The 8 Best Dog Foods For Hunting Dogs

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

Hunting dogs need quality dog food for high energy and performance. They also require special care and a unique dietary plan. So, how can you find the right food product for your hunting dog?

The best dog food for hunting dogs contains essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins to keep their bodies strong and healthy. To make your search easier, we’ve reviewed the best dog foods for hunting dogs. Let’s explore!

The Best Dog Foods For Hunting Dogs

Top ProductsRatingTop 5 Ingredients
1. Wellness — CORE Large Breed Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food4.6Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas
2. Blue Buffalo – Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food4.5Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
3. Taste of the Wild – Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food BISON AND VENISON4.8Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Lentils
4. Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food 30/25, 33-lb bag5.0Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Fish Meal (Herring & Anchovy), Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Wheat
5. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food4.5Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, OatmealBarley
6. Wellness – Large Breed Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food4.5Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas
7. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food4.9Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat [Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)]
8. Victor Grain-Free Hero Canine For Adult Dogs4.7Beef Meal, Peas, Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid)

1. Wellness — CORE Large Breed Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas

This high-performance recipe is a great choice for hunting dogs. It features nutrients like chondroitin and glucosamine for promoting healthy joints and bones.

This delicious recipe contains an excellent balance of nutritional supplements and high-quality proteins extracted from deboned chicken, turkey, and chicken meal. Additionally, this grain-free formula is free from artificial fillers, by-products, and gluten.

2. Blue Buffalo – Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley

This superior quality life-protection formula provides optimal nutrition to your hunting dog. It features real meat, garden vegetables and fruits, and a wholesome blend of essential nutrients to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements. Give your performance dog the best dietary support for healthy growth and development.

3. Earthborn Holistic – Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Chicken Fat, Ground Flaxseed

This Earthborn’s large breed dog food is ideal for hunting dogs that weigh 50 pounds or more. The crunchy kibble features a perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to provide optimum nutrition that your dog needs for stronger joints and bones and overall good health. Additionally, the blend is gluten- and grain-free and supports a healthy digestive system.

4. Taste of the Wild – Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food BISON AND VENISON

Top 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Lentils

This high-quality recipe is rich with the flavors of bison and roasted venison. It features highly digestible proteins, peas, and sweet potatoes to energize your hunting dog. The formula helps your athletic dog stay active throughout the day. Additionally, the grain-free formula is ideal for performance dogs with allergies and other food sensitivities. It’s one of the best dog foods for hunting dogs out there.

5. Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food 30/25, 33-lb bag

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Fish Meal (Herring & Anchovy), Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Wheat

The Inukshuk dry dog food features high levels of protein, fatty acids, and other essential nutrients to maintain your dog’s health. The quality ingredients offer superior digestibility and improve your dog’s stamina.

This performance-enhancing dog food provides energy and support. It contains vitamins and chelated minerals for sustainable endurance. If you’re looking for a high-energy diet for your canine professional, this one is a good choice. It’s suitable for working, hunting, and sporting dogs.

6. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, OatmealBarley

The premium quality of this life-protection formula guarantees optimal health and wellbeing of your hunting dog. It features deboned meat, garden fruits and vegetables, and a healthy blend of essential nutrients to fulfill your dog’s nutritional requirements. Give your hunting dog the best dietary support for great health and development.

7. Wellness – Large Breed Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas

The Wellness recipe is perfect for everyday nutrition. Its large kibble size is ideal for large and giant breed hunting dogs. If you want to maintain your hunting dog’s optimal weight with a complete and balanced diet, this one is a great choice. It features a delicious combination of deboned chicken and brown rice. All the nutrients are perfect for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Finally, the formula is free of wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors and colors, and meat by-products.

8. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Field Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat [Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)]

Dr. Gary’s special formula is a performance-enhancing, high-energy recipe for hunting dogs. This protein-rich recipe is popular among dog owners. It contains nutritious ingredients and is rich in iron proteinate and other chelated minerals to support absorption. The recipe has animal protein from chicken meal to provide a high-quality diet for your athletic dog.

