Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Soft Dry Dog Foods – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog Eating Dog FoodIf you’re in the market for soft dry dog food, you may be wondering which brand is best or healthiest for your pet. There are a few things to consider, but the biggest factor is going to be the ingredients each brand contains. It can be helpful to know which of the popular brands use the best ingredients.

We’ve chosen eight different brands of soft dry dog food to review for you. We’ll tell you about the ingredients each contains as well as any pros and cons we noticed while we were using each brand, and most importantly, we’ll let you know if our dogs liked it. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we talk about the ingredients a little bit more and tell you what you might want to avoid.

Join us while we discuss protein sources, flavor, odor, package size, and more to help you make an informed purchase.

Divider 8

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food
  • Made with real beef
  • Cheddar cheese flavor
  • No mess pouches
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Kibbles 'n Bits Original Savory Kibbles 'n Bits Original Savory
  • Beef and chicken flavor
  • Crunchy and soft
  • Fortified with antioxidants
  • Best for Puppies
    Third place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • 28% crude protein
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Purina Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy Purina Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy
  • Soft and crunchy bits
  • Three kibble sizes
  • Highly digestible
  • Cesar Small Breed Cesar Small Breed
  • Beef is the first ingredient
  • Blend of crunchy and soft kibble
  • Resealable zipper
  • The 8 Best Soft Dry Dog Foods

    1. Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food

    Check Price on Chewy

    Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food is our pick for the best overall soft dry dog food. This food uses real beef and has a cheddar cheese flavor that many dogs love. There are also other flavors available, including bacon and eggs, and steak. It provides your pet with complete balanced nutrition and comes in handy single-serve pouches that eliminate mess and the risk of overfeeding.

    Our dogs like Moist & Meaty, and the only thing we can complain about is that there is no burger in the product. Instead, it uses meat byproducts, and while not necessarily bad, it’s not as good as whole meats. Perhaps this is why the crude protein content is 18%, which is a bit low for everyday dog food. The upside is your dog will eat more of it!

    If you’re looking for the best soft dry dog food, we think this is it.

    • Made with real beef
    • Cheddar cheese flavor
    • Complete and balanced nutrition
    • No mess pouches
    • No whole meat

    2. Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Savory Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Kibbles 'n Bits Original Savory

    Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Savory Dry Dog Food is our pick for the best soft dry dog food for the money. This brand has been around for many years, and most of our dogs will come running to get some. It’s a dual-texture brand featuring hard kibble as well as soft, meaty bits. It has beef as well as chicken flavoring and contains carrots and green beans to help supply fiber and antioxidants. It’s also enhanced with vitamins and minerals to provide a complete meal.

    Though our dogs really enjoy Kibbles ‘n Bits Original and it fits well within our budget, we don’t make it a part of their steady diet because it has a lower protein content (19%), higher fat content (12%), and it contains BHA—a chemical preservative that may produce harmful side effects in your pet.

    • Beef and chicken flavor
    • Crunchy and soft
    • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals
    • Fortified with antioxidants
    • Contains carrots and green beans
    • Contains BHA

    3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy

    With 28% crude protein content, Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food is our pick as the best for puppies. It contains chicken as its first ingredient and chicken byproduct as its second, so you know your puppy is getting plenty of the essential protein it needs to develop healthy muscles and organs. It also contains brown rice, carrots, peas, and beet pulp, which adds several vitamins and minerals important for a growing puppy. It’s also fortified with omega fats for healthy eyesight and a shiny coat, and there are no harmful preservatives.

    The biggest complaint we had while using Rachael Ray was that many of our puppies wouldn’t eat it, and often held out until we replaced it with a different brand. Also, the kibble is very tiny, even for a puppy brand.

    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • 28% crude protein
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Contains brown rice, carrots, peas, and beet pulp
    • Fortified with omega fats
    • Some dogs don’t like it
    • Tiny pieces

    4. Purina Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy Dry Dog Food

    Purina Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy

    Purina Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy Dry Dog Food is another brand manufactured by a popular company that has stood the test of time. This food contains hard and soft bits and three sizes of kibble to help clean teeth better and make it easier for different size dogs to eat. With a crude protein-to-fat ratio of 21/10%, it provides a complete and balanced meal with 23 important vitamins and minerals and no harmful preservatives. It’s highly digestible and shouldn’t give your dog stomach cramps or diarrhea.

