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10 Best Dog Foods without Corn, Wheat, & Soy in 2021 – Review & Top Picks

10 Best Dog Foods without Corn, Wheat, & Soy in 2021 – Review & Top Picks Featured Image

homemade dog food

While corn, wheat, and soy are okay for most dogs, some canines are sensitive to these ingredients, and their reactions may vary. Some may have slight stomach upset, while others may get extremely itchy around their face and paws. Sometimes, dogs may lick and scratch their paws so much that it causes open sores, which can become infected.

Luckily, there are many dog foods out there that are free from these ingredients. Not all dog foods are of equal quality, though. Just because a food is missing these common allergens doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best food for your dog.

We reviewed 10 of the most popular dog foods without corn, wheat, and soy to help you choose the best option for your canine.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free
  • High in protein
  • Full of omega fatty acids
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food
  • Only six ingredients
  • Lamb meal as the first ingredient
  • Whole grains included
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dog Food Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dog Food
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin included
  • Suitable for large breed puppies
  • Non-GMO
  • VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
  • 88% meat protein
  • Variety of meat included
  • Includes high levels of DHA
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food
  • Deboned chicken as the first ingredient
  • Glucosamine included
  • Antioxidants included
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods without Corn, Wheat, & Soy – Reviews 2021

    1. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    There are quite a few grain-free dog foods out there, but American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is our favorite by far. It is free from corn, wheat, and soy on top of being grain-free. The exclusion of these ingredients makes it perfect for pets with sensitive stomachs and some food allergies. It is full of many nutritious ingredients like blueberries, carrots, and dried kelp. All of these ingredients include plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, which will help your canine get a complete diet.

    This food is also high in protein at 32%. Deboned salmon is the first ingredient, while chicken meal is the second. Chicken meal is a concentrated protein, as it is chicken that has been cooked to remove most of the moisture content.

    Most pet owners also like that this food is high in omega fatty acids, including DHA and omega-3s. These are great for your canine’s overall health and coat. These omegas come from several sources, including salmon oil and flaxseed. These nutrients also help support your dog’s brain health.

    Because it includes ingredients like chickpeas and sweet potatoes, this food is also relatively high in fiber. This can be helpful for dogs who need a bit of help staying full.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • High in protein
    • Full of omega fatty acids
    • High in fiber
    • Includes antioxidants
    Cons
    • Includes chicken – a common allergen

    2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food

    As the name suggests, the Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food includes only six main ingredients. It does include many added vitamins and nutrients, which is typical for dog food. However, it includes only six main ingredients beyond these extra vitamins. The first ingredient is lamb meal. This is exceptionally high-quality, as lamb meal is just lamb cooked down to remove the moisture content. This means it is more concentrated than whole lamb. In other words, it contains a higher amount of protein and nutrients.

    Brown rice is included as the second ingredient. This means the food is not grain-free. However, brown rice is a much better option than some of the other grains out there. It does include some nutrients and vitamins.

    This food is completely free from fillers, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. This makes it better for our pets overall and eliminates other ingredients your pet may have an adverse reaction. This food is also made in the USA using some of the world’s best ingredients, so you can feel confident that it’s safe.

    All these factors are why we consider it the best dog food without corn, wheat, and soy for the money.

    Pros
    • Only six ingredients
    • Includes lamb meal as the first ingredient
    • Whole grains included
    • Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
    Cons
    • Only 20% protein

    3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dog Food – Best for Puppies

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dog Food – Best for Puppies

    Puppies need different nutrition than adults. For this reason, they often need exceptional puppy food, though there are some options out there for all life stages. If you have a puppy and need to avoid wheat, corn, and soy, we recommend Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dog Food.

    This puppy food features natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. These ingredients help support your puppy’s growing joints. This food is suitable for large and giant breed dogs for this reason, as they may have extra difficulty with their joints.

    The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken, while chicken meal is the second ingredient. These are high-quality options as long as your canine is not sensitive to chicken, which seems to be quite common. This food also contains quite a bit of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these help your canine stay healthy and happy. They support healthy development and are an excellent option for any puppy.

    We liked that Nutro crafts this recipe with only the best. All ingredients are non-GMO, and this food is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

    Pros
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin included
    • Suitable for large breed puppies
    • Non-GMO
    • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
    Cons
    • Contains chicken

    4. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

    VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

    VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food is very high-quality dog food. However, it is also quite expensive. For this reason, we had to rate it lower on our list. But, for all other purposes, it is a great option. If you have the extra money, this dog food may be worth it.

    It is made of 88% meat protein, including beef, chicken, and pork. It is made out of a wide variety of animal sources, making it suitable for dogs with sensitives. More protein sources mean that the protein is of a wider variety and lessens the chance that your dog will become oversensitive to one type of protein.

    This food is made with all the vitamins, essential fatty acids, and amino acids that your dog needs. It is fortified for dogs of all life stages, making it very suitable for pregnant and nursing females. This dog food also includes a high amount of fish, which is a natural source of DHA. This nutrient helps with brain development and maintenance.

    Pros
    • 88% meat protein
    • Variety of meat included
    • Includes high levels of DHA
    • Includes all necessary amino acids
    Cons
    • Expensive

    5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo is a typical dog food brand. Their Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food is relatively high-quality dog food. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient. Deboned chicken meal is the second. This is a pretty standard ingredient list for most dog foods, though Blue Buffalo is a bit expensive for what it is. You can get a similar recipe for cheaper from other companies.

    It does include quite a bit of calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins – everything your dog needs for strong bones and an overall healthy body. Glucosamine is included for joint health and mobility support. This feature makes this a suitable option for older dogs as well.

    We did like that this food contains antioxidants, which are great for your dog’s immune health.

    This food is relatively low in protein at only 24%. This isn’t terribly low, but it is relatively low for the cost you’re paying for this dog food. You can get higher percentages of protein for cheaper from other brands.

    Pros
    • Deboned chicken as the first ingredient
    • Glucosamine included
    • Antioxidants included
    Cons
    • Low protein
    • Expensive

    6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is another formula by Blue Buffalo. Unlike the previous formula we reviewed, this one does have a high amount of protein at 34%. However, much of this protein does not come from animal meat. Instead, this food includes quite a bit of pea protein and whole peas. This drives up the food’s protein content substantially, but this protein does not contain all the amino acids our dogs need to thrive. Despite the advertising, peas are not a “healthy carb.” They have been potentially linked to health problems by the FDA.

    This food does contain quite a lot of omega fatty acids. These can support healthy skin and a luscious coat. It also includes LifeSource Bits, which are pieces of kibble full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. However, most dog foods are fortified with these things, so we do not consider this a unique benefit.

    This food is free from artificial flavors and preservatives. It also doesn’t include any by-products.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • High in omega fatty acids
    • Free from artificial flavors and preservatives
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • High in peas

    7. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    We did like that Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food includes real salmon as the first ingredient. Salmon is a rarer ingredient in dog food, but it can be particularly suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also offers high-quality protein and many nutrients, like DHA. It is full of omega fatty acids, which can help support your dog’s skin and coat.

    This formula does not contain any artificial flavors or colors. It does contain all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your pet needs to thrive. Of course, this is true for many dog foods, so this isn’t a huge benefit. Most dog foods on the market today are fortified with everything your pooch needs.

    This recipe does include antioxidant-rich fruits. These are good for your canine’s immune system and are highly suitable for older dogs in particular. This dog food does include a mix of veggies that add plenty of nutrients to your dog’s food. However, we didn’t like that veggies were included very high on the ingredient list. This drives down the protein content a lot and leaves it at only 27%.

    Pros
    • Includes real salmon
    • Free from artificial colors and flavors
    • Includes antioxidant-rich fruits
    Cons
    • Low protein at only 27%
    • Low in meat

    8. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dry Dog Food

    Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dry Dog Food

    As far as higher-end dog foods go, Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dry Dog Food is pretty inexpensive. You will pay less per pound than you would for other dog foods. This food is made with premium non-GMO ingredients. It features eight nutritious fruits and veggies and things like New Zealand green mussels, which contain a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin. It is excellent for older dogs who need a little joint help.

    There are many reports of pickier eaters not eating this food. If your dog is a picky eater, this food may not be for them for this reason. Of course, some picky eaters love it! It just depends on your dog. There is something about it that doesn’t turn many picky eaters on, however.

    This food is relatively low in protein and fat, however. It contains only 22% protein and 9% fat. This is relatively low for dog food and is the primary reason why we rated it so low.

    Pros
    • Contains many nutritious fruits and veggies
    • Non-GMO
    Cons
    • Low in protein
    • Low in Fat
    • Not suitable for picky eaters

    9. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

    Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

    Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food is designed for all life stages. This means you can safely use it for puppies and adults. If you have both in your household, you may decide to use it in your home for this reason. It limits the amount of segregation you must do at mealtime.

    It is made with all the vitamins and minerals your pooch needs. Many of these come from fruits and veggies, though this food is fortified quite a bit as well. It includes a high amount of omega fatty acids, which can help keep your canine’s coat and skin healthy. This food is made with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

    With that said, this food is relatively low in protein at only 26%. This isn’t extremely low, but we would expect something better for the price. Fat could be slightly higher, too, though it is in the moderate range at 16%.