9. Victor Grain-Free Hero Canine For Adult Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Peas, Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid)

If you’re looking for the best dog food for hunting dogs, this grain-free formula for adults is an excellent choice for you. This dog food contains chondroitin and glucosamine to enhance mobility and prevent joint issues in hunting dogs. It also contains quality protein from fish, pork, and beef. Additionally, it contains probiotics and prebiotics to support your dog’s digestive system. It also has calcium and other nutritious components for stronger bone health. The formula is grain-free and is available in different bag sizes.

10. Annamaet Dog Food Ultra 32% Protein

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Dry Eggs, Herring Meal

Annamaet Ultra is a protein-rich formula and ideal for hunting dogs. This all-natural dry dog food recipe contains 32 percent protein.

The energy-dense formula can easily fulfill your hunting dog’s dietary needs. It contains chicken and herring meal for optimal health. Other essential ingredients include brown rice, yeast, dried eggs, carrot, flaxseed, celery, parsley. It also contains L-carnitine to optimize fat utilization and chelated minerals for easy absorption. Additionally, it includes omega fatty acids extracted from algae. If you’re looking for a grain-free diet for your athletic canine, this one from Annamaet is ideal. It doesn’t have any artificial flavors, colors, or additives.

11. Wellness Ninety-Five Percent Chicken Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Natural Flavor, Cassia Gum, Carrageenan

This canned wet food from Wellness is a delicious treat for performance dogs. It features high protein and fat content to enhance energy levels and support lean muscle growth. It’s an ideal choice for hunting dog breeds.

The grain-free recipe contains wholesome ingredients, including deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken, and potatoes. You can serve it as a savory snack, tasty topper, or mixed in with dry dog food. It also has high moisture content to keep your hunting dog hydrated. Finally, the formula is free from artificial flavors, fillers, and preservatives.

12. Chicken Soup For The Soul – Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Meal (Source Of Glucosamine Hydrochloride And Chondroitin Sulfate), Turkey Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley

This diet features a holistic combination of all-natural ingredients and balanced nutrition for your large hunting dog. It contains superior-quality protein from chicken and turkey and other essential nutrients to support your dog’s health, wellbeing, and happiness. This formula is rich in essential fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat.

13. American Journey — Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Rice Bran, Peas

The unique recipe features high-quality ingredients, including chicken and brown rice. It guarantees an optimum protein level for muscle growth and maintenance. It also has supplemental fiber and is popular among hunting dog owners. If you’re looking for a healthy diet option, this one from American Journey is a great choice. The highly digestible recipe includes whole-grain carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits as natural dietary sources for essential nutrients.

14. Sport Dog Food — Field Dog Active Series Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Flax-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Sorghum, Dried Sweet Potato, Turkey Meal, Whole Ground Millet

If you are looking for an excellent diet for your highly active hunting dog, consider the Sport Dog Active Series Field Dog Formula. The recipe has a traditional, nutritionally dense formula with high-protein ingredients like fish and chicken to support great health and promote muscular development. The high-energy formula is popular with high-energy, large-breed hunting dogs.

15. Purina Pro Plan Adult – Chicken & Rice Formula Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Poultry By-product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Soybean Meal, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-tocopherols

This holistic dog food can satisfy your dog’s nutritional requirements. It features 26% protein and 12% fat content that promotes lean muscles and enhances your dog’s energy levels.

The Purina Pro Plan also supports your hunting dog’s digestive function. It contains probiotics and prebiotics that provide nourishment to intestinal bacteria. Additionally, dog food contains omega fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and coat.

16. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran

The Nutro Ultra dry dog food has the best ingredients to help your hunting dog maintain a healthy lifestyle. It features three different premium protein sources, including salmon, lamb, and chicken. These animal protein sources provide essential amino acids for optimal muscle growth and nourishment.

