This (updated) guide lists all of the best dry dog foods for this year.
I have reviewed the bestselling and highest quality dry dog foods after spending weeks on:
- Ingredient analysis
- Customer feedback
- and more…
(Here’s my 40 point inspection list)
Below are my top picks. See more dry dog food options on the next page.
Let’s dive in…
How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick
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The Best Dry Dog Foods
|Best Dog Foods||Ratings||Top Ingredients|
|1. Wellness Complete Dry Dog Food||4.9||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal…|
|2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food|
|4.9||Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal…|
|3. Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Dog Food||4.8||Chicken Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat…|
|4. Purina Beyond Simply 9 Dry Dog Food||4.8||Chicken, Rice, Whole Barley…|
|5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula||4.8||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice…|
1. Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Ground Barley, 5. Peas
This recipe is, without a doubt, one of the best dry dog foods in the market right now and most frequently recommended by veterinary and breeders. Prepared with an interesting combination of deboned chicken and whitefish, the formula is a complete and balanced diet for your pooch.
The special mixture gives your dog full-body nutritional support they need for health maintenance and activity. The other mix of ingredients is loaded with antioxidants and other high-quality nutrients to support cognitive health and keep the immune system strong. The flavors will keep your dog hooked too!
2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas
Rich in essential omega acids, your pooch’s going to love the variety of protein-packed ingredients this recipe has for them.
The top animal-based protein is extracted from venison, bison, boar, lamb, salmon, and wildfowl. But it doesn’t end here. This particular recipe is my personal favorite for the excellent nutrient profile that it boasts, which I feel is ideal for different dog breeds.
3. Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Millet, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Yeast Culture
- No corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Vitamins, minerals or amino acids
Give your precious pooch the opportunity to enjoy a nutrient-dense feast every time. The meat-based crunchy kibbles do not only contain high levels of quality protein but concentrate of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits.
Also, the kibble is coated with digestive enzymes to help dogs with weak digestion enjoy their meal without any trouble. Free from unnecessary fillers, soy, corn, rice, and wheat, the nutrient-rich food is suitable for all breed dogs.
4. Purina Beyond Simply 9 White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Whole Barley, 4. Canola Meal, 5. Chicken Meal
- Limited Ingredient Diet
- Loaded with natural minerals and vitamins
For all the amazingness packed in this food, you get the best value for money. And since the recipe is primarily based on a single animal-based protein source, it is considered a limited ingredient diet with a nutritional blend of other wholesome ingredients that make this brand such a hit among dog parents.
In addition to a great selection of ingredients and an impressive nutrient profile, a major reason why this is considered one of the best dog foods for your canine friend is that it is also very affordable.
5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal
- No corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Fiber-rich content ensures healthy digestion
- Free of unhealthy fillers, artificial colors, and preservatives
This recipe by Blue Buffalo is another excellent blend that I am personally fond of. It has an interesting combination of meat-based protein, antioxidant-rich whole grain, and healthy fats.
And that’s why this blue buffalo formula is one of the healthiest dog food with an impressive nutrient profile flaunts a great ratio of protein and fat that guarantees well-balanced nutrition for your four-legged canine friend.
6. I and Love and You Nude Super Food Red Meat Medley Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Pork, 2. Beef Meal, 3. Herring Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Chickpeas
Serve your dog a meal loaded with the wholesome goodness of great ingredients and delicious flavors. Prepared from deboned meat, the recipe features high-quality protein content that serves your little one’s nutritional needs.
The meal is also packed with real fruits and vegetables for added minerals and vitamins. With essential omegas blended into the recipe, ensure healthy skin and a shiny coat of your pet.
You can definitely rely on this brand to maintain your buddy’s health as the recipe is formulated by holistic veterinarians.
7. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 3. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Chicken By-Product Meal, 5. Dried Beet Pulp
- No fillers or artificial preservatives
- Enriched with I-carnitine
- Great for your dog’s immune system
The protein-rich mini chunk formula is made from farm-raised, high-quality chicken to ensure your adult hound gets all the protein he needs.
The recipe is based on other wholesome ingredients including grains, fruits, and vegetables for the additional minerals, vitamins, and acids to guarantee improved skin conditions and a shinier coat.
8. Nutro Max Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Farm-Raised Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Sorghum, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal
- No corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Supreme-quality chicken protein delivers amino acids that help with muscle building and maintenance of a healthy metabolism
This holistic blend by Nutro’s Max boasts an excellent blend of high-quality natural ingredients that serve as a great source of optimal nutrition for your dog. The farm-raised chicken ensures your dog is served the recommended level of protein he needs for growth and maintenance. Rich in fiber and probiotics, the formula is easy to digest by your precious pooch.
9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Beef, Potato & Bison Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Dried Peas, 4. Whole Dried Potatoes, 5. Chicken Fat
Your little tail-wagger deserves nothing but the best when it comes to a wholesome diet. And if you are looking for a nutrient-dense, well-balanced, and a complete diet for your precious pooch, this option by Rachael Ray won’t disappoint you.
The grain-free recipe includes some of the best and highly-digestible fruits and vegetables for additional essential acids, probiotics, minerals, and vitamins. The farm-raised beef and bison are the primary sources of protein in this blend.
10. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Garbanzo Beans, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Salmon Meal
The protein in this recipe comes from salmon, which guarantees high-quality nutrition to support muscle development of your canine.
The other two main sources of nutrition are pumpkin and sweet potatoes that not only contribute to healthy digestion but also ensures sustainable energy for your little darling. If your dog isn’t sensitive to grains, he’s surely going to love the combination of healthy oatmeal and barley present in this formula.
11. Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken, Turkey, & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Turkey, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Turkey Meal, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley
The nutritious kibble recipe is a premium quality dry dog formula primarily made from chicken, turkey, and brown rice. The filler-free diet contains no by-product meal, soy, corn, or wheat, which makes it a wonderful recipe for any dog with a sensitive gut.
The formula contains high-quality protein to support the maintenance of lean muscle. Also, the rich-antioxidant ingredients such as spinach, blueberries, and apples help with building a healthy immune system for any dog.
12. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Potatoes
The special grain-free formula is a blend of deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal to give your little darling the much-needed protein boost that dogs need to maintain great health.
The high protein content is one of the main reasons why most dog parents pick this option, especially for growing pups and dog breeds that require an additional punch of protein for growth and maintenance. In addition to the novel protein sources, the recipe is made from wholesome, natural ingredients without any artificial flavors or colors.
13. Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Chicken Fat
The Holistic Select brand is known for offering a complete and balanced diet that suits dogs of different breeds and life stages. The dry kibble formula is a perfect combination of healthy ingredients to deliver premium proteins and other nutrients.
Prepared with super-quality chicken and brown rice, the blend supports digestive health and easy absorption of nutrients. Serve your dog a healthy balance of whole grains for great health and high energy.
14. Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Deboned Chicken, 5. Deboned Turkey
The grain and gluten-free formula is an excellent example of a premium quality meal for your dog and is, therefore, one of the best dry dog foods you can give your little one.
Suitable for all breed types, the multi-protein rich formula is crafted from grain-free chicken, turkey, trout, salmon, and duck to offer complete and balanced nutrition for your pooch’s optimal health.
Is dry food option the best diet for my dog?
It is indeed one of the best dog foods you can feed your little one, provided that you pay attention to the ingredients before choosing a brand to ensure maximum nutrition. Kibbles or dry dog food is not only a more commercial option but has a long shelf-life, does not need to be refrigerated and the chewable consistency ensures your dog’s healthy teeth.
Is dry dog food better as compared to wet food options?
