Whole Dog Journal's Blog April 20, 2016

Behind the Scenes of Our Dog Food Reviews

Posted at 12:04PM - Comments: (56)

WDJ began publication in 1998, and we began reviewing dog food that year. There were very few products that met our early selection criteria - perhaps half a dozen - but we listed all that we could find.

I was in favor of the "teaching people to fish" approach to the reviews. I thought it was more important to teach dog owners how to read a dog food label so they could tell the difference between the really good ones and the ones with really attractive labels. My boss disagreed; he was in the "give people a fish" camp. He said, "Nancy, I know you are a writer, but trust me when I say that when it comes to this sort of thing, many people will never read your article; they just want the list of foods we approve of."

I learned within just a few years that he was absolutely right: Lots of people don't read the dog food review, where I try to give them the reasons why we like the foods we do, and why we don't like other foods. Many, many people just look at the list of foods, and then ask, "Why isn't Brand X on your list?" 

Dog Food Aisle at Pet Store

Choices abound, but which one is best for your dog?

In the years since those early reviews, we've added things to our list of selection criteria, and the reviews have gotten more involved. But the number of good - and even REALLY good foods - has gotten longer and longer. In the past 18 years, the industry has been moving in the right direction (in our view). That said, the number of really BAD foods is still much longer than the list of good foods; there are just as many truly atrocious foods out there. So, in my view, it's still very important to continue to describe the hallmarks of good foods, and to identify the traits of low-quality foods, in addition to listing examples of the ones we like best.

When we analyze the products offered by a particular company, we look at a number of factors. We started adding some of these factors to a spreadsheet, so we could keep track of whose products display which characteristics. Over the years, these factors turned into columns and fields in a chart where we listed some of this information for the list of foods that met our selection criteria, until the 2015 version contained more information than ever before. But guess what? We don't recall receiving even a single comment in support of the chart or the information it contained!

So, we tried a new style for this year's dry dog food list in order to accommodate the growing number of quality dry foods on the market today. With so many pet food manufacturers listening to owners' concerns and improving their foods, our list has grown quite long in recent years. So, we began the 2016 review with an eye toward offering more information in the ARTICLE than ever before, and merely listing the companies that make foods that meet all of our selection criteria.

Since then, however, we've heard from a number of you that the chart was more valuable to you than we realized! Some of you were quite upset that the list didn't have the detailed information about each company's offerings anymore. So, the spreadsheet will be back for 2017 - and, if you wouldn't mind,  we'd love your feedback about which information that was contained in the chart was most helpful to you.

The following are fields that appeared in the 2015 version of the list of approved dry foods. Would you mind letting us know which information was most valuable to you? We will build this information into our list of approved canned foods later this year, and of course, into the 2017 dry food review in the February issue.

Indicate which information is most important to you:

Whether the food is made by the company itself, or co-packed
Where the food is sold (in terms of independent stores or in chains)
How many varieties the company offers
Whether the foods are made with meat, meat meal, or both
The range of minimum amounts of protein and fat in the foods offered by the company
Whether or not the company has ever had recalls
The approximate price range of the foods
Notes on the company and its products
Anything else you'd like to know about each company's products?

Feel free to comment below, or send feedback to WDJEditor@gmail.com. Thanks so much!


Comments (56)

I'm hoping that you are listening to these comments about the best food list and reasons why and where ingredients are produced, and what kind of ingredients are used. Recalls could be helpful and any other negative information from companies. our in I'm looking to get info not have to argue about the kind of list that I just paid 20 dollars to get...I'm not sure I should have purchased.

Posted by: rlt66 | June 19, 2016 4:37 PM    Report this comment

I have read your article about the dog food reviews and it's very disturbing! But what is more alarming are the vet clinics and pet supplies stores that still sell these "defective" brands. Don't they read these reviews????? Or is it just money that they're after that's why they just disregard the dangers of feeding these brands to pets?

In addition, I would really appreciate it if the contents of each dog food is specified so that the concerned public would know WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE meat meals and similar ingredients made from? The rest of the items in your list are all a source of concern for me as well so I guess, I'd be expecting to read a more extensive information on next year's review.

Posted by: Sunako-chan | May 1, 2016 5:05 AM    Report this comment

Thanks to Whole Dog Journal for opening my eyes eighteen years ago to the truth about commercial dog foods. Eighteen years ago, I started cooking for my dogs and cats. I knowingly state that my animals are truly healthier, not only because of a healthier diet, but because they have benefited from a multitude of do's and don't that I learned about from this publication.

I have concluded that there is no truth-in-advertising for pet foods and treats, and, it seems to me, that AAFCO standards are a joke.

I would like to see more information on the quality of vitamins and minerals added to pet foods and where they are sourced from.

THANK YOU ! for this valuable publication.

Posted by: Doris Muller | April 29, 2016 11:03 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for listening to reader feedback! Nutrition and diet information is the primary reason I subscribe.

The factors that would be most useful to me are data that indicate quality but are not explicitly listed on the bag. Examples:

Whether the food is made by the company itself or co-packed. If co-packed, where and by whom?
Safety and quality control procedures (end to end refrigeration, independent testing)
Has the company conducted AAFCO feeding trials for this line or similar lines?
Has the company conducted longer term tracking/research?
What preservatives are used?
What is the country of origin for ingredients, including vitamins/premixes?
Has the company had recalls, and if so what were the nature of the recalls?
What is the percentage of protein from meat (as opposed to vegetables or other sources)? There's a new trend to include large quantities of lentils and beans, which boosts the protein % through non-meat protein sources.

The rest is less important to me. I can pretty easily look up prices and ingredients myself with minimal effort. To whatever degree WDJ can publish a survey of dog food brand/formula research, I'll pay to read it. For simple information like primary ingredients, guaranteed analysis, prices, and where to buy the food, google can answer my questions for free.

Posted by: lyla | April 29, 2016 8:41 PM    Report this comment

Yes to ALL the information. And cost is an important question. People like me, on a very limited income, sometimes have to make a decision to compromise. So having all the info helps in that decision. Thanks for all the work you do.

Posted by: maisie | April 28, 2016 10:58 AM    Report this comment

I would like to know if a food has been feed tested or if it's simply a good recipe.
Would also like to know if it has been made at a low temperature thus preserving the vitamins and minerals.
thank you for all you do!

Posted by: groovinhenry | April 27, 2016 4:03 PM    Report this comment

as a newcomer to this site I am delighted to read the articles and particularly the food information and evaluations. After being a no dog household for the past seven years we have adopted a rescue dog that was 14 mos. old. She's now 17 months old and a great companion and family member. She's about 55 lbs. and a red heeler/shepherd mix. I'm seriously interested in giving her the best food we can afford as she's been easy to train and enjoy. I am appreciating your articles and advice. Thank You.

Posted by: Ginger n MaryAnne | April 24, 2016 12:39 PM    Report this comment

If possible, I'd like all the information you had, plus information on lines with limited ingredients or single protein sources. Since chicken and beef are common allergens, if possible I'd like to see the sample ingredient list come from a non-chicken/beef formula for companies that have one. While there have been a few years, I haven't read everything in the charts, I find the full charts an invaluable service as a place to start the search for foods my dog can be health on. With all the food company changes, line changes, and recalls, going back to the charts to start again, has been a great time saver and in ten years of reading them I've read the full charts more years than not.

Posted by: Aria | April 24, 2016 11:14 AM    Report this comment

Many of us have dogs that need specific ranges of fat, protein, etc. I know how to figure dry matter basis but it would be great if you would include that in each review. I keep in touch with all our "puppy people" and including DMB on the list would be a big help them to them in making their choices.

Posted by: zoedeco | April 24, 2016 10:09 AM    Report this comment

The most important information for me is:
1. Varieties/formulations offered by the company and whether the food is packed by the company or co-packed.
2. Minimum and maximum amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins, and minerals offered in the different classes of food provided. For wet foods, indicate dry matter content i.e. a standard food analysis for required nutrients.
3. Whether sugar or related products, artificial coloring and flavoring are added.
3. Whether meat, meat meal or both are included.
4. Whether the food has a constant or least cost formulation so amounts change frequently.
5. Information on recalls including whether they were self-reported or required, how many there have been and why the food was recalled.
6. Approximate price range of the foods. A star system (* inexpensive, ** medium cost and *** expensive is fine)
7. Notes on the company and its products.
8. National origin of ingredients.
Thank you. This is a valuable service that justifies my subscription to WDJ.