The recipe also features fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, pumpkin, and carrots for balanced nutrition. It has antioxidants and vitamins to enhance performance and support the immune system. Nutro Ultra provides high-quality dog food that’s completely free from artificial colors, grains, flavors, and preservatives.

17. Holistic Select – Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Rice, Oatmeal, Oats, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pork Meal

Holistic Select dog food fulfills the dietary requirements of large and giant breeds, including large hunting dogs. Its probiotic blend supports and enhances their digestive health. The recipe provides essential fatty acids needed for muscular development. It contains chicken and pork as primary ingredients. It also contains real fruits and vegetables like cranberries, apples, cranberries for complete and balanced nutrition.

18. American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Pea Starch, Sweet Potatoes

This high-quality diet contains all the essential nutrients your dog requires. If you have a sensitive hunting dog with digestive disorders, this limited ingredient diet is an excellent choice. It’s a grain-free formula that doesn’t have corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

Let your dog enjoy the rich flavors of deboned salmon and sweet potatoes. Other high-quality ingredients deliver a nutritious meal to your dog. The recipe enhances your dog’s energy levels and supports a healthy and active lifestyle.  

19. Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Formula

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols Poultry By-Product Meal

This high-performance formula has 30% crude protein and 20% crude fat. It’s ideal for hunting dogs and meets their energy requirements. Purina ProPlan Sport Chicken and Egg recipe promotes strength and endurance in performance dogs. It helps build and maintain lean muscle mass.

The formula contains essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants for complete and balanced nutrition. It also features glucosamine for healthy joints and mobility.

20. Kinetic Performance Active 26K Formula Dry Dog Food, 35-lb bag

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Sorghum, Brown Rice

This is another high-quality recipe that offers optimal protein levels from the chicken meal. The high protein and fat content support muscular development and provide sustainable energy. Chicken meal is also rich in essential nutrients such as amino acids for added support.

The recipe features other ingredients such as nutrient-rich menhaden fish and eggs. It also contains L-carnitine to maintain proper weight and glucosamine for healthy hip and joints. It has everything your hunting dog needs to stay healthy and thrive.

21. Sport Dog Food Active Series Bird Dog Whitefish Formula

Top 5 Ingredients: White Fish Meal, Whole Ground Sorghum, Dried Sweet Potato, Whole Ground Millet, Chicken Fat

This grain-free recipe is an excellent option for keeping your hunting dog happy and healthy. It has Atlantic whitefish meal as the primary ingredient. The fish meal contains cod, pollock, and haddock to meet your hunting dog’s protein requirements.

The recipe is rich in natural probiotics, antioxidants, and essential omegas. The high-energy formula offers a tasty meal for your dog. It also supports optimal nutrient absorption and high digestibility. Finally, the recipe has no artificial flavors, preservatives, fillers, and animal by-products.

Related:

Buyer’s Guide  

The best food for hunting dogs can help enhance your dog’s stamina and endurance. Hunting dogs have a wide range of characteristics, breeds, sizes, and activity requirements.

Hunting Dog Breed Characteristics

The most common hunting dogs are gun dogs or scent hounds.  

Gun dogs: They are also called bird dogs as they prey on birds. These hunting dogs may also hunt smaller animals, such as rabbits. A gun dog can locate prey for the hunter to shoot. The gun dog often retrieves the quarry for the hunter.

Scent hounds: This hunting dog follows prey trails with its nose and makes noise while running after it. The noise enables the hunter to follow the trail even when their dog is out of sight. Some scent hounds also focus on pursuing prey.

Types of Hunting Dogs

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever is one of the most famous gun dogs. This energetic, enthusiastic, and loyal dog breed can withstand extreme temperatures and swim through cold water. Labradors are ideal for duck hunting. Labs also make an excellent companion and family dog.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are also popular gun dogs. They are great for hunting birds and other small prey. Golden retrievers are enthusiastic, loyal, and trainable. They also make wonderful companions and have a reputation for getting along well with children. But they may require plenty of activity and playtime to exercise their minds and bodies.

