Dog Food Cheat Sheet Guide

So you decide to feed our Dobermans a dry, kibble dog food, but which one?

As much as you would like to feed your dogs a raw food diet, like their ancestors in the wild ate, it’s just not practical for most people. You’re busy, have no freezer space or nutritional knowledge to do this properly. Also, maybe you’re not convinced that a raw food diet is safe, because of salmonella bacteria concerns, and factory farm animal management.

So the next best thing is finding a high-quality dog food that will keep dogs healthy.

puppy with red collar on deckHere is a guide you may want to print out and take with you to the store to help you compare different dog food brands. This should help you choose between a good dog food and a dog food that is harmful or nutrient deficient. Grab the bag, look at the ingredient label and compare it to these suggestions. Following these guidelines doesn’t guarantee you’ll get good quality, human grade ingredients, or that the processing techniques haven’t destroyed most of the nutrients, but it will filter out the worst commercial dog food. Lastly, use the feeding portion sizes on the bag as a guideline, not a rule.The amount you need to feed a dog varies depending on its age, breed, activity level, and any specific health issues. You are better to compare your dog’s weight against the Dog Body Condition  and adjust portion sizes as needed.  Remember keeping your dog on the thinner side is healthier than keeping him on the fatter side.



Look For This:

  • Check the expiration date or bar code date for when the food was made. You want to buy the freshest, especially since natural preservatives in dog food are only effective for about 30-60 days.
  • Look for a meat product as the first ingredient, like chicken meat or lamb meat. You want human grade meat (USDA) and better yet, organic meat if you can afford it. Organic meat is less likely to contain hormones, growth stimulants or come from diseased animal flesh.
  • AAFCO certification
  • Natural preservatives Vitamin C and E (or Tocopherol)
  • Look for whole grains like barley, oats, and rice. Or better still, buy a grain-free dog food. Dogs in the wild eat primarily meat with some fruits/vegetables, they are carnivores primarily.
  • Buy from a store that has a quick turnover of product for optimal freshness
  • You want a food that has a high digestibility.You can find out how digestible the food is just by looking at your dogs stool.If the volume of the stool produced is greater than, equal to or slightly less the volume of food eaten, the digestibility is poor.The aim is to have a smaller stool volume with little odor, this indicates good digestibility.
  • Bonus if the dog food contains probiotics (good bacteria) to help with digestion

Avoid This:

  • Avoid these preservatives, they have been shown to cause health problems, BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin
  • Meat by-products, this is basically animal parts that are not muscle like brains, intestines, blood and chicken feet. (note that not all by-products are necessarily bad, organs are nutritious but avoid non-edible things like hair or hooves, unfortunately, labels don’t tell us exactly what the by-product material is)
  • Corn, soy, wheat or low-quality carb fillers (these are common allergens), dogs need protein not grain carbs
  • Avoid foods with artificial dyes or colors and flavors, these are usually listed as a dye number

Rather than going through and rating some popular dog food brands, I thought this guide would be more practical. This way you can compare dog food brands that are available for sale in your local pet store.  Also, keep in mind that you want to buy a product that has a good turnover to get the freshest possible dog food. I have covered the basics here but for more details on dog food check out this informative site .

I hope this guide helps you find a good food for your Doberman dog.

If you missed the previous post on dog food here it is.


  1. Pam said:

    Rachel Ray makes Nutrish dog kibble. There are 3 or 4 flavors and it is grain-free. My dog is very healthy and her coat looks great. It’s available at Walmart but not pet stores. There are usually less than 9 ingredients. I’ve been very happy with it.

    July 9, 2016
  2. I’ve been feeding science diet sensitive skin and digestive system an it works so well with my dog but they just changed their bags to smaller bag and 2$ more and that’s just crazy and I have got to find something else please anybody got any suggestions

    April 15, 2016
  3. Moose said:

    This is some decent information, however, I would like to add a word of caution about organic products. It is true that to be certified organic they cannot include certain, tested antibiotics and hormones, however, the field of organic produce is extremely poorly regulated with only minimal guidelines. As an animal science major, I have read and performed numerous research projects that use other “supplements” that are approved by organic certifications, but have limited long term and animal health testing. Not to say all organic products are bad, I myself have raised numerous livestock 100% organic, I just think as consumers we should be aware that organic does not necessarily mean better or safe. I definately agree that feed tests are very important, and that what works for one dog does not always work for another. Despite their systems being almost the same, they are individuals and have varying levels of tolerance for different products. For example, my great dane does very well on both corn and chicken, and my german shepherd does poorly on both, prefering venison, lamb, and brown rice.

    September 12, 2009

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