Dog Food

The Best 12 Dog Foods: According to a Veterinarian

Anant Shastri
By Anant Shastri
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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What is the Best Food to Feed a Dog?

The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain Free Chicken Dry Dog Food
  • Complete & Balanced nutrition for adult dogs and puppies of all breeds and sizes, including large breed puppies, as well as adult mothers (gestation/lactation).
  • Clusters are thoughtfully prepared using human grade muscle meat & liver, low glycemic carbs, beneficial fats & live probiotics; cold pressed into delicious, bite-size, ready-to-eat pieces.
  • Clusters are made by mixing small batches of fresh ingredients, cold pressing them into bite-sized clusters, and then gently slow roasting and dehydrating them to maintain the nutrients, aroma and taste of whole foods.

How Many Types of Dog Food are There?

There are several varieties of dog foods available on the market today, leaving you spoilt for choice. The most common ones include:

  • Dry Dog Food. Dry dog food contains a meat mixture that is pulverized to create dough. This is then cooked and shaped into what we see commonly see as kibble.
  • Wet Dog Food. Wet dog food usually contains a meat mass that is accompanied by a hydrating ingredient, like gravy. This is easier to chew and replicates your dog’s natural diet.
  • Grain-Free Dog Food. This dog food contains no grains that could otherwise lead to an allergic reaction in some dogs. So if your dog has a sensitive stomach, this is exactly what they need.
  • Raw Dog Food. Raw dog food can be of various types. However, there is no cooking process involved in its manufacturing. This is mainly used by dogs who lead an active life or are into sports like racing.
  • Freeze-Dried Dog Food. This is a type of dry food that is flash-frozen to preserve its nutritional components. This is often used for weight management.
  • Human-Grade Dog Food. This dog food can be both wet and dry. However, it contains ingredients that are human-grade and are used by dogs who lead an active lifestyle.
  • High Protein Dog Food. If you have an underweight dog, this dog food will help your furry friend gain beneficial muscle mass. This will give them sustained energy throughout the day.
  • Sensitive Stomach Dog Food. If your dog has allergic reactions to most foods or even has a sensitive stomach, these dog foods can come as a welcoming relief.
  • Healthy Weight Dog Food. This dog food helps with weight management and needs to be portioned out perfectly to count calories.

The Best Dog Foods Reviewed

There are hundreds of dog formulas available on the market. To help owners find the right recipe for their dogs, we have reviewed some of the best dog diets.

The Honest Kitchen

 honest kitchen

 

Visit Honest Kitchen

Summary: Honest Kitchen believes in the power of good food, and each dog recipe reflects those beliefs. The formulas are made with 100% human-grade and whole food ingredients. They are enriched high in protein, low in carbs, and enriched with healthy superfoods. The brand offers a variety of dog formulas, and each recipe is available in both grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties. Also, unlike similar human-grade foods, this brand’s prices are more affordable. 

Type: Dehydrated dog food 

Best for: Puppies and adult dogs 

Flavor Options: Chicken; Turkey; Beef; Fish

Price: $7.49/pound 

Pros

  • 100% human-grade, premium formula 
  • With easily digestible, whole foods 
  • Superfoods for optimal health and wellbeing
  • Discounts on subscription plans and orders 
  • Less expensive than similar brands 

Cons

  • Needs to be rehydrated before serving 

Ingredient Analysis

  • Real Meat: In all recipes, the first ingredient is real meat (chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, duck), thus offering a healthy protein intake. 
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a superfood that provides dogs with healthy carbs as well as a good amount of plant-based protein.
  • Pumpkin: This is another superfood. Pumpkin provides dietary fiber, thus promoting digestion and overall gut health. 
  • Coconut: Rich in omega fatty acids, coconut promotes healthy skin and coat. It also gives the food a unique flavor. 
  • Carrots: Carrots add dietary fiber to the recipe. They are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin A. 

Review: Dog owners that have tried this food say they will never switch it for another brand. They are happy with the effects of the food on their dogs. The dogs are also in love with this food. Some customers even describe it as the best food they have ever purchased. 

