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5 Best Salmon Dog Food Brands: Reviews & Ratings

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Your pup loves the taste of a good sockeye as much as you do!

Salmon dog food is a great choice for owners of dogs with stomach or allergy issues from traditional meats like beef and chicken. It’s also a great food to try when you’re dealing with a picky eater, who may find that he adores that salmon taste.

Today we’re reviewing the best salmon dog food brands and discussing the benefits of a salmon diet for canines!

Quick Picks: Best Salmon Dog Food Our Rating Price
#1 Pick: Merrick Grain-Free With Salmon Dog Food  $$
#2 Pick: Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Dog Food $$$
#3 Pick: Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini $$$$
#4 Pick: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free With Salmon  $$
#5 Pick: Nutro Max Grain Free Salmon Dog Food  $

Continue reading for more in-depth reviews

Why Choose Salmon Dog Food?

Owners opt for salmon dog food due to a number of reasons, including:

  • salmon dog food chartHealthy Protein Source. Salmon is an extremely high-quality protein source, which is why many owners consider it for their beloved canines! Fish boasts a great protein-to-calorie count, making it a favorite protein source for humans and four-legged creatures alike.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acid. Salmon is a natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acid, which is said to be great for skin, coat, and joint health (which is especially handy for arthritis senior dogs).
  • Brain Booster. Salmon is also said to promote healthy brain function, so it’s great for developing puppies as well as twilight dogs going a bit senile.
  • Amino Acids. Fish, salmon included, has high levels of amino acids. Amino acids can help with everything from building cartilage to regulating hormones.
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals. Salmon is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, among others.
  • Low Mercury Fish. Salmon is also considered a low mercury fish, so the threat of ingesting unhealthy levels of mercury – something fanatic fish eaters often worry about – is minimized when it comes to salmon.
  • Flavorful. Dogs often love the added flavor of salmon in their dog food! It may become your four-legged buddy’s new favorite meal!

If you decide to give your dog salmon solo (not within a manufactured dog food), make sure to cook the salmon all the way, as raw salmon can have parasites that are dangerous for dogs. Also make sure to remove any bones so your pup doesn’t choke!

However, we definitely don’t recommend simply feeding your furry pal fish and nothing else! While owners often are curious about taking their dog’s nutrition into their own hands, it’s important to note that dog food is created with specific formulas, designed to provide your dog with all the nutritional needs they require.

What to Consider When Buying Salmon Dog Food

Just Salmon Or Other Meat Too?

If your dog has allergy issues, you may want to select a salmon dog food that only contains salmon as a protein source.

Some of the dog foods listed here solely rely on salmon as a meat protein, while others have salmon as the primary protein, but also include other meats, like chicken.

This mix of meats is fine if you’re just looking for a quality meat protein source for your pooch. However, for allergy issues, make sure to check out ingredients and avoid any additional meat sources that won’t work well for your dog.

best dog food with salmon

Grain-Free Is Good, But That’s Not All That Matters

All of the salmon dog foods we reviewed in this article are grain-free.

This wasn’t necessary on purpose – grain free isn’t always the best choice for all canines, but it often can be very beneficial for dogs with allergies and can help a ton with digestion issues.

Many of the best dog food brands that offer salmon-based formulas also happen to be grain free, since they pay more careful attention to ingredients than 2nd-tier dog foods.

Remember, simply being grain-free doesn’t make a dog food great. You’ll also want to be wary of dog foods that contain lackluster protein sources – for example, while some plant protein sources are fine, you want your dog to be getting the majority of his protein from meat. Of course, you’ll also want to look for a dog food with little to no fillers.

Additional Ingredients & Bonus Benefits

Many of the salmon dog foods listed here also include bonus ingredients like glucosamine to promote healthy joints, and chicory root or other probiotics for better digestion.

Some also contain added salmon oil for even more omega 3 fatty acids. The importance and value of these added ingredients will depend on your dog’s unique needs and situation.

Look at 1st Ingredient (& 2nd Too)

The first ingredient in your dog food should always be meat – in this case, you’ll want to see salmon or salmon meal listed as #1. The first ingredient listed is the primary ingredient, so seeing salmon listed 1st allows you to rest assured that your dog’s food really is salmon-based.

In addition to the 1st ingredient, take a look at the dog food’s 2nd and 3rd ingredients too. Usually the best, most protein-packed dog foods will list a meat protein as the 2nd ingredient as well.

