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.

Joy Dog Food Review 2023: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Cassandra Kyser

By Cassandra Kyser

Joy dog food review

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Joy Dog Food a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Joy Dog Food isn’t here to impress you with human-grade ingredients and fleeting pet food trends. This is a company that believes, “Our customer is the dog, not the dog’s owner.” Joy has built a solid reputation by producing nutritionally sound, traditional dog food at a reasonable price. If the thought of a small company that sources and produces its pet food in the U.S. appeals to you, read on.

Note: Joy Dog Food should not be confused with “Dog Joy” treats, which are produced by Fresh Pet.

Divider 2

At a Glance: The Best Joy Dog Food Recipes

Out of all of Joy’s formulas, we think these three recipes stand out.

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Joy Dog Food Special Meal Joy Dog Food Special Meal
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Best for muti-dog household
  • Second place
    Joy Dog Food High Energy 24/20 Joy Dog Food High Energy 24/20
  • Formulated for very active dogs
  • Contains beef meal, yellow corn, wheat, animal fat, and corn gluten meal
  • Chicken meal and fish meal are extra protein sources
  • Third place
    Joy Pure Grain Free Dog Food Joy Pure Grain Free Dog Food
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Grain-free recipe
  • High protein content
  • Joy Dog Food Reviewed

    Who Makes Joy Dog Food?

    Three businessmen who worked in the farm and feed industry came together to create their own dog food recipe. Albert Shiffler, Russ Kohser, and Milton May developed Joy’s first dog food in 1953. The trio collaborated with Cornell and Penn State Universities to ensure their food was nutritionally sound. Hi-Standard Dog Food bought Joy in 2011.

    Where Is Joy Dog Food Produced?

    Wade Graskewicz, the owner of Hi-Standard, states he outsources production to U.S. facilities. The company’s contact address is in Pinckneyville, IL.

    Which Type of Dog Is Joy Best Suited For?

    Joy has three lines of dog food: Performance, Ultimate, and Grain Free.

    The recipes in the Performance line were created for hunting and working dogs. The Ultimate recipes are geared toward your average pet dog.

    Joy’s sole grain-free recipe is for dogs who cannot tolerate corn, wheat, and other grains. Talk to your vet before switching your dog to a grain-free diet. Grains provide vital nutrients, and most dogs tolerate them. Protein allergies1 are more common in dogs.

    Which Type of Dog Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    Joy doesn’t have a recipe specifically for senior dogs. Bil-Jac Senior Select Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food has similar ingredients in the same price bracket.

    Schnauzer puppy dog eating tasty dry food from bowl
    Image Credit: Maximilian100, Shutterstock

    What Size Bags Does Joy Dog Food Come In?

    Joy comes in larger bags, and most packages are in the 30 to 50-pound range. The larger bags help keep the price per pound low but can be difficult to carry and store. You could also waste a lot of money if your dog doesn’t care for the food.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Many of Joy’s recipes contain beef meal, chicken meal, ground yellow corn, dried beet pulp, and “natural flavor.”

    Beef meal and chicken meal2 consist of animal tissues that have been dehydrated and rendered into powder. Meals are easier to store and transport than fresh meat. Unlike Joy, lower-quality dog food may contain “meat meal” without specifying the protein source.

    It’s a myth that ground yellow corn is simply a filler in pet food. Corn provides your dog with the fiber and carbohydrates3 they need to stay healthy.

    Dried beet pulp is what is left after the sugar extraction process. It is an excellent source of fiber4 that would otherwise go to waste.

    Natural flavoring” is one ingredient we’d wish was more transparent. The FDA defines “natural flavor” in pet food5 as a derivative of “a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products.” Recipes containing this ingredient are not suitable for dogs with food allergies since it’s impossible to know the source of the flavoring.

    A Quick Look at Joy Dog Food

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Sourced and produced in the U.S.
    Cons
    • Some recipes contain “natural flavor”
    • Only available in larger bags

    Recall History

    We searched the FDA’s database for pet food recalls. There are no recalls of Joy Dog Food in the current database, which dates back to January 2017.

    Divider 3

    Reviews of the 3 Best Joy Dog Food Recipes

    We’ve researched three of Joy’s most popular recipes. Below is our review of each one.

    1. Joy Dog Food Special Meal – Our Favorite

    Joy Dog Food Special Meal Dog Food

    Joy Dog Food Special Meal is our favorite because it’s Joy’s original recipe and is suitable for all life stages. This is the recipe to buy if you have a multi-dog household.  The first five ingredients are beef meal, ground yellow corn, ground wheat, corn gluten meal, and soybean meal. As mentioned above, we don’t like the vagueness of “natural flavor.” Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate are ingredients you typically only find in higher-priced dog food.

    Pros
    • Suitable for all life stages
    • Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
    • Best for muti-dog household
    Cons
    • Contains “natural flavor”

    2. Joy Dog Food High Energy 24/20 Formula

    Joy Dog Food High Energy

    Hunting and working dogs have unique dietary needs. This 24% protein/20% fat recipe provides energy for the active dogs. The main ingredients are beef meal, yellow corn, wheat, animal fat, and corn gluten meal. Chicken by-product meal and fish meal are additional protein sources. “Natural flavor” is further down the ingredient list. Joy Dog Food High Energy 24/20 Formula contains 505 kcal/cup. Your vet may recommend that you switch to a lower-calorie formula if your dog’s activity level decreases.

    Pros
    • Formulated for very active dogs
    • Main ingredients are beef meal, yellow corn, wheat, animal fat, and corn gluten meal
    • Chicken meal and fish meal are extra protein sources
    Cons
    • Contains “natural flavor”

    3. Joy Pure Grain Free Dog Food

    Joy Pure Grain Free Dog Food

    The main ingredients in Joy Pure Grain Free Dog Food are chicken meal, dried peas, dried potatoes, chicken fat, and dried sweet potatoes. “Natural flavor” is further down the ingredient list. This recipe is one of the more affordable grain-free dog foods on the market.

    It also contains ingredients you’d expect from higher-priced dog food, like probiotics, omega 3, and omega 6. Dried peas, dried potatoes, and dried sweet potatoes provide essential carbohydrates and fiber. The protein content is high (27%) without exceeding the recommended 30%. Consider this formula if your vet recommends a grain-free diet and your dog enjoys the taste of chicken.

    Pros
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Grain-free recipe
    • High protein content
    Cons
    • Contains “natural flavor”

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Curious what other dog owners have to say about Joy dog food? We’ve found these reviews helpful and hope you do, too.

    Divider 7

    Conclusion

    Joy Dog Food has been in business since 1953 and was purchased by Hi-Standard Dog Food in 2011. The company sources and produces all of its food in the U.S. Their Performance line is formulated for hunting and working dogs, while the Ultimate line is for pets. Joy also offers one grain-free recipe. The brand has built a reputation as being affordable, high-quality, and no-frills.


    Featured Image Credit: Amazon

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database