How to Grade Your Pet’s Food

Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by PetMAC

A natural, healthy diet for your pet is paramount to his or her long term health.  It pays to be an educated consumer and review the ingredients of the food you feed your pooch.  It is also very good to rotate among well-rated pet foods for variety.

An additional good resource is this link below where it allows you to compare ingredients from various foods side by side:  www.naturapet.com/pet-food-comparison.

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” 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”, “brewers rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
  6. If the protein sources are not named meat or meat meals (ie:  chicken, turkey, etc) and there are fewer 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 pet 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 pet is not allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
  14. If it contains beef (unless you know that your pet is not 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 “turkey”, etc 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

Score:

94-100+ = A     86-93 = B     78-85 = C     70-77 = D     69 = F

Here are some foods that have already been scored.

Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+

Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F

Canidae / Score 112 A+

Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+

Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+

Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Pet (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 B

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D

Innova Pet / Score 114 A+

Innova Evo / Score 114 A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+

Merrick Grammy Pot Pie/ Score 118 A+

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F

ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley / Score 103 A+

Purina Beneful / Score 17 F

Purina Pet / Score 62 F

Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F

Royal Canin BullPet / Score 100 A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+

Wolf King Adult Pet (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A

 

***Source unknown – widely circulated on the internet