A dog food manufacturer isn’t always a make-or-break issue for pet parents. Still, some owners like purchasing foods made by tiny boutique manufacturers, while others prefer buying from the biggest companies in the pet-food business.
Each approach has pros and cons, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
But for those who’d prefer buying from bigger companies, we’ll share some of the largest pet food manufacturers in the U.S. below.
The 21 Largest Pet Food Manufacturers in the U.S.
We’ve rounded up the top pet food manufacturers in the U.S. from market information collected by Petfoodindustry.com. This includes worldwide figures for each manufacturer’s entire portfolio of pet food brands, not just dog-focused products.
1) Mars Petcare Inc: $19,000,000,000 in Annual Sales
Falling under the Mars, Incorporated umbrella, Mars Petcare Inc is behind over 50 pet brands like the popular dog food picks Pedigree®, Iams™, Eukanuba™, Nom Nom, and Nutro. Cat-focused brands include Crave™, Whiskas®, Sheba®, and Temptations™.
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars Petcare Inc was founded way back in 1883, but today, it is the current king of the pet food business with a staggering $19 billion in annual revenue worldwide.
2) Nestle Purina PetCare: $16,500,000,000 in Annual Sales
Coming in second is Purina, an American-based pet food branch of the Swiss Nestlé corporation that was founded in 1894. Purina has several common canine-focused brands, including the budget-friendly dog foods Alpo®, Bakers®, and Beneful®, as well as those that cost a little more, like Merrick®, Purina ONE®, Beyond®, and Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets. Feline-centered brands under Purina include Friskies® and Fancy Feast®.
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Nestle Purina PetCare takes in over $16.5 billion worldwide annually.
3) Hill’s Pet Nutrition: $3,311,000,000 in Annual Sales
Hill’s Pet Nutrition brings in more than $3 billion annually worldwide. A subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive, this 1907-founded company is based in Topeka, Kansas and manufactures mutt products under the Science Diet™, Healthy Advantage®, and Bioactive Recipe labels.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition is best-known for specialty diets geared toward specific health needs, such as low-glycemic food for diabetic dogs, limited-ingredient recipes for sensitive systems, and food for dogs with kidney issues.
4) J.M. Smucker: $2,694,000,000 in Annual Sales
With a solid $2.6 billion in annual sales worldwide, J.M Smucker might be a surprising face on this list, as they’re most often associated with peanut butter, jellies, and jams. Believe it or not, this food juggernaut headquartered in Orrville, Ohio, makes countless canine products under brands like Milk-Bone®, Pup-Peroni®, Nature’s Recipe®, and Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®.
Founded in 1897, J.M. Snucker also makes cat-tastic items through the Meow Mix® and 9Lives® labels.
5) General Mills: $1,732,000,000 in Annual Sales
General Mills makes more than your favorite breakfast cereal, as this Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company founded in 1928 takes in over $1.7 billion a year in revenue from its BLUE™ Buffalo label.
This includes a wide range of products sold under many sub-brands for dogs and cats, including the single-protein, limited-ingredient line Basics™, Wilderness™, Life Protection Formula®, and more.
6) Diamond Pet Foods $1,500,000,000 in Annual Sales
Known for its affordable options, Diamond Pet Foods brings in $1.5 billion in revenue from its many brands, including Diamond®, Diamond Naturals®, and Diamond CARE®. Diamond Pet Foods is owned by Schell & Kampeter Inc, a private company that also owns Taste of the Wild®.
Diamond Pet Foods headquarters is located in Meta, Missouri, and was founded in 1970.
7) Simmons Pet Food: $1,000,000,000 in Annual Sales
With a whopping $1 billion in annual revenue, Simmons Pet Food is a big-time manufacturer of wet pet food in the United States. It produces private label brands like Twin Pet® and works on a contract basis to make wet food for other brands.
Based in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, it started in 1949 and specializes in manufacturing poultry-based products.
8) Alphia, Inc: $875,000,000 in Annual Sales
Alphia, Inc is a pet food producer with a headquarters in Ogden, Utah, which has an impressive annual revenue of $875 million. Like Simmons, this company, founded in 2020, works with pet food companies on a contract basis to make their products at their facilities, including kibbles, jerky, and treats.
