As much joy as our pups bring us, shopping for dog food is overwhelming. There are thousands of brands to pick from, with a whole slew of ingredients and additives with confusing words like propylene glycol and chondroitin. Then you have to worry about fillers, dangerous preservatives, and if companies are using real meat or not.
Although we wish there were a single brand that made the perfect food for your dog, the truth is, it’s much more complicated than that. You shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for dog food. To find the best food for your pup, you need to consider their breed, age, size, goal weight, food restrictions, and allergies. We also highly recommend consulting with your veterinarian for help in achieving the best diet for your dog.
We know how important nutrition is for our pets and want to help you find a suitable brand of food for your dog. So, we’ve conducted several hours of research on dog food by investigating recalls, reading ingredient lists, scouring reviews, and comparing them to separate the best brands from the rest.
Our picks come from brands that employ food scientists and nutritionists to create and maintain their pet meals. They have quality-assurance tests in place to ensure their food is consistently safe and nutritious. Unfortunately, companies can mess up, and many times they use third parties to manufacture their food, which leads to an increased chance of error. Because of this, we recommend being proactive by paying attention to the FDA’s pet-food recalls page.
We have highlighted dog foods for buyers looking to feed puppies, senior dogs, large and small breeds, as well as showcasing some brands that help dogs with weight loss or that suffer from allergies. We have picks for dry, wet, raw, and dehydrated food. Given that the average price of pet food rose from $1.71 a pound in 2011 to $2.55 a pound in 2017, we also want to appeal to shoppers on a budget looking for a wholesome and healthy meal for their fur babies — so we have a best budget pick, too. Bone appétit!
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Original Formula Dry Dog Food (26 pounds)
The truth is, there’s no single dry dog food brand that’s hands-down the best option for all dogs. However, given Wellness Pet Food’s rich ingredient list, and its lack of preservatives, additives, and fillers, we think it stood out from the rest of the pack.
Dog Food Advisor enthusiastically recommended Wellness Core for its significant meat content and above average protein. The site awarded it with a 5-star rating (the highest possible), and BestReviews also named the food its Best of the Best Pick.
Although it’s a tad pricier than other options, we think the extra cost is worth it given the brand’s transparency, extensive quality assurance, and safety programs.
Read More: Now That You Have the Food, Shop Our Favorite Dog Bowls!
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Recipe With Roasted Bison & Venison (30 pounds)
Owning a dog is expensive. According to a study by Rover, the average monthly cost of pet ownership is $153. If you want to save some dough, we recommend Taste of the Wild’s numerous dry dog foods. The most popular flavor, the High Prairie recipe — which costs $1.63 per pound at the time of publishing — is made from the roasted meat of pasture-raised bison and venison.
Although 32% of the grain-free formula is protein, it’s also packed with vegetables, legumes, and fruits, including sweet potatoes, peas, tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Taste of the Wild is a favorite brand of Top Dog Picks. We’re also fans of the salmon-laden Pacific Stream Canine recipe, as well.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Recipe With Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison
As you’d expect, this Taste of the Wild dry food is similar to the Prairie option we previously mentioned, but its formula is still packed with delicious red meat, and its kibbles are smaller in size, to make it easier for your new dog to chew and swallow.
Business Insider also named this grain-free option its Best for Puppies pick because it’s loaded with premium animal proteins, and is free from artificial additives. We think your new puppy will love its delicious flavor, too!
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food (30 pounds)
As your dog gets older, you should eventually adjust their diet. Senior dogs are less active and require fewer calories than younger pups. Even though it’s difficult to admit, your dog probably has slowed down significantly, too.
Wellness Complete Health dog food features plenty of high-quality proteins, along with joint supporting nutrients to help keep your old fella in good shape. Each recipe is crafted with antioxidants to support strong immune systems to keep your pal healthy and happy.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food (24 pounds)
If you’re the proud owner of a “pupper” like Rupert “who went from handheld nugget to certified big boy in a matter of months,” we think Blue Buffalo’s large breed formula is one of the best options for your supersized lap dog.
Canine Weekly and Dog Food Advisor also hold it in high regard. That’s because it’s made with the finest natural ingredients — this particular formula is grain-free with salmon, but there are also recipes with chicken or beef. This dry food is also formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to help promote joint health.