Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Criteria - A List of Better Foods for My Puppy Buyers

WARNING TO MY PUPPY BUYERS! You will not find any grocery store, farm store, big box store foods, Petsmart or Petco foods on my list of better foods. One of the worst foods on the market is Purina Beneful Dog Food. Read these comments from pet owners who have used Beneful.

WARNING! Do not use jerky strips of any kind that are from China.
This includes many brands found at Petsmart and Petco. For a complete brand list read the FDA Article. These are making pets sick and many are dying and they are not being removed from the shelves!! Karen Becker DVM warns : "Please know that if you choose to buy any pet treat made in China or containing ingredients imported from China your pet may be at risk. Chicken, duck, and sweet potato processed treats all pose a potential threat. I recommend you play it safe. Offer your pets only pet food and treats with ingredients sourced and made entirely in the USA.


After careful consideration, analysis and feed trials on many pet foods, I am using and endorsing the Precise Natural Line and Precise Holistic Complete line up, of which I have had a considerable input in the design of thePHC foods. This involved updating the current line up and helping to design the newer Precise Holistic Complete line and the newest Precise Holistic Complete Grain Free foods. These are meat based, diets, with chickpea and spring pea as carbohydrate component. These carbohydrate sources have a low glycemic index and gluten free.

There have been no large/giant breed feed trials on any brand done to date so I do not recommend any grain free diets for large/giant breed growth - anything under 12 months.

Criteria For The List of Better Foods..... for My Puppy Buyers

  • > Feed trial results - the company's... did they do any and are the results available to the public?- Then I domy own feed trials.

    > Laboratory tests on guaranteed analysis is available to the public?

    > Philosophy of the company

    >Ethics of the company including how they deal with the public and their competitors

    > Truth in advertising

    > Company focus is on making a good product and not on "image" and margins.

    > Only positive and truthful marketing techniques are acceptable, no "fear" marketing allowed or passive/agressive statements about other companies.

    > Do they manufacture their own products in their own plants. What is the safety record, has there been recalls.

    > If the product has to be prepacked at another plant, it has to be one that has not had recalls, safety issues, or subject to fines? Nothing made by Diamond or in Diamond Plants.

    > The company is independently owned by an individual(s) or family owned and not by a large conglomerate.


It is very important that you use a comprehensive feeding program, because there is no brand on the market that is 100%complete. When a bag says it is complete and balanced it is based on the AAFCO guidelines and not current research on animal nutrition. This is why understanding the CORE 4 Concept of Feeding your pet is so important. There are 4 things necessary to make sure all our bases are covered and we have included the things in their diet that replicates what they would get in the wild. I have constructed several CORE 4 Kit options to use for this purpose, so regardless of whether you feed a quality kibble from my list, a raw diet or homemade using the CORE 4 Supplements help cover all your bases.

Please note if you feed a homemade or raw diet I especially recommend CORE 4 Kit # 38 which includes my Filling N The Wholes comprehensive whole food vitamin/mineral supplement as added insurence and it will not disrupt the balance of the diet you are using.


1). Many companies seem to be on the right track, but they are new and have no longevity, nor do they have long term feed trials for growth on giant breeds. Therefore, I can not recommend them to my puppy buyers during the growth stages, because of this. This doesn't mean it is a bad product, just means it may not support large/giant breed growth very well or there have been no feed trials done on them for large/giant breed growth and we need
SLOW AND EVEN GROWTH to avoid orthopedic diseases.

2) Just because it is a new food does not mean it is necessarily a good food. Some of the old companies keep reinventing new labeling, ways of making a food look like it is actually a good food, at least on the surface, when in fact it is the same poor quality food made in the same questionable plants.

All this to try and grab a niche of the growing natural/holistic pet food market. It would easier to just make a new quality food instead of having a product line that is so diverse that the average person has no idea what they feed their dog. Some product lines are very specific such as formulas, for example let say a food for Adult Labradoodles who are over 40 lbs and Brown in color..that is how crazy confusing it gets for people.

In picking a formula for a specific situation, I pick the brand, but I forget the "type" and look at protein, fat, calories, calcium levels, quality of minerals and are there trace minerals in a food. These are the deciding factors in my selection of a bag of food for a special use. So if we have a consultation and you have a medium breed that is too fat, I may suggest the Large/Giant Breed Puppy food 23/12 for your dog's weight issue, based on the protein/fat and calories versus the title on the bag.

3) Another issue is the advent of many new no grain foods. A Grain Free food does not mean there are no carbohydrates, it just means they are generally using potatoes and sweet potatoes for their carbohydrate component instead of grains. Grains such as oats and brown rice offer many nutritional qualities that have cancer protection elements, so it's not that grains are bad at all, it is a matter of what grains, how much grains in the diet and they need to be whole ground with the grains goodness intact.

