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Best Bison Dog Food: Top Buffalo Meat For Your Mongrel!

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Dog Food By Ben Team 17 min read November 3, 2020 14 Comments

bison-dog-food

Best Buffalo Dog Food: Quick Picks

  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie [Most Affordable Option] While Taste of the Wild is still a high-end dog food, it’s one of the more affordable buffalo-based foods on our list. High in protein and contains no grain, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Blue Buffalo’s Rocky Mountain [Most Protein] Includes bison, chicken meal, turkey meal, and fish meal as the first 4 ingredients for a very impressive animal protein composition. No poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
  • Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast [Buffalo as Single Protein] Earthborn was the only recipe to feature buffalo as the single animal protein (all others has buffalo + other meats), making this a great choice for dogs who don’t digest common animal proteins very well

Bison is a rather unusual protein source that you don’t see every day. I’ll admit I’ve never even tried it (although I surely will, after reading about it all morning).

But its novelty is actually a fairly new phenomenon – Native Americans of the Midwestern plains relied on buffalo meat to help feed their people for centuries. The largest native North American animal, bison were originally quite numerous, with herds numbering into the hundreds of thousands.

Unfortunately, European colonization and the ensuing westward expansion drastically reduced their numbers (that, and shooting more than you could carry in the Oregon Trail video game).

Over about a 100-year-period, European settlers slaughtered nearly 50 million of the animals, reducing their overall population to a few hundred.

Fortunately, conservationists have helped nurse these populations back to semi-healthy levels, and there are about one-half million living on farms and preserves today.

Their numbers are healthy enough that they can be used as a food source for both humans and dogs, and what a wonderful food source that is!

We’ll explain in detial the benefits of bison dog food below, and review several top picks in-depth.

best buffalo dog food

Bison or Buffalo? A Quick Note About Language

The terms bison and buffalo are used almost interchangeably in common parlance. However, the terms refer to two completely different animals. This kind of thing happens a lot, and it is one reason that biologists refer to animals by their scientific name.

For example, the American bison is simply Bison bison. On the other hand, the domestic water buffalo is known as Bubalus bubalis. There are actually five different living buffalo species and two different bison species (one American and one European).

Currently, dog food manufacturers appear to use the term “bison” and “buffalo” interchangeably. In fact, they probably try to use both terms, that way they don’t miss out on any customers who are searching for either name. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about this problem.

However, water buffalos are used for meat too. Water buffalo doesn’t typically find its ways into US-made products very often, but that could change in the future. And while the meat is also a pretty good protein source that compares favorably to beef, it is a completely different protein, and you’ll always want to be sure you know exactly what you’re giving your dog.

This isn’t something you need to worry about presently, but it’s still food to have it on your radar.

Moving forward, I’ll use the terms interchangeably, but just know that whichever one I say, I mean this animal:

dog food with buffalo

Why Feed Your Dog Bison?

Bison is pretty similar to beef, which is recognized as a healthy protein for dogs. In fact, bison is often called “the other red meat.” However, there are a few key differences, which make bison preferable to beef in some respects.

For example, bison is leaner than beef. A slab of choice beef contains more than 18 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce-serving (I’m making myself hungry…). By comparison, a similar portion of bison contains only 2.42 grams of fat. Additionally, bison contains slightly more protein per ounce than beef does.

But wait, there’s more: Bison also has less fat per ounce than chicken, pork or sockeye salmon. So, it isn’t only a good alternative to beef; bison is a good protein in its own right!

Because relatively few dog foods contain bison, it often represents a novel protein source for dogs who are allergic to beef, chicken and other common proteins. Perhaps not surprisingly, bison is the primary protein used in several limited ingredient diets.

Qualities to Look for in a Bison-Based Dog Food

Trying to choose a dog food is never easy, but there are a number of characteristics that can help you determine the relative quality of a given food.

When setting out to switch up your dog’s food, consider the following characteristics, which most good foods possess or demonstrate:

Good dog foods are made in countries with strict food safety guidelines and good hygiene practices. Foods made in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or Western Europe are less likely to contain unhealthy or dangerous ingredients than those manufactured in other locations.

Good dog foods generally leave out artificial colors, flavors and additives. Artificial additives – particularly colors and dyes – are often suspected of causing food allergies, so it is best to avoid foods containing them. And with a world full of natural flavors and ingredients from which to choose, why would you want a food that uses artificial versions of these flavors?

