What You Need to Know About Dog Food Ingredients



There has never been more emphasis placed on the importance of high-quality pet food than what we are facing today. With that said, there’s more to pet food than beautiful packaging and detailed descriptions. Reading the nutritional profile of the food and fully understanding what makes up the contents of the bag is very important.

Let’s take a closer look at the main ingredients that make up the dog food you sell.


The first ingredient listed on dog food should be an animal or fish protein. Protein is one of the most important ingredients in dog food—that is why it’s listed as the first ingredient, not the fifth or sixth ingredient.

“Protein is an important part of a dog’s diet,” says Dr. Bradley Quest, DVM. “Protein is made up of amino acids, which can be thought of as the building blocks of protein. Dogs can make many of these amino acids in their body, but many amino acids are also required in their diet called essential amino acids.”

The great news is dogs have a variety of protein options. There are even pet food brands that utilize more than one protein, which means even more health benefits! For example, the first three ingredients listed in Essence Ocean & Freshwater Recipe are herring, sardines and mackerel. Herring is a fantastic protein because it’s very high in omega 3 fatty acids! It can also contribute to a dog’s skin and coat and is a great source of vitamin D.

Sardines are listed as the next ingredient in Essence Ocean & Freshwater Recipe. Sardines are also high in omega 3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is also a fatty acid that can benefit the dog’s heart and circulation. It can also help prevent dental disease in dogs.  

Mackerel is the third ingredient for this recipe of Essence. Along with herring and sardines, mackerel is also high in omega 3 fatty acids.


When our parents told us growing up always to eat our vegetables, it was for our benefit. Well, the same goes for our dogs! Pumpkin is a reoccurring vegetable that can be found in all Essence recipes. Why? Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and helps to keep a dog’s digestive systems regular. Pumpkin is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. A dogs’ skin, coat and eyes can also benefit from eating pumpkin.

Red lentils and garbanzo beans are great vegetables for dogs and are utilized in all Essence Original recipes. Lentils are a fantastic source of fiber and iron, and it is a plant-based protein! Garbanzo beans contain a lot of vitamins—including vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C—which help dogs stay healthy and boost their immune system. For dogs with food sensitivities to any of fiber source in Essence Original recipes, Essence also provides a solution with Essence LIR, which uses pumpkin and quinoa as fiber sources.


Some people may think fats are unhealthy, but that isn’t always true. There are good fats—such as animal fats and olive oil. Olive oil is utilized in all Essence recipes and is great for dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight or need to lose a little bit of weight. The fats in olive oil break down fat cells.

“Fats are important for essential fatty acids and can be received from animal fats or vegetable fats,” said Dr. Quest, DVM. “High-quality pet foods may contain fruits and vegetables that can contribute to the nutritional value of the diet by containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the diet.”

There are many essential ingredients that make up dog food, but it’s important to be aware of the main ingredients and how they benefit the well being of dogs.


Latasha Ball is the Marketing Coordinator for Pets Global, the founders of pet food brands Zignature, Fussie Cat, Essence Pet Foods, and Inception Pet Foods. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations, in which she enjoys being able to combine her professional background with her passion for animals.


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