I do NOT recommended Grain Free Diets for large and giant breed growth, nor are they recommended for all Systemic Yeast Overgrowth issues. For some dogs they work well, for others we may have to switch them off of a grain free food after a month. Each situation I will evaluate separately because many factors come into play in rebalancing yeast issues in a pet.

We can NOT use any Grain Free foods with a sweet potato or white potato component. For some dogs we can use a Grain Free with chick peas (garbonzo beans) or green and yellow spring peas, with no problem. If we don't see any changes on the yeast removal program and this feed we will change the food to a meat based whole grain diet at about 3-4 weeks.


For Central/South America you can use Precept Plus (the conterpart to Precise/Precise Plus as it is called in the USA), and ANF are manufactured at Texas Farms manufacturing plant (Precise's Plant), and these foods are sold in the Asian and South American markets.

Asia & Central/South America -
Europe -



List of Quality Dog Foods - USA & Canada

Precise & Precise Holistic Complete


This is a 4 generation family owned company and plant - I am using this food - a great holistic line- AIB excellent rating- no recalls -100% safety record, quailty ingredients all the way. I have had a hand in helping with the updating of product line. Nothing comes from China in this line up of foods. I upgraded all the Precise line up, then helped to developed the Precise Holistic Complete Large/Giant Breed Puppy 23/12 and Large/Giant Breed Adult 25/15 and their Senior formula 25/10.

Two Grain Free Formulas are available - Pork or Lamb/Turkey w/chick peas and yellow peas.

(No grain free diets forlarge/giant breed growth under 12 months until companies do feed trials)

The Precise Foundation Diet works great for kennel situations because it is an all life stage formula, it comes in 44# bags at a managable cost without compromising the food. It is a chicken/ whole brown rice based food with fish so it is a multiple protein food.
24% protein 14% fat is suitable for large and giant growth, pregnancy and lactation.

Special bulk pricing and programs for kennels and boarding kennels too.

I do not recommend any grain free diets for large breed growth until after 1 year of age..on any brand until adequate feed trials have been done on grain free foods.


(not Nutro)

Tuffy's Company


This company has a line up of three foods Nutrisource, PureVita and Planet Organics.It is a very nice food and it fed well in my feed trials. I highly recommend it. This is a family owned company and they own their own manufacturing plant so they can control their product from start to finish.

(No grain free diets for large/giant breed growth under 12 months until companies do feed trials)

Pure Vita - Holistic

Tuffy's Company

This company has a line up of three foods - Nutrisource, PureVita and Planet Organics.Pure Vita is their single source protein food which is great for an allergy elimination diet. My preference is not single source protein foods over a long time for large breeds.

I do not recommend any grain free diets for large breed growth until after 1 year of age..on any brand until adequate feed trials have been done on grain free foods.


Holistic Select Pet Foods

This is a line up of food that I helped designed when I was a consultant with Eagle Pack Dog Foods for 22 years. When the company sold the new owners kept the line in tact and they also own their own manufacturing plant. They are now committed to adding a new manufacturing facility so they can have total control of the quality of all their products from start to finish. Their Large/Giant Breed Puppy Formula is appropriate for Large/Giant Breeds growth and this line up suits my criteria for all breeds. They have a new grain free formula as well.

I do not recommend any grain free diets for large breed growth until after 1 year of age..on any brand until adequate feed trials have been done on grain free foods.

Planet Organics*- 90% Organic

This company has a line up of three brands of foods and this is their organic food. This is a family owned company and plant - feed out very well in my feed trials. It is also sold internationally.

Family owned, quality products and fed out very well in my feed trials. Worth a try if you can't get Precise or Nutri-Source. Owned in Canada.

I do not recommend any grain free diets for large breed growth until after 1 year of age..on any brand until adequate feed trials have been done on grain free foods.


australian product - good ingredients and philisophy. Costly for large breeds. I have not done giant breed feed trials for growth on this food.
family owned - relatively new - kibble raw and canned - well worth looking at - unique concept, I have not done giant breed feed trials for growth on this food.

family owned company - nice line up of foods. I have not done giant breed feed trials for growth on this food. I have not done giant breed feed trials for growth on this food.

family owned - has long history - good products - owns plant - great human product line - visionary - pioneer in pet health products.
owned by Dr. Harvey - nice line up of foods
owned - Dr. Jane Bicks - quality products
quality food, hard to locate at times
family owned - very good product line - good people at this company


VeRus Pet Food make sure you do not use the ones with potato in them for yeast/skin problems.