You’ll see that in many of the dog foods listed here, deboned salmon may be the 1st ingredient, followed by salmon meal or some other meat.

Salmon vs. Salmon Meal: Is One Ingredient Better Than The Other?

You may see salmon meal listed as an ingredient in these dog foods, in addition to or instead of regular salmon. It’s worth noting that meat meal contains much more protein than whole salmon, due to the way the meat is rendered.

Be aware that this is not the same as general “meat meal” – those kinds of mystery meats are to be avoided. However, seeing the ingredient “salmon meal” should not be a turn off – it’s a good thing!

1. Merrick Grain Free With Salmon Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food, 25 Lb.Merrick Grain-Free With Salmon Dog Food is a high-quality dog food with plenty of delicious fish!

Real salmon is listed as the #1 ingredient, followed by salmon meal. This shows that Merrick’s dog food really is packed with authentic meat protein – not fillers.

In addition to salmon, other whitefish is also included in the ingredient list, making it a super seafood meal for your pup.

This salmon dog food also contains salmon oil (providing more omega 3 fatty acid) as well as chelated minerals, which aid in digestion and makes protein easier to absorb. Merrick’s food also features a small kibble size, making it easy for smaller dogs to eat.

Merrick’s food earns a 5 star rating from Dog Food Advisor, due to its high protein content of 39%.

There is some controversy surrounding Merrick, as the company was recently bought by Purina. However, owners have verified (by calling Merrick) that even despite being bought by Purina, they are still not sourcing any ingredients from China.


Price: from $17.98 | Buy on Amazon

  • Features deboned salmon as the #1 ingredient
  • Fresh produce + easy-to-digest carbohydrates like sweet potato
  • Locally sourced, cooked in the USA, no ingredients from China
  • Contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Contains glucosamine to promote healthy joints
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten.
  • Available in 4 lb / 12 lb / 24 lb bags
Ingredient List
Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Whitefish Meal, Natural Flavor, Canola Oil, Deboned Whitefish, 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: Dogs love the taste, and owners report seeing an improvement in their dogs’ coats and skin!

CONS: Some owners are skeptical that Merrick’s quality will continue after being purchased by Purina. However, owners have reported that the high-quality standards are still in place, and Merrick is continuing it’s “no sourcing from China” policy.

2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Dog Food With Salmon

Instinct Original Grain Free Salmon Meal Formula Natural Dry Dog Food By Nature'S Variety, 25.3 Lb. BagIn Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Dog Food, the first ingredients are salmon and salmon meal, so you are definitely getting the salmon value that you pay for – no scams here!

Nature’s Variety Instinct is also one of the highest rated dog foods on Dog Food Advisor, with 5 stars. It has a protein content of 39% – a very impressive number compared to most dog foods! It also uses tapioca as a startch, which helps limit any allergy issues.

Nature’s Variety also features a fairly small kibble size, so it should be quite easy for smaller dogs to eat.


Price: from $200.00 | Buy on Amazon

  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Grain-free dog food with no corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or fillers
  • All natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals (specifically, chelated minerals, which are easier to absorb and are usually only found in quality dog foods) for softer, shinier coat. Also contains antioxidants to boost immune health.
  • Contains chicory root, which provides probiotics for heathy digestion (great for dogs with sensitive stomachs)
  • Freeze dried raw coating to boost nutrition and improve taste
  • Zip lock pack for easy dog food storage
Ingredients for Nature's Variety w/ Salmon
Salmon Meal, Salmon, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Menhaden Fish Meal, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Herring Meal, Peas, Tomato Pomace, Chickpeas, Natural Flavor, Montmorillonite Clay, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite), Choline Chloride, Freeze Dried Cod, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

PROS: Owners are very impressed with the quality of Nature’s Variety. Many report their dogs developing more shiny, healthier coats after eating. Some even say their dogs are shedding less too! This salmon dog food also seems to do very well with dogs who have sensitive stomachs.

CONS: Not a cheap dog food – while great quality, it may be too pricey for some owners.

3. Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini

Fromm Four-Star Salmon Tunalini Dog Food, 12 LbFromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunaliniseeks to provide your pup with a true Mediterranean diet – this grain-free formula composed of wild-caught salmon, tuna, eggplant, spinach, zucchini, and olive oil!

Salmon and salmon meal are the 1st and 2nd ingredients, meaning this dog food is an authentic choice for salmon-packed protein. However, it also contains chicken liver and chicken cartilage, would could be an issue for allergies.

Fromm is considered a high-quality dog food brand, and this dog food is full of prebiotics and probiotics for better doggie digestion. It contains chicory root (for digestion), chelated minerals (for protein absorption), as well as flaxseed and salmon oil (adding more omega 3 fatty acids).

Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals earns 4.5 stars from Dog Food Advisor, with a 32% protein content.


Price: $54.22 | Buy on Amazon

  • No grains, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Contains Yucca Schidigera extract, which reduces the smell of your dog’s stool
  • Includes chicken cartilage for joint health, chicory root for digestion aid and reduced risk of worms, and taurine to help with developing heart and eyes.
  • Made with USDA-inspected ingredients + made in the USA
  • Available in 4 lb / 12 lb / 26 lb bags
Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Flour, Dried Tomato Pomace, Tuna, Whole Dried Egg, Sardine Meal, Anchovy Meal, Chicken Liver, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Cheese, Monocalcium Phosphate, Olive Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Carrots, Celery, Parsley, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Spinach, Zucchini, Eggplant, Chicken Cartilage, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Taurine, Vitamins, Minerals, Probiotics.

PROS: Owners report that dogs wolf it down immediately – it’s a doggie favorite!

CONS: This salmon dog food contains more than just salmon – while salmon is the #1 ingredient, it also contains chicken liver and chicken cartilage, which could provide some problems for dogs with allergies.

4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free with Salmon

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Salmon 24-LbBlue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free With Salmon is a dog food formula designed for large breed dogs. It uses sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes as healthy complex carbohydrates. It also includes blueberries, carrots, and cranberries for antioxidants.

This dog food also contains chicory root, which aids in digestion due to prebiotics. It also includes chelated minerals, which make protein easier to absorb for dogs.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness also contains dried yeast, which is somewhat controversial – some believe that yeast can keep away fleas and can support a dog’s immune system. Others believe yeast can be linked to allergies (although this really is not an issue if your dog is not allergic to yeast). A small minority also claim that yeast can contribute to bloat, but there’s no evidence to support this claim.

Blue Buffalo Wildness earns a 4.5 star rating from Dog Food Advisor, with 36% protein content. This isn’t as high as some other salmon dog foods, but it certainly is not a low number by any means – it’s quite good!

It’s important to note that this dog food does not contain only salmon as its meat protein source – it also includes chicken meal, so if your dog has allergy issues involving chicken, you may want to steer clear!

This dog food is specifically designed for large breed dogs, but there is also a standard adult version of this dog food available.


Price: $58.99 | Buy on Amazon

  • Contains real salmon, which is listed as #1 ingredient
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
  • Includes Blue Buffalo’s “LifeSource Bits,” which is a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin to promote joint health
  • Includes Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Available in 24 lb bag
Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Peas, Pea Protein, Dried Egg, Tomato Pomace (Source of Lycopene), Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Flaxseed (Source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Fish Oil (Source of EPA-Eicosapentaenoic Acid), Alfalfa Meal, Dl-Methionine, Potato Starch, Potassium Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Caramel, Choline Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (A Natural Preservative), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, L-Carnitine, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Oil of Rosemary, L-Lysine, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Spinach, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Kelp, Parsley, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Chondroitin Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Beta Carotene, 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), Calcium Iodate.

PROS: Dogs really seem to enjoy the taste of this dog food! It earns impressive attention even from picky canines.

CONS: While salmon in the main ingredient, this Blue Buffalo dog food also contains other meat sources, so it’s not a good choice for dogs with chicken allergies. Also contains caramel coloring, which is less than ideal.

5. Nutro Max Grain Free With Salmon

Nutro Max Grain Free Adult Recipe With Salmon Dry Dog Food, 25 Lbs.; (1) 25-Lb. Bag,  Rich In Nutrients And Full Of Flavor (Discontinued By Manufacturer)Nutro Max Grain Free Salmon Dog Food contains salmon as one of its meat protein sources. However, that’s not the only meat in this dog food –  it also contains chicken and lamb.

In the ingredients, chicken and lamb are actually listed before the salmon, so while the salmon is a nice bonus, it’s not the primary protein in this dog food.


