What Is The Healthiest Dog Food?

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Dog Food By Meg Marrs 19 min read May 5, 2020 124 Comments

healthiest-dog-food

What is the healthiest dog food for my canine? That is a question many dog owners find themselves asking. Numerous people struggle to find a healthy dog food for their pets, since many brands contain unnatural ingredients and meat that isn’t real.

It’s important for owners to find healthy food options for their dogs, providing them with the nutrition they need to lead a long, happy life.

Not only will a dog’s overall quality of life be improved with healthy dog food with high-quality ingredients, but their coats will be shinier, their teeth in better condition, and their weight will be kept in check.

Healthiest Dog Food: Quick Picks

  • PICK #1: The Farmer’s Dog [Fresh Dog Food]. Freshly cooked human-grade dog food customized uniquely for your pooch (+ get 50% for new owners).
  • PICK #2: Ollie [Another Fresh Food] Another fresh, custom-cooked dog food option that can be delivered to your door (new customers can get 50% off with code K9OFMINE)
  • PICK #3: Wellness Core Grain-Free [Best Kibble] A high-quality grain-free kibble with real meat as the first ingredients, plus plenty of probiotics and omega fatty acids. [Available from Chewy]
  • PICK #4: Blue Buffalo Life Protection [Best Budget Pick] A more affordable grain-inclusive kibble with meat as the first ingredient, leaving out soy, wheat, corn, and chicken by-products. [Available from Chewy]
  • PICK #5: Canidae Pure [Best Limited Ingredient] High-quality limited-ingredient diet featuring 10 ingredients or less (with meat as the 1st ingredient). Ideal for dogs with food allergies or stomach issues. [Available from Chewy]

Key Ingredients of Healthy Dog Foods

Each owner may have his or her own preference when it comes to important ingredients for their dog’s food. While some may agree that real meat is best, others will focus on finding food with no fillers.

Overall, there are some key ingredients to look for when choosing healthy dog foods for your pet.

  • Real Meat Options. Finding dog food with real meat is ideal. Canines are carnivores and require meat to satisfy not only their hunger, but also their natural instincts. The label should not simply state that it contains meat or poultry, and should instead verify what type of animal the meat is coming from, such as lamb, chicken, or beef.
  • No Fillers. Fillers include things like cereal by-products, corn bran, and peanut hulls, among others. These fillers may fill a dog up quickly, but they add very limited nutritional value.
  • No Artificial Preservatives. Artificial preservatives are chemicals put in dog food to make it last longer. It is unhealthy to consume, and plays a major role in many health problems for pets.
  • Vegetables. Dogs need vegetables just as humans do. It is best to look for a dog food that lists some type of vegetable within the first few ingredients. The only one that should be avoided is corn, as this is difficult for dogs to digest and typically used as a filler.

The best brands of dog food offer key ingredients, and do not possess the typical filler options that many popular brands on the market have.

Top Healthy Dog Food Picks

These brands are widely regarded as being some of the healthiest dog foods on the market today. We’ll detail the main features and highlights of each dog food brand, along with the pros and cons.

Remember, ultimately, the healthiest dog food will be the one that works best for your canine. There is no single “healthiest” dog food brand, as each individual dog reacts differently to different dog foods.

In researching these healthy dog foods, we found that even with dog food brands that had the best quality ingredients and highest endorsements, there were always some owners reporting that they dog’s stomach got upset or skin reacted strangely. Every dog is different, and finding the best food for your dog will likely be a process of trial and error. 

We suggest starting with this list of the healthiest dog foods available, and see which works best for your four-legged friend!

1. The Farmer’s Dog

The Farmer’s Dog is a fresh dog food company that delivers quality, custom-made dog food. Food is customized based on your dog’s activity level, age, and a variety of other data points that are collected with a quick online survey when you sign up.

Best Customized Fresh Dog Food
farmers-dog-sq

The Farmer’s Dog

Custom fresh food based on your dog’s needs

Tailored human-grade dog food designed for your dog’s activity level, breed, age, and more.

Note: We’ve done a full review of The Farmer’s Dog – check it out for the full in-depth scoop!

The Farmer’s Dog is one of the original fresh dog food companies, so they’ve been at this a while!

Each of their recipes (featuring beef, turkey, or pork) are formulated The Farmer’s Dog’s original nutrient blend to ensure your pooch is getting all the nutrients he needs. Food comes in pre-portioned baggies to make feeding time easy!

This is an especially good food to try if your dog is a picky eater!

farmers-dog-fresh

Features:

  • Food is prepared in USDA kitchens – the same ones used for your food!
  • Meal plans are customized and food is delivered with a few days of cooking.
  • Each delivery uses biodegradable insulation materials, which allow you to compost them or dissolve them in water.

Pros

High-quality, customized, freshly-cooked dog food your pooch will drool over.

Cons

As with all fresh dog foods, The Farmer’s Dog isn’t cheap. However, since trials are 50% off, it’s still worth trying even for more budget-focused owners.

2. Ollie’s Healthy Turkey Fare

Healthy Turkey Fare is high-quality dog food from Ollie, a manufacturer making fresh, human-grade dog food. It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Ollie dog food uses premium ingredients and leaves out the bad stuff – that means no fillers (aka no corn, soy, or wheat), no preservatives, and no artificial ingredients.

Each of Ollie’s dog food recipes (Healthy Turkey Feast, Hearty Beef Eats, Chicken Goodness, and Tasty Lamb Fare) are formulated by a professional veterinarian and source quality meats from US and Australian farms.

A fantastic fresh food
ollie-turkey

Ollie’s Healthy Turkey Fare

Premium fresh dog food with no fillers

Vet-formulated, minimally-processed fresh food with quality animal proteins and a mix of fruits and veggies.

While all of Ollie’s recipes are solid picks, we liked that the Healthy Turkey Fare has a variety of turkey ingredients, from ground turkey and turkey thigh to turkey liver!

Besides the main focused on animal protein, this recipe also include fresh fruits and veggies – namely, carrots, lentils, kale, blueberries, and coconut oil, as well as the addition of cod liver oil for boosting benefits.

The folks at Ollie also cook all their food in small batches at low temperatures for minimal processing, which allows ingredients to retain more of their nutritional value.

Owners create a profile for their dog when they sign up, offering info on your canine’s breed, age, activity level, and any potential allergies. Ollie then sends you the right meals for your pooch and provides a custom portioning scoop to prevent over-feeding and helping you to combat or avoid any obesity-related health issues!

As a bonus, Ollie gives 1% of all revenue to rescues and shelters, so even while your pup is indulged at dinner, less-fortunate canines are getting help and support!

Features:

  • Fresh, natural dog food with no filler, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
  • Sources quality meats from farms in the US and Australia
  • Portioning is easy with included custom scooper, preventing overfeeding and obesity
  • Ollie has a money-back guarantee – if your dog doesn’t like the food, you don’t pay!

Pros

Ollie is an extremely high-quality, ultra-healthy dog food with no fillers, additives, or anything else you’d never want to see in your dog’s bowl. We also love the emphasis on small-batch, minimally-processed cooking which helps retain nutrients for your fur baby.

Cons

Ollie is an extremely high-quality, human-grade dog food, and as a result, it’s very expensive!

Ingredients List

Ground turkey, pumpkin, turkey thigh, turkey liver, turkey heart...,

carrot, turkey gizzard, lentils, kale, blueberries, coconut oil, chia seeds, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, cod liver oil, salt, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, potassium iodate.