Beagle

The beagle is a scent hound with an amazing sense of smell and a loud voice. This breed is suitable for hunting small game, such as rabbits. Beagles also make wonderful family companions and are good with kids. They are popular for being loving and eager to please.

American Foxhound

This hunting dog thrives on the chase and is popular for hunting foxes. The breed is also suitable for deer hunting. Foxhounds make loyal and loving companions, but they need plenty of exercise to meet their high energy and endurance levels.

English Springer Spaniel

The English springer spaniel is a bird dog that is ideal for chasing pheasants. This dog has excellent retrieving skills and also makes an excellent family dog.

Pointer

The pointer is a bird dog with a determined spirit and a high prey drive. The pointer will pursue prey like quail and pheasants. Plus, this breed is heat tolerant and well-suited for hunting in warmer climates. A pointer also makes a loyal, loving companion.

Chesapeake Bay retriever

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is an athletic gun dog. This breed is intelligent, loyal, and determined. They can also withstand cold temperatures like the Lab.

Activity Level of Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs are one of the most active dogs out there. They enjoy a wide range of hunting activities, including climbing, trekking long distances, chasing game animals, and retrieving animals. Hunting dog owners should provide nutritious, energetic meals to support their dog’s high activity levels. If dogs aren’t given proper meals, they become susceptible to infections and chronic health issues.

Features to Consider When Shopping For the Best Dog Food

Protein

The high protein content is essential for hunting dogs. Give your dog a complete and balanced diet if they enjoy being active. Hunting dogs need a protein-rich diet to support lean muscle development and develop endurance.

The dog food should have at least 30% protein. You can choose quality protein sources like meat meals and whole meats such as salmon or lamb.

Fat

Fat is an excellent energy source for hunting dogs. Food containing high-fat content will improve your dog’s endurance and performance. You should check the dog food label to ensure the ingredients list features animal fat sources like chicken fat.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

Complex carbohydrates are excellent for hunting dogs. Look for starchy ingredients such as sweet potatoes or brown rice.

Fiber is another essential nutrient for high-energy dogs. It’s important for digestive tract function and overall Wellness. Read the product labels and look for fiber sources such as beet pulp, pumpkin, and ground flaxseed.

Other Minerals and Vitamins

You should add essential vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet. These nutrients help improve a hunting dog’s immune system, strengthen muscles, and enhance mobility.

Water Content

Your dog needs plenty of water for optimal hydration. If your dog consumes dry dog food, it’s important to keep fresh water available at all times.

High-Performance Dog Food Vs. Normal Dog Food

Hunting dogs require a high-performance diet to thrive in their daily lives. Experts recommend balanced diets that contain 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. This combination can help maintain your dog’s performance. It also supports mental strength, eyesight, and endurance.

If you’re using regular kibble, you can modify the feeding program based on your dog’s needs.

Dietary Considerations and Common Health Problems in Hunting Dogs

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs for different reasons, and the consequences can be frightening to dog owners witnessing a hypoglycemic attack for the first time.

Prolonged or repeated hypoglycemic episodes in hunting dogs can lead to divesting effects. You can learn about the most common causes of hypoglycemia and how to prevent attacks.

Hypoglycemia can affect hunting dogs after prolonged field activity and lack of sufficient food. Continued exertion depletes the glycogen in a hunting dog’s body. This reduces blood sugar levels and causes hypoglycemia.

Always give your dog high protein meals for great health. You can also carry a vitamin supplement so that you’re well prepared.

Arthritis and Hip Dysplasia

Arthritis can affect a hunting dog’s performance. One of the reasons why hunting dogs develop this disease is obesity. So, it’s important to maintain your dog’s weight.

If your dog has arthritis, you can keep him fit and active with regular exercise. Your vet can recommend helpful ways to keep your dog comfortable during exercises.

