Shady Nook Scotties

Dog Food Comparison

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Because of recalls of food containing gluten, and the 2007 problems with foods made overseas that killed many animals, we have made nutritional research a priority. We’ve read about dog nutrition and what brands to recommend to puppy customers. We’ve spoken to our veterinarian, read and researched various diets, including RAW diets, and nothing seemed to make more sense than what we already recommended. It wasn’t until recently when we came across a method that scored well-known brands of dog foods, so we could put a common, understandable rating on foods that you normally see on the shelves.


A dog’s diet should contain mainly protein and carbohydrates, with added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  When you are looking at a dog food, always read the first 3 ingredients, which should contain quality proteins and carbohydrates. Corn, wheat, gluten, and soy are generally inferior sources of protein. They are often difficult for the body to use, and can also cause digestive problems. Meat meal and bone meal can contain an unknown quantity of bone, which is an inferior protein.  Any “by-products” ingredients are also inferior nutritional sources. Preservatives and artificial dyes can be harmful. Look for powerful health promoting ingredients such as probiotics, antioxidants, chelated minerals, and vegetables.  Using this scoring method, brands of foods were compared on a scale of 100.   Scoring of each food is explained below, so, if your current food is not listed in the chart, you can score it yourself.

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


                 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", "brewer’s 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

            isn't allergic to wheat),

                 subtract 2 points

14)       If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog

             is not 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


                 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 "fish" as 2 different


                 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


Here are the results of some of the better-known brands…..


Alpo Prime Cuts

Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice


Diamond Maintenance

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula

Diamond Performance

Eukanuba Adult

Eukanuba Puppy

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium

Nature’s Recipe

Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison/Rice

Nature’s Variety Raw Instinct

Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal/Rice

Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice

Nutro Max Adult

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy

Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Wheat Free

Nutro Natural Choice Senior

Nutro Ultra Adult

Purina Beneful

Purina Dog

Purina Come-n-Get It

Purina One Large Breed Puppy

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies


  81                    C

114                   A+

104                   A+

  64                    F

  92                    B

  99                    A

  85                    C

  81                    C

  79                    C

  73                    D

100                   A

116                   A+

122                   A+

 81                    C

101                   A+

 87                    B

 93                    B

 98                    A

 87                    B

 86                    B

 95                    A

104                   A+

 17                    F

 62                    F

 16                    F

 62                    F

106                   A+

 63                    F

 69                    F

(this is a partial list, with less common brands omitted)


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


Foods like Purina and Science Diet can be found in nearly every retail store that sells dog food (Target, Walmart, K-Mart, etc).  Foods like Blue Buffalo, Nutro, Diamond, Iams, and Eukanuba can be found in national pet stores (PetSmart, Petco).  Others (Canidae, Royal Canin) can only be found in boutique-type pet stores.  Of course, price will also play a role in your food selection.   Generally speaking, the lower-scoring foods are cheaper and the higher scoring ones are more expensive, because fillers and grains are cheaper than wholesome, nutritional ingredients.    Bottom-line is this – choose your food wisely for your dog.   But, no matter what you choose, make sure it’s convenient for you.  If you can’t find it easily, it doesn’t matter what the score is.  


We feed Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice to our Scotties.  Our puppies are started on it as soon as they start weaning from their Momma…  We recommend it and send every puppy home with a starter sample.


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We use and recommend NuVet supplements.
Scientifically formulated to provide everything your pet needs for perfect health

To order NuVet Plus, click HERE




You don't have to have a Shady Nook Scottie to purchase 

NuVet supplements.   They are good for all breeds of dogs.

     ….and they have a formula for our feline friends, too..


"I love all dogs, but I only sleep with Scotties...."
Shady Nook Scotties
Sindee Hart
Beautiful Southern Indiana
(812) 858-3977
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by Shady Nook Scotties.
July, 2007.