Help & Advice Centre

Pet Food

The ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of dog food

Not all ‘complete’ dog foods are made equal!

So just what is a ‘complete’ dog food and why is it called that? To label a dog food ‘complete’ means that the product must contain all the nutrients a pet needs to support its daily life when fed as directed. This term in itself sounds simple enough, however its simplicity leads to vast interpretation and therefore creating a whole scale of complete foods within the dog food market that are hugely different in quality from one another.

It's clear to see that the UK dog food market alone is flooded with brands all seeming to offer the same thing: ‘a complete food for dogs’. However, unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. While all complete foods may conform to certain legislation and regulations around nutrients, the quality of these nutrients can vary massively, as can how ethically sourced the ingredients are and how sustainable the manufacturing process is. These factors are approached by different companies in different ways with varying levels of assiduity.

To navigate the seemingly endless list of companies all offering something different, there are a few things you can look out for to assist in making an informed decision when choosing the right food for your dog. Important factors to look at are: quality of ingredients; the way they’re processed; and the temperature they’re ‘cooked’ at.

Labelling and declarations

So, the ultimate question is, how does one navigate this world of kibble?

The answer lies mostly in the labelling; without spending hours speaking to each company to ascertain exactly what goes into their food, where it comes from and why, you have to rely on the information the company has chosen to freely declare. On examining the packaging, it may seem that all companies label their foods in similar ways, and this is true to a certain extent because pet food manufacturers are allowed to declare their ingredients in one of two ways: labelling by category (for example, oils and fats); or labelling by meat and animal proteins. On every single packet of food (including human’s) ingredients are listed in quantity order with the highest first, something to bear in mind when reviewing the examples below.

Labelling by category

Labelling dog food by categories allows manufacturers to have fluctuations and/or changes to recipes without notifying the customer or changing the labelling on the bags. For example, in the Beef flavoured dry food below, cereals are listed first but with no indication to their percentage quantity, meaning one batch’s cereal could consist of just rice whilst the next batch could be a mixture of rice, wheat, barley and maize. Whilst these fluctuations go mostly unnoticed by dog and owner there are an increasing number of dogs becoming intolerant to such inconsistencies.

Labelling by meat and animal proteins

Labelling by meat and animal proteins differs from above as all proteins, fats and fibre sources are clearly defined and separately declared in their specified quantities.

How the style of cooking affects nutrients

After exploring the right quality ingredients that go into dog food, it is also important to consider the process at which it is ‘cooked’. Like when choosing the right ingredients, it is also vital that those ingredients are processed correctly to ensure their intrinsic nutritional values stay intact. Eden’s food is produced using a cutting-edge technology called ‘Freshtrusion’. This journey begins with trusted farms and fisheries, where the finest human-grade quality fresh meats and fish are collected, providing provenance and traceability. Gently steam cooking each meat at circa 82ºC (180ºF) protects the proteins and ensures maximum digestibility and nutritional value to the pet.

Dog foods containing dried meat meal are typically cooked at a much higher temperature which can denature the protein and result in it being less digestible and, therefore, of lower nutritional value. On the other hand, Eden’s food is gently cooked ensuring the proteins are protected and thus provide increased bioavailability to the pet.

Furthermore, Eden has taken the time and effort to produce dog foods that not only supply the dog with its minimal daily nutrition requirements but also go far beyond this. Using specialist ingredients can enhance and enrich a dog's life. See below for some examples of specialist ingredients Eden add;

  • Green Lipped Mussel which is great for arthritis. The nutrients have anti-inflammatory and joint-protective properties, so may reduce pain and swelling as well as support joint repair.
  • Dried Seaweed is extremely fibrous so helps support dogs with digestive sensitivity; it also has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, and anti-rheumatic properties.
  • Burdock Root is excellent at flushing out toxins and helps create an enzyme that aids in absorbing nutrients.
  • Dried Cranberries are high in antioxidants and fibre, these help to prevent disease and boost the immune system.
  • Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, can increase brain function, aid digestion, is great for skin and coat, helps bad breath and can balance insulin levels.
  • Dried Rosehips are packed with vitamin C, pectins, fruit acids and carotenoids, which can boost your pet's immune system and support healthy joints. It has also been shown to alleviate pain and improve activity levels.
  • Aniseed, Fenugreek, Thyme, Dried Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley and Sage are all added for more than just enhancing the flavour of the food. These herbs are all sources of vitamins A, C and K, are rich in antioxidants, great for the immune system and can aid in digestion, vision, and respiratory problems.
Click here to find out more about the ingredients we use

When the UK was part of the European Union it was subject to FEDIAF regulations surrounding pet food. Since leaving the EU, the UK now adheres to the Food Stands Agency’s regulations and legislation. However, our food still follows strict regulations from both regulatory bodies.

To assist in navigating all this information there is an unbiased central directory that has comprehensive feeding guidance and dynamic food comparison pages. The website is here

  • Pet Food Agency 12 January 2023 available at: (accessed 18 January 2023)
  • All About Dog Eden mixing bowl composition (accessed 18 January 2023)