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- Dog Food Hierarchy: Healthy to Landfill

    This graphic portrays the hierarchy of dog food from healthy real food to what manufacturers call food but most of which gets pooped out and ends up in landfills.  A downloadable copy with examples is on the Downloads page.
    Logically, the healthiest food is the least processed and most closely resembles the food your dog's distant ancestors ate.

    Fresh.  Fresh food is  just that...fresh.  Uncooked.  Raw.  This is food you would buy at a grocery store or meat market.
    Frozen raw.  Found in a freezer case at pet food stores, this is typically a ground complete and balanced mixture (read label).  Typically sold in logs and patties or medallions, you simply thaw, warm to body temperature, and serve.  Ensure variety by rotating within and between brands.
Freeze-dried Raw.  Fresh raw food is ground, freeze-dried, and then formed into manageable shapes and sizes.  Rehydrate before serving.
    Dehydrated Raw
.  As with freeze dried, fresh raw food is ground and dehydrated - much like you would dehydrate foods at home with very low heat (<180oF).  Rehydrate before serving.

- - -  all food below is cooked - - -

Home-cooked.  Home cooking includes everything from crock-pot meals to individually prepared ingredients.

    When you accidentally drop a chicken thigh on the kitchen floor your dog will not immediately de-bone it and then throw it on the barby for 45-minutes before eating it.  Give me a break!  She's going to eat the whole thing right there, right now.  And she's going to be fine, just like her ancestors.

    Cooking changes the molecular structure of food and destroys many of the nutrients.  You must add supplements to cooked food.
    Veggies are a poor source of nutrition for your dog.  While a nice beef stew crock-pot meal with veggies, rice, potato, etc., may look and actually be healthy for you and me, that is not so for your dog.  She's a carnivore and she needs meat.

Canned - premium (see here and here).  Premium canned is preferred to premium kibble because canned has few if any chemical additives, artificial colors and flavors, and no preservatives as kibble  requires.  Premium canned has named meat as first ingredient, whole veggies, and no grain.

Kibble (premium).  Premium quality kibble contains specific meat or meat meal as first ingredient and at least one more in first 5 or so ingredients.  Protein is over 30% (arbitrary, but a reasonable starting point).

Kibble (other high quality).  Other high quality kibble contains a specific meat or meat meal as first ingredient but contains more fillers and has protein of 30% or less (again, arbitrary but a starting point).

Canned (other).  The lowest quality in canned food lists water as the first ingredient - a lot of money for water. You will find other lower quality ingredients not very nutritious for your dog.

Kibble (other).  If you really love your dog, spend your money on healthier food.