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Best Bison Dog Foods: Benefits, Reviews & Top Picks

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: October 31, 2020 | 9 min read

Best Bison Dog Food

Nowadays it seems that there are hundreds of different choices for our beloved pooches when it comes their food, so where do we start? Well, one rising trend in the world of dog nutrition is the seemingly exotic protein ingredient, Bison. Bison is not only a great source of protein, but it also offers a protein alternative for those dogs who are either allergic to the common protein sources, such as chicken or beef. With so many choices on the market, how do you find the best bison dog food for your pup? 

Bison also offers an alternative option for pups that are slightly fussy and need something different every now and then to keep them encouraged. If you have a picky eater, then this increasingly popular meat might just be the juicy ingredient that they are waiting for!

Whatever your reason is for being here, this guide is going to lay out everything you need to know about Bison and it’s nutritional value, how it is different from Buffalo meat, and why to avoid food with replacement Buffalo listed, why not to blindly trust food packaging, and our top recommendations for the best Bison dry dog food around.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Bison Foods

Top Overall: Natural Balance Bison Formula
Best on a Budget: Blue Wilderness Bison Formula

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Nutritional Benefits of Bison

Nutritional Benefits of Bison
Bison meat has many different nutritional benefits that other forms of meat do not.

Bison is referred to as the ‘original red meat’, because there used to be millions of Bison roaming the lands of North America, and this meat not only fed the Native Americans and their hundreds of individual tribes, but it also clothed and medicated them. Thanks to the conservation effort in the last century or so (which we will talk about further down) we are now all able to enjoy Bison meat, even our canine friends amongst us. The meat is yummy, and undoubtedly your dog is going to love it too! Not only does Bison taste great, but it is also packed with protein and vitamins and minerals, so it makes a great choice for your dog’s main protein source.

The National Bison Association highlights the wonders of this type of meat compared to other standard meat sources. Here you can see that not only does Bison have a lesser fat content, but it is also lower in calories and cholesterol, and higher in Iron compared to all of the other meat proteins. After Salmon, it also offers the highest amount of Vitamin B12, and it has higher amounts of protein compared to Beef, Pork and Salmon, so all in all it is a fantastic lean protein source choice for your pup.

Of course, the ingredients on an ingredient list are listed according to their dominance in a recipe, or in other words, the ingredients that are used in the greatest amount are listed first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts. For this reason, it is always important to look at the first 5 ingredients in particular, as you know that these will make up the bulk of the recipe. If you are looking for a good Bison kibble, then Bison must be listed within the first 5 ingredients, if not first, otherwise it does not play a major part in the recipe. Just because the package states ‘made with bison’ does not mean that there will be a significant amount of Bison in it, so be sure to read the ingredient list yourself.

Meat TypeFatProteinCaloriesCholeserolIronVitamin B12

Bison Meat vs. Buffalo Meat

Bison vs Buffalo in Food
Make sure you are actually getting Bison in your food and not Buffalo by checking the food label.

So many of us American’s refer to our native North American Bison as Buffalo, but did you know that Bison and Buffalo are actually completely different animals?! Well, the pet food industry is counting on their consumers not knowing the difference! You probably didn’t expect a history / animal biology lesson on the search for the best Bison dry dog food, but if you want to know exactly what you are feeding your beloved pup then you need to bear with us!

Bison are part of the ‘Bovidae’ family, as are the African Buffalo and European Buffalo, and at first glance they do look somewhat similar. Cattle are also part of the same family, which helps to explain why the meat is similar in some ways in terms of its nutritional content (but as we have already discovered Bison is a lot better!)

Now while most of us call Bison, Buffalo, they are not the same animal. Hundreds of years ago, early settlers arriving in North America who had come from Europe, mistook the Bison for their native Buffalo, and called them as such. The name, Buffalo, stuck, and ever since then Bison are commonly referred to as the American Buffalo, but there is in fact, no such thing.

Buffalo imported from Asia is a lot cheaper to import than to rear Bison in America, and many pet food brands import the Buffalo meat for this reason. Unfortunately, recent research has found that many dog food companies, even the premium brands, are deceiving their customers into thinking that they are buying bison, when in fact they are buying buffalo.