3. Pet Plate Chompin’ Chicken

Pet Plate’s Chompin’ Chicken is another human-grade dog food, this one from the folks at Pet Plate.

Pet Plate provides fresh, vet-designed, pre-cooked meals for your pooch. Featuring USDA meat, fresh produce, and a unique supplement blend, this stuff is definitely a big step up from kibble.

petplate-chicken

3. Pet Plate Chompin’ Chicken

Fresh pre-cooked food with USDA meat

Human-grade dog food made with fresh produce and no artificial ingredients that comes in pre-portioned containers.

Pet Plate’s food comes in pre-portioned containers, so you don’t need to stress about feeding Fido too much or too little. Plus, the containers are microwave safe, so you can heat them up in a minute and have your dog chow down instantly!

Features:

  • Vet-designed recipes featuring USDA meat, fresh produce, and a unique supplement blend
  • Pre-cooked, in pre-portioned containers
  • Human-grade quality, no artificial ingredients, made in the USA
  • Money back guarantee

Pros

Super high-quality ingredients with USDA meat. Plus, pre-portioned containers that can be tossed in the microwave makes feeding your pooch a healthy meal ridiculously easy and fool-proof.

Cons

High-quality means a high price tag, and this is true for Pet Plate as with other dog foods.

Ingredients List

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)

4. Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast

About: Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast is an extremely high-quality dog food kibble, with a variety of recipes ranging from duck & salmon to rabbit.

Best Quality Grains
natures-logic-sardine

Nature’s Logic Sardine Meal Feast

Protein-rich kibble with sardine meal + healthy grains

A high-end kibble with unique protein recipe options and millet as a healthy grain option.

All Nature’s Logic foods tend to be very good quality, so don’t be afraid to browse their full selection of kibbles.

  • Extremely High Quality. Nature’s Logic is one of the few dry dog foods with high-quality ingredients. In fact, the ingredient list starts with sardine meal (a fairly unique protein).
  • Grain-Inclusive. For those looking for grain-inclusive formulas, Nature’s Logic includes high-quality grain sources like millet.
  • No Artificial Additives. There are no chemically synthesized vitamins, minerals or amino acids added or any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives used in Nature’s Logic.

Pros

Nature’s Logic is an extremely protein-rich food, and with unique proteins like sardines and rabbit, plus healthy millet grains, it’s no wonder why this brand is so popular.

Cons

This ultra high-quality kibble comes with a high price tag, but this is common with higher-quality foods.

Ingredients List

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.

5. Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

About: Merrick Grain Free Dog Food sources high-quality proteins and comes in a variety of formulas.

Healthiest Grain-Free Kibble
merrick-grain-free

Merrick Grain Free

A meat-rich grain-free recipe

Protein-packed, boasting 70% meat composition with several animal protein recipes to choose from.

  • Quality Proteins. Merrick dog foods have a variety of great protein sources to choose from, including chicken, duck, buffalo, lamb, salmon, beef, turkey, and venison.
  • 70% Meat Source Ingredients. The Merrick dog food composition is 70% meat sources 30% fresh produce (with ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries) which also offer additional vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Good For Joint Relief. Merrick dog food is rich in Omega 6, Omega 3 Glucosamine and Chondroitin, elements used to reduce joint inflammation and improve mobility.
  • No Grains. Merrick’s grain free dog food uses sweet potatoes and potatoes as better, more easily-digestible carbohydrate sources, making it a great dog food for dogs with allergies or dogs that have stomach issues.

Pros

Owners find this dog food to be high quality and are comforted by the fact that it is made in the USA.

Cons

As with other dog foods, Merrick isn’t cheap. Merrick has also recently been bought out by Purina, and some owners are concerned that this may end up compromising Merrick’s quality in the future.

6. Taste of the Wild

About: Taste of the Wild features high-protein, grain-free dog food that also contains added benefits like probiotics, fruits and veggies, antioxidants, as well as a mix of various vitamins and minerals.

Best Bison-Based Food
taste-of-wild

Taste of the Wild

Grain-free kibble featuring biston

Bison and venison-based protein with fruits, veggies, and plenty of probiotics.

  • 30 Pound Bag. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food comes in a large, 30 pound bag. This will last your dog quite a while. You also get the option to purchase smaller bags if you wish, which are available for lower prices, although bigger bags offer the best value per pound of dog food.
  • Bison and Venison. One of the more popular ingredients in this dog food is the bison and venison (if your dog loves venison, you can even try dog foods that rely on venison as the single protein source). These meats are lean and provide the protein and nutrition a dog needs. You can also choose lamb, salmon, and wildfowl, all of which are also good meat options.
  • Supplemented With Fruits and Vegetables. Not only is there real meat in Taste of the Wild dog food, but there is also plenty of fruits and vegetables. The food is supplemented with these healthy ingredients, providing additional nutrients to any dog who consumes this food.

Pros

Taste of the Wild is a grain-free option, which is a major plus for many owners. This healthy holistic dog food contains good meat content and high protein, packed with antioxidants that support healthy immune systems.

Cons

Some dog owners found that this brand caused their dogs to have a bad skin reaction. Ultimately, all dogs react different to different types of dog foods. While the majority of owners praise Taste of the Wild, you’ll have to see how your dog reacts.

7. Blue Buffalo

About: Blue Buffalo Life Protection dog food promises a healthy diet for your dog, with formulas that focus on real meats (the first ingredients in this formula are deboned lamb and fish meal – always great to see two meat proteins at the top of the ingredient list).

The Life Protection formula – featured here – is designed for dogs of all different breeds and ages, but Blue Buffalo also offers custom age and breed-based formulas as well.

Best Grain-Inclusive Option
bluebuffalo

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

Budget-friendly grain-inclusive dog food

This formula features lamb as the #1 ingredient and includes healthy whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal while leaving out the corn, wheat, and soy.

  • LifeSource Bits. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection brand offers LifeSource bits. These are specially formulated bits of dog food that contain a blend of the healthiest ingredients, with whole grains, antioxidants, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals all blended precisely to create a healthy food option for dogs.
  • 30 Pound Bag. Blue Buffalo offers a 30 pound bag of food for owners who want their dog food to last. It also comes in smaller bag options if you don’t want to commit to the 30lb bag.
  • Breed and Size-Specific Offerings. One big thing that sets Blue Buffalo apart is their wide array of choices and customization for different dog breeds and sizes, from the best food composition for senior dogs, to the best chow for puppies. You have many options to choose from with Blue Buffalo, and you’ll probably be able to find the perfect blend of dog food for your individual dog’s needs.
  • Lamb and Brown Rice. One of the best options for ingredients is the lamb and brown rice. It pairs a lean meat choice with a whole grain option. There is also a healthy weight chicken and brown rice option, as well as other lean meat choices.

Pros

Many buyers agree that Blue Buffalo helps their dogs lose weight and keeps their coats shiny. Blue Buffalo is a big favorite amongst owners who are dedicated to feeding their dog natural, healthy foods. Blue Buffalo has a very appropriate slogan – “love them like family, feed them like family.”

Cons

Some buyers state that this dog food brand caused their dogs to develop stomach issues, as some dogs are sensitive to the ingredients. Again, as with all dog foods, while in rare instances a dog with a unique condition might not do well with Blue Buffalo, the vast majority of dogs will devour this dog food and thrive off of it.

Since this food is often used to help dogs maintain a healthy weight, it may not be ideal if you’re trying to fatten up a dog who is too skinny. In that case, you’ll want to look at dog food designed to help dogs gain weight!

8. Canidae All Life Stages

About: Canidae is a highly reputable dog food brand, vet-formulated to provide nutrition to your pooch without using corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meat in their food.

Canidae’s All Life Stages line is a great grain-inclusive dry food with a mix of chicken, turkey, lamb and fish meals animal proteins.

Best Mix of Proteins
canidae-grain-inclusive

Canidae All Stages

A multi-protein dog food that’s grain inclusive

This recipe features a mix of animal proteins along with a healthy variety of grains.

Features:

  • Rich Mix of Proteins. Includes chicken, turkey, lamb and fish meals resulting in a nutritionally-packed formula.
  • Includes Probiotics. This formula features a combination of probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Corn, Wheat, & Soy Free. Canidae doesn’t use corn, wheat, or soy, and uses healthy grains.
  • Grain Inclusive. This formula includes healthy grains like brown rice, white rice, rice bran, oatmeal, and barley for DCM-safe carbohydrates.

Pros

Owners note that even picky eaters love the mix of proteins provided in this formula.

Cons

The mix of protein sources may be problematic for dogs who have allergies or intolerances to certain proteins. Luckily, Canidae offers limited-ingredient formulas too (see below).

9. Canidae Grain-Free Pure

About: Canidae Grain Free Pure is a limited-ingredient formula ideal for dogs with sensitivities, as all ingredients in this line are easily identifiable, with only 7-10 main ingredients. This makes it an especially good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Best For Allergies
canidae-pure

Canidae Grain-Free Pure

Limited-ingredient kibble that’s great for allergies

This USA-made dog food is a limited-ingredient formula with just 10 essential ingredients.

Features:

  • Real Meat As #1 Ingredient. Quality dog foods always have meat as the first ingredient – Canidae has several meats & identified meat meals are first ingredients, so you know your pooch is getting quality proteins.
  • Includes Probiotics. This formula features probiotics designed to support healthy canine digestions, as well as antioxidants for immune system benefits.
  • Omega 6 and 3 Fatty Acids. Canidae Life Stages includes omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids which can ensure that your pooch’s skin stays healthy and his coat remains smooth and silky.
  • Corn, Wheat, & Soy Free. Canidae leaves out corn, wheat, soy, and by-product meal, leaving only the good stuff.
  • Alternative Carbohydrates. Rather than using wheat for carbohydrates, Canidae includes peas, lentils, and sweet potatoes leaving out grain for dogs who may not agree with it.
  • Several Different Recipes. This formula includes several different recipes – from lamb, chicken, salmon, and wild-boar, to age-custom formulas including a puppy and senior offering.

Pros

Numerous owners have reported that Canidae Grain Free Pure has firmed up their dog’s stools and resolved skin issues. Even picky dogs with reported stomach issues tend to really love this food.

Cons

Some owners have reported receiving counterfeit bags that are not legitimate, so be sure to check the bag carefully and potentially consider buying from an alternative retailer if the bag you receive online looks questionable. There has also been some recent controversy surrounding grain-free diets for dogs, so discuss with your vet to ensure it’s a good option.

10. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free

About: Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free food comes from the Wellness brand – a quality dog food manufacturer that produces protein-focused foods, with several lean meat options like chicken, turkey, and salmon.

wellness-core-grain-free

Wellness Core Grain-Free

Turkey-packed recipe with no corn, wheat, soy, or other artificials

Deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal are first 3 ingredients in this healthy, additive-free formula.

  • Several Formulas to Choose From. Wellness Core offers several healthy dog food formulas so you can pick the perfect blend for your dog. Options include puppy, reduced fat, wild game, large breed, small breed, and other formulas.
  • Grain-Free & No By-Products. The Wellness Core dog food is grain free and 100% natural, with fruits, vegetables, and dog-friendly salmon oil in addition to real protein sources. There are also no meat by-products and no grain, corn, soy, wheat-gluten, or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
  • Probiotics. Probiotics are essential for a dog’s digestion. This food contains probiotics for dogs that aid a canine’s overall health. This healthy dog food also has calcium, glucosamine and chondroitin to help maintain bone and joint health.
  • Omega Blend. The fish and flax within this food blends together to offer omega fatty acids that are beneficial to dogs, helping to keep their coats shiny and healthy.

Pros

Many owners say that this food has helped their dogs become more active when they previously slept often and were slow-moving.

Cons

A few owners state this food is too expensive, as it costs over $50 for a 26-pound bag, when other brands offer a 30 pound bag for less.

11. Diamond Naturals

About: Diamond Naturals is a mid-tier dry dog food that has a decent mix of protein and healthy grains at a reasonable price that will delight budget-minded owners.

Best Budget Option
diamond-naturals

Diamond Naturals

An affordable dry dog food that’s solid quality

Made with beef meal plus real fruits, vegetables, and grains.

  • Beef-Based. This recipe features beef meal as the #1 ingredient.
  • Grain Inclusive. Diamond Naturals includes decent-quality grains like grain sorghum and ground white rice while staying away from problematic ingredients like corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
  • Vitamins + Omega Fatty Acids. Includes added vitamins and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

Pros

This is a great affordable pick for a grain-inclusive recipe that’s fairly healthy and won’t break the bank.

Cons

While beef is the #1 ingredient, there are no other major meat proteins in this recipe, resulting in just an average protein composition.

Should I Worry About 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 are causing the issue (Boutique, Exotic, Grain-free). Some suspect that the ingredients being used to replace grains in grain-free diets (ex. lentils, chickpeas, 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, it’s probably best 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 have a higher risk for DCM (Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Irish Wolfhound, and Great Dane, & 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.

**

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!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing 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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126 Comments

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Clementine

WOAH! You definitely chose the lower end of “healthy”. Purina? Really?!?! There isn’t a single Purina food that is considered high quality, but their highest quality line isn’t even mentioned, its the Beneful. Oh lordy. Taste of the Wild, ALSO not that healthy. Every single one of their bags will have a high concentration of potatoes, a huge filler. Same with Blue Buffalo.
If you’re looking for high quality food, look to: FROMM, ACANA, MERRICK, ORIJEN. And yes, TOTW and BB are on the list I’m about to link, but it doesn’t mean that they’re as good as what I’ve mentioned.

Reply
Lilia

Acana isn’t high quality..They’re the highest offender in the nutritionally mediated DCM and are not taking responsibility for it (besides simply adding taurine to it, without any improvement). I’d argue that they are at the bottom of the list of dog foods to feed until they get their act together!

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Lilia.

Acana is a pretty high-quality food. Do note that the relationship between DCM and grain-free foods is not completely clear, as we mention above.

In fact, we’ve got an article about the phenomenon in the works, so stay tuned!

Reply
Lori

I totally agree, you must eat a good kick back if you are suggesting Purina. Sad, you must not really care about the dog not the money

Reply
Nancy

Clementine
I fed my dog Origen but have now stopped it, as it gave him the worst intestinal issues and severe diarrhea. Poor guy was so sick from that food and it was all over the house. I’m cooking his food now and he’s back to normal. I’ll probably go with a food delivery service for him now, since I can’t trust a high quality kibble.

Reply
Rebecca

Hi Nancy:

I want to piggy-bag your comment. I am currently searching for a new dog food due to severe itching and now intestinal issues with Orijen. My dog has been eating it for the past three years and the intestinal thing has been happening for the last two months or so. She’s always been an itchy dog, but it seems to have worsened, within the last couple of months, so it’s time to change up the food. My other dog seems fine on Orijen. They are both large dog breeds. I’m thinking of trying one of those delivery home cooked companies.