These 4 grain free foods are of moderate protein/fat/calories which is why they are approved for this list and these are good companies as well.


I just test fed the Precise Holistic Complete Grain Free diets which I had a hand in developing. I am very please and the dogs love them AND they can be used for dogs going through yeast removal program or have a sensitivity to systemic yeast or allergies or on a cancer. There is NO potato in these foods!!

Precise Holistic Complete Grain Free Lamb/Turkey  27%protein 17% fat

Precise Holistic Complete Grain Free Pork 26% protein 16% fat

I do not recommend any grain free diets for large breed growth until after 1 year of age..on any brand until adequate feed trials have been done on grain free foods.

(No grain free diets for large/giant breed growth under 12 months until companies do feed trials)


Grain Free Dehydrated Raw

See Details Below

A dehydrated raw with some enzymes intact - I use this food as part of the raw component along with my kibble. I rotate between Honest Kitchen and Darwins: Diets Raw (see raw diet options) and canned meats.
This is also a stand alone diet but if used as a stand alone use their supplements with it because I would like it to be more optimal nutrition.
Not for giant breed growth.
Tuffy's has 2 new lines of Grain Free diet that moderateprotein/fat content and calcium/phosphorus levels.
However, ONLY their chicken and Lamb regular grain free can be used for yeasty dogs, not their large breed chicken or lamb, it has potato in it and not good for yeast.


No Grain formulas are not meant for large and giant breed growth or dogs used in heavy duty performance, hunting, agility, pregnancy and lactation or not giant breed puppy growth.

Grain free foods with potatoes in them are not good for systemic yeast removal program because the potato burns fast and many are not meat based but potato based diets.


You will not see many foods on this list of foods due to my criteria. This list is not all inclusive, but I like to give new foods some time on the market and do feed trials to see how they perform, before I add them to this list.

Truth in Advertising - My Criteria

Recently I read an interview of the owner of Sojo's Raw Pet Foods in Pet Industry Magazine (June 2012). The interview stated:

"Honest Kitchen is our main competitor, but we appeal to a very different type of customer. Their meat (Honest Kitchen) meat is cook before it is dehydrated, so they appeal to a customer that might normally feed a canned dog food."

First, this is NOT TRUE and I take great issue with this statement from the owner of Sojo's. Instead of promoting the benefits of his product in this public forum (Pet Industry Magazine), the truth about their competitor Honest Kitchen is grossly distorted. Companies who market their products through negative means are not listed on my List of Better Foods, based on my criteria. I personally have used The Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw food for years and recommend it to my puppy buyers, and it is a raw option in every one of my Blackwatch Feed Programs.

So there is no doubt,… I will provide you with the information on how The Honest Kitchen company goes to great lengths to provide you with a quality product made of ingredients that you and I would eat ourselves. They also provide the public with a correct analysis on the product, and they focus on safety to keep their raw diets safe from pathogens and parasites by a special dehydration process.

As a matter of interest, two years ago I asked Johnson for a nutrient analysis of their products, to check nutrient levels for my own feed trials. I wanted to see if they would qualify for my List of Better Foods for my puppy buyers. When I inquired, I was told "it costs too much to run an analysis on the food." Therefore, because I could not guarantee the calcium and phosphorous levels for large giant breed growth, it did not qualify as a food for my puppy buyers to use. This information should be available to all consumers, it is the law. When it is not, they you should choose another food. Transparency is important in this industry!

The Honest Kitchen meat is NOT cooked – this is their statement on their website:

" By using a gentle dehydration process, we are able to maintain the integrity of our core ingredients. Our fresh raw produce is harvested at the peak of its ripeness, then washed and trimmed to size. Then, it’s dehydrated below 104°F using warm air to gently blow away the moisture in a slow process that takes several hours. Our produce is still considered ‘raw’ after dehydration is complete. Our fresh raw meats and white fish undergo gentle steaming at 140°F to 165°F, to eliminate pathogens without irradiation. We then carefully evaporate the moisture using dehydration, which leaves more nutrients intact than harsh cooking, canning or extrusion. The meats leave the dehydration process at about 125°F. The entire process (including steaming) takes about 45 minutes. Our salmon is freeze-dried in a flash process that removes the moisture under vacuum. Our potatoes and grains are flash heated (and rolled in the case of our grains) to help break down the cellulose, which aids in digestion. They are then gently dehydrated to remove the moisture.”

For me, as a breeder and pet owner, safety is first and formost. The Honest Kitchen has gone to great lengths too maintain an outstanding nutritional product that is safe and effective in helping to maintain wellness and longevity for your pet. It is on the Whole Dog Journal List of Approved Raw Diets.

For a list of raw diets go to RAW DIET OPTIONS

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