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Our team went out into the field looking for the best canine nutrition products in the world. Our winner for this year is Pupper, which topped our charts in terms of ingredient quality as well as science backed claims.
The dog food industry is home to thousands of options for pet owners, but all of these choices can sometimes be overwhelming—especially when you understand that fillers, artificial ingredients, and not-so-great meat products are often the standard for pet foods. When you want high-quality pet food, where do you look? Luckily, we’ve taken the time to narrow down this enormous industry to just 19 options, so you don’t have to spend all of your time doing the research. Here, you’ll find the 19 best dog foods for 2021. We’ve reviewed ingredients, price, and more to determine which of the thousands of brands makes this comprehensive list, so read on with confidence.
1. Pupper Beef Topper
Pupper is one of the few brands that actually freeze-dries its dog food to ensure those tasty, potent nutrients stay locked into every bite. Made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, this is one of the best brands out there today. A bag will cost you $34.99 and is only available on the company website. This premium dog food is your best choice as far as price, ingredients, and quality of service go. Order yours today and learn why Pupper is trusted by so many as the healthiest dog food brand.
2. Pupper Chicken Topper
Pupper offers another blend, this time with premium, high-quality chicken as the main ingredient. Everything is always freeze-dried to guarantee the potency of every ingredient, and Pupper doesn’t sacrifice quality for cost. As with the beef blend, you’ll get only premium ingredients in every bite, making it the perfect option for puppies and adult dog alike. This food is perfect for every breed and size and exceeds the standards of pet food you’ll find on store shelves. If you want your doggo to get the best, you need to buy Pupper!
Ingredients: Reduce the “eco pawprint” with Chippin’s whole, all-natural ingredients. Featuring omega-3 rich USA wild caught silver carp as the #1 ingredient, combined with gut healthy foods and dog favorites like pumpkin, oats, flaxseed, and spinach. This pawsome food is anti-allergen & oven-baked. Perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
Price/Where To Buy: Score this healthy, eco-conscious food at chippinpet.com. There, you can find a 3.5 lb. bag for just $32.99 (+ save 10% when you subscribe). You’ll also find all of Chippin’s drool-worthy dog jerky & oven-baked treats packed with novel proteins like cricket and spirulina.
The Difference: Crafted with a highly nutritious but overpopulated fish in USA waterways, feeding your dog Chippin helps to restore biodiversity and protect the Great Lakes. This all-natural recipe is great for discerning dogs, sensitive tummies, and eco champs that want to reduce their impact on the environment.
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Blend
Taste of the Wild wants to bring your dog a balanced, nutrient-rich diet that’s closer to their ancestral diet than most dog food brands. Where today many brands fill their recipes with grains and other fillers, Taste of the Wild only adds necessary grains to their meat-rich formulas. You can find several blends complete with high-quality meats like bison, salmon, and free-range chicken on the company website and in many pet food/retail stores. This particular dog food blend costs about $48 on Amazon and comes with Bison and venison. It’s tasty, affordable, and comes with free shipping if you’re a Prime member.
5. Wellness Complete Health (Grain-Free) Blend
Wellness Pet Foods produces high-quality, nutrient-rich foods for dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds. The Complete Health blend is both grain-free and rich in your dog’s favorite flavors. It comes in many varieties, including puppy blend, deboned chicken meal, whitefish, lamb, small breed, and large breed. This flexibility is what makes Wellness Complete Health a top-five option on this list. This blend comes in a 24-lb bag and costs around $56 on most major retailer sites. You can buy this product on Amazon for $56 plus free Prime shipping.
6. Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food
Nature’s Logic is a brand that’s both committed to the quality of its food and the sustainability of its manufacturing practices. This certified plastic neutral product is made with 100% renewable electricity for a difference that can be felt across the globe. In a world where our planet is slowly dying, brands like Nature’s Logic are stepping up to the plate to do their part in the fight against climate change and pollution. Everything is 100% all-natural, produced with love and care, and features premium ingredients for your dog’s health. You can get chicken, beef, pork, and sardine options for dry food, and a 25-lb bag is available on Chewy.com for about $66.
7. Diamond Naturals Beef And Rice Formula
Beef and rice go together in any form, and your dog will love this delicious, high-quality beef and rice blend from Diamond Naturals. Made with only the finest natural ingredients, the blend is exactly what dogs of all sizes need to grow happy and healthy. This beef and rice formula contains only whole grain rice and pasture-raised beef, so you know you’re getting the best quality that money can buy. Your doggo deserves the best, so give them the Diamond standard with Diamond Naturals. A 40-lb. bag is available on Amazon for just $35 with free Prime shipping.
8. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Grain-Free Blend
This blend is perfect for pups at any stage in life, whether they’re just getting their footing as a puppy or on their 100th hunting trip with you as an adult. Diamond Naturals takes pride in its wholesome, healthy ingredients, and this blend comes in several flavors. You can get chicken, beef, and more from Diamond Naturals, for a quality difference your dog deserves. You’ll notice a change once your dog starts eating better, and the Diamond standard is the place to start. You can get a 28-lb bag of this potent, healthy blend at Chewy.com for just $41.
9. Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food Adult Recipe
Adult dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies and adolescents, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need the highest-quality, most potent ingredients that you can get. Whole Earth Farms is a brand that takes both its ingredients and its pets very seriously, and you’ll notice the difference with every bite your doggo takes. This dry adult recipe comes complete with no wheat, corny, soy, or by-products—only wholesome chicken, brown rice, and other natural ingredients. A 25-lb bag is available on Chewy.com for just $39.99.
10. Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage
This chicken-flavored blend is beloved by adult dogs all over the country for its taste, consistency, and downright impeccable ingredients. Earthborn is a brand that takes a more holistic approach to pet foods, designing the recipes to be as close to a natural diet as possible. The dog’s ancestors ate similar foods, and Earthborn believes that today’s pet foods are too weighed down by fillers and artificial ingredients. Protect your dog’s health with Earthborn Adult Vantage. A 25-lb. bag is available on Chewy for just $51, plus free shipping.
11. Earthborn Holistic Bison Meal Recipe
Bison are huge, roaming animals that once flooded the prairies of the western United States. Though their numbers dwindled almost to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries from excessive hunting, massive conservation efforts have seen the return of this iconic American creature. Bison were hunted for meat and other products, but the meat is where the real value is. Bison meat is nutrient-dense and delicious, and Earthborn’s Bison Meal recipe is just what your dog needs for a tasty, healthy meal. A 25-lb. bag of this delicious blend can be purchased on Chewy for about $51, and qualifies for free shipping.
12. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food
When it comes to dog food, too many brands choose fillers over high-quality, potent, natural ingredients. That’s why Natural Balance aims to meet the need for high-quality dog food with its tasty, limited-ingredient dog food blends. The bottom line? Your dog is only getting what it needs—nothing more, nothing less. These simple and nutritious formulas are packed with great ingredients your dog will love and you won’t feel bad buying. We need to keep our best friends healthy, and with Natural Balance, that’s just what you’ll do. You can get a bag of salmon, duck, or chicken-flavored dog food for just $54 for a 28-lb bag. Available on Amazon.
13. Eagle Pack Dry Dog Food Original Chicken And Pork Recipe
Eagle Pack takes pets and their food to heart, which is why the brand only produces the highest-quality foods for its own pets and yours. The difference that such love makes in the food is tangible, and you’ll feel at ease feeding your pup this high-quality chicken and pork recipe. Packed with chicken, pork, brown rice, and all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs, this blend packs a punch at just $44 for a 30-lb bag. This is one of the more affordable options on our list and is available on Chewy.com.
14. Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken And Sweet Potato Recipe
Merrick is a pet food brand that started out in Texas in 1970 and has since become one of the most trusted and well-respected brands in the industry. With a commitment to quality, service, and a love for pets, your doggo will taste and feel the difference this delicious chicken and sweet potato recipe makes. Merrick always produces everything with great care and strict quality standards, ensuring you’re getting the best possible product at the other end of the line. You can get a 30-lb bag on Chewy.com for just $74.99 plus free shipping.
15. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Blends Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t obligate carnivores. That means they need plant-based nutrients in their diets, and those come from quality whole grains in most cases. Merrick understands this, and offers a classic healthy grain blend to meet the needs of every doggo out there who needs more nutrition. Inside, you’ll find potent, healthy grains in the form of whole-grain brown rice, plus chicken for that added flavor and meaty nutrition your dog needs. A 33-lb bag is available on Chewy.com for just $74.99 with free shipping.
16. Merrick Full Source Puppy Recipe
Your puppy needs an ample amount of high-quality food to keep himself going, and with Merrick Full Source Puppy Recipe, he’ll get delicious, freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble for optimal growth and nutrition. Your puppy needs the best food out there to keep up with the demands of being adorable, so give him Merrick’s Full Source puppy recipe! A 20-lb bag of this premium puppy food costs just $74.99 and is available at PetCo.
17. Instinct Grain-Free Blend With Real Chicken
This grain-free dog food recipe also includes high-quality chicken from sustainable sources, so you can feel good about what you’re buying and the great effects it will have on your furry friends. You can buy a 22-lb bag of Instinct’s Grain-Free Chicken Blend online at Chewy.com for just $59.99.
18. Primal Pet Foods Butcher’s Blend
This quality, premium food topper blend from Primal Foods is just what you need to spice up your dog’s food with high-quality proteins and other nutrients. The beef blend is made only with grass-fed cows from the US, so you’re getting high-quality, easily thawed bits in every bite. You can buy a 3-lb. bag of these delicious food toppers for about $19.99 online.
19. Primal Pet Foods Primal Pronto Blends
When it comes to high-quality animal proteins, your doggo needs nothing less than the best. This frozen blend from Primal Pet foods is perfect for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, and offers several options, including duck, chicken, beef, and more. You’ll feel good knowing you’re giving your pup the best in animal proteins from a brand like Primal that takes its food seriously! You can buy this product online in most pet food outlets.
Bonus: Chicken Soup For The Soul Canned Wet Dog Food
Wet foods can be an excellent treat for a hungry doggo, and they’re often made with tasty gravy and other potent ingredients that give them a unique and savory taste. This chicken, turkey, and duck recipe contains only high-quality proteins from fowl sources, complete with carrots, brown rice, and other potent ingredients for optimal nutrition. Dogs will love the flavor, and you’ll notice a huge difference in your dog’s health after a few months of eating this tasty recipe. You can buy a pack of 12 13-oz cans online from Chewy for just $23.88.
Our Criteria for Ranking the Best Dog Food
Choosing the right dog food is essential for your pet's health and well-being. With the plethora of options available in the market, it can be challenging to determine which dog food is best for your furry friend. To simplify this process and help you make an informed decision, we have established a set of criteria for ranking the best dog food products. These criteria are based on scientific research, expert opinions, and the specific nutritional needs of dogs.
Complete and Balanced: The dog food must meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for a complete and balanced diet, ensuring it provides all essential nutrients in the right proportions.
High-Quality Protein: The primary ingredient should be a high-quality animal protein source, such as chicken, beef, or fish, to support your dog's muscle development and overall health.
Whole Grains and Vegetables: Whole grains and vegetables should be included to provide essential carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Absence of Fillers and Artificial Additives:
No Fillers: The best dog food should not contain fillers like corn, soy, or wheat, which offer limited nutritional value and may cause allergies.
No Artificial Additives: It should be free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which can harm your dog's health over time.
Meat Meal vs. Whole Meat:
Preference for Whole Meat: Whole meat sources are preferred over meat meals or by-products, as they are less processed and retain more nutritional value.
Digestibility and Allergen Consideration:
Hypoallergenic Options: For dogs with allergies or sensitivities, hypoallergenic options that avoid common allergens like poultry or grains should be available.
High Digestibility: The dog food should be highly digestible to ensure your pet absorbs the maximum nutrients from each meal.
Life Stage Appropriateness:
Age and Size-Specific Formulations: The best dog food should offer formulations tailored to your dog's life stage (puppy, adult, senior) and size (small, medium, large).
Transparency and Sourcing:
Transparent Labeling: Brands should provide transparent information about ingredient sourcing and processing methods.
Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing: A commitment to sustainable and ethical sourcing of ingredients reflects a brand's responsibility toward animal welfare and the environment.
Health Benefits and Special Considerations:
Support for Special Health Needs: The best dog food may offer formulations to address specific health concerns, such as joint health, dental care, or weight management.
Customer Feedback and Reviews:
Positive User Experiences: Customer feedback and reviews are valuable indicators of a product's performance, safety, and palatability.
Price and Value:
Affordability: The cost of the dog food should be reasonable and commensurate with its quality and ingredients, offering good value for pet owners.
Recall History and Safety:
Safety Record: Brands with a history of recalls or safety issues should be viewed with caution, as the safety of your pet is paramount.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Dog Food
What should I consider when choosing dog food for my pet?
When choosing dog food, consider factors such as your dog's age, size, activity level, any allergies or sensitivities, and consult your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations.
What is the difference between dry and wet dog food?
Dry dog food (kibble) is convenient, has a longer shelf life, and can help with dental health. Wet dog food contains more moisture and can be more palatable for picky eaters. Some owners choose to feed a combination for variety.
Is homemade dog food a good option?
Homemade dog food can be an option but requires careful research and balance to ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients. Consulting with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist is recommended.
How can I tell if a dog food is of high quality?
Look for high-quality protein sources, whole grains and vegetables, minimal fillers and additives, and adherence to AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition. Checking customer reviews and consulting experts can also help.
Should I choose a dog food based on my dog's breed?
While some breed-specific formulas exist, it's more important to consider your dog's individual needs, age, and size when selecting dog food.
What should I do if my dog has food allergies or sensitivities?
If your dog has allergies or sensitivities, consult your veterinarian for advice. They may recommend hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient dog foods.
Is grain-free dog food a better choice?
Grain-free dog food isn't necessarily better. While some dogs may benefit from grain-free options, it's essential to ensure the food still provides balanced nutrition, as some grain-free diets have been associated with certain health issues.
How often should I feed my dog, and in what portion sizes?
Feeding frequency and portion sizes depend on your dog's age, size, and activity level. Puppies typically require more frequent meals. Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging and adjust based on your dog's needs.
Can I mix different brands or types of dog food?
Mixing different brands or types of dog food can be done, but it should be done gradually to avoid digestive upset. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best way to transition your dog to a new diet.
Should I be concerned about recalls when choosing dog food?
Yes, it's important to stay informed about recalls. Check the FDA and manufacturer websites regularly for recall information. Brands with a history of recalls may be worth avoiding.
What is the role of my veterinarian in selecting dog food?
Your veterinarian can provide valuable guidance on selecting the right dog food based on your pet's specific needs, health conditions, and dietary requirements.
How can I ensure my dog stays hydrated when feeding dry dog food?
Always provide access to clean, fresh water. Wetting the dry food or incorporating wet food into the diet can also increase moisture intake.
Can I give my dog human food as part of their diet?
While some human foods are safe for dogs, it's essential to know which ones are and to avoid potentially toxic foods. Always consult with your veterinarian before adding human food to your dog's diet.
Remember that each dog is unique, and their dietary needs may vary. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian and open communication about your dog's diet are key to ensuring their health and well-being.