Reply
Ben Team

Sorry Orijen is giving your pooch problems, Rebecca. You may want to check these fresh foods out.
Best of luck!

Reply
Clementine

Did you read the ingredients on the Purina Baneful bag you posted? The first three ingredients are GROUND YELLOW CORN, CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL (NOT REAL CHICKEN), and CORN GLUTEN MEAL. The 7th ingredient is chicken.

Reply
Meghan

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Clementine. We may consider revising the information here.

Reply
evelyn williams

Omg all these are under investigation. As being Crap.

Reply
Overlandtraveler

You do know that Merrick is a family owned operation out of Texas that supports discrimination and hate? They are an evangelical Christian family that does not support gay marriage, rights or anything that would be labeled “liberal and accepting.” Perhaps you support discrimination too, I don’t know, but if you don’t, I would boycott Merrick. I have shared this information with a lot of small, family owned stores that were carrying their food. They no longer do. I don’t understand why people continue to support this brand?

Reply
William

Outlander- Thanks for the info on Merrick. I was unaware of their background. You helped me make my choice I”LL CHOOSE MERRICK!

Reply
Jim

Nothing says Christian values like hating anyone different. SMH …lol

Reply
Sylvia

Overlandtraveler, do you consider yourself to be “liberal and accepting” as you put it in your comment? Every person has a right under the First Amendment to free speech and the pursuit of happiness even if offends your tender feelings. If you want to be more accepting and accepted, perhaps you should try not being so judgemental yourself. I don’t normally comment on subjects such as this, but the quality of the dog food has nothing to do with the morals and beliefs of the owners! I will buy my dogs’ food based solely on that fact, nothing else!

Reply
Carol

Thank you, Sylvia;
for stating what many people do without really thinking about what they’re saying. I couldn’t agree with you more. Additionally, I just read that Purina is buying out Merrick, so their quality may go down hill. Keep an eye on the list of ingredients in case it starts changing.

gail

wow… Merrick is off my list!
Just adopted a dog from Texas with health issues!

Reply
Thomas

I think I’ll choose Merrick also

Reply
jay

Real Christians feed the poor, welcome the immigrant, decry the racist, embrace the LBGTQ ……….and have nothing in common with FAKE CHRISTIANS like the MERRICK CULT. BOYCOTT MERRICK HATRED!

Reply
evelyn williams

There under investigation may cause enlarged heart .

Reply
CP

Good to know, I WILL buy from them!!! Got to stand up for Christian American Values!

Reply
Meg Marrs

We recommend Merrick because they are a reputable dog brand with high-quality ingredients. I don’t find their political leanings have anything to do with the quality of the food.

Reply
Ralph J.

Meghan, yes, political and religious leanings have nothing to do with my pets’ quality of life. Merrick, Acana and many of the higher priced brands lead the pack in cases of DCM related canine fatalities. I have been using a Member’s Mark (Sam’s Club) grain free Salmon and Pea dry food. Its rated 2 1/2 star by a pet advisory rater, but this is the same rating service who gives Acana, Merrick, et al a 5 star rating. Thoroughly confused…can you offer any help? I don’t think the Membe’s Mark stuff is junk, and the dogs love it.

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Ralph. I’ll drop a note to Meg to make sure she sees your comment, but I wanted to share an article you may want to check out:
Best Dog Foods with Grains
It may be worth reading if you’re concerned about DCM.
Let us know which one you pick!

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Tammy Ferrieri

I totally support Merrick and I can’t stand liberals.

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Gnomer

Honestly, I doubt many people know this. I stopped purchasing Merrick when it was bought out by Purina, but had no idea about the company’s intolerance.

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Jan

Won’t use because bought out by Purina. Purina is low quality from list of ingredients and everything I’ve read.

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evelyn williams

Thank God someone lissens

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Cher

Religious freedom always gets knocked down. I thought this site was for good dog foods. Even if Merrick owners were atheist I’d still buy it because it’s a good product. The world is full of good and evil. People need to calm down and just get along.

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Judy

Exactly!!!

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Mic Drop

Whether or whether not a company believes in supporting and or has your views has little to no significance of their quality of pet food. The irony of the fact you haven’t caught on that your unapproving of the “evangelical family” views is the same as them not approving of your views is hilarious. Also thinking that someone’s personal religious beliefs are hate mongering is funny as well. Unless they are trying to put everyone else’s (which I’m sure they are not) beliefs down with their pet foods advertising and saying that it’s only made for “evangelical families” pets, then your argument is invalid and your tears are wasted over milk that wasnt even spilled

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Rose C. Walker

Well said, Mic Drop.

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Kristie Rosario

I fully agree Mic Drop, and couldn’t have said it any better. So tired of all the whiners that someone has violated “their” rights, hurt “their” feelings, or don’t respect “their” views. Isn’t that the same exact thing they are doing when they stereotype others? In this case it’s evangelical Christians. Makes no sense! Maybe they are violating “MY” rights because I’m discriminating against crybabies. Isn’t the topic about recommendations for healthy dogfood?

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Drew kent

I completely agree. They should maybe open a book…like the Bible. Anyways, so people are not thinking about the well being of their furry family members and putting their beliefs ahead of them. I used to live dogfoodadvisor, but they, like k9ofmine rated blue buffalo highly. They are always on the recall list. Really? I use Fromm and they are one of the fewest companies with recalls.

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Marge

This is about the health of our pets , not religious beliefs. Go to church for religion .

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jay

If they don’t care about humans, what makes you think they care about animals?

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dr gethy

good point.

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Vicky

I support Merrick and I am fine with their religious beliefs. They aren’t knocking yours so why knock theirs? We co-exist in the free world and we can live how we choose. No one needs to be like you.

-It’s always the ones with the dirty hands who point the finger.

SMH

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Stevej

What a ruse! Let’s see.. let’s discriminate against a company that has Christians following their beliefs. .. but I am typing on a computer that is likely made in a country (along with my car, phone, TV, clothes and on and on..) in the Pacific Rim that culturally believes in disrespecting women, gays, … Christians, Jews and YOU! What a hypocrite! You need to prioritize your thinking !

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Ben Team

Hey, folks.
We certainly understand that people have passionate opinions about these types of things, but we’re gonna stop approving the messages that aren’t about dog-related issues.
There are plenty of other places to argue about politics and religion on the web.
Let’s just keep it to dogs.
🙂

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Judy

Yeah, I opened this article to read it and what it said about the grain -vs- grain free debate on DCM. Wanted to read the comments and see what everyone said but I wasn’t expecting it to get political !!!
Don’t bring politics into dog food, I hear enough of it on tv !!!
Please stick to the topic people or go somewhere else to vent !!!!

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Steve

I agree!!!!!!!!!!

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Lauren

Thanks for the info on Merrick, I will definitely remove them from my list of foods to try!

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Shea

I love Merricks products for my dogs! Knowing this, I like them even more and will support them. Thanks for the info!

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Angela Bayon

Why don’t we talk about the topic at hand and leave politics out of it…. and keep your poison to yourself!

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Jazz

What do you think of BilJac?

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Tammy Ferrieri

Thanks Clementine for your input. I feed my dogs Blue Buffalo and I was unaware of potatoes being a huge filler. I was definitely consider switching to the ones you do recommend. I want to feed them the healthiest food possible.

