A to Z: Understanding Dog Food Ingredients

Share Button

For the first time since we began our series of posts on individual dog food ingredients, we have come up to a letter where there is no new ingredient to write about: the letter U. Last time through the alphabet, we took some liberty and used USDA as our U post. While there are several USDA ingredients in dog food (e.g. USDA Beef, USDA Chicken), there are no other ingredients that begin with the letter U. So today, we are going to write about Understanding, a word that begins with U and how it defines what this dog food ingredient series is all about.


Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Why We Do This

We started writing about dog food ingredients many months ago. This project started for a few reasons. First of all, as part of some research we were doing we had compiled a list of ingredients from our food data set. At the time, there were about 1,500 foods that we had collected data on. That list of ingredients was very large, and we realized that there could be some awesome information to share on each one of them. Using the alphabet as a framework was an easy way for us to plow through the list. The second reason we started the series was because we were asked about a specific ingredient (ascorbic acid) as part of our Dear Labby series. That was the kick start that we needed to dive into this long series of posts.


Our Mission: Improve Pet Owner’s Understanding of Dog Food

For every ingredient we write about, we do our research and try to review several key studies that provide some scientific support of benefits or risks. We then try to present some of the key facts about the ingredient, along with some statistics on how commonly it is used in dog food.   Our intention is not to judge a food that might include or not include any specific ingredient. Rather, we are trying to explain why each ingredient is included in dog food, and the benefits and risks to your dog eating it. Each of our readers can and should form their own opinions on an ingredient and its appropriateness for their pet.


Our Goal: Covering Most if not All Dog Food Ingredients

Our longer term goal is to write about every single ingredient in dog food so that we can build a single library of information on the ingredients. Our long form posts are hopefully more informative than some of the existing 1 or 2 sentence (and incomplete) ingredient glossaries that are currently available on the web. When we are done, we hope to have the best free resources on dog food ingredients out there.


Dog Food Ingredients We Have Covered Thus Far

Thus far, we are almost done with our second pass through the alphabet. The table below shows the ingredients that we have written about to date. We ended up with 2 “Ms’ during the first pass due to a specific reader request. In total, we have covered a total of 41 ingredients, and there are a lot more to cover for the future. We will be busy for sure.

Ascorbic acid Alfalfa
Biotin Blueberries
Calcium Carbonate Carrageenan
Dandelion Greens DI-methionine
Enterococcus Faecium Ethoxyquin
Fennel Fenugreek
Glycerin Green Tea
Herring Hydrolyzed Protein
Inulin Inositol
Jicama Juniper Berries
Kelp Kale
L-Carnitine Lecithin
Meat Marigold
Montomorillonite Natural Flavor
Niacin Olive Oil
Oat Fiber Papaya
Pantotheonic Acid Quinoa
Quail Rosemary
Red #3 Soy
Selenium Turmeric
Venison Vegetable Oil
Watercress Wheat
Xanthan Gum  
Yucca Schidigera Yellow Food Coloring
Zinc Zucchini
Share Button

image We're joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol's Notes:


  1. Awesome job! I think you guys have done a excellent job and your posts are very understanding, you do a great job explaining everything and I learn so much.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monday Mischief~#PrideBites In The MailMy Profile

  2. Many thanks, I learnt so much about food and what the ingredients really mean. Since I read the back side of the food bags and pick it more carefully , we could manage the weight problem and Easy’s fur looks better too.
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog FEAST OF LIGHTSMy Profile

  3. You’re doing a great job on this “project”!! I have certainly learned a great deal since you started; plus a bit extra thanks to Steve’s additional research last summer for me when the girls were having their digestive issues.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Peace at Home, Good Will to DogsMy Profile

  4. I absolutely love your mission and goals! They are wonderful, and I have learned so much from you A to Z ingredients!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Dog friendly holiday cookbook!My Profile

  5. We have learned a lot from your alphabets of ingredients. Thanks for all your hard work. (You could have made up a U, we would not have known) 🙂
    jan recently posted…Afghanistan Veteran reunited with his dog four years after she was given awayMy Profile

  6. Y’all are so brilliant. This has been such a helpful series. Thank you!
    Flea recently posted…The Hoof for DogsMy Profile

  7. I appreciate you putting dog food ingredients in simple terms for better understanding. You have introduced me to so many ingredients that I have always skipped over.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…10 Ways to Help a Shelter this #ChristmasMy Profile

  8. I’m in shock! Slim Doggy is stumped by the letter “U”. Well, you have almost completed the alphabet twice, so it was bound to happen at some point.
    Emma recently posted…Who’s Teamed Up With The North Pole?My Profile

  9. I absolutely love reading about the ingredients. Thank you for an excellent and very informative project. Smart Humans = Healthy & Happy Pets! That’s an equation that makes my mommy smile (and it’s so much better than math!) 🙂
    Miss Harper Lee recently posted…Tasty Tuesday: A New Man in My LifeMy Profile

  10. I like how you write about each ingredient in a way that’s easy to understand. I’m sure it’s a lot of hard work and lots of researching, but it’s presented in such a clear way. It’s not overwhelming to us readers.
    Lindsay recently posted…Liquid glucosamine to help a dog’s joints – Rejenease reviewMy Profile

  11. Your posts educating us all about dog food ingredients are PAWsome! as are you! Thanks for every single minute of research. Your dissection of facts and dissemination for all to understand is marvelous! Harley and I have learned valuable information from you Slim. Thank you 🙂
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…PHOTOS WITH SANTA | MONDAY MISCHIEFMy Profile

  12. This is a great series. I have learned so much from it and appreciate all your hard work to get this information out to us, in an easy to understand way (especially for those of us not so scientifically inclined!). Keep up the good work!
    Jan K recently posted…‘Tis the SeasonMy Profile

  13. We love your alphabet ingredient posts!! I can’t imagine there are a lot of naturally occurring ingredients in any food that would start with the letter U!
    MyDogLikes recently posted…Whole Life Dog Treats: Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  14. I am enjoying the series.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–Jumping For JoyMy Profile

  15. I absolutely love that you not only did such great research but that you’ve also got it in such a nice, easy to find layout. A few weeks ago when I was researching supplements I came here and found a lot of the information I was looking for (and the post on Tumeric right after). Having a valuable, trustworthy source is awesome. Thank you for all the great work you do for our the well being of our dogs and the peace of mind for us owners.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…I’m Thankful For My Dog EverydayMy Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.