When you dine out with your best friends, you would want only the best for them, the most delicious meal, the best vintage of wine, and that delectable dessert. If you treat your human best friends this way, then it stands to reason that you will do the same for your furry best buddy.
After all, he is always by your side when you’re at home. He eagerly waits for your return when you leave, and he licks your face when you feel sad.
Yes, we don’t deserve dogs. So, to make it up to our caring and loving canine buddies, we have to make sure that they eat only the best food available. Eating right will keep them healthy and active. We want them with us for as long as possible !
The only problem is that there are so many brands of dog food out there ! There are also different types of dog food. With the multitude of options out there, we want to lend a helping hand, from one fur-parent to another, by giving you a rundown of the best dry dog foods available in the market today.
The Best Dog Foods for 2021
|Taste of the Wild High Prairie||Check on Amazon →|
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula||Check on Amazon →|
|American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato||Check on Chewy →|
|Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream||Check on Amazon →|
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach||Check on Amazon →|
|Instinct Original Dry Dog Food||Check on Amazon →|
|Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks||Check on Amazon →|
|Hill’s Science Diet, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin||Check on Amazon →|
8 Best Dog Food Brands
1. Taste of the Wild High Praire
Taste of the Wild pushes the limits of exotic flavors with their High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. The brand combines roasted bison and roasted venison to create a unique taste that your furry buddy would only find in the wild.
This dog recipe consists of 32% protein, the nutrient they need to produce strong muscles and remain active. Included in the formula is Taste of the Wild’s proprietary K9 Strain of probiotics to support a healthy digestive system and immune health.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Contains quality protein from real bison and venison meat
- 32% protein supports muscle growth and promotes an active lifestyle
- Grain-Free for dogs with food allergies
- Vitamin-enriched for a healthy immune system
The recipe also includes legumes, vegetables, and fruits, which are excellent sources of antioxidants that further support your canine buddy’s overall health. The High Prairie formula has vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin E, which are all critical in maintaining the immune health of dogs.
Finally, the recipe contains healthy amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that help our best buddies maintain healthy skin and that shiny coat we all love.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Our next entry comes from Blue Buffalo in the form of their Life Protection Formula natural adult dry dog food. Blue Buffalo’s comes in a variety of flavors to ensure that you can find the right recipe for even the pickiest eater in your litter.
Flavors include lamb and brown rice, fish and brown rice, and chicken and brown rice. You can also choose from the small breed and large breed formulas. The selection ensures that your best buddies receive optimal nutrition according to their breed’s needs.
What makes Blue Buffalo dry dog food unique is the inclusion of their proprietary Blue LifeSource Bits.
Why We Like This Recipe
- High-quality protein sourced from lamb, chicken, and fish (depending on the recipe)
- Contains calcium, phosphorus and essential vitamins that promote healthy bones and teeth
- Contains Glucosamine that supports joint health
- Includes essential vitamins and chelated minerals and antioxidants for a healthy immune system
This brand is a precisely crafted blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support the life stage requirements and immune system health of our beloved pups. It also promotes a healthy oxidative balance in dogs to prevent diseases.
3. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato
Who said cats are the only ones who like fish? Canines love fish too, especially with all those healthy Omega fatty acids in there. With that in mind, American Journey created the Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free dry dog food.
The recipe is made from real deboned salmon that contains all the proteins and amino acids that our canine buddies need to build and maintain lean muscles. The recipe has an incredible flavor that your dog won’t be able to resist.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Grain-Free and Filler Free for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs
- 32% crude protein content
- Infused with natural vitamins and minerals from wholesome vegetables and fruits
- Contains omega fatty acids that promote healthy eyes, brain, skin, and coat for your buddy.
We’ve added this formula to the best dog food list because of the sheer number of wholesome fruit and vegetable ingredients included. Foods such as carrots, blueberries, and dried kelp provide our dogs with the fiber they need to maintain a healthy digestive system.
The chickpeas and sweet potatoes also provide the carbohydrates necessary to fuel their active lifestyle. The recipe has omega fatty acids, such as omega-3 and DHA, which keep your dogs’ eyes and brain sharp!
4. Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog food
As one of the best dog food brands in the market today, Taste of the Wild lands another entry on our list with their Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog food. Pacific stream features unique proteins such as ocean fish and smoked salmon.
Pacific stream provides a balanced diet, which nature intended for our furry friends. Taste of the Wild prides itself on the fact that their salmon is sustainably sourced using a mix of both farmed and wild-caught fish.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Made from quality protein in the form of wild-caught and farmed salmon
- Grain-Free and Egg-Free for food sensitive dogs
- 25% Crude Protein and 15% Crude Fat Content
- Contains Omega fatty acids that promote immune system health
- Contains prebiotic dried chicory root and species-specific probiotic bacteria for a healthy digestive system
Like all their formulas, Pacific Stream contains species-specific probiotics that promote healthy digestive and immune systems for our canine best friends. Among the unique ingredients in this recipe is chicory root, which is a prebiotic fiber that supports the probiotic bacteria that comes with the formula.
