If you are unsure:
Tins, trays, pouches, (non-frozen) chubbs etc are all wet foods.
Raw complete foods come frozen.
Fresh foods are precooked and come chilled.
Dry foods can be harder to distinguish but as a general rule, if it doesn't say the dry food is something special on the packaging (baked, cold-pressed, freeze-dried, air-dried, semi-moist, muesli) it's probably extruded as these make up the vast majority of the market.
Although this information can affect a food's rating, they aren't absolutely essential for a quick overview so don't worry if you don't have it.
Wet, raw and fresh foods should declare their moisture content on the packaging in the 'typical analysis' (aka 'analytical constituents'). Dry foods, on the other hand, are not required to declare their moisture content so many don't. If in doubt, just leave it blank and we'll set it to the average moisture for the selected food type.
Manufacturers do not need to declare which selenium supplement they use but if they do you'll find it in the 'nutritional additives' section or, very occasionally, in the ingredients list (aka 'composition'). If in doubt, contact the manufacturer or just select 'not sure'.
Manufacturers do not need to declare which copper supplement they use but if they do you'll find it in the 'nutritional additives' section or, very occasionally, in the ingredients list (aka 'composition'). If in doubt, contact the manufacturer or just select 'not sure'.
Carrageenan is typically only used in wet foods but manufacturers are not required to declare its use. Where it is declared, you will either find it in the ingredients list (aka 'composition') or possibly under 'technological additives'. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer or just select 'not sure'.
To get an accurate instant review, it's very important that the ingredients list is entered correctly. Scroll down for our guidelines.
Mixing bowl composition
This is the ingredients list as printed on the packaging or manufacturer's website.
Think of the 'mixing bowl' composition like a recipe - all the ingredients you would need to put in a 'mixing bowl' in order to make the food.
Ingredients have to be listed in descending order of their weight so the higher it appears, the more there is.
Ingredients that we believe to be controversial or inferior are highlighted in yellow with particularly low grade, highly contentious or excessively vague ingredients in red.
Information in italics is not usually avaialble on the ingredients list but has been provided to us by the manufacturer to help with our ratings.
As fed composition
While the 'mixing bowl' composition is useful for knowing what went into the food, it doesn't always reflect what your dog is actually eating. This is because the processes that turn the ingredients into the finished pet food can significantly alter the relative weights of the ingredients.
For this reason we've calculated the approximate 'as fed' percentages for the main ingredient categories in the finished product.
For simplicity we have omitted any added water.
Please note that these figures are very approximate. They are estimates based on the information provided by the manufacturer in the ingredients list so the clearer the terminology and the more percentages they provide, the more accurate our estimates will be. Wherever information is lacking, we always assume the worst.
◉ Meat ingredients: includes all meat and fish ingredients except isolated fats/oils.
◉Added oils and fats: includes all isolated oil and fat ingredients.
◉ Carb-rich ingredients: includes all ingredients derived from grains, pseudo-grains, potatoes and other starchy root vegetables, sweet potato and legumes (except whole peas which are categorised under fruit and veg) except for isolated protein and extracted oils. Also includes fibre supplements.
◉ Fruit and veg: includes all whole vegetables and fruits.
◉ Other: all other ingredients. Mostly made up by nutritional supplements and additives.
For more information on any ingredient, please take a look at our Dog Food Ingredient Glossary