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Theresa

Looking for something for toy breed chi that needs to put on weight very picky eater. Help. If you have any samples that would be great just need help vet said she is hypoglycemia because she don’t eat enough I need to find something she likes

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dss

For my Chi I cook her own food just as I cook for myself and my child, she is family. I will sometimes feed Acana and add organic bone broth when I am not feeling well. I hope this helps you.

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Judy

I’m feeding my Jack, Border Collie/Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a combination of both. I give him 1/2 cup of dry every morning and night with 2 heaping tablespoons of brown rice, green beans and sweet potatoes with a tablespoon of yogurt and a teaspoon of coconut oil. He loves it and his hair and skin is great. I do warm up some beef broth to mix a little with the dry.
Right now, he is on Eukanuba Lamb because I got it for free through our local Humane Society. They fostered or adopted all the animals out during Covid 19 and opened up their food pantry to the community. I had just lost my husband of 24 years to Alzheimer’s – 2wks earlier on March 14 and was down to morsels of Jack’s food and it was a blessing. Jack and I went there and they gave me -2- 20lb bags of Eukanuba Lamb and Nutro Venison.
If I had not got this, believe me, I would have ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches and bought his regular food which is Fromm. I would do anything for him. He’s only 18mo old but he has been with me through some hard times in the last 12 mos. I have always had Cocker’s since 1993 and I just lost my Abbie last June 01 due to a mistake my vet made and it killed her. Needless to say, I don’t use him anymore.

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Carole

Thank you so much for the insight to the diff. Dog foods. This is a big help in deciding what to feed my fur babies.

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Gnomer

I’m a bit surprised that Beneful Healthy Weight is on this list, considering the quality of the other brands of food mentioned. I was pleased that Purina has improved the formula, so that is contains real chicken as the primary ingredient, but if you remove water weight from the chicken, it provides much less protein vs the chicken by-product meal (high in protein, but an inferior quality product), soybean meal, corn products, wheat, barley etc. Even though I have no issue with grain in dog foods, I feel that they rely too much on grain to be considered quality. Also, one of your markers for nutrition was a food without fillers – yet Beneful Healthy Weight contains soybean hulls high on the list of ingredients.

You mention that the food contains 23 vitamins (I’m assuming this info came from marketing info from Purina). It SOUNDS good on paper, but take a quick look at virtually ANY cheap food at Walmart. They ALL have a long list of vitamins added. I’ve never seen a dog food that hasn’t met the AAFCO guidelines for nutrition. This is why I assume you took the “23 added vitamins and minerals” from Purina’s marketing literature…because the vitamins they add don’t make the food any better than any food off the shelf right now. In fact, they use inferior synthetics (and non-chelated minerals), which make the added vitamins much harder for a dog to absorb. Furthermore, Beneful formulations lack pre- and probiotics, which (IMO) are standard in “quality” foods.

All this being said, I do appreciate that Purina is listening to consumers, and has made improvements to the quality of Beneful formulas. I also appreciate that they removed the sugar and dyes in (at least in this formula).

I know some people have issues with Blue Buffalo, and I agree that there are higher qualities brands for the money. But I still feel they are a solid option, for someone switching from a grocery store brand, and trying to improve their dog’s health. I have a picky boxer that loses weight, so sometimes I “fatten” him up a couple lbs with BB, if he starts showing 3-4 ribs and spine. He loves the food.

Overall, I appreciate this list. Thank you for being dedicated to putting out information to help people choose a higher quality food for their pet.

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Meg Marrs

Hi Gnomer, thanks for taking the time to comment! We decided to include Beneful on this list because we wanted to include a more affordable option. The other foods we include here are considered very high-quality, but also very expensive. We wanted an option for those without big dog food budgets as well. I’ve seen that many readers are unhappy with this choice, so we’re considering removing Beneful from this list when we update the article. Our goal is to provide owners with options!

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Kristy

I use Victor for my 4 year olds & my vets own brand which is Dr.Tim’s.
Both are excellent foods.
I am also disappointed to se Beneful on this list!
If you want to feed your dogs healthy it costs money and that’s the bottom line. You can’t put a trash food on what’s supposed to be a good quality dog food list just for budget reasons. Dogs are dying from trash foods! This is a very serious matter & now standards are able to be lowered again if , more like when, the law passes!!
It’s disgusting what these companies can trick us into feeding our family members!!

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Christine

I agree wholeheartedly concerning Beneful. I would really like to know hiw you came to your conclusions on these brands. I too feed Victor Ultra Pro to my 5 dogs plus Grandma Lucy’s , Honest Kitchen and a variety of good quality csnned food in a rotation diet. We are a middle-class family, i believe in feeding my dogs the best I can afford and I have piece of mind that I do. I owe it to my dogs to do the best I can for them.

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Teresa

I had heard beneful was extremly bad because of the artificial dyes anf coloring.. Dogs don’t care what color their food is, which is bad for pets..its made to appeal to the public

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Judy

I, personally, think you’ve done a great job !!!

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Jane Bruner

I’s diamond natural grainfree whitefish and sweet patatoes,and the chicken and sweet patatoes a good dog food,cause that’s what my dogs been eating and plus a couple of the dogs are eating natures menu salmon and sweet patatoes is those 2 dog food good

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Art

Good information. I will still have to experiment. I wish they made smaller bags of each where you could put each brand in a bowl maybe three bowls or 4 and let your dog decide which one she or he likes.

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Meg Marrs

That would certainly be much easier and save money! A shame that’s not too common :/

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Kristy

My pet food store carries sample sizes if all the foods they carry for free for this purpose.

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Meg Marrs

Great tip Kristy – smart idea to ask for samples and see how your dog likes the food.

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Jinx

I laughed, if I gave my dachshund 4 bowls of food, he would eat them all

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Brittany

Thank you so much! I’m going to try the taste of wild, the reason I came here is looking for a new dog food for my dog as she was on blue buffalo before and as you said in the cons she developed gastric issues and is sensitive.

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David sokolow

What are your thoughts on the raw food diet?

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Meg Marrs

Hey David – ultimately we think raw is an option for owners who want to be very, very hands-on in their dogs feeding, but it’s probably not a good option for most owners. We have a full article on the pros and cons of feeding dogs a raw diet here!

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Jennifer

Thank you for the list. I am still deciding what to feed my boxer puppy. This is our second boxer and with our last one he ate Blue Buff. Back then when it came out it was the best option /healthiest and now everyone including our vet is saying stay away. I keep getting mixed answers on what to give – from Fromm, taste of the wild, Royal canin down to Merrick. He is on a good puppy one right now so have a little time.

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Meg Marrs

It can be pretty complicated Jeff. Ultimately, our advice to aim for a quality dog food that has at least the first ingredient (ideally first two ingredients) as meat proteins. Other than that, it’s best to simply test different formulas with your dog and see what he responds or doesn’t respond well to. Of course your vet’s advice is always best, as they understand all the intricacies of your dog’s needs.

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Christina

A wonderful site to check dog foods for great ingredients, recall notices, ratings is dogfoodadvisor. I don’t buy a food until I’ve checked that site. I have my German Shepherd on Farmina ancestral grains lamb. She’s picky but loves this food and her coat, poops, health in general has been better since starting this food. Its more money, but well worth it.

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Nadia Keegan

Totally agree. Started my pup on Farmina a few weeks ago. She absolutely loves it.

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Diane Novak

I have been using Natural Balance Grain free for my two dogs. When a third rescue came into my life I needed to buy something they would all eat. I crock pot wet food to put over the dry but started using Just Six by Rachel Ray’s company. Do we have any feedback on that food?

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maggie

I use the Canidae Grain Free Sea Limited ingredient for my shep. He had the worst yeast infections on his skin. I was using Beneful and everytime i bought a bag the food was different. I event contacted the company about it and sent them pics. They had nothing to say about it really. So I needed something without issues. His skin problems have cleared up, he has lost weight( which he takes phenobarb for seizures) and I am not saying it doesn’t have another problem. With the limited ingredients I find he is still hungry. But I guess in his case this is not going to hurt him. He is doing great

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Meg Marrs

Glad your buddy is doing better!

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Chris

I keep reading newer articles that grain free foods are causing DCM in thousands of dogs. What is your take on this? I have been giving my three dogs Taste of the Wild High Prairie for a few years now. Seems like everything is bad.

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Meg Marrs

Hey Chris. Unfortunately, researchers still don’t know what is causing these DCM issues. They’ve narrowed it down to BEG diets (boutique, exotic, and grain-free diets), but still don’t know what ingredients are causing the issue. Contrary to popular belief, low taurine doesn’t seem to be the main issues. Folks suspect maybe lentils, chickpeas, and some of the grain alternatives could be the problem. But no one knows for certain! Here’s where you can read more: http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/11/dcm-update/

Ultimately, I think it’s best you consult with your vet about this, as they’ll have the best recommendation for your dog’s specific situation.

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Michele Hassing

My dogs have a track record of bad teeth so they are all eating Hill’s TD Dental dog food. It’s kinda funny to watch them eat it, you can see it is WORK just to get a piece of kibble chewed up so I believe the claims that it is scraping tartar off their teeth as they eat. But it’s also very expensive, they leave messy crumbs all over the floor each time they eat, and I’m just wondering about it nutritionally. We’re also brushing their teeth daily, giving them dental dog chews daily, and putting an additive in the water for tartar. It took ALL THAT to finally get a check up where nobody needed to be put under general anesthesia for a professional tooth cleaning, though. Knock on wood we can avoid that again this year … but is TD Dental Canine healthy and complete nutrition?

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Meg Marrs

Unfortunately Michele, based on the ingredient list, I wouldn’t recommend TD Dental Canine.
The first ingredients read as followed: Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Pork Fat, Soybean Mill Run,
Not having the first ingredient as meat is a HUGE no-no. Even most mid-tier dog foods have meat as the 1st ingredient. Corn is not recommended for dogs, and chicken by-product is also quite bad – you never want to be feeding your dog by-products. Nothing in the first several ingredients is any kind of good meat protein, so this seems like a very poor dog food from a nutritional standpoint.

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Sarah

What do people think about Science Hills dog food? Thought up till now its the best dog food..but some said its just full of fillers.

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Meg Marrs

Hi Sarah – well the formulas can vary a bit, but I have seen a few Hill’s Science foods that don’t even have meat listed as the first ingredient (a huge red flag for any dog food). They do tend to also have problematic ingredients like corn gluten. Some vets recommt certain Hill’s Science foods based on specific medical issues dogs have, but for most owners I think there are much better choices. When in doubt, the easiest thing to do is at least see what the first few ingredients are. Meat protein should always be ingredient #1 at the very least!

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Kim phillips

I used paw diet to compare some of your top picks to my food I just switched my dog to after a ton of research. Nulo ranked better than the other dry foods and had zero recalls. Some on this list have many.

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Lisa Garrison

I have a bulldog, who has a lot of food issues. I have tried most of theses top brands, Core being most resent. He did ok, but still having skin problem, hot ears, and sinsive tummy. I reachered and found out theses are digestive issues, so I just now put him on a pre & probiotic supplement and primal freezed dried raw food,(talk about expensive) $27 per two day, but I have seen improvement, will see how it goes for 30 days. Cost more than car payment. Hoping to get recipe to make own freezed dried nuggets

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Judy

I had to have my Abbie tested for allergies and it came back that she was highly allergic to chicken and white potatoes so check to see if the current food you are or have been feeding him has chicken or white potatoes in it. I have since found out that alot of dogs are allergic to these. Her being a cocker, I kept her hair cut short also. She also was allergic to grass so I had my yard guy cut it as short as his mower was and that helped too. She had yeast too and it helped giving her a bath every week. The yeast was mostly during the summer.

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Tal

My wife inherited a ShihTsu puppy 21 years ago. She was bound and determined to feed this dog raw food. Started with roast beef sliced from the deli mixed with carrots and broccoli. Lately he got oven roasted turkey breast. Just died last week. 21 yrs 5 months. Pretty long life for that breed. I hate to add up the cost of his meals in his lifetime. Funny story. Once I tried to sneak grocery store roast beef. She claimed he threw it up. I could not believe my ears.

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V schmidt

Can you rate Trudog pet food

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Meg Marrs

Trudog is great, they just have a very small selection, we didn’t include them here.

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Deb

What do you know about or how would you rate Orijen dog food?

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Meg Marrs

Orijen is very high-quality and a great choice! We just couldn’t include everyone on the list.

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Jeanne

This is an outrageous list of dog foods you say is the top brands. I see that you must be getting paid off by these big commercial companies or you don’t do your research. TOTW(made by Diamond) is in a lawsuit right now because their food contains pesticides, arsenic, BPA, Cadmum, Mercury, Lead and Acrylamide. Champion which makes Acana and Orijen is also in a lawsuit and was in the process to sell to Purina. Blue Buffalo had one of the biggest recalls in history and is currently in another lawsuit for pets suffering/dying from kidney failure. Beneful killed my friends dog!!! That product shouldn’t even be on the shelves and why would people feed their beloved pet that contains these toxic ingredients. Corn is a filler as is wheat and soy. Not meant for pet consumption but hey it’s cheap for these commercial dog food companies to profit. They only care about the money….not the health of your pet. Buying cheap means you will spend more money later with the vet bills while trying to save him/her. Pretty sad that my dog’s food isn’t even on this list and has never been recalled!!! It’s developed by a Holistic Vet and is the healthiest I have seen in the market. It’s shipped fresh to your door within 6 weeks of being made. There isn’t another company that compares. I fed Acana (quit eating, hot spots, ear infections and loose stools), Orijen(same as Acana), Victor (poop like tar), TOTW (before I did research, causing loose stools and throwing up), Holistic Select(loose stools/diarrhea).

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Meg Marrs

Hi Jeanne – thanks for commenting and for contributing your own thoughts on various dog foods. I’d love to address a few of the issues you raise to help clarify things for readers. First, Taste of the Wild is in the middle of a lawsuit, but this doesn’t in and of itself signal any wrongdoing. The individual who is the plaintiff in this case tested Taste of the Wild food in his own home and determined himself that the food had heavy metals including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, as well as pesticides, acrylamide, and BPA.

Heavy metals alone aren’t a cause for alarm. In fact, heavy metals are found in tap water too. The plaintiff’s complaint is that the heavy metals are present in the food – NOT that there is an unusual or dangerous amount of heavy metals (as determined by the EPA). It seems a largely baseless allegation.

As far as Blue Buffalo, I’m not sure what lawsuit you are referring to, but I am assuming it’s regarding the high amount of lead found in Blue Buffalo. This was another situation where the plaintiff decided to do his own testing at home, and appears unsubstantiated. You can read more about this case on Snopes.com: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/does-blue-buffalo-contain-toxic-levels-lead/

While Blue Buffalo did have a recall for one wet formula due to elevated levels of beef thyroid, this was a voluntary recall on Blue Buffalo’s part, and no reports of sick or ill pets was received by their customer support team. Instead, Blue Buffalo took the initiative and issued a recall, even without complaint from customers. I consider voluntary recalls a huge vote of confidence for a brand, and the quality of Blue Buffalo is largely solid. I think owners can rest easy at night knowing that – when there is an issue – Blue Buffalo will take the initiative and issue a recall themselves, rather than waiting until they are forced to due to media backlash or the FDA.