Posted by: Alice P | April 24, 2016 10:07 AM    Report this comment

I am ashamed that I have not sent my comment concerning your information on the food issue. I use it as a bible and will continue to do so for our 2 dogs. I think the above information is all relevant and any you have concerning large breeds. We try to feed large breed for our mix Brittany and mix German short hair pointer. We have had to change the quantity that we feed several times to maintain the weight of our dogs. Not sure that I understand this about Blue Buffalo. Their activity has not changed. Thank you for all that you do for us. I put the word out about your issues whenever I get the opportunity. Please don't ever quit!!!

Posted by: petlover | April 23, 2016 10:31 PM    Report this comment

Thanks so much for all you do. All of the information is very useful to me. The least important info is cost and where to buy. Source of ingredients would be helpful to know as companies do not always disclose that on their websites and I'm not sure whether to trust customer relations employees who assure that all ingredients are sourced from USA or New Zealand (lamb).

Posted by: Goldiemom | April 23, 2016 10:24 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for all of the thorough information in the past. I subscribe because you give us information we might not think to ask and have access to more than we might be able to find. Please keep up the good work and accept my apologies for taking your research for granted and not commenting in the past. I love the details and that's exactly why I subscribe! I care about everything on your list, including source of ingredients, humane treatment of animals used for protein, ratio of protein, fat and carbs. Ethics, recalls, company practices. I find your information invaluable for my pets and since I work with other pet owners, I like offering them a resource for information that they didn't know was available. Thanks for educating us and for keeping your standards high!

Posted by: Cblarson | April 23, 2016 4:01 AM    Report this comment

I have a comment. Many people are requesting info that can be found on a
dog food company's website...such as, calories per LB or cup, a complete ingredient list (if they are honest about it), an analysis list ie. protein, fat, fiber
and much more information one may be interested in.

Posted by: Aussie Ann | April 22, 2016 6:32 PM    Report this comment

Looking for food without additional, eg guard gum or synthetic vitamins.

Posted by: Kipco | April 22, 2016 6:31 PM    Report this comment

And I was not going to renew because I was so upset by the lack of info this year. Thank you for listening to your readers, and all you have done in the past.

1) Source/origin of ingredients (which may be impossible to obtain)
2) Whether the food is made by the company itself, or co-packed
3) Where the food is sold (in terms of independent stores or in chains)
4) How many varieties the company offers
5) Whether the foods are made with meat, meat meal, or both
6) The range of minimum amounts of protein and fat in the foods offered by the company
7) Whether or not the company has ever had recalls
8) The approximate price range of the foods
9) Notes on the company and its products

PS: I read every word of the accompanying article, and appreciate the work
that goes into writing that.

Posted by: Aussie Ann | April 22, 2016 6:11 PM    Report this comment

Please give as much information as possible. I feed a combination of homemade dog food and kibble.

Posted by: Thornhedge Farm | April 22, 2016 4:34 PM    Report this comment

I agree with what others have said, but also want to know if minerals are chelated? Since rice is contaminated with arsenic, I would like to know where the rice is sourced. Calories per cup?

Posted by: Ms. Jerry Dewberry | April 22, 2016 3:30 PM    Report this comment

I also want to see a complete list like the 2015 complete lists . I am interested in the source of the ingredients, grain free or not, percentages of fat etc. Also if the product has had any citations or recalls and why? And, I would like to see a listing of the dehydrated foods by the same method. These are supposed to be fresh and want to know all the facts, especially the source of the meats and veggies and any problems and recalls. Also what is added in any of the dog food products such as vitamins, minerals etc.

Posted by: jitern | April 22, 2016 2:38 PM    Report this comment

It seems that a lot of comments are based on trusting that the ingredient list is true and correct. I trusted a well known brand only to find out that there were actually ingredients in the dog food that the bag said was not in there. In fact the dog food was advertised to NOT have certain ingredients in it that it DID and the exclusion of these ingredients was a major selling point. I really don't trust the ingredient list on the bags anymore. So now what?

Posted by: LuvPugs | April 22, 2016 2:32 PM    Report this comment

Keep up the great work on reporting of Dog Food. Number one is the ingredient listing, where the ingredients are sourced from and where the food is made. I want quality ingredients and made in USA. I don't buy any treats other than made in USA.
I would also like to emphasize the NOT feeding a dog grapes..... EVER.

