CreamofBritish ASD Australian Labradoodles UK

A Dogs Dinner Page Two - Author Alison Frost


Ash content is given as a percentage. It isn't an ingredient that is added but the total mineral content of the product after incinerations look for a product with a named fat source i.e. Chicken fat or lamb fat.


Derivatives of Vegetable Origin:

This term allows the use of anything that is not classed as a cereal. It is generally waste material from the Human food preparation industry. By the time it is processed at high temperature, it contains no nutritional value except as another fibre source. It is inexpensive to use and is classed as another bulking agent "Derivatives of vegetable origin" is a generic term used to describe by-products of vegetable origin. This is yet another term that is commonly used in pet foods that covers many different ingredients so that pet food manufacturers can use the cheapest available. Avoid!


Official definition: Derivatives resulting from the treatment of vegetable products in particular cereals, vegetables, legumes and oil seeds.



Cereals" is a term used to cover many different grains used in pet foods. When you see this as an ingredient, it means that you cannot be certain what is actually in your dog food because they are not using a "named" ingredient. This allows manufacturers to use the cheapest grain available at the time of manufacture and this can change batch to batch. Try and Avoid!


Corn/ maize/ prairie meal-

All the same thing. Labelling is clever and they will split these down so that it looks like meat is the main ingredient. Add all of these together and Corn is infact the main ingredient. Corn is a frequently used pet food ingredient; however it can be difficult for dogs to digest. Used as a carbohydrate source, it is cheap and in the main is used as a filler. In high amounts Avoid


EC permitted additives:

The term "EC permitted additives" covers a large range of different chemicals, allowing a pet food manufacturer to use any of them without having to individually name any of them. This includes artificial colours and flavourings which are known to cause hyperactivity. More worryingly, pet foods using this term can contain preservatives such as BHA, BHT and Ethyoxquin which have been shown to cause cancer. Avoid!



These can be Wheat, Rice, Maize, Barley, Oats.  Its preferable to choose Oats, Rice, millet, Barley based, as opposed to wheat or Maize but never choose one that has grains as their main ingredients.



Can be classed a Chicken meal, lamb meal etc.

Meals are prepared by the heating, drying and grinding whole or parts of warm blooded land animals from which the fat has been partially extracted or physically removed. The product has to be free from hooves, horn, bristle, hair and feathers as well as digestive tract content.  A quality ingredient.



Fresh un-dehydrated meat. A good product highly digestible product that should be top of the ingredient list.  A quality ingredient


Meat v meal:

EG: Chicken and Chicken Meal are meat ingredients providing  essential meat protein. Chicken is obviously chicken meat; Chicken Meal is chicken meat with the moisture removed. Any meat contains a high amount of moisture, up to 70% moisture. Chicken Meal is chicken with the moisture removed and thus provides the dog or cat with more protein nutrition by weight. These are both quality ingredients.


Propylene Glycol is a preservative that is used in pet foods. It is best avoided as it known to cause problems such as hair loss, dull coat, diarrhoea etc .  Avoid!



Rice is the most digestible of all grains and is known to be low in allergy risk and so is found in many "hypo-allergenic" pet foods. If just listed as rice, it will be white rice. Brown rice is usually listed just as that and is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and B Vitamins. OK if not listed as main ingredients.


Rosemary/ Rosemary extract:

Rosemary is used in pet foods as a preservative as it is a natural antioxidant. Quality Ingredient



Or otherwise known as kelp. Is a great source of iodine and minerals. Quality ingredient.


Soya/ Soy:

Soybeans are widely used in dog foods as a protein source. However, Soy is commonly known as a cause of food allergies in dogs. Avoid


Sugar beet pulp:  

Added as a source of fibre. Not really much food value. Not an easy ingredient to avoid, but not harmful.



Tocopherols (vitamin E) are a naturally occuring antioxidant which is used to preserve pet foods. Tocopherols are often made from edible vegetables oils. The use of Tocopherols in a dog food is a good indication of a better dog food. Quality ingredient.


Vegetable Protein extracts:

All products of vegetable origin in which the proteins have been concentrated by an adequate process to contain at least 50% crude protein, as related to the dry matter, and which may be restructured or textured.


Wheat/ wheat gluten:

Wheat is a grain used as a carbohydrate source in dog foods, however it is associated with causing allergies in many dogs. Avoid!


Pet Food Label "Rules"

The 95% Rule: If the product says “Salmon Cat Food” or “Beef Dog Food,” 95% of the product must be the named ingredients. A product with a combination label, such as “Beef and Liver for Dogs,” must contain 95% beef and liver, and there must be more beef than liver, since beef is named first. A better quality product.


The 25% or “Dinner” Rule: Ingredients named on the label must comprise at least 25% of the product but less than 95%, when there is a qualifying “descriptor” term like “dinner,” “entree,” “formula,” “platter,” “nuggets,” etc. In “Beef Dinner for Dogs,” beef may or may not be the primary ingredient. If two ingredients are named (“Beef and Turkey Dinner for Dogs”), the two ingredients must total 25%, there must be more of the first ingredient (beef) than the second (turkey), and there must be at least 3% of the lesser ingredient.


The 3% or “With” Rule: A product may be labelled “dog Food with beef” if it contains at least 3% of the named ingredient. Avoid!


The “Flavour” Rule: A food may be labelled “Turkey Flavour dog Food” even if the food does not contain such ingredients, as long as there is a “sufficiently detectable” amount of flavour. This may be derived from meals, by-products, or “digests” of various parts from the animal species indicated on the label. Avoid!


Its not imperative that you understand Every ingredient in a petfood, however by just basically understanding a bit of the above, it will help you make a better informed choice when selecting a food for your dog.  Whatever commercial petfood you choose, whether it be wet or dry, the important thing is to choose the best you can afford, and add plenty of meat / fish based additions when you can. Tinned sardines / mackerel etc are fantastic cheap additions which can be stored in cupboards, last ages and are high quality protein sources with  lots of omega 3.

I can’t name and go into every brand of dogfood for obvious reasons.


Some other good sites to find information on Commercial petfood.


A big thank you to Alison Frost for sharing all her information with me and allowing me to share it with you x

Dr Jean Dodds Pet Health Care Blog   More reasons not to avoid feeding grains and carbohydrates