Nutrition Category IconDog Food

Best Dog Food: By Age, Size, Weight, Special Diet & More

Canine nutrition is important and is crucial to their lifelong health. Finding the best dog food for your pup is a big task. There are so many products to choose from, making it hard to find the right one for every pup. We review several top options to help you find just the right dog food for your furry friend.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: November 25, 2022 | 28 min read

4 types of dog foods side by side

When you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Finding the right food for your dog is not a small task. It can be pretty challenging because not all dog foods are created equally, and every dog is an individual with specific and unique nutritional needs.

A senior dog should not eat the same food as a puppy, a small breed should not eat the same food as a large breed, and some dogs have underlying issues that require them to have special diets like grain free. Every pet owner, regardless of breed, age, or size, wants to ensure they are feeding their sweet fur baby the best dog food possible.

Dogs need high-quality nutrition throughout their lives, but not all dogs have precisely the same nutritional needs. The pet food market is booming, with plenty of new and old options available. Because of this, owners can have a difficult time picking out what truly is the best dog food for their pup.

Health and nutrition are the cornerstone of lifelong health for every canine. Pet owners always work hard to ensure they do the right thing for their pets. Part of that is figuring out what diet works best. Fortunately, we are here to help. We have taken the time over the years to look at plenty of various kinds of dog food and have produced a list of what we consider to be the best.

Reminders

Keep in mind that there are a massive number of dog food options available, so there is no way we can review them all at the same time. Every dog is different and will have nutritional needs that are unique to them. The information we are presenting is to help owners understand the range of products that are out there and how they can be beneficial for your specific pup. None of our information is intended to be a substitute for a consultation with a veterinarian or qualified pet nutritionist.

At A Glance: Best Dog Food

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)

Most Popular Choice

The Farmer’s Dog

VIEW ON THE FARMERSDOG.COM
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Adult

Best For Picky Eaters

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream

VIEW ON CHEWY.COM
Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight

Best For Weight Loss

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight

VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Note: Clicking the above links may take you to one of our affiliate partner’s sites, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Dog Food Varieties

There are so many new and improved dog food products available that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Despite new products, there are five main categories that dog food falls into. Owners generally choose one or a combination of these to feed their pups. Within each category, there are hundreds of various products offered.

Kibble Or Dry

Dry dog food, also called kibble, is probably the most widely used variety of canine food. It comes in many assorted flavors and varieties. Kibble is often the most affordable option and usually comes in large bags that will last owners for several months. It stays fresh and tasty for quite a long time when stored properly. Kibble is made from the same ingredients that other dog food is made from. The ingredients are mixed, ground into a paste, cooked, then shaped into pellets. High-quality kibble usually contains a blend of meats, grains, vegetables, healthy fats, and other nutrients.

Wet Or Canned

Wet food is also called canned food and sometimes comes in a pouch or plastic container. This food will contain proteins, vegetables, grains, and other ingredients found in kibble. Canned food is often more expensive than kibble, but dogs love the taste. Canned can be either a pate or is often a type of chunky Stew in gravy. Wet has a much higher water content than other chow types and is usually about 75% water—the more water, the less nutritional value.

Semi-Moist

Semi-moist dog food has the least nutritional value of all types. Any kind of commercial canine food or treat shaped like human meals is often full of artificial colors, flavorings, and preservatives. These are often best saved for an occasional treat and should not be the main food a pup eats. They will not get well-balanced nutrition and may lack vital nutrients.

Fresh Cooked

Fresh food uses human-grade ingredients and is often designed by veterinarians to meet all a dog’s nutritional needs. Some owners will choose to make their dogs food, while others will take advantage of the commercial options available. The fresh food market is growing fast, and many subscription options exist. Fresh foods are often gently cooked to retain as much nutritional value as possible.

Raw Or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

Raw diets consist of raw meat, bones, and some vegetables and other ingredients mixed in. These raw-based diets can be very tricky and should only be fed to a dog under the supervision of a veterinarian. Many freeze-dried fresh food options are a great in-between. They offer dogs a safe, raw option, and owners do not have to spend so much time preparing raw meals for their pups.

Puppy Vs. Adult Food

Adult dogs and puppies have different nutritional needs. Puppies expend more energy because they rapidly grow and need more calories, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins to support this rapid growth. Puppy formula is often higher in protein and amino acids than adult dog foods. They need higher levels of these ingredients to support their growth and development. Adult dogs can overeat and may have too many calories if they eat puppy chow. It is unhealthy for them to eat a diet with elevated levels of fat and calories. This is just one example of why dogs need to be fed age-appropriate chow.

High-quality nutrition is fundamental to a dog’s overall health. Canines need top-quality, well-balanced nutrition from the very first days of life until their senior years. Cheaper or budget-brand chows can offer products that do not contain top-quality ingredients or meet nutritional guidelines. They often have added ingredients like fillers that do not add any nutritional value. Low-quality products tend to be lacking in minerals, vitamins, Omega fatty acids, and proteins. Regardless of what dog food owners prefer to buy, they should always stick with high-quality brands that use natural ingredients, no fillers, and do not have a lot of added chemicals or artificial preservatives.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides regulations and guidelines for dog food.

