PhD in Canine Nutrition Founded & Led
Some companies employ PhD or Board Certified Vet Nutritionists. Others only consult "experts" and don't mention who completes their recipe and testing design.
Guaranteed Health Benefits on Pack
Fresh, raw and other "new age" companies generally do not include any health benefits on pack. Many of these companies were founded on emotional believes (e.g., your dog should get fresh food), however they have not performed any actual research to support their assertions or to be able to make any health claims.
No Legumes (peas, lentils, beans)
The inclusion of legumes was popularized with the growth of Grain-Free recipes at a time when minimal research about their efficacy had been performed. Even today there remains very little research to support any benefits many of the original companies pushing these diets have since altered their recipes to include grains.
Many of the cheaper diets will use by-products to reduce the cost of their recipes. Many of the more expensive recipes on the market will use "whole-prey" recipes which inherently include by-products. Others will label a specific organ (e.g., chicken liver) without acknowledging that chicken liver (and other specific organs) are actually chicken by-products.
Combined Digestive Health (Fiber, Pre, Pro and Postbiotics)
Most companies focus on one or two areas for digestive health so they can make a claim but want to keep costs lower so they do not include additional nutrients with known benefits.
Only includes ingredients for nutritional value (not marketing purposes)
Many companies select ingredients to be different and make what are often perceived to be great benefits. They do not study the impacts of these ingredients or perform any research to ensure they are beneficial, and in fact, they can have negative impacts on your pets. If a company includes an ingredient you should ask them why and what that does to help your pet.
Each Bite is Complete and Balanced
It is strange that Open farm, Honest Kitchen and Primal suggest adding toppers to their kibble. This can create imbalances and cause excess calorie intakes leading to obesity.
All resealable bags
Many companies avoid using resealable bags because they are expensive and cut into their margins. While this is incredible convenient to pet owners, they would rather spend money on items that do not benefit your dog or you as the pet owner.
Does not require refrigeration, freezing or hydration
The fresh and raw foods often require both freezing, thawing and storage in the refrigerator. No thanks, our fridge is full.
Prioritizes dogs over social and environmental causes
All support radical organizations pushing social agendas. Look at your brands priorities, they are not hiding this, look at their social media posts and the organizations they support. Some brands, like Ollie for example, list social wellness over dog wellness as their top priority.