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25 Best Dog Food Brands For 2019

Dog Food Nutrition June 29, 2019
dog food west

25 Best Dog Food Brands For 2019

Best Dog Food Brands

We all want to feed our dogs the best, healthiest dog foods available. The trouble is that every dog is different. And information about what makes the “best” dog food is changing all the time.

People can have very different ideas about which foods are best. One dog lover might prefer a raw food diet while another believes organic dog food is best.

If your dog has a health problem such as diabetes, you might need a different “best” food for that condition.

In this article we’ll look at a wide range of best dog food brands, including our #1 choice of best dog food that most dogs would be able to eat.

We’ll also look at some kinds of dog food to avoid. They may not be the foods you think based on recent research and FDA warnings.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks For Best Dog Food Brands:

Our Criteria

Our list of best dog food brands will probably look a little different than other lists you see online.

That’s not because we’re not familiar with the top selling brands or the ratings that dog foods usually receive from other sources.

It’s because we look at what’s healthy for your dog and follow the latest scientific and veterinary health information.

For the last 10-15 years, grain-free dog foods have been skyrocketing in sales, partly due to marketing.

There have never been any studies that showed grain-free dog foods were healthier for dogs.

Many dog foods have also become popular based on the trend toward feeding dogs what humans like to eat.

According to veterinary nutritionists, boutique dog foods that are grain-free or that use exotic ingredients can be more likely to lead to health problems for dogs.

This became clear in the summer of 2018 when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) put out a warning about grain-free dog foods and their possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a serious heart problem that can kill dogs.

It is associated with a few breeds genetically but there has been a surge in cases in recent years.

It is now being diagnosed in all kinds of dogs, even small breeds – dogs that have no genetic predisposition to DCM.

Research is showing that the form of DCM that is being seen so often now appears to be diet-related in some dogs.

Per the FDA warning, dog lovers were advised to be careful about feeding their dogs food that contained large amounts of peas, legumes, lentils, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

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These are the ingredients that are often found in grain-free dog foods. The FDA and veterinary cardiologists continue to investigate the problem.

Veterinary nutritionists and other experts indicate that the problem may not be simply grain-free dog foods. Instead, the problem may lie with the dog food companies.

Many companies have won AAFCO approval for their foods based on nutrient profiles instead of feeding trials, for example.

They may not employ veterinary nutritionists to formulate their foods or conduct nutrition research.

They may lack appropriate quality control measures or testing of their foods after production.

All of these things can result in pet foods that are lacking in nutrients that dogs need for long-term health.

A product may have a great label and the ingredients can look good but your dog’s health could be put at risk in the future.

That’s why our criteria for choosing foods takes into consideration the FDA’s warning about the ingredients to avoid (in large amounts).

We are staying informed about the testing for taurine levels and the dog foods that have been associated with low levels; as well as the foods dogs have been eating that are testing with good taurine levels.

Most of the companies that conduct feeding trials, do nutrition research, and employ veterinary nutritionists are big companies.

They are not always popular companies and they aren’t usually the “boutique” brands. The small, trendy companies can’t always afford to do these things.

But, when it comes to your dog’s health, good nutrition should be more important than buying a popular or trendy food.

Our #1 Choice for Best Dog Food

Farmina N & D Ancestral Low Grain Dry Dog Food

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety:  5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research:  5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes:  5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Our choice for the best dog food brand today is Farmina N & D Ancestral Low Grain Dry Dog Food. Farmina has been little-known in the U.S. until recently but it’s well-known in Europe.

We have found this food to be excellent. With the announcement in the summer of 2018 that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration was concerned about grain free dog foods and their possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, many dog lovers began looking for good grain-inclusive foods.

We believe that Farmine N & D Ancestral Low Grain is the best grain-inclusive food available today.

We especially like the cod formula but all of the low-grain formulas are very good.

The food is made in Italy and the company works with the Chair of Animal Nutrition at the University of Naples to formulate the food.

It contains 60 percent high quality animal ingredients for protein, 20 percent organic spelt and organic oats, and 20 percent vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals.

