It’s important for all owners to find healthy dog food for their fur babies capable of providing the nutrition necessary to live a long, happy life.
But finding the healthiest dog food for your specific pet isn’t always easy.
Given the myriad options available, it’s very difficult for many owners to even know where to begin. And wading through the hype some manufacturers use complicates matters further.
But don’t worry — we’re here to help!
We’ll explain the things you’ll want to look for when picking the healthiest dog food for your pet and provide you with a few of the best options, so you can instantly narrow down your potential choices.
Let’s jump right in!
The 16 Healthiest Dog Foods: Nutritious Noms for Your Pet!
Now that you know some of the things you’ll want to look for when picking some meals for your mutt, we’ll share some of the healthiest dog foods on the market today. We’ll detail the main features of each, provide you with a sample ingredient list, and lay out the pros and cons of each choice.
Just remember: The healthiest dog food choice will vary from one dog to the next.
There is no single “healthiest” dog food brand that works well in all cases, as each individual dog has unique needs, which will be best met by different dog foods.
About: If you’re seeking a high-quality dog food that is as good for your dog’s health as it is for his taste buds, you’ll definitely have to consider Ollie.
Ollie’s vet-formulated, human-grade dog foods are well-loved by most dogs and serve as an excellent way to nourish your four-footer. Custom-crafted for your canine and available in several flavors, Ollie’s recipes are exactly what many pooches and pet parents want in dog food.
- Minimally processed, human-grade, fresh dog food
- Great source of whole protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Includes fiber-rich vegetables like spinach and carrots
- Comes with a leftover container and portion scoop for easy serving
- Ollie gives 1% of all revenue to rescues and shelters
- Ollie has a special deal for our readers — get 50% off your first order when you use code K9OFMINE at checkout!
Ingredients (Chicken Recipe):
Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver...,
potatoes, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, whole dried eggs, fish oil, blueberries, chia seeds, calcium carbonate, iodized salt, cod liver oil, zinc gluconate, rosemary, copper gluconate, choline bitartrate, vitamin E supplement, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- These meals are customized for your specific pet
- They feature high-quality, human-grade ingredients
- Even picky eaters go crazy for the taste of this dog food
- These recipes are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- These recipes are pretty pricey
- You’ll have to sign up for a subscription to order this dog food
Think Ollie may be the best pick for your pet? Check out our hands-on review to learn more about these recipes!
2. Nom Nom
About: Whether you have a picky pooch or simply want to give your dog one of the most nutritious dog foods around, Nom Nom recipes are definitely worthy of consideration.
Like many other fresh dog foods, these recipes are made in the USA, but unlike many other pet food brands, Nom Nom uses only US-sourced ingredients in their recipes. This allows many dog moms and dads to rest easy, knowing their pet’s food is one of the safest around.
- This premium dog food is made in the USA with only US-sourced ingredients
- Nom Nom prepares their dog food in small batches for maximum quality
- No subscription required to order
- These dog foods are prepped in zero-waste facilities
- These recipes are formulated for your specific dog and shipped to your front door
Ingredients (Turkey Recipe):
Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach...,
dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, citric acid, potassium chloride, salt, water sufficient for processing, fish oil, choline bitartrate, natural flavor, vinegar, iron amino acid chelate, taurine, zinc gluconate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, niacin (vitamin B3), manganese gluconate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement.
- These dog foods are made exclusively with US-sourced ingredients
- Most dogs go crazy for the taste of these recipes
- These recipes are customized for your specific pet
- No subscription is required for ordering
- Dog food is relatively expensive
- A few Nom Nom recipes are grain-free (may work for dogs with a grain sensitivity, but not every pooch)
3. A Pup Above
About: Picking a dog food made with US-sourced ingredients is always a good step for ensuring that your dog gets the safest, most nutritious dog food. But what if you want to take things even further? What if you want to know exactly where the ingredients in your dog’s food came from?
Well, A Pup Above has you covered! Each of their dog foods comes with a lot-tracing number, so you can Sherlock Holmes your way to worry-free pet feeding.
- These dog food recipes are minimally processed to preserve their nutritional value
- Contains bone broth for flavor and possible bones and GI benefits
- Feature human-grade ingredients, such as USDA meat
- All dog food recipes were designed by veterinarians
- No subscription required
Ingredients (Beef Recipe):
Beef, beef liver, russet potatoes, tomatoes, beef bone broth,...,
carrots, green peas, safflower oil, turmeric, thyme, parsley, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium oxide, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, potassium iodide,sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement.