Bison isn’t Buffalo, so mislabeling products is a big problem! Some dogs are allergic to Buffalo, and if you unknowingly feed your pooch something that he is allergic to it could obviously have devastating consequences. Not only that, but Buffalo is not as nutritionally beneficial for your pup, so you are paying premium prices for a poorer protein.

Ultimately, consumers are being fooled into spending more money for less quality meat. So, the lesson here is to ensure that you read the ingredient list yourself and do not solely rely on packaging advertising or statements, and do not buy food that has replacement Buffalo ingredients if you want to feed your pooch top quality Bison food.

Our Favorite Bison Foods

Top Bison Food Picks For Dogs
Bison Food can be great for small and large breeds, and is affordable on most budgets.

So, now you know a bit more about Bison and it’s nutritional benefits, and you know to avoid Buffalo ingredients as a replacement, below you will find our top-rated Bison dry dog food. Not only are our recommendations made from natural ingredients and are of superior quality, but they are all from reputable brands that do not have any misleading package statements, and they all contain Bison, not Buffalo.

At the end of this section, we have added a nutritional table that displays the important nutritional values that make it easier for you to compare the products against one another. But if you stick to our recommendations listed below, then you can rest assured that your beloved pooch is getting the very best Bison dog food around. So, in no particular order, here are our favorite picks.

Naural Balance
Earthborn Holistic
Blue Buffalo
Rachael Ray
Solid Gold
Canidae Bison

Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient...
  • Contains (1) 26 pound bag of dry dog food
  • Grain-free, limited ingredient diet with a single animal protein...
  • Helps minimize the number of ingredients dogs are exposed to
  • Maintains digestive health

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Bison is the second ingredient on this list, after sweet potato, and it is the only source of animal protein should your dog be allergic to other protein sources, which makes it a great choice for dogs with specific protein allergies. It also has limited carbohydrate sources, and sweet potato not only provides him with the energy to be active, but it is a much healthier form of carbohydrate that is much easier to digest compared to white potatoes or white rice.

It is full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids such as salmon oil and flaxseed, which not only support a healthy coat, but it maintains a healthy cardiovascular system too. It does not have any filler or added preservatives, but it does have extra vitamins and minerals that he needs to maintain a healthy oxidative state. 

We love that this recipe is made up of limited ingredients, so not only does this give you greater control over what you are feeding him should he have a sensitive stomach, but you know that everything in the recipe has a nutritional benefit.

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast...
  • Formulated without grain, gluten or potatoes, this special...
  • Lean, red meat proteins, like bison meal and beef meal, are...
  • Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, such as peas,...
  • Balanced Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in...

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Bison meal is the first ingredient on this list, with Beef and several Fish Meals also, which means that he is not only getting the meat that he needs, but also the extra cartilage and organs that he needs for his important Glucosamine and Chondroitin needs (which is great for joints), just as nature intended his diet to be.

It also lists dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried apples and dried carrots which are all antioxidants, so your pup is going to get his daily dose of these superfoods to keep his immune system healthy. It is also grain free, gluten free and potato free for those dogs with any of these sensitivities. It also boasts a list of vegetable ingredients that provide your pup with the fiber he needs for a healthy gut.

We love that this recipe offers the highest amount of protein, which is great for maintaining muscle mass and muscle repair.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe...
  • PACKED WITH REAL BISON: A recipe inspired by the Rocky Mountains,...
  • HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: BLUE Wilderness grain free dog food, made...
  • A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is made with the finest...

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Do not be confused by this name, as Blue Buffalo does not make Buffalo recipes, it is just the name of their company. The first ingredient on their list is deboned Bison, so it offers a high protein content that you can trust. It is also grain free which makes it a great choice for those dogs who have sensitive stomachs or grain allergies. It is packed full of their exclusive ‘Lifesource Bits’ which are full of extra antioxidants and vitamins that your dog needs, which he cannot get from protein alone.

It is made from only natural ingredients, without any added artificial flavors or preservatives, so you can be sure that your dog is getting natural goodness only. Fish meal and Beef meal also feature as protein sources in addition to Bison.  Peas, sweet potatoes and chicory root also ensure that he gets the extra fiber that he needs to ensure a healthy digestive tract, and this recipe offers the highest fiber content for those dogs who need a bit of extra help with their digestion.

We love that this recipe is chicken and poultry free, so this makes a great choice for those dogs who have chicken or poultry allergies or intolerances.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Bison Recipe

Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Dry Dog...
  • Contains 1 - 16 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food
  • Nutrient-dense recipe with 30% high-quality protein to satisfy...
  • North American farm-raised bison is the #1 ingredient
  • No grain, gluten or filler ingredients

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This recipe offers one of the highest protein recipes here, which is not surprising considering that the first 4 ingredients are Bison, Beef meal, Chicken meal and Turkey meal, so you know that your pooch is going to get all of the meat and cartilage, organ and bone goodness he needs to keep in tiptop condition. Additionally, this recipe’s number one ingredient is Bison, and they are all farm reared from North America, so it is ethically sourced too.

It is also another grain and gluten free recipe, and there are no fillers to be found on this list. It has all of the added vitamins and minerals he needs to stay healthy, as well as Chicken fat and flaxseed oil, which both provide him with the necessary omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep his skin and coat healthy too.

We love that this recipe offers the lowest amount of calories, which is great for those dogs who need to manage their weight a little better, or for those senior dogs who are less active.

Solid Gold Wolf King

Solid Gold - Wolf King Bison and Brown Rice...
  • REAL MEAT: Featuring natural lean protein packed bison as the...
  • MADE IN THE USA: Solid Gold's Wolf King is manufactured in the...
  • POWERFUL SUPERFOOD BLEND: Our unique 20 Superfood blend goes...
  • PROTECTED PROBIOTICS: Combined with fiber-rich prebiotics, our...

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This recipe not only offers Bison as the first ingredient, but it also offers Fish meal as the second, which is one of the best sources of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep his cardiovascular system healthy, as well as nourish his coat and skin from the inside out. Additionally, it also offers egg protein which in itself is full of amino acids and minerals that your dog needs to maintain a healthy metabolism and healthy digestive system.

It is also full of live probiotics which is great for those dogs with a sensitive stomach, which helps to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. It is not grain free, which makes it a good option for those parents who do not want to feed their pooch a grain free diet, and it is made with brown rice and sweet potatoes which will provide him with the energy he needs.

We love that this recipe is full of 20 superfoods which offer an optimum balance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber to help support his immune system and improve his overall health.

Canidae Pure Real Bison

Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient...
  • Limited ingredient dog food filled with ingredients you recognize
  • 10 Key ingredients or less
  • Packed with the goodness of premium, clean proteins
  • #1 Ingredient real meat, poultry or fish

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This recipe is only made of 10 simple ingredients, so again, you know that there is nothing in this recipe that your dog does not need, and it also gives you greater control over what to feed him, which is particularly important if he has a sensitive stomach. Bison, Lamb meal and Pork meal provide him with the protein that he needs to maintain his lean muscle mass and support muscle repair, and peas and sweet potatoes that are wholesome and easier to digest are going to provide him with the energy he needs.

This is another grain free recipe, and there are no added preservatives or flavors included. The only things that are added are vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics, all of which help to support his immune system and overall well being. Canidae is well known for making great foods for other breeds, and is one of our favorite foods for pitbulls.

We love that this recipe offers the highest calorie content, which makes it a great choice for working or energetic dogs who need the extra energy to keep them going.

Final Thoughts

So, you’ve made the decision to feed your pooch a Bison diet, because it either is nutritionally superior meat, or because it is super yummy, but either way you need to feed him a high-quality diet. For you to know this, you really need to check the ingredient list and nutritional profile yourself, as, unfortunately, it is not always safe to trust the package labels. Hopefully, you now know what to look out for, and know to choose recipes that include Bison in the first few ingredients, and to steer clear of replacement Buffalo ingredients.

Whichever high-quality Bison dry dog food you chose for your pup, know that if you chose one of our recommendations above you are getting exactly that, a high quality recipe, nothing more and nothing less.

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