Are you searching for pea-free food for your pooch? You’re not alone! Many owners want to get their hands on 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 the best dog foods without peas below and explain why this is becoming an important issue for many owners.
Why Would Owners Want 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 don’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 with 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 hypoallergenic dog food or specialized dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs, 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 8 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]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Pet parents seeking customizable, pea-free dog food featuring fresh ingredients.
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.
First Five Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, & Spinach
- 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
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.
- One of the few dog foods 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.
- 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. Yumwoof Perfect Kibble [Best Kibble Without Peas or Legumes]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Dog owners after a minimally-processed, convenient-to-feed dry dog food without peas.
About: Looking for a pea- and legume-free dry food for your canine? You should definitely start your search with Yumwoof Perfect Kibble. Featuring all of the hallmarks of quality owners want without the super-expensive price you may expect, Perfect Kibble gives you an easy way to feed your doggo a tasty, nutritious food loaded with essential vitamins and free of legumes.
First Five Ingredients: Fresh Beef, Whole Eggs, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Flaxseed, & Carrots
- Minimally processed and slow-baked at 170 degrees Fahrenheit
- Contains no preservatives yet is shelf-stable and requires no refrigeration
- Available in full bags as well as smaller “topper” bags
- Prepared by an NYC chef in conjunction with a veterinary nutritionist
- Each batch is cooked right in the USA
Fresh Beef, Whole Eggs, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Flaxseed, Carrots...,
Gluten-Free Oats, Blueberries, Cranberries, Chia Seeds, Seaweed, Beef Liver, Pumpkin, Vitamins & Minerals, Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dogs go crazy for this chef-crafted, slow-cooked food
- The simplified ingredient list is great for dogs with sensitivities
- Few other foods of this caliber are shelf-stable
- More convenient to feed than fresh options
- Quality comes at a cost, especially when feeding larger breeds
- It’s only available in 2 protein options (chicken and beef) — we’d love to see more choices
3. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages [Most Affordable Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Pawrents looking for high-quality, pea-free dog food that won’t sink their budget.
About: If you’re searching for a legume- and pea-free food that won’t wallop your wallet, it’s worth considering this all-life-stages Diamond Naturals kibble, a food that also includes awesome extras like omega-3 fats for skin and coat health. In addition to being made without legumes of any kind, this US-made dry dog food contains no corn, wheat, or soy and is grain-inclusive, with rice and barley as alternative ingredients for healthy carbohydrates.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, & White Rice
- Real chicken is the first ingredient, offering lean protein for strong muscles
- Meets AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, suiting puppies and seniors alike
- Contains a mix of produce, including kale, coconut, and spinach
- Probiotic mix support digestive health
- Pumpkin and dried chicory root are excellent sources of belly-friendly fiber
- Made in the USA with global ingredients
Chicken, Chicken meal, Whole grain brown rice, Cracked pearled barley, White rice,...,
Dried yeast, Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Egg product, Grain sorghum, Dried beet pulp, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon oil (source of DHA), Potassium chloride, Salt, DL-Methionine, Choline chloride, Dried chicory root, Kale, Chia seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca schidigera extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, Vitamin E supplement, Beta carotene, Iron proteinate, Zinc proteinate, Copper proteinate, Ferrous sulfate, Zinc sulfate, Manganese sulfate, Copper sulfate, Potassium iodide, Thiamine mononitrate, Manganese proteinate, Ascorbic acid, Vitamin A supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Sodium selenite, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 supplement, Folic acid
- Affordable price despite quality ingredients like real chicken, fruits, and vegetables
- Contains extras like fish oil for healthy skin and shiny coats and probiotics for digestive health
- All-life-stages nature is an excellent choice for multi-dog families or growing with your pup
- Pickier pups may need enticing to give this food a try
- More protein options in the all-life-stages formula would be ideal
4. Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials [Best Grain-Inclusive Canned Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Pet parents seeking a pea-free wet dog food to feed alone or add extra flavor or hydration to their doggo’s existing healthy diet.
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 chicken dog food is made without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and is a great choice for most adult dogs.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Liver, Meat By-Products, & Rice
- A rare grain-inclusive wet food option
- Made in the USA at Purina-owned facilities
- First food ingredient is whole lean chicken
- Suitable for all breed sizes
- High-protein food is perfect for active pooches
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.
- 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 CORE [Best Grain-Free Canned Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Owners on the hunt for grain-free dog food made without peas or legumes.
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 that’s loaded with health benefits can be eaten on its own or used as a topper to make your dog’s dry food more enticing.
First Five Ingredients: Turkey, Water sufficient for processing, Spinach, Cassia Gum, & Xanthan Gum
- This North-American made food is packed with turkey protein
- Formulated with antioxidants and vitamins to support your furry friend’s immune health
- Does not contain wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives
- Rich in fatty acids for healthy skin and a healthy coat
- This turkey-rich recipe appeals to most pupper palates
Turkey, Water sufficient for processing, Spinach, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum...,
Potassium Chloride, Ground Flaxseed, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplemet, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic acid), Choline Chloride.
- Grain-free recipe ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities
- Provides plenty of antioxidants and protein
- Single protein dog food may be a good choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs
- Packed with healthy fats for skin and coat health
- Some noted that this is not a “lean” dog food, so keep an eye on the calories
- May be too rich for some Rovers’ systems
6. Natural Balance L.I.D Food [Best Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Pawrents of four-footers with sensitive skin or stomaches needing a short ingredient list free of triggers.
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) and contains glucosamine for joint health.
First Five Ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, & Rice Bran
- 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
Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran...,
Brewers Dried Yeast, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Dl-methionine, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
- This single protein-source food is an excellent choice for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities
- Great source of glucosamine for healthy joints
- 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.
- Some pet parents didn’t like the smell of this dry dog 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]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Doggo parents looking for flavor-packed, less-processed canine eats loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients, like organ 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.
First Five Ingredients: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, & Beef Liver
- Available in beef, chicken, lamb, mackerel, venison, and tripe flavors
- Loaded with nutrient-dense organ meat
- Made with “superfoods” like New Zealand green mussels
- Single protein food is great for pups with stomach sensitivities
- Suitable for all dog life stages
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).
- 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
- Great source of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
- This air-dried food can be expensive, especially when compared to other dry foods
- Some dogs may not like the food’s peculiar texture
8. Nutro Natural Choice Puppy [Best Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes for Puppies]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Pawrents of growing puppies seeking pea-free food focused on helping pups develop into healthy adults with premium ingredients.
About: Looking to nourish your growing fur buddy without peas and legumes? Look no further than Nutro Natural Choice Puppy, a pea-free kibble featuring muscle-building lean protein and healthy grains for fueling your youngster’s next adventure. It’s also made without by-product meal, corn, wheat, and soy, suiting sniffers with sensitive systems.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Brewers Rice, & Whole Grain Brown Rice
- The top ingredient is chicken, followed by chicken meal for more protein
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- Doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Mix of produce provides natural fiber and antioxidants
- Made in the USA with globally-sourced ingredients from trusted suppliers
- Designed specifically for the nutrient needs of growing puppies
- Rich in healthy fats for brain and eye development
- Contains a good assortment of produce, including kale and spinach
- More protein options would be ideal
- Pickier puppies may need a more enticing food
9. Cesar Classic Grilled Chicken Flavor [Best Dog Food Without Peas or Legumes for Seniors]
WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?
Owners of senior sniffers looking for tasty, easy-to-chew food that’s free of peas and other legumes.
About: Have a senior needing some seriously tasty food that just so happens to be pea-free? Check out Cesar Classic Grilled Chicken Flavor for a delicious blend of meat in an easy-to-eat loaf texture that works great for seniors with dental concerns. This wet dog food can be served on its own or mixed in your canine’s kibble for extra flavor.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Beef Lung, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, & Water
- Real chicken is the primary ingredient
- Chicken broth and water meld to form a savory, hydration-boosting sauce
- Packaged in convenient, peel-and-serve trays
- Grain-free, this food features dried yam for a carbohydrate source
- Made in the USA with internationally sourced ingredients
Chicken, Beef Lung, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Water...,
- Pate texture is a win for doggos with dental woes, like many seniors
- Flavor earns high marks from most hounds
- Saucy nature adds extra hydration — an area of concern with senior woofs
- Pricing isn’t too bad
- Mixed proteins not ideal for dogs with meat allergies
- Limited protein options
- Contains some controversial ingredients, like carrageenan and by-products
Are Peas and Legumes Dangerous 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?
When searching for a pea-free dog diet, it’s important to find a substitute carbohydrate source 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 legumes 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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Best Dog Foods Without Peas: FAQ
Do you still have questions or concerns about finding the best dog foods without peas for your pup? Curious about other legume matters? Check out the most commonly asked questions surrounding pea-free diets and their answers.
What dog food doesn’t contain peas?
There are several pea-free diets on the market, including fresh options like Nom Nom, dry dog food like Diamond Naturals and Natural Balance Limited Ingredient with Healthy Grains, and air-dried dog foods like Ziwi Peak. Are you more interested in canned dog food? See Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials and Wellness Core.
A popular grain-free carbohydrate alternative to legumes is potatoes — both sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Quinoa is another great alternative to legumes.
Should I avoid legumes in dog food?
Avoiding legumes in your dog’s food depends on your dog’s dietary needs and preferences. Some dogs just plain dislike peas and other legumes, which makes skipping them a wise decision, while other doggos have a pea allergy or don’t digest peas well. Other pups may be at risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM,) a heart condition with a potential link to peas and grain-free diets.
As with any nutritional concern, discuss your doggo’s diet with your vet if you have questions about including or excluding peas and other legumes. Your vet can offer the best advice pertaining to your pup’s diet, whether you’re asking about peas, concerned about offering adequate protein content, or just looking for peace of mind.
What is the issue with pea protein in dog food?
Pea protein is a controversial carbohydrate source due to its possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy. While an excellent source of energy and a natural source of protein, it’s worth looking into this risk with your vet, especially if your pup’s breed is prone to this heart issue or similar health issues.
Does Purina Pro Plan have peas in it?
Purina Pro Plan offers food with peas and food without peas, so be sure to study ingredient lists closely, especially if your pooch has pea sensitivity. Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials is an excellent choice for pups needing a pea-free recipe, as it’s packed with protein for strong muscles and a rich source of flavor that can be fed alone or mixed into dry dog food for picky eaters.
Are peas, lentils, and legumes bad for dogs?
Peas, lentils, and legumes are generally deemed safe for canine consumption, making them common in food made for dogs with grain allergies, though there are concerns surrounding their potential link to a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. As with any ingredient, there’s also a concern for peas, lentils, or legumes triggering an allergy or being poorly tolerated in your doggo’s system.
If you’re concerned about introducing peas, lentils, or legumes to your dog’s diet, consult your vet.
Why should dog food be pea free?
Pea-free dog food is necessary if your dog is allergic to peas or has a pea intolerance. In some cases, avoiding peas is also recommended if your dog’s breed is at risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition potentially linked to peas and other legumes.
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!