What’s the best dog food? That’s such an open-ended question, right? Dogs have very different dietary needs, depending on their age, allergies, and many other health concerns. We know it’s so hard to find the best dog food for your pup’s diet type and health needs, as well as your budget. So our experts have broken down some of the best dog foods on the market into specific categories to help you decide which is the best option for you and your pup’s needs.
Best Dog Foods For Diet Type, Life Stages, Health Concerns, And More
As we said above, we’ve chosen our best picks for very different needs for your dog’s situation. But with all of our top picks, our experts always consider the quality of ingredients, company reputation, pricing, customer reviews, and many other factors.
It’s hard to pick the best dry dog food from all of the excellent options on the market these days. But our experts pick Blue Buffalo Life Protection as the best overall dry dog food.
This adult dog food recipe includes a great balance of high-quality lean proteins and carbohydrates, as well as LifeSource Bits — a super-healthy blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your dog’s whole-health requirements.
This recipe contains no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. It’s not grain-free, but many experts believe that most dogs need healthy grains in their diet if they don’t have allergies. If you’re looking for a grain-free adult dog food option, see our review of Wellness CORE Grain-Free below.
Wellness is a highly-rated pet food brand that uses natural ingredients (no fillers) with a focus on whole-body health. They have an extensive line of high-quality wet and dry food for dogs and cats.
As with all of their dog foods, this canned turkey and sweet potato recipe is nutrient and protein-rich to give your pup plenty of energy and includes carefully selected ingredients to support immune and digestive health, as well as a healthy coat and skin.
The Farmer’s Dog features fresh, human-grade food made with all-natural ingredients. They personalize your dog’s ingredients and portion sizes based on your pup’s profile, including age, breed, weight, body shape, activity level, health concerns, and more. And they ship it right to your door within days of cooking.
They have four recipe options (chicken, turkey, beef, and pork) approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for a nutritionally complete and balanced diet. Recipes are packed with fruits, vegetables, lentils, fish oil, and a blend of vitamins and minerals and contain no fillers or preservatives.
The Farmer’s Dog bases its pricing on your dog’s age, weight, and other factors. Small dogs start at $2 per day. The following price* is based on a mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies.
- $53.62*/week (two recipes), shipped and billed every 3 weeks (you can customize shipping frequency)
- Free shipping
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A pioneer in the raw dog food industry, BARF World offers raw diets in multiple forms, including frozen patties, nuggets, and chubs (tubes of raw blend) and freeze-dried nuggets. BARF, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food, claims that a raw diet can result in a pet free of allergies and digestive problems.
Their AAFCO-certified food includes muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meats, vegetables, and fruits and contains no grains or preservatives. They deliver right to your door and have a 60-day money-back guarantee if you and your pup aren’t satisfied with their diet.
- Frozen: starting at $78.97 for 6 chubs (2 lbs each)
- Freeze-dried: starting at $28.97 for nuggets (14 oz)
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Spot & Tango offers excellent fresh meals and a high-quality dehydrated dog food called Unkibble. Both options are made from all-natural, human-grade ingredients, including real meats, vegetables, fruits, and more (no fillers, additives, or preservatives).
They customize the ingredients and portion sizes based on a profile you fill out on their website, including your dog’s breed, gender, age, weight, body shape, activity level, health conditions, and other factors. Their shelf-stable Unkibble is a fantastic option if you want human-grade dog food but don’t have room in your fridge or freezer to store fresh meals.
The following prices* for their Unkibble recipes are based on a mixed-breed male profile, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies.
- Unkibble recipes: starting at $25.68*/week
- Fresh recipes: starting at $46.14*/week (full meals) or $24.98*/week (partial meals)
- Free shipping (shipping is every 4 weeks)
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All of Castor & Pollux Organix’s dry dog food recipes are USDA-certified organic, made with 95% or more certified-organic ingredients, and cooked in an organically certified kitchen in the U.S.
This chicken and sweet potato recipe is grain-free and made with non-GMO ingredients. The #1 ingredient is organic, free-range chicken. It’s packed with all the nutrients your pup needs and a blend of organic superfoods, including flaxseed, blueberries, and coconut oil. It also contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Holistic Select Natural dry dog food is our top pick for the best holistic dog food (food containing special ingredients for overall body health). This lamb recipe includes optimal protein levels, plus prebiotics and probiotics, live yogurt cultures, digestive enzymes, and natural fiber to promote a healthy digestive system.
Omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed support a healthy coat and skin. It also contains antioxidants (immune system), glucosamine (joint health), taurine (heart health), and more.
If your pup has allergies or doesn’t digest grains well, Wellness CORE’s kibble is a great choice. It contains 34% protein (deboned turkey and turkey and chicken meal), 16% fat content, and 4% fiber.