  1. Arginine – 0.62 for puppies and 0.51 for adults
  2. Protein – 22% for puppies and 18% for adult dogs
  3. Fat – 8% for puppies and 5% for adults
  4. Calcium – 1% for puppies and 0.6% for adult dogs
  5. Phosphorus – 0.8% for puppies and 0.5% for adult dogs
  6. Sodium – 0.3% for puppies and 0.06% for adult dogs
  7. Lysine – 0.77% for puppies and 0.63% for adults
  8. Leucine 0.72 % for puppies and 0.59 for adults
  9. Chloride – 0.45 % puppy 0.095 for adults

*This is not a complete list.

Ingredients To Look For

Protein

Protein is incredibly important for dogs. It provides energy and is critical in developing the body and mind. Canines cannot store surplus protein in their bodies, and it must be restocked through nutrition. High-quality protein should always be the first ingredient of canine food. Whole meat or meat meal should always be listed as the first ingredient.

Canines need twenty-two amino acids, half of which their body cannot produce. These essential amino acids must be sourced from their diet. Some popular proteins include whole meats like chicken, beef, fish, lamb, and duck. Dogs adore the taste of meat, and owners cannot go amiss with diets that utilize high-quality animal proteins.

Healthy Carbohydrates

Canines need healthy carbohydrates in their diets to provide glucose and supply energy. Carbohydrates are not vital to canine survival, but they add some nutrients that meat does not. Good carbs are found in vegetables and fruits like potatoes, peas, lentils, grains, rice, and sweet potatoes.

Omega Fatty Acids

Dogs need fatty acids in their diets to provide essential elements like energy. These stimulate healthy growth and development, support brain and eye health, and support skin and coat health. Fatty acids strengthen the bones and support joint health. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most significant and can be found in fish, poultry, and meat.

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, boost the immune system, and provide antioxidants. These are occasionally included as part of a dog’s diet or can be added as a wonderful treat. Sweet potatoes, pineapple, cranberries, and blueberries are good examples.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is a valuable compound in cartilage and is a vital component of joint health in canines. Foods have differing levels, and some may have additional amounts added. Glucosamine is harvested from shellfish shells. It is often used in combination with chondroitin. These two compounds work well together to support joint and urinary tract health.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential components of nutrition that strengthen canines in several ways. Just a few of the most important are listed below.

  1. Vitamin A works to bolster the immune system.
  2. Vitamin B12 is essential in strengthening the nervous system.
  3. Vitamin D regulates things like calcium and phosphorus.
  4. Vitamins C & E are antioxidants and support whole health.
  5. Vitamin K works to metabolize calcium and helps avert blood clots.
  6. Iron carries calcium throughout the body.
  7. Calcium and phosphorus are essential in bone structure.
  8. Zinc works to promote healing.

Best Dog Food

There are a ton of pet nutrition products to learn about. It can be a huge task to find the best ones. We have explored some of our favorite canine chow options to develop this list. Read on to learn more about our list of the Best Dog Food a pup could hope for.

And make sure you make any dietary changes over a period of time to allow your dog’s digestive system time to acclimate to the new diet. If you don’t you will be met with tummy upset, runny poop, and other unplanned mishaps that may lead you to think the new diet is not working when in fact it was just too disruptive.

Puppy

Puppies use a lot of energy to grow and need a strong diet to support them through every development phase. Some offerings are suitable for all breeds, and others are formulated for larger or smaller breeds. Puppies will need to stay on puppy-formulated chow for at least a year. They need a mixture of high protein, healthy fats, fiber, moisture, and many calories.

Large Breed

The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
View at TheFarmersDog.com

For large breed puppies, we chose The Farmer’s Dog. Food is made with human-grade, fresh ingredients. All recipes offer loads of fresh-frozen meat. Meat makes up more of the meal than any other ingredients. Proteins include chicken, beef, turkey, and pork. A healthy mix of vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and green beans offers fiber and nutrients. All recipes are grain-free and AAFCO-certified, suitable for all life stages.

This is a subscription delivery service. Meal plans can be customized for each pup’s unique dietary needs. All recipes are developed by veterinarians and only use human-grade ingredients. Products are packed in biodegradable materials, which is a bonus.

We love how these foods are prepared fresh and delivered right away. Meal plans can be customized by age, activity level, and health needs.

Small Breed

Wellness Complete Small Breed Puppy

Wellness Complete Small Breed Puppy Food
  • No meat by-products or fillers.
  • The first ingredient is turkey.
  • Supports small breed energy needs.
  • Calcium for bone health.
  • Contains blueberries & spinach (antioxidants).
  • Skin & coat support with Omega 3’s.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Our choice for the best kibble for small breed puppies is Wellness Complete Small Breed Puppy Formula. This kibble is small and developed to support small-breed health. It has three sources of high-quality meat proteins, turkey, chicken meal, and salmon meal. These boost energy and strength while supporting brain development and coat health.

Ingredients like apples, blueberries, and spinach provide a powerful punch of vitamins and antioxidants. This food has no fillers or meat by-products. Energy is supported by healthy grains like barley, brown rice, and oatmeal.

We love how this recipe has everything a pup needs and is formulated to boost digestive health, energy, immune system, and whole-body development.

Senior

Senior dogs are special and require extra love and care. They are worth every bit of effort and giving these remarkable creatures a delicious, nutrition-packed, easy-to-eat diet is just one of the things owners can do to make their lives more enjoyable. Smaller breeds 20 pounds and under are considered senior dogs around eight years old. Dogs 51 pounds and larger hit their senior years earlier, around 5 or 6 years.

