Dog Food Test Criteria

Dog Food Info personally tests almost all dog foods listed on our dogs. Only where it says “Check” instead of “Test” is it not fed to our dogs. Our four-legged testing team has their own individualities, likes and dislikes, but it consists of various breeds, ages, and sizes.

The aim of the test criteria is for the consumer to know 100% of what you are feeding their dog.

Manufacturers with a clear and precise declaration score highly, but those with a vague description score poorly. Our test criteria were devised to ensure fairness and impartiality during our dog food testing.

Test Criteria – Declaration

This test criterion concerns all the food ingredients being delivered to the consumer as simply, clearly and concisely as possible.

Any dog food with a very vague declaration gets a correspondingly low number of points, and those from manufacturers with a 100% visible indication of the ingredients receive the full 10 points.

Example 1 – 10 full points: Anifit wet food Gockels Duett

Ingredients: “93.2% meat and animal by-products (100% chicken), 5.8% vegetables (98% potatoes, 2% garlic), 0.5% fructooligosaccharides, 0.4% minerals, 0.1% Dill”

In total, the information is 100% – so you know 100% what is in the can, and it even describes which meat has been used. 

Example 2 – 1 point: Pedigree Adult Beef and Vegetables

Ingredients: Cereals, meat and animal by-products (18%, including 4% beef in the brown pieces), oils and fats (including 0.4% sunflower oil), vegetable protein extracts, vegetable by-products (including 1% dried beet pulp), vegetables (4% carrots in the orange pieces, 4% peas in the green pieces), minerals.”

There is no information about which and how much grain is contained within the food. There is no clear description of what is included in the beef (18%)? The oils and fats only state that 0.4% is sunflower oil, but the remaining 99.6%? This description is very vague and leaves many questions unanswered.

1 point – Closed declaration with no or insufficient percentages
Declarations without or with low percentages, e.g. “cereals, meat and animal by-products, minerals.”

2 points – Open declaration without percentages
Declarations in which the various components are listed individually or a so-called open declaration without percentages, e.g.”wheat, meat meal, corn, rice, animal fat, corn gluten feed, animal protein (hydrolysed), minerals, fish oil.”

3 points – Closed declaration with vague percentages
Declarations where only group descriptions are provided. The so-called closed declarations with at least 50% information on the individual contents of an animal ingredient. However, only the animal species is specified and not what is contained in the animal. e.g. “cereals, meat and animal by-products (55% beef), minerals.”

4 points – Open declaration with possibly deceptive percentages
Declarations in which the ingredients are given in detail, but a percentage in brackets at the end is intended to suggest a quantity to the consumer, e.g. beef (41%), beef liver (16%), potatoes, zucchini (8%), amaranth (9%), pear (6%), pumpkin, linseed oil, eggshell powder, sage (0.6%), lavender flowers ( 0.2%), minerals.

5 points – Closed declaration with partial percentages
Declarations where only group percentages are given. The so-called closed declarations with individual contents of 2 ingredients – naming one animal species is not enough, e.g.
“cereals (50% wheat), meat and animal by-products (20% beef liver, 35% chicken), minerals”

6 points – Semi-transparent declaration of at least 50%
Declarations in which at least 50% of what is included is stated but precise information on the animal content, e.g. “25% meat and animal by-products, 25% grains, minerals.”

7 points – Semi-transparent declaration of at least 80%
There are declarations in which at least 80% of what is provided  but no information on animal species, e.g.”50% meat and animal by-products, 30% grains, minerals.”
“45% wheat, 25% meat meal, 20% corn, animal fat, corn gluten feed, animal protein (hydrolysed), minerals, fish oil”

8 points – 40% complete declaration
Declarations in which at least 70% of what is contained is clear. For example:
“30% meat and animal by-products (100% chicken), 10% vegetables (92% potato, 8% carrot), minerals.”

“25% wheat, 10% poultry meat meal, 10% corn, animal fat, corn gluten feed, animal protein (hydrolysed), minerals, fish oil.”

9 points – 70% complete declaration
Declarations where at least 70% of what is included is clear. For example:
“70% meat and animal by-products (100% chicken), 8% vegetables (92% potato, 8% carrot), 0.9% minerals, 0.1% dill”
“40% wheat, 20% meat meal, 10 % corn, 5% rice, animal fat, corn gluten feed, animal protein (hydrolysed), minerals, fish oil.”

10 points – 100% complete declaration
Declarations that show 100% of what is included. For example:
“60% chicken meat (dried), 20% beef liver, 10% corn, 5% rice, 4% carrots, 1% minerals”
“92.6% meat and animal by-products (100% chicken), 6.4% vegetables (92% potato, 8% carrot), 0.9% minerals, 0.1% dill.”

Test criteria – Visible Meat Content

This is how much meat is evident, according to the declaration. To achieve the full 10 points, a meat content of at least 70% must be achieved. If there is an intermediate value, the lower level is always taken. Meat also includes offal such as tripe, heart, liver or lungs. We support manufacturers with a very transparent declaration with this test criterion. At the same time, manufacturers with vague or misleading declarations are downgraded in the rating. 

A dog is a carnivore, and it is difficult to break down and utilise plant matter. Therefore, a high meat content is very important.

Statements that only contain “protein” do not count towards the meat content, as these could also consist of other parts of the animal such as claws, feathers, etc.

  • 70% meat content = 10 points
  • 66.5% meat content = 9.5 points
  • 63% meat content = 9 points
  • 59.5% meat content = 8.5 points
  • 56% meat content = 8 points
  • 52.5% meat content = 7.5 points
  • 49% meat content = 7 points
  • 45.5% meat content = 6.5 points
  • 42% meat content = 6 points
  • 38.5% meat content = 5.5 points
  • 35% meat content = 5 points
  • 31.5% meat content = 4.5 points
  • 28% meat content = 4 points
  • 24.5% meat content = 3.5 points
  • 21% meat content = 3 points
  • 17.5% meat content = 2.5 points
  • 14% meat content = 2 points
  • 10.5% meat content = 1.5 points
  • 7% meat content = 1 point
  • 3.5% meat content = 0.5 points
  • 0% meat content = 0 points

If the meat content cannot be precisely quantified, there are 0 points.

Exceptional cases – If the animal components are specified in an open declaration (e.g. beef heart, beef meat, beef lung) and no grain/potatoes or other major carbohydrate sources are included, there are 7.5 points.  5 points if the exact animal components are only partially specified.

Test criteria – Ingredients

Ingredients according to the declaration. All types of dog food start with 10 points. 

Points are deducted for the following content:

1 point deduction for = preservatives in dog food/antioxidants
(1 point automatically deducted from all dry food, as the processed fats are always preserved.)
1 point deduction for = colorings / gelling agents
1 point deduction for = flavour enhancers – whether artificial or natural Dried beet pulp, etc.
1 point deduction for = meat meal without precise animal information
2 points deduction for = animal meal/animal protein
2 points deduction for = meat broth
2 points deduction for = lack of vegetables / carbohydrates
2 points deduction for = corn, corn gluten, potato flakes, potato starch
2 points deducted for = “Oils and fats” which are not further declared
2 points deduction for = “vegetable by-products/proteins” which are not further declared
3 points deduction for = sugar
3 points deduction for = “fresh meat” in the case of dry food (without an indication of whether it is dry or ” moist mass”)

Errors on our part when assigning the points to the feeds cannot be ruled out, and claims for damages cannot be asserted. Dog Food Info are happy to receive further information to make adjustments to the product score.

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