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dog food grading system by Merck & Company


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I got this in an email this morning.

 

I was suprised by some of the results.

 

Kristen

 

How to grade your dog's food:

Start with a grade of 100:

1) For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points

2) For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

4) For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points

5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients ( i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewerâs rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points

11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isnât allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isnât allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points

3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point

13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A 86-93 = B 78-85 = C 70-77 = D <70 = F

 

Dog Food scores:

Alpo Prime Cuts / Score 81 C

Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy / Score 114 A+

Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+

Authority Harvest Baked Less Active / Score 93 B

Beowulf Back to Basics / Score 101 A+

Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F

Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice / Score 83 C

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice / Score 106 A+

Burns Chicken and Brown Rice / Score 107 A+

Canidae / Score 112 A+

Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+

Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A

Diamond Performance / Score 85 C

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice / Score 106 A+

Dick Van Patten's Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+

EaglePack Holistic / Score 102 A+

Eukanuba Adult / Score 81 C

Eukanuba Puppy / Score 79 C

Flint River Senior / Score 101 A+

Foundations / Score 106 A+

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 B

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D

Innova Dog / Score 114 A+

Innova Evo / Score 114 A+

Innova Large Breed Puppy / Score 122 A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+

Member's Mark Chicken and Rice / Score 84 C

Merrick Wilderness Blend / Score 127 A+

Nature's Recipe / Score 100 A

Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice / Score 116 A+

Nature's Variety Raw Instinct / Score 122 A+

Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal and Rice / Score 81 C

Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy / Score 101 A+

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B

Nutro Max Adult / Score 93 B

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice / Score 98 A

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B

Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Wheat Free / Score 86 B

Nutro Natural Choice Senior / Score 95 A

Nutro Ultra Adult / Score 104 A+

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F

Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry / Score 109 A+

Pro Nature Puppy / Score 80 C

Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Score 94 A

Purina Benful / Score 17 F

Purina Dog / Score 62 F

Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F

Purina One Large Breed Puppy / Score 62 F

Royal Canin Boxer / Score 103 A+

Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A

Solid Gold / Score 99 A

Summit / Score 99 A

Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry / Score 120 A+

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+

Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A

 

 

 

Matthew Coriaty

Merck & Co.

Environmental Monitoring

 

215.993.0543

 

WP35-101

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I've seen this before - Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice scores 98(A), and out of everything we've tried what my dogs seem to do best on. I'd LOVE to try Timberwolf or Merrick's Wilderness Blend, though.

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I've seen this a few times before. I think that as a general rule it's a reasonable place to start for someone who is beginning to learn about dog foods - and I think it's a good way to get folks thinking about what's in their dog foods. I think we also have to take into consideration the quality control with the companies in some cases (ie Merrick & Diamond), and consider that some of these ratings aren't applicable to each and every situation. Like giving EC for more protein sources? Sometimes, IMO, simple is good.

 

Some of these items I'm dubious about their significance and relevance, such as the food being "endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points". I also disagree with some of the ratings - some of these foods look better according to this rating than I think they really are. Just my 2cts.

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for a person that's been swayed by food sales reps in the local petsmart .... this is a shocker! very insightful. so many of my friends recommended sci diet and look how it got rated....even taking away all the bias and stuff it still wouldnt be good.

 

 

I did a price search on Canidae is that same as Blue?

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang
I also disagree with some of the ratings - some of these foods look better according to this rating than I think they really are.

 

Ditto!!

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5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

 

8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

 

 

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

 

If you believe dogs should not eat corn or wheat because they are carnivores than these "credits" are bogus, these are all sources of plant protein or fat.. I wonder what makes one grain better than another? I suspect it is just a marketing spin since barley, oats, and rice are also grains.

 

Mark

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Kristen,

Thanks for posting list. I've never seen it before and will save it to my documents for future reference.

I was happy to see Canidae / Score 112 A+, since Bandit is on it and doing well.

