The 8 Best Dog Foods with Grain

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

This updated guide lists all of the Best grain inclusive dog foods.

With all the debate and competing information out there about grain-free diets for our dogs, it can be difficult to tell if it’s a good choice for them. It’s a hot topic right now, mainly because of our interest in it as it pertains to our own diet choices.

But is it really a good idea for a dog’s diet?

Well…not for all dogs, I’d say.

In fact:

In some cases, picking up a grain-rich diet for your best friend can be the best nutritional decision you can make.

Simply put, if your dog does not have grain allergies, grains are not harmful. What you need to watch out for is the quality of grain you are feeding your dog. So if you have decided to give your dog a rich, wholesome diet with healthy grains, we have a list that you and your dogs are going to love.

Let’s dive in…

The 8 Best Dog Foods with Grain

Best Grain Inclusive Dog FoodsRatingsTop Ingredients
1. Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food4.9Duck Meal, Millet, Turkey Meal…
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula4.9Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice…
3. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula
(Editor’s Pick)
4.7Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat…
4. Nutro Max Adult Recipe4.7Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice…
5. Iams ProActive MiniChunks Dog Food4.7Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum…
6. Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula4.6Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice…
7. Kinetic Performance Power 30K Formula4.6Chicken Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat…
8. Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe Dog Food4.6Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice…

Below are my top 8 picks. See the remaining grain inclusive dog foods on the next page.

1. Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Duck Meal, 2. Millet, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Salmon Meal

This high-quality, grain-inclusive recipe for dogs is one of my top picks for the excellent nutrient composition that it features.

  • With protein content as high as 38%, the recipe includes duck meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal to deliver the nutrient profile as well as delicious flavors your dog’s going to love.
  • The power-packed recipe is a complete feast with nutritionally balanced ingredients to ensure your best friend gets nothing but the best.
  • This crunchy kibble is nutrient-dense and contains healthy concentrates of fruits and vegetables.

A special coating of digestive enzymes on the kibble ensures the meal is easier to digest. Last but not least, this recipe contains only wholesome grains and is free from fillers and chemically synthesized vitamins to offer guaranteed health benefits for your dog.


2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Fish & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Whitefish, 2. Menhaden Fish Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal

This grain-inclusive formula contains the best quality wholesome grains as primary ingredients such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal.

Other major ingredients include Menhaden fishmeal and whitefish. Together these ingredients make this recipe a popular choice among dog owners. Its Life Protection Formula was created specifically for the health and wellbeing of your dogs.

The recipe boasts an excellent combination of ingredients to craft a precise blend of nutrients for your precious little one. Additionally, the Life Protection Formula has antioxidant-rich ingredients to strengthen your dog’s immune system. This savory recipe is a complete meal that you can serve your buddy for maximum energy to stay active and healthy.


3. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Beef Meal, 2. Grain Sorghum, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Pork Meal, 5. Chicken Meal

Prepared with gluten-free, wholesome grains, this recipe boasts 88% meat protein, with primary sources including beef, chicken, fish meal, and pork. The impressive nutrient profile of this recipe makes it ideal for active and athletic dogs. For grains, the nutrient-dense diet relies primarily on whole-grain millet and grain sorghum. The formula is suitable for all breeds and makes up a savory diet for your best friend.

If you want to serve your furry friend a delicious meal that’s both balanced and complete, this Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus dog food is an excellent pick.


4. Nutro Max Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

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Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Sorghum, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal

The grain-inclusive formula by Nutro Max contains an excellent blend of ingredients that are highly nutritious and easy for dogs to digest. Even dogs with a sensitive stomach can enjoy this delicious diet. It includes wholesome grains like oatmeal and brown rice to give your dog the energy they need for great health and vitality.

The formula is free of artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors to ensure your dog gets only the safest, highest-quality food available for growth, development, and maintenance. The protein in the recipe is extracted from farm-raised chicken, which also provides essential amino acids to your dog for maintaining a healthy metabolism and muscle building.


5. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 3. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Chicken By-Product Meal, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

The Iams brand has always been a staple for my dogs.. Not only do my dogs love the taste, but it gives me peace of mind knowing exactly what I am feeding them.  Its highly nutritious blend of ingredients containing wholesome grains is great for active and playful dogs without grain sensitivities.

Enriched with antioxidants, it promotes your dog’s healthy immune system by filling their bowl with the goodness of rich flavors and nutrients. Sourced from high-quality chicken and eggs, mini chunks help build muscles and nourish the heart. This carefully selected blend of ingredients is also loaded with minerals and vitamins to boost your dog’s natural defenses.


6. Diamond Naturals — Beef Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Beef Meal, 2. Grain Sorghum, 3. Ground White Rice, 4. Dried Yeast, 5. Egg Product

Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds, the formula is rich in protein derived from fish and beef. The list of ingredients also includes various whole foods for lean nutrition and a handful of healthy wholesome grains for maximum energy.

The natural recipe is a popular choice for pet parents as the complete meal also includes powerful antioxidants and added vitamins to support the overall health and wellbeing of your little darling. The essential omegas ensure their coat stays healthy and keeps shining!


7. Kinetic — Performance Power 30K Formula Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken Meal, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Ground Sorghum

The name says it all! The power-packed formula is designed by experts for super active and performance dogs with sources that offer sustainable energy to your hyper tail-waggers. The nutrient-dense recipe includes handpicked ingredients to ensure it is free from artificial flavors and unwanted fillers.

Maintain your hound’s performance potential by offering them a diet that features a healthy nutrient profile. With healthy grain options like sorghum and brown rice, this performance power recipe by Kinetic is all you need to serve your dog.


8. Whole Earth Farms — Adult Recipe Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken Meal, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Barley

Made with multi-source proteins, including whitefish and real chicken, the recipe also includes a variety of healthy grains to ensure your dog gets the energy he needs to stay active and happy all day long.

This special formula by Whole Earth Farms has essential omegas extracted from salmon oil to take care of your pooch’s skin and coat while the wholesome grain ingredients including organic alfalfa and brown rice add up to the complete and balanced nutrition for your dogs. Definitely recommended!


Related:

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FAQs

1. Why are grains considered bad for dogs?

The answer would depend on the type of grains you are feeding your dog. First off, if your dog is not allergic to grains or a certain grain, in particular, grains may not be harmful at all. In fact, grains are considered a healthy source of nutrients if provided in their non-processed, wholesome form.

2. Is a grain-inclusive diet really a healthy option for my dog?

It depends on what’s nutritionally appropriate for your dog. But if we just talk about grains, they are actually a great source of nutrients that are important for canines. The key is to choose the right source of grains to ensure your pooches get the nutrition and energy they are entitled to and only then, a grain-inclusive diet will be considered healthy for dogs.

3. How do I find out if my dog is allergic to grains?

Food-related allergies often present the same kind of symptoms in our dogs as we humans experience. Itchy skin, gastrointestinal upset of all kinds, lethargy, and ear infections are often indications of an allergy. As always, if any of these symptoms persist or are severe in nature, you should always consult your veterinarian.

4. How are whole grains better than processed grains for my dog’s food?

Since whole grains are unprocessed, they contain fiber and nutrients that could offer health benefits to your dog when included in their diet. Refined grains, on the other hand, are processed and tend to lose minerals, fiber, and vitamins during the process. Whole grains are usually a healthier option for your dog’s diet.

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5. Are there any benefits of feeding whole grains to my dog?

Grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They provide healthy carbohydrates and offer your dog the energy they need to stay active and thrive.

6. Should I consider taking my vet’s advice before starting a grain-inclusive diet for my dog?

It is always a great idea to speak to a vet or a pets nutritionist before starting a particular diet for your dog, especially if you are giving them a grain-inclusive diet for the first time. You can also try introducing a small amount of grain-inclusive kibble in their diet first and watch out for allergy symptoms before seeking assistance from a professional.

