Walmart is well-known as the store to go to for almost anything. This store’s almost infinite list of products includes dog food, and if you know what to look for, Walmart stocks some of the best dog food on the market.
The most important consideration when buying dog food is the ingredient list, especially the first three ingredients. These should all ideally consist of animal-based products, to ensure that you are getting the best protein sources for your pooch.
Of course, with all the great choices available from the store, there are dubious brands too, and while these cheaper options are temping, saving a few dollars can have a massive impact on the health of your pooch. Walmart has a wealth of top brands of pet food, though, and we’ve done the heavy lifting to find the best 10 dog foods. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews will help you find the best dry dog food available at Walmart for your beloved canine.
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The 10 Best Dog Foods at Walmart
1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed — Best Overall
The wholesome essentials dry dog food from Nutro is made from real farm-raised chicken and is the best pick overall. Chicken is the first listed ingredient, followed by brown rice and sweet potato. The food contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints in large-breed dogs, as well as essential antioxidants like vitamin E to aid immune support. With farm-raised chicken, you can be sure that the food contains a high-quality protein source to give your pooch the energy they need and aid in muscle development and maintenance. Nutro Essentials contains no GMO ingredients and is free from corn, soy protein, wheat, and artificial colorants and flavors.
Some customers report that this food gave their dog bloating and uncomfortable gas, and some users’ dogs would not eat it even when disguised with other food. But, after our research and trials, it still comes in at the top of our list for best dry dog food at Walmart.
2. American Journey Large Breed Dog Food — Best Value
The best dog food from Walmart for the money is the Active Life Formula dog food from American Journey. This food contains real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, which is a great source of high-quality protein to aid your dog in muscle growth and keep their energy levels at their peak. There are also nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes for added energy in this best cheap dog food at Walmart, with a precise blend of vitamins and antioxidants to support optimum immune functioning. With the included omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, you can be sure that your pooch will have a shiny coat and healthy skin, and the easily digestible grains will provide your dog with the fiber they need for optimum digestive function. The food also contains no wheat, soy, corn, or artificial colors or flavors.
Some customers report their dogs getting loose stools from this food, possibly from the added fiber. Some also report that the food has a strange smell, causing their dogs to not want to eat it. These small caveats keep this food from the top position on this list. With all that said, we think this is the best dog food at Walmart for the money this year.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dog Food — Premium Choice
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-free dry dog food is high in premium quality protein, containing chicken as the first ingredient. The grain-free recipe contains essential fatty acids omega-3 and -6, obtained from fish meal and flax seeds to support your dog’s healthy skin and coat. It also has a perfect balance of carbohydrates and calories to give them the energy boost they need. The food includes specially formulated “LifeSource” bits, which are a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to aid in your pooch’s immune system function. It is also free from poultry by-products, grains, and artificial colorants and flavorings. Blue Buffalo also offers the best puppy food at Walmart.
The food has a pungent fish smell due to the included fishmeal, and picky eaters may not enjoy it. The included “LifeSource” bits seem to be both too big and overly proportioned to the rest of the food. It is also a comparatively expensive food, keeping it from the top two positions on this list.
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This grain-free food from Taste of the Wild is formulated with protein sourced from buffalo and bison! It also includes protein from roasted venison and beef, for additional muscle-building benefits. The recipe has delicious vegetables like peas and sweet potatoes, which along with the included blueberries and raspberries, will give your dog the natural antioxidant support they need. This food includes dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion and chelated minerals with amino acids to optimize absorption and retention. You’ll be happy to know that the ingredients are sourced from trusted and sustainable sources, with no included artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
There has been a recent recipe change in this food, leading to some dogs become picky about eating it. The grain-free recipe may also cause some dogs to get gassy and bloated and may result in loose stools too.
5. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food
This grain-free food from CANIDAE contains real salmon as the first ingredient and will provide your pooch with essential omega fatty acids needed for a healthy skin and coat. In fact, the food is formulated with just eight ingredients, so you can be sure of no nasty fillers, binders, colorants, flavorings, and artificial preservatives. The food includes wholesome vegetables for an energy boost, as well as a blend of probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to aid in immune support.
This grain-free food may cause bloating in some dogs, with loose stools too. With salmon as the main ingredient, you can expect a fishy smell that some picky eaters may not appreciate. The second listed ingredient is fish meal, which can contain any part of the fish and may cause an upset stomach in some dogs.
6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Dry Dog Food
Purina formulated this Pro Plan dry dog food with adult and senior dogs firmly in mind. The food contains nutrient-rich salmon as the first ingredient to give your pooch the essential omega fatty acids they need for a healthy coat and skin and to aid in joint health and mobility. The prebiotic fiber is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs, as the highly digestible fiber will help your dog’s digestion while nourishing the beneficial bacteria in their gut. The included oats and rice provide easily digestible sources of carbohydrates for an energy boost, and the food contains no wheat, soy, or corn.
This food may cause bloating and gas in some dogs, and the salmon smell may turn off picky eaters. Several customers reported increased shedding after switching to this food, with itchiness and skin irritations too.
7. Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food
Made with sustainably caught wild salmon as the very first ingredient, Halo Holistic dry dog food will provide your pooch with the essential fatty acids that salmon is packed with. The recipe also includes GMO-free garden vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots for energy-boosting carbohydrates and blueberries for immune-boosting antioxidants. There are no rendered meats like chicken or fish meal, so you can be sure that the food is hormone and antibiotic-free. It also contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The small-sized kibble is specially formulated for dogs with small mouths.
With salmon and whitefish as the first two ingredients, you can be sure the food will have a fishy smell and taste that some dogs may not enjoy. Also, the small kibble is not ideal for larger dogs.
8. Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food
Holistic Select dry food is made with chicken as the first ingredient and includes healthy fruits and vegetables that include pumpkin and papaya to support healthy digestion and energy-boosting carbohydrates. The recipe includes antioxidant-rich blueberries and pomegranate for optimized immune support, as well as sources of protease to assist in the efficient breakdown of proteins. The food is formulated with a balance of whole grains, including brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa for added energy, and a source of live microorganisms for a healthy digestive tract.
The kibble size of this food is fairly large, even for medium-sized breeds, and has sharp edges that may hurt smaller dogs. The food’s main protein source is chicken meal and vegetable-sourced proteins, which is not ideal, and some of the included vegetables are likely to cause gas. There are many grains in this food, so it may not be suitable for dogs with sensitive digestion.
9. Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This limited-ingredient dry dog food from Natural Balance is free from wheat, corn, and soy, making room for only the ingredients needed for optimal nutrition. Salmon is the first listed ingredient and will provide both protein and essential omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and shiny. Sweet potatoes are included as an easily digestible source of energy-producing carbohydrates. The food is specially formulated by a team of board-certified vets, animal nutritionists, and pet feeding analysts to ensure that your pooch gets the nutrition they deserve.
The food’s recipe has changed recently, and the switch over may cause bloating and gassy reactions. The food has a pungent smell, causing some dogs not to eat it and the ones that do having bad breath. Some customers report the food causing loose stools in their dogs, and the kibble is much too large for smaller breeds.
10. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This Wellness CORE grain-free food has turkey listed as the first and second ingredient, with chicken as the third, for an optimal animal-based protein source. The food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help maintain joint and bone health, which is further enhanced by the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids found in the included salmon oil and flax seeds. Blueberries provide essential antioxidants for optimized immune health, and the kibble is coated with probiotics for improved digestive health. Plus, this food is free from corn, wheat, and soya and contains no artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives.
Many customers report that even the least picky dogs would not eat this food. The food causes gas and bloating in some dogs and has a pungent smell. The high protein may cause diarrhea in some dogs and even vomiting. On top of this, the food is comparatively expensive.
Buyers Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Foods at Walmart
When buying dry dog food, there are a few things to scan the ingredient list for, whether you purchase it from Walmart or anywhere else. There are ingredients to avoid and ingredients that are essential. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but these are the main points to be on the lookout for.
The first listed ingredient — preferably the first three — should be real meat. This can be from a wide variety of sources, commonly chicken, fish, beef, and turkey, but can include any animal-based meat protein, and can sometimes feel easier to find in the best canned dog food at Walmart. But don’t be fooled – you can find it in a dry food. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not obligate carnivores and can thrive on a wide variety of foods. That being said, their main source of protein should ideally be meat, as they will digest meat proteins far easier than plant-based proteins.
Dog foods often have fish meal or chicken meal listed in the first few ingredients, and there is a great deal of controversy surrounding this ingredient. As long as this “meal” is entirely animal-based, there is no problem of giving it to your dog. This meal is made from ground-up animal products that include bone, bone marrow, and organ meats and are actually a great source of protein and nutrients.
Fruits and Vegetables
While too many fruits and vegetables are not a good idea due to the large carbohydrate and sugar content, a small amount is highly beneficial to your pooch. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and fruits like blueberries are a powerful source of antioxidants too. Some dog food producers will add vitamins and minerals separately, but they are far superior and more readily absorbed when obtained from natural sources. Sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, and blueberries are the most commonly found fruits and vegetables in commercial dog foods.
Meat by-products are commonly found in dog food ingredients, and there is a ton of controversy surrounding their use. Dog food manufacturers claim that these meat by-products are no different nutritionally than any other meat-based ingredients, while critics of the ingredients claim that they contain no nutritional value at all and may in fact be harmful to your dog. Animal by-products include meat scraps like feet, organs, heads, intestines, and stomachs, which seems like a perfectly acceptable addition to your dog’s diet. However, these ingredients are listed as “not fit for human consumption,” leading many dog lovers to assume that they are not fit for their pooches either.
This is because many of the parts used are not immediately refrigerated after slaughter and often are from condemned parts and dead-on-arrival animals. These parts are then rendered by overcooking until the water is cooked away, and you are left with the finished by-product. Some by-product sources are easily identifiable — for example, chicken by-products — and these are perfectly acceptable to feed your dog. Others, however, are simply called “generic by-products” or “meat by-products” and are more complicated in origin and should never be given to your dog, as you can never be quite sure of the source.
Conclusion: Best Walmart Dog Food
The top choice of dog food from Walmart is the Wholesome Essentials dry dog food from Nutro. It is made from real farm-raised chicken with brown rice and sweet potato and contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and essential antioxidants for immune support. Plus, it is free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colorants, flavorings, and preservatives.
The best dog food from Walmart for the money is the Active Life Formula dog food from American Journey. It contains real deboned chicken, nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes for added energy, and a precise blend of vitamins and antioxidants to support optimum immune functioning. The included omega-3 and -6 fatty acids will ensure healthy skin and coat. The food also contains no wheat, soy, corn, or artificial colors or flavors.
There is a wide and ever-expanding range of dog foods to choose from, and it can quickly become overwhelming. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have made it easier to choose the right food for your pooch next time you are scanning the shelves at your local Walmart.
Featured Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock