You love your dog like they’re another member of the family, so it’s only natural that you’d want to feed them the best food possible. A top-notch kibble can help them stay healthy and active for as long as possible, maximizing the time you get to enjoy with them by your side.
Unfortunately, deciding which food is the best can be incredibly confusing. Pet food aisles are packed with options, and each one makes bold claims as to why it’s the best. Unless you have a background in pet nutrition or a great deal of time on your hands, deciding on just one can be incredibly daunting.
In order to help you with your buying decision, we’ve put together a list of the 10 foods that we think are best for dogs. The offerings on this list are all incredibly healthy, so your dog should look and feel great — and that should make you feel pretty good as well!
A Quick Note About Our Ranking Process
We’ve ranked these foods based on how healthy they are for dogs. Factors like affordability and convenience played into where certain foods ranked on the list, but we didn’t omit any foods due to issues like price.
As a result, the foods on this list skew toward the high-end and boutique. You may not see many brands that you recognize from your local pet store. Those foods aren’t bad, per se, but we definitely feel that the options below outclass them in terms of overall healthiness.
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The 10 Best Healthiest Dog Food Brands
1. The Farmer’s Dog – Best Overall
The Farmer’s Dog is an independent raw food company that sells customized meal plans for dogs. All its food is human-grade, and it uses real ingredients that you can recognize — no sketchy chemicals or low-grade meats involved.
You start by visiting their website and filling out info about your dog, such as breed, size, age, and activity level. The vet nutritionists will create a custom subscription meal plan for your pooch, and then they’ll package up your dog’s individual meals and ship them to you frozen. You simply have to thaw them out or heat them and serve them.
Since each meal plan is customized to your dog, you can rest assured that your pet is getting all the nutrition they need. The food is made with top-notch ingredients as well, so most dogs wolf it down immediately.
The meals are all prepackaged based on your dog’s nutritional needs, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out portion sizes. All you do is unwrap each portion and serve. This cuts down on the risk of obesity from overfeeding.
As you might expect, you’ll have to pay through the nose for all this high-end nutrition. Also, since the food has to be frozen or refrigerated, it can be a hassle to store.
If your only concern is feeding your dog the best possible diet, though, The Farmer’s Dog is nearly impossible to beat.
2. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High-Protein
We’re big believers in feeding dogs high-protein diets, and it’s hard to find kibbles with more protein than Solid Gold Barking at the Moon.
Each serving has 41% protein due to ingredients like beef, fish meal, and eggs. There is plant protein in here as well, which isn’t processed as easily as meat-based protein, but that can be forgiven due to how high the overall number is.
It’s not just meat in each bag either. You’ll also find foods like carrots, peas, blueberries, cranberries, and salmon oil, ensuring that your dog gets all the nutrition they need.
There are probiotics in the recipe, and that should ensure that your dog’s digestive tract stays in fine working order. The whole formula is grain- and gluten-free, making it easy for sensitive dogs to tolerate.
It is high in salt, which is regrettable, but that’s hardly reason to reject the food out of hand.
It’s not quite up to the same standard as the personalized meal plans from The Farmer’s Dog, but if you want a food that you can serve straight out of a bag, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon is the best of the bunch.
3. Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast All Life Stages
Another extremely high-protein option, Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast has everything that your dog needs to grow up strong and healthy.
Since its primary protein source is fish-based, it’s full of omega fatty acids. These are vital for everything from brain development to boosting your dog’s immune system, so you want to give your pup as many of them as you can.
This food is designed to help your dog use the bathroom as painlessly as possible as well. It has pumpkin seed and montmorillonite clay for fiber, as well a variety of probiotics to keep your pup’s gut in top-notch shape.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this food, though, is the fact that it’s coated in spray-dried porcine plasma. While that sounds gross (and this food does stink), dogs love it, and it’s packed with important nutrients that you won’t often find in commercial kibbles.
The fruits and vegetables inside are all extremely nutritious, as they use foods like broccoli, kelp, apricots, blueberries, and spinach. However, the consistency of the food is somewhat lacking, as it tends to crumble out of the bag.
