What Is a Complete Dog Food?

Complete dog food includes all the nutrients essential for its canine companion’s well-being and growth. Check for AAFCO’s Nutritional Adequacy Statement on any bag, box or can of pet food you purchase to verify its suitability for your canine.

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The highest-grade complete dog foods contain high-grade proteins, selected fats and carbohydrates, nutritious vegetables and fruits, choline (from egg yolks, glandular meals or cereal germs) as well as essential minerals.



Protein is one of the essential macronutrients, alongside carbohydrates and fats, essential to dogs. Protein forms the building blocks for life while aiding critical processes within the body. High-quality dog foods should provide your pup with ample amounts of this vital nutrient.

Make the most of protein sources like meats, poultry, fish and dairy; these provide easily digestible sources that contain an array of amino acids to support muscle development, skin health and coat quality.

Food should contain an ideal balance of vitamins and minerals, which can be seen by reviewing the guaranteed analysis on the back of the label. You should find information regarding each nutrient present. Typically, heavier ingredients like protein should come first followed by those that provide concentrated sources for specific vitamins or minerals.


Fats serve many vital purposes – they provide insulation, protection, organ support and growth stimulation; energy production; vitamin absorption and regulation of hormone levels. Finding a balance among different kinds and amounts of fats is crucial to overall health and longevity.

Most complete dog foods will contain different percentages of fat depending on their product. It is important to be aware of both types and amounts of fat present.

Raw food products provide a convenient and healthy solution to supplementing your pet’s diet with raw fats. Look for omega-3 fatty acids that have been stored in amber or dark-coloured bottles to preserve quality and ensure consistency of quality.


Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that passes through the small intestine undigested. Once in the colon, it feeds resident bacteria who digest or “ferment” it into short chain fatty acids such as acetate, butyrate, and propionate which reduce inflammation that leads to disease.

Pet parents may opt to prepare all or some of their pet’s meals at home, with consultation from a vet or nutritionist to ensure a complete and balanced diet for their furry friend.

When looking at pet food labels that advertise as “complete and balanced”, this means they meet AAFCO nutrition levels and recommendations. In particular, supplements and non-food sources (like canned pumpkin) should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s overall diet.


Minerals are vitally important for cell development and functioning, from muscle formation and blood clotting to nerve transmission and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. A deficiency in essential minerals could result in serious health issues for large breed dogs such as bone fractures.

Minerals can be divided into two distinct groups; macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals, which require greater quantities in our diet and bodies such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium etc, include macrominerals such as calcium phosphorus sodium while trace minerals include iron zinc copper iodine chromium selenium etc.

Most commercial kibble utilizes a mineral premix to ensure it provides nutritionally complete meals, often in the form of chelated minerals that make them easier for dogs to absorb. Many of these minerals are bound up with organic molecules such as amino acids or proteins for easier absorption by dogs.


Vitamins for dogs play a pivotal role in your pet’s diet, from metabolism to immunity development and beyond. Their presence ensures your canine remains healthy throughout their lifespan.

Vitamin A, or retinol, is vital to vision, growth, foetal development, cell function and immune health. Calcium plays an essential role in bone formation, nerve impulse transmission, muscle contractions and blood clotting – as well as secreting hormones and enzymes into our bodies.

Thiamine and B6 vitamins are crucial components of metabolism, including energy regulation and enzyme function. Biotin, a fat-soluble vitamin found in liver, egg yolks, alfalfa meal yeast and oilseeds is often added to pet food due to possible deficiencies; deficiencies may lead to hair coat loss, skin issues weight loss or anemia as a result of poor absorption by the body.