Large hunting dogs are also susceptible to hip dysplasia. While this disease is mainly inherited, obesity and injuries can aggravate the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are high-quality proteins important for hunting dogs?

High-quality proteins help nourish your dog’s health and support their active lifestyle. It’s important to find premium protein sources to support lean muscle mass. You may want to choose digestible protein sources like venison, chicken, lamb, and fish.

Do hunting dogs need a grain-free diet?

Grain-free dog food can keep your hunting dog healthy and active. Grains can cause adverse allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset. If you want the best for your hunting dog, choose grain-free dog food.

When can I feed my hunting dog?

Research suggests that dogs perform better on an empty stomach. That means you can feed your hunting dog at the end of the training or hunting session.

What can I feed my hunting dog?

The best food for hunting dogs has high protein and fat content and is grain-free. They should also contain carbohydrates to support your dog’s energy needs. Give your adult dog meaty meals with added fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition.

Can I feed my dog before hunting?

No. It’s a bad idea to feed your dog before hunting. As recommended earlier, you should feed your dog after the hunt to avoid potential health problems.

What are the best natural ingredients for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs need fats, carbs, and vitamins for optimal health. Some excellent sources of fats and omega fats include fish oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, and canola oil. Carbs from vegetables like potatoes are more suitable for hunting dogs. Also, fruits like blueberries contain plenty of essential nutrients for hunting dogs.

Are eggs safe for hunting dogs?

You can feed your hunting dog cooked eggs as they contain proteins and amino acids essential for muscle nourishment. Boiled eggs make great treats for hunting dogs, but try not to over-feed your dog.

What kind of raw meat is good for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs need raw animal meats like chicken, lamb, beef, and fish. You need to make sure that the meat is fresh as spoiled meat may contain harmful pathogens.

How long can hunting dogs go without food?

Hunting dogs can survive around 3-5 days without food. It’s best to feed them regularly so they can stay healthy and active.

Why are hunting dogs hungry all the time?

Some hunting dogs might start overeating if they aren’t getting the right nutrients from their regular diet. They might also show hunger signs if they’re stressed, have separation anxiety, or are sick. Try to determine the cause so that your hunting dog doesn’t become obese.

What kind of foods are bad for hunting dogs?

Some foods are potentially dangerous for your hunting dog. These include milk, chocolate, raw eggs, raisins, nuts, and grains.

How much protein does my hunting dog need?

Dog food with 22-26 percent protein and 12-16 percent fat is ideal for most hunting dogs. You can reduce the protein quantity for inactive and senior dogs.

Which vegetables are great for feeding hunting dogs?

The best vegetables for your hunting dog include potatoes, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, cauliflowers, sweet potatoes, and peas.

How do I determine if my hunting dog has food allergies?

Common symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence are possible indicators of food allergies. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, itchy skin, coughing, sneezing, and repeated ear infections. Consult with your vet if you suspect your hunting dog has food allergies.

Is free-feeding good for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs are foodies, and they may gain weight easily. Free feeding isn’t a great idea as your dog might overeat. If your hunting dog isn’t active enough, it might also lead to obesity.

Which food can help my hunting dog gain weight?

If your hunting dog isn’t gaining weight, try feeding raw organ meat such as the liver. Vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams can also help them gain weight. If your hunting dog is having problems maintaining his or her weight, consult your veterinarian.

Is raw food good for hunting dogs?

The Raw Food Diet is a great option for hunting dogs. Large breeds can benefit from this ancestral dog diet. Just make sure you get quality commercial raw dog food.

Does my hunting dog need supplements?

Hunting dogs have high nutritional requirements. And it’s a good idea to supplement their diet with vitamins, probiotics, amino acids, and other essential nutrients.

Can my hunting dog survive on homemade food?

Homemade food lacks essential nutrients that your dog needs for healthy living. Always buy high-quality commercial dog food to prevent nutrient deficiencies.