Your dog is your best friend and you want to give them the life they deserve, so why not give them the best food on the market?
Dry dog food has long been a favorite not only for dog owners, but also for veterinarians.
The food you give your dog is important to their growth, well-being and happiness, but unfortunately not all dry dog food is good and has the ingredients and nutrients you need.
Below we will take a look at the best dry dog food on the market, the things you should consider before buying dog food, and other aspects of dry dog food to make sure your pup is the happiest and healthiest they can be.
Skip the guide and jump to the The Best Dry Dog Food list.
Things To Understand Before Buying Dry Dog Food
There are a few things to understand before you choose and decide which dog food you buy. There are so many different dry dog foods on the market that it can be difficult to know which ones are actually going to benefit your dog and help them to live life the fullest.
The Contents of Healthy Dog Food
Different dry dog food will have different types of ingredients. While one kibble will say it has “meat products” in it, others will say “meat flavorings” — but what does this really mean?
There are guidelines set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials that should be adhered to in the dog food, to ensure it is of good standard and not harmful to your dog. Any food that does not live up to these nutrition standards should not be bought by you.
Currently, if a dry dog food is labelled as a single ingredient food — such as chicken — then there should be at least 95% of that chicken in the dog food. Similarly, if you bought a dry dog food that was labelled to contain a lot of ingredients, these ingredients should not make up less than 95% of the food. However, if the food packaging contains the words “entree”, “plater” or “dinner”, then the food should contain no less than quarter of the food. For example, if the kibble was labelled as “beef dinner”, it should contain at least 25% beef.
The same goes for food labelled “with” an ingredient. Should a kibble be advertised as “with” an ingredient, then that ingredient should make up no more than 3% of that food. If the packaging reads “chicken with peas”, you would know that 3% of that dog food contains peas. Labels with the word”flavorings”, eg. “with chicken flavors” should only have a very small detectable amount of chicken flavoring in them.
The Product’s Nutrition Standard Statement
The product’s nutrition standard statement should be something to consider when choosing the right pet food for your dog. The ingredients listed on the dog food will be done so in weight, with the heaviest, set out in a percentage of a particular serving size, on the top. Unfortunately, a lot of these ingredients are often weighed before the dog food is dehydrated. Before dehydrating, the meat or fish included in the kibble contains 70% water and is mixed with the other ingredients to make the dog food. It is then dehydrated to form kibble, which is what your dog eats.
So while you may not be getting the most accurate measurements of weight, you can see which ingredients are more present in the food and the nutrients your dog is getting.
Wholesome Grains Aren’t Bad
In recent years, grains have been marketed as something you should stay away from in your dog food. Many products on Amazon are listed to be “grain-free”. However, not all grains are bad. First of all, dogs need carbohydrates in their food and the carbohydrates in dog food these days are easily digestible. Carbohydrates are a great form of energy source for your dog.
Many dog owners are wary of the allergies that come along with grains in their dog food, however, it has never been proven that the allergy rate is higher with grains than it is with meat or poultry within dog food. Wheat gluten is actually a great product for dogs because of it’s amino acids and 99% digestibility, and gluten allergies are actually very rare in dogs. Therefore, it is fine to feed your doggie wheat and grains — or it’s also fine if you decide to leave them out of your dog’s diet.
What Byproducts Really Are
Byproducts can relate to either ingredients such as gluten and grains or other meat byproducts such as heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. Not all byproducts are bad, but you’ll want to do research if the dog food you’re considering contains byproducts to make sure they contain ingredients that are healthy for your dog.
Meat byproducts like the internal organs listed above can actually be beneficial to your dog, because it is replicating the kind of food they would eat in the wild. They contain a lot of good nutrients that are very beneficial to your dog. Even better, reputable manufacturers will only include the best high-quality byproducts in their food, so you shouldn’t have to worry about them even if you are still a bit skeptical.
Trust Your Vet
The best thing to do before buying dog food, is to consult your vet. Many dog owners only go to the vet when their dog is sick or needs a vaccine, but vets can be super helpful in the everyday well-being of your dog too and will know what kind of food is best for your pup. You should always take into consideration factors such as your dog’s health, weight and age when buying dog food, and this is something your veterinarian can give insight on.