Senior dogs are often less energetic and may suffer from bone and joint concerns, among other health issues. They will not need the same calorie count as younger dogs, and if they eat a diet that is too fatty or full of calories, they can become overweight. Older dogs may have digestion problems, so senior formulas will have extra dietary fiber and probiotics to help with this.

Though diet cannot prevent or treat health problems, proper nutrition can help with overall health and help lessen problematic symptoms.

The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
View at TheFarmersDog.com

For senior dogs, our top pick is the Farmer’s Dog. This chow is suitable for all ages. For senior dogs, it has everything they need and more. It is soft, full of high-quality ingredients, and tastes great. It is made from human-grade ingredients, meaning humans could eat it. Pup moms and dads may just be tempted to try it. They have four recipes to choose from so owners can pick which formula works best for their pup.

We love that this food is so versatile and fresh. Senior dogs need high-quality nutrition, and this one packs a big load of flavor and balanced, tasty nutrition. It looks and smells great too.

Best Small Breed

Small breed dogs are those that are about 20 pounds or less. They need well-balanced diets to support their joints and more calories per pound than larger breeds. Nutrient-dense foods are best, as they help support skin, coat, and immune system health.

Dry

Diamond Naturals Small Breed

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult
  • Small breed formula.
  • 27% Protein.
  • Species-specific K9 strain proprietary probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics.
  • For dogs 20 pounds and under.
  • No corn wheat, artificial flavors, or colors.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Diamond Naturals Small Breed is a well-balanced option for smaller dogs. It uses real meat as the first ingredient and is made with cage-free chicken. It also uses chicken meals for extra protein. Egg products and fish meals provide DHA. There are also a lot of exotic antioxidants, including papaya, blueberries, and oranges, which care for his developing immune system and overall health. Uses no corn wheat, artificial flavors, or colors.

We love that even this kibble’s size is designed to be easy for small dogs to eat. Each recipe has species-specific K9 strain proprietary probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics to help support healthy digestion and immune system health and promote overall wellness.

Wet

Nom Nom Fresh

Nom Nom dog food
  • Recipes created by board-certified veterinarians.
  • High protein formulas.
  • Human-grade ingredients.
  • All ingredients are cooked individually and then mixed together.
  • No plant-based protein boosters,
VIEW ON NOMNOW.COM

Nom Nom Fresh is a five-star reviewed brand. They offer four different fresh wet food recipes. These are great for small-breed puppies and adults. Meals include whole animal proteins and whole eggs. They are made from top-notch human-grade ingredients. Proteins include beef, chicken, pork, and turkey.

We love that this meal option uses excellent ingredients and is high in protein. All ingredients are cooked individually and then mixed together. Recipes do not use plant-based protein boosters, and the taste is delectable. Board-certified veterinarians craft recipes and meals are delivered fresh.

Best Large Breed

Large breed dogs weigh between 51 to 100 pounds. These pups do not have the exact nutritional needs as smaller breeds. Larger dogs have more weight to carry and need more energy to support them than smaller breeds. Because larger breeds often have joint issues, large-breed formulas have extra glucosamine to support joint health.

Dry

Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Adult

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed
  • Real chicken is the very first ingredient.
  • Highly digestible, flavorful recipe.
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Clinically proven antioxidant blend.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Hill’s Science Diet is a science-backed formula created by canine nutritionists. It is designed especially for large breeds. This is a lower protein formula than some. However, it is made to support larger-sized dogs. Some dogs do not digest protein-packed kibble well, but this is a tasty, well-balanced kibble. This option is unsuitable for puppies but serves an adult dog’s nutritional needs well. Hill’s provides complete nutrition. For large dogs 1 to 5 years old, between 55 and 110 pounds. It can be fed to giant breeds ages 1 to 4, who do not weigh more than 110 pounds. Not for pregnant mothers.

Real chicken is the first ingredient, providing solid protein and great taste. Chicken meal is also used to give extra protein. This formula has natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine. Ingredients like apples, broccoli, carrots, and cranberries boost flavor and support immune system health. Provides 23.9% protein and 363 calories per cup.

We love that this formula is made expressly for the needs of large breeds and that animal nutritionists design it. This recipe is chicken and barley. Hill’s also offers a Lamb meal and brown rice formula, a light chicken meal formula, and perfect weight formula.

Wet

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Large Breed

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Large Breed Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables Canned Dog Food
  • Real chicken to support healthy muscle maintenance.
  • High-protein formula.
  • Serve as a special treat, mixed with dry food, or as a full meal.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health and mobility.
  • No by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
  • 493 calories per can.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Large Dogs Chicken Dinner & Garden Vegetables is a high-protein formula with a delicious punch of flavor. Chicken is the first ingredient, and chicken broth is the second. Fish oil supports joint and skin health. Ingredients like carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes add prebiotic fiber. Berries are added for a boost of antioxidants. This recipe is grain inclusive and uses barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. This choice is full of good fats and has a high-calorie count, 493 calories per 12.5 oz can.

We love that this recipe is not lacking in protein, healthy fat, or calories. There are no artificial ingredients, soy, by-products, corn, wheat, or artificial ingredients.