Ollie Dog Food

ollie dog food
Visit Ollie

Summary: Ollie Dog Food is a brand that works with a veterinary nutritionist to formulate its recipes. This makes them balanced and complete in terms of nutrition. Additionally, these recipes are human-grade and abide by the AAFCO standards. The ingredients are sourced carefully and are cooked together at low temperatures in small batches. To makes things better, the food is hand-packed to maintain quality. Their protein is usually real beef (or other real flavors) and is high quality. It can be used as both adult and puppy food.

Type: Fresh dog food

Best for: Adult dogs and puppies

Flavor Options: Beef; Chicken; Turkey; Lamb

Price: $1.57/meal

Pros

  • Uses real meat as the number one ingredient
  • Product is minimally processed
  • All recipes are designed by veterinarians
  • Contains no fillers like soy, corn, or wheat
  • No artificial flavors, preservatives, or by-products

Cons

  • Shorter shelf-life and requires special storing

Ingredient Analysis

  • Beef: Beef is a protein source that supports muscle development and energy.
  • Peas: Peas contain protein, vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Additionally, it also improves your dog’s GI health.
  • Sweet Potatoes: This is an excellent source of potassium, B vitamins, beta carotene, phytochemicals, and carotenoids.
  • Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, fiber, Vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.

Review: According to several dog owners, Ollie’s fresh food leads to shinier coats, fewer allergies, improved energy, and better overall health in their dogs.

The Farmer’s Dog

the farmers dog

Visit The Farmer’s Dog

Summary: The Farmer’s Dog brand offers human-grade meat and vegetable recipes for dogs. They are made fresh with carefully selected ingredients in USDA-approved kitchens for maximum nutrition and safety. There are four different recipes, and each is packed with protein and essential nutrients. The subscription plan offers a 2-week trial pack that comes with multiple recipes so your dog can choose its favorite one. Also, it is possible to pause or even cancel the subscription plan at any time. 

Type: Fresh dog food 

Best for: Dogs of all life stages 

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Turkey; Bull 

Price: N/A

Pros

  • Simple recipes with human-grade foods
  • Vet-developed and AAFCO-approved formulas 
  • Made fresh and delivered to your door
  • Personalized meal plans based on individual needs
  • Come in eco-friendly packaging 

Cons

  • Price unknown until the final checkout 

Ingredient Analysis

  • Real Meat: The first ingredient in each recipe is real meat (chicken, beef, turkey, or bull). This ensures proper amino acid and protein intake for dogs of different life stages. 
  • Healthy Veggies: Each recipe also features organic and carefully selected, health-boosting vegetables. 

Review: Dog owners are satisfied with this food and say their dogs love the fresh recipes. They are also happy the food is conveniently shipped to their doors and straightforward to serve. 

A Pup Above

a pup above dog food

Visit A Pup Above

Summary: The Pup Above dog recipes are made using human-grade ingredients in USDA-certified facilities that manufacture human foods. They use single animal protein sources mixed with non-GMO fruits, veggies, and superfoods to ensure premium quality nutrition for dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes. The recipes are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and collagen, thus promoting overall health. A Pup Above offers four recipes and discounts for subscription plans. 

Type: 

Best for: Dogs of all life stages 

Flavor Options: Turkey Pawella; Texas Beef Stew; Chicka Chicka Bow Wow; Porky’s Luau

Price: $41.44/pound 

Pros

  • 100% human-grade food for canines
  • 72% more protein than other food formulas
  • Gently cooked via the sous-vide method
  • Non-GMO, high-protein, and low-carb formulas
  • Discounts for subscription plans 

Cons

  • Expensive price tag 

Ingredient Analysis

  • Real Meat: Each recipe contains real meat (turkey, chicken, beef, and pork) as the first ingredient, thus ensuring a healthy amino acid profile. 
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that boosts the immune system. 
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is a superfood for dogs. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features. 

Review: Pet owners are raving about this dog food. They say it is delicious, and their dogs are thriving on it. They are particularly happy with the brand’s transparency and the carefully selected ingredients and superfoods. 

