Complete vs. supplementary food – what does it all mean?


As a dog owner, it’s your job to make sure that your dog is receiving a healthy diet with all the nutrients they need for a long, active life. This means taking a close look at the product description and packaging for anything that you’re considering feeding to your dog. But even a seasoned label-inspector will know that this can seem very confusing at times! Our quick guide will help to clear up some of the most important words you need to know.

Complete food

A complete wet or dry food is designed to provide the full range of nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. This means that the food can be fed on its own, without the need to combine it with any other food products or supplements. So choosing a complete food, such as Autarky or Almo Nature makes it really easy to meet all of your pet’s nutritional requirements – all you need to do is make sure that you serve the right feeding amount to suit your dog’s size, age, breed and activity levels.

Supplementary food

Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to supplementary food (sometimes also called complementary food), which is lacking in one or more essential nutrients, such as calcium. This type of food must be fed alongside other products to make sure that your dog receives everything they need to stay healthy. Some brands, like Almo Nature, provide specific guidelines for combining their wet and dry food to ensure a balanced diet. Otherwise, you might find it helpful to speak to your vet about managing your pet’s nutritional intake.

Even though incorporating supplementary food into your pet’s diet can be difficult to calculate at first, this is a great way to offer your dog more variety in their food bowl, with a range of flavours and textures. Supplementary food also makes a great occasional treat, just like how we might enjoy a portion of chips or piece of steak every now and then, but still need to make sure we balance this out with other types of food.

How do I find this information?

You can check whether your dog’s food is complete or supplementary by taking a look at the packaging or reading the product descriptions and feeding recommendations provided in the Patterpaw Shop. If you’re ever unsure, you can also contact us – your pet’s health is really important to us, so we’re always happy to help!

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