking other animals for food.
Pet Food Labels -- General
by U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Our AssessmentThis government site goes into great detail about labeling regulations and industry standards. A great resource for devout label-readers, the article gives guidelines for spotting label trickery, including, for example, the 25 percent rule. If the named ingredients make up at least 25 percent of the product but less than 95 percent, the name must include a qualifying descriptive term, such as "beef dinner for dogs." No pet-food guidelines or ratings are found here, however.
Dog Foods: Help in Making the Choice Easier
by Owner of Woodhaven Labradors
Our AssessmentThis site belongs to a breeder of Labrador retrievers. This article looks at gimmicks and labeling with a critical eye. The author's position is that named by-products are OK -- in the wild, dogs certainly eat organs and other parts considered unpalatable by humans -- but unidentified by-products are not. The author states that her dogs do best on mid-range dog food (neither the most expensive nor the least) but no recommendations are made.
Best Dog Food Ratings
by Editors of GoodGuide.com
Our AssessmentGoodGuide.com bases its analysis of dog foods on clearly defined criteria, but comes to startlingly different conclusions than most other experts. Questionable ingredients are noted, but foods are not apparently penalized for them. Scores for Environment and Society aren't adequately explained. Several dog foods that typically get bad ratings elsewhere rise to the top of the pack here.