Your Guide to What’s in Dog Food

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Are you looking to ensure your dog’s getting the best nutrition possible? After all, the food they eat directly impacts their overall health, energy levels and lifespan. With countless varieties of food options available, selecting the best dog food for your pet can be a daunting task. But by understanding what ingredients go into dog food and what to look out for, you can make informed decisions about their diet and help them thrive in life.

What makes a healthy diet for your dog

A healthy diet starts with high-quality ingredients that are packed with the necessary nutrients to keep your dog feeling their best. First and foremost, it's important to recognise that dogs are adapted to eat an omnivorous or semi-carnivorous diet, and so require a diet that primarily consists of meat-based protein to support the growth and maintenance of their muscles and organs. Additionally, they require a balance of fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to meet their other nutritional needs. It's also important to consider these ingredients. Look out for varieties that list whole meats as their primary source of protein, as well as high-quality carbohydrates to keep your pup energised and satisfied throughout the day.


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Understanding the ingredients in dog food

When it comes to understanding the ingredients in your dog's food, it can be overwhelming to navigate the long list of unfamiliar words and phrases. But fear not, with a little research, you can provide your pup with a nutritious and balanced diet that prioritises high-quality ingredients.

Meats and fish

When choosing dog food, always look for one that lists specific types of meat or fish, such as chicken, beef, or salmon. Meat should be the primary ingredient as it's an excellent source of protein, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Beef, for example, is a rich source of iron and B vitamins, while salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient essential for maintaining healthy skin and fur. The whole OPTIMUM™ range has been developed with high quality protein sources, to ensure excellent nutrient absorption.

Dairy and eggs

Dairy products and eggs are also high in protein and can provide dogs with a range of beneficial nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. This said, dogs can be lactose intolerant, so make sure to select dairy products or dog food brands that use lactose-free milk.


While dogs are primarily meat-eaters, they can benefit from the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, such as carrots and peas. These ingredients are an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins A, C, and E, which are all essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Cereals and cereal by-products

When selecting dog food, look for those that use whole grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, or sweet potatoes. Some dogs have a sensitivity to grains, which can cause itchy skin and fur loss, so a grain-free dog food like the OPTIMUM™ grain-free range is a good choice.

Other ingredients

Along with the above, you’re also likely to find a range of "additives” in dog food. This term can be applied to a variety of ingredients, including essential vitamins and minerals that are important for your pet’s health. Flavours, colours and preservatives may also be included, like they are in human food, to enhance the quality of the food and prevent harmful spoilage, such as the fats and oils in the food going rancid. If your dog has a known allergy, always read the label carefully, and avoid foods that contain those ingredients.

How to decide the best diet for your dog

Once you know what to look for when analysing the ingredient list of your dog's food, it’ll be easier to select the best diet for them. Each dog has unique needs and dietary requirements, which can vary based on their breed, age, and activity level. Consulting with your vet is a great starting point to determine what type of diet will best suit your dog’s needs. Once you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll also need to find something that your dog loves eating. The true sign of a good quality dog food is that it’s tasty, easy to digest and leaves your dog looking and feeling their best. Keep in mind that transitioning your dog to a new diet, such as switching from puppy food to adult food, should be done gradually to avoid stomach upset. Introduce new foods slowly, over the course of a week or two, to allow your dog's digestive system to adjust. Understanding the ingredients that go into your dog’s food is vital to providing them with the right nutrition. Always read the label carefully and select dog food that primarily consists of meat, vegetables, and whole grains, and offers flavour your pet loves. With a little bit of research and consideration, you can provide your dog with a diet that will keep them healthy, happy, and thriving. For more advice on caring for your pup, check out our pet care blog.

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