Things To Consider When Buying Dry Dog Food
There are a few different things to consider before you buy, to ensure you are getting the best dry dog food for your lovable pooch.
Age and Health of Your Dog
Before you begin looking at different dry dog foods, you need to be sure you understand the needs of your dog. Dogs at different stages of their life have different nutritional needs and if they have a health problem or a medical condition then this will also need to be taken into consideration. Asking your vet for advice on the health of your dog and the type of food that might be beneficial to them can be very useful and save you a lot of time.
Dogs, unlike cats, do not need to eat meat. However, they do need higher amounts of protein and fats in their diet as these help support the building of tissue and organ development as your dog grows, as well as helping with the nervous system. In the wild, a dog will eat around 65% protein and 30% fats, with the remainder being divided among carbohydrates and other nutrients. Remember, it is perfectly fine to give your dog carbs and grains, with wheat gluten being great for it’s amino acids. You should take a look at the back of the food packet to see it’s proportion of protein, fats and carbohydrates to one another and determine what is best for your dog.
You should look for a dog food that has the ingredients clearly listed on the packet. If the label says “made from real meat”, you should be asking yourself “what meat is this?”. Is it chicken? Beef? Lamb? These food packets should state the full ingredients.
Dry dog food have best-by dates or expiration dates. However, there is a difference between a best-by date and an expiration date. If the label states “best before” a certain date it means that the food is good up until that date and after that there may be less nutritional value to the food but the food is still edible. If the label states an expiration date, the manufacturer is confirming that you should not eat the food after this date because it could be harmful and the ingredients may have gone bad. Experts recommend buying a dry dog food with a best-by date at least 10 or 11 months away from the date of purchase, because that means the food has been recently manufactured.
Things To Avoid With Dry Dog Food
While you should be looking for certain things included in your dry dog food, you should also take into consideration things you don’t want to be in your dog food. The products mentioned below can be harmful to your pets or do not have the quality or nutrition your pet needs.
Low-Quality Meat and Poultry Byproducts
Although not all byproducts are bad, you should definitely take a closer look if the dog food you intend to buy contains byproducts. Anything that comes from a low quality source or any food that has questionable blends of byproducts should be avoided.
Dog foods that have generic labels such as “whole proteins” or “healthy fats” should generally be avoided. Often they do not state the source of these “whole proteins” and while it sounds like something positive, not knowing where it comes from can be dangerous for your pup.
Artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, preservatives and coloring can make dog food very unhealthy. Only natural ingredients should be used within dog food to ensure your dog is getting the right nutrition they need.
Mentioned above, you don’t need to cut grains out of your dog’s diet completely. There are healthy grains your dog can enjoy within their food such as brown rice, barley and oatmeal that provide great health benefits. However, you should avoid low-quality grains as these will not contribute to your dog’s health, well-being or nutrition at all.
If you’re ready to find the best dry dog food for your pup, take a look at the list we have complied below. All these dry dog foods are available to you on Amazon.
The Best Dry Dog Food Reviews
This Taste of the Wild dry dog food is made with real roasted bison and roasted venison meat, providing 32% of this food with protein your dog needs to remain active. This meat also helps to keep them lean and grow strong muscles, while giving them the optimal amount of amino acids. This dry dog food come with added vitamins and minerals as well as vegetables, legumes and fruits that provide powerful antioxidants to help maintain your dog’s overall vitality. These kibbles are enriched with special K9 Strain Probiotics, developed specifically for dogs to help with a healthy digestive and immune system.
There is also optimal levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids that supports healthy skin and a shiny coat and there are no signs of preservatives or artificial colors of flavours. This dry dog food is grain free and is highly digestible. It also comes in a buffalo flavor.