Best Giant Breed

Giant breeds include the Great Dane, Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Bernese Mountain Dog, Saint Bernard, Cane Corso, and more. These giant breeds need a lot of calories, and some may have specific dietary restrictions. Giant breeds often have sensitive stomachs or can just be fussy eaters.

Dry

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • High protein formula.
  • Chicken and poultry-free formula.
  • Rich in a variety of red meats.
  • High glucosamine content.
  • High omega fat content.
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
  • Grain-free option.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

We like the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed, grain-free, as the best dry food for large breeds. This recipe is also chicken and poultry free. Proteins like deboned beef, fish meal, beef meal, deboned lamb, and deboned venison are used instead. The protein content is high, at 28%. It has a high glucosamine content as well.

We love that this is a chicken and poultry-free recipe, as many brands depend highly or only on chicken and chicken by-products. It is a top choice for large breeds due to the protein levels and supporting ingredients, such as peas, tapioca potatoes, cranberries, alfalfa meal, sweet potatoes, and even dried kelp.

Wet

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Duck & Potato
  • Limited ingredient formula.
  • Duck is the only meat source.
  • Grain and poultry free.
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
  • Low in saturated fat for a healthy weight.
  • Formulated for easy digestion.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

We love The Farmer’s Dog for wet food, but we have a couple of others that also stand out. These include Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe for Large Breeds and Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets. Natural Balance uses limited ingredients, which are great for fussy eaters and sensitive stomachs.

Natural Balance LID is a grain-free duck and potato recipe. It uses only one meat and one source of carbohydrates. It uses essential micro-ingredients, making it a tasty, easy-to-digest option. The first ingredient is duck, followed by duck broth and duck meal.

We love that this recipe uses limited ingredients, making it easy to digest. This is great for giant breeds, which often have sensitive gastrointestinal systems.

Weight loss

Weight loss is a big deal for canines, and those who need to shed a few pounds may need to be on a weight-control formula. There are a few different options for weight control. One of our top favorites is The Farmer’s Dog, which is super healthy and tasty. The Farmer’s Dog is a fresh meal, subscription-based option.

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight

Science Diet Perfect Weight
  • Veterinarian-endorsed brand.
  • Kibble supports muscle retention.
  • Made with all-natural ingredients.
  • Works to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Low calorie.
  • Full flavor and protein.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

For dry weight-loss kibble, we like Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight, which has a low-calorie count. Professionals trust this recipe because it is designed by veterinarians. This recipe is high in protein, low in calories, and is an extremely healthy recipe formulated for weight loss.

We love that this recipe is clinically proven to have weight loss results in 10 weeks. Chicken is the first ingredient listed, including grains like corn and barley. It has prebiotics and ingredients like carrots, peas, and dried beet pulp for fiber. Fruits like apples and cranberries offer antioxidants and boost the immune system. This is a top choice among weight loss formulas.

Grain-Free

Grain-free diets are necessary for some dogs. Some have allergies or an intolerance to grains. Many canines have trouble with digestion, and grain-free formulas can prove helpful for that issue. However, it is best to consult with your vet before starting a grain-free diet as there is a debate surrounding the possible risks associated with a grain-free diet for dogs. Overall, our top choice here would again be The Farmer’s Dog. However, there are others we hold in high regard.

Dry

Taste Of The Wild Grain-Free

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Formula
  • Made with a variety of tasty prairie meats.
  • Uses gut-friendly probiotics for gut health.
  • Enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Uses sweet potatoes, peas, and protein.
  • Helps with gas and stool odor.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Taste of the Wild Grain Free formula gets our vote for the best dry grain-free. It has a protein content of 32%. Blueberries and raspberries provide vitamin and antioxidant boost. Ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas, and white potatoes are used as grain alternative ingredients. Dried chicory root is added and helps provide a high fiber content of about 4%. This helps regulate digestive health, as does yucca schidigera, an extract that helps reduce gas and stool odor.

This kibble uses a variety of meat sources, including lamb, chicken, eggs, bison, and venison. The recipe is enriched with probiotic ingredients and designed to be easy to digest for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

We love that this grain-free recipe is enriched with species-specific canine proprietary probiotics. It also has a wide variety of meats and provides a remarkably high protein content without being hard to digest. We also appreciate that this recipe promotes smooth digestion.

Wet

Blue Buffalo Grain-Free Canned

Blue Buffalo Grain-Free Canned Food
  • Beef, chicken, and chicken liver.
  • Contains tasty chicken broth.
  • Flaxseed and folic acid keep skin and coat healthy.
  • Fortified in vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • No artificial additives.
  • Affordable.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Blue Buffalo Grain-Free Wilderness line canned is our pick for the best wet grain-free option. It is a multi-protein tasty formula. It lists beef and chicken as the first two ingredients and chicken liver as the fourth. These provide high-quality protein. It has chicken broth added to keep the meal deliciously moist and tasty.

This chow uses a variety of meats and organs to provide amino acids that support muscle health. It can be used as a standalone meal or as a topper on dry kibble.

We love that this recipe is affordable and tasty. It is also fortified with vitamins and minerals to boost immune system health. It has no grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial additives.

Fresh Food

Fresh diets taste delicious and have a lot of benefits for canines. These fresh options are made with all-natural, real ingredients and contain meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Some are made to be gluten and grain-free, while others are not. Fresh meals are made with human-grade ingredients, meaning they are safe for humans to eat, not that we want to. Recipes cut out most of the over-processed ingredients found in some other types of canine diets. These foods have a much higher moisture content than most other options, at about 75% on average. Fresh is by far the best-tasting option and provides dogs with high-quality energy.

There are a few different companies to choose from regarding fresh dog food. A leading choice is the Farmer’s Dog which is a subscription-based fresh meal program. Another excellent choice is Ollie. Ollie is a 5-star reviewed company that also offers high-quality fresh meal plans on a subscription basis.

The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
View at TheFarmersDog.com

Ollie uses high-quality free-range proteins and offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. They use free-range beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb as protein sources. All meat is sourced from the United States or Australian farms. Every recipe includes only one meat source and has no added meat meals or by-products. Real meat is the first ingredient in every single recipe. Other components include kale, broccoli, lentils, carrots, coconut oil, pumpkin, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables.

We love that this product is made with all human-grade ingredients and is free from preservatives and artificial fillers. We also appreciate that the company offers personalized plans to suit every dog’s age, activity level, and wait. Ollie is highly reviewed by Dog Food Advisor and the American Kennel Club. Recipes are formulated to support all generations of canines.

Freeze-Dried

Freeze-dried chow is made by freezing fresh ingredients and removing all the moisture. This process keeps the food’s smell, taste, and texture undisturbed and retains almost all the nutritional value. Freeze-drying also makes the food very light in texture and easy to eat. Freeze-dried meals can be fed as is or rehydrated depending on serving instructions. These options use top-quality fresh ingredients and taste delicious. Freeze-dried chow is suitable for all life stages and is free of bacteria. It can be an excellent choice for dogs that suffer from digestive issues and allergies. Freeze-dried is shelf stable and stays fresh much longer than kibble, fresh, or human-grade diets.

Open Farm

Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw
  • High protein, 85% from raw animal ingredients.
  • Grass-fed, wild-caught, humanely raised proteins.
  • Ready to serve complete nutrition.
  • Organic certified fruits and vegetables.
  • For puppies and adult dogs.
VIEW ON OPENFARMPET.COM

Our top choice for freeze-dried is from Open Farm. Open Farm offers a variety of options, including freeze-dried raw foods. These high-protein formulas are ready to serve right out of the package. One thing we really like about Open Farm is that 85% of the protein comes from natural ingredients and organic fruits and vegetables. Natural proteins include humanely raised beef and pork, grass-fed lamb, poultry, and wild-caught Pacific salmon.

These foods are suitable for all ages, and the company provides feeding guidelines for puppies through senior dogs. Meals can be served right out of the package or mixed with water.

We love that Open Farm does not use any rendered poultry or meat meals. Additionally, we appreciate products are intended to be served as a complete meal and do not have to be mixed with anything else.

Allergy Sensitive

Many canines will suffer from food allergies. This can be challenging for owners as they must find a way to provide their pups with high-quality nutrition without causing any more issues. Allergies are usually triggered by sensitization to a protein in their food. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for dogs that have food allergies. Some require a veterinarian prescription, but several high-quality commercial options are available.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Formulated with hydrolyzed proteins.
  • Contains B vitamins and amino acids.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
  • Fiber helps support healthy digestion.
  • 332 calories per cup.
  • 19.5% Protein, 17.5% Fat, 3.1% Fiber.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

One of our favorite choices for allergy-sensitive dog food is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein. This formula does not contain any meat protein, which is one of the most common causes of food allergy symptoms in canines. The kibble is highly digestible and made from hydrolyzed soy protein. This option is specifically formulated to be used during a short-term trial while owners eliminate things to identify allergens. It can be a long-term option for dogs with high food sensitivities. The formula also supports gastrointestinal and dermatological health.

Fish oil adds Omega-3 fatty acids to promote a healthy coat and reduce inflammation. Taurine is added to counteract any deficiencies created without meat protein.

We love that this food has been highly reviewed and has helped many dogs. Many reviews share that the product has quickly helped resolve issues with loose or liquid stools and skin allergies, and ear infection symptoms. This formula is also suitable for dogs of all ages.

Low Sodium

Canines need salt in their diets as it plays an essential role in electrolyte balance, muscle cell function, and nerve transmission. Salt also helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid retention and helps with healthy digestion. Dogs get most of their salt from their diet. Most commercial options will contain some form of added salt.

Some dogs need to be on a low-sodium diet because they cannot process sodium properly. Dogs suffering from heart, liver, or kidney disease and those who are overweight may need to be on a low-sodium diet. Senior dogs may also have trouble processing salt and may need to be switched. Lowering a dog’s salt intake can help minimize the risk of potential problems and keep current issues from worsening. Most dogs will not go on a low-sodium diet unless instructed by their vet.

Earthborn Holistic Weight Control Grain-Free

Earthborn Holistic - Weight Control Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Low sodium
  • Grain and gluten-free formula.
  • Low-fat content.
  • L-Carnitine for muscle retention.
  • Made with healthy vegetables and fruits.
  • 325 Calories per cup.
  • 25% Protein, 7% Fat, 9% Fiber.
VIEW ON AMAZON.COM

Our pick for the best low-sodium chow is Earthborn Holistic Weight Control grain-free formula. This is a grain and gluten-free formula with low-fat content. Earthborn Holistic is a highly reputable brand known for making very top-quality kibble. This formula is very low in sodium-containing just 50 mg/100Kcal. This formula has been developed for adult dogs who need to lose weight and contains L carnitine which boosts the metabolism.

This chow contains 25% protein from a protein-packed chicken meal. Chicken meal is a natural glucosamine source, supporting joint health. This recipe is packed full of Omega fats which also help regulate sodium. Ingredients like apples, blueberries, carrots, cranberries, and spinach provide high fiber and antioxidants to boost immune health. This formula is high in fiber and aids in healthy digestion.

We love that this formula is low sodium and grain free. It is a tasty, healthy choice for dogs with special nutritional needs.

High Fiber

Some canines will need a high-fiber diet. This can be for many reasons. Dogs do not gain any nutrients or energy from fiber, but it is essential to the digestive system. Protein from meat does not have fiber, so this must come from fruits and vegetables in a dog’s diet. On average, standard dog kibble contains about 2% to 5% fiber. Though no specific guideline or regulation defines high fiber, most canine nutritionists determine it is between 6% and 12% fiber.

Overweight dogs may need a high-fiber diet to help them fill up faster and eat less. High-fiber formulas also support healthy intestinal flora, which aids in weight loss. Most options that are labeled healthy weight will be high in fiber. Pets with diabetes may benefit from high-fiber diets as these formulas help slow down digestion and absorption of sugar. Fiber is also incredibly beneficial for healthy digestion and anal gland function.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Food
  • Real chicken proteins
  • Non-GMO formula.
  • A balanced blend of protein & fiber.
  • Essential antioxidants for immune health.
  • No chicken by-products.
  • 225 Calories per cup.
  • 11.5% Fiber.
  • Dogs feel full.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

One of our top choices for high-fiber kibble is Nutro Wholesome Essentials. This kibble packs 11.5% fiber, 24% protein, and 7% fat. Farm-raised chicken is listed as the first two ingredients, so we know the protein content is a priority here. Fiber is sourced from dried beet pulp, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and other ingredients like rice bran. This recipe is designed to support healthy weight loss.

We love the high fiber content of this brand, as well as the powerful punch of protein. No chicken by-products and a non-GMO formula. 225 calories per cup, so pups feel full but are not overdoing it. Formulated for pups one year and older.

Picky Eaters

We have all known a picky eater or two. Many canine owners experience a pup that is a picky eater. Because canines cannot tell us precisely what they like, there is often a lengthy process of testing out different options. Some pups are just picky, and others may have underlying issues causing them to be fussy. Owners should always talk to the vet if their pup Is not eating for more than a day or so. It is essential to rule out any medical issues.

Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dog Food
  • Strong smoked salmon flavor.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or grains.
  • 360 Calories per cup.
  • No chicken or red meat.
  • Supports digestive health.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is our top choice for picky eaters. The kibble is made from high-quality salmon and contains delicious fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, raspberries, and blueberries. This kibble is high in protein and is made for pups with stomach sensitivities and allergy issues. It has no soy, wheat, or corn. This product is kibble, but there is a wet option available.

We love that this one is so full of salmon flavor. It is appealing to dogs who turn away chicken or beef options. Kibble also contains three canine-specific probiotics to support digestive health.

Glucosamine-Enriched

Glucosamine is a compound made from sugar and amino acids in the cartilage of humans and canines. It helps the body replace and maintain healthy cartilage. Cartilage serves as padding between bones and their connective joints. As the canine ages, the cartilage becomes weaker and starts to break down. Glucosamine is especially important in joint health because it works as a natural shock absorber. Some dogs, especially larger breeds and older canines, may need diets that contain higher glucosamine levels. Giving a healthy adult pooch extra glucosamine during their early adult years will help keep joints healthy and possibly prevent problems down the line.

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed
  • Glucosamine: 800 mg/kg.
  • Freeze-dried food with real meat.
  • Benefits of a raw diet.
  • Deboned beef is the first ingredient.
  • Glucosamine: 800 mg/kg.
  • 392 Calories per cup. 38% Protein.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plain Red Recipe makes high-quality, raw-infused premium kibble that provides an incredibly high protein level of 38%. This kibble is terrific for maintaining lean muscles, joint health, and muscle repair. The first three ingredients are deboned beef, lamb mill, and salmon meal. These are three high-quality sources of glucosamine.

Kibble also contains pork meal, rabbit, lamb, salmon oil, and beef liver. Freeze-dried raw meat pieces provide a fresh meat taste that pooches cannot get enough of. Superfoods like apples and blueberries provide a punch of antioxidants. This food offers the benefits of a raw diet but is convenient, like kibble.

We love that this recipe is grain free and packed with freeze-dried raw meat chunks. It is full of flavor, high in protein, and packs 392 calories per cup.

Chicken-Free

Chicken is a prevalent ingredient in pet foods and treats. However, it is also among the most common allergies among canines, so not all can eat it. So, some need high-quality chow that does not contain this animal protein. Many companies offer chicken-free kibbles, as well as fresh and freeze-dried foods.

