How to Choose Pet Food (Top 5 Tips!)

You’ve all been there: you’re in the pet-food aisle, completely overwhelmed at the all the different types of pet food.

You’re wondering: Has this brand been recalled? Why does this food have so many ingredients? We’re here to help!

To start, homemade food is best, but for an easier approach, you can supplement a home diet with commercial /
store bought food – you can make a home diet a few days per week, and feed commercial food on the in-between days.

Top 5 Easy Tips for Choosing Pet Food

  1. Make sure animal protein is the first ingredient.
  2. Avoid generic or store brands. These may be repackaged rejects from the big manufacturers, and generally contain cheaper and poorer quality ingredients.
  3. If possible, look for foods with essential fatty acids added – they are highly important for allergies, arthritis and cancer prevention. It can (and should) be added as a supplement to your pet’s diet, if it’s not present in the food.
  4. Avoid any pet foods with excessive unnecessary fillers such as corn, soy or wheat.
  5. Avoid foods that list by-products. If possible, avoid meat, bone, fish and chicken meal – although many good quality foods do contain these. It’s not possible to tell from the label the type and source of ‘meal’ products, but contact the company if in doubt.

Mix it up! Especially if you’re making homemade food – not only can this help ensure they’re getting a balanced diet with a variety of nutrients, your pet won’t get bored. (I know I don’t want to eat the same thing everyday, twice a day!)

Canned food is usually recommended – it’s higher in hydration, and normally has a much higher protein profile. Wet food is often tastier, has less carbohydrates, and can often be more wallet-friendly. We understand that some pets don’t love eating wet food though, so do what is best for your pet!

It’s also important to understand your pet’s needs – such as if they’re a large or small breed, active or less active, if they need to lose or gain weight. This can help narrow down your choices.

Recently, there have been a variety of new companies creating (and delivering to your door!) prepared homemade meals for pets, with excellent ingredients. A few of them include: Nom Nom, The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie, FreshPet, Pet Plate, House of Canines, and Pet Plate (please note, most of these are for delivery in the US only).

Here are a few other commercial brands I would feel comfortable giving to my pets. I am not affiliated with any pet food company, these are just a few of the brands that would meet my criteria for choosing a good commercial food:

Champion Petfoods
Flint River
Holistic Blend
(The) Honest Kitchen
Nature’s Variety
Paw Naturaw
Petcurean Pet Nutrition
TimberWolf Organics

11 thoughts on “How to Choose Pet Food (Top 5 Tips!)”

  1. Do you still recommend Wellness? That’s the one we see you feeding Murray on your videos. I know you can’t list every brand you recommend here, but curious as to why you left off Wellness.

    1. Hi Wanda,

      Thank you for your question!

      Dr. Jones does still recommend the Wellness brand! We were just referencing a few options 🙂


    2. I watched a Youtube video where First Mate was being fed to Murray for diabetes.
      Where can I buy that? I live in Arizona. If that’s not available, please recommend what else a diabetic cat should be given. Thank You.
      p.s. if you resigned because of the heat the higher leveled dishonest money mongers were giving you for being holistic? I salute you for staying the course!

  2. My black short-hair domestic cat became yellow in the eyes and skin recently. What would you recommend for her since she is also diabetic? If you need more info, let me know.

  3. Do you recommend The Pet Pantry in Apex NC? I am feeding my dog with the Growth and Performance and sometimes Holistic Lamb and Rice Premium.

  4. This is a valuable site, thank you! Since end of October of 2021 I’ve brought 2 kittens in my home. They’re now 6 months old and thriving. I feed them in the morning and end of the afternoon with wet food from cans. In the Netherlands, we’ve got a brand called Yarrah. It’s organic petfood for dogs and cats, and I’ve used it for my cats for at least 30 years.

    Apart from the wet food twice a day, I give my kittens dry food also from Yarrah, and when I breakfast and take my kefir, I give them a tablespoon also. They love it! Apart from kefir, I give the smaller one yogurt in between meals.
    5 meals a day, 2 portions of wet food mixed with 1/3 of brown organic rice, and 3 small meals of dry food, more like snacks.
    The smaller one, a girl, was weakened by a tapeworm when she arrived, and it took a few weeks before I noticed what was the cause of her lethargy. She was untouchable, withdrawn, but purring loud when I was near her. After a remedy for the tapeworm and killing the eggs a few weeks after, this little girl has improved so much!

    Growing larger, livelier, and touchable, eating with gusto, and playing showing her temperament. Quick as a flash if need be. She’s asking for food often, and when her brother is outside, they’re both active outdoor cats, I give her a tablespoon of yogurt, or, once in a while, a small piece of minced meat raw from a cow (from the organic butcher). That’s her favorite!

    The boy is almost twice her size, eating whenever he finds food, even from his sister. I’ve taught him the word “No” when he walks over to his sister’s bowl, and he’s learning fast, just walking away when he hears me say the word. Not sulking or begging. His sister eats like a little princess, slowly, walking away from it, returning to it later, taking small portions.

    I’m putting her bowl on the counter when she’s had her fill, so that her brother doesn’t have a chance to empty it. Fortunately, they’re able to play outside in a large green area, where no traffic or people with dogs are present. They climb the trees, visit the gardens of the neighbors, like proper explorers. And watching the little birds, of course. They poo and pee outside so that I’m not bothered by cat litter and the annoying task of cleaning. Besides, the filling of a cat toilet is so expensive nowadays. That is when you choose clay in small kernels, organic material that doesn’t leave a smell in the home. We’re all happy together. In the coming month, they’ll be operated upon so that they’re not raising a family ?

  5. my dog when out side she was good till got in side then she coughing i gave her lemon honey and tea . stops for 2 hours then stats again . good when not moving not kennel cough . an all so has a sound in her breathing. i going to take her in Moring to vet
    can you till me if ok till then

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