SlimDoggy Dog Food Rankings: FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions about our dog food rankings Learn more about our approach and how we create the dog food ranks here.
Question: Please explain the dog food ranking scale?
Answer: Our rankings are on a scale of 0 – 5 with 5 being the best. The scale increment is .5 and all foods actually fall between 0.5 and 5.0. A 5 ranking means that the food most closely matched our food evaluation criteria for ‘goodness’ and conversely, a ranking of 0.5 means that the food missed most of our criteria.
Q: Is a dog food with a 4.5 ranking much better than a food with a 4.0 ranking?
A: Not necessarily. Our rankings are meant to be a quick guide to a foods appropriateness for a normally healthy dog, based on our methodology. Foods with rankings of 4 and higher are preferred, although even some foods with ranks of 3.5 can be of good quality. Use our ranks as a starting point in our evaluation and then make your decisions based on specific ingredients (that you might wish to avoid or include in your pet’s food) and of, course, budget concerns. Obviously, foods with low scores are ones that should be scrutinized for low quality ingredients.
Q: My dog food has chicken meal as the first ingredient, yet it is ranked lower than other foods with chicken as the first ingredient. Can you explain?
A: Yes. Because we prefer ingredients as close to their natural from as possible, we do not consider ‘meals’ to be as high in quality as the proteins themselves. Meals are concentrated sources of protein but they are more processed than the proteins. This is not to say that “meals” are bad because they are generally fine. We prefer the actual proteins (like chicken) as the primary ingredient and prefer meals to be used in a supporting role.
Q: I am using a diet dog food that was recommended by my vet. Your rank is not very high for this food. Can you explain why?
A: We evaluate diet dog foods the same way we evaluate all dog foods. Most diet foods are actually higher in carbs than regular foods, even though they are lower in calories. The fact is, a normal, healthy dog should be fed a diet high in protein and fat. If your dog is overweight and otherwise healthy, you should feed them less but that doesn’t mean that you should feed them a high carb dog food.
Q: I am using a senior dog food that was recommended by my vet. Your rank is not very high for this food. Can you explain why?
A: We evaluate senior dog foods the same way we evaluate all dog foods. Unfortunately, some senior foods are actually higher in carbs than regular foods. Senior dog bodies are often less able to deal with high carb and high fiber foods so it is counter intuitive to be serving them foods with these characteristics. In fact, senior dogs are more likely to need more meat and fat not less!
Q: I sometimes use a single ingredient dog food as part of my dog’s diet. One example is a canned product that contains only salmon. Why is this rated lower than some other dog foods?
A: Our evaluation is based on the idea that a pet owner is using the commercially available dog food to supply a full range of nutrients (e.g. is a balanced diet). Single ingredient foods, by definition, cannot supply a dog’s body with all of the essentials. Single ingredient (and often dog foods with 6 or less ingredients) might not rank as high as others with fuller ingredient lists. This does not mean that the limited ingredient foods are bad. We even use some of these for our own dogs. It just means that when they are evaluated as complete and balanced foods, they will not match all of our criteria.
Q: Why do treats have no ranking?
A: Treats are not meant to be evaluated as a complete food because, well, they are not complete food sources. This makes the evaluation a little trickier. We are working on a methodology for treats and will publish the results when we have it ready.