    There are many reports of dogs just not liking this food, though. Many people reported that their pets stopped eating. It must not be flavorful or appealing to many dogs.

    Pros
    • All life stages
    • Omega fatty acids included
    Cons
    • Not very appealing to dogs
    • Low in fat
    • Low in protein

    10. Merrick Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

    Merrick Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

    Merrick Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food is quite expensive, especially for what it is. While this dog food is completely grain-free, it is relatively high in starchy veggies. These aren’t necessarily bad for dogs, but they are unsuitable in high amounts. Instead, dogs should be eating plenty of meat, which this food doesn’t have.

    It is relatively high in protein, so there are no complaints there. However, the fat content is relatively low and could be higher. Dogs are designed to get most of their calories from fat, so a high-fat diet is a must if you want your dog to thrive.

    This food does include meat as the first few ingredients. However, it also contains inexpensive veggies like sweet potatoes and peas. It also contains veggie-proteins, like potatoes proteins. These raise the protein content by quite a bit. However, this protein is not a complete protein, which means it does not contain all the amino acids your pooch needs.

    Pros
    • Includes a variety of meats
    Cons
    • Includes a high amount of peas and potatoes
    • Low in fat
    • Expensive

    Buyer’s Guide

    Purchasing dog food can be surprisingly complicated. If your dog needs to avoid wheat, corn, and soy, it can be even more challenging to find the perfect food for your canine. You need to stay aware of many factors, including macronutrient content, ingredients, and affordability.

    In this section, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about choosing the best dog food for your canine.

    Macronutrient Content

    All food contains a specific ratio of the three macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Every animal requires a certain amount of each macronutrient to thrive, though the exact amount varies from species to species. Luckily, studies have figured out precisely what macronutrient ratio our dogs need, figuring out what to feed them much more straightforward.

    Studies have shown that dogs need about 30% protein, 63% fat, and 7% carbohydrates. This is true no matter their breed.

    Based on this information, we should choose dog foods high in protein and fats while remaining low in carbohydrates. Sadly, this is quite difficult to do on the market today. Most dog foods are very high in carbohydrates.

    This is likely because the meat is high in fat and protein, but it is costly. On the other hand, veggies like potatoes are very inexpensive, but they contain mostly carbohydrates. Most companies choose to use as many of the cheaper ingredients as possible.

    We recommend choosing food that is as high in protein and fat as possible. This is especially true for older dogs or those with health problems. If a dog is unhealthy, you do not want to feed them food that may make them even less healthy.

    Cost

    Cost is typically an essential factor for many pet owners. Dog food can be costly. It can also be extremely inexpensive. It just depends on the company and what the food contains. Individual companies are more expensive because of their name, even though their formulas aren’t that good.

    It is not always the best option to choose a well-known brand. Instead, you can often get more bang for your buck by choosing a lesser-known brand. More famous brands are not always better by any means. In fact, many of them are plagued by recall problems and lawsuits.

    Ingredient Quality

    You should pay careful attention to the ingredient quality of any food you purchase. Dog foods should be made with mostly meat. Our dogs were bred to live off meat, so it must take up a large part of their diet.

    However, not all meats are made the same. Whole meat and meat meal are the best option. Meat meal is just meat that has been boiled down to remove the moisture content. This is often required to make kibble. For this reason, many kibbles will include meat meal of some sort. It is concentrated meat, which makes it quite suitable for our canines.

    Grains are not necessarily bad for dogs, but some canines can be sensitive to them. As long as their diet isn’t made of mostly grain, the average dog is typically fine with some sort of grain in their diet. Unless your dog is allergic to it, there is no reason to seek out grain-free food.

    Grain-free foods have been tied to a severe heart condition by the FDA. This is likely because grain-free foods usually replace the grain with some cheap veggies like peas instead of adding more meat. Too many peas or potatoes can be a bad thing, especially when they replace animal proteins. They do not contain all the essential amino acids our dogs need, leading to health problems.

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    Conclusion

    There are many dog foods out there that are free from corn, wheat, and soy. Our favorite is American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This dog food is high in protein and fat, as well as high in omega fatty acids. It also contains quite a bit of fiber, which can help your dog stay full for longer. It isn’t expensive, either.

    As a budget option, we also recommend Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dry Dog Food. This food contains a minimal number of ingredients, making it less likely to upset a sensitive dog’s stomach. It is also very inexpensive when compared to other options.

    We hope that our reviews gave you an idea of all the different dog foods currently available on the market. Hopefully, we’ve helped you pick out the right food for your canine.


    Featured Image Credit: Ezzolo, Shutterstock