Front of the Pack

front of the pack

Visit Front of the Pack

Summary: Front of the Pack is vet-formulated dog food that is air-dried to preserve most of the nutrients and ensure premium quality feeding. The recipes are made with carefully selected and organic ingredients and feature wholesome and health-boosting foods, including fresh fruits and veggies. The food is simple to use and store. Plus, the brand offers a variety of flavors and discounts for subscriptions. 

Type: Air-dried dog food 

Best for: Dogs of all life stages  

Flavor Options: Chicken 

Price: $14.7/pound 

Pros

  • 100% natural and organic ingredients
  • Scientifically backed up recipes
  • With health-boosting superfoods 
  • Suitable for picky eaters 
  • Transparency and no hidden ingredients 

Cons

  • The pieces could be smaller (for toy breeds)

Ingredient Analysis

  • Organic Cage-Free Chicken: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, and since it is organic, it is free from hormones and harmful chemicals. 
  • Organic Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes add easily digestible and healthy carbohydrates to the recipe. They are considered a superfood for dogs. 
  • Antarctic Krill: Rich in omega fatty acids, this ingredient supports immunity, and skin & coat health. 
  • Organic Whole Eggs: Eggs are an additional source of protein. They are also rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. 

Review: Customers are in love with this food and explain how excited their dogs are for mealtime. Some dog owners mention their dogs’ digestive issues resolved after switching to this brand. However, they are some complaints about the food pieces being too large for toy breed dogs. 

Purina Pro Plan High-Protein Dog Food with Probiotics

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Get it on Amazon

Summary: Made with real chicken as the first ingredient, this high-protein dog food is an excellent choice for active adult dogs. It is formulated with live probiotics, thus supporting gut health and a strong immune system. The recipe is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which are vital for skin & coat health. The formula comes in the form of mixed crunchy kibble with tender meat shreds for maximum enjoyment during mealtime. 

Type: Crunchy kibble + Tender meat shreds 

Best for: Adult dogs 

Flavor Options: Chicken & Rice 

Price: $3.16/pound 

Pros

  • High-protein formula
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Fortified with live probiotics
  • Supports gut and immune health 
  • Enticing flavor and unique texture 

Cons

  • Only one flavor is available 

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and promotes a healthy weight. 
  • Rice: Adds healthy and easily digestible carbohydrates. Plus, rice supports gut health and gives dogs energy. 
  • Meat Meals: These are somewhat controversial ingredients. However, in this case, they are named, and they serve as excellent sources of glucosamine (vital for joint health). 

Review: With an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, this dog food is a winner among pet owners. Customers say their dogs love eating the foods because of the unique texture. They also mention an increase in energy levels after switching to this formula. 

Open Farm Homestead Dry Dog Food

Open Farm Homestead Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon    Get it on Open Farm

Summary: This dog food uses fresh turkey and chicken recipes manufactured using prime cuts. The meat is raised in high-welfare American farms without the use of additives. Furthermore, the dog food is 100% Certified Humane so you can be sure that you are giving your dog a quality product. This dog food is backed by science and is a top-rated product on platforms such as Amazon and Chewy. It can also be used as training dog treats. It contains protein for strong muscles, prebiotic fiber for digestion, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Homestead Turkey & Chicken; Wild-Caught Salmon; Grass-Fed Beef; Pork & Root Vegetables; Catch-Of-The-Season Whitefish; Pasture-Raised Lamb; Venison

Price: $5.99/pound

Pros

  • Contains a mix of lentils, chicory root, apples, and tomatoes
  • Ingredients are non-GMO and do not contain anything artificial
  • Free from grain, corn, wheat, and soy
  • Every ingredient can be traced back to its source
  • Contains several vitamins and minerals

Cons

  • Expensive price tag

Ingredient Analysis

  • Turkey: Turkey is a protein source that supports muscle development and energy.
  • Pumpkin: In addition to providing fiber to the diet, pumpkin also contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, fiber, Vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • Coconut Oil: This is a great way to add calories to provide energy. It also contains fatty acids that lead to a healthy coat.

Review: This dog food offers premium nutrition without the use of harmful antibiotics, corn, wheat, or soy. It also has a great taste that most dogs love. Customers give this food 4.6 out of 5 stars.

ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This dog food offers a high-protein diet for your dog. Additionally, it is free from grains making it safe for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergy issues. It helps build your dog’s muscles and gives them the sustained energy to stay active all day. This dog food also contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids to promote your dog’s skin and coat health. It can be used as a primary food source or as dog treats.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Regional Red; Original; Six Fish; Tundra; Fit & Trim

Price: $4.6/pound

Pros

  • Delivers a diet that is rich and varied in ingredients
  • With free-run poultry, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • Contains both fresh and raw animal ingredients
  • Formulated with meat, organs, cartilage, and bone
  • Offers a grain-free diet that dogs have evolved to eat

Cons

  • Relatively expensive price per pound of product

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken: Chicken is a protein source that supports muscle development and energy.
  • Dehydrated Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein that supports muscle development and energy.
  • Kale: This is a leafy vegetable that is rich in iron and improves your dog’s overall health.
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for your dog’s health.

Review: This product does not contain gluten, potato, or tapioca. 85% of the meal is from a traceable animal source. The overall Amazon rating of this food is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Purina ONE High Protein Senior Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE High Protein Senior Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: This dry senior dog food offers complete and balanced nutrition in every serving you give your dog. It is a great way to add beneficial nutrients to your dog’s diet. It contains real chicken, the number one ingredient leading to a high-protein diet. It does not contain fillers, implying that every ingredient has a purpose. Additionally, it also helps promote mental sharpness in older dogs. It contains glucosamine which provides support to your dog’s joints.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Senior dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken

Price: $1.41/pound

Pros

  • Uses real chicken as the number 1 ingredient
  • Contains MCT-rich vegetable oil
  • Promotes mental sharpness in aging dogs
  • Leads to an increased activity level in most dogs
  • Supports strong muscles, including a healthy heart

Cons

  • Contains corn gluten meal and by-products

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken: Chicken is a protein source that supports muscle development and energy.
  • Rice Flour: Rice flour is an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, and nutritional fibers.
  • Corn Gluten Meal: This is used to add flavor to your dog’s meals. It contains several beneficial nutrients that improve your dog’s overall health.
  • Chicken By-Product Meal: This adds a great poultry flavor to your dog’s meal in addition to increasing the protein content.

Review: This dog food has a delicious combination of protein-rich meaty morsels and crunchy dog food kibble. However, the texture might not suit some dogs. Pet owners give this food 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Merrick Dry Dog Food Grain-Free Dog Food Recipe

Merrick Dry Dog Food Grain-Free Dog Food Recipe

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: Merrick Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato offers a grain-free dog food recipe that has been formulated with whole foods. It contains deboned beef as the first ingredient and provides high-quality protein, which builds your dog’s muscles. Not only does this increase your dog’s energy levels, but it also helps to keep them in a good mood. 65% of every serving is protein and fat ingredients, while the remaining 35% are fresh produce, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other natural ingredients.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Beef & Bison, Chicken, Duck, Lamb; Texas Beef; Salmon

Price: $3.36/pound

Pros

  • Real deboned beef is always the first ingredient
  • Omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Offers the ideal combination of protein and healthy fats
  • This is a chicken-free dog food with no poultry ingredients
  • Contains 65% protein and healthy fat ingredients

Cons

  • Not very budget-friendly price

Ingredient Analysis

  • Deboned Beef: This is a great source of protein that helps build your dog’s muscles. It also provides them with the energy to play all day.
  • Lamb Meal: This is an additional protein source that helps build muscles in your dog’s body.
  • Salmon Meal: While this is a great source of protein, it also contains fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in your dog’s body.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These are sources of antioxidants that help support the immune system. It also contains potassium, B vitamins, beta carotene, phytochemicals, and carotenoids.