Alphia, Inc also offers research and development capabilities for companies looking to create new pet nutrition supplies.
9) Wellness Pet Company: $700,000,000 in Annual Sales
Wellness Pet Company calls Tewksbury, Massachusetts home and rakes in a cool $700 million of revenue with their lines of pet food, including Wellness®, WHIMZEES®, Old Mother Hubbard®, Good Dog®, Holistic Select®, Sojos®, and Eagle Pack®.
The company, founded in 1926, has offerings that include some of the best dry dog food options containing belly-boosting probiotics and joint-supportive glucosamine.
10) Spectrum Brands: $664,190,000 in Annual Sales
The Middleton, Wisconsin-based Spectrum Brands brings in about $664 million with their pet-aligned brands behind bones and treats, like DreamBone®, SmartBones®, Dingo®, and Good’n Fun™.
The company that got its start in 1906 is also behind Nature’s Miracle®, Perfect Coat®, and the beloved maker of brushes and shampoos for heavy shedders, FURminator®.
11) Central Garden & Pet: $570,900,000 in Annual Sales
Central Garden & Pet isn’t a household name like a few on this list, but this bustling business has several well-known animal-focused brands in its portfolio that bring in more than $570 million annually. Since its beginning in 1980, Central Garden & Pet has marketed products for dogs, cats, horses, and more.
Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Central Garden & Pet brands include Nylabone®, Cadet®, and Four Paws®.
12) Freshpet®: $425,490,000 in Annual Sales
Freshpet® is a Secaucus, New Jersey-based manufacturer of fresh pet food founded in 2006 with an annual revenue of $425 million.
They offer many dietary options for cats and dogs, including foods under the Freshpet Select®, Vital®, Nature’s Fresh®, and Deli Fresh® labels, as well as Dog Nation® and Dog Joy® fresh dog treats.
13) ADM Animal Nutrition: $400,000,000 in Annual Sales
With $400 million in yearly revenue, ADM Animal Nutrition is a peak performer in pet and livestock feed with a history dating back to 1902. It’s a subsidiary of The Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
ADM Animal Nutrition’s dog- and cat-based brand is Proud Paws®, and it also offers a slew of horse and livestock labels, including Sweet Unique™, GROSTRONG®, and Pen Pals®.
14) Sunshine Mills, Inc: $350,000,000 in Annual Sales
Red Bay, Alabama is the headquarters of this company bringing in $350 million of annual revenue. Sunshine Mills, Inc was started in 1949 and produces several well-known pet brands, including Evolve®, Triumph®, Veterinary Select®, and Sportsman’s Pride®.
They also make treats like Pup Corn® Plus, Crunchin’ Bones®, and Meaty Treats®.
15) Tuffy’s Pet Foods: $308,500,000 in Annual Sales
Tuffy’s Pet Foods is a dog and cat product manufacturer founded in 1964 and based in Perham, Minnesota. The manufacturer is behind a variety of brands, including NutriSource®, NutriSource PureVita®, Natural Planet Organics™, and Come-pooch-a™. In total, they produce products ranging from dog food to cat food to meal toppers and more.
Their annual revenue tops more than $308 million annually after starting their line of dog and cat foods back in 1964.
16) Natural Balance Pet Foods: $264,000,000 in Annual Sales
Sunny Los Angeles, California, is home to Natural Balance Pet Foods, a pet food manufacturer bringing in $264 million annually.
Founded by actor Dick Van Patten in 1989, the company has a wide roster of brands, including Natural Balance®, Natural Balance® Limited Ingredient Diet, Fat Dogs®, Fat Cats®, and Ultra™.
17) Nature’s Variety: $200,000,000 in Annual Sales
Founded in 2005, Nature’s Variety is based in St Louis, Missouri and earns $200 million in annual revenue with their lines of dog and cat foods, which include frozen raw food, freeze-dried raw, wet food, and raw plus kibble combos.
Nature’s Variety produces Instinct brand foods, which include several product lines, including Instinct Raw®, Instinct Raw Boost®, Instinct Raw Longevity®, and more.