American Journey Limited Ingredient GF

Grain Free Limited Ingredient American Journey Dog Food
  • Limited ingredient recipe.
  • Duck is the single animal protein source.
  • Great for sensitive stomachs.
  • Grain-free, and no corn, wheat, or soy.
  • 350 Calories per cup.
  • Omega fatty acids from flaxseed and sunflower oil.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

One of our favorites for chicken-free kibble that we have not already mentioned is the American Journey Limited Ingredient duck and sweet potato recipe. This is Chewy’s in-house brand of dog food. It is a limited-ingredient recipe that is grain, corn, and soy free. Along with no poultry ingredients, it does not contain artificial colors or preservatives. This is a budget-friendly yet premium and high-quality recipe.

This is a single-source protein recipe, which can be beneficial for pets suffering from allergies. Duck is listed as the first ingredient, and kibble boasts 25% protein. Easily digestible carbohydrates like peas and sweet potatoes help balance this limited-ingredient recipe.

We love the fact that this premium recipe does not break the bank. The formula contains essential Omega fatty acids from flaxseed and sunflower oil. Chow has a rich flavor, wholesome nutrition, and not a single bit of chicken.

Bad Breath Management

Although we all love our pups, it is undeniable that many of them have bad breath. Bad breath can be caused by a variety of reasons, including poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, unpleasant habits like eating leftovers or poop, or underlying medical conditions like kidney and liver disease or diabetes. Unfortunately, some breeds are just prone to bad breath. Small breeds, in particular, like Chihuahuas, are prone to periodontal disease. Narrow-muzzled pups like the greyhound and whippet are also prone to dental issues. Thankfully, some products are formulated to deal with this very specific and smelly problem.

Hill's Science Diet Oral Care

  • Chicken-based food.
  • Easy on digestion.
  • No prescription is needed.
  • Designed specifically for oral care.
  • Antioxidant boosting.
  • 20% Protein, 13% Fat, 12% Fiber.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Hill’s Science Diet makes multiple kibbles created specifically to help with bad breath. They make both a prescription and non-prescription variety. Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is a non-prescription kibble available in many places. It is developed to combat bad breath and boost immune system health.

One of the benefits of kibble is that it helps scrape plaque off teeth, and this kibble is large. The bigger size requires dogs to chew and break down the kibble, which helps clean their teeth. This chow has chicken as its main protein, along with chicken meal. Apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, and peas provide carbohydrates, fiber, and plenty of other nutrients. It also has soybean and fish oil for healthy fats and omega fatty acids. It has 275 calories per cup, with 20% protein. This kibble has 12% fiber, so it is also likely easier to digest.

We love the way this kibble is designed to help oral health and that it is easy to get without a trip to the vet.

Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care

Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care
  • Prescription required.
  • Uniquely shaped to help clean teeth.
  • Formulated to fight bad breath.
  • Promotes healthy urinary function.
  • Unique fiber matrix fights stains, plaque, and tartar buildup.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Hill’s also makes prescription kibble. This kibble is shaped to help clean teeth and is great for smaller breeds. It does need a veterinarian prescription but is shown to be highly effective. It has been given the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance due to its effectiveness in reducing tartar and plaque buildup. This food uses a unique fiber matrix to reduce plaque, stains, and tartar.

This formula is developed to promote urinary health and reduce the chances of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. It is formulated with S+OXSHIELD to meet specific nutrient standards. It has lower calories, just 248 per cup. 14% protein and 12% fiber.

We love how this food is explicitly designed to help with bad breath and is shaped to help clean teeth. Anyone concerned about their pup’s bad breath should seek advice from a vet to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Duck

Duck is a fantastic protein for pups with sensitive stomachs. It is quite delicious, packed full of nutrients, and easy to digest. It is a lean protein and low in calories. Surprisingly, duck is higher in iron than beef, which is an essential mineral the body uses to transport oxygen. Duck-based nutrition can provide an extra boost of energy. Skinless duck is darker, rich meat full of strong flavor that pups love. There are both duck-only and duck-inclusive recipes out there, so owners have a few options to choose from.

Zignature Duck Limited Ingredient Formula

Zignature Duck Food
  • Farm-raised French duck
  • One protein recipe.
  • Limited ingredients.
  • Low allergen.
  • No soy, wheat, chicken, or potato.
  • 30% Protein, 15% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

One of our favorite picks for duck-based food is the Zignature Duck Limited Ingredient Formula. It is a grain-free, limited-ingredient, one-protein recipe, high in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. This recipe does not use corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or chicken. It is an excellent choice for pets with stomach issues and who are picky eaters. Includes peas and chickpeas for antioxidants and fiber. No corn, soy, wheat, chicken, or potatoes.

We love the fact that this is a limited-ingredient, well-made kibble. It has 30% protein and can provide plenty of energy for most canines. This is a smart choice for dogs that are sensitive or have food allergies.

Best Dry

Dry kibble is a staple for most dog owners. While many will add wet or fresh options, plenty of treats, and more, the bulk of many dog diets is dry kibble. It is challenging to say which is the best because there are so many great options. All pets have unique nutrition and health needs, so what works for one may not be the best for another.

Canidae Pure Grain-Free

  • 5-Star reviewed.
  • Wide variety of portion choices.
  • Many options to choose from.
  • High protein kibble.
  • Limited ingredients.
  • Easy to digest.

 

VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

One highly reviewed option given five stars by Dog Food Advisor is Canidae Grain-Free Pure. This line has ten different recipes. Proteins include salmon, bison, chicken, lamb, goat, venison, duck, and even wild boar. Proteins are fresh, and kibble is high in protein and healthy fats.

