Dry dog food is generally the preferred style of food for dog owners because wet dog food is typically more expensive, so dry dog food is the more budget-friendly option. However, once you've decided whether you want to go with dry or wet food, you need to determine exactly which food to invest in.

Today we're focussing on the eclectic range of dry dog food options available on the market, including grain-free, limited ingredient diets, novelty proteins, essential nutrition, weight control, and support for a healthy immune system, healthy digestion, and healthy skin.

A Quick Overview of The 11 Top-Rated Dry Dog Foods

Editor's PickProduct NamePriceRating
Best High-ProteinTaste Of The Wild High Prairie Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.7
Best with GrainsWellness Complete Health Adult Deboned ChickenCheck Price on Chewy4.4
Best for Healthy Immune SystemBlue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.7
Best for Large Breeds Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best HypoallergenicNatural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice FormulaCheck Price on Amazon4.7
Best for Multi-Dog HouseholdsCANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish Meal FormulaCheck Price on Chewy4.5
Best BudgetIams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.6
Best for Healthy DigestionDiamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice FormulaCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Best Grain-Free I And Love And You Naked Essentials Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best for Senior DogsHill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.7
Best for Small BreedsWellness CORE Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Dry FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change

1 Best High-Protein: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food

Best High-Protein: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Taste of the Wild
  • First 5 ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef & Lamb
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Beef, Venison, Lamb Meat
  • Life Stage: Adult

This delicious food choice provides your pup with a variety of novel yet protein-packed ingredients such as bison, venison, wildfowl, salmon, lamb, and boar, in addition to the usual sources of meat proteins for doggies. The Taste of the Wild is one of the best dog food brands for total dog nutrition. It is excellent for canines that may have already grown hypersensitive to the usual protein sources such as chicken and beef, as these proteins are significantly reduced in this recipe.

Additionally, this delicately balanced and carefully formulated dog food is also grain-free. Instead, alternative carb sources have been included. Taste of the Wild High Prairie is one of 7 dog food recipes mentioned in our Taste of The Wild Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

What others say about it:
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This is a great food for my dogs. I did extensive research on what would be the best food for my two Australian cattle dogs. This is perfect for them. There are no grains, which for my dogs is what they need. My suggestion to people who are looking for the best dog food is to research your breed and see what fits for your dog. Do your homework before you commit to a food. This is the only food I will feed my ACD’s. We also have a Doberman Pinscher, who has to be on a different food.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • The novel meats provide interesting flavor and high sources of protein
  • Omega fatty acids help to care for dog’s skin and coat
  • K9 strain of probiotics used to promote a healthy digestive system
Cons
  • Allergens include egg products, beef, chicken meal, and salt (a potential irritant)
  • Could do with a higher fiber content is the dog needs highly digestible food
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2 Best With Grains: Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken

Best With Grains: Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken
Key features:
  • Brand: Wellness
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 434 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Oatmeal
  • Life Stage: Adult

Wellness Complete is one of the healthy dog food recipes that are grain-inclusive for an all-natural approach to nutrition. Wellness has carefully selected whole grains such as barley and whole-grain oatmeal, which provide a wealth of nutritional benefits such as carbohydrates and fiber for better digestibility. Additionally, barley is known to help dogs better maintain healthy body weight and reduce their appetite.

They have been careful to avoid the use of any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and exclude genetically modified organisms – ensuring an all-natural recipe. This delicious grain-inclusive recipe is developed and produced in the United States.

You may also like our review of Wellness Core Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract. This is a naturally preserved product.

What others say about it:
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I’ve been feeding my dog this food since I switched her to adult food about a year and a half ago. She loves it, goes at it with enthusiasm! I like the ingredients. It doesn’t have an offending odor, it’s not greasy, and it’s a great value for the quality it seems to have. My dog is a husky, high energy but can be lazy when need-be. This food seems to suit her well. Kibble size is great for her, they are a 3-D triangle shape. She licks the bowl after every meal. The only thing I’d like to see is for them to use a closable bag. I like to buy the largest bag because it’s the best value, and lasts about almost 2 months. But you can’t seal or keep it closed on its own after opening.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Contains all-natural, high-quality ingredients including whole grains
  • Grains and brown rice support healthy digestion
  • Chicken fat is included in the recipe as a natural energy source
Cons
  • Not suitable for dogs with a sensitive stomach to grains or chicken
  • Allergens include chicken, barley, oatmeal, flaxseed, and garlic powder (potential irritant)
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3 Best for Healthy Immune System: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food

Best for Healthy Immune System: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 378 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult

The Blue Life Protection Formula offers a good blend of rich meat-based proteins and fats with antioxidant-rich whole grain in the form of brown rice. It also has an exceptional protein and fat content ratio to fiber and moisture for a more well-balanced canine nutrition. It comes in various protein sources such as fish, lamb, and chicken to provide you with a great selection, although not that many when compared to the Taste of the Wild.

Deboned chicken is also the first ingredient in this simple but effective recipe, meaning Blue Buffalo has prioritized providing food with high-quality protein. Additionally, whole brown rice as the third ingredient shows the commitment to digestibility.

Check out our Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review for more information on the brand.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Starch, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Peas, Pea Protein, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

What others say about it:
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Blue Buffalo is definitely worth buying. My babies love it! The previous dog food required some enticement to get them to eat. While it is pricier, I know my doggies are getting the best quality ingredients making this brand a healthy choice for them. I highly recommend adult dogs. I’m completely sold on this brand and will continue to happily buy. Happy doggies make for a happier human!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Developed without any GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives
  • Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, taurine, probiotics, and glucosamine
  • Formulated and produced in the United States
Cons
  • Not as big of a flavor selection as other dry food brands
  • High moisture content means it does not last as long as other brands in storage
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4 Best for Large Breeds: Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry Food

Best for Large Breeds: Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Nutro
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 335 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult 18+ Months

Nutro’s grain-inclusive Natural Choice provides you with dry food that perfectly suits your giant dog’s needs. Not only is it packed with protein and fiber, but it’s also an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints. Rest assured, this company uses all-natural products from reliable sources that will help strengthen your dog’s immune.

They don’t use soy, by-products, or wheat in this delicious recipe, making it the ideal choice for sensitive stomachs. The densely packed fiber in chicken also promotes a healthy digestive system. So not only is this food specially formulated to keep them healthy, but it is also full of flavor to keep your pup happy and fighting fit.

Read our in-depth Nutro Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Split Peas, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Grain Barley, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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Been using this brand for 2 years now…no complaints from the pup…we add the salmon flavored supplement and even though he’s an Akita and they are prone to excessive shedding…his coat is fantastic and very little shedding.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Formulated using essential antioxidants to support the immune system
  • Contains natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joints
  • Ideally formulated to maintain the development and growth of large dogs
Cons
  • Only available in two flavors (chicken and lamb)
  • Allergens include chicken, oatmeal, flaxseed, barley, egg product, and salt (potential irritant)
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5 Best Hypoallergenic: Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice Formula

Best Hypoallergenic: Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Primary Protein Source: Lamb
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Lamb & Brown Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult

Natural Balance is one of the better-known dog food brands for L.I.D diets. Therefore, the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a great choice for pet parents who may have pups that struggle with food sensitivities or allergies. These dogs will typically require an elimination diet whereby protein and not-easily-digestible food molecules are excluded from the dog’s diet.