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie
- High protein ingredients
- Nutrient Rich And Highly Digestible
The Wellness Core Natural dry dog food comes with a list of guaranteed ingredients, so you know you’re giving your dog only the best nutrition. Formulated with turkey and chicken, this high protein delivers not only a great taste, but also visible benefits such as a shiny coat and great energy. It has optimum fat and calorie levels and is perfect for every day food to keep your dog at a healthy weight. Glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain healthy hips and joints, as well as each kibble being coated with priorities after cooking to ensure a healthy digestive tract.
Alongside the meat, essential minerals and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale are present in this food, giving your doggo great nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids from ingredients such as flaxseed and salmon oil help maintain skin and coat health, too. There are no grains in this food and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
- Savory Food Dogs Love
- Leaner Body Mass And Muscle Tone
- Supports Healthy Skin And Coat
In this Nature’s Recipe dry dog food, chicken is the first ingredient. As a high source of protein, chicken helps maintain muscle health and keeps your dog lean so they can live their most active lifestyle. Sweet potato and pumpkin are also present, giving valuable carbohydrates to your dog without grains and in a form of fiber that will not disrupt the digestive system. This easy to digest dog food helps to support the immune system and glucosamine also added supports healthy hips and joints, whatever age your dog is.
There are active ingredients and antioxidants, as well as calcium and phosphorus in this dry dog food to ensure strong bones and teeth. With no added corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal, artificial colors or flavors, you can ensure your dog is eating only the nutritious food that will keep them in good health. This dry dog food also comes in salmon and lamb flavor — so your dog has options!
- Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
- Easy-to-digest recipe
- With nutrient-dense
This Blue Buffalo Life Protection Forumla dry dog food for adult dogs comes in a chicken and brown rice recipe, with the first ingredient being a real, deboned chicken. This high-quality protein helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles and the wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit help promote a healthy immune system. The essential proteins and carbohydrates in this food help meet the energy needs of your active doggo and this food also features fish oil containing omega-3 & 6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. Also included in this dry dog food is BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits.
This is a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health, life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance. This dog food is available in three different sizes and also comes in a fish and brown rice recipe or a lamb and brown rice recipe.
- Real Meat First
- For Adult Dogs
- With Lifesource Bits
The CANIDAE Pure Premium Dry Dog Food is made with eight key ingredients — salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, canola oil, potatoes and sun-cured alfalfa. This limited ingredient list ensures your dog is not subject to any nasty artificial colors or flavorings, nor corn, wheat or soy, and only eats high-quality natural ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. Each kibble has probiotics added to it after cooking to help support healthy digestion and antioxidants are also added to help support a healthy immune system.
This grain-free dog food also contains omega-6 and 3 fatty acids to help support your pup’s skin and coat and leave them looking and feeling great, no matter what age they are. This kibble also comes in chicken, duck, lamb and wild boar flavors, so you can find a flavor your dog loves.
- 10 Key ingredients or less
- Supported by Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids
- Supported by antioxidants
This dry dog food by “I and love and you” is made with lamb and bison; 30% protein without any by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy, rice, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. The first three ingredients of this dry dog food are meat and poultry sourced and there are added vegetables such as lentils, chickpeas and sweet potatoes for a nutrient-rich meal. With added prebiotics and probiotics, this dry food supports your dog’s healthy digestion system and gastrointestinal health, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 from flaxseed and fish oils that encourage a soft and healthy coat and skin.
This dry dog food is for all stages of your dogs life as well as being the perfect kibble size for all dogs, and is therefore great if you own more than one dog and want to put them all on the same food. This food also comes in chicken and duck flavor and salmon and trout flavor.
- Always Grain Free
- Real Meat Is The First Ingredient
- Added Prebiotics + Probiotics
This Natural Balance dry dog food is vegan and a perfect complete and balanced formula to a meat-based diet. If you or your family are vegan and are interested in switching your dog to vegan food, this dry dog food will give adults dogs the nutrients they need but all from plant-based sources and with no traces of animal products. Instead of meat, this dry dog food is made up of high-quality brown rice, oat groats, barley, green peas and easily digestible potatoes. The brown rice with bran portion intact gives your dog an excellent source of energy from carbohydrates, alongside oat groats that also give carbohydrates as well as fiber.
