Whole Dog Journal's (WDJ)
Top Rated Dog Food
February 2001 Issue

Note that WDJ states:  "We do not conduct either feeding trials or laboratory tests on the foods.  We selected our favorites by conducting a thorough label review, and holding this data up to the criteria listed in the "Foods Should Contain" and "Foods Should Not Contain" boxes (below).  We have not selected the foods on the basis of protein or fat content."
"We have not seen every dog food on the market.  New foods emerge on a monthly basis, some are available on a regional scale only.  We've tried to list foods that are good examples of the kinds of foods you should be looking for."


Quality Foods Should Contain:
Superior sources of protein, either whole fresh meats or single source meat meal (ex. chicken meal rather than poultry meal)
A whole-meat source as one of the first two ingredients.
Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables, and other foods.  Nutrients and enzymes are more likely to be found in unprocessed foods.

Quality foods should contain a MINIMAL AMOUNT of the following:
Food fragments - lower-cost by-products of another food manufacturing process, such as brewer's rice and wheat bran...Manufacturers usually include at least one fragment to help lower costs. Beware any food that includes several fragments.
Meat by-products (not handled as carefully as whole meat) - any food that contains meat by-products as the MAJOR protein source indicates a low-quality product. 

Fats or proteins named generically (ex. animal fat/poultry fat instead of  beef fat/ lamb meal)
Artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin)
Artificial colors.
Sweeteners (corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin) to improve unappealing food
Propylene glycol - a toxic substance when consumed in large amounts; added to some "chewy" foods to keep them moist.

February 2001 Review
Food Name: Manufacturer & Location:WDJ Comments:

Back to BasicsBeowulf Natural Feeds Altmar, NY"Human grade & hormone-free ingredients. Delivered fresh from manufacturer....Very high fat content (19%) reflects company owner's philosophy that more fat is good for dogs.  Also offers a pork-based formula."

Best In Show Power FoodBest In Show Jupiter, FL"Two meat sources in top three spots! Yay!" "Kitchen sink approach to formulation: fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. added."

California Natural Chicken & RiceNatura Pet Products, Santa Clara, CA"Simple, short ingredients list. Great for allergy-prone dogs."

CanidaeCanidae Pet,  San Luis Obispo, CA"Four major proteins ensure complete amino acid profile.  All ingredients are whole, not fragments. Date of manuafacture printed on label."

Eagle Pack Holistic SelectEagle Pet Products, Inc. Mishawaka, IN"Three major proteins ensure complete amino acid profile.  All ingredients are whole, not fragments.  Inclusion of organic chicken to be commended." "Kitchen sink approach to formulation (throwing a little of everything good into the pot)." "Eagle has made a giant leap forward with this product."

Flint River LC Dog FoodFlint River Ranch, Riverside, CA"Fresh product shipped direct from factory..." "Ordered through multi-level marketers. Product also available in some retail outlets, but this would be less fresh."

InnovaNatura Pet Products Santa Clara, CA"Three proteins top the list; hurray! All ingredients are whole; company claims all ingredients are human-grade." "More kitchen sink formulating, with lots of what must be small amounts of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, supplements."

Limited Diets Duck & PotatoInnovative Veterinary Diets (division of Heinz Pet Products) Pittsburgh, PA"Unlike Science Diet's precription foods, these products contain no artificial preservatives.  These foods, with their novel proteins (duck, rabbit, venison, whitefish, plus lamb) make elimination diets for allergy dogs easy."

LifespanPetGuard, Inc. Orange Park, FL"Chicken in the first two spots." "Corn gluten meal in the formulation."

MMillenniaSolid Gold Health Products for Pets, El Cajon, CA"Two quality proteins in top four ingredients. Date of manufacture printed on label." "Maker does not add preservatives of any kind, but does not disclose preservatives added to fat sources before manufacturing, either."

Natural Balance Ultra PremiumDick Van Patten's Natural Balance, Pacoima, CA"Three quality protein sources in top four ingredients. Mostly whole grains and vegetables used.  Company donates a portion of profits to local animal charities." "We don't like any unnamed flavor enhancers, even if they are purportedly "natural."  Amounts of trendy supplements (vitamin C, glucosamine, yucca) not qualified."

Prime LifeOwen & Mandeville Pet Products, Oxford, CT"Two proteins in top three ingredients.  Maker claims chicken and turkey meals are antibiotic-and hormone-free. Label lists kilocalories per cup of food." "We don't like unnamed flavor enhancers, even if they are purportedly "natural."

PHD Canine Growth and MaintenancePerfect Health Diet Products, Inc., White Plains, NY"Company encourages owners to supplement dog's diet with real foods - radical!- for live, healthy gastrointestinal bacteria and other nutrients." "Use of "poultry" rather than single-source protein such as "chicken." "

PinnacleBreeder's Choice Pet Foods, Irwindale, CA"Two proteins top the list.Most ingredients are whole. Great enzymes (papain and alpha amylase) and probiotics added. Kilocalories per cup provided."

Wellness Super5MixOld Mother Hubbard Lowell, MA"Three protein sources top the list; that's awesome.  Maker says lamb is hormone-free.  Filtered water is used in food production. Food is baked; probiotics and prebiotics added afterward." "Kibble is very dry and hard.  More kitchen sink formulating, with lots of what must be small amounts of fruits, vegetables, herbs, supplements."

Wysong MaintenanceWysong Corporation Midland, MI"This food appears to contain less meat than any other food listed here; perhaps a helpful option for dogs who are intolerant of meat proteins." "We'd prefer to see "chicken fat" rather than the potentially mixed "poultry fat" ingredient."

1999 List
Back to Basics (Chicken Formula)    
California Natural
Flint River   
PetGuard LifeSpan    
Solid Gold    
2000 List
Best In Show "Solutions"
California Natural
Flint River
Innovative Veterinary Diets Duck and Potato
Natural Balance
PetGuard LifeSpan
Wellness Super5Mix Hormone-Free Lamb
2001 List
Azmira "Classic"
Back to Basics - chicken
Best In Show 'Power Food'
Eagle Pack "Holistic Select Canine 24/7"
Flint River - "Dry Water"
Natural Balance "Ultra Premium"
Pinnacle - chicken
Prime Life - adult
Solid Gold Health - "Millennia"
Showbound Naturals - chicken & brown rice
Timberwolf Organics - lamb barley & apples
Wellness - fish & sweet potato