Review: This product contains glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs to help maintain healthy hips and joints. The overall Amazon rating for this recipe is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This dog food contains the goodness of salmon and sweet potato. This makes it easily digestible thanks to its limited ingredients and carbohydrate sources. This particular dog food is free from harmful additives like fillers and artificial preservatives. Additionally, it also does not contain any peas, pea protein, lentils, legumes, corn, wheat, or soy. The special formula reduces the chance of an allergic reaction in most dogs.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Salmon & Sweet Potato; Lamb; Duck & Potato; Chicken & Sweet Potato; Sweet Potato & Bison; Sweet Potato & Venison; Beef

Price: $2.83/pound

Pros

  • Contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals
  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • Offers the ideal combination of protein and healthy fats
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or chemical preservatives
  • Produced in the USA

Cons

  • The product could be difficult to digest for some dogs

Ingredient Analysis

  • Salmon: In addition to providing protein, salmon also supports healthy skin and coat as well as cognitive development in pets.
  • Potatoes: These are an excellent source of carbohydrates and provide easily digestible vitamins B & C, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
  • Sunflower Oil: This provides calories for energy and omega-3 & 6 fatty acids for a healthy coat.
  • Brewers Dried Yeast: Brewer’s dried yeast enriches pets’ meals with protein, amino acids, and B vitamins.

Review: This dog food has been made using premium ingredients that offer several nutritional benefits to your dog. Based on Amazon reviews, this food scores 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: This dog food always uses real meat as its first ingredient. In this case, the protein source is chicken which helps build your dog’s muscles. The product also contains wholesome whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit. The product also offers essential carbohydrates to meet the energy demands of adult dogs. It is also formulated with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This gives your dog a healthy and shiny coat.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken & Brown Rice; Lamb & Brown Rice; Beef & Brown Rice; Fish & Brown Rice

Price: $2.4/pound

Pros

  • This dog food is at par with some of the top brands
  • Promotes skin and coat health with omega-6 fatty acids
  • Contains no fillers like soy, corn, or wheat
  • Builds strong muscles with quality-sourced protein
  • Perfect food for adult dogs with high activity levels

Cons

  • The texture might not suit some dogs

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken Meal: Chicken meal is an extremely rich source of protein, that provides pets with energy and nutrients. It also helps in easier digestion.
  • Brown Rice: This provides pets with essential B vitamins and minerals and high-quality complex carbohydrates for energy and fiber.
  • Barley: This is an excellent source of soluble fiber, carbohydrates, and B vitamins.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a wholesome, high-quality grain rich in B vitamins that gives pets the energy they need.

Review: This dog food promotes healthy skin in most dogs. It also contains no harmful ingredients such as fillers and preservatives. Dog owners give this formula 4.7 out of 5 stars.

How do I Choose the Right Dog Food?

If you are in the market to hunt for the right dog food brand, it could very overwhelming for most pet parents. There are a few pointers that one needs to keep in mind before opting for a dog food brand:

  • Ingredients. It is one of the most important aspects of any dog food. Every dog has a different body and therefore, there could be some ingredients that could end up being harmful. Before you opt for a brand, just ensure you read the food label to understand the constituent ingredients. You can also consult a vet to get a better idea.
  • Type. There are several types of dog foods available. From the basic wet and dry to prescription diets and limited ingredient diets. If your dog is a picky eater, it is best to understand the type of food your dog will prefer.
  • Cost. Dog food should not lead to a hole in one’s pockets. Since you will be buying the food for your dog’s entire life, it is best to go for an option that is affordable but does not compromise on quality.
  • Shelf Life. If your dog food expires within a short time duration, you might want to reconsider your choice of brand. It is best if the shelf life of the food is long as it can help keep it fresh.
  • Nutritional Benefits. If your dog food offers dietary benefits that other brands don‘t, you are probably on the right track. You might also want to look for foods catering to special health conditions if your dog has any.

How do I Read a Dog Food Label?

There are a few things one has to keep in mind before reading a food label:

  • Protein Source. It is best to figure out if the protein in your dog’s food comes from a known source. If the first ingredient in your dog’s food is either chicken, lamb, beef (etc.) as a whole, then the brand can be trusted. Be wary of ingredients that mention meat by-products as they could lead to health problems in some dogs.
  • Additional Ingredients. These include vegetables, fruits, and grains. While these ingredients are crucial to balance your dog’s meal, sometimes there can be allergic reactions that might cause health complications.
  • Preservative. Your dog’s food should not contain any artificial preservative that could cause health problems in some dogs. These are usually added to increase the shelf life of the product. If you see dog food with an unusually long shelf life, you might want to look up the preservative the brand is using.