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
- Nutro Limited Ingredient Salmon [Best Limited-Ingredient Recipe]! An impressive limited-ingredient food with salmon and salmon meal as first two ingredients, with these as the exclusive animal proteins. Contains no grains, wheat, soy, or dairy.
- Merrick Grain-Free With Salmon Dog Food [Best High-Protein Salmon Recipe]. A high-quality, grain-free kibble with salmon and salmon meal as first two ingredients. Also includes whitefish and whitefish meal, but no other surprise animal protein sources.
- Instinct Original Salmon Dog Food[Best for Picky Eaters]. Premium USA-made kibble with salmon and whitefish as first ingredients. Very high protein composition with 72% animal ingredients and made with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Plus, kibble is coated with freeze-dried raw ingredients for extra flavor!
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:
- Healthy 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.
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 dog food 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
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. Nutro Limited Ingredient Salmon
Grain-free, limited-ingredient diet
Features salmon and salmon meal as the first two ingredients, and the limited ingredient list makes this great for dogs with allergies.
About: Nutro Limited Ingredient Salmon is a limited-ingredient formula relying on salmon and salmon meal as the first two ingredients, for a salmon protein punch.
This formula has salmon as the exclusive animal protein, which means you don’t need to worry about any chicken, turkey, or even other fish proteins – a huge bonus if your dog is extra sensitive to different animal proteins.
- Includes salmon + salmon meal as first two ingredients
- Salmon is the exclusive animal protein
- Legumes and pumpkins as a healthy alternative to grains
- No corn, wheat, soy, or dairy protein
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Nutro Max is one of the few foods on this list that relies on salmon as the only animal protein, which is preferable for dogs with allergies, as other foods tend to slip in other animal proteins as well like chicken, turkey, or beef.
Nutro is fairly pricey, so it may not be ideal for all budgets.
Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Potatoes, Lentils, Chickpeas...,
Dried Sweet Potato, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potato Protein, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
2. Merrick Grain Free With Salmon Dog Food
Delicious fish-based recipe
Packed with authentic meat proteins, this kibble features real salmon as the #1 ingredient and easy-to-digest grain-free carbohydrates.
About: 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.
- 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
Dogs love the taste, and owners report seeing an improvement in their dogs’ coats and skin!
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.
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.
3. Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini
Authentic choice for salmon-packed protein
A grain-free recipe made with fresh wild salmon and blended with yucca extract which may reduce the smell of your dog’s stool.
About: Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini seeks 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.
- 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
Owners report that dogs wolf it down immediately – it’s a doggie favorite!
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.
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.
4. Instinct Original Grain-Free With Salmon
High-quality salmon recipe with freeze-dried raw coated kibble
Features salmon and whitefish as first two ingredients and boasts a composition of 72% real animal ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about fillers.
About: In Instinct Original 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!
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 starch, which helps limit any allergy issues.
Instinct also features a fairly small kibble size, so it should be quite easy for smaller dogs to eat.
- 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
Owners are very impressed with the quality of Instinct. 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.
Not a cheap dog food – while great quality, it may be too pricey for some owners.
Salmon, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal...,
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid), Herring Meal, Chickpeas, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Tapioca, Dried Tomato Pomace, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Cod, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free with Salmon
Protein-rich, grain-free formula for large dogs
This formula features real salmon as #1 ingredient as well as glucosamine for improved joint health.
About: Blue 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.
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.
- 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
Dogs really seem to enjoy the taste of this dog food! It earns impressive attention even from picky canines.
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.
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.
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!