Dog Food Rating Systems: A Critique of the Points/Formula Method


When searching for the phrase “pet food rating” on Google recently, I was flabbergasted to obtain over 55 million hits.

Since go for longer possible to call home without mass confusion, I thought it could be beneficial to give a review / critique with the point / formula grading method. This is one from the more popular commercial dog food rating systems used by many of the aforementioned websites.

The Point / Formula Grading Method

Essentially, one starts with a grade of 100 for every canine. Points are then subtracted for things that are believed substandard.

For example, all of the “by-product” about the pet food label would reduce the above score by 10 points, as would foods which contain BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin.

On the other hand, points could be added for meat sources which are organic or food that contained probiotics, as examples.

Major Strength of The Point Method

One of the aspects that is certainly commendable relating to this pet food rating method is it has brought attention to many from the substandard ingredients in your pets’ food.

Foods which use by-products instead of whole meats, unnamed meat sources, harmful additives, protein from grains instead of from meat and artificial ingredients are essentially downgraded.

Thus, the points / formula system teaches canine owners how to begin spotting these elements within the dog food labels, and prevent foods that have them.

Major Weaknesses with the Point Method

In my estimation, however, there are many major weaknesses while using points / formula procedure for rating dog food:

1. The criteria for your subtraction and addition of points are far too numerous.

On one website, I counted 29 different calculations that I might need to perform for one last score. Only the hardiest souls (or math majors) would be able to take a moment with pen and ingredient label and execute that numerous additions and subtractions. (And imagine if someone missed various?)

Granted, many dog foods had already been rated in this way, which would not waste time; however, numerous others wasn’t rated and new pet foods are developed on a regular basis. In addition, there are more weaknesses which go beyond having the ability to save your time.

2. The presence of a couple of bad ingredients could be masked by many good ones

Even in case a dog food contains 95% whole meat sources, few grains, lots of pro-biotics with out additives, the presence of several substandard ingredients wouldn’t tip the dimensions towards an unfavorable rating. Why could you want to feed your dog 95% good stuff and 5% junk?

3. Some from the criteria don’t go deep enough which enable it to yield an incorrect rating

Many from the dog foods that have been rated with all the points / formula method received scores more than 120, an A+ rating. Yet upon closer inspection, these foods failed to deserve their high rating.

As a good example, one brand in particular stood a named meat source as its first ingredient (chicken). This is a huge plus, both because it is a named meat source (vs. a by-product) and which is the first ingredient, signifying this will be the largest ingredient the food contains.

However, the meat was inclusive of its water content, which once removed, slid this ingredient further down the list.

Secondly, although grain ingredients were whole (considered an advantage within the rating system), as soon as the chicken slid around the list, these grains comprised a more substantial portion from the food.

This is a big no-no in feeding dogs, since their digestive systems are set up to prey on meat, not grains. In addition, many dogs are allergic to wheat, which became one in the main ingredients through this pet food now it made up a greater percentage in the content.


As you can view, the cons from the commercial dog food rating system based on points easily outweigh its strengths. In the future, I hope to examine / critique some in the other systems which exist for rating dog food.

Til then, give your pet a hug to me!