- Each bag comes with a tracking system for the ingredients included
- No subscription is required
- Tasty, nutritious organ meats are included
- The packaging can make serving slightly tricky
- We’d prefer if more omega-3-rich ingredients were included for skin health
4. The Farmer’s Dog
About: The Farmer’s Dog is a fresh dog food company that delivers high-quality, custom-made dog food for your floof. These recipes are is customized based on your dog’s activity level, age, and a variety of other data points, which are collected via an in-depth online survey when you sign up.
Best of all, this manufacturer employs a number of eco-friendly practices for environmentally conscious owners.
- These foods are prepared in US-based, USDA kitchens
- Each food is fortified with the manufacturer’s proprietary nutrient blend
- These super-fresh meals are delivered within a few days of being cooked
- Foods are packed in biodegradable insulation materials
- The individual meals are pre-portioned for convenience
- Exclusive deal: get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog!
Beef, beef liver, tomatoes, greenpeas, carrots...,
russet potatoes, safflower oil, turmeric, thyme, parsley, minerals [dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium oxide, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, potassium iodide,sodium selenite], vitamins [vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement].
- These foods are crafted in conjunction with a very detailed questionnaire
- The eco-friendly dog food packaging used is biodegradable
- You can compost the insulation materials used or dissolve them in water
- A subscription is required to order these foods
- These meals are some of the most expensive ones around
5. Raised Right Original Turkey
About: Raised Right Original Turkey is a fresh dog food option made using human-grade ingredients free of synthetic vitamins, instead relying on natural sources of wellness like protein, organ meat, and produce. Gently cooked to preserve flavor, nutrients, and texture, this food’s a solid choice that tastes as great as it looks.
- Real meat is always the first ingredient
- Omega-3s support skin and coat health
- Limited-ingredient nature easy to skim for potential triggers for your pup’s sensitivities
- Made in the USA
Options: Available in 11 recipes, including Original Turkey, Original Pork, and Beef & Pumpkin.
Turkey Thigh, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Carrots, Blueberries,...,
Organic Spearmint, Cod Liver Oil, Egg Shell Powder, Flaxseed Oil, Organic Dried Kelp
- Free of synthetic vitamins and other questionable ingredients that give some owners pause
- Dogs go gaga for the flavor and texture
- Company has several eco-friendly practices to reduce plastic waste around the world
- Definitely on the pricier side
- Requires refrigeration, which isn’t everyone’s favorite
6. Open Farm
About: Are you the kind of pet parent who wants to know EVERYTHING that goes into your dog’s food? Do you also want a food made with non-GMO produce and Humane Certified proteins? Well, Open Farm has you covered.
In addition to simply being delicious, nutritious dog foods, Open Farm’s Fresh Food lineup (as well as all of their other foods) provides owners with a way to see where each and every ingredient originates. This kind of sourcing and ingredient tracing allows you to rest easy knowing that your dog is only getting the healthiest food possible.
- Packed with omega-3s and antioxidants for coat and immune health
- Made with only Certified Humane proteins and non-GMO produce
- Eco-friendly packaging can be recycled
- Available in 4 different recipes and a puppy formula
- Manufactured in the USA
Ingredients (Harvest Turkey Recipe):
Humanely Raised Turkey, Kale, Carrots, Apples, Butternut Squash,...,
Pumpkin, Water, Flaxseed, Coconut Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salmon Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Chia Seeds, Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Kelp, Turmeric, Cinnamon.
- We love that Open Farm only uses Certified Humane meats
- The produce included is non-GMO
- Eco-friendly packaging can be recycled
- Full of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies
- Like all fresh foods, these are a bit pricey
- We’d prefer if the recipe were grain-inclusive
7. Pet Plate
About: Look, we get it — it can sometimes be a bit of a chore to prepare fresh dog food for your four-footer’s dinner. But fortunately, there’s a super-convenient option available for busy pet parents.
Pet Plate offers premium, human-grade dog foods that are shipped in pre-portioned, microwavable containers so that you can serve your canine companion with ease.