    We didn’t like that Purina Dog Chow doesn’t have chicken listed as its first ingredient. In fact, several other ingredients come before any meat is listed. While most of our dogs did eat this food, they would pick out the bits they wanted and leave the rest behind. This left-behind food would inevitably go in the garbage, which added up to quite a bit of waste in the short time we reviewed it.

    • Soft and crunchy bits
    • Three kibble sizes
    • A complete and balanced meal
    • 23 vitamins and minerals
    • Highly digestible
    • Corn is the first ingredient
    • Dogs pick out the parts they like

    5. Cesar Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Cesar Small Breed Dry

    Cesar Small Breed Dry Dog Food features beef as its first ingredient. It also contains 26 different nutrients specially designed for small breeds. Each package has a blend of crunchy soft and crunchy kibble, and it includes H-shaped pieces that are perfect for scrubbing tarter and helping to clean teeth. It’s a highly digestible food source with a resealable zipper that helps keep the food fresh much longer.

    Its 26% crude protein is exactly what we want to see in dry dog food. The primary downside to Cesar Small Breed is that it contains corn, which some dogs have difficulty digesting, and contains very little in the way of helpful nutrients.

    • Beef is the first ingredient
    • 26 nutrients
    • Blend of crunchy and soft kibble
    • Resealable zipper maintains freshness
    • Highly digestible
    • Contains corn
    • Some dogs won’t eat

    6. Purina ONE SmartBlend Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Adult

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Adult Formula Dry Dog Food features lamb as its first ingredient. Lamb is high in protein and is also a natural source of glucosamine, which can help with inflammation and joint pain. It also contains omega fats, which help with brain and eye development and promotes a soft, shiny coat.

    The biggest problem we had with Purina ONE SmartBlend was that more than one bag contained moths that got into our home after opening the package. It also caused a few of our dogs to begin itching and scratching, and the remainder of our dogs would not eat it and preferred to go hungry.

    • Lamb is the first ingredient
    • Omega fats
    • Glucosamine
    • Some dogs don’t like it
    • May cause itching
    • Moths in bag

    7. Purina Beneful Simple Goodness Adult Dry Dog Food

    Purina Beneful Simple Goodness

    Purina Beneful Simple Goodness Adult Dry Dog Food is a healthy brand of dog food that features chicken as its first ingredient. It’s high in protein, so it’s great for developing puppies, and its soft texture is perfect for senior dogs that may find it difficult to chew the hard kibble, and missing teeth can make it impossible. The protein comes from whole chicken, and there is no meat byproduct in this brand. There are also no artificial colors or flavors and no harmful chemical preservatives.

    The reason Purina Beneful Simple Goodness didn’t rank higher on the list is that it’s very expensive for the amount you get, and it has a bad odor. It didn’t smell up the room, but it did cause bad breath. Also, most of our dogs preferred less healthy food, and they wouldn’t eat this brand.

    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • No artificial colors or flavors
    • No chicken byproduct
    • Smells bad
    • Some dogs won’t eat it

    8. Wellness Core Air Dried Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food

    Wellness Core Air Dried

    Wellness Core Air Dried Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food Supports full-body health and provides plenty of vitamins and minerals from nutrient-rich greens, including broccoli, spinach, and kale. It also contains other high-quality ingredients, like carrots, peas, blueberries, apples, and more. But what really makes this mixture of hard and soft kibble great is that it features turkey as its first ingredient, and chicken as its second. The soft bits contain up to 70% lean protein, making it one of the most protein-rich foods on this list. It’s grain-free for owners who require it, and it contains no wheat, corn, or soy. There are also no artificial preservatives or colors.

    What we didn’t like about Wellness Core Air was that there are not a lot of soft pieces in the food, and none of our dogs liked the hard kibble. Each dog would pick out the few soft bits and leave the remaining food and it’s quite expensive to have that much waste.

    • Supports whole-body health
    • Protein-rich
    • Grain-free
    • No wheat, corn, or soy
    • No artificial preservatives or colors
    • Turkey is the first ingredient chicken is the second
    • Not a lot of soft bits
    • Some dogs don’t like it
    • Expensive

    Divider 8

    Buyer’s Guide – Selecting the Best Soft Dry Dog Foods

    Let’s look at some of the important things to consider when choosing soft dry dog food for your pet.

    The Benefits of Soft Dry Dog Food

    Soft dry dog food used to be much more popular than it is today, but there are still some brands available, and most of them contain much higher quality ingredients than they once did. It’s a little more expensive than dry dog food but not as expensive as wet. It adds more moisture than dry dog food, which can be helpful if your pet is suffering from constipation or dehydration. The soft texture is also easier for some dogs to eat. Dental problems such as cavities we’re missing teeth can make it challenging or painful for your pet to chew hard, dry kibble. Many dogs also prefer soft dry food over hard food because it’s a little more natural and often has more flavor.


    The ingredients you want to look for in soft dry dog food are the same as you would look for in regular dry food or even wet food.


    While dogs are not strictly carnivorous, protein is the most important part of any dog food. You want your pet’s protein to come from a high-quality source like chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb. These whole meats are fresher and contain more nutrients than other meat products. Many brands use meat byproducts or meat meals as their protein source. While these ingredients are not inherently bad, it is a dried-out and ground meat that can lose many nutrients in the process. Many of these ground meat products also come from countries with lower health standards for pet food, so we try to avoid them and stick to whole meats like chicken and turkey.

    Exotic Meats

    It’s becoming increasingly popular to add exotic meats to pet food. These exotic meats include venison, alligator, bison, kangaroo, ostrich, and rabbits. Exotic meats are not part of your pet’s natural diet, and they may potentially increase the risk of food allergies as well as other health problems. Most experts recommend avoiding foods with exotic meat in them, at least until more studies are backing their safety.

    Vitamins and Minerals

    Dog Eating Kibble
    Image Credit: sanjagrujic, shutterstock

    Vitamins and minerals can be added through a fortification process, or as fruits and vegetables in the ingredients. Many vegetables can be helpful to your dog, including kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, and more. Vegetables are often a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, which can help regulate your pet’s digestive system preventing constipation and diarrhea.

    Many fruits are excellent for your pet’s health, including blueberries, strawberries, apples, and others. These fruits also supply vitamins and minerals and are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help boost your pet’s immune system, keeping away disease and helping infections heal quicker.

    Omega Fats

    Omega fats can be extremely beneficial to your pet’s health. Omega fats help with brain and eye development in the early stages of your pet’s life, making them a critical component of puppy care. As your pet ages, these fats remain useful because they help provide a softer, shinier coat. Omega fats can also help with arthritis as well as chronic kidney disease, improving your pet’s quality of life. Fish oil usually provides omega fats, but they can come from other ingredients like flax.

    Ingredients to Avoid

    While the quality of start food has improved considerably over the last decade, there are still a few ingredients you should avoid.


    Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods on Earth, and we should try and avoid giving it to our pets when possible if not prescribed. These foods are not part of a dog’s natural diet and provide very little nutritional value, and if your dog is sensitive to them, they can throw off their delicate digestive system causing loose stools or diarrhea.

    Dyes and Chemical Preservatives

    Chemical fertilizer on soil background dog ate fertilizer
    Image Credit: Criniger kolio, Shutterstock

    Another thing you want to look for when purchasing your soft dry dog food is the presence of dyes and chemical preservatives. While dyes are not inherently bad for your pet, they are an unnecessary ingredient, and some dogs may have an allergic reaction to eating them. Chemical preservatives may have a more serious effect on your pet’s health, and you should avoid them at all costs. One of the most popular chemical preservatives used in pet food is BHA, and you can usually find this ingredient listed toward the bottom of the ingredient list of any brand of dog food.

    How Can I Tell if The Food I Use Is Bad for My Dog?

    The most common sign that your pet food is not agreeing with your dog is loose stools or diarrhea. It can also cause excessive gas and vomiting. Usually, these symptoms will clear up quickly by switching to another brand of food. More serious side effects of eating bad food are itchy skin, hair loss, and possibly a discoloration of the skin and hair. If you notice these symptoms, you should discontinue the food immediately and take your pet to the vet.

    Divider 8


    When choosing your next brand of South dry dog food, we recommend our top choice. Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food uses real beef, is cheese flavored, provides a complete meal, and is single-serve packaged for freshness. Our dogs are also extremely fond of it. Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Savory Dry Dog Food is oura pick for the best value, and it provides a mix of soft and hard kibble for those that like the teeth-cleaning ability of hard food.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and have found a brand of food suitable for your pet. If you think it can be helpful to others, please share this guide to the best soft dry dog food on Facebook and Twitter.

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database