Ultimately the food you choose to feed your dog is a personal choice, and different foods work better for some dogs than others. We do our best to help readers narrow down the huge list of dog foods available to them, but the best dog food for your individual canine depends on a variety of factors that only the owner is knowledgable of.

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Chanty

What holistic dog food brand are you talking about that you now use?

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Jo Ann

You mentioned you were happy with your dog food. What is the name? I’m looking for a better option. Thx

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Robin

Wow, I’m looking for information on dog food and here someone with a few lines turned it to a political site. I was thinking why would anyone take one strangers own personal statement. Check it out yourself to see if it’s true before making a decision. Reading the comments the family no longer owns the company and drop the mic! Correct!.
We care about what we are feeding our dogs and hope to get information and comments from other pet owners.
I have been using Taste of Wild for my year old Rot since he was a puppy. He is shedding horrible and he is currently an inside dog. I used Blue Buffalo prior for my other large dogs(Old English Mastiff and 2 Rots) allat one time and they hardly ever lost hair like this. It’s been a few years since I lost my last friend and I’m sure a lot has changed in the foods since several individual owners has sold out to larger manufacturers. My Rot is not overweight and has no idea what table scraps are. He also has a hot spot and i’ve been reading Taste of Wild has given other dogs skin issues. I want to keep him healthy but asking for suggestions.

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Deborah G

Hi are you familiar TLC puppy dog food? MY puppy was on it and it is recommended by breeder.
thanks

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Marilyn

I am currently still searching for the best dry dog food for our 84 pound, 5 year old spayed mixed lab. She is prone to UTIs and I refuse to put her on Hill’s KD unless other things don’t work.
I switched from Blue Buffalo light adult dry dog food to Zignature about 5 months ago to get her weight down, but not give her too much protein. It’s working well so far. She went from 94 to 84 pounds. She has eaten four different flavors and she is enjoying them. She gets 2 cups of dry per day, less than what the bag requires for her weight. She also gets an occasional carrot and one scrambled egg 2 times a week.
We work. We take her on half hour to one hour walks two times a day plus all the other potty breaks.
A good quality food is very important to me. But everyone should remember that too much protein 30% and higher for a non active dog is not good. Also too many carbohydrates in dog food can lead to diabetes. Be sure to calculate that with your dog food.
Our dog gets 2 teaspoons of nonfat plain yogurt with one of her feedings. Three weeks ago we stated to give her one cranberry table twice a day.
There are a lot of pros and cons to the different dry dog foods.
I talked to a customer at the pet store & she gives her diabetic dog the kangaroo flavor.
I met a young couple in their early 30’s at another visit & they give the kangaroo flavor for their lab with skin issues.
I really don’t know the answer.

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Judy

After I had my Abbie tested for allergies, the allergist recommended a kangaroo based diet. Said that it was the best for allergies. That’s when I searched and found Zignature Kangaroo.
She loved it, but now it’s listed as one of the possible foods that could cause DCM because it’s grain free. So know I’m going to talk to my vet.

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mike

Meg marrs, what do you feed your friend

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Meg Marrs

Right now Ellie and Lucy get Blue Buffalo. 🙂

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Marty’s Mom

Are you still feeding your pups BB? This is the best food match we have found for our Chi-Terrier mix (we’ve tried a handful!) He seems to do very well on it but I’m scared of everything I’ve read online about the BB…

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Meg Marrs

Hi Marty’s Mom! I switched to Nutro and am definitely a fan! I wouldn’t worry too much about the horror stories online. I think people like to blame BB since they are a big brand but most of the claims against them seem unwarranted and aren’t backed with any legitimate data.

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Tabitha

Blue has 2 major class actions for misrepresenting their products. Linked to renal failure in canines. Largest class action in the history of pet food. My dog is in renal failure after eating Blue.

Merrick was bought out by Nesle so if you’ve been reading about their human food products, then you might want to do your homework.

I’ve gone back to ole school cooking for my pet pals: meat, white rice, veggies & vitamin powder.

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Ben Team

Hey, Tabitha. So sorry to hear that your pooch is in poor health. 🙁

Has your vet conclusively determined that his kidney failure is the result of eating Blue Buffalo? We’d love to see any documentation you’d be willing to share (feel free to email me at Ben(at)K9ofmine(dot)com).

There’s a lot of misinformation about Blue Buffalo on the internet, and we find ourselves correcting the record pretty frequently.

So, please forgive me for copying and pasting the following information:

***

Blue Buffalo does appear to have screwed up with regard to labeling at one point, and they paid dearly for the mistake (in the form of a $32 million class-action lawsuit).

But note that this lawsuit primarily revolved around the inclusion of things like poultry by-products, corn, and other ingredients that — while not ideal — aren’t dangerous for most pups. Blue Buffalo explained that the problem resulted from miscommunications with their supplier.

You can read more about the lawsuit here:
https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/831324-blue-buffalo-pet-food-ingredients-class-action-settlement-checks-mailed/

Blue Buffalo has initiated a couple of recalls over the last decade or so, but most have only involved a very narrow range of products.

Note that the infamous “lead recall” that many people discuss never actually happened.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/does-blue-buffalo-contain-toxic-levels-lead/

What really happened: An owner sued the company over an allegedly high level of lead in a Blue Buffalo food, but the lawsuit was dismissed, and evidence confirming the presence of elevated lead levels has never been presented.

You can read the judge’s ruling here:
https://www.classaction.org/media/blue-buffalo-dismiss.pdf

The last recall the company initiated only related to one specific recipe (Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs). This recall was initiated due to high levels of cow thyroid hormone in the food.

You can read more about this recall on the FDA’s website: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm547335.htm

***

Finally, I’d strongly recommend feeding your dog a commercially produced food that meets or exceeds the AAFCO guidelines.

Despite the best intentions of many owners, homemade diets are almost always a bad idea. Simply put, very few owners have the necessary knowledge and expertise to properly balance a custom-made diet.

Don’t take our word for it though — check out what the AVMA has to say about the issue:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Raw-Pet-Foods-and-the-AVMA-Policy-FAQ.aspx

Thanks for reading, and let us know how things go for your pup. We’ve got our fingers crossed for him/her!

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Steven Crouch

I’ve used Hills Science Diet since getting my Corgi, Oliver. Is Science Diet not a quality dog food?

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Lilia

I would stick to feeding that if it works for your dog. Their foods are well formulated by their staff (who remain there for oversight) and proven to be well balanced. A lot of other foods can’t claim that.

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Meg Marrs

Hi Steven – Hills Science Diet is not generally a food we recommend. They do have a number of prescription lines that may be temporarily beneficial for dogs with specialized health issues, but generally Hills Science is a low quality food. While exact recipes vary, they often do not even feature meat as the #1 ingredient, and usually include fillers like corn and generally low protein levels. However, if your vet has recommended it, try to find out why and ask what other options they’d suggest.

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Tom Acheson

Recently I heard a commercial on the radio that, to me was very disturbing. This lady was talking about her dog that she had lost. He was a 6 yr old Great Dane. He died from a form of cancer. She believes it was caused by the ingredients in his dog food. So I am trying to find the right food for my dog Bandit. He is a 3 yr old Pitbull. Regardless of all the breed negative reviews he is the most well behaved dog I have ever had. I don’t want poison him with his own food!!! Thanks for the information.

