We went through a phase where Harley was getting picky with his meals. He no longer wanted to touch his favorite kibbles and we realized he might have developed an allergy.
Top 10 Best Dog Food Brands
Canidae Dog All Life Stages
Canidae is one of the best dog food brands. They pride themselves on being USA-made, in USDA, FDA, and AAFCO approved facilities. High quality grains, veggies, fruits are often included.
Using fresh natural ingredients, their main protein sources come from chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal and fish meal. Fillers, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, artificial flavours, artificial colors are not included.
Grain Free Pure (My Rating: 4.5) – promises to be of premium quality with better ingredients than generic ones. It also contains fewer chemical preservatives and has a simpler formula for more sensitive dogs.
Only about 7 to 10 ingredients are included and these are usually recognizable to us. All formulas used in this category is grain gluten free. They have a particular formula for adult dogs, like Elements, Land, Sky, and Sea. Available in canned and dry varieties.
Life Stages (My Rating: 4.8) – This formula suits all size of breeds, ages, and sizes. It’s AFFCO compliant and has no corn, wheat or soy. Probiotics are even included to help your pet’s digestion. I recommend this if you have different dogs of different ages at home – just makes it much easier when you don’t have to transition between different stages.
TidNips Treats (My Rating: 4.2) – Small sized. It’s perfect as a reward for your pet during training. I like that it doesn’t contain chicken by product.
Purina Dog Food
In terms of price range, I would say Purina is average among the best dog food brands. The 3 most popular offerings are: Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE and Purina ONE Beyond.
Some people might steer away from Purina because most of their products use poultry by-products and corn. It has grain contents too. For certain breeds, grain should be limited as it might not be as easy for them to digest (eg. meat proteins). Purina’s range also focuses on easy digestion and good proteins for muscle development.
On a per ounce basis, they cost about the same as Purina Pro Plan, which is Purina’s most expensive line in dog meals specialty stores.
In recent years, Purina has made some changes by adding more soybeans to their formula, a smart blend for Purina ONE. We know that soybeans are high in protein and with this it will reduce the dependence of meat protein.
Purina also introduced Purina ONE Beyond, two natural dry products, plus vitamins and minerals. Both are made with nutritious whole grains and real meat as the No. 1 ingredient. It does not contain corn.
Purina Recall: Best dog food reviews say that the latest recall was in March 2016 where their Pro Plan(5 types from the wet range) was recalled due to insufficient vitamin or mineral levels as claimed. In 2011, their dry cat range was recalled on suspicion of salmonella.
The Rachael Ray range is another best dog food brand. It features grain-free and filler-free ingredients. I wouldn’t call it as premium top quality range but it is a little healthier than the average one in my opinion. It does have animal fat and corn meal but only in very small amounts.
It is made in Thailand and is FDA compliant. They even explicitly state that no foods are sourced from China, as most of us are scared because of this. They don’t use any poultry by-products, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives. And the thing is that they use real meat and wholesome veggies, plus essential nutrients.
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray also donates part of her sales to 4 animal rescues!
Natural Balance is an Australian brand developed with nutritionists and vets over 20 years. comes in 6 varieties of selection: canned, dry, stew, rolls, threats and puppy diets. They also target canines with sensitive stomachs and skins specifically.
Pedigree is one of the top dog food brands in the market. Pedigree makes dry, canned and moist products, and treats for canines. The range caters to every life stage: from puppies, adults to mature canines. There are also products for particular health needs and problems; examples are oral care, healthy skin and coat, hip and joint, weight problem, etc. as shown below.
Is Pedigree Good?
Judging from its ingredients, Pedigree is of average quality when compared to others. Pedigree, being a plant-based dry dog food, has content of poultry by-products and meat-and-bone, as primary sources of protein for your dog.
A main ingredient they use is corn which isn’t the most idea ingredient. Some dogs are allergic to corn and it’s not the greatest source of protein. It is priced very affordably so if you are looking for something in the lower price range, consider Pedigree.
Taste of the Wild
Making their entrance in the industry, Taste of the Wild quickly gained popularity since 2007. In terms of ingredients, I would class it to be of higher quality.
Despite being a more premium formula, their price is surprisingly lower compared to other so called premium formulas. They also focus on providing a great source of ‘natural’ and grain free food for canines. You can find easily the AFFCO approved label on this top dog food brand. I love that the top 5 ingredients are animal sources of protein.
Who Makes Taste of the Wild? US based manufacturer, Diamond Pet Foods Inc, makes Taste of the Wild. They have factories in Missouri, California and South Carolina.
Purina Pro Plan Review
Purina Pro Plan is the more premium product of the Purina line. They carry different foods to cater to different life stages as well as health conditions (sensitive skin and stomach or weight management). They also use real meat, fish or poultry as the top ingredient.