We love that there are so many quality proteins to choose from. Canidae makes options for small and large breeds as well as puppies.

Best Wet/Canned

Wet or canned chow comes in many options. There is always the classic pate, a nice country stew, or fresh filets in gravy. This is another huge market, and there are plenty of options to choose from. It can be hard to pick one as the best of them all because every pet’s nutritional needs are different.

Weruva Grain-Free Canned

Weruva Grain-Free Canned Food
  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Gluten and grain free.
  • Super thick, flavorful gravy.
  • Only natural ingredients.
  • Family-owned company.
  • USDA-approved kitchens.

 

VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Weruva grain-free canned is a great overall choice. It is rated 5 stars on Dog Food Advisor. It is made with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient. Free of gluten and made with human-grade ingredients. All products are made in USDA-approved kitchens. No peas or other grain substitutes.

Weruva only makes natural foods. The gravy is super thick, and pups love the taste of the fresh ingredients. We love that this brand is a family-owned company, and products are made with all-natural ingredients. This one is called paw licking for a good reason.

JustFoodForDogs

JustFoodForDogs
  • High protein recipes.
  • Wide range of proteins like venison.
  • Human-grade ingredients.
  • Shelf-stable line.
  • High-nutrition, low-calorie recipes.
  • Suitable for fussy eaters.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

JustFoodForDogs makes delicious fresh meals but also has a shelf-stable line. These recipes are high-protein and use human-grade ingredients. They use lesser-known ingredients like squash to provide complete nutrition, including novel proteins like venison. Other proteins include lamb, venison, chicken, beef, turkey, salmon, and more. These recipes include a proprietary Omega Plus veterinary supplement with fish oil high in omega fatty acids.

We love the wide variety of products to choose from. Well-crafted recipes are tasty, full of vitamins and minerals, and taste delicious.

Sensitive Stomach

Unfortunately, many canines will suffer from sensitive stomachs. Many may have food allergies or intolerances and may need nutrition specific to those concerns. We have already mentioned many options that can be incredibly beneficial for pups with sensitive tummies. One that we have not discussed yet but that is a wonderful choice for tender tum tums is Spot & Tango.

Spot & Tango

Spot and Tango Dog Food Fresh Lamb
  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Fresh food and fresh kibble.
  • A broad range of recipes.
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes.
  • Personalized subscription service.
  • High-protein formulas.
VIEW ON SPOTANDTANGO.COM

Spot & Tango is a subscription-based service that offers two product lines. They have high-protein fresh meals and a “non-kibble” line. Both lines are made from fresh human-grade ingredients. They use no additives, artificial preservatives, or fillers.

Recipes incorporate eggs for added protein and a blend of non-GMO fruits and vegetables, including apples, cranberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Plans are personalized to a dog’s specific needs. Packaging is eco-friendly.

We love that this brand offers a wide selection of products. Fresh flavor varieties include Turkey & Red Quinoa, Beef & Millet, and Lamb & Brown Rice. The “non-kibble” line is fresh food that has been slow-cooked at a low temperature and dried. This process creates a “fresh” kibble that pups simply love. Products must be used within three or four weeks. Fresh meals need to be frozen to be kept as delicious and nutritious as possible.

BARK Foods

Bark Dog Food Itty-Bitty Chicky
  • Breed-specific kibble and supplements.
  • It can be a subscription or purchased alone.
  • Tasty and easy to digest.
  • The breed list is increasing.
VIEW ON FOOD.BARK.CO

BARK Food also offers a delivery kibble that is tasty and good for sensitive tummies. Products can also be purchased alone if owners do not want to commit to a regular subscription. We love that this kibble is simple, as well as tasty, and offers options for subscription or individual purchases. We also appreciate that the company provides breed-specific nutrition and is working to increase its breeds served list.

Vegan Dog Food

Vegan dog food is not widely recommended, as canines are omnivores. They need protein which meat provides. In some cases, dogs may need a vegan diet, and a few options exist. There is growing research being done about healthy vegan canine diets.

Halo Holistic Ocean Of Vegan

Halo Holistic Ocean of Vegan
  • Plant-based kibble.
  • High-quality ingredients.
  • Made with whole ingredients.
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
  • Sea kelp, non-GMO vegetables.
  • No corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors.
VIEW ON CHEWY.COM

Halo Holistic Ocean of Vegan is dry, plant-based kibble. This is a holistic blend of high-quality ingredients, including vitamin and mineral-rich sea kelp. Offers 20% protein and 5% fiber.

We love the idea that this food offers an entirely plant-based option for canines that may need that. Always discuss switching your pup to a vegan diet with a veterinarian or nutritionist before making any changes.

Final Thoughts

After reading our review of the Best Dog Food, you know a lot more about the range of foods that are available. There are options for every pup. We know we did not get them all, but hopefully, we gave you a lot of food for thought. It is an owner’s responsibility to ensure canines get well-balanced complete nutrition their entire lives, and lists like this are a wonderful resource. Our recommendations are not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice but to provide a guideline of available options.

Always stick to high-quality food that uses fresh, whole ingredients and a lot of healthy protein. All canines are different, so there is no one best food that suits everyone, but there are plenty of tasty, healthy options to choose from. Make the best pick for your pup, do thorough research, and consult with your vet before committing to any major diet changes. Happy chow to you and your sweet pup.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Leave a Comment