The formula is not only grain-free; it is also egg-free to ensure that even the most food sensitive pups do not have to worry about allergies.
5. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Pet food manufacturing giant Purina makes it to our best dry foods list with their Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin, Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula.
By now you’ve probably figured out that salmon is one of the best sources of protein. It also comes with fish oils that contain healthy helpings of omega fatty acids.
For the latter reason, Purina formulated their Pro Plan focus with salmon as the number one ingredient to supply your best buddy with all their muscle-building needs.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Made from quality salmon protein
- Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Contains prebiotic fiber that promotes digestive tract health
Purina uses oatmeal as their primary source of carbohydrates in this recipe as it is easily digestible, making it great for canines with sensitive digestion.
Omega-3 fatty acids in the formula promote healthy joints to keep our buddies’ mobile, ensuring that they can always go on their doggy adventures without problems.
Omega-6 fatty acids and zinc are also included in the recipe to keep your pal’s skin and coat looking good.
6. Instinct Original Dry Dog Food
We consider Instinct as one of the top-tier dog food brands today because of their philosophy and their Raw-inspired nutrition. By freeze-drying minimally processed raw food, they lock in all the flavor and nutrients of food.
This process ensures that our dogs enjoy the food the way nature intended them to, raw and packed with all their natural vitamins and minerals.
The Instinct Original Dry Dog Food formula is kibble, consists of 70% real animal ingredients, and 30% vegetables, fruits, and other wholesome ingredients. The Raw Nutrition is evidenced by the fact that their recipes have higher than normal protein and fat content and caloric content compared to another kibble in the market.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Made from 70% real animal meat and 30% wholesome vegetables and fruits
- High crude protein (36%) and crude fat (20.5%)
- Enriched with vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids
- High caloric content per cup (508 kcal/cup)
Instinct Original comes in multiple flavors, including beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, and salmon. The variety ensures that our dogs can enjoy their nutritious formula whatever their preference might be.
7. Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks
Iams designed their ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog food for dogs ages one and up. They combined proteins from chicken and eggs to help our furry buddies build strong and lean muscles.
The recipe includes seven essential nutrients that nourish the heart of dogs to keep them healthy and active throughout their adult life. Iams’ formula is also enriched with antioxidants to boost our pups’ immune system and help them combat diseases.
Despite being “MiniChunks,” the kibbles are crunchy to help with our dogs’ dental health. The kibbles scrub their teeth with every bite, helping to reduce any tartar or plaque build-up that leads to stinky breath. One of the unique ingredients in the ProActive Health formula is L-carnitine, which helps burn fat and turn it into energy.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Contains L-Carnitine
- Crunchy kibble promotes dental health
- Enriched with nutrients that promote a healthy heart
This formula is especially helpful for furry buddies who have gotten a bit overweight. L-carnitine not only burns excess fat, but it also gives dogs the power they need to promote an active lifestyle.
8. Hill’s Science Diet, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
The worst feelings in the world for fur parents is when our dogs don’t eat, or they look miserable because of skin allergies with their fur falling out. Dog food manufacturer Hill’s decided that they don’t want any dog owner to go through that.
Thus, the Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe dog food came into being.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs
- Contains prebiotics that promotes digestive health
- Does not include any artificial flavoring, colors or preservatives
The Science Diet is specially formulated with prebiotic fiber to fuel the beneficial gut bacteria of our dogs. Prebiotics promote better digestion while also maintaining a balanced gut microbiome. The unique blend ensures optimal digestibility and easy stool cleanup.
Hill’s also assures us that it does not contain any artificial flavoring, colors, or preservatives that could trigger allergies. The formula won’t cause any unhealthy effects on our canine friends.
Having read our review of the best dry dog foods in the market, you’re probably ready to do one of two things right now. Either you’re prepared to run out and purchase new dog food for your best friend, or you’re even more confused now with all the options that we’ve given. You may be overwhelmed with all the new vitamin and nutrient information that you’ve only just discovered. Don’t worry; we have you covered!
What to Look for in Dog Food
The first consideration when looking for the best dry dog food would be protein content. The higher the content, the better the nutrition is, up to a certain extent. The advised level is around 25 to 35% crude protein; any more may be unhealthy. If you’re going to feed your dog ultra-protein formulas in the market, it would be best to consult your local veterinarian first. You want to ensure that the food is safe.
The protein content shouldn’t be the only consideration; the type of animal protein is also crucial. Your dogs might be allergic to specific animal proteins, or they may prefer one flavor over the others. But what is essential is that the source of the protein is top-quality. If you see beef, lamb, salmon, or chicken as the number one ingredient, then that would be the right choice. If you see the generic “meat or meat meal” terms on there, then that’s a red flag.
While on the topic of meat, the meal isn’t necessarily as bad as some people think it is. Animal meal, at least when it’s specific, such as chicken meal, is a good thing on dry food. Fresh or frozen meat contains a lot of moisture with some animal meats consisting of only 15 to 25% protein and over 65% moisture. You see how problematic it will be to make dry food from them. An animal meal is a great secondary protein source as it consists of dehydrated bone, chicken, and connective tissue that is still packed with protein. But they don’t have the same moisture content.
Of course, our furry best friends’ diets have to be well-rounded; this means whole fruits and vegetables are crucial to their food. What does whole food mean? It means that the vegetables and fruits are fresh and unprocessed with all their vitamins and nutrients completely intact. You can easily spot high-quality dog food with tags such as “minimally-processed” or “dehydrated fruits and vegetables.”
Breed size and life stage are also important considerations when purchasing your dog food. The best dog food brands have gotten so precise with their recipes that they create formulas for specific life stages and breed sizes for optimal nutrition. You should take advantage of this, particularly if your favorite brand has these available.
Finally, you should also take into consideration food allergies and sensitivities of your best buddies. Knowing what your dog is allergic to is essential. But if you have no idea and don’t want to risk your fur baby’s health, then you should look at limited ingredient recipes.
Red Flags on Dog Food
Now that you know what needs to be in your dog food, we feel like we must warn you about things that shouldn’t be in them or at least minimized in your dog’s kibble. The first thing you should look at is the expiration date and the manufacture date; anything that goes beyond two years is probably not a good buy.
The latter may sound counterintuitive. Your kibble won’t need to last that long anyway since you feed your dog daily. But it is a question of preservatives. If the kibble you picked up has a long shelf life, then it might contain artificial chemicals such as BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin. All of these are linked to cancer.
While on the topic of artificial elements, watch out for artificial flavoring and colors as well. It’s a manufacturer’s job to ensure that their food is palatable without added chemicals. If they need to add chemicals, then that means you also need to stay away from their kibble.
Don’t get us wrong. There are natural sources of preservatives, flavoring, and color. And that’s why it’s crucial to look at that label or review their ingredient contents online. Natural preservatives include rosemary extract, tocopherols, and Vitamin C.
Remember how we mentioned that unspecified “meat” is a red flag. The same goes for “animal fat.” Knowing the exact source of the fat is crucial. So, the generic “animal fat” label is suspect compared to specifically named fat, such as duck fat or chicken fat.
Finally, artificial and added sweeteners are also something you should be wary of when choosing dog food. While they shouldn’t entirely be left out, our furry buddies can also get diabetes, so you should watch their sugar intake.
Is Dry Dog Food Better Than Wet?
Each type of dog food has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s go ahead and take a look at wet dog food first. Wet dog food closely resembles the natural state of food. Pair that with the smell and it makes the food a lot more palatable to dogs, especially puppies who are known to be incredibly picky eaters.
It also has high moisture content, which makes it better for dogs that don’t get enough water or are easily dehydrated. Wet dog food has less or little to no preservatives and less processed ingredients compared to dry dog food. This makes the food better for dogs with food sensitivities.
On the other hand, wet dog food is available in fewer quantities in the form of cans, and they are prone to spoilage once you open those cans. Leaving wet food on your dog’s bowl all afternoon could lead to an upset stomach the next day. So, you have to be incredibly careful and clean up the dishes after every meal. Speaking of cleanup, if your dog is a messy eater, be prepared to mop the floors after every meal.
Most pet owners prefer dry dog food for several reasons. First, they’re convenient and cheaper compared to wet dog food. You can buy them in bulk, and you’re assured a long shelf life. Moreover, if you travel a lot, you can place a bowl of enough kibble for your good boy or girl. When you return, you won’t have to worry about them having eaten spoiled food.
Moreover, if you travel a lot and you bring along your best buddy with you, you can easily bring small to medium bags of kibble with you instead lugging clunky cans of wet dog food with you everywhere. Dry dog food packs a lot of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals. The nutrients ensure that your dogs have all the energy they need to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Dry dog food isn’t without disadvantages, though. Kibble can be unpalatable for some dogs and especially the picky puppy. Dry dog food can also be too hard for some puppies or senior dogs to eat (see best dog food for puppies or dog food for senior dogs). Also, kibble may be incredibly nutritious, and it has a long shelf life. But that also means kibble can contain more preservatives and artificial ingredients. Always read the label and look out for the contents we mentioned above in the buyer guide. Ensure that your kibble doesn’t have the said ingredients.
Well, there you have it. We do hope our review of the best dog food and the accompanying buyer’s guide helps you find the best dry dog food possible for your canine best friend.