How do you choose Healthy Dog Food & Treats?

How to choose healthy, dog food & treats

Choosing healthy food and treats for our dogs can be difficult.  When we enter a pet shop or look at an online store, there is a bewildering array of food and treats that all look and sound delicious  So how do you choose the ones that are healthy and good quality?

It is all about the label, not the one on the front that promises you all sorts of fabulous things but the ingredients label on the back which is where the truth lies

Things to look for:-

Clear & honest ingredient lists that you can understand and identify the ingredients.  These are fixed formulation products where the ingredients will be same every time.

Healthy, natural & hypo-allergenic – this means that the product does not contain any artificial colours flavours or preservatives and is more suitable for dogs with a sensitive digestion

No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives – make sure it is all three.  Colours are just for your benefit, your dog doesn’t eat by colour.  If you use quality ingredients then there is no need to add any artificial flavours and we can use air drying, rosemary and Vitamin E to preserve pet food naturally so there is no need for chemical preservatives

Meat Content – did you know that if it says “with Chicken” on the front it only needs to contain 4% Chicken?  I am confident that is not what you think you are buying when you pick up that pack because you know your dog loves chicken.  Check the meat content, make sure it is a reasonable amount

4% meat is never enough for anything, especially food.

Grain Free – not every dog needs to have a grain free diet although it does seem to be better for dogs with a sensitive digestion and all our foods are grain free as are many of our treats.  We do not use wheat in any of our products as it is a very common cause of itching and stomach upsets in dogs.

Country of Origin – Due to the quality of the products and the illnesses and deaths that have been recorded after feeding treats from China, many owners prefer not to feed any treats made in China but how do you ensure that you don’t?

Unfortunately,  it is not a legal requirement to put the Country of Origin on the packaging, the only requirement is that there are some contact details.  So look for the words “Made in UK” or “Made in EU”.  If it states a UK or European address but doesn’t say “Made in” then that company may only be a distributor.  The only way to find out is to ring the company and ask where they source their products from and if they are originally from China.

It is more likely that dog treats sold in discount stores and supermarkets are from China as they often much cheaper than those in a pet shop.

If in doubt, don’t buy it.

Ethical Accreditation – always worth looking out for, it means that the company have been independently audited and approved by the Ethical Pet food Company, this is a very strict process and generally only 20% of any market sector gain approval.

What to be wary of:-

Vague descriptions such as cereals, meat & animal derivatives, of vegetable origin or derivative

These are called categories and are deliberately meant to be vague.  They allow the company to vary the ingredients they use based on what is available or at the best price at the time of manufacture.

Cereals – this will almost always contain wheat which is the most common cause of itchy skin & coat and dogs and can also cause stomach upsets.  As you don’t know which cereals may be in the product it is better to avoid

Meat & Animal Derivatives – could be any type of meat of any type of quality and if your dog has an intolerance or allergy to any particular protein, you don’t know what is in  it so it may cause a reaction

Vegetable origin/derivatives – again, this is not clear what exactly is in the product

What flavour is it really?  Always check that the protein source quoted on the front is the only one listed in the ingredients.  Venison for example is expensive and when you check the ingredients you may find that your product labelled Venison is actually mixed with Beef.  This may not be a problem but could be if your dog has an intolerance to Beef which is why you are buying Venison in the first place.

All Feelwells Venison products are 100% Venison

Sugar & Salt – dogs do not need either sugar or salt in their diet, avoid any products that list either of these as an ingredient

Made in China/PRC – as stated previously, these may not be best quality and there have been many reports of illness and death following the eating of these products.  Avoid

All Feelwells products are healthy, natural and hypo-allergenic

We do not use any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, wheat, soya, sugar, salt or GM ingredients

All our products are fixed formulation, you get the same ingredients every single time

Our ingredients lists are clear and honest, everything is listed, understandable and identifiable

All our products are made in the UK or the EU – none of our products come from China

We are dog owners too and we wouldn’t feed anything to your dogs that we wouldn’t feed to our own

Our first blog post – Why choose Feelwells?

Our first blog post – Why choose Feelwells?

Why choose Feelwells?

We thought it might be a good idea to start our blog by telling you a little more about Feelwells, who we are, what we do and what we believe in…

Who are we?

We are a small family business based in beautiful North Yorkshire.  We are dedicated to providing your dog with healthy, natural, hypo-allergenic, tasty & nutritious food and treats using the very best ingredients

We have held our Ethical Accreditation for 12 years and we are very proud of this, the auditing process is extensive and examines not only our products but also our ingredients, our relationships with our customers and suppliers, our stance on animal testing and environmental issues.  Only the top 20% of any market sector gain Ethical Accreditation

Team Feelwells

The most important members of our team are our dogs, our four Border Terriers. They are the reason for and the inspiration behind our business, everything we do is based on what we would want for them and of course they have the envious task of helping to develop and taste teste all our new products


Lola is the reason that Feelwells exists.  When we got her as a puppy she was very ill and we were so worried about her.  She was sick every time she ate so she was underweight, she had very thin and patchy fur, worms and ear mites but she still had that indomitable terrier spirit even though she was so young and tiny.  We managed to find a natural, healthy food and we fed her plenty of probiotics but the probiotics had to be kept in the fridge, measured out, hidden in her food etc.

What we couldn’t find were any treats that were not full of artificial stuff so we decided to make our own healthy dog treat with a probiotic.  Simple – put some good stuff in a treat so it is easy to feed and the dog will enjoy it

Feelwells was born and all the products that we make are based on what we want for our dogs or what our customers have asked us for.


Alfie is a lovely, gentle old soul.  As well as working as a Feelwells Dog he is also a Therapy Dog for a charity called Wag & Co.  He regularly visits a care home to spend time with the residents, many of whom are elderly and have dementia/Alzheimer’s.  His role is as a Friendship Dog involves spending time with anyone that wants to see him, sitting close by for a stroke, jumping on their lap for a cuddle or performing a few tricks to make them smile


Naughty but nice Hudson is Lola & Alfie’s son.  Anyone who has been to our stands at outdoor shows will have met lovely Hudson doing his bit as brand ambassador with Simon


Little Dodger is a rescue dog that we got from Gumtree and he is now the cover star of our brochure .  He is quite simply adorable.

Simon Mayne

Simon has worked in the pet trade for more years than we can remember and knows everything there is to know.  His experience and insight is what drives our strategy and new product development, he always has an idea.

Helen Mayne

Helen does the paperwork , answers the phone and generally keeps things running so she is the person you are most likely to deal with if you contact our office.

Feelwells Values

We have several red lines at Feelwells, these are things that are so important to us that we will never change them

No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives

No wheat or wheat gluten

No sugar or salt

No soya or GM ingredients

Clear & honest ingredient listings

Fixed formulation products

Always made in the UK or the EU – never made in China

We are dog owners too and we wouldn’t feed your dog anything that we wouldn’t feed to our own.  We care about what we do and how we do it.  We care about our customers and so many of them have become personal friends

We love what we do and we are always trying to do it better.  We always welcome suggestions and feedback so please let us know what you think.

Team Feelwells

Helen, Simon, Lola, Alfie, Hudson & Dodger