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7 Best Dog Foods Without Peas & Legumes

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Dog Care By Kate Brunotts 15 min read September 16, 2021

dog food without peas

Are you searching for a pea-free food for your pooch? You’re not alone! Many owners want to get their hands on a good dog food that doesn’t include peas or other legumes, but finding one that fits this bill can prove to be a real challenge. 

Don’t worry!  We’ll help you find a pea-free dog food below and explain why this is becoming an important issue for many owners.  

Dog Food Made Without Peas and Legumes: Quick Picks

  • #1 Nom Nom [Best Overall Dog Food without Peas & Legumes]: Your furry friend is sure to go nuts for this fresh dog food that’s delivered right to your doorstep. Crafted by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, made in the USA, and custom-formulated for your canine, this is simply one of the best pea-free dog foods on the market. BONUS: Get 50% off your first order!
  • #2 Nutro Natural Choice [Best Kibble Dog Food without Peas & Legumes]: Featuring real chicken and healthy grains, this is a fantastic pea-and-legume-free option for owners who’re looking for a nutritious, pea-free kibble for their canine.
  • #3 Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 [Most Affordable Dog Food without Peas & Legumes]: An affordable legume-free formula, this recipe from Rachael Ray provides all the things you want in a dog food, and none of the things you don’t.

Why Would Owners Want a Dog Food without Peas and Legumes?

So, why would you want to avoid peas or legumes in pet food, anyway? The reasoning boils down to a couple of key points: 

  • Your dog just doesn’t like them. Some dogs are exceedingly picky eaters and simply doesn’t like peas or legumes. And if this sounds like your fur kid, you’ll want to find a pea-free alternative. There are plenty of doggie diets made without peas and legumes that will hopefully provide your mutt a meal he looks forward to. 
  • Your dog has allergies or an intolerance. While food allergies can be difficult to pin down, you may have noticed your pooch responding poorly to pea-inclusive foods or have an official diagnosis of your dog’s food allergy. In some cases, these dogs may need a hypoallergenic dog food, but in other cases, simply switching to a pea-free kibble may do the trick.
  • You have dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) concerns. A study from Tufts University indicated that peas may be a contributing factor to canine heart disease or DCM. The study primarily focused on grain-free diets, proposing that peas and legumes may be the issue with these doggie diets. For this reason, many owners are now opting to avoid peas and legumes in their dog’s food.

The 7 Best Dog Foods without Peas or Legumes

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite doggie diets made without peas or legumes. Make sure you speak with your veterinarian before making the switch to a new diet for your dog. 

1. Nom Nom

Best Overall Dog Food without Peas or Legumes

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

nom-nom without peas

Nom Nom

A US-made fresh food that’s made without peas and custom-crafted for your dog.

About: Nom Nom provides a minimally-processed, premium fresh food that your furry friend is sure to absolutely adore. These foods are shipped to your doorstep fresh-frozen and are customized based on your pup’s Nom Nom profile. 

Features: 

  • Customized to suit your dog’s weight, age, breed, and activity level
  • Crafted by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist
  • Delivered fresh-frozen to your doorstep
  • Nom Nom is made in the USA with US-sourced ingredients
  • Sustainably sourced and packaged

Ingredients List

Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach...,

dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, fish oil, natural flavor, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, niacin (vitamin B3), manganese gluconate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.

Pros

  • One of the few dog foods that’s not only made in the USA, but prepared using only US-sourced ingredients.
  • Dogs go nuts for the taste of this ultra-premium fresh food. 
  • Food is customized based on your canine’s characteristics
  • Unlike some other fresh foods, you can purchase these meals as a part of a subscription or in single packs from the Nom Nom site. 

Cons

  • Nom Nom — like most fresh dog foods — is pretty pricey, but you get what you pay for.
  • Fresh foods can be slightly trickier to store and serve than standard kibble. 

2. Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food

Best Kibble without Peas or Legumes

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Nutro Natural Choice

Nutro Natural Choice

Protein packed kibble featuring real chicken, healthy grains, and antioxidant-rich produce.

About: Looking for a pea-free, protein-packed dog food in kibble form? Nutro Natural Choice may be exactly what you need! Featuring real chicken, healthy grains, and plenty of vitamin-packed fruits and veggies, this food will keep your doggo well-fed and happy, while also pleasing his palate.

Features: 

  • Real, whole meat (chicken, in this case) is the first ingredient
  • Made without corn, wheat, or soy, which makes many owners happy
  • Features non-GMO ingredients
  • Formulated for pups over 1 year of age
  • Includes plenty of fiber to promote healthy digestive function

Ingredients List

Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Barley...,

Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Rice Bran, Natural Flavor, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, DL-Methionine, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Pros

  • Great choice for owners who want a super high-quality food, yet aren’t willing to pay the premium associated with fresh options. 
  • Many owners report super shiny coats after switching to this dry food. 
  • Included fiber and digestion-supporting ingredients (such as pumpkin) help to promote regular, problem-free elimination.

Cons

  • This food isn’t suitable for dogs under 1 year of age.
  • We’d rather see whole grain brown rice ahead of brewers rice on the ingredient list, but that’s a pretty minor quibble.

3. Rachel Ray LID Diet

Most Affordable Dog Food without Peas or Legumes

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Rachel Ray LID Diet

Rachel Ray LID Diet

Nutritious kibble made without peas or legumes that won’t bust your budget.

About: If you’re searching for a legume- and pea-free food that won’t break the bank, it’s definitely worth considering this lamb and brown rice kibble from Rachel Ray. In addition to being made without legumes of any kind, this US-made dog food contains no corn, wheat or soy. 

Features: 

  • This lamb-meal-based dog food is made without corn, wheat, or soy
  • Larger kibble size makes this food an ideal pick for medium to large size dogs
  • Added taurine and essential vitamins to support your canine companion
  • This kibble is made in the USA
  • Choose between 5-, 6-, 12-, 14-, 24-, or 28-pound bag sizes. 

Ingredients List

Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)...,

Natural Pork Flavor, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, Niacin, D-calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

Pros

  • Most dogs love the taste of this kibble, and the different bag size options make this a convenient choice for most hound households. 
  • Some dog owners were pleased to report improvements in their dog’s coat quality after transitioning to this food. 
  • Owners loved that this dry food came at a relatively affordable price, which is especially convenient for pooch parents with large furry friends. 

Cons

  • This food doesn’t contain a whole protein source; it uses lamb meal as opposed to whole lamb. 
  • Includes “natural pork flavor,” which — depending on its composition — may trigger food allergies in dogs allergic to pork.  

4. Purina Pro Plan Savor

Best Grain-Inclusive Canned Food without Peas or Legumes

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Purina Pro Plan Savor

Purina Pro Plan Savor

A rare grain-inclusive canned food that’s made in the USA with whole chicken.

About: Grain-inclusive canned foods can be tricky to find, but Purina Pro Plan is one of the few examples that bucks this trend. Made in the USA and suitable for dogs of all sizes, this protein-packed canned food is made without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and is a great choice for most adult dogs. 

Features: 

  • A rare grain-inclusive wet food option
  • Made in the USA at Purina-owned facilities
  • First ingredient is whole lean chicken
  • Suitable for all breed sizes
  • High-protein food is perfect for active pooches 

Ingredients List

Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Liver, Meat By Products, Rice...,

Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Carrageenan, Added Color, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B 12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D 3 Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, and Sodium Selenite.

Pros

Cons

  • Wet food can be pricey, especially if you have a big best buddy at home. 
  • Storing canned food can be a pain, especially while traveling. 

5. Wellness

Best Grain-Free Canned Food without Peas or Legumes

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Wellness

Wellness

A grain-free, canned food that’s made in North America with turkey and spinach.

About: This grain-free canned food from wellness features whole turkey, spinach, and added vitamins to help your hound feel his very best. The complete canned food can be eaten on its own or used as a topper to make your dog’s dry food more enticing. 

Features: 

  • This North-American made food is packed with turkey protein
  • Formulated with antioxidants and vitamins to support your furry friend
  • This wet food can be offered as a complete meal or used as a topper
  • Does not contain wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives
  • This turkey-rich recipe appeals to most pupper palates

Ingredients List

First,Five,Ingredients...,

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Natural Pork Flavor, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Deboned Salmon, Apples, Blueberries, Yeast Culture, Organic Alfalfa, Flaxseed Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Choline Chloride, Yucca schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Pros

  • Provides plenty of antioxidants and protein. 
  • Single protein food may be a good choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs. 

Cons

  • Some noted that this is not a “lean” dog food so keep an eye on the calories. 

 

6. Natural Balance L.I.D Food

Best Limited Ingredient Diet without Peas or Legumes

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Natural Balance L.I.D Food

Natural Balance L.I.D Food

Limited ingredient diet dog food perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitivities.

About: This limited ingredient dog food from Natural Balance is a great pick for pet parents seeking out a pea- and legume-free food formulated for dogs with stomach sensitivities or food allergies. A single protein-source food, this recipe is made with whole grain brown rice, which pleases owners worried about the correlation between grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Features: 

  • Fiber-rich recipe helps support proper digestion
  • Great source of protein for active pups
  • This limited ingredient (LID) dog food is made without corn, wheat, or soy
  • Large kibble is ideal for medium to large size dogs
  • Choose between 12-, 14-, 26-, and 28-pound bags 

Ingredients List

Lamb meal, brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and lactic acid)...,

lamb, dried tomato pomace, brewers dried yeast, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Inositol, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), minerals (ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, citric acid (used as a preservative), rosemary extract.

Pros

  • This single protein-source food is great for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities.
  • Some pet parents noted an improvement in their dog’s allergies and coat condition after switching to this food. 
  • Large-breed kibble is perfectly sized for big best buddies. 

Cons

  • Some pet parents didn’t like the smell of this dry food. 
  • Has lamb meal rather than a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list.

7. Ziwi Air-Dried Dog Food

Best Air-Dried Dog Food without Peas or Legumes

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Ziwi Air-Dried Dog Food

Ziwi Air-Dried Dog Food

Air-dried, protein-packed premium food made with ethically harvested meat.

About: Ziwi Air-dried dog food is an ultra-premium food that’s certainly worth trying, especially if you have a picky eater at home. This grain-free food is ethically sourced from New Zealand farms and features a minimally processed recipe that’s easy on your furry friend’s stomach. 

Features: 

  • Available in beef, chicken, lamb, mackerel, venison, and tripe flavors
  • Food is sustainably sourced from New Zealand farms
  • Made with “superfoods” like New Zealand green mussels
  • Single protein food is great for pups with stomach sensitivities
  • Suitable for all dog life stages 

Ingredients List

Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver...,

Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast), Salt, Parsley, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).

Pros

  • Many saw noticeable improvements in their dog’s health after switching to this food. 
  • Can also double as a training treat or kibble mix-in if you’re not ready to commit to the food itself. 

Cons

  • This air-dried food can be expensive especially when compared to other dry foods. 
  • Some dogs may not like the food’s peculiar texture. 

Are Peas and Legumes Dangerous for Dogs? 

peas for dogs

There are exceptions, but most peas and legumes are generally considered safe for our furry friends, and they’re commonly included in many dog foods.

There are several reasons for their inclusion.

For starters, legumes (a family of pea- or bean-producing plants) provide plenty of fiber and carbohydrates at a relatively low cost, which provides obvious benefits to owners and manufacturers alike. They also help to boost the protein content of a dog food, and improve the food’s taste for some doggos.

Some common legumes include chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, pinto beans, and lentils. You might also see pea by-products like pea protein, flour, or fiber listed as a separate ingredient, but these certainly qualify as legumes too. 

However, some dogs have sensitivities, food allergies, or intolerances to peas and legumes. In these cases, you’ll obviously want to avoid them when seeking out a food for your four-footer.

There’s also some evidence to suggest that there’s a possible link between legumes and canine heart disease, which is causing many owners to flock toward the pea-free selections on the market. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say for sure whether or not peas and legumes are the primary culprit, or if it’s the lack of other carbohydrates that is causing problems. The science is still out on exactly why grain-free dog foods are connected with canine heat problems.

Regardless, all pet parents have their own individual risk tolerance and its up to you to decide whether legumes are worth the risk.

Why Are Peas and Legumes Used in Some Dog Foods? 

Peas and legumes may appear in just about any dog food, but you’ll find that they’re most common in grain-free dog food options. This is because legumes provide a great source of carbohydrates and protein without adding too much to the manufacturer’s bottom line. 

Note that neither pea nor legume protein is a suitable replacement for animal protein for your furry friend. They’re fine as a supplemental protein source (for dogs who don’t have an intolerance or allergy to them), but you still want to see a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list.

Legumes are also occasionally used as thickening agents, typically bearing names like carob or locust bean gum. 

What Are Some Alternatives to Peas and Legumes?

grains and other pea alternatives

When searching for a pea-free dog diet, it’s important to find a substitute that’ll provide your best buddy with the nutrients he needs to thrive. Here are some ingredients that might step in and take the place of peas or legume in your dog’s dinner: 

  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is known to be easy on the stomach and is a great source of fiber for your furry friend. It may have fewer carbohydrates than squash or potatoes, but it’s super filling for Fido. 
  • Squash: Squash is high in fiber and carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of vitamin A, E, and B. 
  • Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin A, fiber, and plenty of carbohydrates. They also are a great source of antioxidants, calcium, and iron. 
  • Tapioca: Though less common, this root vegetable is a source of complex carbohydrates. It might also appear as a binding agent in Buddy’s food. 
  • Grains: Whole grains like oats, brown rice, or millet are high in fiber and provide a great source of carbohydrates. These whole grains are much more nutritious than lower tier refined grains.  

Picking a Pea-Free Food: Things to Think About 

dog foods without peas

While selecting a food that’s made without peas or legumes is important, there are also some other factors to take into consideration while selecting a balanced diet for your furry friend. Make sure your food in question also meets these three criteria before bringing it home to your best buddy: 

  1. Your food of choice meets AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage. You’ll want to pick a food for your pooch that’s designed to provide “complete and balanced nutrition” for your dog’s life stage. This information should be listed in the description of your dog’s food or on the packaging of the food in question. 
  2. The food addresses any of your dog’s individual health concerns. Obviously, you’re looking for a food that doesn’t  include peas or legumes, but it should also cater to any other ailments your furry friend may have. For example, dogs suffering from kidney issues may need a renal-support dog food for kidney disease
  3. Your veterinarian supports your food selection. You’ll need to collaborate with your veterinarian to find the perfect food for Fido. Your vet can help you find a food that targets your dog’s individual health needs to keep your dog feeling his best. 

There are some other factors that go into choosing the best dog food for your canine companion, but these are the three most important guidelines that every food for your furry friend should have in common. 

***

For some furry friends, a pea- and legume-free food is a safer, more nutritious option in comparison to legume-inclusive foods. Hopefully, this article brings you one step closer to finding the perfect pea-free palette for your pooch! 

Does your dog deal with a pea intolerance? Has he tried any of these food options? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

choosing a dog food
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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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