Like I said keep up the great work on the reporting you do at WDJ, I really appreciate it.


Posted by: RodneyB | April 22, 2016 2:06 PM    Report this comment

I really appreciate every scintilla of information you give us regarding - well, most everything but especially dog foods. I really pay attention to : 1) where made and/or co packed, 2) whether product contains meat, meat by products, etc., 3) recalls, 4) notes about the company, 5) where it can be purchased. Your dog food review is my "go to bible" when I teach canine nutrition as a subset of my dog training classes. I quote you A LOT! Keep up the great work!

Posted by: AlaskaLabLover | April 22, 2016 12:18 PM    Report this comment

MOST IMPORTANT (in no particular order):
- Whether the food is made by the company itself or co-packed (and info about the co-packer - i.e. recalls)
- Country of Origin - where ingredients are sourced
- Company recalls
- Who owns the parent company (or is it a smaller, family owned company)
- Notes on the company and its products that might not be obvious by browsing their website or looking at labels

DO NOT NEED (this info is easily found online and is a waste of space, in my opinion):
- Where the food is sold (in terms of independent stores or in chains)
- The approximate price range of the foods

Posted by: Christine4444 | April 22, 2016 11:55 AM    Report this comment

1-Company produced or co-packed
2-Ingredients list in order of percentage of product
3-Source of ingredients to include country of origin- this is most important. I do not eat foods sourced in China for example, nor do I want to feed them to my pets.
4-Company recalls and how company handled same.

Posted by: Abaco | April 22, 2016 11:32 AM    Report this comment

I have been a reader/follower for several years and always consume the food issue. I have used your suggestion of rotating brands for several years with great success. I want as much information as possible when choosing a brand for my cycles and depend on WDJ to give me that information! More is better. Thank you for your dedication to getting this information to us in a readable, comparable format.

Posted by: pemcor | April 22, 2016 10:21 AM    Report this comment

I read EVERYTHING, so keep up the great work! I'd like to see a PUPPY FOOD review/guide (have I missed it somewhere?). Many puppy foods (and adult foods) fail to provide good info on calcium/phosphorus ratios and guaranteed analysis of its min/max content for Large Breeds, even some that are supposed to be formulated and labeled as "Large Breed."
I also like to see the actual protein/carb/fat content percentages on a dry matter basis for comparisons of all foods.

Posted by: LabLove | April 22, 2016 10:03 AM    Report this comment

The Whole Dog Journal offers a critical service to its readers by providing the yearly list of approved dog foods. I study every release closely and it provides immeasurable support for dog parents who want to do their best to feed their dogs wisely and give the best nutritional support. My knowledge of canine nutrition has grown tremendously as a result. Every bit of information you have provided in the past is of great importance when selecting a food. So I vote to bring back all the information--and, in addition, I'd also like to know where foods are sourced. Petey, my pit bull, and I thank you for doing what you do.

Posted by: driftless1 | April 22, 2016 9:33 AM    Report this comment

I'm a subscriber, and even after reading the list, it was extremely hard to make a decision on a "best" food. So I decided to hedge my bets and I now combine several of the top brands in my own plastic bags.They are all large breed puppy and chicken based. I'm curious for feedback on this idea. Does anyone else do this? Lots of websites now offer recall alerts, so I guess I mostly want to know when a company changes its formula. Newer isn't always better.

Posted by: clangfor | April 22, 2016 9:10 AM    Report this comment

I always check to see what the first fat is. I like to see consistency between the main meat source and the first fat. I do not buy kibble with canola oil as the first fat.

Posted by: norascats | April 22, 2016 4:59 AM    Report this comment

I found WDJ thanks to others at my dog training school, who had been reading the food reviews and health articles for years - like many subscribers, the food review details are one of my favorite, most used, and most recommended sections. This year's version of the information was so different, I wasn't sure I was actually reading the right thing - I'm glad the format is reverting to the earlier version.

Though it does not normally appear printed on food bags, I would be thrilled to see two critical additions to the data. First, the percentage of carbohydrates - while the percentages of protein, fat, moisture, and sometimes fiber are listed, carbs normally aren't. Second, the calorie count per cup - again, sometimes this is listed, sometimes not. I know different formulations within a product line, all have different percentages of these measurements; it would be helpful to include the percent carbs and the calories per cup, for the representative product where the top ten or top five ingredients are listed.