 

Lance

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Can someone tell me why extruded food is not good for you or your dog?

FYI about 99% of all pasta is extruded, along with many other foods.

Food Extrusion

 

Mark

 

That, IMO, is a rather outdated claim (the claim that baking is way better than extruding). The whole beef on baked vs. extruded used to be the issue of heat destroying nutrients/vitamins/etc. and the old claim was that baked was better b/c of lower temps, etc. Nowadays foods are extruded at a much lower temp, which IMO makes which is better rather a moot point. Either way you do it you're going to lose some of the goodness of the nutrients. That's one of the points I take issue with, and most of the time it's more of a marketing ploy, IMO. I also think that corn isn't inherently evil in all situations.

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I don't really know how good this system is. I posted it because I thought is was interesting. I have tried different dog foods over the years that have been highly recommended. For us, I found they were no better than the ones I was previously using.

 

I use Diamond professional because I can afford it and most of the dogs do well on it. I tried using canidae lasat fall and most of my dogs did horrible on it.

I've raised the fat content in the food by adding olive oil for my working dog, trying to give him more energy for longer stamina. It seems to be working along with the Diamond pro.

I have 2 seniors which are not nearly as active and a bit over weight. They are getting the same food only less. I've tried using "diet" foods on them and they end up all itchy and not doing any better or losing any weight. Increasing their exercise has helped the most. Cutting the food down works too, except they are constantly surfing outside or inside for anything they can find. So I use frozen veggies or canned pumpkin to give them the feeling of being full.

I have a friend who uses Canidae and a mixture of veggies and meats that she mixes and cooks into a sloup. I think her dogs are way over weight for working dogs but she thinks they look great. To each his own.

I think you have to use common sense, finances, and observation as the best guide for choosing what your dogs eat.

Mark,

I'm curious, what do you feed?

 

Kristen

edited: finances from fiancés, cause I don't have one and figured I wouldn't listen to him if I did! :rolleyes:

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Mark,

I'm curious, what do you feed?

 

Kristen

 

 

Diamond Pro when we can get it, otherwise we feed Diamond Premium. One or two dogs go on raw during warmer weather to help with heat issues. I don't think it's the very best food out there, but it's a very good compromise between cost and quality. The botom line test for us is that our dogs do well on this food; since every dog has its own body chemistry owners must find what works well for each dog.

 

Mark

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So would the general concensus be that this is a worthwhile way to evaluate quality of food or not really? Let's say you're not stupendously wealthy and you've got several dogs to feed, so you want to get the most "bang for your buck" (speaking of quality, not the biggest bag you can buy the cheapest). You want a quality food that you can actually afford to feed to several dogs, is this rating system a good way to comparison shop or is there a better way?

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I don't really know how good this system is. I posted it because I thought is was interesting. I have tried different dog foods over the years that have been highly recommended. For us, I found they were no better than the ones I was previously using.

 

 

A while back this grading system was posted to a large dog nutrition list, where one of the moderators (who contributes to Whole Dog Journal if such things matters to one) addressed the scoring. I disagree with her on several fronts but I give her full credit for taking the time to point out the virtures as well as the fallacies (of commission and omission) raised by this check list.

 

Before taking the check list too seriously, I urge people to read Mary's input. Her comments are available for public access via Onibasu

 

http://onibasu.com/archives/kn/149066.html

 

Chris O

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The botom line test for us is our dogs do well on this food; since every dog has its own body chemistry owners must find what works well for each dog.

 

Mark

 

I've seen that to be so true. I recently changed Sammie back to Wellness Simple Food Solutions because on a food I had switched him to, in order to cut costs, his coat lost some of its luster and his ears were bothering him. I switched him back and all is well.

 

But I didn't just switch him back - I switched Maddie and Dean, too, in order to keep things easy. Maddie does fine on anything - but Dean started to lose weight quickly on the Simple Food Solutions. I finally figured out that the dietary needs of my 7 year old mix, who is pretty much a couch potato most of the time, might be significantly different from those of my 1 year old Border Collie who is like a jumping bean most of the time! I switched Dean back to the new food and he's doing great.

