Dog Food Ingredients: Looking Past the First 5 Ingredients

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imageRule of 5

There is an old saying that you can assess a dog food’s quality by looking at the first five ingredients in the list.  The rationale for this rule is that once you get past the first five, the remaining ingredients each individually contribute very small proportions of the food’s total composition, thus, the first five ingredients tell the majority of the story.

Overall, this rule makes sense, but it is a one size fits all approach that can sometimes be deceptive. The provides an alternative rule:  “.. look for the first named source of fat in the ingredient list. Anything listed before that, and including it, make up the main portion of the food, other items are present in much smaller amounts to add flavor, function as preservatives or because of their dietary benefits (e.g. probiotics, vitamins and minerals).”

I like this rule better than the “rule of 5” and I recommend using it if you want to get a quick idea if a dog food is right for your food fat

However, in this day and age, we can do better.   Why would you want to look past the first 5 ingredients, or past the first named fat?  For starters  to see if the food contains artificial ingredients and colorings.  You will never see these listed near the front of the list, so using either of those two rules will not tell you if the food is laden with artificial and often unhealthy ingredients such as Ethoxyquin, Propylene glycol or Blue #2.

As you know, the SlimDoggy app and widget both provide full ingredient lists for some 2,000 dog foods and treats so there is no reason NOT to dig deeper into the ingredients.  In the App, you can even run searches based on ingredients. For example, if you want to look for foods that don’t contain Ethoxyquin (or corn, or by products, etc.) but do contain Chicken or Salmon, it is easy to do so.  We encourage you to use our technology and data to make better dog food choices (or at least re-confirm your food choices).  Your dog will thank you for it.


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

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  1. Thanks for creating such a great app; I used to think that the first 5 ingredients equated what the food was mostly made of; I learned recently that this isn’t the case all the time. But I do know that if corn is the first ingredient, this isn’t the food or treat for our dogs 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Spending the Day with Friends and Dog Lovers at PoochapaloozaMy Profile

  2. This is such a cool post. Are Jones chews one of the treats on your app?
    Flea recently posted…Jones Chews – The Best Treats in the World (& Giveaway)My Profile

    • Hi Flea-

      We don’t have Jones chews in the database yet. But we will! We have a major update coming which will include many new foods and we will be sure to include Jones.

      steve recently posted…Dog Food Ingredients: Looking Past the First 5 IngredientsMy Profile

  3. I like this rule better. Just checked your widget and I like it! Gonna add it on my blog.

  4. The rule is good one reason many food manufacturer are making changes, which is good. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…Tasty Tuesday Anniversary Contest + Balancing Bananas and {Mini} Frosty Banana Over A {Frozen}BananaMy Profile

  5. Very good advice. Sometimes my eyes cross from reading dog food ingredients…lol.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Trying To Feel CoolerMy Profile

  6. Great information! People need more lessons on reading dog food labels and choosing the right food for their pet.
    joann stancer recently posted…Wordless Wednesday ~Keep Pet’s CoolMy Profile

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