The Best Brand Dog Food

by | Oct 27, 2019 | 0 comments

With the number of options available in the market today, choosing the best brand dog food can be an overwhelming task.

Just to give you an idea of how much choice you have when trying to pick the best brand, you are presented with more than 950 dog food reviews, you also have to browse through hundreds of product lines and upwards of 4100 recipes.

No worries! In this post, we will examine tips to keep in mind when looking for the best brand dog food. We will also narrow the choices for you by highlighting some of the best brands you may consider.

Let’s dig in.

The Best Brand Dog Food

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Blue Buffalo
  • Always feature real meat as the first ingredient
  • Made from high-quality protein
  • Contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits
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Taste of the Wild
  • Ingredients from trusted, sustainable sources around the world
  • Made in the USA
  • Food made with scientifically advanced food safety protocols
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Nutro
  • Superb taste, wholesome ingredients
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Energize your pet from the inside out
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Pure Balance
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Natural ingredients with added vitamins
  • Trusted brand by many
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Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Made in usa
  • All natural
  • Contains only premium ingredients
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What to look for when choosing the best dog food

What’s the best dog food brand? Check the label

Pet food labels contain a lot of vital information. They can however be difficult to read. To ensure you get the best brand dog food without having to waste too much time, go for brands that have multiple product lines with high ratings. A low-rated recipe is likely to have:

  • Less meat.
  • More byproducts.
  • Preservatives.
  • Anonymous meat ingredients.

Research the company

what is the best dog food brand? Those made by large companies or those made by smaller organizations?

Dog owners tend to think that large companies are to be avoided when choosing the best brand dog food. They believe smaller brands are more likely to manufacture high quality dog foods.

The numbers tell a different tale. Over 90% of all the dog food sales in the united states come from three companies; Purina, Big Heart and Mars. Most of the recalled foods were products of small brands.

This is to say that bigger pet food brands are more likely to produce the best brand dog food than smaller brands. Smaller brands are less likely to have the financial capability to source for high quality ingredients and perform all the steps required to formulate the best brand dog food. With a few exceptions. Large pet food companies are in a better position to:

  • Employ animal nutritionists, food scientists and other veterinary professionals to design their products.
  • Check the raw materials for nutrient content and impurities.
  • Own and operate their own manufacturing facilities.
  • Conduct quality control and safety procedures on a regular basis.
  • Have their own in-house testing laboratories.
  • Verify their finished goods before they are shipped.

This is not to say that all the brands of dog foods are large companies, however, the smaller the company, the more reason you have to look beyond the label.

Identify the manufacturer

It is not uncommon for dog owners to assume that their favorite pet food company made the products they are selling. This assumption can lead to poor decisions when trying to choose the best brand dog food. Why, because today, companies hire third party packers to help manufacture some or all of their foods. Other companies still make their own.

Outsourcing their manufacturing work does not make a dog food brand good or bad. What is important is to know the manufacturer and what their process is. This way, it will be easier for you to judge the safety of their products by tracking their recall history.

Question the product design

You might be surprised to learn that the law does not require dog food to be formulated by a veterinary nutritionist or any other veterinary professional. Even amateurs can set up a shop, manufacture the dog food and then label it the best brand dog food. To ensure your dog is getting the best nutritional care it can get, contact each brand you are thinking of buying from and find out who designs its products and what qualifications they have.

Confirm nutrient testing

Most dog food companies claim to manufacture the best brand dog food. But how can we be sure each of their recipes is balanced and nutritionally complete? How often do they perform nutritional testing? How do they do this testing? Do they run feeding trials or conduct laboratory analysis?

Smaller companies are more likely to never test their products but even when dealing with large companies, it is important to always find out what a company does to test its products and ensure they meet the nutritional guidelines laid out by AAFCO.

Investigate Ingredient Sources

The best brand dog food is only as good as its ingredients. It is therefore surprising that some labels reveal so little about the quality of the ingredients used in formulating the dog feed.

While some dog companies source their products from untrusted sources such as from commodity brokers in the open market, the best brands source their ingredients from established local and regional suppliers.

Although federal law does not require a dog food company to disclose its source of ingredients or country of origin, it is better to avoid brands that refuse to share this information.

Demand transparency

The best brand dog food would never try to conceal vital information the way some suspicious brands do.

