This isn’t the way I rate dog food, but it’s an interesting method and seems to work pretty well. I found it in the deep dark depths of a forum for Miniature Horses of all places. It’s worth trying out if you wish to substantiate any of the reviews on Pet Food Ratings (or if it’s a food we haven’t reviewed)!

Personally I’d have more prominent weightings for a number of ingredients (i.e. I’d subtract more points for wheat and soy beans), so it’s always worth researching a food as much as you can from other websites, forums, vets, and other professionals.

Let’s have a look…

Start Points

Start with a grade of 100.

Negative Points

Subtract points based on the following:

Contains by-products -10
Every reference of non-specific animal source (“meat”, “poultry”, meat, meal, or fat) -10 (per reference)
Any reference on BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin -10
Every reference of grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source -5
Same grain used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewer’s rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain) -5
If protein sources aren’t a meat “meal” and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients -3
Contains artificial colors -3
Contains ground corn or whole grain corn -3
Corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients -3
Contains any animal fat (except fish oil) -2
If lamb is the only protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources) -2
Contains soy or soybeans -2
Contains wheat (unless you know your dog isn’t allergic to wheat) -2
Contains beef (unless you know your dog isn’t allergic to beef) -1
Contains salt -1

Positive Points

Now add points based on the following:

Any organic meat sources +5
Endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist +5
Food is baked not extruded +5
Contains probiotics +3
Contains fruit +3
Contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains) +3
Animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic free +2
Contains barley +2
Contains flax-seed oil (not just the seeds) +2
Contains oats or oatmeal +1
Contains sunflower oil +1
For each different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as one protein source) +1 (per reference)
Contains glucosamine and chondroitin +1
If vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free +1

Final Grading

You can now rate the food based on the following grading system:

A 94-100+
B 86 to 93
C 78 to 85
D 70 to 77
F (FAIL!) Less than 70

Sample Gradings

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