There are definite benefits associated with dry dog food. These options are not only nutritionally balanced for your dog but also easier to serve and store. The food has less odor and is less likely to go bad if left in the bowl for too long. On the other hand, wet food options are also beneficial for dogs, especially for dogs who need to increase water consumption, but dry food indeed has more benefits.
How to store dry dog food?
Fortunately, it doesn’t require a lot of effort to store dry dog food. The best way to prolong the freshness of dry food is to keep it in its original packing and remove only what you’re feeding your dog. You can also use airtight containers to store the kibble.
Can my puppy easily chew dry dog food?
Most puppies can easily chew small-sized dry dog food. However, some young ones may find it difficult and require you to soften the dog food before eating. To soften, add a few tablespoons of warm water in the bowl and set aside for a few minutes to allow the food to soften. If your dog is not allergic to chicken or beef, you can also add warm broth for softening the food for your precious pups.
Can dry dog food go bad in the heat?
While dry dog food stays fresh for longer as compared to other options, exposing it to heat, humidity, and air can speed up the degradation process. It is best to store dry dog food in a cool, dry place.
Are grains in dry dog food bad for my dog’s diet?
Grain-free diets are an excellent option for dogs with a sensitive gut. The allergen-free recipe does not trigger food-related sensitivities in dogs. However, whole grains contribute valuable nutrients including minerals, vitamins, fiber, and essential fatty acids. They are not fillers and can have beneficial health implications.
What’s a ‘balanced food’ for dogs?
A ‘balanced’ diet refers to the optimum nutrient profile associated with a food blend. If a brand claims to be both complete and optimally balanced for your pooch, it guarantees to provide all essential nutrients that are closest to the natural canine’s diet.
What does ‘wholesome’ dog food mean?
A diet is considered wholesome if it contains unprocessed, real, bioavailable, and nutrient-rich ingredients. The ingredients are also USDA inspected and approved.
Does the size of kibble matter?
You will find dry dog food in an array of kibble sizes. And picking the right size matters because younger and small-breed dogs may find it difficult to eat larger pieces of food. There’s a risk of choking if you give your smaller dogs large kibbles to eat. Larger dogs, on the other hand, can comfortably eat kibbles of all sizes.
What’s the role of moisture in dry dog food?
The moisture content can have a significant effect on the overall percentage of other ingredients in a dry dog formula, including protein, carbs, and fats. Being aware of the moisture content will help you determine the nutrient composition of the food.
Why is it important to check the fiber content in dry dog food?
Fiber is a crucial component of a dog’s diet and it is important to ensure a certain amount of fiber in their daily meal. The presence of fiber improves stool, promotes weight maintenance or weight loss, improves colon health, and helps with digestion issues. It adds to the overall health benefits to your dog.
How important is fat in a dog’s diet?
All dogs require a certain amount of fat in their diets to maintain health and strength. In fact, a dog’s fat requirement is much more than humans, and since dogs do not suffer from the hardening of arteries or atherosclerosis, the fat content doesn’t pose threats to your dog’s health. They need fat to gain the energy they require to run and play.
Which protein sources are best for dogs?
It is important to understand that not all proteins are made equally. Dogs need higher protein content with great digestibility. Meat-based protein is the best source providing this essential nutrient to your dog.
Is fish a food source of protein in dog food?
Fortunately, the dog food brands available today gives a lot of choices for your dog’s diet. Fish and fish meal are a rich source of protein and also include amino acids that help with building a strong immune system. They are indeed a great source of protein for your dog.
Can I feed eggs to my dog?
Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but are also dense in calories. While it is okay to feed eggs to your dog, it is best to keep it in moderation.
Can my dog eat wheat?
Yes, dogs can eat wheat. However, there’s no nutritional requirement for this ingredient in your pooch’s diet. If your dog is not sensitive to wheat and has a strong digestive system, wheat-based meals can be fed at various life stages. Moderation is the key. For dogs with a sensitive gut, steer clear of this ingredient.