Some brands will operate without a website, create a false sense of customer support through the use of voice mail and refuse to be questioned by third-party websites that report about dog foods.

Hostile and defensive companies are highly unlikely to be among the best brand dog food. They probably have something to hide and should not be trusted. Never buy dog food or any other pet food from a secretive company that refuses to share information about its products.

Study the recall history

Dog food recalls have a lot to say about a dog’s manufacturing practices. They are highly misunderstood by pet owners and most of them overreact to them because they overvalue their significance.

It is important to understand that any process involving humans is prone to errors. Accidents can happen anytime. This is why dog food recalls are so unpredictable. In fact, it is impossible to predict a pet food recall. That being said, dog food companies have the power to control how they respond to a recall.

Unfortunately, some companies work very hard to cover up such events. The best brand dog food would never try to hide the fact that one of their dog food was recalled.

Just because one recipe was recalled does not mean that the entire brand is lacking. Most pet owners forego some of the best brand dog foods because of a few isolated cases. Please don’t make the same mistake as them.

You now know what to look for when choosing the best dog food brands for your pet. Now let us look at the best dog food brands for puppies.

What is the best dog food brand?

 

Blue Buffalo

Blue buffalo has impressed numerous pet owners because of its efforts in taking care of cats and dogs. As a result, it has always ranked as one of the best brands of dog food in the world market.

The Blue Buffalo community believes that the dog is not a mere possession that the family owns. It is a valuable friend and a member of the family. Their dog food recipes are therefore high quality meals designed for a valuable member of the family.

This dog food brand uses the choosiest ingredients to formulate their dog food. All their recipes are free of grains, fillers, and artificial ingredients. The company even has a special formula for sick dogs and dental chews for optimal care of modern pets. It is not surprising then, that the company has risen from a family owned pet food company to one of the best dog food brands for puppies in the market today.

Blue Buffalo is also one of the best dog food brands for puppies. Their formulations such as Blue Buffalo life protection dry puppy food are created for an optimum puppy nutrition.

Key features

  • Animal proteins are the main ingredient.
  • Recipes are made from the highest quality natural and wholesome ingredients.
  • Grain-free, gluten-free formulas.
  • Limited ingredient diet formulation.
Blue Buffalo

Provides dog food recipes that are of high quality and specifically designed for your dogs

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild stands out from the other dog foods in our list of the best brands of dog food because of its unique perspective on what dogs need to feed on.

This brand of dog food comes with uncommon novel animal proteins such as buffalo, bison, lamb, venison and salmon among others. What is more, Taste of the Wild also uses geographic regions to create thematic variations in its dog food selection.

The high prairie version, for instance, is perfect for dogs that want to feed on venison, buffalo, and bison. The pacific stream, on the other hand, contains salmon, while sierra mountain has lamb. The Westlands comes with turkey and duck, the pine forest with venison and lamb. The southwestern canyon river features tout and the Appalachian features duck, lamb, and venison.

Taste of the Wild is one of the best brands of dog food for dogs that have allergies related to chicken and beef, it also ranks among the best brands for puppies.

Key features

  • Geographic regions-themed ancestral diets.
  • Grain and gluten-free formula.
  • Novel, unique, hypoallergenic animal proteins.
  • The recipes energy source is wholesome healthy carbs.
Taste of the Wild

Comes with uncommon novel animal proteins such as buffalo, bison, lamb, venison and salmon among others

 

Nutro

Next on our list of best brands is Nutro. The company is known for formulating dog food recipes that are relatively simple but still deliver the right amount of nutrients needed.

Nutro makes its dog food from non-GMO ingredients. All the ingredients used in making the dog food are sourced from reputable producers and suppliers.

The grain formulation is great for dogs with gluten related allergies while the wholesome essentials is good for dogs of all ages and breeds.

Nutro’s limited ingredients wild frontier formulations and healthy stews are packed with novel proteins such as venison. The maximum venison contains organic chicken straight from the farm and the ultra-formulation has a unique blend of lamb, salmon and chicken for optimum brain development in puppies. This means that Nutro is also one of the best dog food brands for puppies. The ultra and Max are specifically made for puppies.

