Understanding Kibble Ingredients

We already talked about feeding raw.. so what if “Feeding raw is not for me” or “Raw is not convenient for me and my dog”? That’s OK!! Feeding kibble is also a good option to feed your dog.

When you choose a bag of food be aware of what ingredients they have. The first rule is for the first ingredient to be meat. The first 5 ingredients are the most important. You can also check the guaranteed analysis.

This is what the ingredients mean:


Whole meats: it’s very recommended to have a whole meat in the top 5 ingredients. They will be labeled just by the meat’s name: Salmon, Chicken, Beef, etc. The moisture is removed in the process which makes it a small amount of nutrients compared to a meat meal. It’s still excellent to have this on the list!

Meat meal: Anything written in the label with meal included, (lamb meal, duck meal, chicken meal etc.) can only include actual meat and not any other parts of the animal. This is a good ingredient to find. Be sure it specifies the type of meat like the examples we gave earlier and it doesn’t just say “meat and bone meal” or “animal meal”. If it’s not specific it’s probably a lower quality kind of meat you don’t want on your dog’s food.

Meat by-products: This means that any part of an animal can be used, this includes feathers, beaks, horns, organs, and more. It also can mean that the animals used might not be the ones on the best health. From what I read it’s recommendable to stay away from foods with this label. Example of how it’s written: duck by-product, beef by-product, chicken by-product meal. 

Ingredients to watch out for:

Sugar and sweeteners: They are usually used to make the food tastier but add calories you don’t need to feed. Common names are corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, propylene glycol, xylitol, cane molasses, sorbitol, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, and propylene glycol. Hydraulic acid: This is naturally produced in your dog’s stomach, meaning that they absolutely DO NOT need any more of it.

Animal fat, Animal digest, Food fragments, Meat by-products, and Beef tallow: All of these are either low-quality sources or leftovers or a mix of nonspecific fat/meat/foods. Remember to look for specifics! If it says animal ____ it means that you are not sure what animal in what condition you are feeding.

Artificial coloring: Any food that looks red, yellow, or blue you should stay away from. The coloring is actually added for the human eye and has nothing to do with the dog or their nutrition. 

Please note: I am not mentioning carbs or grains since I found a lot of contradictions and I prefer not to share misinformation. We do encourage you to do your own research or consult with a specialist. As I mentioned on the first nutritional post of the week, this topic we are learning together. If you have useful information feel free to share it with us!

Overall, just choose what works for your dog!! If you need to experiment on what is better for them, that’s ok. Be sure to do it responsibly and with caution. Make sure to use all the resources you have to research and make the best decision for the both of you. 


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