Price: Currently not available | Buy on Amazon

  • Includes real salmon + legumes and pumpkins as a healthy alternative to grains
  • No corn, wheat, or soy protein
  • Available in 4lb or 24lb bag
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Made in the USA
Chicken Meal, Dried Potatoes, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Peas, Lamb Meal, Salmon, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract, Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

PROS: Nutro Max is not the best dog food out there, but it’s priced competitively and is certainly a better choice than many other lesser dog foods. If you’re on a budget, Nutro Max is a fine option.

CONS: Since this dog food contains chicken and lamb, in addition to salmon, it won’t be a good choice for dogs with allergy issues looking to test out a dog food that includes only salmon meat. It’s also worth noting that Nutro reportedly may source certain vitamins from China.


Do you feed your pup salmon dog food? How does your dog like it and why did you choose it? Share your experience in the comments below!

Last update on 2019-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Leave a Comment:

Sue says February 23, 2017

Thank you so much for having this web site. It really helped me with my Delma of finding the correct food for my skin & stomach sensitive dog, which is also allergic to chicken.

    Guest Writer says February 23, 2017

    So glad we could help Sue!

Sue Bahling says February 23, 2017

I forgot to click on Notify me of follow up comments by email and notify me of new posts by email…Yes to both, please 🙂

Benny Howard says April 29, 2017

Looking for a comparison for 4 Health Salmon and potato dog food

Joan Harbin says August 19, 2017

Hello. I’ve subscribed to Dog Food Advisor’s recall alert for years. I trust their research. I’m curious why you didn’t include Wellness salmon food in this comparison. Thank you. Joan

Robert Hinman says March 29, 2018

I have founs great success with supreme source lamb and sweet potato. My dog doesn’t have allergies, but has a sensitive stomach. Nutrish made her vomit. Now she gets supreme source salmon and instead of canned food, I mix in 1/8 to 1/4lb of freshpet tender chicken a day. She eats the dry food with or without the freshpet. To feed only freshpet would not only be too expensive, I don’t agree with feeding dogs a soft diet only. My dog is a 5yr old shepherd/pitbull mix. A 12lb bag costs $18 and lasts almost a month. Gets 4 stars on dog food advisor.

    Meg Marrs says March 29, 2018

    Nice, thanks for the info Robert. She sounds like a lucky girl!

Robert Hinman says May 5, 2018

High protein foods are good, except in dogs that aren’t very active. Can lead to kidney problems/make existing problems worse.
I just adopted a 6 month old kangal dog from a rescue. He was neglected and underweight. Have been feeding the supreme source salmon and sweet potato, plus freshpet mixed in. Is doing really good. Gaining weight slowly, but surely, plus he loves it. My shepherd/pit has handled it so well. She shares dishes, bones, etc. No fights. Was amazed how well its going only 2 weeks in.

Leland says May 30, 2018

Simply Nourish SOURCE salmon is the food I am trying with my pup. 5 star rating, high protein content. The first three ingredients are deboned salmon, salmon meal, and chicken meal. My dog doesn’t have an issue with allergies, so I don’t mind the chicken. It is a bit more expensive ($15/5lb bag), but because I have a small dog, the bag lasts longer.
I used to feed him the Crave salmon food, which is a high quality, inexpensive food. However, the pieces are very small and he started swallowing them without chewing. Not sure why they don’t have bigger sized chunks.
My dog LOVES the taste of salmon and I never have a problem getting him to eat.

    Meg Marrs says May 30, 2018

    Thanks for the tip Leland – sounds like a good one!

Aaron says July 24, 2018

My pitbull only eats salmon based food, due to allergies. So, this is actually really great! I want to get her the best. Thank you!

Terri Anderson says September 3, 2018

I have a picky teacup yorkie. The only time she really paid attention to a food it was a salmon based fish food. I have tried taste of the wild, nutri source, nulo free style(small breed) and signature, and she eats one kibble then walks away. She barely eats anything. Well she is tiny but hasn’t gained any weight in months. She’s just now 8 months. Any other ideas?

Ame Gernar says October 17, 2018

Simply put arthritis is the wearing out and breaking down of joints while bursitis is an over-use repetitive stress on certain areas of your body. Nothing you eat will prevent bursitis.

Eric Cedergren says January 7, 2019

While I appreciate the information in this article, there was not much mention of the vast difference in the quality, nutritional content, carcinogens and price of wild caught salmon vs. farm raised salmon. This is a brand changer for me. I was pleasantly surprised that Fromme chooses wild caught salmon. The cost to the maker is much higher, so if it is true, Fromme is a brand I would choose.

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