Barley is a superior source of fiber for good digestion and in this dog food there are also omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy and shiny skin and coat. With complex carbohydrates and protein, green peas are an excellent choice for pet owners seeking alternative ingredients and will still give your dog the energy they need to grow muscle and live an active lifestyle. There are no artificial colors or flavors or anything unnatural in this dog food.
- Premium energy sources
- Natural health support from green peas
- Supports healthy skin and a shiny coat
Halo’s natural dry dog food contains real whole chicken, without any “chicken meal”, so not only is your dog getting the protein they deserve, but they are getting real meat that is more easily digestible, allowing them to absorb more of the nutrients in the food. Perfect for small dogs, the kibble is cut into smaller pieces and is great for smaller mouths, shorter digestive tracts and a higher metabolism.
Also with chicken liver and nourishing grains, as well as vegetables and fruits, this high-protein food is made from non-GMO products and there is no presence of growth hormones, antibiotics, flavors, colors or preservatives. This dry dog food gives your pup only natural, healthy ingredients, so they can have the most active lifestyle possible.
- Certified Sustainably Sourced
- Highly Digestible With Healthy Grains
- Designed For Small Breeds
Ideal for all dogs, this JustFoodForDogs dry dog food is made fresh, yet is nonperishable at room temperature for up to a year, making it extremely easy to travel with, store, and serve. The main ingredient in this dog food is 100% USDA certified chicken, helping your dog’s muscles to grow strong and lean, as well as white rice for good digestion.
Fruits and vegetables such as fresh spinach, apples and carrots give great nutrition as well as a great source of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth. Low in fat, this food is great for weight management and is also recommended for dogs with suspected gluten allergies or a sensitive stomach.
Also with JustFoodForDogs vet-developed nutrient blend and omega plus Icelandic fish oil, this food helps to maintain a healthy skin and coat. There are no preservatives, no growth hormones and no artificial coloring, with all ingredients being fit for human consumption so you know you are giving your dog the best.
- Real Food For Dogs
- Whole-food Ingredients
- Zero Preservatives
Do you wish there was an easy way to get your dog’s weight under control? With this dry food from NUTRO, you can both help your dog lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Designed for large breeds, the food uses both chicken and other natural ingredients that dogs like.
Those ingredients help your dog feel full while eating and in the coming hours to keep it from heading back to the food dish. You can rest assured that your dog gets enough calories to lead an active lifestyle. The recipe lacks the byproducts found in other types of dry food, too.
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- #1 ingredient in the delicious dry kibble
- Helps support healthy weight loss
Diamond Naturals Adult Premium Dry Dog Food
This Diamond Natural dry dog food is made for adult dogs and uses real beef for protein and a superior taste and nutrition. The beef meal, along with chia seeds and quinoa, provides protein for your dog’s bones and muscles, to help them stay active and fit. Also included are brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as kale, blueberries, carrots and papaya to give an optimal array of nutrients to your pup. Powerful antioxidants from superfoods such as oranges and spinach ensure a healthy lifestyle and supported immune system, while levels of glucosamine and chondroitin included in this food helps with joints and cartilage.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids provide your dog with a healthy skin and shiny coat for overall well being too. There is digestive support in this dog food from pumpkin and coconut, combined with fiber from tired chicory root. Diamond Naturals dog food is also formulated with probiotics — beneficial bacteria that supports your dogs digestive system and helps them maintain their health and activity for every stage of their life.
- High quality PROTEIN
- Premium ingredients
- Added vitamins & minerals
Rachael Ray created this delectable, ultra-premium dog food recipe with a lot of love and only the best, high-quality ingredients. Their first ingredient is actual beef, which they claim is high in protein, supports healthy organs, and aids in the maintenance of lean muscle mass. They also included peas and brown rice, which are highly digestible carbohydrates that are low in fat but high in fiber, which helps your dog’s digestion while also providing energy.
