It’s a sad fact that many dog owners have never read the label on their pet’s food. And while it may be tempting to just feed your pup whatever seems tasty at the time, doing so could spell disaster for your pet.

The wrong type of food can cause skin problems, diarrhea, and vomiting – not to mention an upset stomach. But if you put in a little research up front, you’ll know what to look for when shopping for dog foods so that you can choose one with high-quality ingredients and appropriate nutrition levels. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Read Ingredients Carefully

When it comes to reading the ingredients, you’ve got to know what they mean. You wouldn’t feed a baby a bag of sugar, and you shouldn’t give a bowl of sugar to your dog either. The ingredients are the most important part of the label, so don’t just skip to the calorie content.

Know What To Look For

There are a few specific things to look for when you’re shopping for dog food. First and foremost, dogs need protein and fat in their diets. You’ll also want to check that there are no artificial colors or flavors since these things can cause stomach upset. You’ll also need to watch for sugar or sweeteners, which can cause similar problems.

Know What To Avoid

There are also a few things you should avoid when shopping for dog food. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any byproducts or fillers since those can cause stomach upset as well. Dogs need a certain amount of meat in their diets, and the less filler you feed them, the healthier they are. You’ll also want to avoid anything labeled “whole grains” or “oatmeal”, which is likely just filler in disguise.

Research The Brand

It’s not enough to go by the label, though. You should also carefully research the brand you’re considering purchasing. Check their website and see if they have a history of recalls. See if the company’s philosophy jives with your own, and see if there are any customer reviews. If possible, take a look at the food to see if the ingredients listed on the label match up with what you see.


Of course, price is always a factor when shopping for any product. You’ll want to choose a food that offers good value while still meeting your budget. Make sure that the food is neither too cheap nor overly expensive, which can indicate either lower-quality ingredients or higher profit margins for the company, respectively.

Ask Your Vet

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian. They will be able to tell you if the food you’re considering is appropriate for your pet’s health needs. They may also offer advice on specific foods that are well-liked by dogs, or they can help you understand if a certain food will work for your dog’s dietary needs.