7. Are there dangers associated with feeding your dog a grain-free diet?

Grain-free diets are recommended for canines with grain-related allergies. Usually, these options are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. However, grain-free diets are known for aggravating the levels of taurine. This could lead to cardiomyopathy, which is a fatal heart condition for both canines and felines.

8. What are the best varieties of whole grains that I can feed my dog?

You have many options when it comes to healthy whole grains that you can feed your dog. These include wheat, rice, oats, barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and oatmeal. Usually, the grain-inclusive diets have one or more of these as primary ingredients in the blend.

9. What varieties of grains are harmful to my dog’s diet?

Grains are not really harmful but it is recommended that the diet you pick for your four-legged buddy consists of whole grains only. Steer clear of anything that mentions refined varieties. Also, you must avoid grain by-products such as corn cobs, peanut hulls, soybean hulls, rice hulls, oat hulls, almond shells, cottonseed hulls, powdered cellulose, grain fragments, wheat middlings, wheat mill run, and soy mill run. Even if a brand tries to make it sound like real grains, remember they are just the leftover debris, which can be unhealthy for your pooch.

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10. Can whole grains cause weight gain in my dog?

If you stick to the recommended portion size for your dog’s diet, whole grains shouldn’t contribute to their weight gain. In fact, if you compare whole grains to alternative carbohydrate sources such as peas and potatoes, the latter can lead to an unintentional spike in weight.

11. Do grains have a positive impact on the digestive system of my dog?

Not only are whole grains are rich in minerals and vitamins, but they also contain fiber, which is great for digestion. If your dog does not have allergic symptoms from grain, a grain-inclusive diet can actually help them maintain a healthier digestive system.

12. Whole grains help with healthy stools – is this correct?

As mentioned earlier, the fiber content present in grains can help your dog pass stool regularly and keep the digestive system running smoothly.

13. Can my dog easily digest grains?

Grains are easily digestible by dogs that are not sensitive to the ingredients. Additionally, fiber helps maintain a healthier digestive system in dogs.

14. Does a grain-inclusive diet have an impact on the nutrient profile of dog food?

A diet that includes grains has an overall positive impact on the nutrient profile. The carbs are now extracted from whole grains which are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber instead of alternative varieties like pumpkin, peas, potatoes, etc. The overall nutrients are adjusted accordingly to ensure the diet is balanced and complete.


Buyer’s Guide

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When it comes to understanding the dietary requirement of grains in dogs, there’s a never-ending debate on the topic. And while there’s no potent evidence to suggest that dogs must eat a grain-inclusive diet, grains aren’t considered harmful for your dogs either. In fact, the more pet nutritionists research, the more benefits they’re able to see.

The first thing we need to understand as dog owners are that dogs are not strictly carnivores. As much as we like to match up to their ancestral diet, they have evolved into digesting various categories of foods that we eat such as vegetables, fruits, and even grains.

So what made people believe that grains were all bad for a dog’s diet? Well, the answer to this question is because we want to believe that. We can’t think past the fact that a dog’s diet should replicate that of a wolf and therefore, should primarily be based on protein. What we fail to understand is that unlike wolves, dogs are domesticated animals and can benefit from the different varieties of nutrients we provide them.

As far as grains are concerned, it isn’t really the ingredients that cause the issue. It is the fact that we don’t pay enough attention to the quality of grains we are choosing for our dogs, and the content of carbohydrates present in a grain-inclusive composition. One thing needs to be clear that despite the kind of food you choose, carbs should never surpass the protein and fat content in a blend. Your dog’s ideal diet should be high protein, and contain moderate levels of fat, and be low in carbs.

With that said, let’s dig deeper into this debate and figure out why grain-inclusive diets are not that bad after all and how you may be depriving your hound with an array of great nutrients by opting for a grain-free diet without purpose.

Why Are Grains Considered Bad for dogs?

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As I’ve said many times over grains are not harmful if your dog is not allergic to them. Even vets and veterinary medicine does not support the myth around the dangers of consuming grains by dogs. First of all, true food allergies are not considered to be that prevalent in canines, and usually, the offending ingredients are not grains. In fact, whole grains are a healthy source of essential nutrients that hold various health benefits.

