What should be the first 3 ingredient in dog food?

Ingredients In A Dog Food

Being a pet parent we are always worried about the ingredients in dog food we feed to our pets. And to determine the quality it’s important to check the label with the list of ingredients it contains along with the nutritional information. There are brands with fancy packaging who might not have mentioned the complete list of ingredients in the dog food in their label. We warn you against those brands as you do not want to compromise on the quality of the product.

According to federal law, the list of ingredients of dog food must be arranged in descending order, with the ingredient present in the highest quantity listed first, followed by the next highest quantity ingredient, and so forth. This is how you can read the ingredient’s list and decide the brand you want to feed.

3 Ingredients of an high quality dog food

Based on our label analysis, the 3 ingredients in a dog food that establishes it’s high quality include:-

Meat Content

Meat like chicken, lamb, duck are a great source of protein. The first ingredient to look out for in dog food is an excellent source of protein.

Flax seeds, fish oils, sunflower oil and animal fats

These are high quality sources of fats. You can also check out for omega 3 and omega 6 in the label while selecting the dog food. The average fat content dog food should have is 10%- 15%.

Fruits and vegetables

Sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, and blueberries contain adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that should be included in the dog food. 

Importance of the Ingredients In Dog Food

Importance Of Protein In Dog’s Diet

Just like we humans, protein is essential for the growth, development, functioning, and overall well-being of dogs. Proteins help in repairing muscle tissue, connective tissue and maintaining hair and skin. Proteins can contribute to the functioning of various enzymes within a dog’s body, offering additional health advantages such as aiding in digestion, promoting blood clotting, and facilitating muscle contractions.

Deficiency of protein may lead to skin, coat and weight issues. There might be many organ related issues as well that might lead to failure of organs. Therefore the first thing to look out for in a dog’s food is the protein content which should be in abundance. Basically you should be looking for ingredients like meat, meat meal, or byproduct meal of an animal-based, usable, digestible protein.Overall, protein is vital for dogs’ overall quality of life, ensuring their physical growth, cellular function, immune system strength, and energy levels are adequately supported.

Importance Of Fat in Dog's Diet

Fats are essential for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat in dogs. They help to keep the skin moisturized, prevent dryness and flakiness, and contribute to a lustrous and well-conditioned coat. Fats serve as insulation and provide a protective layer for internal organs, helping to maintain body temperature and safeguard vital organs from physical impact.

Insufficient fat intake can weaken the dog’s immune response, making them more susceptible to infections, illnesses, and delayed healing. This can also lead to disruption of hormonal balance, leading to issues with reproductive health, metabolism, and overall physiological functioning.

Importance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in Dog's Diet

Importance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of dogs. Just like we humans need a specific quantity of every ingredient, dogs too need an appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Dogs require a range of vitamins to support their metabolism, immune system, growth, and overall health. Some key vitamins include:

Vitamin A: Supports vision, skin health, and immune function.

Vitamin B: Aid in energy metabolism, nervous system function, and cell growth.

Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, boosts immune function, and aids in collagen synthesis.

Vitamin D: Essential for proper bone development and calcium absorption.

Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports immune function.

Minerals are essential for maintaining proper bodily functions, promoting strong bones and teeth, and supporting various physiological processes. Some important minerals for dogs include:

Calcium: Vital for skeletal development, muscle contraction, and nerve function.

Phosphorus: Works in conjunction with calcium for bone and teeth health.

Iron: Required for oxygen transport, energy production, and immune function.

Zinc: Plays a role in skin health, wound healing, and immune system function.

Selenium: Works as an antioxidant and aids in thyroid function.

Antioxidants help protect the body against harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to aging and disease. They are particularly important in dogs because they can help support a healthy immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

ingredient Analysis Of a premium dog food

We picked up N&D a high quality dog food from Farmina and did the label analysis of the ingredients that has been used and mentioned on the packet. We were quite impressed by the first few ingredients that has been used in the formulation.

First ingredient is lamb meat which is an excellent source of protein. Second ingredient is chicken fat for which is a source of fat. Third ingredient is pumpkin which being a vegetable is a source vitamin and fibre. 

Other Healthy Ingredients you should look out for

Apart from proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, one of the major ingredients you should look out for is fiber or wheat which contains high amounts of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the next primary source of energy for dogs. Carbohydrates are an essential component of a dog’s daily diet as they serve as a vital source of energy in the form of glucose and provide dietary fiber. Glucose is a preferred energy source for the body, and in the absence of carbohydrates, the body may redirect amino acids from other bodily processes to fulfil its glucose requirements. Carbohydrates also help in generating heat in the body. It forms the base for other nutrients. There are carbohydrates, which are high in dietary fiber, they help in promoting healthy digestion in dogs.

Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. It can also aid in weight management by providing a feeling of fullness. Complex carbohydrates provide a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping to regulate blood sugar levels in dogs. This is particularly beneficial for dogs with diabetes or those requiring stable blood sugar levels for sustained energy.

Deficiency of carbohydrates lead to muscle loss and a decrease in muscle mass. A deficiency of carbohydrates can upset the nutritional balance, potentially resulting in deficiencies of certain vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Lack of carbohydrates high in dietary fiber can lead to digestive issues such as constipation, irregular bowel movements, and compromised gut health. Dogs may also experience blood sugar instability, which can lead to energy fluctuations, weakness, and other related issues.

Ingredients to avoid in a dog food

There are certain ingredients which are potentially harmful and should be strictly avoided. After careful label analysis we have listed the ingredients which you should avoid feeding your dog at all costs.

1.Added Preservatives

Preservatives like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin are toxic for dog’s health. These preservatives have been associated with potential health risks and is a must to avoid.

2.Artificial Colors and Flavors

Artificial colors and flavors are basically added to make the dog food look appealing. However they are unnecessary additives that provide no nutritional value to dogs. It’s best to choose dog foods that use natural ingredients for flavor and color.


Fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy are difficult for dogs to digest and do not provide any nutrition. High-quality dog foods tend to have a higher meat content and fewer fillers. 

4.Meat By-products

Meat byproducts contain organs and tissues which should not be consumed by dogs. However there are few meat by-products that can be nutritious as well. It is advisable to look for dog foods that specify the type of meat or animal protein source.


Melamine is basically a filler ingredient that manufacturers use in dog food. When ingested, melamine can form crystals that can accumulate in the kidneys and urinary tract, leading to blockages and severe damage to these organs. This can result in kidney failure, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.To ensure your dog’s safety, it’s important to choose dog food products from reputable brands that undergo rigorous quality control and testing procedures. Regularly checking product recalls and staying informed about potential food safety issues can also help protect your dog from harmful substances. 


We strictly advise you to check the label of the ingredients used in the food packet before going for it. A contented pet equates to your own happiness.