They use real meat at human grade ingredients, no corn and any by-products. Wellness also has been quality-proofed in the Whole Dog Journal.
The product sources come from the United States and Canada, or from New Zealand, Australia, and Belgium. Wellness has a solution for almost every condition and breeds.
Popular with breeders, Diamond Naturals is a holistic food focused on high quality ingredients. Each of their dry dog formulas is boosted with their K9 Strain Probiotics. So the ‘good’ bacterial can help with your dog’s digestion and immune system.
If your dog is sensitive to corn, wheat or soy, you will find that the whole grains Diamond Naturals use (eg. cracked pearled barley, quinoa) will help a lot.
I can’t leave Orijen out of my best dog food reviews. It uses ingredients that I would class as better than average. Featuring fresh regional ingredients, fresh whole meats, Orijen believes that our dogs should do without high-glycemic carbohydrates and plant proteins. Low in carbohydrate, high in freshness and inclusive of whole fruits and veggies, I like Orijen for their wholesome approach.
Natural Balance vs. Taste of the Wild
Some of the main differences between Natural Balance and Taste of the Wild include their protein content, their key ingredients, and the amount of times each brand has been recalled for safety reasons. These are important features to keep in mind when looking for a food brand to use for your own pet.
As far as the protein content goes, Natural Balance normally has about 2.78% more protein than Taste of the Wild in cat food. In dry dog food, Taste of the Wild has 4.75 more protein than Natural Balance, and in 3.26% more in wet dog food. Both cats and dogs need 22 amino acids in order to sustain life, and having enough protein is a big part of their upholding their sustainability.
The key ingredients are one of the first things people tend to notice in the brand of pet food they choose. The key ingredients of Taste of the Wild include lentils, sunflower oil, and cage-free turkey. Natural Balance’s key ingredients are turkey, fish oil, and chickpeas. Always make sure that the key ingredients will be able to match up to your pet’s diet if there are certain things they can or cannot eat.
Safety recalls are usually a good way to determine a dog food’s reliability. Taste of the Wild has only been recalled one time whereas Natural Balance has been recalled 5 times for a number of different reasons. You may need to do an extra bit of research if you are concerned about the safety of your pet food.
Pedigree vs. Purina
The main differences between Pedigree and Purina is their protein content, their nutritional value, and the selections both brands offer. The taste between both brands will be different depending on your pet’s personal tastes, although the difference between the main ingredients would be meat for Purina and cornmeal for Pedigree. Most pets are known to prefer meat over cornmeal, so Purina would be the winner in this regard.
As far as their protein content goes, Purina One has 6.01% more protein than Pedigree in dry dog food, and 4.1% more in wet dog food. In this regard, Purina One would be the definite winner. 10 of the 22 amino acids that dogs need in order to sustain life is consumed while the rest are naturally synthesized. The protein within dog food heavily contributes to the amount of amino acids they end up consuming.
When you take the nutritional value of Pedigree and Purina into consideration, Purina would be more nutritionally beneficial for your dog than Pedigree. Pedigree tends to use filler grains and animal byproducts in their dog food because they make budget-friendly dog food at the expense of its overall nutritional value. While Purina sometimes does the same, they are still better at providing proper nutritional value in their food.
You will want to have a wide variety selection to choose from to see what your pets like best. Pedigree will be good if you want basic dog food without having to deal with the hassle of choosing from a wide variety. However, Purina has a wider selection to choose from with different recipes that will be good for your pet.
Diamond Naturals vs. Taste of the Wild
For a comparison between Diamond Naturals and Taste of the Wild, you will want to pay attention to their ingredients, protein content, and the number of times each product has been recalled. Both products have only been recalled once. These are normally the most important factors you will want to pay attention to, especially if you want to give your pet the best qualities that the food you choose for them can offer.
A few of the main ingredients inside of Diamonds Naturals are lamb meal, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice, egg product, and peas. A few of the main ingredients in Taste of the Wild are buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, peas, and sweet potatoes. In this regard, Taste of the Wild is more nutritionally beneficial for your pets.
You will also have to know about some of the more controversial ingredients that both pet food brands use. Diamond Naturals uses meat meal, beef by-products, ground corn, powdered cellulose, and many other controversial ingredients that might make it seem or taste unsavory. Taste of the Wild uses pea protein. Both brands use canola oil and tomato pomace. Knowing what kinds of ingredients are used can help you avoid anything you do not want your pet to eat.
As far as protein content goes, Taste of the Wild has 4.40% more protein than Taste of the Wild in dry dog food, and around the same protein in wet food. In cat food, there is roughly the same amount of protein in both wet and dry food.
Nutro vs. Blue Buffalo
When you are comparing Nutro and Blue Buffalo to each other, you will definitely want to pay attention to their nutritional value and flavor selections. All three features are excellent ways of determining how to properly evaluate each brand to see which one is the better option. Let’s start by comparing their nutritional value above all else.
