Organic, limited-ingredient, grain-free, freeze-dried, flax-free, and a whole lot of other dry dog food options are available on the market today. But is there really a difference between all these options, and will your pooch know what it is?
Well, the answer is yes - all dog foods are not created equal. While your furry friend may be willing to wolf down anything you put in his bowl, his health will certainly be impacted by the quality of dog food you choose. Good quality dog food means better health and a longer life for your dog.
Dry dog food is typically made by combining raw ingredients to make a formula that is then made into the bite-sized pieces we commonly refer to as kibble. Dry dog food is convenient, has a long shelf life and offers a host of health benefits including improving your dog’s dental health. We've searched online to find the best dry dog foods and created a buying guide to help you choose the right one for you!
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Table of Contents
Choosing good food for your dog is the number one thing you can do to keep him healthy. Here are some tips to help you find the right one.
Different dog breeds will have different dietary requirements based on their physical characteristics. While all dogs require a nutrient-rich diet to stay healthy, some breeds such as pitbulls are super active and require a higher protein content in their diet to promote muscle health.
You will often come across dry dog foods labeled as ‘for large breeds’ or ‘for small and toy breeds.’ Go for the one that is appropriate for your type of dog as it is more likely to be suited to their dietary needs.
Different breeds also require their dry dog food in suitable kibble sizes to avoid choking hazards. For example, small breeds like Shih Tzus need smaller sized kibbles.
Long-haired breeds such as terriers need a lot of omega fatty acids to keep their coats shiny and healthy so always go for dog foods enriched with these healthy fatty acids. Dogs with long coats will be more prone to skin conditions and are therefore better fed on a diet enriched with minerals and vitamins that promote healthy skin.
Your dog’s nutrient needs change with time and their diet should be age-appropriate. Puppies need a higher protein content since their bodies are growing and they need a dog food that will promote muscle growth. Go for dry dog food specifically formulated for puppies to get the best nutrition for a growing dog.
Large kibble sizes may work for adult and senior dogs, but a puppy will have a hard time chewing and swallowing the oversized pieces. Puppy food always comes in bite-sized pieces that are easy for puppies to chew and is, therefore, the best pick for a puppy.
As dogs age, they tend to become more prone to illness and will develop stomach sensitivities that will make some dog foods difficult to digest.
Go for senior dry dog food options if your dog is older and prone to stomach sensitivity and digestive issues. Age-appropriate food makes it easier for your dog to have all their dietary requirements met.
Some dogs are allergic to certain grains, while others react to gluten. These are some of the considerations to have in mind when picking the right dry dog food. Grain-free dry dog foods are ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs. They are easier to digest and less likely to cause gut problems for your pooch.
Dogs with certain health conditions will be put on special diets and might require foods that will not aggravate their conditions. For instance, dogs with pancreatitis need a low-fat diet to help manage their condition. If your dog has a medical condition, always get recommendations from your vet on the best food to include in his diet.
Always check the ingredients on the label. The first five ingredients are the most important and will be your cue on whether the dry dog food is high quality or not. If you do not spot a healthy animal protein listed in the first five ingredients, you might want to give that food a pass.
Go for dog foods made from natural wholesome ingredients that are free from artificial flavors and preservatives. Dogs need a healthy dose of animal protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and vitamins in their diet to stay healthy so always check the ingredients label to ensure you are getting a nutritionally balanced food for your dog.
Avoid dry dog foods that contain filler content such as soy, corn, and wheat. These are common allergens for most dogs and have little nutritional value.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) certifies how nutritious a dog food is and for what stage of life the food is suited. The best dog foods are labeled “complete and balanced,” meaning they have all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.
Some dry dog foods will be labeled as “adult maintenance”, which means they will meet the dietary requirements of an adult dog but may not be best for puppies. Always buy food that is appropriate for the age and requirements of your dog.
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SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula
A Nutrient-Rich Formula for a Healthy and Active Dog
Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
All-around Healthy Dry Dog Food for All Dog Breeds
Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Wholesome Nutrition for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Adult Dog Beef Meal & Rice Formula
Great Combination of Value for Money and Quality
Nature's Evolutionary Diet with Salmon
A Healthy, Balanced Formula for Dogs of Any Age
Pro Plan Focus Small & Toy Breed Formula
Balanced Nutrition for Small and Toy Breeds
Proactive Health Smart Puppy Chicken Dry Dog Food
High Protein Formula for Promoting Healthy Growth
Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food Sweet Potato & Fish Formula
Healthy Dry Dog Food for Dogs with Allergies
Taste of the Wild
Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe
A High-Protein Formula Ideal for Large Breeds
Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
An Excellently Nutritious Dry Dog Food for Fussy Eaters
When it comes to high quality and wholesome ingredients, this formula from Purina One is one of the best dry dog foods. Made using a combination of protein-rich tender, meaty morsels and crunchy kibble, your dog will not need any coaxing at mealtime and you can be sure he is getting all his dietary requirements met.
This dog food is designed with a blend of vitamins E and A and minerals including zinc and selenium to boost the immune system. If your pup has a dull coat and is prone to infections, this dry dog food is highly recommended for promoting a shiny and healthy coat as well as boosting your dog’s overall health.
This Purina One formula is highly digestible and contains Omega-6 for a radiant coat and glucosamine for healthy joints. Reviewers also found that this dry dog food is great value for money and more affordable than most brands.