18) Whitebridge Pet Brands $150,000,000 in Annual Sales
Headquartered in St Louis, Missouri, Whitebridge Pet Foods makes $150 million in annual revenue and was founded in 1999.
The company was acquired by Belgian firm NXMH in 2021 but still performs business as usual with its stacked roster of pet brands, including Dogswell®, Happy Hips®, Tiki Pets®, Grizzly®, and Cloud Star®.
19) Mid America Pet Food: $115,070,000 in Annual Sales
Mid America Pet Food brings in $115 million yearly in revenue.
Founded in 2007, its headquarters sits in Mount Pleasant, Texas, and its collection of brands includes VICTOR® Super Premium Pet Food, Eagle Mountain Pet Food®, Wayne Feeds™, and Nature’s Logic®.
20) Nulo Pet Food: $108,000,000 in Annual Sales
Nulo Pet Food’s headquarters is in Austin, Texas, and they clear a cool $108 million in annual revenue with dog and cat products.
Product lines under Nulo’s umbrella include Freestyle™, FrontRunner, Challenger, and Hydrate™, with items ranging from dry food to water enhancers to bone broth.
21) Midwestern Pet Foods: $80,000,000 in Annual Sales
Rounding out the top 21 is Midwestern Pet Foods, a company that earns $80 million in yearly revenue with its portfolio of pet food products.
Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, its selection of brands includes Earthborn Holistic®, UNREFINED™, VENTURE™, Sportmix®, Ultimates, Wholesomes®, and Canine X™.
Should You Buy Your Dog’s Food from a Big or Small Company?
With so many brands, it can be overwhelming to search for new dog food.
Do you buy a big name with a long history in the business, or do you opt for a newcomer offering innovative foods? Is it wiser to trust a brand with known recalls, or do you purchase from a new company without a long production history?
As you can see, the answer isn’t always cut and dry, but there are ways to weed golden eggs from sour ones when you know how to choose the right dog food.
When searching the dog food aisle, ignore brands at first in favor of three core requirements in a food:
- Meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for your dog’s life stage
- Addresses any underlying conditions your dog has
- Aligns with nutrient decisions discussed with your vet
If a food checks all three boxes, you’re in good shape and likely have a solid, well-rounded food for your pup.
From here, you can narrow things down further by digging into each brand.
Secondary requirements to look for include:
- Did an animal nutritionist formulate the food? The best pet food manufacturers have accredited animal nutritionists on staff to create recipes that meet or exceed AAFCO standards and are biologically appropriate rather than trendy. Some brands use a “vet-approved” label here, but this isn’t the same as someone with a Ph. D. in animal nutrition.
- Does the company perform regular safety checks? Food contamination can make pups seriously sick, so regular checks for mold, bacteria, and other debris are essential for manufacturers, along with testing to ensure proper nutrient levels. Federal and local laws set minimum safety requirements for all manufacturers to follow, but the best brands perform frequent inspections in-house and through third-party facilities.
- Are ingredients properly cooked or treated to eliminate harmful pathogens? Improperly processed meats and other ingredients can sicken doggy diners, so stick to those who follow basic food safety by heating proteins to temperatures high enough to kill bacteria. Raw dog food is a trendy choice at the moment, but the list of pros and cons of feeding raw leans negative, and most vets agree the risks of your dog getting sick from eating raw meat outweigh any potential perks.
- Is the food made in the western world? Pet food manufacturing is strictly regulated in the United States, but this isn’t the case everywhere, allowing dangerous pathogens to slip into food that can make dogs sick. If a food isn’t made in the USA, England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or a nation in the European Union, it’s best to steer clear.
- Does the manufacturer source ingredients from the western world? Similar to the previous point, you want a company that buys the best ingredients from places that practice strict quality standards surrounding food. This ensures the food contains safe ingredients free of dangerous chemicals, spoilage, and bacteria.
- Does the brand own their kitchens? While many brands produce their food in-house, others contract manufacturing out to another party, giving them less control over safety. This isn’t to say that the practice is always harmful (many contract manufacturers are top-notch), but it’s important to note, as you may think your dog’s food is made by a U.S. brand, only to read the label and learn it’s made overseas.
Once these questions are answered, you usually have a short list of contenders remaining and can move on to ingredient concerns that can sort out which recipe works best for your pup.
Some ingredient-related concerns to explore are:
- Is a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list? High-quality meat as the first ingredient is a good sign of a food’s overall quality. A labeled meat meal such as “salmon meal” isn’t inherently bad, but the food needs additional scrutiny of other ingredients. Unlabeled meat meals or by-products aren’t ideal sources of protein.
- Are meat meals and by-products labeled? As mentioned above, all included meat meals and by-products should be identified with no mystery meat such as “animal meal” or “meat by-products” to be seen. An example would be “chicken meal” or “beef by-products.”
- Does the food include any questionable ingredients? While most modern dog food is made with ingredients deemed safe for canines, some items floating around in recipes have garnered deserved scrutiny, like garlic, carrageenan, artificial colors, BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin.
- Does the food feature helpful extras? Some dog foods include ingredients above and beyond everyday nutrition, such as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, probiotics for digestive support, and omega fatty acids for nourishing your dog’s skin and coat. These aren’t must-have ingredients, but they’re a nice perk that can be a deciding factor if your decision comes down to two foods.
- Is the food grain inclusive? Carbohydrates are an important source of nutrients and energy in dogs, and contrary to social media scientists, most dogs process grains fine. So, for most owners, grain-inclusive dog food just makes the most sense. Only those with a vet-diagnosed grain allergy should stick to grain-free dog food, as the FDA is investigating a link between grain-free offerings and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM.)
- Does the food include a range of nutrient-rich ingredients? Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of an omnivore’s diet, and yes, doggos fall into this category. Produce is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to snout-to-tail health, plus those like pumpkin are excellent sources of fiber to aid digestion. Healthy fats from flaxseed and salmon oil are also ideal for reducing inflammation, supporting brain and eye development in puppies, and keeping coats in tip-top shape.
With these questions asked and answered by each contender, you should have a solid choice in food for your dog, whether from a big-name brand or a boutique offering that prides itself in safety. What’s left to do is try it out with your pup.
Remember that every dog is unique, and what may be “best” on paper may not work out for your woof. Pickier pups may need extra enticing from wet food to mix-ins, while those with sensitive systems may require a limited-ingredient diet. The important thing is to end up with nourishing food that agrees with your dog’s tummy and taste buds.
FAQ: The Largest Pet Food Manufacturers in the U.S.
The pet food industry is booming with options, and you may still have lingering questions. Let’s jump into the most commonly asked questions surrounding the largest U.S. pet food manufacturers to set the record straight.
What is the largest pet food company in the U.S.?
The largest pet food company in the U.S. is Mars Petcare Inc. They produce a host of well-known dog food brands like Pedigree®, Iams™, Royal Canin®, and Nutro™ and cat-centric lines like Whiskas® and Crave™.
Is Purina owned by China?
No. Purina is part of the Swiss company, Nestlé. Purina is an American subsidiary headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Most Purina pet products are made in the United States, but a small portion is made internationally, including some treats in China, so always double-check the manufacturing country of origin of a product before purchase.
What dog food brands are not made in China?
Many dog food brands aren’t made in China, including fresh options like Ollie and Nom Nom and kibbles like Blue Buffalo, Purina Pro Plan, and Wellness. Always check an individual product’s packaging to be sure, as some brands produce some products in the U.S. and others overseas. See more on our list of the best made-in-the-USA dog foods.
How many pet food companies are in the U.S.?
According to the industry research company IBISWorld, 899 businesses are registered in the U.S. for pet food production in 2023. This number is forever changing, so it may fluctuate daily as new companies launch, mergers come to fruition, and others close.
How big is the pet food industry in the U.S.?
The pet food industry in the United States is massive, with annual revenue estimates starting at $37 billion a year stateside. This includes kibble, canned food, treats, tops, sauces, and more, and sales are expected to grow annually.
Does your dog dine on anything made by a manufacturer on our list? Do they eat something by a manufacturer not listed? Were you surprised at the pet food industry’s size? Share with us in the comments.