The nutritional value of pet food is one of the most essential factors you will want to pay attention to, not just in these two brands but also in every brand you look at. The three main parts of nutritional value to take note of is the fiber, protein, and fat content. Blue Buffalo has slightly more fiber and protein content than Nutro, and roughly the same fat content. All three components are important to your pet’s growth and overall health, and you will want to make sure the brand you choose has enough of all three in order to sustain them.
As far as the selection of different flavors go, Blue Buffalo has a far wider variety of flavors to choose from than Nutro. Nutro has around a dozen varieties of flavors to choose from while Blue Buffalo is able to boast with a selection of over 50 flavors of dry food. If you want a wider variety, you may want to see everything that Blue Buffalo has to offer, although you should stick to Nutro if you do not want to be stressed with the amount of flavors to choose from.
Top Dog Food Brands: What Makes Healthy Dog Food?
Seek to first understand your pet’s health, conditions and needs. Then you’ll know what to look out for:
- A Deer Head Chihuahua is not as active as a young LabShepherd, which needs more protein for its exercise.
- Adult breeds are more prone to getting health issues such as Arthritis so they really need proper nutrition.
- Different foods will have different nutritional content. Some are higher in protein which is what a puppy needs.
- To prevent canines from developing cancer, it is recommended that they be fed low carb meals to help stop cancer cells from spreading.
- Ultra-low carb meals: Canines with cancer usually need a low carb diet in order to starve cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.
- For an older canine, they are more likely to get kidney problems. Meals that are low in protein might be ideal.
- For a growing puppy, there’s a need for lots of high fat and protein to support growth.
- 1 of 4 canines have a problem with being overweight. Going for low calorie meals is a must in this case.
Types of Dog Food
Compare the types – raw, canned and dry. Each one of these has its purpose. The easiest way to understand the difference between canned and dry:
|Dry Dog Food||Canned Dog Food|
|Can have more meat by-products||Higher-quality protein|
|Good for dogs to chew||Fewer preservatives and fillers|
|Less expensive and is easier to store||Fewer calories and carbohydrates|
Good Indicators To Look Out For:
- AFFCO on its label. This is to ensure that a particular product is nutritionally balanced.
- You might want to look out for the Product of USA label.
- You might want to look out for the “new recipe” label. This label isn’t necessarily negative but you might want to be more cautious as there are chances your pet might not take to the new recipe very well.
- Before thinking of providing new meals, make sure you read more information about like its ingredients and any reviews on it.
What To Avoid
Put simply – it’s the opposite of the above mentioned. For example, don’t feed high protein meals to a canine with kidney disease. Instead, give it to a puppy who will benefit from it.
How To Plan New Food For Your Dog?
You might be considering transitioning your dog to a new food. Whether it’s due to its age or health needs or your own preference for certain brands, you need a new plan for your canine’s diet.
If you want to make the change, the idea is to add new food gradually. Around 20% mixed into the regularly food you feed them.
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, this 20% should be added accordingly, day by day, into your canine’s meal.
Day 1 = add 20%
Day 2 = add 40%
Day 3 = add 60%
Day 4 = add 80%
Day 5 = make it 100%
During this 5-day period, be sure to carefully observe your dog and look for problems that might appear. Signs that are abnormal may include vomiting, gassiness, developing diarrhea or loss of appetite. If these happen, it’s better to take your dog to the vet for a better analysis.
Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food
- Wet food can add hydration to diets that aren’t really inclined to drink enough water during the day. There are other reasons why it could be considered a practical choice.
- Dogs past a certain age can have a fading sense of smell. They might find wet meals more appetizing because of the richer scent and flavor. It can also be a good choice when you have a sick dog that has lost its appetite.
- If your dog has teeth missing, wet meals might also make mealtimes easier.
- Eating wet meals can of course, become quite messy.
- The shelf life of wet food also drastically decreases once opened.
- Most of the time, wet food is also a lot more costly than dry kibble. They also usually come in smaller quantities.
Pros and Cons of Dry Kibbles
- Dry kibbles are very convenient when it comes to storage. Even when opened, the shelf life does not decrease unless the food got wet. All you need for storage is a plastic bin with a tight cover to protect the kibble from pests and to keep it fresh.
- The other convenient thing is being able to put enough in the feeder or bowl to keep your pup fed for the whole day. Dry kibbles are suitable to be left out for hours, if not even days.
- Storage becomes a breeze, as all you need is an airtight container.
- Some dry biscuits are also made in such a way that it cleans the teeth as your dog is eating.
- Great for use when training
- The downside is that it does not have the moisture content of wet meals. This can become a problem for older or sick canines.
- The animal based proteins in dry food is also a lot less than wet food. It is actually a very important factor in your dog’s development.