What fruits and vegetables can I feed my dog?
Most dry food kibbles are rich in minerals and vitamins that come from a wholesome variety of fruits and vegetables. You can also feed raw versions to your pooch. Some of the best options include apples, oranges, carrots, watermelon, and broccoli.
What fruits and vegetables should I avoid feeding my dog?
Some ingredients fruits and vegetables can be very toxic to dogs. Avoid feeding them raisins, grapes, garlic, onion, and a range of fruits with pits.
Do I need to feed my dog a varied diet?
While variety can have some advantages, especially for picky eaters, there’s no solid evidence to support how a variety in the diet can be healthier. However, if your dog likes transitioning between different flavors and recipes, you can introduce varieties.
Is it dangerous to feed the wrong diet to my pet?
Yes, it can be dangerous for your pet if their diet is not formulated according to their specific breed or stage of life. The nutrient balance of different diet varies and feeding a small-breed growing puppy a diet that’s suitable for adult large-breed dogs can result in health problems, including obesity. Stick to a diet formulated for your specific dog.
What to feed my overweight dog?
Dogs are highly susceptible to obesity. And excessive weight can lead to a host of health problems like heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Be mindful when feeding your overweight dog. Feed them regular meals with controlled portion sizes. Do not keep food available to your dog all the time. Also, reduce or eliminate regular treats and avoid additional food. In addition to the specialized diet for weight control, make sure your pet is getting enough exercise to stay active and healthy. Consult a vet to get a diet plan to address your pooch’s weightloss goals.
Are raw food diets safe for my pet?
There are potential drawbacks to giving your dog just a raw food diet. Failure to keep up with the nutritional standards cause deficiencies and imbalances and can lead to various infectious diseases. You can give certain raw foods like fruits and vegetables in addition to a balanced nutritional diet as supplements.
What kind of food is best for my dog?
This is a subjective question. You must take different factors such as breed, age, gender, body composition, activity level, and temperament of your dog into account before picking up the right option available. But generally, a diet that offers a blend made from quality ingredients is considered healthy and beneficial for your dog.
What to Avoid Feeding Your Pooch
It is very important to stick to quality when it comes to your dog’s diet. This is one of the fundamental factors that I always keep in mind before finalizing my top lists of dog foods. I don’t compromise on quality and neither, should you. Look for options that use quality poultry, meat, and fish as their foundation ingredient. Opting for dog food with a great animal protein source as the first ingredient is essential unless your pooch has kidney issues.
Here are a few things you should stay away from when narrowing down your list of best dry dog foods.
1. Artificial additives, preservatives, colors, and flavoring
Avoid anything that has the word ‘artificial’ on it. These things compromise on the quality of dog food and are also detrimental to your canine’s health. Additives and artificial ingredients can also trigger allergies and sensitivities in some dogs. Low-quality grain-based diets usually have a list of these artificial ingredients and should be avoided completely.
2. Unnecessary fillers
While whole grains make great ingredients in dog foods, refined grains are nothing but low-quality fillers that your pooch’s tummy isn’t going to appreciate. To stick to the best doggies food option, avoid anything that includes unnecessary fillers and look for options with more meat-based formulations, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy oils, and seeds.
What To Look For In The Best Dog Food
You are pretty much clear on that part now, but let’s dig into this deeper:
- Complete nutrition: Your dog’s daily diet should be loaded with ingredients that provide all of the essential nutrients they need. Pay special attention to protein, fat, and fiber. To compare, check the nutritional adequacy standards set by AAFCO and match the label to see if the dog food you are picking meets or exceeds the standard.
- Whole or specified meat meal: For high-quality protein sources and amino acids, it is important to have meat, bone meals, meat meals, and specified meat by-products as your primary ingredients.
- Avoid low-quality fillers and grains: If you don’t mind feeding grains to your dog, make sure they are whole grain options only. Avoid anything that’s processed or includes gluten. Barley and rice are comparatively better than wheat and corn.
- Stick to natural preservatives only or none at all: Having strict rules about preservatives can assure a healthier and longer life of your pooch. The best kind of dog food is that with either no preservatives at all or only natural sources of preservatives such as ascorbate (vitamin c) or tocopherols (vitamin E). Avoid foods that mention BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
When you discuss dog food with someone, everyone’s going to tell you the same thing: Make sure you feed your dog only the best! Well, that doesn’t simplify anything, in fact, it makes things more complicated because now you have to figure out what exactly is the best dog food for your pooch!
In this buyer’s guide, we will try to cover as many factors as we can to make this decision easier for you.
So when it comes to getting your hands on the best healthy dog food available out there, there are various considerations you cannot miss. With the variety and qualities readily available in the market today, it becomes highly challenging to pick the most suitable brand that you think will be perfect for your pooch.
While the debate of what exactly you should be feeding your dog will remain a constant, I will try to highlight the most important factors to help you choose a diet that is complete, nutritionally balanced, and perfect according to your dog’s requirements.
So before we go ahead, the first thing you need to understand is your dog’s breed, life stage, and their digestive system. Once you are through this step, it will become easier to figure out your tail-wagger’s specific dietary needs.
With this primary information in hand, you can instantly eliminate all the options that according to you are not suitable for your dog. This leaves you with fewer options in hand and therefore, makes it easier for you to compare and decide. So without further ado, let’s jump in and learn more!
Dog Food Standard Nutrition
First thing first, you should always ensure that your canine companion’s nutritional needs are perfectly fulfilled by the blend you choose for them. The factors mentioned above will help you determine the specific nutritional needs of your dog.
Dogs require different ranges of nutrients in varying quantities over different life-stages. What you must feed your puppy will be distinctive from what your adult canine needs. Similarly, your super-active working dog will have a different nutrient profile requirement while you need to be very specific about what you feed your senior dog. The best part is that you get a handful of options where the formula is suitable for ‘all life stages’ and different breeds. This is particularly a great benefit for parents of several different kinds of dogs.
Things to Consider
Now that you have the primary information in hand, focus on your dog’s current health. The dietary requirement of a super active dog is different from a dog dealing with obesity. For instance, if your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, you should definitely read the label in detail to steer clear of any option that includes those ingredients. Similarly, if your dog is overweight, you should opt for an option with fewer calories and lesser calorie-dense proteins to control weight.
Here are a few more things you need to consider:
Can I easily identify the ingredients?
A reliable pet food manufacturer will try making label reading easy. Look for options that list down real meat and meat by-products. However, make sure the source of the by-product is clearly mentioned so you know if it is healthy for your dog or not. Properly identifiable ingredients help you become more aware of what you’re feeding your dog. Unspecified ingredients can put your dog’s health at risk and therefore, this factor should never be ignored.
Check for ‘balanced and complete’ label
This label can further simplify your hunt for the best dry dog food. Complete and balanced nutrition means that the diet contains everything your four-legged friend needs to be fit, healthy, and happy. It contains enough protein, carbs, fats, and other micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins that could help your dog maintain optimal health. To earn this badge and to flaunt it off as a label, the manufacturing companies must match the AAFCO standard nutrient profiles. These standards are set by the canine nutrition authorities and the badge guarantees that it has passed the set feeding trial.
If the nutrient profile of a certain brand is higher than the set standard by AAFCO, it is considered even better. So make sure you cross-check for this label.
Choosing Only the Best
Don’t forget to check out the entire list that I have shortlisted for you to make this process easier. The best dry dog food for your four-legged friend is ultimately going to be your choice. As a pet parent, you are responsible for what you feed your little one. So make sure you take this decision wisely and with great responsibility. Use the information shared in this article in the best interest of your dog.
Related: The Best Raw Dog Foods
See more dog food options on the next page.