This particular Natural Balance recipe contains lamb as a novel protein. The choice to use lam as the vital protein means dogs with sensitivities to specific common proteins such as chicken are less likely to react negatively. However, it is worth noting that there are still a few ingredients that have the possibility of upsetting a sensitive stomach.

Ingredients:

Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Brewers Dried Yeast, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

What others say about it:
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This is the only brand I purchase for my Dogs. I have Great Danes and you feed them like champion race horses…So I am cautious about what they eat. My dogs do not eat chicken …do you know how hard it is to find food for a dog with chicken allergies? hidden chicken everywhere. This food doesn’t have chicken unless you purchase the chicken line of foods. I only give my dogs Natural Balance and I am a free feeder and my dogs are sleek and beautiful. Champions.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • A gluten-free, grain-inclusive recipe suitable for dogs with gluten intolerance
  • Suitable for all breeds of adult dogs
  • Real lamb is listed as the first ingredient in the recipe
Cons
  • Allergens include brewers rice, brewers dried yeast, and salt (all potential irritants)
  • Grain-inclusive recipe is not suitable for dogs with grain allergies or sensitives
Show More

6 Best for Multi-Dog Households: CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish Meal Formula

Best for Multi-Dog Households: CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish Meal Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: CANIDAE
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Lamb & Turkey
  • Calories: 468 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Fish Meal
  • Life Stage: Adult Puppy & Senior

Explicitly designed for households with multiple dogs at various ages, the CANIDAE Life Stages is a healthy dog food option that provides complete and well-balanced nutrition for dogs of all ages ranging from fully weaned puppies to adults and seniors dogs. This formula contains antioxidants to support a healthy immune system, probiotics for healthy digestion, and omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin.

This diet doesn’t contain corn, soy, or wheat. However, CANIDAE has incorporated whole grains into its formulation for added health benefits including a natural source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and minerals.

Read here our detailed review of CANIDAE Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice, Rice Bran, Peas, Potatoes, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat, Millet, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Oceanfish Meal, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Suncured Alfalfa, Inulin (From Chicory Root), Lecithin, Sage Extract, Cranberries, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract, Sunflower Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Papaya, Pineapple. Contains A Source Of Live Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

What others say about it:
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I recently switched my two dogs (one is around 3 and the other is almost 10) to this food and have been happy so far. It has good ratings on the dog food advisor website, and the dogs have transitioned well. My vet wanted to make sure it wasn’t grain free as that has been causing heart issues in dogs, and this food has rice and barley in it. I am also happy that it has several sources of protein and good for all ages and sizes of dogs. I feel like it will be an easy food to continue them on without having to switch up the type of protein or worry about their age difference. I also like that this type comes in a big bag as both my dogs are 70-ish lbs.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Probiotics and antioxidants promote a healthy immune system and easy digestion
  • Made free of common food allergens such as soy, corn, and wheat
  • Specifically formulated to be suitable for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes
Cons
  • Whole grains included in the recipe make it unsuitable for dogs with grain allergies
  • Allergens include chicken, turkey, oatmeal, barley, sorghum, flaxseed, and salt (potential irritant)
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7 Best Budget: Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

Best Budget: Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Iams
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 380 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult 1+

The IAMS Proactive Health Minichunks diet is specially formulated with protein-rich farm-raised chicken. In addition, the blend is enriched with l-carnitine, which can aid in your dog’s metabolism, an important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight. IAMS is primarily known for its well-balanced formulation of dog foods, using only the finest ingredients and blending them in a unique kibble that dogs will have no problems chewing and eating.

The nutrients afforded by wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruits are what can keep your pet’s coat and skin as healthy as they possibly can be. These nutrients also support the immune system and cardiovascular and neuromuscular functioning.

If you want to find out more about their company, product lines, and recall history, read our review of Iams Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Caramel Color, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Potassium Chloride, Carrot, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Calcium Carbonate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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I love this food! It so good that my master even lets me have it as a snack! He also says I can have it if I go get the ball. Only thing that I don’t understand is that he keeps throwing the ball across the yard and then giving me more food! What an idiot….humans. Anyway, I have always eaten this food since I was I little pup and it keeps me regular, gives me a nice thick coat nice with a little bit of a shine. I highly recommend that canine friends out there beg that their masters get some!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Features a smaller kibble size to make for easier eating
  • The combination of fiber and probiotics promotes optimal digestive health
  • Antioxidants provide immune system support
Cons
  • The grain-inclusive recipe is not suitable for dogs with grain allergies
  • Allergens include chicken, corn, sorghum, flaxseed, and egg product
Show More

8 Best for Healthy Digestion: Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula

Best for Healthy Digestion: Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: Diamond
  • First 5 ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice, Dried Yeast, Egg Product
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef
  • Calories: 329 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Beef
  • Life Stage: Adult

For pet parents looking to improve their pets’ digestion, Diamond Naturals Beef Meal Recipe follows a very simple formula to give your dog food with a nutrient profile that is as close to its ancestral diet as possible. Perhaps what is worth noting is the inclusion of 80 million colony-forming units of lactobacillus strains that help promote healthier digestion by maintaining the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria in the dog’s gut.

More importantly, is probiotic’s role in boosting the dog’s immune system, which can be further enhanced by the high protein content of the Diamond Naturals. Additionally, the use of need meal as the first ingredient ensures your dog will be receiving a high percentage of protein in their diet.

Ingredients:

Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice, Dried Yeast, Egg Product, Rice Bran, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Chondroitin Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms. The Facility In Which This Food Is Made Also Makes Food That May Contain Other Ingredients.

What others say about it:
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Great food and good size(Larger kibble), chicken and lamb are also amazing but they are smaller kibble. Diamond naturals has amazing quality food at an extremely affordable price(compared to other top quality dog foods). If youre on a budget and care for your dog, get this! Anything lower priced is seriously questionable quality.

Highly recommend the beef since its too big for my dog to swallow whole, so she chews them, while for chicken and lamb those are just inhaled sometimes

One person found this helpful

Pros
  • Includes species-specific K9 strain proprietary probiotics for easy digestion
  • Made without wheat, corn, artificial flavors, or colors.
  • Folic acid protects cognitive development whilst calcium aids in healthy bone growth
Cons
  • Allergens include beef, sorghum, dried yeast (potential irritant), egg product, barley, and flaxseed
  • Only available in two flavors – chicken and lamb
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9 Best Grain-Free: I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Grain-Free: I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: I and Love and You
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Ground Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Lamb & Chicken
  • Calories: 361 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Lamb & Bison
  • Life Stage: All Ages

One of the greatest strengths of Naked Essentials is its use of lamb and bison as animal proteins. While more and more products are now including lamb in their formulations because of its low potential for causing allergies, only a few products ever put bison in their formulations. The choice to include lamb as the first ingredient of this recipe shows how I and Love and You have emphasized providing food with the named protein as the main ingredient (so you get what you paid for).