- These vet-designed dog food recipes are made in USDA kitchens
- The meals come in pre-portioned containers you can simply heat and serve
- Dog food recipes are made with human-grade ingredients in the US-based kitchens
- Omega 3-rich recipes help support coat health
- Recipes include canine “superfoods,” such as sweet potatoes
Ingredients (Chicken Recipe):
Chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken liver, apples...,
butternut squash, dicalcium phosphate, salmon oil, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, parsley, proprietary supplement blend (vitamin E, zinc oxide, ferrous fumarate, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, vitamin D3)
- The pre-portioned, microwavable containers are incredibly convenient
- You can choose between a topper or full meal plan
- Most dogs go nuts for Pet Plate’s recipes
- Disposable containers aren’t exactly environmentally friendly
- You can’t order samples or one-off meals (a subscription is required)
8. Spot & Tango UnKibble
About: Looking for a happy medium between a premium (read: expensive) fresh dog food and more affordable mutt meal options? “UnKibble” from Spot & Tango is an innovative product that may be the perfect choice.
Custom-crafted for your pooch and made with the same kind of premium, whole ingredients fresh brands use, this veterinarian-developed kibble-like dog food is raising eyebrows and getting tails wagging. It’s technically a dry dog food, but offers many of the same benefits that a fresh food would.
- Made in the USA with human-grade ingredients
- Veterinarian-developed recipes
- Choose from 3 protein options (chicken, beef, & cod)
- Shipped directly to you from the manufacturer
- Gently dried and processed to maximize nutritional value
- Get 50% off your first Spot & Tango order when you use code K9OFMINE50
Ingredients (Beef Recipe):
Beef, Barley, Flax, Carrots, Green beans...,
Beef liver, Beef heart, Beets, Cranberries, Rosemary, Kelp, Salt, Mixed tocopherols, Cellulose powder, Fish oil, L-tryptophan, Choline chloride, Organic zinc proteinate, Potassium chloride, Rosemary extract, Iron amino acid chelate, Vitamin E supplement, Organic selenium yeast, Calcium carbonate, Beet, Tomato, Broccoli, Carrot, Spinach, Orange, Cherry, Cranberry, Strawberry, Apple, Blueberry, Pumpkin, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Folic acid
- These meals are more affordable than most fresh frozen dog food options
- We love the inclusion of salmon oil and organ meats
- You’ll receive a customized scoop for your pooch
- UnKibble can only be purchased through a subscription model
- The inconsistent shape of this kibble won’t work well in puzzle feeders
9. Blue Buffalo
About: While some owners need a super-premium food to suit their pet’s unique needs, many dogs will do just fine on a nutritious mainstream option. Blue Buffalo is an excellent example of this type of dog food, as it strikes an excellent balance between affordability and quality.
Made with premium proteins, omega-3-rich ingredients, nutritious produce, and fortified with joint supplements and probiotics for digestive health, this dry dog food checks off almost all the boxes owners want without costing a fortune.
- Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients
- “LifeSource Bits” are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins
- Great source of omega 3s, probiotics and joint-supportive supplements
- Available in a wide array of flavor choices and size-specific offerings
- A whole, lean protein is paired with healthy whole grains
Ingredients (Fish & Brown Rice Recipe):
Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal (Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal...,
Pea Starch, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Chicken Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Pea Protein, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Garlic, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Carnitine, 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.
- Blue Buffalo offers a wide range of kibble types to accommodate just about every dog
- For such an impressive ingredient list, these dry dog foods are very affordable
- This dog food seems to regularly improve coat condition
- Picky pups may pick around the LifeSource Bits
- These dry dog foods are very popular, which occasionally causes inventory issues
10. Merrick Grain-Free Food
About: While most doggos digest cooked grains without issue, a handful of four-footers need a grain-free dog food option. In these cases, you’ll want to consider this grain-free kibble from Merrick.
One of the premier grain-free dog food options on the market, this US-made dog food is packed with protein, fortified with probiotics, and made with natural antioxidant sources to support your canine companion.
- This dry dog food is packed with protein, boasting at more than 60% meat composition
- These dry dog foods are formulated with several antioxidant-rich “superfoods”
- Made without grains, soy, or gluten
- These recipes are made in US-based, company owned facilities
- Probiotics are included to help support gut health and proper digestion
Ingredients (Beef and Lamb Recipe):
Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes...,
Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Salmon Oil, Deboned Salmon, Blueberries, Organic Alfalfa, 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, Rosemary Extract.
- This is one of the most protein-packed dry dog food options on the market
- This dog food features tons of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
- Includes probiotics and fiber-rich foods to promote problem-free digestion
- Grain-free dog foods are only appropriate for dogs with grain intolerances
- Multi-protein dog foods are not ideal for pups with food allergies
11. Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast
About: Looking for something a little different for your doggo? This dry kibble from Nature’s Logic has a unique recipe that helps distinguish it from many of the other options on the market.
Featuring omega-3-rich sardines as the primary protein and a litany of “superfoods” to provide vitamins and antioxidants, this dry dog food even contains rarely used wholesome ingredients, such as almonds, apricots, and artichokes. And for extra pet-parent appeal, this dog food is fortified with eight different probiotic strains to support gut health.
- Sardine meal serves as a unique, nutritious, and eco-friendly protein
- The dry dog food recipe is fortified with probiotics for digestive support
- Includes fiber-rich vegetables like spinach, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli
- Contains no chicken protein
- Provides a unique taste for tempting picky palates
Ingredients (Sardine Recipe):
Sardine Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture,...,
Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Spray Dried Porcine Plasma, Dried Tomato, Almonds, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Carrot, Dried Apple, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Apricot, Dried Blueberry, Dried Spinach, Dried Broccoli, Dried Cranberry, Parsley, Dried Artichoke, Rosemary, Dried Mushroom, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Bifidium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Pineapple Extract, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract.
- Sardine meal is a great protein for dogs with food allergies
- This dry dog food is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids
- Sardines are an eco-friendly protein
- This food is notably more expensive than most dry dog foods
- No whole protein appears on the ingredient list
12. Taste of the Wild High Prairie
About: Chicken, beef, and pork are certainly popular proteins for pooches, but some pets and their parents demand something a little more exotic. If this sounds like you or your doggo, you may want to consider Taste of the Wild.
Made with water buffalo, lamb, roasted bison, and venison, this tasty dry dog food is a great option for picky puppers, as well as those who simply need a protein-packed diet to fuel their four-footed adventures.
- Made with several novel and tasty protein sources
- Contains canine “superfoods,” such as blueberries and raspberries
- Fortified with probiotics to support digestion
- This recipe is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes (including large breeds)
- Ocean fish meal included to provide omega-3 fatty acids
Ingredients (High Prairie Recipe):
Water 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, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
- This kibble features unusual protein sources like water buffalo, bison, and venison
- This dry dog food recipe is full of antioxidant-rich produce
- This recipe is suitable for all life stages and breed sizes
- Multiple protein sources can cause problems for dogs with allergies
- This dog food appears to cause excessive gas in some cases
13. CANIDAE All Life Stages
About: Picking the healthiest dog food for a single four-footer is tricky enough; selecting one that’ll keep an entire pack of pooches happy is even more challenging.
But fortunately, there are solutions — like this all-life-stages kibble from CANIDAE. A multi-protein dry dog food designed to nourish small, large, young, and old dogs alike, this is a tasty and nutritious option that’ll work well for most multi-pet families.
- Made with poultry-based proteins to please your dog’s palate
- This kibble features tons of omega 3s to combat inflammation and support joint health
- Includes probiotics to promote problem-free digestion
- Suitable for all ages and breeds
- This dry dog food recipe contains no corn, wheat, or soy
Ingredients (Multi-protein Recipe):
Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Oatmeal...,
Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Lentils, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, White Rice, Lamb Meal, Salmon Oil, Natural Flavor, Salt, Threonine, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Tryptophan, Zinc Sulfate, Dl-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product.
- This flexible dog food is perfect for multi pet households
- Despite being affordable, most dogs loved the taste of this food
- The included probiotics help promote proper digestion
- The multiple protein sources can be problematic for dogs with allergies
- We’d prefer if this dry dog food included whole proteins
14. Diamond Naturals
About: Many owners have budgetary limitations that prevent them from selecting some of the most expensive dog food options on the market. But just because you aren’t rolling in dough doesn’t mean you have to settle for substandard dog food — there are super-healthy options available at budget-friendly prices.
This dry food from Diamond Naturals is an excellent example. Made with premium, whole proteins, nutritious carbs and produce, and fortified with joint supplements, this dry dog food is almost as awesome as some other options that cost twice as much.