 

It takes a moment of thought now when I prepare bowls because Speedy gets raw, Sammie gets one food, Dean gets another, and Maddie gets whatever I feel like giving her, but everyone has what works for them.

 

It makes sense, if you think about it. We all have different dietary needs for different reasons, so it's logical that dogs do, too.

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So would the general concensus be that this is a worthwhile way to evaluate quality of food or not really? Let's say you're not stupendously wealthy and you've got several dogs to feed, so you want to get the most "bang for your buck" (speaking of quality, not the biggest bag you can buy the cheapest). You want a quality food that you can actually afford to feed to several dogs, is this rating system a good way to comparison shop or is there a better way?

 

Personally, I think it's a worthwhile starting point. I think it's a good tool for someone who hasn't really thought about what's in dog food to see that different ingredients produce different products.

 

I woudln't take it as infallible truth, but I think it can be a good tool.

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The same dog that I add olive oil to has heat issues also. I'm really not into the time it takes for raw feeding, to be honest, I'm not into the hassles of it. Mark, what do you feed when you feed raw for heat issues? I know I'll be battling the same issues with him this summer and keeping him fit for work might make me take more time.

 

I agree that Daimond is not the best/worse choice, but it works for us.

 

I notice since switching from premium to pro my young pup has quit eating so much. She is healty and very active so I take it as a good thing that she is regulating herself. I have one other young working dog who is a food monster. She finishes her food in about 15 seconds (no kidding I timed her) compared to the others who take their time. No matter how much I give her or what it is, she sucks it down like she's using a straw.

 

Kristen

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So I saw Merrick Wilderness Blend was the highest ranking, and went to see how much a bag would be... for a 30lb bag $66!!! My husband would flat out shoot me.

 

 

 

oh my gosh - i know what u mean. i saw an ad 4 it & thought "this will be perfect for my picky eaters" UNTIL i saw that price. must b good stuff, but i sure as heck cant afford it. ill be sticking to good ole buffalo!

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Mark, what do you feed when you feed raw for heat issues?

 

Kristen

 

 

Renee weights out a hunk of mutton with bone (home grown), chicken with bone, ground beef, turkey neck, or Bravo based upon the dog's weight. She follows a guide from a book (I don't remember the title).

 

Mark

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I like the list for a starting point as it gets someone thinking about what is in the food they're feeding. But I don't totally agree with their method of scoring.

 

I agree that Daimond is not the best/worse choice, but it works for us.

 

I've always figured that Diamond is one of the better values in dog food out there. I also find it interesting that most of the folks who have tried Canidae either love it, or their dogs did poor on it.

 

I'm sold on raw for now though. Missy has done awesome on it. At 8 y/o she's entering the "senior dog" category, but I think she still has more energy and stamina than Kipp. It will be interesting to see how well Kipp does when I switch him over.

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I did a price search on Canidae is that same as Blue?

 

The same like what? They are not the same food. My dogs are on Canidae and were on Blue (nutro before that). Petsmart sell Blue Buffalo so it's pretty available. I had to find a natural food petstore for Canidae (which is closer to me anyway). And I get the 10th bag of Canidae free from there. I believe the cost is pretty close to the same. My dogs have done great on both. I noticed River has trimmed down (she wasn't fat) since the switch but it could have also been her age or the quantity I'm feeding her since I measure. She's an agility lean BC who is heavily muscled (I want her figure!!).

 

I am considering swapping between Canidae & Blue Buffalo since I've heard it's good to do that to make sure your dog is getting a good balance of everything it needs.

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You won't find it at Petsmart. To find a store closeby, go to the canidae website and search for your zip code. That's how I found out where to buy California Natural - actualy I was going there to get him Canidae, but the store owner reccomended CN instead for his sensitive stomach - and we've stayed on it for about 9 months, with excellent results.

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