What’s more, Naked Essentials comes with both probiotics and prebiotics to help enhance canine immune functioning and digestion. Its grain-free formulation builds on the hypoallergenic potential of its novel protein content, making the Naked Essentials a worthy replacement for other types of dry dog food.

Ingredients:

Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Ground Peas, Pea Starch, Lentils, Brewers Dried Yeast, Flaxseeds, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Bison, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Chicken Flavor, Pea Protein, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Fish Oil, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source Of Vitamin B6), Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid), Minerals (Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Reuteri Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product

What others say about it:
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I discovered this wonderful dog food last fall and have fed both my Lab and Golden Retriever this product ever since. Not only do both dogs love this, but it has been very helpful in regard to allergies and digestive issues. I will continue to use and recommend this very high quality dog food.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Suitable for dogs of all life stages ranging from puppy to senior
  • A grain-free dry dog food recipe featuring real lamb as the first ingredient
  • Made with no corn, soy, wheat, rice, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, turkey, dried yeast (potential irritant), flaxseed, and salt (potential irritant)
  • Not guaranteed to be loved by dogs of all ages
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10 Best for Small Breeds: Wellness CORE Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Dry Food

Best for Small Breeds: Wellness CORE Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Dry Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Wellness CORE
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Turkey & Chicken
  • Calories: 412 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Turkey
  • Life Stage: Adult

Available in a blend of whitefish, salmon, and herring to give your pup exceptional omega-3 fatty acids, Wellness Core is a healthy dry dog food that may be a bit pricier than most of the products on this list. Small breed dogs have to work harder in their day-to-day life when climbing, running, and maneuvering; therefore, high protein content is essential for their muscles to recover quickly at the end of an active day.

This Wellness Core dry dog food recipe comes with a high protein content due to the first three ingredients being deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal – all three of which are dense protein sources. Additionally, this formula excludes artificial ingredients and wheat, soy, and corn. This particular line is also available in turkey and chicken and a blend of wild duck, rabbit, boar, and turkey. See our round-up of the best dog food for small breeds for a complete list of our favorite options.

Ingredients:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Lentils, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Spearmint, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

What others say about it:
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A great adult food for small fur babies! Had our little pug on the Wellness Core puppy food until a month ago. She loves her adult food! Small enough pieces for her little 16lb self, and her coat is so soft! She is very active and this definitely helps fuel her days full of play, keeping her trim and healthy!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Smaller kibble sizes make for easier eating with little mouths
  • Contains minimal grains and a wealth of minerals vegetables for sensitive dogs
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, taurine, and omega fatty acids.
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, turkey, and flaxseed
  • The dry dog food is only available in one flavor (turkey & chicken)
Show More

11 Eagle Pack Chicken & Pork Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Eagle Pack Chicken & Pork Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Eagle Pack
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Rice
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken & Pork
  • Calories: 340 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken, Poultry
  • Life Stage: Adult

Containing only premium ingredients, including chicken, lamb, and pork, with the addition of healthy carbohydrates, the Eagle Pack is designed primarily to support optimum growth and development in dogs. This healthy dog food also comes with joint-friendly substances to support articulations and allow greater mobility.

The Eagle Pack doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients and is priced just right, making it an excellent choice for dog owners looking to purchase solid-quality food within a budget. Also, the high-protein, high fiber recipe of this food helps support the rapid growth of large breed dogs and maintain their muscle mass and weight (which can be challenging to maintain with certain large and giant breed dogs).

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Rice, Dehulled Barley, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Inulin, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma reesei Fermentation Product, Dried Rhizopus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

What others say about it:
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My 70lb rescue dog Max who looks like a black golden retriever but too barrel chested and fluffy to be flat coat retriever (maybe a combination of retriever and Newfie? Bernese Mountain Dog? Border Collie? Aussie?) has a long history of ear infections. The vet suggested changing his diet. We’ve tried all sorts of food from the vet’s brand to the organic store brand to raw food. The raw food worked well but was too expensive and time-consuming. Then I read online about Eagle Brand. Max loves it! And no ear infections! And no more grass eating!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • A high-protein diet using chicken and pork meal to maintain muscle growth and recovery
  • Made without wheat, corn, or meat byproducts
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives make for a natural meal
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, pork, oatmeal, barley, flaxseed, brewers dried yeast (potential irritant)
  • Only the one flavor available for adult large and giant breed dogs
Show More

12 Nature’s Recipe Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Food

Nature's Recipe Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Nature’s Recipe
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Primary Protein Source: Lamb & Chicken
  • Calories: 345 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Lamb & Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you’re concerned about dog foods that contain corn, soy, or wheat that can be allergenic for your pet, then Nature’s Recipe should be a fantastic option. In addition to the use of healthier and more wholesome grains instead of those containing gluten, Nature’s Recipe also contains barley and oatmeal, which provide modest amounts of carbohydrates for energy and fiber for improved digestion.

At any rate, Nature’s Recipe’s moderate protein and low-fat formulation should be perfect for keeping your pet healthy and lean. It is also worth noting that to counteract the lack of certain ingredients, additional fat has been put into this recipe to provide that extra boost of energy. However, this is not necessarily something to worry about so long as your fur baby remains active.

Ingredients:

Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Canola Meal, Rice Bran, Poultry Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Brown Rice, Turkey Meal, Natural Flavor, Salt, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Dl-Methionine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid (Source Of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Choline Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid (Used As A Preservative), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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Our two mixed beed pitts seem to love this dogfood. Their bowls are always empty after feeding time. The female has been treated in the past for repeated UTI infections. Her case has significantly improved after changing her to this brand of food. We’re sold on it.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Features protein-dense real lamb as the first ingredient on the list
  • Contains no added wheat, corn, soy, or artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors
  • Includes added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients alongside nutrient-rich whole grains.
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, brewers rice, barley, oatmeal, flaxseed, and salt (potential irritant)
  • Though this is a corn, wheat, wheat, and soy-free recipe, it is not grain-free.
Show More

13 ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Orijen
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder, Whole Mackerel
  • Primary Protein Source: Turkey, Chicken, Fish
  • Calories: 475 kcal/8oz cup
  • Flavor: Chicken, Turkey & Fish
  • Life Stage: Puppy

Orijen dog food provides a balanced diet based on a natural, wild diet rich with the types of protein a dog would hunt in the wild. Puppies, in particular, need a high amount of protein and omega fatty acids in their diets to compensate for the massive growth spurts they experience – this food provides just that.

The use of chicken, turkey, turkey giblets, flounder, and mackerel as the first five ingredients is simply astonishing and something rarely seen with dry dog foods. Orijen has put the emphasis entirely on providing the protein necessary for proper growth. Additionally, the fish ingredients offer a wealth of omega fatty acids, which help keep your puppy’s skin and coat healthy and digestion easy.