Key Features

  • Non-GMO gluten-free formulation.
  • Easy to recognize ingredients.
  • First ingredient is a high quality animal protein.
  • Simple but purposeful dog diets.
Nutro

This brand is known for formulating dog food recipes that are relatively simple but still deliver the right amount of nutrients needed

 

Pure Balance

Pure balance is the best brand of dog food for parents who want their dogs to have a good balance of fats and proteins without having to spend the hefty sums charged by high-end food brands.

This dog food is created by Walmart, so it is readily available. All you have to is visit the nearest Walmart store in your area. Despite being budget friendly, Pure Balance comes off as an excellent choice for when you want a bit of variety in your dog’s diet.

There is not much that sets Pure Balance apart from the other best brands but it does contain natural animal ingredients as the primary source of proteins.

Some formulations of Pure Balance contain novel carbohydrates. All their recipes are gluten free.

Key Features

  • Well balanced formulation
  • Wholesome and healthy carbs
  • Contains real animal protein as the first ingredient
  • Highly accessible as it’s made by Walmart
  • Friendly pricing
Pure Balance

This brand comes off as an excellent choice for when you want a bit of variety in your dog’s diet

 

Wellness Natural Pet Food

Wellness Natural pet food believes that nutrition is the foundation of the health of all living organisms, humans and pets included.  As a result, this dog food brand insists on using natural ingredients in the formulation of their pet foods. They also cut out on the fluff and fillers that other manufactures add to their dog foods.

Their dog foods include Wellness Natural, core, TruFood, complete health and simple.

Wellness simple dog food is formulated from a list of limited ingredients. It is highly suitable for a dog that is undergoing an elimination diet.

TruFood is a delicious dog meal consisting of deliciously baked treats that are useful for positive reinforcement purposes.

Wellness complete health is recognized by pet owners as the best brand dog food for its effectiveness in restoring dog health.

Key features

  • The main ingredients are real meat and animal proteins
  • Ingredients are easy to digest and utilize
  • Wholesome recipes created for optimum whole body canine health
  • Grain free formulations free of fluff and fillers
Wellness Natural Pet Food

This dog food brand insists on using natural ingredients in the formulation of their pet foods

 

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet stands out from all other dog foods for creating diets that are highly specific to different dog breeds and diseases such as gastrointestinal condition, diabetics and hip dysplasia. This dog food brand does not seem to believe in the existence of gluten allergies in dogs. Most of its recipes contain soy, wheat, and corn among other cereals and grains that are likely to cause allergies in dogs.

This dog food brand therefore only appeals to parents whose dogs are not sensitive to gluten. Even with the inclusion of grains, Hill’s Science Diet stands out for many dog parents and veterinarians for its ingenious creations of unique formulations that cater for dogs of all breeds and those suffering from various health conditions. Since its formulations are specially designed for specific dog breeds, Hills Science is one of the best brands of dog food for puppies.

Key features

  • Well balanced preparations.
  • Prescription diets designed by veterinarians.
  • Highly specific recipes for dogs of different breeds, sizes and conditions.
  • Unlike most of the best brands, the animal protein might not always be the first ingredient.
Hill’s Science Diet

Stands out for many dog parents and veterinarians for its ingenious creations of unique formulations that cater for dogs of all breeds and those suffering from various health conditions

 

Rachael Ray Nutrish

The Nutrish line of dog food was created through a collaboration between Rachael Ray, a chef and TV personality and Ainsworth pet nutrition, a leading pet food manufacturer.

The recipes used to make the recipes are inspired by recipes made by Rachael Ray. This brand of dog food does not come cheap, but dog parents love it because of its wide variety of dog food that contains premium quality animal proteins as the main ingredient. All the ingredients used are natural.

The Nutrish dog food line comes with beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, turkey, and venison. The recipe also contains healthy fruits and vegetables and wholesome grains excluding those known to cause allergic reactions.

Rachael Ray Nutrish lines also features special diets that are useful for parents whose dogs are have very specific nutritional needs. You might also want to support this brand as it uses some proceeds made from the sale of dog food to support pets that live in shelters.

Key features

  • The first ingredient is a premium quality animal protein
  • Renewed shelter pet philanthropy
  • Wholesome and all-natural ingredients
  • Specialty diet formulations available
Rachael Ray Nutrish

Does not come cheap, but dog parents love it because of its wide variety of dog food that contains premium quality animal proteins

 

Purina Pro Plan

The one feature that distinguishes Purina from other brands of dog food is that it comes in four different variants that take care of specific dog requirements.

For an optimal day to day nutrition for your dog, go for the Savor. The focus is created for dogs that have unique needs such as diabetics, obesity and arthritis. If you have a sporting dog, Purina has designed Purina Pro’s Sports Variant as a way of supporting its highly active life.

On top of providing these top quality dog foods, Purina is also one of the best dog food brands for puppies. Its Pro Plan bright mind is specially formulated for the formulation of brain development in puppies.

All of Purina’s formulations are created from high quality animal proteins and a variety of wholesome carbs, fatty acids, fruits, and vegetables. The brand believes in customizing a dog’s diet to meet its nutritional requirements so you can count on Purina Pro Plan to give your dog the nutrition it needs.

Key features

  • Recipes are made from premium quality ingredients
  • Animal meats are the main ingredients
  • Easily digestible carbs packed with antioxidants
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Contains no fillers, corn, soy or wheat
Purina Pro Plan

Are created from high quality animal proteins and a variety of wholesome carbs, fatty acids, fruits, and vegetables

 

Natural Balance

Natural Balance recipes are not only tasty; they are also full of nutrients. The diets are perfect for weight management, healthy digestion and improved allergy symptoms among other benefits. This dog food brand also manufactures specialty diets that are high in protein content and are made from a strictly vegetarian formula and grain free preparations.

Natural Balance uses animal proteins such as lamb, venison, salmon, and chicken. Although it’s a little limited compared to other dog food in our list of best dog food brands that contain novel proteins, it should be enough for your dog seeing that it also contains brown rice, legumes and sweet potatoes.

Each batch of dog food from natural balance is carefully tested for safety before it is sent for distribution. If you are a dog parent who has been wondering what is the best dog food brand that offers optimal nutrition for your dog without leaving a hole in your pocket, Natural balance is the answer.

Key features

  • Specialty diets for specific dog needs.
  • The first ingredient is high quality animal protein.
  • Safety-tested dog food products.
  • Contains wholesome grains, lentils, vegetables, legumes and fruits.
Natural Balance

This brand manufactures specialty diets that are high in protein content and are made from a strictly vegetarian formula and grain free preparations

 

Canidae

Canidae started manufacturing dog food in 1996. It began as a family owned business bit it has grown into one of the best dog food brands that creates several canine foods that make use of natural ingredients.

What is unique about Canidae is that rather than a source for all their products like most other dog food companies, they grow their own ingredients. This ensures that they get the highest possible quality and nutrient value each time.

The pure formulation contains fresh meat or fish as its main ingredient. The pure ancestral formulation is perfect for dogs that require higher amounts of proteins. Canidae also ranks high on the list of best dog food brands for puppies. Its pure petite contains eight ingredients only, making it ideal for puppies whose digestive systems are still developing.  The under the sun variety is famous among pet parents. It is considered the best all-round diet for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Key Features

  • Grain free formulation
  • The brand grows most of its ingredients
  • The first ingredient is a premium animal protein
  • Limited ingredients and specialty diets for different dogs
Canidae

This brand grows their own ingredients. This ensures that they get the highest possible quality and nutrient value each time

Pedigree

Pedigree is a subsidiary of mars. The brand roots go back as early as 1932 but it only started manufacturing quality dog feeds in 1957. Pedigree is considered one of the best dog food brands worldwide.

The company produces both wet and dry foods as well as canine treats that can be put to different uses. Only the top quality ingredients are included in its formulation.

Pedigree is still attached to its past, so it has not moved away from the traditional beef, lamb, chicken, and fish formulations. These recipes have however improved dramatically over the years. The recipe contains wheat, soy, and corn, but it still remains one of the best dog food brands.

Key features

  • High protein and moderate fat formulations
  • The first ingredient is an animal protein
  • Most preparations include corn, wheat and soy
  • No artificial ingredients
Pedigree

Produces both wet and dry foods as well as canine treats and uses only top quality ingredients

Merrick

Merrick believes that pets need more than just food. They require the very best that humans can give them. The company has therefore joined hands with trustworthy supplies and local producers to supply them with high quality ingredients.

They use deboned animal protein ensuring that every bit of meat is that goes into their dog food formulation is packed with nutrients and flavors.

Merrick has over 200 pet formulations most of which contain healthy nutraceuticals such as prebiotics, chondroitin, probiotics, and glucosamine. All the ingredients are selected with care to ensure they cater for the changing needs of dogs.

Some Merrick recipes provide ancestral diet-like recipes to the dogs. The formulations are also budget friendly.

Key features

  • Contains no artificial ingredients
  • First ingredients are deboned animal proteins
  • Easily digestible proteins and wholesome carbs
  • Botanicals and nutraceuticals included in most recipes
Merrick

Uses deboned animal protein ensuring that every bit of meat is that goes into their dog food formulation is packed with nutrients and flavors

Fromm

Fromm is a family pet food company that offers a variety of artisan dog foods that despite being unique, they still provide optimum nutrition for canines.

The brand provides four product lines that address the needs of various canines. Their four star products are prepared like gourmet meals to ensure your dog gets a splendid but equally nutritious meal.

Fromm’s food is the best brand of dog food for when you want to give your dog a break from bland dog food. Their heartland gold is perfect for dogs of all life stages. The classic is the best for dogs that need a truly balanced formulation while Pete is for dogs that love wet food.

Key features

  • Fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables
  • Artisan gourmet meals for dogs
  • Well balanced and complete canine nutrition
  • Small controlled batches of food production
Fromm

Offers a variety of artisan dog foods that despite being unique, they still provide optimum nutrition for canines

Orijen

If you are a pet owners wondering what is the best dog food brand that offers biologically appropriate dog food, Orijen is your answer. The dog food brand strongly believes in the use of locally grown ingredients in all of their dog meals. The brand also boasts of whole prey ratios that provide the needed amounts of proteins and other nutrients that would be found in a dog ancestral diet.

Orijen further fortifies every formulation with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, further enhancing the nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate food for all dogs. Every pack of Orijens dog food contains 85% premium quality meats. Out of these, one third comes from dehydrated meat while the other two thirds is fresh. The recipes also include organ meats and cartilage. These are the same parts that would make up a natural canine diet.

Orijens formulations further include chickpeas, lentils and several other low-glycemic index foods that help to control glucose levels. In short, giving Orijen meals to your dog is like providing a whole prey for it to devour. This is the principal of feeding dogs with raw foods.

Key features

  • 85% premium quality meats
  • Whole prey rations that contain up to 10% meats
  • Biologically appropriate formulations
  • No plant based proteins included
Orijen

A brand that offers biologically appropriate dog food

Wellness Core

Wellness Core online of dog food is manufactured by the makers of Wellness Natural. The dog food brand is specially formulated for dogs that need exceptionally large amounts of easy to digest animal proteins. Each formulation is well packed with well-balanced amino acids.

The recipe’s high protein content and use of premium quality, all natural ingredients is what catches the attention of dog parents. Wellness Core’s recipes also include fruits, vegetables and wholesome starches and grains.

Cores selection cannot compete with other high protein dog foods. While other top brands use wild boar, bison and buffalo in their recipes, Wellness Core still uses the more traditional chicken and beef although it does have salmon. Turkey, boar and whitefish formulations.

Key features

  • High-protein formulations
  • Available in several specialty diets
  • Novel and easy to digest proteins and carbs
Wellness Core

This brand is specially formulated for dogs that need exceptionally large amounts of easy to digest animal proteins

Final word

A dog is more than an animal. It is a member of our family and a trusted friend who sits at our table. Like other family members, we must select the best brand of dog food that will provide the full nourishment and flavor.

So, what is the best dog food brand? This article provides details on some of the best brands of dog food, and the best brands of dog food for puppies. It should give you a good starting point when shopping for the best dog food for your dog.

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Amanda Wilson
A licensed veterinarian and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Amanda Wilson grew up in a family of biologists and veterinarians from her hometown of Boston, MA. Amanda used to work in an animal research facility in California. However, she had a change of heart after being assigned temporarily to support a big state animal shelter and seeing the conditions of the dogs admitted. She felt that they deserve more love and that first-time pet parents should be well-informed about all aspects of pet parenthood—even the not-so-great ones.

Currently practicing at her own clinic in another city, Amanda lives with her husband and son, as well as their family dog—a Dalmatian named Tiny. Aside from attending to the needs of her fur-bulous clients, she also enjoys teaching young children about responsible pet parenting.