Some people are just more comfortable in feeding a grain-free diet option to their dog, even if there are no allergy symptoms present. While this is a personal choice for every dog owner, I would still advise that you take all things into account before making this decision.

Is Grain-Free Diet Potentially Dangerous?

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Well, a grain-free diet is a popular concept mainly because there are benefits associated with it. Therefore, calling it outright dangerous isn’t appropriate. We have been feeding all sorts of grains to our dogs until this topic became too trendy and suddenly relying on the alternatives can be a little problematic. Some grain-free foods include unknown elements that are advertised as healthy alternatives to grains and since this fashion is still pretty new, it can be a risk.

Being allergic to grains is one thing but most pet parents opt for a grain-free diet without any allergy symptoms being present. On top of that, dog food brands market the grain-free diets focusing on all the health benefits that humans gain from it. Unfortunately, the doting pet parents fall into the trap without realizing that the nutritional needs of animals and humans are very different.

You could possibly be depriving your tail-wagger of nutrients that could contribute to their overall wellbeing by choosing a grain-free diet. I believe that grain-free options are best for dogs with allergies – otherwise, it isn’t!

The only two reasons why it is okay for pooches to pass up a grain-inclusive diet are:

  • Allergies – While the majority of dogs can easily digest and thrive on grains, some could be allergic to the ingredients. However, it is important to note that protein-related allergies are more common in canines compared to grain-related allergies. Therefore, it is important to carefully watch out for the symptoms.
  • Digestion and Gas: Even if they are not allergic to grains, dogs with a weaker digestive system may find it difficult to process a grain-inclusive diet without any problem. Some dogs may have excessive gas and tummy troubles. If you notice your dog being gasier than usual, you might want to switch to a grain-free diet to see the difference.

Why Feeding a Grain-Inclusive Diet is a Good Idea

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While dogs are capable of synthesizing glucose for energy from fat and protein, it does not mean grains are an unnecessary part of their diet. Here are some reasons why it is a good idea to stick to grains:

  • Your pooch’s digestive system requires fiber for regulating, as it serves the purpose of eliminating toxins from the body.
  • There’s a whole myriad of vitamins and minerals your dogs get from whole grains.
  • Grains, such as oats, also contain soluble fiber to help control cholesterol, stabilize blood glucose levels and enhances the absorption of nutrients.
  • Unlike the sources of protein, grain can reduce the calorie content of a diet without compromising on the satiation it offers.
  • Energy extracted from healthy carbs also helps dogs with certain medical conditions like liver or kidney disease, intestinal bowel disease, and pancreatitis.
  • A grain-inclusive meal also works perfectly with dogs who require a low-fat or protein-reduced diet.

What Kind of Grain-Inclusive Food Is Best?

With the variety of grain-inclusive foods available today, choosing the best dog food with grains can be a daunting task. I’d suggest that you start by reading the labels. Look at the variety of grains present in the blend. Do not opt for a variety that includes GMO, processed grains, or grain by-products.

With all this information in hand, you will be able to identify the good grains and avoid the bad ones. In addition to this, also check out the following:

  • Formulated as complete and balanced – Grain or no-grain, the recipe should offer the recommended nutrient profile including protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The balanced concentration and appropriate ratios indicate the quality of formulation.
  • Lifestyle and life stage – It is crucial to serve your dog according to the varying nutritional needs as they grow from a puppy to an adult dog and then to a senior dog.
  • Special needs – Especially if you are planning to stick to a grain-inclusive diet, make sure you are completely aware of the special needs of your dog and know about their allergies if any.

Picking Up The Best Dog Food with Grain

Use the information shared in this article to make an informed decision based on facts. The top 8 best dog foods with grains have been listed to make the choice even easier for you. Each of these options has been selected keeping these factors in mind to help you pick a diet that’s nutritionally rich, complete, and balanced.

So unless your dog shows symptoms of intolerances to grains, feeding the right amount of a whole grain diet can serve a healthy choice for your beloved pooch.

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