Ingredients:

New: Chicken, Turkey, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Eggs, Chicken Liver, Whole Herring, Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Turkey, Dehydrated Mackerel, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Egg, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Whole Peas, Chicken Fat, Lentil Fiber, Pollock Oil, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Navy Beans, Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Chickpeas, Pea Starch, Chicken Heart, Salt, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Collard Greens, Whole Pears, Whole Apples, Whole Cranberries, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Freeze-Dried Chicken, Freeze-Dried Turkey, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Dried Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Citric Acid (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

What others say about it:
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I bought this for my youngest dog, as he is only 1 1/2 years old, and still acts like a puppy. I love all the natural ingredients. I can actually pronounce every ingredient. He just loves it, and cleans the bowl every time. He is not having any adverse reactions to it. I have 3 other dogs, all 70 pounds or more. I would love to feed everyone this brand, but it is just too pricy. I know quality is more expensive, but I go thru 50 pounds every 3 weeks. I use Victor dog food for them, and it is a quality brand also. I recommend this brand to all my friends who have dogs.

Pros
  • The first eight ingredients are entirely fresh protein
  • A grain-free recipe suitable for puppies with grain sensitivities
  • Freeze-dried coating provides a burst of additional raw flavor
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, turkey, eggs, and salt (potential irritant)
  • Not the best dry dog food for puppies that struggle with chicken or turkey allergies
Show More

14 Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato
Key features:
  • Brand: Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Chicken Meal, Whole Dried Potato, Sunflower Meal, Dried Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Turkey
  • Calories: 345 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Turkey & Potato
  • Life Stage: Adult

Fans of Rachael Ray will love giving the Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food to their respective pets. The ingredients included in the preparation come from natural sources. However, this should not be confused with organic. It is, nevertheless, safe since it contains no artificial ingredients. Its grain- and gluten-free formulation should also appeal to those wary of pet allergies. While most dry dog foods only have 10% moisture, the Nutrish comes with a slightly higher 11%.

Check out our Rachael Ray Dog Food review for more information on the brand.

Ingredients:

Turkey, Chicken Meal, Whole Dried Potato, Sunflower Meal, Dried Peas, Pea Starch, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Menhaden Fish Meal, Salt, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Zinc Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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My french bulldog has terrible allergies that cause her to scoot, have an inflamed anus, awful tear stains, and lumps between her toes that she constantly licks, since starting this grain-free dog food her tear stains are basically nonexistent and her fur has gotten much shinier and softer. She’s still licking her paws like crazy but I’m holding out hope it’ll stop.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Show More

15 Merrick Duck + Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dog Food

Merrick Duck + Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Merrick
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Duck, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • Primary Protein Source: Duck
  • Calories: 389 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Duck
  • Life Stage: Adult

Priced substantially higher than the competition, Merrick’s Grain-Free healthy dog food prides itself on using various novel proteins in its formulations like the Taste of the Wild products. Merrick comes in buffalo, duck, turkey, salmon, Texas beef, rabbit, venison, and chicken for your choosing. It also boasts of the highest protein and fat content in a dry kibble while providing your pet with an exceptional blend of antioxidants.

An added benefit of this grain-free recipe is that it also contains chondroitin and glucosamine, which are ideal for maintaining healthy joints – something many dogs begin to struggle with as they are maturing. However, this is an extremely high protein and high-fat recipe, which does mean it may mean closely monitoring the portion sizes of dogs prone to weight gain.

Here’s a detailed look at Merrick Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Deboned Duck, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, Chicken Fat, Whitefish Meal, Potato Protein, Deboned Chicken, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Apples, Blueberries, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement) Citric Acid for Freshness, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product.

What others say about it:
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I went to a pet store and the store owner said she had visited the factory and they served her a plate full of food and said this is a a sample of the food before we make it into Dog food. She said it was delicious! So I tried it and my dog eats it and seems healthy and not fat! I have been using it for a few years. I babysit other dogs and they bring their dog food like gold and other good brands and they all love Merrick the best. Unless you feed them freeze dried and that is crazy expensive.. Freeze dried makes a good treat, but a bit pricey for Dog Food, so this seems great!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Real deboned duck is listed as the first ingredient
  • Contains 65% protein and healthy fat ingredients to support muscle development
  • Contains 35% produce, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other completely natural ingredients
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, turkey, flaxseed, and salt (potential irritant)
  • The high-fat recipe will mean carefully monitoring possible weight gain
Show More

16 Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Whole Earth Farms
  • First 5 ingredients: Pork Meal, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Canola Meal
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef & Lamb
  • Calories: 378 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Pork, Beef & Lamb
  • Life Stage: Adult

Merrick returns with its Whole Earth Farms preparation of healthy dog food available in turkey and duck, salmon and whitefish, turkey and chicken, and a mixture of beef, pork, and lamb. Besides, the recipe contains a nutritionally beneficial array of fruits and veggies to boost your dog’s overall health with the plethora of vitamins and minerals these ingredients provide.

Whole Earth Farms has opted to top this recipe with pork meal as the first ingredient, therefore providing a dense source of protein. Additionally, the use of pork fat in this recipe includes plenty of natural energy for your dog to thrive on. However, we have noticed the high potato content, which some may deem unnecessary, as standard white potato does not have as much nutritional value as its sweet potato counterpart, rich in fiber.

Take a look at our Whole Earth Farms Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Pork Meal, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Canola Meal, Pork Fat, Pork, Beef, Lamb, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Apples, Carrots, Dried Beet Pulp, Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols For Freshness, Citric Acid For Freshness, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product. 2C85524

What others say about it:
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So happy to have found this brand, recommended by a friend whose dog is also allergic/sensitive to chicken and grain.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Contains omega fatty acids to promote good skin and coat health
  • Includes antioxidants for a healthy and strong immune system
  • Field-grown vegetables used to provide fiber for healthy digestion
Cons
  • Allergens include pork, beef, dried yeast, and salt (potential irritant)
  • The recipe has a high white potato content which does not provide a lot of nutrition
Show More

17 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 409 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

The BLUE Wilderness comes as single-ingredient healthy dog food mixed with wholesome fruits and vegetables while avoiding the use of potentially allergenic grains. This recipe is available in a great range of flavors (online some limited ingredient diet options), including chicken, salmon, and duck for a touch of variety that allows finding the right taste for your pup – especially if they’re the picky kind.

Blue Wilderness has placed chicken at the top of the ingredient list, so you know you’re getting the high-quality protein you paid for. The deboned chicken is also backed up with chicken meal as the second ingredient to add extra protein. This food is beneficial for active adult dogs that need to recover quickly after a busy day.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine), Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Starch, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, DL-Methionine, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, Copper Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

What others say about it:
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My husband and I have a beautiful 60 lb lab mix (we’re reaching her 8-month birthday soon since we adopted her). We tried feeding her different brands of dog food (3 brands), but noticed she started to develop a rash on her belly after the 2nd brand. We couldn’t afford the first brand we had ($80/bag) for long (it was a temporary vet recommended food). We did some heavy research on good dog foods and this was near the top of the list due to the ingredients. Our dog loved it AND her rash went away within the first week to week and a half of switching.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • High caloric density means portion sizes don’t need to be as big (making it last longer)
  • Features healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes and peas for additional energy
  • Contains omega-6 and -3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and conditioned skin
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, flaxseed, egg product, salt (potential irritant), barley grass, and dried yeast
  • Not the best dry dog food for dogs with chicken allergies
Show More

18 Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Nulo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid)
  • Primary Protein Source: Turkey
  • Calories:  441 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Turkey & Sweet Potato
  • Life Stage: Adult

Nulo’s grain-free adult dog food is ideal for highly active dogs. Its formulation provides a wealth of protein and fiber for a combination of rapid muscle recovery and easy digestion. If a dog is not digesting its food properly it can lead to constipation, improper nutrient absorption, and unnecessary weight gain. That’s where Nulo comes in.