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Meg Marrs

Hey Tom! It’s great to investigate what you’re feeding your dog, but I would say to exercise a bit of skepticism when hearing people online claim that X dog food killed their dogs. I think in many cases these people are upset and grieving about the loss of their dog, and looking for someone to blame. There are many reasons why dogs may become sick, just like there are many reasons humans become sick. Usually there isn’t much proof to claim that a certain dog food brand is responsible. So of course be discerning, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that most large-scale manufactured dog foods are generally safe for your pooch.

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DANNY DAVIS

More than a “bit” of scepticism for me. Folks get very emotional about their dogs!! Few people have any real sense regarding their own food, let alone their animals. The internet has made it possible for all of us to know everybody’s crazy ideas!
“Natural, Homeopathic, Paleo, Organic, Vegan DOG FOOD?!?!? Anyone stop to wonder how we all managed to “get by” in the Thousands of Years that we Dogs & Humans have been together?
Modern convenience packaged Dog Food is another feature of our now very spoiled existence!
We used to hunt together spending most of our short lives working to find enough to eat!!
This spoiled “pack” including me are carnivores! I feed my three dogs – ages 12 to 13 years – Purina kibbles plus cooked meat that I eat.
They love to eat and are all very healthy dogs that still act like puppies! Obviously no nutritional shortcomings at all.
I’ve had dogs all my life. I have fed them various brands thru the decades along with meat and vegetables that I eat.
I’ve never had an issue related to food with any of my pups.
Regards, Danny

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Jeannette Wilson

I just came across this site love it very informative I have eight dogs very concerned about what they eat will be checking out the list that you provided thank you so very much for being so concerned about all dogs.

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Jane Nichilo

What do you think about Instinct brand? I randomly started my puppy on it and she loves it, but I have to decide whether to continue or switch?

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Ben Team

Hey, Jane. We like Instinct and think that it’s a pretty good brand.
If it’s working for your pup, and your vet is on-board with the choice, I’d say stick with it!

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Linda

Is gentle giants a high quality dog food ,I saw bert ward on inside edition that’s the guy who played Robin on the original TV batman, he has hundreds of large breed giant,like the Irish wolfhound, mastiff, and large dogs like that ,he call them gentle giants, and usually they live anywhere from 8 to 10 years, but he came up with a dog food called gentle giants that he feeds all of his dogs, he rescues them ,train them , and takes very good care of them, and some of them are 24 yrs old and older, and his brand is in Walmart, did you all check it out

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Meg Marrs

Gentle Giant tends to have pretty low protein levels, probably not the best choice.

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Meg Marrs

Hi Steven – Hills Science Diet is not generally a food we recommend. They do have a number of prescription lines that may be temporarily beneficial for dogs with specialized health issues, but generally Hills Science is a low quality food. While exact recipes vary, they often do not even feature meat as the #1 ingredient, and usually include fillers like corn and generally low protein levels.

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Ashley Passino

Blue Buffalo, Fromm, Merrick… All foods that have repeatedly been recalled…. And they have managed to get on the best foods list??? Really… I think I will stick to the raw food for my dog… No recalls and the vet says he is the healthiest patient he has!

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Meg Marrs

We don’t consider a recall a strike against a manufacturer. All items will have recalls from time to time – what is more important is did the company do a voluntary recall when they realized their mistake, or were they forced to do a recall from the FDA or similar groups? We’ve only ever found records of Merrick recalling (voluntarily) treats, not food. Fromm’s last recall was for a canned foot in 2016 and voluntarily recalled. Blue Buffalo did a voluntary recall of a wet food in 2017. All these were done without any reports from owners of dogs even getting sick or ill – they were done by the companies voluntarily. I’d trust a company that does that over raw food, which is very dangerous if not handled properly for owners and dogs! However, if you have a food that’s working for you, by all means stick with it. But fear-mongering about recalls is misleading for most owners and not fair in my opinion.

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Tatyana

A few of these brands were released in an article which stated it is giving dogs canine heart disease. The brands listed were Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Blue Buffalo, etc. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/28/us/dog-food-linked-to-canine-heart-disease/index.html

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Ben Team

Hey, Tatyana.
Several articles like that have been all over my news feed today, but this issue has been around for a little while. We’d point out that the link between DCM and grain-free foods is still not completely understood.
We just posted an article about the issue here, which we’d encourage all of our readers to check out.

Personally, I feed my dog Blue Buffalo Large Breed Chicken and Rice (which is obviously not a grain-free recipe), and I plan to keep doing so unless and until my vet recommends otherwise or my pooch starts displaying any troubling symptoms.
Thanks for reading and sharing the link!

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jeff cuthbert

please stop the blue buffalo they had a mould problem that was killing dogs look it up they don’t care about your pet

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Ben Team

Hey, Jeff.

Unfortunately, this is an example of what I’d consider an overreaction. The mold issue you’re referencing happened in 2016, and it involved only a single recipe that was packaged during a 2-hour window.

Recalls unfortunately happen — there’s just no getting around it. Human foods are recalled all the time, but they rarely change our buying habits regarding our own foods.
Dole, White Castle, Whole Foods Market, and Nestle (among dozens of other companies) have initiated recalls since late October. But many of us still continue to purchase products made from these companies.

The best approach, in my view, is to pick a good food for your pup, stick to high-quality manufacturers (which I’d consider Blue Buffalo to be), and then examine the food and stay informed about new recalls.
Best of luck!

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Anna

Has anyone ever heard of Nature’s Logic or Redraw-X? These 2 were recommended by my breeder.

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Laura bella

We have been feeding our spayed 12+ year old Lab mix Call of the Wild for many years. She still runs/trots two to three miles most days of the week in the chaparral with a vertical climb of 300+ feet. She also has to keep up with our 2year old Belgian Malinois. (think GSD “on steroids). She has always had gorgeous shining silly fur, never had bad breath. Her teeth are”wonderful” according to our well-known Vet of 20 years. We are life long health advocates for humans and animals–domesticate and wild. We are also old enough to remember the horrors of diseases that have been “eradicated” by modern medicine research.
Finally, we noticed that the surveys for Call… are from FIVE thousand individuals whereas the other surveys are from Two+ thousand down to fewer than two HUNDRED!!
Dogs rule. Laura Bella

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James Nagaj

ORIJEN, is by far the best on the market!!! At $90 a 25lb bag, ya’ll know the saying, ” you buy what you pay for” !!!

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kaelee

We use Wellness brand for small bread and it’s great! I’m glad to see it on this list !!! Today I gave my dog Paco a wet food from the Wellness brand and he went crazy for it!!! Now it seems he’s hyper, and never in my life have I seen him this hyper. I’m wondering could this be good or bad? Paco usually has low to moderate energy. He’s definitely on the chill side of life. Maybe this food gave him some nutrtion he was not getting from the dry food?

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Kerry

No Kibble Is Healthy! That is a flat out lie causing all of these human diseases we now see animals- how can anyone think wheat or corn or any of that is good for dogs- they are not human – no matter how domesticated they are!

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lee haynee

This web-site is out of date especially concerning dog nutrition Nothing wrong with feeding grains to dogs corn included

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Robert Dudley

Whoa…way bad list in light of extreme problems now being linked to grain free foods. Seriously needs updating.

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BJD

If you have a puppy, do NOT feed them grain-free food! It can cause permanent serious heart issues!!!

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