With all the different kinds of dog foods that are available, it can be extremely challenging to find the best one for your dog. It can feel overwhelming as you browse through numerous formulas and specialized diets. Many dog food brands also place fancy labels and certifications on their food, like human-grade or USDA-certified organic. To make the search even more challenging, each dog has its own dietary and nutritional needs, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of dog food.
So, it’s totally understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed about what food is best for your dog. We’re here to help and have reviews of some of the best and most popular dog foods this year. We also have the essential information you need to know while shopping for dog food so that you can pick out the best options for your dog.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||The Farmer's Dog Chicken Recipe||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Budget Buy||Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend||
|JustFoodForDogs Turkey & Macaroni||
|Merrick Classic Healthy Grains||
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken Recipe||
The 10 Best Dog Foods
1. The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||USDA chicken, USDA chicken liver, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts|
|Calories:||295 kcal per ½ pound|
If you’re looking for the best overall dog food, make sure to check out The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe. This meal is appropriate for dogs of all breeds and life stages, so you don’t have to worry about transitioning your dog to a new diet as it ages. It’s made fresh without preservatives and is gently cooked at low temperatures for high nutrient retention. USDA chicken and USDA chicken liver are the first two ingredients, and you can also find nutritious vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
The recipe also contains limited ingredients and uses a single source of meat protein, making it a considerable option for dogs with food allergies and sensitive stomachs. It is a grain-free recipe, which may not be appropriate for some dogs, as grain-free dog food is currently being investigated for links to dilated cardiomyopathy. So, it’s important to consult your veterinarian, and The Farmer’s Dog also recommends discussing with your veterinarian before making the switch.
2. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, rice flour, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, chicken by-product meal|
|Calories:||380 kcal per ½ pound|
Not all nutritious dog food has to be expensive. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for the money without heavily sacrificing quality. Each ingredient is carefully and intentionally selected to ensure your dog’s eating a well-balanced, nutritious meal. This recipe’s formula includes omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals to nourish and support skin and coat health. It also contains four sources of antioxidants to boost the immune system and natural sources of glucosamine to support the joints and mobility.
While the recipe name only mentions lamb, it includes other kinds of meat and contains a variety of ingredients, including beef and chicken. With these meats being one of the most common food allergens for dogs, this dog food isn’t the best option for dogs with food allergies and intolerances.
3. JustFoodForDogs Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni Recipe – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, whole wheat macaroni, broccoli, zucchini, carrots|
|Calories:||49 kcal ME/oz|
JustFoodForDogs is a fresh dog food brand that creates several nutritious meals using 100% fresh, human-grade ingredients. This Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni Recipe has been carefully crafted by using highly nutritious foods. This results in a limited-ingredient recipe that’s easily digestible and safe for many dogs with food allergies.
Unlike many subscription fresh dog food companies, JustFoodForDogs isn’t exclusively available by signing up for a subscription plan. You can find this dog food in select pet stores or purchase through online pet retailers. So, if you accidentally run out of food, you’ll have an easier time buying batches of food while you wait for your next shipment to arrive. Just keep in mind that it takes a significant amount of time for the food to thaw, so you have to plan accordingly to ensure your dog’s food is prepared and ready to serve on time.
4. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal|
This puppy recipe developed by Merrick is highly nutritious and promotes healthy growth and development in puppies. It uses deboned chicken as its first ingredient and also includes chicken meal and salmon meal to ensure your puppy’s getting enough protein through its diet. The formula also contains high levels of DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which are components that are essential to a puppy’s development.
It’s important to note that this recipe contains a wide variety of ingredients. It’s certainly nutritious, but it can be difficult for some puppies with particularly sensitive stomachs to digest. So, if your puppy usually has difficulty digesting new foods, this recipe may not be the most appropriate.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, pea fiber, corn gluten meal|
While this Hill’s Science Diet dog food is relatively expensive for dry dog food, its benefits make it well worth the price. This formula is designed to help dogs maintain a healthy weight and is also effective in helping overweight dogs lose some weight. It also contains ingredients that support heart health and lean muscles.
Chicken is the first ingredient and the only meat protein, and the recipe is free of common food allergens for dogs. The ingredient list includes natural sources of fiber to support healthy digestion. The kibble is also shaped into thin discs, making it easier for dogs to chew.
6. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
|Main ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic oatmeal, organic barley, organic brown rice|
This Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe is one of the only USDA-certified dog foods you’ll find in stores. Organic chicken is the first ingredient, and you can find several other nutritious organic superfoods, like flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes. The ingredient list is among the cleanest you’ll find in commercial dog food, so it’s a viable option if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
Most dogs will be able to enjoy eating this food. However, the kibble size may be a little too large for small dogs and toy breeds, and there isn’t a small dog version of this recipe.
7. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Dehydrated turkey, organic oats, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, dehydrated carrots|
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe is a 100% human-grade recipe that’s also produced in a human food facility. It contains high-quality natural ingredients, including cage-free turkey, organic oats, apples, and flaxseed. The food is gently dehydrated to retain flavor and nutrients, and you can serve it to dogs of all ages and breeds.
You can rehydrate this meal by adding a little warm water or serving it as a meal topper. If you choose to serve it as a meal topper, make sure to incorporate it well with the rest of your dog’s food. The dehydrated form can be powdery and be an irritant if your dog accidentally inhales it.
8. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Wet Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, brown rice, oatmeal|
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, they may prefer eating this Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe. Turkey is the single source of protein in this recipe, and it contains a blend of wholesome grains to support digestive health. The recipe is also free of common food allergies and is easily digestible.
This dog food is suitable for adult dogs of all breeds, and since it’s wet food, you don’t have to worry about your dog having any difficulty chewing it. However, one thing to keep in mind is that brown rice is one of the main ingredients. Brown rice is an excellent source of fiber, but it can be difficult for some dogs to digest, especially if they already have gastrointestinal issues.
9. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned duck, duck meal, oat groats, whole sorghum, duck liver|
This ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient dog food is another excellent option to consider if you’re looking to feed your dog a limited-ingredient diet. Duck is the single source of protein in this recipe, which is considered a novelty meat and safe for many dogs with food allergies to eat.
The recipe also contains easily digestible ingredients like butternut squash and pumpkin. It includes a heart-healthy vitamin pack that supports the nervous and circulatory systems and ensures that your dog is eating a complete and well-balanced meal.
The only downside to this dog food is that it’s relatively expensive when compared to average dog food prices. However, it’s a high-quality diet and worth the price.
10. Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Chicken, Oats & Turkey Adult Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oats, barley, brown rice|
This Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Chicken, Oats & Turkey Adult Dry Dog Food is a well-balanced meal for adult dogs. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient, and the recipe uses chicken meal, turkey meal, and deboned turkey as additional sources of protein. It also contains other nutritious foods, including oats, barley, apples, and blueberries.
This dog food has a healthy blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health. It also has probiotics that boost immune health and promote healthy digestion.
While the recipe is nutritious, it’s not for every dog. It contains various grains that have a lot of fiber, which can be difficult for some dogs to digest. It also uses dried egg product, so it’s not for dogs with egg allergies.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dog Food
It can feel like there are too many factors to consider when shopping for dog food. However, there are some general guidelines that can simplify your search and help you find appropriate food for your dog more quickly. Here are some key things to consider when shopping for dog food.
High-Quality Protein Sources
Dogs are omnivores, but a good portion of their diet requires protein. So, it’s important to find dog food that uses high-quality meat. Reputable dog food companies will provide information on where they source their ingredients, and you can usually find this information on their websites.
While some people may turn their noses away from meat meal, specified meat meal, like beef meal or salmon meal, is completely safe for dogs to eat. When whole cuts of meat go through the cooking process, they end up losing a lot of moisture and volume. So, it’s a common practice for dog food companies to add meat meal to their recipes to ensure they contain enough protein.
It’s important to exercise caution with unspecified meat meals and by-product meat meals. This is because it’s unclear as to exactly what goes inside them. So, they’re often not safe choices for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities.
Dry Dog Food vs Wet Dog Food
There are pros and cons to both dry dog food and wet dog food. Dry dog food is more convenient to serve, and it can be left out for longer. Once opened, they also have a longer shelf life and can last for months if properly stored.
Wet dog food tends to be more palatable for dogs. Feeding it to your dog is a great way to add more moisture to your dog’s diet and prevent dehydration. However, it’s not recommended to leave it out at room temperature for more than 4 hours, and it usually goes bad 7 days after you’ve opened the packaging.
Many dog food brands will try to make their products more attractive by promoting them as specialty diets. You can find all kinds of diets for dogs, like grain-free, human-grade, and limited-ingredient. Some brands will also only specialize in creating fresh food, dehydrated, or raw diets.
It’s important to note that your average healthy dog won’t require a specialty diet. Specialty diets can cost a lot more than average dog food prices, and you can save on costs if you don’t need to purchase a specialty diet for your dog. The best way to determine if your dog needs to go on a specialty diet is to consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can help you determine your dog’s specific dietary needs and even recommend certain dog food brands that may be suitable for your dog.
Out of our reviews, The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe is the best dog food because it’s made fresh and uses high-quality ingredients. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is our budget-friendly choice because it doesn’t heavily sacrifice quality.
If you’re looking to pamper your dog, the JustFoodForDogs Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni Recipe is a nutritious choice that’s worth the premium price. A high-quality recipe for puppies is the Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe. Lastly, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe is our vet-recommended choice because it has a carefully crafted formula and helps dogs maintain a healthy weight.
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