Blue Buffalo is renowned for its high-quality dog foods and this Life Protection Formula is no exception. With AAFCO-approved nutritional levels, this formula delivers complete and balanced nutrition for dogs at any stage of life.
Made from wholesome natural ingredients including chicken, oatmeal and brown rice, this is the ideal food for promoting a long and healthy life for your dog. Most reviewers loved that their dog’s coats got much shinier and healthier after using this dog food.
It also suits dogs with stomach sensitivity issues and fussy eaters. The medium-sized kibble means that this dry dog food works for both small and large breeds, so if you have both types in your house, this is a great choice.
Rich in high-quality animal protein, enriched with probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids and packed with healthy vegetable fiber, this dry dog food is a well-balanced nutrient-dense dog food.
It is made using de-boned turkey as a primary ingredient to meet your pup’s protein requirements and contains just the right combination of nutrients for dogs of any age. For senior dogs, the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin helps to maintain healthy bones and joints and keep your dog healthy even as they age.
It is also free from common allergens like wheat, soy and corn making it a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Reviewers rated this dry dog food highly for promoting proper digestive health and not causing sensitivity in dogs prone to food allergies.
Just because you are shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. This nutrient-rich formula from Diamond Naturals is highly rated for its rich nutrient balance and affordable price. It's made with healthy beef protein and rice and enriched with a host of minerals and vitamins.
It comes with a host of powerful antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables to boost immunity and omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, this is a healthy choice of dry dog food as it is highly digestible and contains probiotics to promote gut health.
This dry dog food comes in a 40-pound bag that lasts quite a bit, so if you are buying on a subscription service, be careful not to order more than your dog can consume to avoid wastage.
Designed to meet the high protein needs of active dogs, this nutrient-rich formula from Blue Buffalo is made with natural wholesome ingredients. It contains real salmon and is enriched with a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support the immune system keeping your dog healthy.
The omega fatty acids in this dry dog food will keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy which is especially important for long-haired breeds. Reviewers rated this food highly for its flavor, which even fussy eaters seem to love, and the ease of digestibility which makes it suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
You also do not need to worry about common allergens with this dry dog food; it is completely grain-free and does not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. Another definite plus is that it works for dogs of all ages and can be fed to puppies, adults or senior dogs.
Made with real chicken meat to promote healthy muscle and enriched with minerals for strong bones and teeth, this high protein formula is designed to meet all the dietary requirements of small, active breeds. It comes in convenient small kibble sizes to prevent any choking hazard and make the food easy to chew and digest.
This formula from Purina Pro Plan is highly rated for its super digestibility. It comes enriched with prebiotic fiber which means it promotes gut health and healthy bowel movements. If you are looking for nutrient-dense dry dog food for your small or toy breed fur baby, this is a great choice.
Puppies need high-quality protein-rich dog food to promote muscle growth and keep them healthy. This dry dog food from Iams contains wholesome natural ingredients such as chicken that will help meet your puppy’s dietary requirements.
This puppy food is also enriched with DHA to support brain development and calcium to boost strong joints and bones in puppies. Reviewers loved that this food improved their puppy’s bowel movements and boosted their energy levels.
It is also quite affordable and makes a great choice if you are looking for high-quality puppy food on a budget. This formula does contain grain and may not be a good choice if your pup is allergic to grains.
Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO, this Natural Balance dry dog food is a nutrient-rich and balanced food for adult dogs. If your dog has plenty of food allergies and finding suitable food for him is an uphill task, this particular brand is highly rated as one of the best picks for dogs with food allergies.
Made with limited ingredients to promote digestibility, this Natural Balance Formula is ideal for adult and senior dogs with sensitive stomachs and issues with digestion. It is also grain-free and contains no artificial flavors, making it a wholesome and natural dry dog food that your pooch is bound to thrive on.
If your big pooch is a bundle of energy, he needs a high-quality, protein-rich dry dog food, and this recipe from Taste of the Wild is a great choice. Made with real meat and formulated to AAFCO and FDA requirements, you can be sure your dog is getting a healthy and nutritionally balanced meal.
It is enriched with probiotics to promote gut health, and most reviewers rated this dry dog food highly for its flavor, which dogs love. Free of filler content and artificial flavors, this formula is highly digestible and full of nutrient-rich wholesome ingredients to boost your dog’s health.
Since it does contain grains, this dry dog food is not recommended for dogs with grain sensitivity.
This dry dog food from Canidae is formulated using eight simple real food ingredients to deliver a balanced and nutrient-dense meal for your dog. It is also fortified with a blend of probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that make it a great option for dogs with skin allergies and dull coats.
Reviewers loved the fact that even fussy eaters loved the taste of this dry dog food. If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, this Canidae dry dog food is ideal since its completely grain-free and does not contain any corn, wheat or soy. O
verall, this is a great choice for senior dogs since its highly digestible and comes enriched with plenty of essential minerals and vitamins to boost immunity and keep your dog healthy. Some reviewers did find this dry dog food a bit pricey.
Need help with toys, bedding, carriers, or grooming? We have articles for that! Check out these other products for your pup.
No. 1: Purina ONE | SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula | 16.5 pounds
No. 2: Blue Buffalo | Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe | 15 pounds
No. 3: Wellness Core | Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food | 12 pounds
No. 4: Diamond Naturals | Adult Dog Beef Meal & Rice Formula | 40 pounds
No. 5: Blue Buffalo | Nature's Evolutionary Diet with Salmon | 11 pounds
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