If you can stomach the smell, Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast is loaded with important nutrients not often found in mass-produced dog foods.
- Related Read: 5 Best Human-Grade Dog Food Brands
4. K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
K9 Natural Beef Feast food is ridiculously pricey — a small bag can cost a few hundred dollars. However, it’s hard to argue that it’s not worth it.
It’s made almost exclusively of beef. You’ll find just about every part of the cow in here, including the liver, heart, kidneys, tripe, bone, and blood. It’s as close as your dog can come to killing a cow themselves.
As a result, it’s high in protein — and fat too. That’s a good thing, as it gives dogs energy and helps them stay full for longer. The fiber levels are lower than we’d like, though.
In addition to all that beef, you’ll also find ingredients like flaxseed, cabbage, kelp, pumpkin, mussel, apples, and pears. Your dog will definitely get a well-rounded nutritional profile from this food.
K9 Natural Beef Feast is one of the best prepackaged raw foods that you’ll find anywhere. You may need to take out a second mortgage just to afford it, though.
5. Sojos Wild-Caught Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Sojos Wild-Caught Salmon Recipe is another pricey option, but there’s more here than meets the eye. You’re supposed to soak it in water before serving it, and it will swell to five times its original size after soaking.
Since it’s a fish-based formula, this food is extremely high in both protein and omega fatty acids. It’s also a good choice for dogs with food allergies, as salmon tends to be gentle on stomachs.
Don’t worry about the safety of feeding your dog “raw” fish either. This food is freeze-dried and dehydrated, which removes all the bacteria along with the water. You’ll still want to wash your hands after touching it, though.
In addition to the fish, you’ll find eggs, cranberries, carrots, coconut, peas, kelp, and more in here. Your pooch will certainly get all the vitamins and minerals that they need from this food.
Not all dogs care for the taste of salmon, though, so this food may be rejected. The pieces crumble to powder at the slightest touch, and you might have a mess on your hands while preparing it.
Overall, though, Sojos Wild-Caught Salmon Recipe is one of the best fish-based recipes around. Actually, it’s one of the best dog foods around, period.
6. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Whole Food Clusters Dry Dog Food
If you’re just discovering raw food diets, The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey makes it easy to dip your toe into the learning process.
The pieces look like regular kibble chunks, which can be less intimidating for pets and owners alike. You still need to rehydrate them, so a little will go a long way when prepared correctly.
The kibble is small, even after being soaked, so dogs of all sizes can enjoy it without issue.
The recipe uses whole foods — you can actually see recognizable chunks of many of the foods used to make it. Ingredients like turkey, lentils, carrots, broccoli, kale, chia seed, and salmon oil ensure that this makes an incredibly healthy meal for your dog.
It uses more potatoes than we’d like, as potatoes are limited, nutritionally-speaking, and can cause upset stomachs in some dogs. Also, we’d prefer it if both the protein and fat levels were a bit higher, but they’re not low by any stretch of the imagination.
You may eventually want to transition to more hard-core raw diets after giving your dog The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey, but even if you don’t, it’s an incredibly healthy introduction to one of the hottest trends in canine nutrition.
7. CANIDAE PURE Ancestral Red Meat Formula Freeze-Dried Raw-Coated Dog Food
CANIDAE PURE Ancestral Red Meat Formula offers a nice compromise between traditional kibbles and raw food diets. It’s basically a regular kibble that’s been coated with freeze-dried raw meat, giving your dog the best of both worlds.
This food is certainly packed with meat — you’ll find lamb, pork, goat, bison, wild boar, and venison inside. Each of those meats brings something different to the table, nutritionally speaking, so your dog will get plenty of important nutrients.
Just in case the meats don’t cover the entire nutritional spectrum, the manufacturer has added a variety of important vitamins and minerals as well.
What you won’t find inside are cheap fillers, like corn, wheat, or soy, or low-quality meat, like animal by-products. It’s an excellent choice for dogs with food sensitivities.
We wish that it had more fat in it, and the pieces are too big for toy breeds to eat comfortably, but otherwise, there’s little to quibble about with CANIDAE PURE Ancestral Red Meat Formula.
8. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry Medium & Maxi Dog Food
Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry includes quite a few ingredients that you don’t often see in dog foods, like spelt, herring, and pomegranate. Each of these foods is tremendously healthy, though, so that’s hardly a complaint.
Every food on the ingredients list is low on the glycemic index, so you won’t have to worry about your mutt’s blood sugar spiking. That will give your pooch plenty of long-lasting energy, and it also makes this a great kibble for diabetic animals.
The kibble pieces have been specially coated in such a way that they retain most of their nutrients throughout the cooking process, ensuring that your dog gets all the dietary support they need. That’s especially valuable considering this food has ingredients like spinach, apples, blueberries, and oranges, all of which are nutrient-dense.
It’s high in glucosamine and chondroitin due to ingredients like chicken fat. That makes it an excellent choice for dogs with joint or mobility issues.
There’s not nearly as much fiber in here as we’d like to see, however. It’s also incredibly foul-smelling, although that seems to be a selling point for most dogs.
All in all, Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry is a fantastic food for dogs that need to watch their insulin levels or those that need enough energy to stay active all day long.
9. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dog Food
VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus is loaded with animal meals. These are often overlooked in favor of leaner cuts of meat, but meals are packed with important nutrients from lesser-used parts of the animal. That said, it would be nice if the food had lean cuts of meat as well.
All told, it uses beef meal, pork meal, chicken meal, fish meal, and blood meal, ensuring that your dog will get an incredible array of nutrients in each serving.
The overall protein levels for this food are good at 30%, and there’s plenty of fat as well. The recipe uses low-glycemic grains like sorghum and millet, so your dog will stay full for longer and won’t suffer any blood sugar spikes.
Despite all the nutrition inside, this is one of the more reasonably-priced options on this list. It should be accessible to many pet owners, and feeding it doesn’t require learning brand-new preparation techniques.
Other than the fish meal, there isn’t really anything in here to provide omega fatty acids. We’d prefer to see a fish or flaxseed oil added to the ingredients list.
Still, that’s hardly worth condemning VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus over, especially when it offers such excellent nutrition at such a reasonable price.
10. NRG The Raw One Free Range Beef Dehydrated Raw Dog Food
Another raw-based food, NRG The Raw One is loaded with free-range beef. It incorporates all the most nutrient-dense portions of the cow, like muscle meat and the liver.
If that’s not enough, you’ll also find salmon filet inside. That boosts the omega fatty acid count while also padding the protein totals.
Despite that, the protein levels aren’t terribly impressive at just 26%. That’s certainly higher than most kibbles, but for a food at this exorbitant price point, you’d expect more.
The rest of the ingredients list is impressive, though. You’ll find squash, pumpkin, pineapple, broccoli, kale, cranberries, goat milk yogurt, and more inside, ensuring that your mutt gets a wide variety of nutrients from an equally wide variety of sources.
Perhaps our favorite thing about this food is the addition of turmeric, however. Known as an inflammation fighter, turmeric purportedly does everything from slow cancer growth to improve mobility. It’s a shame that more foods don’t use it — but their loss is NRG The Raw One’s gain.
Finding the Right Healthy Dog Food:
We understand that picking out a healthy dog food isn’t easy, so we hope this guide has somewhat demystified the process. While many of the foods on our list are on the pricey side, you can also find excellent options that can fit more reasonable budgets.
You won’t find bargain-basement foods on this list, however. They simply can’t afford to include the high-quality ingredients necessary to set themselves apart while also keeping costs down.
The sad fact is that to give your dog the best, you’ll need to pay more, and how much more is up to you. However, keep in mind that by investing in your dog’s health, you’ll reap untold benefits down the line, such as lower vet bills.
Best of all, though, is the fact that feeding your dog the highest-quality food you can find is one of the best ways to ensure that you get more years to spend with them.
Featured image credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay