The 15 Best Dog Foods For Catahoula Leopards

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

Full of energy and radiating with life, Catahoula Leopards are truly some of the best companions for owners with an active lifestyle.

Sadly, these lovely dogs don’t always get the best diet, which can leave them tired, dull, and spiritless. 

That’s why we’ve made a list of the best dog foods for Catahoula Leopards, along with a bonus buyer’s guide designed exclusively for this breed.

So if you’re ready, let’s dig into it!

The 8 Best Dog Foods for Catahoula Leopards

Top ProductsRatingTop Ingredients
1. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dog Food4.7Deboned Chicken, Atlantic Flounder, Turkey Heart
2. Merrick Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food4.7Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes
3. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Dog Food4.7Chicken, Chicken Liver, Pumpkin Seed 
4. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Dog Food4.6Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat
5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Lamb Dog Food4.6Deboned Lamb, Peas, Chicken Fat
6. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Dog Food4.2Bison Meal, Peas, Tapioca
7. Primal Chicken Nuggets Grain-Free Dog Food4.7Chicken, Chicken Livers, Organic Carrots
8. Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Trout & Salmon Meal Dog Food4.4Trout, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas

1. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Atlantic Flounder, 3. Turkey Heart, 4. Whole Red Lentils, 5. Chicken Fat

If you’ve got a big budget and want to provide your dog with the best nutrition, Orijen’s Original Grain-Free Dog Food is the way to go. It’s designed after the whole-prey ancestral diet of dogs, which contained lean meat portions and simple carbs. That’s why this formula also features 85% animal ingredients from deboned turkey and chicken, lentils and peas for carbs, and pollock oil for fats.

In addition to this, the food offers a bunch of micronutrients sourced directly from pumpkins, spinach, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables. It’s also dense in calories and has a minimum fat content of 18%, which is perfect for hunting breeds like the Catahoula Leopard. Also, the kibbles taste delicious and have a meaty texture, thanks to the freeze-dried chicken liver coating.


2. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Beef, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Pork Fat, 5. Sunflower Oil

Muscular breeds like Catahoulas thrive on high-protein diets like Merrick’s Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Dog Food. The formula consists of 65% protein and fat ingredients sourced from beef meat and salmon oil. It allows your dog’s body to constantly repair and build muscle mass while helping them stay energetic. 

Since the food contains salmon oil, it also delivers natural omega fatty acids that improve coat appearance and skin health. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also present in the recipe to maintain bone health and prevent joint disorders from aggravating. Additionally, the formula is packed with fibers, minerals, vitamins, and micronutrients that strengthen your dog’s immunity and encourage overall well-being. 


3. Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken With Ground Bone, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Pumpkin Seed, 4. Organic Cranberries, 5. Dried Kelp

No dog food comes as close to providing an ancestral diet as Stella & Chewy. Their Chicken Dinner Patties are loaded with animal protein, the bulk of which is derived from 95% chicken meat and organs. The remaining ingredients include organic fruits and veggies like carrots, squash, cranberries, and kelp, but zero carb foods like grains, potatoes, or legumes. 

Also, this high-protein, low-carb diet is perfect for dogs that have to gain muscle mass without putting on extra fat. The patties are freeze-dried, and feature a meaty taste and texture similar to raw food. It also offers 100% complete nutrition and can be fed separately or as a topper with kibbles. Besides grains and potatoes, the recipe is also free from gluten, fillers, and artificial additives.


4. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Ground White Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Cracked Pearled Barley, 5. Dried Chicory Root

Providing your dog with a quality diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Diamond Natural’s Extreme Athlete Formula offers complete nutrition through a range of wholesome ingredients at a fraction of the cost of more premium options. It’s also made from real chicken meat and chicken fat, as well as whole grains and a range of fruits and veggies like pumpkin, blueberries, and cracked barley.

When combined, these superfoods offer loads of muscle-building protein and energy to last your dog the entire day. Fruits and veggies deliver antioxidants and various micronutrients that are essential for good immunity. The food also makes your dog’s coat softer and nourishes their skin through omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s also ideal for sensitive dogs as it’s free from corn, wheat, soy, artificial additives, and unnecessary fillers.


5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Lamb Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Peas, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Flaxseed, 5. Dried Chicory Root

If your Catahoula has sensitive skin and trouble digesting certain foods, Blue Buffalo’s Freedom Lamb Recipe is the perfect diet for them. It’s made with a selection of easily digestible ingredients, such as lamb meat for protein, potatoes for carbohydrates, and chicken fat to keep your dog active all day.

Apart from that, the food is fortified with omega fatty acids that prevent skin irritation and make fur softer. Grains and gluten are also eliminated from the recipe as they’re a common culprit of dog allergies. The formula also contains LifeSource Bits that are fortified with multiple vitamins, minerals, and essential micronutrients.


6. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Bison Meal, 2. Peas, 3. Tapioca, 4. Canola Oil, 5. Flaxseed

Hunting dogs need a diet that helps them maintain a slim physique and stay active, something that Earthborn Holistic’s Great Plains Dog Food is fully capable of. It’s designed with lean proteins that are packed with amino acids, such as bison meal and egg. For fats, the food uses canola oil with omega fatty acids for high energy levels and good coat health.

We’d also highly recommend this food for overweight Catahoulas as it contains L-carnitine. This chemical helps break down excess body fat and converts it into energy. The recipe is chock-full of fruits and veggies that supply various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and digestive fibers. Lastly, it’s free from grains and gluten and will perfectly suit dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.  


7. Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Livers, 3. Organic Carrots, 4. Organic Squash, 5. Organic Sunflower Seeds

A simple and nutritious recipe like Primal Chicken Formula is perfect for owners that don’t want to feed their dog unnecessary ingredients. The freeze-dried food is only made with natural, whole foods like chicken, liver, and a bunch of organic fruits and vegetables. Because of that, it also has one of the highest protein and fat content of all dog foods, making it extremely beneficial for your dog’s muscles.

Since the food is freeze-dried, it also packs the nutritional benefits of a raw diet. The taste and texture of the food resemble real meat, which even the most stubborn dogs can’t help but love. Despite having limited ingredients, the formula is fully balanced and will fulfill all of your dog’s macro and micronutrient needs. 


8. Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Trout & Salmon Meal Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Trout, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Chickpeas, 4. Peas, 5. Sunflower Oil

When you have an extremely sensitive dog at your hands, a limited ingredient recipe like Zignature Grain-Free Trout & Salmon Meal Dog Food might be your best bet. It’s made from light proteins like salmon and trout yet packs massive amounts of protein that will aid in muscle nourishment. For fats, the brand uses salmon and sunflower oil due to their high nutritional value and natural omega fatty acid content.

One of the best things about this formula is that it contains simple carbs like chickpeas and peas. These low-GI carbs ensure slow release of glucose into the bloodstream and help dogs stay active for hours after every meal. Besides that, the recipe is made without corn, wheat, soy, dairy, chicken, and other artificial additives that lead to digestive upsets.


9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Water Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Roasted Bison

Taste of the Wild is well-known for designing ancestral formulas with wholesome foods, and their High Prairie Recipe is no different. It’s filled with exotic meat proteins like venison and bison, which are ideal for lean muscle growth. The recipe is also supported with easily digestible calories from potatoes and chicken fat, making it fully capable of fueling even the most athletic Catahoula Leopards.

Furthermore, the formula features K9 probiotics that support digestion and improve nutrient absorption. It’s also filled with antioxidants for better immune health and omega fatty acids to encourage the growth of a soft, lustrous coat. Since the recipe is free from grains, corn, and wheat, it also makes an excellent food choice for sensitive or allergic dogs.


10. Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Rice, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Fish Oil

Purina Pro Plan Sports Performance Dog Food is specifically formulated for the nourishment and well-being of all athletic, sporting, and hunting breeds. It features a 30/20 protein to fat ratio that encourages muscle growth while fueling high-endurance activities. The ingredients used to make the food are also top-quality, ranging from real chicken meat to beef fat and more.

Besides that, the food also promotes digestion through live probiotics and strengthens immunity with antioxidants. It’s fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin, two micronutrients that are crucial for breeds that suffer from joint disorders. Moreover, the formula contains omega fatty acids that make your dog’s coat healthier. And lastly, it’s enriched with DHA and EPA to nourish your dog’s brain and sharpen their vision.


11. ACANA Light & Fit Formula Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Deboned Turkey, 3. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Green Peas, 4. Whole Red Lentils, 5. Pollock Oil

Acana Light & Fit Dog Food is the perfect solution to help dogs shed extra weight without losing muscle mass or energy. It’s packed with meat proteins from chicken and turkey, and offers tons of amino acids to encourage lean muscle growth. Being a grain-free formula, the brand uses simple carbs like lentils and peas. These low-GI veggies release glucose slowly and help dogs stay full longer. 

Despite being low in calories, the recipe contains enough fat to keep your dog energetic. It also consists of micronutrients like omega fatty acids, DHA, EPA, and taurine to ensure good heart and brain health. For taste, the kibbles are coated with freeze-dried liver, which also gives the food a protein boost.


12. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Menhaden Fish Meal, 5. Chicken Fat

When dogs start entering their senior stage, their nutritional needs change as well. To keep up with that transition, you need to feed them a formula like Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness Senior Dog Food. It’s inspired by the ancestral diet of dogs and contains loads of meat protein for healthy muscles and mind. To prevent allergies, the brand skips on grains and uses peas to provide energy instead. 

Because senior dogs get weaker with age, the food is fortified with antioxidants and vitamins to strengthen their immune system. It’s also enriched with omega fatty acids that keep their ageing skin moisturized and coat shining. Apart from that, minerals and glucosamine are also included in the formula to keep your dog’s joints functioning properly. And to ensure maximum digestibility, the recipe is made without wheat, corn, soy, and artificial additives. 


13. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Menhaden Fish Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

If you have an extra-sensitive pooch, Canidae’s Pure Limited Ingredient Dog Food is the best choice for you. The first two ingredients used for the recipe are salmon and sweet potatoes. Salmon meat contains a full range of essential amino acids for muscle growth, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. As for sweet potatoes, they’re dense in carbs and offer a healthy dose of digestive fibers.

More than that, the food is enriched with antioxidants to detoxify your dog’s body and probiotics for improved gut health. It’s made without common allergens and hard-digesting ingredients like wheat, corn, fillers, and soy. The formula is prepared in Canidae’s Texas facility to ensure excellent quality and nutrition for your dog.


14. ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Deboned Turkey, 3. Flounder, 4. Eggs, 5. Turkey Liver

Puppies need a steady supply of nutrients to grow strong and healthy. And Orijen’s Grain-Free Puppy Food is perfect for that purpose. It’s made with premium-grade proteins like chicken, turkey, flounder, and eggs so that your Catahoula puppy can develop strong muscles. The recipe uses simple carbs instead of grains as they’re easier to digest and prevent blood sugar spikes.

Growing puppies also need micronutrients for overall development, which is fulfilled through fruits, vegetables, and fish oils. These ingredients are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids. To make the food taste better and more protein-dense, the kibbles are coated in a powder of freeze-dried liver at the end.


15. American Journey Active Life Formula Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Peas, 5. Chicken Fat

If you’re raising your Catahoula to become a hunting dog, feed them an appropriate diet from the start, like American Journey’s Active Life Puppy Food. This formula is purposefully formulated to help working breed puppies grow into strong adults. It includes real chicken meat to encourage muscle growth and easily digestible grains like brown rice to fuel their activities.

Lean breeds usually develop joint issues in their early stages, which is why the food contains balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus to ensure proper skeletal development. It’s also fortified with DHA and EPA to nourish their brain and promote vision health. Lastly, to avoid digestive issues or allergies, the recipe contains zero wheat, corn, soy, and artificial additives. 


Related:

Buyer’s Guide

Purchasing a great dog food isn’t as simple as picking a random option from a given list. 

You must identify your dog’s individual needs and select a formula that would be most appropriate for them.

For your help, we’ve prepared a buyer’s guide containing all the information needed to select the best dog food for a Catahoula Leopard:

What should Catahoula Leopards eat?

Becoming familiar with your dog’s unique dietary needs is essential in helping them thrive. All canines have the same basic diet consisting of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. However, the Catahoula Leopard is a hardworking hunter that needs more nutrients than your average indoor breed. Here’s a guideline of their exact dietary needs:

1. Healthy fats in large quantities

Catahoula Leopards were originally bred to hunt wild hogs and control livestock. They expend tons of energy through their daily activities and have to fuel their energy reserves throughout the day. And for that purpose, there’s no better macronutrient than fat.

It’s more energy-dense than protein or carbs and digests quickly into their bloodstream. This is one of the reasons why the ancestors of canines also ate a diet that consisted of at least 45% fat. But for Catahoulas, a minimum crude fat content of 15 – 25% will suffice depending on how much activity they get.

2. Lots of meat proteins

Like every hunting dog, this breed also has a slim and muscular physique that helps them sprint long distances without wasting energy. Since their body mass mostly consists of muscle, they need a fair amount of high-quality protein to maintain their lean profile.

As per AAFCO, every adult dog must eat a diet with a minimum of 18% protein content. But for Catahoula Leopards, you should look for dog foods with 25 – 30% protein to fully support muscle repair, skin cell development, and hormone production.

3. Few carbohydrates with fibers

Generally, dogs can survive without carbohydrates in their diet as long as they’re getting enough protein and fats. But since this breed requires lots of energy and doesn’t usually suffer from digestive or sensitivity issues, they can eat some quantities of healthy carbs.