My own dogs are competition team mates in Obedience, Rally, tracking, conformation shows, and stock trials, and have been healthiest when fed grain free foods, alternating with raw meals. It is a challenge to maintain weight on high energy, hard working dogs - but it's also a very fine line between maintaining weight, and gaining weight.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: ardea | April 21, 2016 10:15 PM    Report this comment

I like to see who makes what. I use the food info, along with another site, to choose the best food possible for my dogs. I have a reactive dog and try to keep the 'hot' proteins out of her diet, to help with her reactivity.

The info is great!!

Posted by: Cbear | April 21, 2016 10:05 PM    Report this comment

I look forward to the food review articles every year! These are the topics of most interest to me:

Whether the food is made by the company itself, or co-packed (and what company is the co-packer)

Where the company sources its ingredients from

Whether or not the company has ever had recalls

Notes on the company and its products

Posted by: AviaMR | April 21, 2016 8:22 PM    Report this comment

Protein sources and recall info is critical. I've bought grain free for a long time but have also migrated to no potato/tapioca and other starch sources as well. Is there a way to include carbohydrate info? I would also like to buy non GM products and cruelty free products. It's rather hypocritical to be try to treat our animals well if the meat they eat is from a CAFO situation and the cattle or chickens are not humanely treated or are pumped full of antibiotics and steroids during their lives. I'm betting there are not many manufacturers that go to those lengths, but I'm willing to pay more to make sure ALL animals are treated well. I pay more for my food as a result and I'm willing to pay more for my dogs' food also.

Posted by: AgilityMom | April 21, 2016 8:15 PM    Report this comment

The most important is whether the company uses their own facility or a co-packer (and the co-packers name).
Then if the ingredients are sourced in the USA.
Third would be number of recent recalls (and why, if space allows.

Thank you! Use your list as a starting point when researching food.

Posted by: Ava | April 21, 2016 7:41 PM    Report this comment

I think what you and the WDJ does is great! The more people who become educated about the facts, the better.....and better for their dogs. My top-5 list:
1. Who the company answers to, or, is the company is privately/family-owned.
2. Where the ingredients are sourced from. i.e., South America, China, US, Canada, Mexico.
3. Who makes the food and where. If co-packed, what company owns the packing house, and who does that company answer to.
4. The top 5 ingredients in the food
5. If the company had any recalls, and why.

Posted by: bemperton | April 21, 2016 7:03 PM    Report this comment

The most important detail to me in selecting dog food, is whether the seller makes the dog food themselves. I always read the ingredients on the bags or cans since receiving training through WDJ. Outstanding information and easy to understand. The second most important information has been what meat or meat meal is listed on the ingredients and how high on the list is it ? Which of the components in the food is considered somewhat risky for dogs ? Have there been any recalls of products made by this manufacturer and when ?

Thank you very much for all you presented to your readers in considering the right foods for our pets. I have read the articles over and over and made copies for my friends and neighbors. Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Bobbo70 | April 21, 2016 6:44 PM    Report this comment

First would like to thank you for your informative information on dog food brands. It is a huge help in making sure I'm getting the best possible food for my dog.

The company and where the food is made is important to me as is sourcing of the food. No grain is important as is protein and fat content, is the first ingredient meat or meal ? What preservatives are used? So many of them are cancer causing , you have to be careful. Lastly, are there any recalls? How long ago, what was recall for and how the company responded and remedied the problem.

Thank you for you for your many informative and educational articles. I value all of them.
Boo's mom

Posted by: Boo's mom | April 21, 2016 6:29 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for "teaching us to fish"--I have learned so much from your articles on selecting good dogfoods.
I really pay attention to everything on your list but I especially pay attention to foods that use protein sources other than the "big three" (beef, chicken, lamb).
For fish proteins I would like to know if any salmon included is farmed or wildcaught and especially if it is GMO or not.
I defintely pay attention to recalls--if a company has a lot of them then it might indicate a problem either with the source material or their processing system.

Posted by: PJKutscher | April 21, 2016 6:00 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for asking for this feedback. Knowing the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the different foods would be super helpful to people with large breed puppies.