Farmina’s low-grain foods have been in high demand recently so they have been hard to find at times but the company says they have caught up with the demand.

These low-grain formulas have been performing very well in dogs that have had their taurine levels tested.

Best Affordable: Whole Earth Farms

Rating:

  • Ingredients:  4 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall  Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

There are plenty of cheap dog food brands out there, but Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry Food is an affordable option that offers decent quality. This brand is produced by Merrick, one of the top dog food brands on the market, and most of their recipes are grain-free. This particular recipe features lean proteins like chicken and turkey with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas.

This dog food is free from byproducts as well as low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. It is made in the USA and designed to support balanced nutrition as well as healthy skin and coat. You’ll also love that it contains beneficial supplements like chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption as well as probiotics for healthy digestion.

Best Dry Dog Food Brands

Royal Canin

Rating:

  • Ingredients:  4 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall  Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Royal Canin is one of the best dog food brands you can buy today for any kind of dog. Regardless if you have a small or large breed, Royal Canin makes various foods for different breeds and sizes of dogs.

Their foods are tailored to the unique needs of different dogs based on their size and breed.

They also make different lifestage formulas so if you have a puppy, adult dog, or a mature older dog, your pet can get the nutrition he needs.

We can especially recommend the Golden Retriever formulas if you have a Golden Retriever and you are concerned about dilated cardiomyopathy. Dogs with arthritis or other joint mobility problems can benefit from the company’s mobility formulas.

A regular medium-sized dog with no particular health problems would do well eating Royal Canin Dog Food for Medium-Sized Dogs.

If you have an extra small or small dog, she could do well eating Royal Canin X-Small or Royal Canin Small dry dog foods which come in various lifestyle formulas.

Purina Pro Plan Sport

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Purina Pro Plan Sport is one of Purina’s top foods. It comes in several different versions. The 30/20 version has 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat. Owners often buy it for very active dogs because of the high fat content which provides lots of calories for dogs that are hunting, doing agility, or working.

It’s available in the all life stage formula, the maintenance chicken and egg formula with no grain or soy, and the salmon and rice formula. Pro Plan Sport also comes in a turkey and barley formula that is 27/17 protein and fat.

It contains no corn, wheat, or soy. There is also an active 26/16 all life stage formula for dogs that don’t need quite as much fat or calories in their diet.

We can recommend the 30/20 and 26/16 all life stage formulas. These formulas do contain grains and they seem to be doing better with dogs that have been tested for dilated cardiomyopathy.

Purina invests heavily in pet nutrition research, producing breakthrough products such as Pro Plan Bright Mind (another product we can recommend) that helps improve memory and cognition in older dogs.

Eukanuba Active Performance 28/18 Dog Food

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Eukanuba makes several good foods you could consider if you’re looking for a good dog food for your dog.

We particularly like Eukanuba Active Performance 28/18 Dog Food. This food could be higher in fat than some pet owners like since it’s formulated for very active dogs but it’s been performing very well for people who feed it.

If you prefer a food that has less fat or one that isn’t formulated for very active dogs, Eukanuba also make foods that are tailored to specific breeds and to dogs of different sizes.

For example, they have breed specific formulas for Boxers, Dalmatians, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, and more. Eukanuba also has weight control and mobility dog foods, if your dog needs these products.

You will find that some of these brands (perhaps all of them) also make grain-free dog foods.

We only recommend their grain-inclusive foods that fit the FDA’s criteria.

We haven’t seen evidence that grain-free foods from these companies are necessarily any better than grain-free foods from other companies that have been having problems.

Also ReadBest Dry Dog Food

Best Raw Dog Food Brands

Most raw dog food brands have been recalled at some point in time, usually for Salmonella, so we have not used that as our criteria.

The government inspection process has become so advanced today that even the slightest trace of Salmonella can be found in a facility and that’s enough to instigate a recall.

With raw dog foods, a dog’s health often depends on other things that are added to the diet, especially if you’re only buying raw meat from a company.

Raw companies sell various kinds of packages ranging from mixes that let you add your own meat to companies that sell the meat and let you add your own veggies and other ingredients.

Some sell frozen products and some sell dehydrated foods. There’s a wide variety of raw. Here are our choices for the best raw food brands for your dog today.

Bravo

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety:3 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bravo raw meats are sold as frozen chubs – 2, 5, or 10 pounds; or as 4 or 8 ounce frozen patties.

You keep them frozen until you are ready to use them. You can buy Bravo Boneless (red meat or fish); Bravo Basics (a medley of meat, bone, and organ meat for you to customize); Bravo Blends (a four-part limited ingredient formula that you add supplements to); and Bravo Balance (complete balanced dinners that contain essential nutrients your dog needs).

It’s up to you how “raw” you want to go with Bravo and how much you want to formulate the meals yourself. They also have freeze-dried raw diets that you don’t have to freeze. These meals could be more convenient for some owners.

Darwin’s

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Darwin’s Raw Dog Food makes Natural Selections Raw Dog Food Premium Line.

It contains 75 percent meat and 25 percent vegetables. It contains no steroids, no hormones, and no antibiotics. It’s a high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate formula that’s made with grass-fed beef, cage-free poultry, and organic vegetables. These are nutritionally complete meals.

This food is also available in a prescription line called Intelligent Design for dogs with health issues; and as Biologics Raw Dog Food, a value line (Requires a prescription.)

The value line is made with conventionally-grown meat and vegetables.

The formulas are available in chicken, turkey, and beef. (The premium line has more meat protein choices.) Darwin’s foods are vacuum-sealed and arrive frozen .

They will keep in your freezer for four to six months. Thaw what you need for your dog a day or two ahead of time.

K-9 Kraving

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

K-9 Kraving uses 100 percent certified human-grade ingredients. The company works with a PhD in animal nutrition to make their foods. According to the company, their foods are biologically-appropriate frozen raw dog foods.

Each recipe is a blend of USA-sourced human-grade muscle meat, organ meat, ground bone, vegetables, essential vitamins, minerals, and a trace mineral mix.

They are sold in 1, 2, and 5-pound rolls and individual patties.

The company uses real muscle meat as the first ingredient. They use no chemicals, additives, or preservatives.

The food arrives frozen and should be kept frozen in your freezer until you are ready to thaw it. Large rolls will take 10-12 hours to thaw.

Individual patties will take 1-2 hours to thaw. Once thawed, the food will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Best Dog Food Brands For Puppies

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Food

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Small breed puppies need an extra boost of energy to fuel their fast metabolisms and speedy growth.

This Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Food is just what a small breed puppy needs for optimal growth and development.

Made with farm-raised chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes, this formula is protein-rich, highly digestible, and full of natural flavor.

Wellness Complete Health Large-Breed Puppy Food

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

All puppies need a protein-rich diet but large-breed puppies need to have their growth controlled to prevent joint problems later in life.

This Wellness Complete Health Large-Breed Puppy Food is uniquely formulated for large breeds to ensure slow and controlled growth and healthy bones and joints.

It features deboned chicken and brown rice as the primary ingredients and is supplemented with DHA, chelated minerals, and probiotics.

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Food

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nutritional Research: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple Recipes: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Price: Moderate
  • Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

If your puppy is sensitive to grains or you suspect food allergies, a limited ingredient diet like this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Food might be a good choice.

Made with protein-rich chicken and a select number of other healthy ingredients, this recipe is just what a growing puppy needs. It’s also supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics.

Best Natural Dog Food Brands

“Natural” is a rather vague term. There are no real rules regarding the use of the term “natural” in the United States. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”

As long as the product doesn’t contain something that you wouldn’t normally expect to be there, companies can get away with calling their product “natural.”

Dog food companies have taken full advantage of this term in marketing their foods. After all, calling a dog food “natural” makes it much more appealing to the buyer.

Who doesn’t want to feed their dog a “natural” food? You should be careful about dog foods that are marketed as “natural” foods but in the case of the foods here, we think these are very good brands.

We are happy to recommend these natural dog foods.

Annamaet

Rating:

  • Ingredients: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food Safety: 5 out of 5 stars