- Natural prebiotics help support healthy digestion
- No artificial flavors or artificial preservatives
- No poultry by-product meal, filler, wheat, or wheat gluten ingredients
- Natural dog food with added vitamins & minerals
Featuring natural lean protein packed bison as the first ingredient, the Solid Gold Wolf King dry dog food contains only sustainably sourced high-quality food ingredients for your dog. With a unique blend of twenty different superfoods such as pumpkin, carrots, blueberries and broccoli, your dog is getting the perfect balance of essential vitamins and minerals including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and more to support immune-system functions, aid digestion and boost overall health. Included in this food is also egg protein with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals to support your doggo’s muscle growth and metabolism.
The food is combined with fiber-rich prebiotics that stay alive and viable until consumed, helping your dog achieve optimal digestive and gut health. Per bowl there are 360 calories, 22% protein, 9% fat and 4% fiber and the food is perfect for medium and large breed adult dogs.
- Real Meat
- Powerful Superfood Blend
- Protected Probiotics
Best Dry Dog Food FAQ’s
What is the best way to transition a dog to new food?
Every manufacturer of dry dog food will have a slightly different way of transitioning from another brand to their brand. As a general rule, the best way to transition any food is to do it gradually. For example, if you normally give your pet 2 cups of food, you can give them 1.5 cups of the old food and 0.5 cups of the new food for the first three to five days and see how they take to the new food, watching out for any bad reactions. Then you can slowly transition this to 1 cup of the old food and 1 cup of the new food over the next few days, then 1.5 cups of the new food and 0.5 of the old, until your dog is comfortable just eating the new food.
How long does dry dog food stay fresh?
Firstly, you should look for a dog food that’s best-before date is the furthest away, to ensure you will get the most out of your dog food. Once the bag is opened, the quality of the food can deteriorate quite quickly, with some experts saying it is only good to eat up to six weeks after opening, while others say just two weeks. Regardless, you should keep the food out of direct heat and sunlight and the bag properly closed, and this increases your chance of getting the food to last six weeks.
What’s the best way to store dry dog food?
Dry dog food can be kept for up to six weeks once opened if it is kept in the right way. The kibble should not be removed from the packaging once it has been opened, as the bag is built to support the food for as long as possible. The bag should be resealed when not in use, or the top should be rolled down and kept in place with a clip. It is also a good idea to be careful when opening the bag to ensure you don’t expose all the kibbles to the outside air. Dry dog food should also be kept out of heat.
How is dry dog food made?
All dry dog food should include only natural, nutritious food for your dog. Once the right ingredients have been selected, they are mixed to form a dough. The dough is then baked at a very high temperature and cut into kibble pieces. These kibble pieces are then dehydrated and have all the moisture removed from them, so they become “dry”. Just before packaging, fats, minerals and vitamins are sprayed onto the kibbles — and your dry dog food is ready!
How do I soften dry dog food?
Dry dog food is very simple in the fact that you can just pour it into the bowl and it is ready for your dog to eat. However, some dogs, such as puppies or elderly dogs with no or weak teeth, have trouble biting into the hard dry dog food. If this is the case, you can add water to the dry dog food to soften it. Adding a few tablespoons of warm water is a great way to soften your dogs food before giving it to them.
Can dry dog food go bad in heat?
Yes, it can. We mentioned above that dry dog food can stay good for up to six weeks if resealed properly. However, if it is exposed to heat there can be further dehydration happening in the bag that can reduce the shelf life of the dog food to just two weeks. Therefore, you should always keep your dry dog food out of the humidity and out of direct sunlight.
What can I mix with dry dog food?
You can mix almost anything with your dry dog food — your dog’s old food, water, wet dog food or different shaped and textured dry food to keep your dog interested. It depends on your dog and their needs and how willing they are to eat. If you are struggling with what to give your dog or trying to get them to eat, you can always consult your vet and they will be able to help you.
The food you give your dog is very important for many factors in their life, including their activity, health, growth and weight. Dry dog food is a very convenient food as it can be added to many other foods, all while giving your dog the nutrients and protein they need to stay healthy. Remember to always check the ingredients in the dog food before you buy and stay away from any ambiguous food or food that does not list wholesome, nutritional, quality ingredients. We know in the list above of best dog food you’ll find a dry dog food that works for you and one that your pup will love.