Posted by: cvillespence | April 21, 2016 5:23 PM    Report this comment

Not being in the US, not may of the brands you cover are available here.
But there is one serious problem which I have come across here, and that is alteration of the ingredients without altering he packaging -- except for the small print list of ingredients.
I was caught rather badly in the past _ I used to buy and Australian, all-kangaroo meat dry food, which the dogs did particularly well on. Over the years I noticed that the dogs' condition worsened ad their dropping became unpleasant. I said something about this to the man at the produce store. Now I knew that the company that originally made the food had been bought out by a US company, but I (stupidly) presumed that it was the same manufacturer ad that the ingredients were the same. Not so, I was told. The ingredients had bee changed FIVE times since the US company took over, and although kangaroo was still included it was a minor ingredient -- :-( -- even though the price had been steadily rising over the years :-(

Posted by: Jenny H | April 21, 2016 5:20 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for all you do to provide this valuable info and to educate your readers. Both are important--I read the articles and the lists each time you do the review. It has been very helpful--you taught me that a meat as a first ingredient is good but its best to have a meat meal in the first few ingredients as well. How many of us knew that before you imparted the info and the rationale? :-) I'd appreciate your thoughts on all the dry foods that are including peas as the 2nd, 3rd or 4th ingredient--sounds like filler to me at a hefty price. Below are considerations important to me:

Whether the food is made by the company itself, or co-packed (by who?)
Whether the foods are made with meat, meat meal, or both

The range of minimum amounts of protein and fat in the foods offered by the company

Whether or not the company has ever had recalls--and what were the reasons for the recalls?

TerriLA commented about copper content--I'd like to see that as well, having a Doberman with liver issues. She also has cancer and I'm doing both home prepared and commercial meals for her. One company I found that is very useful for comparing pet food ingredients is Chewy.com. They carry an amazing number of companies and varieties that I can't always find in my area (far western burbs of Chicago) and for every food you can see the ingredients, percentages etc. It's most convenient to do comparisons without bouncing to dozens of manufacturers websites. Using their website helped me find a truly fish based food (Wellness Core) and single protein wet foods (Canine Caviar).

Thanks again--you and Whole Dog Journal are most appreciated!

Posted by: Dobieluv | April 21, 2016 5:01 PM    Report this comment

Our dog has inflammatory bowel disease and food allergies. I enjoy using your lists, but I have to read the ingredient list every time I buy in case they have changed their formula! I buy 4-6 lb bags of rotating types to give him the most diverse ingredients and nutrition. He is a 13 year old small GSD mix..

Posted by: Tmalven | April 21, 2016 4:09 PM    Report this comment

I have a dog with food intolerances (to a long list of proteins). When I fed kibble (now feeding raw) I always wished that there was some way to identify the dry foods with specific single proteins, e.g. lamb, venison, rabbit. All the information that was provided was helpful, but it was very hard to identify which ones were even worth considering because of the intolerances.

Posted by: mainer | April 21, 2016 4:08 PM    Report this comment

1. Who makes the food and where. If co-packed, what company owns the packing house.
2. Where the ingredients are sourced from
3. The top 5 ingredients in the food
4. If the food contains grains, plant proteins, fruits, etc. and percentages
5. The number and the reason for any recalls
Thank you!

Lynn & Traveler

Posted by: Travelers mom | April 21, 2016 3:48 PM    Report this comment

Well, if you've read the articles, then you would be wanting to know the information in the questions you've asked... So, yes, to all of them. The dog food issue is my favorite....

Posted by: tincup82 | April 21, 2016 3:48 PM    Report this comment

1. Who makes the food and where. If co-packed, what company owns the packing house.
2. Where the ingredients are sourced from
3. The top 5 ingredients in the food
4. If the food contains grains, plant proteins, fruits, etc. and percentages
5. The number and the reason for any recalls
Thank you!

Lynn & Traveler

Posted by: Travelers mom | April 21, 2016 3:47 PM    Report this comment

1. Who makes the food and where. If co-packed, what company owns the packing house.
2. Where the ingredients are sourced from
3. The top 5 ingredients in the food
4. If the food contains grains, plant proteins, fruits, etc. and percentages
5. The number and the reason for any recalls
Thank you!

Lynn & Traveler

Posted by: Travelers mom | April 21, 2016 3:45 PM    Report this comment

Yes to everything. I honesty look at it all. I use high quality foods so even seemingly minor categories have significance to me.

Posted by: curasmom | April 21, 2016 3:36 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for providing such wonderful & informative information. I've read your articles for years & kept every issue. The lists are very important! My most important concerns are what ingredients are in the kibble, whether or not the company has had any recalls and the protein and ingredients ratio. I would like to see added to this, the copper content, because high copper contents are related to liver disease in my chosen breed, the American Cocker Spaniel, so that is a concern of mine. I have found most kibble - including the highest rated brands - has a copper content greater than I prefer to feed. I am currently feeding Fromm Gold Coast weight management formula, which is grain free and fish-based and the copper content is within what I consider acceptable levels for my dogs.

Posted by: TerriLa | April 21, 2016 3:18 PM    Report this comment

So sorry I haven't weighed in sooner. I really look forward to the WDJournal and especially the annual reviews on wet and dry food and I missed having a more complete chart along with the listings. I read the article but I wish you would repeat yourself in the listings. I save them from year to year. In fact, one big reason I continue to subscribe is for those annual reviews! Yours is the very BEST of many "dog" magazines.

Posted by: Sugarmom | April 21, 2016 3:16 PM    Report this comment

I started out by copying the questions and the typing my responses with the plan to copy and paste that info here. However, my answer to all of the questions is YES. I look at all of this information. As a tech writer, I DO read everything. :) I like to know all of this information so that I can choose what I feed my dogs. As far as recalls, I also would like to know why there was a recall, at least if could have seriously harmed my dog (jerky treats) or if was due to an analysis issue (FROMM). FROMM's recall actually upped my respect for the company. It wasn't due to salmonella or foreign objects in the food. (And it wasn't all of their products, only the canned Gold series.)

Posted by: KimberlyO | April 21, 2016 3:11 PM    Report this comment

The problem with relying on comments I think, is that most people comment on what they don't like. I'm thinking because you had so few comments, people were quite happy with your reviews.
Sadly I'm one of those people so perhaps I need to post positive reviews as well as negative.
I read and rely on all the points you've listed when making my choice of foods for my pups. All the points are important to me, and now that we are down to one small dog, it's even more important as I can afford to feed her high end excellent foods.
One thing I rarely see is evaluation of prescription foods. We had three dogs with renal issues, and the best we could find in renal formulas was Royal Canin KD, and even that didn't thrill me. Perhaps sometime you could do a review of various prescrition foods or better substitutes for them.
You guys have a most excellent magazine .. keep up the good work!

Posted by: 3grrrs | April 21, 2016 3:08 PM    Report this comment

I never miss the dog food reviews and read every word of them every year. I'm sorry I failed to let you know how much I value them. Honestly, I think all of the fields are important, and I take them all into consideration. But if you need to cut some fields, I don't need the pricing info-I can easily look that up on my chosen pet supply store's website. I also don't need to know how many varieties the company offers or what stores carry the brand. I can also easily look that up. The other fields are extremely valuable to me, and I have made decisions over the years based on that information. Thank you so much for all your work to keep us educated.

Posted by: CarolC | April 21, 2016 3:02 PM    Report this comment

1. Want to know if food is made by one company or co-packed.
2. Meat, meal or both? What % of each.
3. Min. amounts of protein and fat
4. Notes on the co. and products
5. Any citations and for what issued to the co. for below standard
Thank you,

Posted by: Miss Jan | April 21, 2016 3:01 PM    Report this comment

First of all, thank you for all you do to educate us. Your information is invaluable to me and my pups.
Secondly, I would like to know your view of the food additive carrageenan. I have read conflicting articles on the subject.
As to your question about important information on the list: I would like to know how many varieties the company offers, where it is sold and the amount range of protein and fat. Thank you again for your great work! Linda

Posted by: harbormaster | April 21, 2016 2:56 PM    Report this comment

I want to see the main ingredients and whether they have undesirable ingredients or color added. Cost is important so I don't purchase grain-free. I try and avoid companies with recalls. I check out the amount of protein and fat.

Posted by: Arnie | April 21, 2016 2:49 PM    Report this comment

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