A limited ingredient dog food is often the way to go if your dog has a sensitive stomach, and Canidae Pure, with only eight base ingredients, may be a great solution for your dog’s tummy issues. This grain-free adult dog food contains real lamb, goat meal, venison meal, lentils, peas, tapioca, canola oil, and sun-cured alfalfa.
Not only are the real-food ingredients less likely to upset a dog’s stomach, but this recipe also contains all the essential vitamins and minerals and a blend of probiotics to promote a healthy gut.
Ollie is another company that delivers personalized fresh dog food right to your door and can be an excellent option if your dog has allergies. Their all-natural, human-grade meals contain no soy, corn, or wheat, and they can customize ingredients based on your dog’s specific allergy issues (you just let them know when you fill out your dog’s profile).
Ollie offers four recipes (beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb), all of which include high-quality proteins, fresh produce, and healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals. Meals contain no preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients. Just keep in mind that they ship in bulk every four or eight weeks, so you’ll need plenty of freezer room to store their meals.
Smaller dogs start at $2.50/day. The following price* is based on a mixed-breed male profile, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies.
- Full plan: $39.33*/week ($78.66 total) for 2 weeks of meals (3 recipes)
- Topper plan: $24.80*/week($49.60 total) for 2 weeks (3 recipes)
- Free shipping
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Many pet owners say this Purina Pro Plan dog food formula works wonders with skin allergies compared to many alternative products. Its #1 ingredient is salmon, rather than traditional chicken, turkey, or beef protein sources that can aggravate skin allergies. It also contains no corn, wheat, or soy.
This formula is also fortified with live probiotics for digestive and immune health and contains easily digestible oatmeal as a healthy carbohydrate source. It’s also a good alternative to our top pick for the best dog food for sensitive stomachs.
Many veterinarians recommend Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight for a healthy weight loss diet. In fact, more than 70% of dogs lost weight within ten weeks on this diet in clinical studies. It contains 28.7% lean protein and 11.2% fat, as well as a complete balance of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. However, this dog food isn’t grain-free or gluten-free if those dietary needs are concerns for your pup.
If you’re not a big kibble fan or your pup has special dietary needs, another fantastic option to help your dog lose weight is The Farmer’s Dog (our top pick for the best fresh dog food). They can customize your dog’s food, including ingredients and portion sizes, for your dog’s weight loss goal.
Featured on Shark Tank, Wild Earth makes veterinarian-developed, nutritionally complete vegan kibble with no animal-derived ingredients. Their kibble is high in protein (31%) from all-natural, clean food sources plus superfood ingredients like oats, chickpeas, and sweet potato.
They also have vegan treats that contain the superfood koji, another great source of protein for vegan dogs. None of their products have artificial ingredients or fillers.
If you’re into homemade dog food, be aware that your dog likely needs vitamin and other nutrient supplements if homemade food makes up most of his diet, whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, or includes meat and animal products.
We recommend learning more about nutrition requirements for dogs. The book Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs is a good resource. Consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog’s getting all the nutrients he needs.
This grain-free puppy food is packed full of lean protein and all the vitamins and minerals growing puppies need. It’s made without grain, corn, wheat, fillers, preservatives, or artificial ingredients, so it’s easy for puppies to digest. It also includes healthy antioxidants from plenty of vegetables.
The flavorful kibble is small enough for puppies of all sizes to chew easily. And an added bonus — all of the ingredients are sustainably sourced.
Royal Canin is a high-quality dog food brand specializing in formulas for five different dog sizes, from extra-small to giant breeds. This formula has precise nutrition for small dogs 10 months to 8 years old weighing 9 to 22 pounds.
Its ingredients include lean proteins and L-carnitine to give your small dog energy while helping maintain optimal weight. It also contains fatty acids to support skin and coat health. The kibble is also an ideal size for small dog breeds. This formula isn’t grain-free or gluten-free.
Like Royal Canin, Diamond Naturals also specializes in dog food formulas for various breed sizes. Optimal protein, fat, and amino acid levels in this recipe provide the nutrients large breeds need for lean, strong muscles and to maintain ideal body weight.
This holistic formula contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, probiotics for digestive health, and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids from superfoods to help maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. It’s also made with sustainably sourced ingredients, including cage-free chicken, and contains no corn, wheat, fillers, preservatives, or artificial flavors or colors.
Veterinarian-recommended Purina ONE offers this formula for dogs seven years old and up. It includes special vitamins and minerals to enhance physical energy and mental sharpness and to support your dog’s immune system and eye health.
Natural sources of glucosamine also help with aging and aching joints. Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, and it contains no fillers. Purina also has a Vibrant Maturity wet food alternative in case your elderly pup has trouble chewing kibble.
If you’re strapped for time to shop for dog food in person (or you’re trying to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic), we can help you find the best dog food delivery services to help you take shopping off your plate.
See our reviews of the best dog food delivery services, whether you need name-brand kibble, customized fresh dog food, or several other options. Many of the delivery services we review in that article can deliver the dog food we recommend here.
What’s your dog’s favorite chow?