When looking for a dry dog food, I want the quality of the product to be evident. If you are not in the habit of reading the ingredient label on the food you buy for your dog, you need to start doing it. First, it is important to know what your dog's true nutritional needs are. I have numerous blogs on this site that have discussed this, so scan through the previous articles and read some of these. After familiarizing yourself with what is what in ingredients, check the food you are buying and see if it falls in line. There are very few that you'd really want to consider buying and feeding your dog. Do not purchase your dog food at the grocery store. Go to a pet food store where you have better options.
My dog's diet is home-cooked. They only get about 25% of their nutrients from dry dog food (a.k.a. kibble). Extrusion, the process used to make the majority of dry kibble, heats the ingredients to a very high temperature, which causes physical and chemical changes to the product, and destroys any naturally occurring vitamins and minerals there in the ingredients previously. You will notice certain vitamins and minerals listed on the label...these have been added back in after the cooking process, so they are certainly not whole complexes, or really anything that resembles 'natural'. Since few pet parents feed raw diets or home-cooked, it is important if you are going to feed a kibble only diet (which I do not recommend), that you at least buy one that isn't just simply total junk that could actually make your dog sick, or worse yet, cause health issues down the road.
I think the draw back for the high quality dry dog food for most people is the price...a 15 lb. bag can cost $50 and up. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. (A cheap junk dog food only costs about $12 for a 36 lb. bag) Simply Nourish is a brand that I have come across that is a good, lower-priced kibble that is worth considering. The company it is distributed by does not have a website, unfortunately, so any information you'd want, you will have to get off the dog food bag. Their address is: Simply Nourish Pet Food Company, 19601 N. 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027, or you can contact them at: 1-888-299-PETS. The Small Breed Adult Dog Food I purchase (Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe) costs about $26 for a 15 lb. bag.
I look at the first 10 ingredients listed to make my decision when purchasing dog food. For the Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe I mentioned above shows: chicken, chicken meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin), oatmeal, brown rice, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, dried chicory root and dried carrots. There are several other dried vegetables/fruits listed after this. So for the price, and for as little as I use kibble, this is a decent product.
I hope you will consider adding some home-cooked foods to your dog's diet, as it is certainly better for them, and closer to what they would consume in the wild. Nutrition is just as important for your canine companion as it is for you. They are not immune to disease, and years of feeding improper food can culminate in issues down the road that could have been prevented by feeding properly in the first place. How much money do you really save if you buy cheap, junk dog food only to have a mountain of vet bills years later? It does not have to be complicated...any addition of real meat and some fresh fruits/vegetables can benefit. If you consider your dog to be family, as I do, you want them to be healthy, happy 'relatives' for a long time!