- Features whole chicken and chicken meal to provide suitable protein content
- Packed with omega-3s and antioxidants for coat and immune health
- Made in the USA by a family-owned company
- This dry dog food recipe incorporates plenty of omega-3s to support healthy skin and coat
- No corn, wheat, or artificial flavors
- Recipe is packed with probiotics to support digestion
Ingredients (Beef Recipe):
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, White Rice...,
Dried Yeast, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Grain Sorghum, Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil (Source Of DHA), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms. The Facility In Which This Food Is Made Also Makes Food That May Contain Other Ingredients.
- This is nutritious dog food that won’t break the bank
- This dog food includes joint supporting supplements
- Probiotics and fiber-rich ingredients are included to promote problem-free digestion
- This dog food is frequently out of stock (likely due to its popularity)
- This dry dog food seems slightly less appealing to four-footers than some more expensive recipes
Check out our review of the most affordable dog foods for more budget-friendly options!
15. CANIDAE Wet Food
About: While fresh dog foods tend to appeal to owners who don’t mind spending quite a bit on healthy dog foods and kibbles are often the top choice for those on tighter budgets, canned and wet dog foods provide a nice middle ground.
There aren’t as many super-healthy wet food options on the market, but there’s one — Canidae’s All Life Stages Canned Food — we think stands head-and-shoulders above the crowd. Like many other wet dog foods, this one features nutritious chicken and a taste dogs love, but the thing that makes this wet food really stick out is the inclusion of grains — a rarity among canned dog foods.
- Includes 3 tasty chicken-based ingredients: chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver
- It’s suitable for all life stages and all breed sizes
- It’s made in the USA
- Contains salmon oil to supply omega-3 fatty acids
- Includes antioxidant-rich cranberries to boost immune function
Ingredients (Chicken & Rice):
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Brown Rice...,
Pearled Barley, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Agar-agar, Choline Chloride, Canola Oil, Dried Kelp, Dried Cranberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Iron Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.
- Most pups love the taste of this dog food
- This is one of the few grain-inclusive wet foods on the market
- The wet dog food is suitable for all life stages
- Canned dog food leftovers can be challenging to store
- This recipe lacks probiotics and joint supplements
16. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
About: Dog food allergies may not be as common as many pet parents think, but they are a real obstacle for many four-footed families. But just because your dog has an allergy to one or more proteins doesn’t mean you need to skimp on the nutritional content of your pet’s food.
In fact, there’s a supremely healthy dog food option for just these kinds of pups: Natural Balance LID (Limited Ingredient Diet). Made with a relatively short list of ingredients and a novel protein, this dry dog food will keep your allergic floof healthy and itch-free.
- A whole protein and meat meal derived from the same protein top the ingredient list
- Features healthy grains, which may reduce the risk of DCM
- This LID dry kibble recipe skips any ingredients that may trigger your pet’s allergies
- Available with your choice of several proteins (including novel options)
- Formulated with added taurine to promote heart health
Duck, Duck Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran...,
Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Dl-methionine, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Citric Acid (Used As A Preservative), Lactic Acid, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
- Dogs seem to love the taste of this LID formula
- Unlike many other LID recipes, this dog food is grain-inclusive
- Natural Balance employs eco-friendly packaging processes
- This dry food doesn’t include joint supplements or probiotics
- No produce appears in the ingredient list (but that’s by design)
Key Features of Healthy Dog Foods: Ingredients & Other Considerations
While each owner may have his or her own preferences when it comes to choosing a dog food, there are several important factors to take into consideration to ensure that your canine companion is getting the nutrients he needs.
When it comes to dog food, there are three absolute essentials you should always look for when making a choice:
1. The dog food is formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage. In other words, you should generally avoid feeding adult dogs puppy foods and vice versa. These guidelines are designed to ensure your furry friend gets the nutrition he needs.
2. Your dog food of choice addresses any of your dog’s unique health conditions. Whether your dog has a specific food sensitivity or needs a weight loss dog food to shed a couple of pounds, your dog food of choice should address any of your dog’s specific health ailments.
3. You select a dog food in collaboration with your veterinarian. No one understands the needs of your furry friend better than you and your veterinarian. Your veterinarian should approve of your choice and provide you with specific serving recommendations based on your dog’s needs.