Good dog foods feature a whole protein as the first listed ingredient. Your dog is an omnivore, but meat is unquestionably the most important part of his diet. Accordingly, good dog foods should feature a whole protein (not a byproduct or meat meal) as the first listed ingredient. In this case, that ingredient should be bison meat.

Good dog foods only contain properly identified meat-meals and byproducts. Many people reject meat meals and byproducts entirely, but there is nothing inherently wrong with these ingredients, provided that they are produced in a safe way and are clearly identified. This will help ensure that your dog is only fed wholesome, nutritious items, obtained from high-quality sources. “Bison meal” is perfectly find; “meat meal” is not.

Good dog foods are fortified with vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Your dog needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to remain healthy, and things like antioxidants and omega fatty acids are also beneficial for most dogs. Look for foods fortified with these and other ingredients.

7 Best Bison Dog Foods For Your Pooch

Consider the following foods if you are thinking about switching your dog over to a bison-based blend.

Most of these satisfy all the requirements you’d expect of a good food, and owners report that their dog found these options to pass the taste bud test!

1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie

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Taste of the Wild High Prairie

Taste of the Wild High Prairie

Protein-rich with buffalo as #1 ingredient

This high-protein dog food features buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal as the first ingedients. Also contains no grain, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

About: Taste of the Wild High Prairie is a high-quality dog food, made with real roasted meats, which is designed to reflect the food of wild canines. It is a 100% grain-free recipe, which relies on sweet potatoes and peas to provide the bulk of its carbohydrate content.

Features:

  • Made with real roasted meats to give your dog the flavor and nutrition he deserves
  • Made exclusively in one of five U.S.-based factories
  • Made with bison prepared in two different ways

PROS

Taste of the Wild not only features bison, it also contains a variety of other high-quality protein sources, including lamb, venison and ocean fish meal. Additionally, the ingredient list includes a number of antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries, and several different probiotic strains to help support proper digestion.

CONS

Although Taste of the Wild primarily relies on buffalo and lamb to provide the protein content (both of which are usually recommended for dogs suffering from food allergies), it also includes egg products, beef, and chicken meal, making it unsuitable for many such dogs.

Ingredients List

Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas...,

Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, 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, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain

Protein-packed and grain-free formula

This nutritious and delicious recipe features real bison, beef meal, and fish meal as the first 3 ingredients. No poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.

About: Of course, a company called Blue Buffalo is compelled to make an incredible bison-based food, and that’s just what they’ve done. Blue Buffalo’s Rocky Mountain Recipe is a nutritious, delicious food that is packed full of impressive ingredients, and formulated to taste good enough for even the pickiest of dogs.

Features:

  • Deboned bison is the very first listed ingredient
  • Made with flaxseeds to provide your dog with joint- and coat-protecting omega fatty acids
  • Made solely in plants located in the USA

PROS

Although deboned bison is the first listed ingredient, the manufacturer includes three other types to help increase the overall protein content. Additionally, whole, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries, pomegranate, spinach, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are found throughout the ingredient list.

CONS

Most owners were pleased by the product, but some complained that their dog didn’t tolerate it well. Some owners also complained about the high price of the food.

Ingredients List

Deboned Bison, Beef Meal, Fish Meal, Peas, Pea Protein...,

Tapioca Starch, Pea Starch, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Canola Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potatoes, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, DL-Methionine, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

3. I and Love and You Naked Essentials

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I and Love and You Naked Essentials

I and Love and You Naked Essentials

Premium kibble with a mix of meats

This recipe includes lamb, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the first 3 ingredients, along with a blend of probiotics and prebiotics. Bison featured far down on the ingredient list.

About: I and Love and You Naked Essentials Bison & Lamb is a boutique premium dog food.

It relies on lamb, chicken meal, and turkey meal for the bulk of protein (these are the first 3 ingredients), but includes bison as well further down the list.

In addition to a whopping amount of 30% protein, this recipe also is grain-free, includes probiotics and prebiotics, and is made without by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy, rice, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.

Features:

  • Grain-free recipe uses lentils, chickpeas, peas, and sweet potatoes instead of traditional grains.
  • Lamb, chicken meal, and turkey meal are first three ingredients
  • Includes prebiotics as well as probiotics to aid in digestion
  • No by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy, rice, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.
  • Includes omega 3 & 6 with the incorporation of flaxseeds and fish oils, aiding in a healthier coat and skin.

PROS

I and Love and You is a very high-quality dog food, featuring fantastic amounts of protein and an impressive ingredient free of common controversial additives.

CONS

While this recipe has tons of great animal proteins, we do wish bison was further up in the ingredient list (it’s #13), considering the food is advertised as a bison and lamb food.

Ingredients List

Lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, chickpeas, peas...,

pea starch, lentils, flaxseeds, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers dried yeast, sweet potatoes, dried beet pulp, bison, pea protein, natural chicken flavor, menhaden fish meal, salt, potassium chloride, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, thiamin mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin B12 supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, choline chloride, dried chicory root, fish oil, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate , dried Lactobacillus aciphophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.

4. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast

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Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast

Holistic bison-based kibble

Formulated without grains, gluten, or potatoes, this special formula relies primarily on bison, egg, and beef for protein.

About: Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast is a grain-free, bison-meal-based dog food that is packed with a variety of nutritious and delicious ingredients. It also features several probiotics and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to ensure your dog’s digestive tract and immune system function properly.

Features:

  • Bison meal is the exclusive animal protein
  • Made with four different probiotic strains to support gastrointestinal health
  • Contains balanced levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Made in the USA

PROS

Most owners were very pleased with Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast. Several appreciated the fact that the food relies on peas and tapioca – as opposed to corn or wheat — for the bulk of its carbohydrate content. Others loved the inclusion of bison meal and lamb meal, which are both lean, red proteins that provide the kind of protein your dog needs to build strong muscles.

CONS

Complaints about Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast were rather rare, but a few owners noted that their dog did not find the food palatable. Some also noted that the food upset their dog’s stomach, so be sure to switch to this food gradually, as you should anytime you alter your dog’s diet.

Ingredients List

Bison Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca, Dried Egg Product...,

Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Flaxseed, Lamb Meal, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavors, Blueberry Fiber, Cranberry Fiber, Apples, Blueberries, Carrots, Spinach, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Salt, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Yucca schidgera Extract, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product.

5. Merrick Grain-Free Buffalo Dog Food

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Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes

Merrick Grain-Free Buffalo Dog Food

Premium, high-protein formula with fresh produce

This premium buffalo-based food is made from 65% proteins + healthy fats and 35% produce, fiber, minerals, and healthy additions like omega fatty acids for a healthier coat.

About: Merrick’s Grain-Free Buffalo Dog Food is a premium, nutritious dog food made with the kinds of ingredients that can help keep your dog healthy and happy for a long time. Additionally, because it is make with a litany of delicious protein sources, most dogs love the taste.

Features:

  • Deboned buffalo is the very first listed ingredient
  • Made from 65% meat proteins + fat and 35% fresh produce, fiber, minerals, and vitamins
  • Contains omega fatty acids to help improve your dog’s coat condition
  • Fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to help protect your dog’s joints

PROS

Most owners reported that their dog found the food quite tasty. Some owners have noted skin and coat improvements after making the switch, and others remarked that it helped regulate their dog’s digestive system.

CONS

While it is not necessarily a drawback, Merrick uses a number of proteins aside from buffalo (including deboned salmon and turkey meal, among others), which means it has the potential to be a poor choice for pups suffering from food allergies.

Ingredients List

Deboned Bison, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Deboned Beef...,

Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Chicken Fat, Whitefish Meal, Tapioca, Natural Flavor, Salmon Meal, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Apples, Blueberries, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Citric Acid for Freshness, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product.

6. Solid Gold Wolf King

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Solid Gold Wolf King

Solid Gold Wolf King

Protein-packed dog food for athletic dogs

Uniquely crafted for large breed dogs, this formula features bison and ocean fish meal as the first two ingredient, along with nutritious healthy grains.

About: Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice is a high-quality, protein-packed food for large breed dogs, featuring bison as the #1 ingredient.

Wolf King features bison and ocean fish meal as the first two ingredients. It also includes plenty of healthy fats and whole grains.

Solid Gold Wolf King also includes probiotics and prebiotics, along with a superfood blend designed to support your canine’s immune-system and help improve digestion.

Features:

  • Bison featured as the #1 ingredient (followed by ocean fish meal)
  • Probiotics and prebiotics
  • Includes healthy grains like brown rice and oatmeal
  • Has an impressive superfood blend to boost antioxidant, with ingredients like apples, blueberries, spinach, and broccoli

Ingredients List

Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Potatoes...,

Oatmeal, Chickpeas, Rice Bran, Dried Eggs, Sweet Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Natural Flavors, Flaxseed, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Taurine, L-Carnitine, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries, Lettuce, Celery, Beets, Watercress, Spinach, Dried Chicory Root, Broccoli, Spearmint, Almond Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sesame Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Thyme, Lentils, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

PROS

A high-quality recipe that relies on bison as the #1 ingredient.

CONS

Bison is not the exclusive protein, so if your dog has fish allergies, it could be problematic.

7. Canidae Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food

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Canidae Grain Free Pure Land Dog Dry Formula With Fresh Bison, 24 Lbs

Canidae Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food

Grain-free, limited-ingredient diet

This great-tasting recipe is made with relatively limited set of ingredients which makes it a good choice for dogs with allergies.

About: Canidae is one of the most impressive dog food manufacturers in the business, and their Grain-Free, Limited Ingredient Diet is another example of this. The food is available in many different flavors, including fresh bison, which we’ll analyze here.

Features:

  • Made with several whole foods, including bison, sweet potatoes and chickpeas
  • Made with five different probiotic strains to support your dog’s digestive health
  • Great taste that your dog is sure to love

PROS

Most owners found Canidae to be an excellent food that their dog loved. Because Canidae is made with a relatively limited set of ingredients, and only two proteins (both of which are rarely allergenic), it is a good choice for owners looking to combat food allergies.

CONS

Complaints about Canidae are relatively few and far between. Most owners had a good experience with the product, but a few complained about the high cost. There are also scattered reports of dogs finding the food unpalatable, but this is the case with every food.

Ingredients List

Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, canola oil...,

suncured alfalfa, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin E).

Switching Your Dog to a New Food

You don’t want to switch your dog’s food abruptly. While some dogs tolerate these kinds of chances well, others may suffer from stomach pains, diarrhea and general discomfort if forced to switch to a new food too quickly.

Accordingly, most authorities recommend switching your dog’s food gradually, over the course of about a week.

Start by mixing in about 10% to 20% of your dog’s new food in with the old food. If your dog appears to tolerate this well, and doesn’t experience any intestinal disturbance, increase the amount of new food to 30% to 40% in a day or two.

Keep increasing the percentage of the new food (and decreasing the percentage of the old food) slowly, until you can stop providing the old food altogether.

***

Does your dog love his bison food? Why did you decide this was the best protein source for his nutritional needs? Have you had any success with a brand not listed here? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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14 Comments

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Marisela Alberti

Best article that I ve read so far. My puppy now 10mo didn’t tol anything having loose stool 10 per day. I was desperate tried every thing including 2 different vets. Originally she was in test of the wild and has been in many other I was desperate till at petsmart they told me t try earthborne she still taking peptobismol daily she is gaining wt and I use to feed my dogs with Neutrol so my son feed his 3 dogs for 11yr my boxer that passed this last Oct she was super healthy was my service dog so traveled all the time. Tried also with this new puppy unsuccessfully. Thanks very much for your detail info

Reply
Ben Team

Glad you found the article helpful, Marisela!
Keep us updated on your pup!

Reply
Anthony ferreira

Been feeding my dog taste of wild high prairie since1st year now tell me grain free causing dcm. Spend copious amount of time trying to research alternative foods. Almost impossible can’t find any help anywhere. Want to keep him on bison not water buffalo. Don’t want to hurt my lab. Seems to take longer
For his breathing to slow down after moderate exercise. Need answers

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Anthony. It can be frustrating to find your pooch the best food possible.
But note that while grain-free foods have been linked to DCM in some cases, it’s a complicated issue. I would encourage you to read our article about DCM and grain-free dog foods to learn a little more.
Best of luck!

Reply
donna

Last month, after i had experienced IBS-type symptoms, i took time to research probiotics. The one thing we are not warned about concerning probiotics is that if one takes a probiotic product and the cultures are dead, your immune/digestive system will be seriously damaged! I read a consumer report of independant testing and rating of the top probiotics in terms of effectiveness.

I learned that most of the more well-known brands such as Culturelle, did not test regularly and most left their products on the shelves with expired cultures. Some brands did not even include two of the more effective, yet expensive, bacterias that we need to fix things.

More n more, Dogfood manufacturers are adding probiotics to our pets food. This is alarming because IF the cultures sat on the shelf too long, they’ve died…and if fed to our companions as dead, it can cause such harm to a pet’s digestive system, causing diarhea, constipation, cramping, severe immunity problems, leaky gut and heart disease. And our pets can’t tell us or request an appointment to the vet.

There are supreme probiotics that are safe for pets and are the top tested brands so in case somebody out there needs the name of a reliable probiotic product, here is the site url of the artical that lists several….

https://consumershealthreport.com/probiotic-supplements/bestprobiotics/?msclkid=e7693d6d737a1bfd61b166c423b51b7d

I found this article AFTER i already started a 2-week fix using a probiotic named; IBSolution to see if i could finally get my gut fixed, (i took some older culturelle and ruined my tummy, prior).

Since finding this article on the best probiotics, i have determined to try out the top-of-the-list brand by Bluebiology called, Blue Biotics Ultimate care which IS PET SAFE!

So stay away from all petfoods offering probiotics or risk your pet’s health with possibly dead cultures.

sorry for the length of this post!

Reply
Salina Bailey

Great post, I would like to Mention that Sport Dog food uses Water Buffalo instead of American Bison. I am currently researching their food to try as I have dogs that have reactions to chicken and egg. Merrick has their own off brand called Whole Earth Farms that is poultry free, price is reasonable. Dogs like it.
I used to use Diamond products for years, but had to many issues with dogs breaking out in hives and now, one of mine gets blisters all over her mouth and lips if I feed TOW or any Diamond product. Diamond thought it might be the lining of the bags that cause it and said they had some reports of hives from others.
The price and small bags are a major complaint for me these days… bags get smaller and price gets higher. ugh. Check out Sport Dog Food , I am considering switching to that even though it is pricey, just like the rest.

Reply
Meg Marrs

Thanks Salina – always good to hear from owners. Sport Dog sounds like a good choice too.

Reply
Gayle

I have been feeding my German Shepherd Sport Dog Food Elite Whitefish for the past year. He has done great on it. He is allergic to chicken and since they recently changed their formulas I am thinking about changing to their buffalo formula.

Reply
Merrick

Hey Ben!

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post, really appreciate that. I will look forward to your forthcoming post on “water weight.”

By the way, in re-reading my post above, I should mention that Earthborn is approx. $7 more than Canidae PURE (Chewy.com), and on some sites a tad more, although they do give you 5 lb instead of Canidae PURE’s 4 lb, and their bison kibble has 34% protein vs. Canidae PURE’s 25%, so you have to balance that out — although, I still would question whether or not that additional protein is coming from the multiple pea sources.

In addition, Wild Calling’s $19.99 price is for 4.5 lb bag so, against Canidae PURE’s 4 lb bag, that is still a bit steep, although you have to factor in the fact they do use bison meal, and it’s the very first ingredient — although, interestingly, the protein content, at 23%, is lower than many of these other kibbles, as well as the fat, so you do have to wonder about that. Although, again, I should reiterate that Canidae PURE’s bison product is lamb meal with fresh bison, not bison meal.

One other important consideration is the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 — have you written on that subject before? From what I’ve seen, the standard recommendation is 5:1, although some suggest as high as 10:1. Canidae PURE does a good job of that on several of its flavors, e.g., PURE Sea, its fish flavor, is 3.7% for Omega 6 and 0.4% on Omega 3, an excellent ratio, while Earthborn’s Coastal Catch is 2.6% to 2.0%, not the most desirable ratio, and Wild Calling’s Whitefish recipe is 2.15% to 1.5%, also not the best. And for those of us, like me, that likes salmon as part of the fish kibble, Wild Calling doesn’t use any in their product while Canidae PURE does use salmon as the main protein source (both fresh and in meal form as first two ingredients), and Earthborn does, as well, although much further down the list as their main protein is herring meal.

Let me know if you’ve written on Omega ratio before — if not, would love to get your take on that, as well, for a future piece.

By the way, I hasten to add that, should anyone question my motives regarding any of the above, I have absolutely no connection whatsoever to Canidae — I am just a customer who has done a lot of homework! Years and years ago I was one of the kind who started my dog on awful Pedigree but then had a steady evolution of kibbles, purchasing for my dogs better and better quality brands as the years went by and as new lines came out, until today where I feel I’m at a pretty good point — could go even better (e.g., Orijen/Acana), but would definitely be paying a lot more. But I’m sold on Canidae PURE because the type and quality of ingredients, matched with the price point, make it, to me, and despite a couple of quibbles (e.g., not using bison meal), one of the best options on the market.

Thanks, Ben!

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Merrick Wolfe

Ben, apologies for this additional comment (and feel free to combine it with the one above), but I forgot to mention one other brand besides Earthborn that uses bison meal: a newer one, Wild Calling. They actually have a great list of ingredients — with the possible exception of the questionable tapioca — but bison meal is the first ingredient and fresh bison is further down the list. They also have other interesting single protein kibble such as kangaroo, and also beef — which, for some reason, a lot of grain-free kibble manufacturers have decided to NOT use as a main ingredient — price?. I’d consider purchasing this food — except — their price point: $19.99 for a 4.5lb bag. Just a wee bit steep. You can get Canidae PURE online for half that price (although way more in stores).

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Ben

Hey, Merrick.

I appreciate your kind words, comments and interest in the subject. I actually have some thoughts on this “water weight” issue emphasized by DFA and others, which I may try to write about more thoroughly in the future.

I don’t have time to explain myself carefully at the moment, but I’ll gladly reach out to you when/if I post it.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to me anytime you’d like to talk dog food.

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Merrick Wolfe

Ben,

This is a terrific blog post — bison has been one of the protein sources I look for to feed my dog. You have researched this well.

However, I do need to add one important piece of information regarding the use of fresh meats in kibble that the manufacturers don’t tell you.

Even though the first ingredient may be a fresh meat, its placement on the ingredients list is based on the meat with full water content. But in order to process the meat for inclusion in kibble, the water must be removed — and then that puts that meat much further down the list. Most of the foods above then have a meat meal (chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, etc) which are already dehydrated and so those then are, in reality, the major ingredient.

So the Merrick brand (a coincidence I share my first name with the brand — no relation!), is, in actuality, chicken kibble with some buffalo/bison added in.

Taste of the Wild is primarily lamb and chicken, with bison being secondary.

Great Life I would consider as a vegetable-primary kibble, with bison meat & liver secondary.

I myself have chosen Canidae PURE. I have no allusions that it’s bison-primary — it’s lamb primary — but I’ve settled for that, knowing I’m not getting a true bison kibble, but a quality lamb kibble, and that’s fine.

The reason I really like Canidae PURE — and I, like you, did a heck of research — is that the ingredients are one of the most simple and limited of any dog food I’ve found — while most of the others have too many other proteins or too many other things. Also, the PURE line has several choices of proteins — and my dog loves all of them and does great on all of them.

Regarding their “bison” product, however, I have written to Canidae to ask they make their “bison” kibble with actual bison meal, and make a separate lamb kibble, but they haven’t responded and perhaps the issue is cost of production — their price for their grain-free kibble is very reasonable compared to some of the others, especially for what you get in the bag. (This is not vouching for Canidae’s non-grain-free kibble, which I’m actually not a fan of.)

The only kibble I’ve found that actually DOES use bison meal, and it’s the first ingredient, is Earthborn Holistic. Their entire line uses good meals as first ingredient. So why don’t I use them? It’s their other ingredients. They use way too much pea product: peas, pea protein, and pea fiber (wha…?!), as well as tapioca (huh??), which I have a problem with. All that pea product, when put together, could match or exceed the actual bison protein. And tapioca is used to bind the kibble, but it’s a controversial starch. One other issue with Earthborn is that it’s a bit more expensive, a few more dollars than Canidae PURE. But without question, it is one of the better kibble and certainly WAY better than the majority of kibbles out there made with grain, and I wouldn’t fault anyone’s choice to use it.

Again, great piece, Ben, and really appreciate your thinking it up in the first place as I can’t find anyone else who has written on the subject.

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Art

We switched to Nutrisource Bison and our dog stopped having seizures. We later found out our dog is probably allergic to glutten. Our dog can’t wait to be fed every morning. He loves this bison food. Now we’re having trouble getting it. Will be trying one of the bison foods on your list.

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Meg Marrs

So great to hear that the switch stopped your pooch from having seizures! Just make sure to check ingredients as some of these formulas likely have gluten.

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