This recipe contains deboned turkey, turkey meal, salmon meal, and chickpeas as the first ingredients, representing a high protein formula. Furthermore, it has chicken fat for energy and skin conditioning, followed by sweet potatoes and peas for the high-fiber element to assist your dog with proper digestion. This simple, effective recipe is excellent for any adult dog living an active training or working lifestyle.

Ingredients:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid), Sweet Potato, Yellow Peas, Deboned Trout, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Yeast Culture, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Tomatoes, Dried Carrots, Dried Blueberries, Dried Apples, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Iron Proteinate, Niacin, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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I switched to Nulo about 4 years ago and never looked back. My senior dog loves the food and I find her to be in fine health. Her previous food was supposed to be top quality but started to have recalls that concerned me. This line so far has lived up to my expectations. I love that the food is not filled with fillers and items that an older or more sensitive dog can’t tolerate.

Pros
  • Very few problematic ingredients which mean it is suitable for almost any adult dogs
  • Niacin and Vitamin B6 from turkey supports plentiful energy production
  • Made using low glycemic ingredients with 85% animal-based proteins
Cons
  • Allergens include turkey, yeast culture (potential irritant), and salt (potential irritant)
  • Not suitable for dogs that struggle with a turkey allergy
Show More

19 Holistic Select Weight Management Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Weight Management Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Holistic Select
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Lentils, Dried Molasses Beet Pulp
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken Meal
  • Calories: 331 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken Meal & Peas
  • Life Stage: Adult

Holistic Select is considered one of the best dog food brands for a balanced diet that focuses on natural ingredients to achieve the best result. This Weigh Management recipe has a strong focus on natural fiber to help your dog digest their food more easily. They have also included prebiotics and probiotics in the formula to improve gut health and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

The use of chicken meal as the first ingredient means your dog will be getting all the protein they need for a fit and active day, which the remainder of the recipe can focus on digestibility and nutrient absorption. Potatoes provide a dense source of carbohydrates for energy. Peas, lentils, beets, and many other fruits and vegetables in this formula deliver the vitamins and minerals needed to function correctly.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Lentils, Dried Molasses Beet Pulp, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Apples, Brewers Dried Yeast, Papayas, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Blueberries, Pomegranates, Vitamin E Supplement, Inulin, L-Carnitine, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ground Cinnamon, Ground Fennel, Ground Peppermint, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Dried Lactobacillus bulgaricus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus thermophilus Fermentation Product, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma reesei Fermentation Product, Dried Rhizopus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract

What others say about it:
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On my last Vet visit, she told me that my two dogs needed to lose a little weight. I had been previously feeding with Holistic Select Deboned Turkey and Lentils. I did a little research and decided to try the Holistic Select Weight Managment food. The dogs love it. It’s only been 3 weeks since the switch so I don’t know if they are losing any weight. But they certainly love it.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Glucosamine, antioxidants, taurine, and probiotics help to maintain a healthy heart
  • Grain-free dog food recipe excludes problematic ingredients
  • Highly digestible which helps dogs to properly absorb nutrition
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, flaxseed, and dried yeast (potential irritant)
  • The Weight Management formula is only available in one flavor – Chicken Meal & Peas
Show More

20 Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 353 kcal/8-oz cup
  • Flavor: Chicken Meal, Rice & Barley
  • Life Stage: Adult 7+

Hill’s Science dog food has been a staple in many households for a long time. This senior dog food recipe is one of the many reasons dog owners continue to view Hill’s Science as among the best dry dog food options.

It utilizes chicken meal as the primary source of protein. And because the chicken meal has an exceptionally high protein content, Hill’s can focus more attention on the rest of the formula.

Alongside chicken meal, they have created a highly digestible recipe using whole grains and rice as a natural source of fiber, which is vital to easy digestion – something many senior dogs can struggle with. Furthermore, grains provide multiple natural carbohydrate sources (alongside pork fat) to give your dog a boost of energy and help them keep active.

Check out our Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Oats, Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), L-Lysine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, DL-Methionine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

What others say about it:
image

Recently switched after my vet’s office recommended this brand. Been a week buy so far my 13 old dog seems to really enjoy it. She took to it right away and seems to be agreeing with her. I’ve noticed she also does not eat grass as much.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Uses whole grains to assist with easier digestion and better energy levels
  • Soft crunchy kibble is easy to chew and ideal for senior dogs with dental sensitivities
  • Available in three sizes (5 lbs, 15 lbs, and 33 lbs) suitable for multiple dog breeds
Cons
  • Allergens include chicken, wheat, corn, sorghum, barley, oats, pork, soy, flaxseed, and salt
  • Not suitable for senior dogs with particularly sensitive stomachs
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Best Dry Foods for Dogs: Buying Guide & FAQs

It is easy to tell someone to feed their dog with only the best, healthiest, well-balanced, high-quality dog food. Unfortunately, knowing where and how to start can often be intimidating, especially among newbies.

While everyone knows that optimum canine nutrition can lead to healthier, shinier, and smoother coats, a stronger immune system, and a more efficient digestive system, few know how to buy high-quality dog food.

So we’ve collected tips and bits of advice from leading canine nutrition experts to let you in on their secrets when it comes to buying healthy dog food.

dog eating

Learn as Мuch as You Can About the Contents of a Healthy Dry Dog Food

Different canine kibbles come with a variety of ingredients. Some provide what is labeled as ‘real meat’ while others put in meat-flavored ingredients. Regardless, one of the surest ways to find the best kibble for your canine is by learning what healthy dog food should contain.

Currently, some guidelines have been formulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials designed to regulate what doggie food manufacturers can and cannot put into their respective labels. This is important as failure to comply with these so-called nutrition ‘standards’ should always be considered a red flag and should be avoided at all costs.

For example, if you consider a particular dog food item labeled as a ‘single ingredient’ pet food, it should contain not less than 95 percent of that specific ingredient. For instance, if you bought a dry kibble whose sole ingredient is chicken, it should have 95% chicken. Likewise, if the product contains various ingredients, the bulk of these ingredients should amount to not less than 95 percent of its weight.

If the kibble labeling includes words or phrases such as ‘entrée,’ ‘platter,’ or even’ dinner,’ then these foodstuffs should contain not less than a quarter of the identified ingredient. For instance, you may read ‘chicken platter’ or ‘turkey dinner’; these products should contain not less than 25% of chicken or turkey, respectively.

Likewise, if the product label reads “with” a particular ingredient, then the composition of this ‘ingredient’ should only contain no more than 3 percent of the foodstuff. So, for example, if the label reads “chicken with peas,” you know that its composition should be at least 95% chicken and at most 3 percent peas.

For kibbles that say they contain specific “flavors,” it is crucial that these “flavors” only comprise a detectable, almost negligible amount. So, a product labeled “with beef flavors” should only have a very minute yet detectable amount of this “beef flavoring.”

So, before you start digging deeper into the different ingredients of your pet’s food, make sure you understand what these “labels” should mean.

Read and Understand the Product’s Nutrition Standard Statement

The first step in selecting healthy dog food is determining the “nutrition standards” observed by the pet food manufacturer about the guidelines set by the AAFCO. Remember that the ingredients listed on any product’s label correspond to their weight and are mostly expressed as a percentage of a particular serving size. In addition, the ingredients are often listed in order of decreasing weight, so you can expect ‘heavier’ ingredients to be at the top of such a list.

Regrettably, this is where some issues arise, especially in dry kibble formulations. The weight of these “heavy” ingredients is typically measured before dehydrating the product. Once the ingredient has already been dehydrated, its weight may no longer be equal to what is printed on the label. The reason is quite simple. Meats like poultry, fish, and livestock typically contain 70 percent water. When they are prepared, they are mixed with other ingredients to make up the batch of doggie food. Once all the mixing and cooking have been completed, the entire mixture is dehydrated, or its water content is removed. If this happens with moisture-rich food items, you can imagine what will happen to the essential nutrients that are often found at the bottom of the list.

It pays to know that what the packaging says it contains is more a reflection of its pre-dehydration measurements.

See our round-up of the Best Dehydrated Dog Food.

Consider Wholesome Grains and Glutens Included in the Kibble

Many health-conscious folks are shying away from grains and glutens in dry kibbles. Don’t believe us? Just look at all the amazing products in the market today, and you’ll see a lot of labeling such as “gluten-free” and “grain-free” as if these food items are evil.

An article written by the American Kennel Club entitled “Can Dogs Eat Wheat and Other Grains?” eventually refuted several misconceptions about grains and glutens for canines. For starters, dogs need carbohydrates as an energy source; well, at least not as much as humans do. While it is true that their canid cousins in the wild thrive on meat-based proteins, our domesticated canines have evolved to allow the digestibility of certain types of carbs. And the carbs that are often used in dog food are specially designed to be digestible.

Folks are also wary of allergies to such ingredients. However, studies show that allergies due to grains and gluten are not any higher than allergies to other types of food such as chicken, poultry, and even beef.

Did you know that 4 of the 5 top allergens present in food are actually from animal sources, including beef, dairy, chicken, and eggs?

Wheat gluten is considered an allergen primarily because of its high protein content. But given that it ranks number 3 in the top allergenic food items, such as the ones we’ve already mentioned, it should still be considered a great dog food for its amino acids and 99% digestibility. Here’s another trivia: gluten allergies are infrequent in dogs.

See our round-up of the Best Dog Foods for Allergies for a full list of our favorite options. 

It would help if you also understood that contaminated grains, such as those infested with mites, may produce allergies to susceptible dogs. However, getting a product with good manufacturing practices should give you peace of mind related to the safety of their ingredients.

So, it’s perfectly alright to give your pet kibbles that contain gluten and grains. But, it’s also perfectly alright if you choose not to give these to them. It’s your choice.

Understand What ‘Byproducts’ Really Mean in These Pet Foods

This popular notion is that byproducts, like gluten and grains, are bad for your pup. We’re not saying that it’s good, either. As we have already said initially, it is important to read and research the different ingredients you encounter. Just because you see the word “byproducts,” you should already stay away from it.

If said “byproducts” happen to behoove hair or even horns, as many advertisers and marketers want you to believe, you should avoid these products at all costs. However, if the “byproducts” are internal organs like lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver, then, by all means, get this product. Why? These internal organ meats are composed of nutrients that your puppy can utilize for various reasons. These are nutritious meats included in the final mixture of the dog food to give it its exceptional nutritional profile.

We know that not all of us love to eat internal organ meats. And if you’re a fan of Fear Factor, you know what we’re talking about. We often consider these meats gross and unhygienic. But in many cultures, these are either valued delicacies or are part of their daily diet. And here’s the good thing: they don’t get sick eating these things.

And if you firmly believe that dogs should eat what their ancestors in the wild eat, you should ask yourself this – do wild canids deliberately leave the internal organs of the prey they are devouring?

Do they feast only on the flesh?

If your answer is “no,” then why should our domesticated canids eat any different?

The thing is that we are simply projecting our fears onto our canine friends. Because we are morbidly afraid to try out these internal organ meats, we also tend to think that our pets will also be entirely grossed out by it.

Furthermore, reputable manufacturers of dry dog food only use high-quality byproducts. So, if you’re not sure about the ingredients, particularly byproducts, then, by all means, try to research some more. Also, it would help if you would choose only trustworthy and highly reputable companies.

dog food bowl

Read and Understand the Statement of Nutritional Adequacy

Here’s another tip for you when buying healthy dog food. Always read the label and try to understand the nutritional adequacy statement of the product. Some products are designed to be given to all dogs regardless of breed and size. Some are specifically for growth and reproduction. Some products are also formulated especially for puppies, sick dogs, elderly dogs, and even pregnant pooches and lactating mutts.

We’re trying to make that you have to understand what type of dog the kibble is specially designed for.

Is it for a canine with an arthritis problem?

How about a dog with severe skin itching and hair-shedding?

There is a reason why manufacturers put these ‘statements’ on their labels. We will appropriately guide you on whether such a product is appropriate for your mutt or not.

Look for Information About any Feeding Trials

Reputable manufacturers of doggie foodstuff always include some paragraph about the feeding trials that they or a third-party organization has conducted about the generation of a conclusion that led to the formulation of the nutritional adequacy statement.

If the product states that it has a well-balanced formula for dogs that are suffering from joint problems, then it should also contain a paragraph about what tests or feeding trials were done to justify this claim.

More importantly, however, is the validity of their tests. So, if they conducted the feeding trials on healthy dogs without joint problems, do you think it’s right to say that their product is suitable for dogs with arthritis and other joint issues?

Consider Checking the Guaranteed Analysis

Another piece of information that should be present in all healthy dog food products is the guaranteed analysis of its ingredients. This is often expressed as a percentage of proteins, fats, moisture, and fiber. Both proteins and fats are expressed in the minimum, while fiber and moisture are printed in their maximum. So, for example, you may get a product with a minimum of 40 percent protein, 20 percent fat, a maximum of 8 percent moisture, and 10 percent fiber.

Understand that this is a very rough estimate of the nutritional profile of the doggie recipe. Why? Well, how do you know the actual percentage of ‘minimum 40 percent protein”? Is it 41% or 45% or maybe 40.1%? The same is true with fibers and moisture. If it says “maximum 8 percent moisture”, does it mean 7%, 6%, or 1%? So, there is no telling the ‘actual’ percentage composition of the nutrient being described.

Additionally, the guaranteed analysis doesn’t give you information on the digestibility of the ingredients, nor will it give you information about its quality. So again, it only gives you a rough idea of what you’re giving to your pup. If you want a high-protein diet for your dog, knowing that it contains at least 40% proteins should be enough.

Don’t Forget to Seek the Advice of Your Veterinarian When Buying Dog Food

Most of us only consult our veterinarian if our pets fall ill or are scheduled for regular immunizations or vaccinations. Your veterinarian is more than capable of providing you insight into what food to give to your pet. It is crucial to be aware that the type and quantity of food your pet should consume depends on its genes, age, reproductive status, and lifestyle. In many cases, your veterinarian will be performing a comprehensive canine body condition evaluation to determine the right kinds and amounts of food your pet should be taking. You can then use this Information to tailor-fit your search for the best dry dog foods.

Dig Deeper Into Your Chosen Pet Food

If you’ve narrowed your choice of the best possible doggie food, do everything you can to find out more about the company or companies that manufacture them. Highly reputable companies manufacture their products in their facilities rather than having these sourced elsewhere. This is important as companies that manufacture their products are bound to observe very strict rules and regulations related to the safety of their products.

So, why would you want to know pet food companies’ quality control and sourcing information? Unfortunately, they are not legally mandated to put these pieces of information on their product labels. So, you have to dig deeper into their manufacturing practices to get an idea of the quality control activities. This gives you an idea of whether the product you’ve chosen is true of the highest possible quality and safe for your pet or not.

The different points we have just shared with you may look tedious to accomplish. However, all of these pieces of information should already be present in the packaging itself. You can use the knowledge you have gained to help you buy the best possible healthy dog food in your area. 

What to Consider When Buying the Best Dry Dog Food

In the preceding section, we talked about some things you may need to observe when buying food for your pet, especially dry kibbles. Since almost all the information you will be evaluating is already found in the product’s label, you may now have to consider some other things that will help you determine whether your choice is the most appropriate for your pet or not. Here are a few things you may need to consider when buying dry food.

Age and Health Condition of Your Pet

Even before you start picking a product from the shelf of your favorite pet supplies store, make sure you have a very clear understanding of the nutritional needs of your pup. Most of us have this idea that if we cannot feel the ribs in our puppy’s chest, they can be considered ‘healthy.’ We already mentioned above that seeking the advice of your veterinarian is crucial to helping you decide on what kind of food you need to give to your pup. Remember that different dogs in various life stages have different nutritional needs. And if they happen to have a medical or health condition, this can also significantly affect the type of food they can eat.

Proteins and Fats First, Carbs Last

We mentioned in the preceding section that it is perfectly alright to give our pet dogs carbs. We even said that it’s okay to give them grains and wheat gluten primarily for its high protein content, especially amino acids. Hopefully, we did not leave the impression that you should choose a dog food rich in carbohydrates.

Dogs are not restricted to a carnivore diet, unlike cats. Members of the Canidae family are now known to be omnivores – fully capable of eating both animal and plant types of foods. However, they require higher amounts of protein and fats in their diets. These provide the necessary building blocks for continuous tissue and organ development and healthier nervous and integumentary systems. In the wild, canids consume as much as 65% protein and 30% fats, with the remainder divided among carbs and other nutrients.

This does not mean that you have to strictly adhere to these nutrient proportions. However, we strongly recommend looking for a product with an excellent balance of proteins and fats in relation to carbs. Recall what we said about the minimum-maximum percentages in dry food nutrient compositions where proteins and fats are presented in the minimum. In contrast, fiber and moisture are presented in the maximum? This is where you’re going to use this Information.

Clearly Identifiable Ingredients

Just as the complete nutritional information of a product is important, it is also essential that the ingredients printed on the label are clearly identifiable. For example, if it only says “real meat”, you might be inclined to ask yourself, “meat from what”? Is it chicken? Turkey? Deer? Wild Boar? The thing is that these products should clearly state the ingredients in each bag of these doggie foodstuffs.

Best-by Dates

Even dry dog foods have their expiration dates or “best-by” dates. Some manufacturers may put this as the “best before” date. Don’t be confused with these forms of labeling, as we’ll try to explain them to you. A product with a “best by” date means that it can be consumed until that date, retaining the full spectrum of flavors and high-quality goodness embedded into the food product. A “best by” date will give you an idea of a product’s shelf life without losing its quality. Beyond the “best by” date, the food quality has already started to diminish.

On the other hand, the expiration date of a food product, be it for human or canine consumption, reflects that point in time when the company no longer recommends the consumption of the product. Technically, the manufacturer tells you not to feed your dogs with it once the expiration date has been reached. If you decided to give it to your pooch, and something went wrong, you are freeing the company of any liability. They told you so.

There are no standard rules for the minimum best-by date that you should consider getting. However, experts suggest that a product that has a best-by date that is still about ten or even eleven months away can be considered ideal. This is because it usually means the food product was manufactured just recently. 

Dry Dog Food Price Comparison

Taste of the Wild High Prairie - 28lbs
$54.99
Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal - 30lbs
$59.98
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice - 30lbs
$55.98
Nutro Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice - 30lbs
$51.98
Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb & Brown Rice - 26lbs
$54.98
CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula - 30lbs
$54.99
Iams Adult MiniChunks - 30lbs
$34.99
Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice - 40lbs
$39.99
I and Love and You Naked Essentials - 23lbs
$51.99
Wellness CORE Small Breed Turkey & Chicken - 12lbs
$44.98
Eagle Pack Chicken & Pork Large Breed - 30lbs
$59.75
Nature's Recipe Adult Lamb & Rice - 24lbs
$29.99
ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free - 25lbs
$93.99
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato - 26lbs
$39.96
Merrick Grain-Free Duck + Sweet Potato - 22lbs
$64.99
Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb - 25lbs
$44.98
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe - 24lbs
$59.98
Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato - 25lbs
$82.99
Holistic Select Weight Management Chicken Meal & Peas - 24lbs
$67.99
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice - 33lbs
$57.99

*Prices are from Chewy at the time of publication and can change.

What to Avoid with Dry Dog Food

Just as there are things you need to look for that are important in healthy dog food, there are also things that you have to avoid. We have already discussed some of these in our preceding discussions, although it wouldn’t hurt to specify what ingredients to avoid with dry dog food.

Low-Quality Meat and Poultry Byproducts

We already said that byproducts are not essentially bad. First, however, you must dig deeper into the kind of byproducts that have been included. This is where your due diligence pays off. Anything that comes from a low-quality source of questionable blends of byproducts should thus, be avoided.

Generic Protein and Fat Source

Be very careful about labels such as “whole proteins” or even “healthy fats,” as these do not identify the source of the protein. You may think that it is “whole protein,” but this macronutrient can come from anywhere. If the labeling is vague, skip it and get the following product on the shelf.

Artificial Ingredients – Sweeteners, Preservatives, Coloring

Manufacturers should use only natural ingredients in the formulation of healthy dog food. However, there are also natural ingredients that can serve as excellent preservatives.

That being said, it is important to be familiar with the most common artificial sweeteners, coloring, flavorings, and preservatives that are often used in many food products. Ensure that these are not present in the dog food you’re buying; otherwise, get another product.

Fillers or Low-Quality Grains

We also mentioned that you should not exclude grains from your pet’s diet. As you may have already noticed, some of our selection of the best dry dog foods contain wholesome and healthy whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and oatmeal. These provide significant health benefits. You really should avoid fillers that do not add to the nutritional profile of the dog food. Additionally, it would help if you also avoided low-quality grains.

Giving our pooches only the highest quality of dry dog food is crucial to ensuring their optimum health and wellness. By looking closely at the labels of these products and understanding what those statements and Information printed on the label mean, you can also arrive at the best possible choice for your puppy. Remember to always look for natural and wholesome or high-quality, healthy ingredients.

FAQs:

Manufacturers of dog food have their own way of transitioning from a different brand of dog food to their brand. While they may differ in the length of time needed to make the transition, they all follow the same basic principle. Whenever making a transition from one brand of dog food to another, it is best to do it on a gradual basis.

For instance, if you are giving your pet 2 cups of dog food for every feeding, you may want to replace ½ cup with the new dog food. You’re essentially giving 1.5 cups of the current dog food and ½ cup of the new one for every feeding. You can give this for the first 3 to 5 days, carefully watching for any signs of allergies or perhaps your dog not liking the taste of the new one. If your pet munches on the mixture, you can increase the proportion of current and new dog food to 1:1. So you’ll give 1 cup each of the current and new dog food. Again, give this for 3 to 5 days. If there are no reactions, you can increase the percentage of new food in its meal to 75%. This means you’ll give 1.5 cups of the new dog food and ½ cup of the current food. Feed this mixture for another 3 to 5 days. If your dog is taking its new meal quite heartily, you can then switch to the new dog food.

Remember, it is important to do it slowly and gradually. It is equally crucial to monitor your pet for any untoward reaction or even signs that it doesn’t like the new dog food.

This is trickier than it sounds. There is one thing you need to look for in product labels: e best-before date or the best-by date. It is important to choose a product with a best-before date that is the farthest from your intended date of purchase. For instance, if product A has a best-before date of December 2021 and product B has March 2022, then you should pick product B because it has a farther best-before date than product A.

Now, just because it has the best-before date doesn’t mean that it stays fresh up to that date once the bag has already been opened. On the contrary, dry foods undergo massive deterioration in their composition and nutrient content once the bag has already been opened. Some literature says that dry dog food can still be used 6 weeks after it has been opened while others put the average shelf-life once-opened to be 14 days or merely 2 weeks.

The trick is this. If a dry dog food is adequately protected against light, humidity, hot temperatures, and air, then it should last a good 6 weeks after opening the bag. However, if adequate and appropriate measures are not taken to protect dog kibbles from the elements, you’d have to have your dog consume the whole bag within 2 weeks.

As we have mentioned above, dog kibbles can stay fresh as short as 2 weeks to as long as 6 weeks, depending on how well it has been stored and protected against the elements. This underscores the importance of choosing the right storage containers for your dog’s kibbles.

Ideally, dog kibbles should never be removed from their original packaging. This is because manufacturers have designed the packaging to be highly protective of dry dog food. This is the kibbles’ principal defense against rapid degradation. As such, you must open the bag of dry dog food very carefully so that you do not expose all of its contents to the elements at the same time. It is also important to reseal the bag. If there is no resealing mechanism, then you should carefully roll the top and secure it with a clip.

To increase the shelf-life of an opened bag of dry food, this can be placed inside metal, glass, or plastic containers that have airtight seals. Do not remove the kibbles from the packaging. You store dry dog food in the container with the kibbles still inside its original packaging. Also, store these containers in dry and cool areas of your home.

The process of making dry food is technically a very easy one. If you’ve ever baked a cookie or any other delicacy that you finished in the oven, the principle is essentially the same. The only difference, of course, is that manufacturers will have very large mixers, prep tables, and oven-like equipment to cook larger volumes of dog food at any one time.

Everything starts with choosing the right ingredients. An important thing to remember is that dog food manufacturers have to adhere to a set of rules or standards mandated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. All dog food should be nutritionally balanced and complete. That being said, manufacturers have to look for ingredients that meet these requirements. It’s basically coming up with your very own recipe except that this is going to be eaten not only by your dog but the dogs of everyone else.

Once the ingredients have been chosen, these are combined with other ingredients to form a dough, much like your cookie dough. This is then placed into a machine to cook the dough. As the dough is being cooked in high temperatures and under extreme pressure, it is pushed into another machine known as an extruder where the dough is cut into kibble sizes.

These pieces of dough are dried to remove any remaining moisture. During this stage and just before packaging, vitamins, minerals, oils, and fats are sprayed onto the kibbles. Manufacturers have to be very quick in the packaging since any delay in the time between the addition of final ingredients and the packaging can lead to spoilage of the fats and oils.

Dry foods are very convenient. Simply pour the kibbles onto your dog’s bowl and you’re done. Nothing can be more convenient than that. Unfortunately, some dogs cannot really bite into the hardened consistency of kibbles such as puppies and elderly dogs that may no longer have teeth. That’s why it is important to soften your dog’s dry food first before giving it to them.

A good way to start is by adding a few tablespoons of warm water onto the dry dog food and waiting until they soften. If you prefer a much softer, mushier consistency, you can always add some more warm water. If you have a really picky eater that doesn’t really like the aroma of dry dog food, you can add low-sodium beef or chicken broth or even the broth from a can of tuna. Use this as your softening agent to help improve the palatability of your dry dog food.

It is a known fact that exposing your dry dog food to air and humidity can hasten the speed at which they undergo degradation. Not only that, but such environmental conditions also increase the risk of dry dog food contamination especially by the bacteria Salmonella. The same is true with an increase in environmental temperatures because doing so can also potentially increase the level of humidity in the air. So, can dry food go bad in heat? The answer is yes. How fast? That depends.

As we have already noted above, properly stored dry dog food should be able to maintain its freshness for up to 6 weeks post-bag opening. However, if the manner of storage was done haphazardly this 6-week period can be substantially shortened to just 2 weeks or maybe even less.

We tackled the idea of transitioning your pet from the current dog food to a new brand of dry dog food. We also tackled the notion of having to moisten dry dog food to address certain issues related to dog feeding. While a different brand of dog food, water, milk, and the broth of chicken, beef, or tuna can be added or mixed with dry food, these are not the only things that you can mix.

Adding wet or canned dog food to dog kibbles is also advisable, especially if you have a hound that’s a really picky eater. If you want to mix different brands of dry dog food, you can go with different textures, colors, shapes, and flavors to make it more interesting for your pet. Technically, you can mix almost anything with dry dog food except old dog food already present in your pet’s food bowl and special formulations of dog food or diets that have therapeutic indications. If you are not really sure, you should always consult your veterinarian.

Eloise Hands

Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.

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