We recommend choosing whole grains or low-GI vegetables as they’re more beneficial and easier to digest. However, even these carbs should be fed in controlled quantities as overfeeding can lead to weight gain and obesity.

4. Multiple micronutrients

Every dog needs a steady dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients for overall well-being. They play a crucial part in strengthening their immune system, improving digestive health, ensuring proper bone development, and helping their coat become healthier and more nourished. 

Catahoulas are at a higher risk of developing joint disorders and issues, which is why glucosamine and chondroitin are a crucial part of their diet. Through these supplements, your dog’s cartilages will remain in ideal condition and save them from a lot of pain in the future.

Things to look for in dog food 

After becoming familiar with your Catahoula’s needs, the next step is to look for a dog food that can provide a complete and balanced diet. For that, you must consider the following factors while doing a bit of digging yourself to get a list of the best dog foods for your pooch:

1. Look for natural and whole ingredients

Many brands have started using artificial or processed ingredients as they’re cheaper and more readily available. Unfortunately, these ingredients aren’t nearly as healthy as natural, whole foods like meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

When selecting dog foods, check the recipe list for named protein and fat sources such as chicken meat, turkey meat, beef fat, salmon oil, and more. Meat meals are also acceptable but should not make up all of the formula’s protein content.

Apart from that, look for whole grains like brown rice, barley, and oats. Most of them will be labeled just by their name or have the term ‘whole’ attached to it. If there’s any mention of ‘hulls’ or ‘mills’ along with it, that ingredient is likely a by-product. Besides that, search for fruits and vegetables as they’re an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

2. Avoid artificial preservatives and fillers

Any ingredient having tons of calories but few nutrients is called a filler. Manufacturers typically use these fillers to pump up the calorie count of their food without raising their costs. Their only purpose is to make your dog feel fuller and pass through their digestive system as it is. 

Same is the case with artificial preservatives. Even though they can increase the food’s shelf life, these additives often cause more harm than good. BHA and BHT are two examples of artificial preservatives used in dog foods that are classified as carcinogens and can be extremely harmful to canines in the long run. 

3. Consult your veterinarian

Though it may seem odd, but consulting your veterinarian is probably the most important step in picking the best dog food for you Catahoula. They’re familiar with your dog’s physical attributes, health history, food preferences, and probably have a lot more experience with different dog food brands than you.

That’s why we advise you to shortlist some formulas and let your vet have the final say on which one to buy. Remember to transition slowly and consider your dog’s taste and preferences as well when making this decision.


FAQ’s

How much exercise do Catahoula Leopards need?

A Catahoula needs at least 1 to 2 hours of intense daily exercise to stay satisfied. This can be a long walk, game of fetch, tug of war, or any other outdoor game/activity. If you do not provide them with an outlet for their pent-up energy, they will quickly become destructive.

How much should Catahoula Leopards eat?

An average adult Catahoula Leopard needs between 3⅜ to 5⅛ cups of food or 1,000 calories a day to stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Growing puppies need approximately 1,400 calories but fewer cups of food. Seniors need fewer calories to avoid obesity but more nutrients. 

Are Catahoula Leopards sensitive and allergic?

No, Catahoulas are robust dogs and do not generally suffer from allergies or a sensitive stomach. Despite that, there’s always a percentage of the population prone to these conditions and will need a limited ingredient or grain-free diet.

Should you feed Catahoula Leopards wet or dry food?

We recommend dry food for Catahoulas as it’s more convenient to store and serve. It also automatically removes tartar and maintains dental hygiene. Since this breed isn’t prone to any urinary issues, they don’t need excess moisture from wet food.

Are Catahoula Leopard picky eaters?

No, most Catahoulas will eagerly eat whatever you put in front of them. But if your dog shows some stubbornness, you could try adding a meat-flavored broth to their kibbles or use toppers.

Are Catahoula Leopard healthy dogs?

Yes, Catahoulas are generally healthy dogs with excellent genes. They only suffer from two major health complications; hip dysplasia and deafness. While it’s difficult to avoid them, you should still ask your breeder for the joint and hearing tests of your dog’s parents. 

Should Catahoula Leopards eat a raw diet?

Yes, you can feed Catahoulas a raw diet if their nutritional needs are being met. Always use fresh ingredients and high-quality meat from the butcher to make their food. Once prepared, store it safely in a refrigerator and remember to take precautions to avoid cross-contamination.

Which treats are best for Catahoula Leopards?

Treats that contain healthy fats and are packed with good calories are ideal for Catahoulas. This includes beef and bacon jerky treats, as well as natural treats like peanut butter, blackberries, apples, and other high-calorie fruits.