Once these criteria are met, you can look for other key indicators of healthy dog food, such as:
- The brand has a canine nutritionist on staff. Brands that have a credentialed veterinary nutritionist on staff are generally more reliable than those that don’t.
- The dog food manufacturer performs regular safety checks. The most reliable companies perform regular safety inspections to ensure that dog food isn’t contaminated by bacteria, fungi, or other hazardous substances. In-house testing is great, but the best brands obtain third-party certifications for their testing.
- The dog food is cooked to eliminate pathogens. Raw protein can contain bacteria or other microorganisms that are harmful to dogs and pet parents. Foods that are cooked help eliminate this risk for furry friends.
- The dog food is made in a western country with ingredients sourced from a western country. Western countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia tend to have more stringent safety and quality-control standards than others, making these locations better sources of dog foods and their ingredients.
- The dog food brand owns its kitchens. Companies that own their kitchens have much greater control over the quality of their dog food.
- A whole, nutritious protein is near the top of the ingredients list. While there’s nothing wrong with properly labeled meat meals (such as salmon meal or beef meal), the presence of a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list is generally a good overall indicator of the dog food’s quality.
- The dog food includes helpful supplements. Probiotics, antioxidants, omega-3s, and joint-supporting supplements are all helpful additions (depending on your dog’s needs), and they can help you save money by avoiding the need to buy standalone supplements.
- The dog food utilizes minimally processed whole grains. Unless your dog has a grain sensitivity, whole grains can provide a vital source of calories, vitamins, and minerals for most dogs. The best whole grains for dogs are more nutritious than processed grains with more fiber and nutrients for Fido.
Should I Worry About Grains, DCM, and Taurine Deficiency?
New research has recently come out alerting owners to the startling increase in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around this increase in DCM. Some veterinarians believe that BEG diets (which stands for boutique, exotic, and grain-free recipes) are causing the issue. Some suspect that the ingredients being used to replace grains in grain-free diets (such as lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes) are problematic.
The truth is that no one knows for sure what is causing the increase in DCM cases.
Researchers have yet to discover what is at the root cause, and while different people have various theories, there is no definitive answer.
Rather than any specific ingredients being at fault, it could be the interactions of the ingredients, the heat treatment, or the food processing.
Generally, as has always been true, you’ll want to aim to feed your dog high-quality, animal-based proteins, and avoid dog foods which rely on plant-source proteins as their primary protein sources.
Many dogs eat BEG diets and are fine. But not all.
Ultimately, you’ll want to speak to your vet about any concerns, as they’ll be up to date on any new research breakthroughs. Talking to your vet about your dog’s diet is doubly important for breeds known to be at higher risk for DCM (including Doberman pinschers, boxers, Irish wolfhounds, Great Danes, and others).
It’s also worth noting that most dogs currently being diagnosed with DCM do not exhibit low taurine levels. Many owners have advocated for adding taurine supplements to their dogs’ diet, but in many cases taurine levels are irrelevant.
FAQ: What Is the Healthiest Dog Food?
What is the healthiest dog food?
There are many varieties of healthy dog food on the market, but we’d choose Ollie as our top pick for the healthiest dog food. They offer fresh, human-grade, vet-engineered dog food that’s minimally processed, made with high-quality ingredients, and super easy to digest. They have several great meat-based recipes featuring whole proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber-packed vegetables.
What is the healthiest dog food brand?
Ollie, The Farmer’s Dog, Merrick, Nature’s Logic, and Canidae are some of the healthiest and most reputable dog food brands.
What is the healthiest wet dog food?
We consider CANIDAE All Life Stages Canned Food one of the healthiest canned dog food options, as it contains hearty grains, unlike many other canned foods.
What is the healthiest dry dog food?
Spot and Tango’s UnKibble is arguably the healthiest dry food, as it’s actually fresh food with real fresh meat that’s been gently dried at super low temperatures to lock in as much nutrition and vitamins as possible.
What is the healthiest food for dogs with sensitive stomachs?
It depends on your dog’s system — all dogs are individuals with varying tolerances for different ingredients. That said, limited-ingredient diets (such as the Natural Balance Recipe discussed above) are often a great starting point for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Those are our top picks for the healthiest dog food. Do you have any favorites from this list? What is the healthiest dog food in your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments!