What Is The Best Dry Dog Food? | What you need to know

What Is The Best Dry Dog Food?

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Are you thinkink what is the best dry dog food for your dog?    

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As far as food preferences go, most people consider dogs to be the ideal pet merely because they're happy to eat just about anything. Let's face it; dogs are the vacuum cleaner of pets. Of course, that doesn't mean their diets should be loaded with junk. Responsible pet owners know that choosing the right food goes a long way to boost their dogs' overall health, well-being, and longevity.

It's worth educating yourself on the subject of what goes into dry dog food and how to choose the right one for your pup. Start by discovering whether or not you should be feeding your pet any breed-specific food, or if it's alright to choose a solid all-rounder.

If you're asking yourself, "What is the Best Dry Dog Food?" and aren't sure how to begin answering the question, below are a rough guide and some product reviews to help you get started.

Ready? Let's start


Analyzing Dry Dog Food Ingredients

Good quality dry dog food will list large amounts of good quality animal protein at the top of the ingredients list. Because ingredients are listed by weight, you'll find all moisture intensive meats listed before less protein-rich items. Named animal protein indicates a good quality product. So, you're looking for beef, chicken, or fish rather than "meat."

Animal protein meals should follow the named meats. Again, you're looking for named meals. "Beef meal" is a better option than "meat meal." These meals are used to augment the amount of animal protein in dry dog food; bulking it up with something that is healthy enough without contributing a high moisture content.

Whole vegetables and grains are next on the list. Fresh, unprocessed grains and vegetables contain nutrients in all their natural splendor. The aim here is to keep their vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants intact. There is some controversy surrounding the inclusion of grains in pet foods.

 However, it's important to note that most grains can easily be metabolized by dogs and provide a fantastic source of carbohydrates. Obviously, it's necessary to avoid grains if the dog has an allergy but other than that, most dogs will benefit from a few beans, rice, oats, corn, barley, or wheat.

Ingredients You'll Want to Avoid in Dog Food

Meat and poultry by-products are an indication of lower quality pet foods. By-products are the non-rendered, clean parts from slaughtered animals including lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, bone, stomach and intestines. The issue is less the ingredient itself and more about how it is handled. High-quality proteins are stored either fresh and in a refrigerator or completely frozen.

 The handling procedure with animal by-products isn't necessarily monitored as well as it should be, so hygiene is a big concern. Dead-on-arrival animals and other condemned parts may also find their way to the pet food production plant, which is hardly ideal regarding discovering where the animal originally came from.

Generic fat sources are another no-no. If the fat is unspecified and simply labeled as "animal fat," it can be of any animal origin. Fats derived from road kill or used restaurant grease are not uncommon. If the source of the fat is specified, it's considered traceable and therefore less worrisome.

Much like humans, dogs are suckers for the taste of sweet foods. Added sweeteners are often used to persuade dogs to eat foods that contain very little animal protein. Keep way from foods containing anything that seems overly artificial. This includes sweeteners, colorants, or artificial preservatives. Natural preservatives, such as tocopherols, vitamin C, and rosemary extract, are a much healthier alternative.

Choose Foods Based on Your Dog's Size and Stage of Life

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Quite obviously, small dogs and big dogs have different nutritional needs. Small breed dogs have incredibly fast metabolisms, as such, they need higher calorie foods. They do tend to gain weight rather quickly, so it's equally important to follow a proper guide for portion control.

The size of the kibble is also worth considering. It's difficult for small-jawed dogs to munch on larger kibble, and the risk of choking is also quite high. Smaller dogs are also prone to gastrointestinal issues and poor dental health, so it's important to feed them food that helps to manage these potential problems as well.

Larger dog breeds need food that supports strong bones. Generally speaking, dry dog foods for large breeds will include calcium to facilitate better bone development. More often than not, large dogs are prone to joint issues, so their foods will contribute to joint health and mobility.

 Additionally, dog food for larger breeds will include glucosamine which helps maintain healthy joints. Fiber blends and prebiotics are also included to boost optimum levels of gut bacteria to keep their digestive tracts healthy.

Puppies require different nutrients to adult dogs. Particularly in the case of larger dogs, their growth needs to be carefully monitored to prevent joint and bone disease. Smaller puppies often do just as well on puppy food as they do on food for all life stages.

 It all depends on size and breed. It may be a good idea to do some additional research on the specific breed or to discuss options with a veterinarian.  Much like human children, puppies need a solid nutritional foundation to build on for the rest of their lives.

Here's a list of some of the top dry dog foods available:




Our Rating



Earthborn Holistic



Natural Balance



Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish



Acana Pork & Butternut Squash



Nulo Adult  Grain-Free


Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish Super Premium Dog Food

The main ingredient in this protein-rich dog food is U.S. farm-raised beef. Additional ingredients include real fruit and vegetables and the additional boost of vitamins and chelated minerals.

Extra morsels of treats -- dried vegetables, etc. -- are favored by most dogs, and makes the meal more enjoyable. Carrots, peas, and apple bits are mixed in with the regular kibble for added flavor and some natural sweetness.The kibble does not include any poultry by-product meal, fillers, artificial preservatives, colorants, sweeteners, or artificial flavors. Pet owners can choose from either beef or chicken variants, both of which contain high-quality animal protein rather than filler products.

Our #3 Pick

U.S. farm-raised chicken is always the #1 ingredient Never any corn, wheat, soy or gluten.Real meat, veggies and fruit you can see.Natural dog food with added vitamins and chelated minerals.No poultry by-product meal, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors or artificial flavors

The wide variety of whole food ingredients helps to regulate the digestive system, reducing gas and bloating. The added vegetable and fruit cubs provide much-needed fiber and are a more reliable source of long-lasting energy than most grains.


On the downside, some of the dried vegetable bits (particularly the carrots) are quite hard and are difficult for smaller dogs and puppies to chew. Some pet owners recommend adding a little warm water to soften the food up before feeding.

Natural Balance Synergy Ultra Premium Dry Dog Food

The kibble is a good size for both small and large breed dogs, making it a good choice for pet owners with various dog breeds living in the home.

There is a marked improvement in the condition of dogs' coats after eating this brand of food for lengthier periods of time. Coats are shiny and smooth, and there is less shedding.The "backyard benefits" of this food indicate that there is a high enough fiber content to benefit the digestive system. Dog poop is solid without any straining, and the food causes no loose stools, bloating, or gas.

Our #2 Pick

Contains 1 - 26 pound bag of dry dog food.Supports healthy digestion & immune function.Supports muscle health.Backyard benefits – lower stool volume from a unique blend of complex fiber sources.Complete, balanced nutrition for all life stages

The main ingredient in this dry dog food is lamb meal, as well as a variety of other high-quality natural ingredients. The absence of grains makes it a good choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitive tummies.


Because the ingredients in this kibble are all-natural, and the fact that there are no harsh preservatives, this product has a short shelf-life in comparison to some other brands. It needed to be stored according to the instructions and used up well before the use-by date to ensure that it doesn't go rancid.

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The primary ingredients in this dog food are Salmon, Herring and whitefish protein. Additionally, whole fruits and vegetables are added into the kibble mixture, based on their health-benefits for dogs of all ages. With fish as the main ingredient, the food is rich in omega three oils and therefore has a positive effect on the coat, making it soft and shiny. This is a nutrient-rich protein with various dietary benefits.  

Our #1 Pick

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free

Grain-Free optimal holistic nutrition for dogs.Made with Salmon, Herring and whitefish protein.Filled with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables in every bite

The kibble is of small to medium size, which makes it suitable for both small and large dogs. Without the addition of fillers, the kibble is also not overly hard and can, therefore, be fed to senior dogs as well.

Carbohydrates are added in the form of peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. This helps to maintain adequate energy levels without adding grains, which might not be suitable for dogs with sensitive digestive systems.

The lean protein makes this food suitable for dogs who are overweight without putting them on complicated meal plans. Dogs can be fed normal amounts of kibble without any unnecessary rationing.

Nulo Adult Weight Management Cod Grain-Free Dry Food

This grain-free food contains no corn, wheat, soy, white potatoes, tapioca, artificial colors, flavorings, or preservatives. This makes it a good choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs.

The high meat/low carb formula contains at least 74% high-quality animal-based protein. Without any filler products, the kibble has a better, more natural taste.

Our #5 Pick

GRAIN-FREE recipe contains no corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives.HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary formula 74% animal-based protein, more amino acids and better flavor.

The addition of a patented BC30 probiotic ensures that the food promotes the development of healthy gut flora which boosts the metabolism and aids digestion. Bacillus Coagulans bacteria promote healthy weight.

The first ingredient is in this food is cod, followed by turkey and salmon. With high quality, lean animal proteins, this is a good choice for dogs who need to lose some weight without resorting to limiting diets.

There is a slight fishy odor to this dry dog food, so it needs to be sealed in an airtight container to avoid the smell spreading to other products in the pantry.

Acana Pork & Butternut Squash Dry Dog Food

The primary protein in this dog food is made up of deboned pork, pork meat, and pork liver. Additionally, the kibble contains pork fat, pork cartilage, pork kidney, and natural pork flavoring. This has a significant impact on the overall flavor of the food as it tends to be less bland than other dry pet products.

The addition of peas, chickpeas, and various beans instead of grains makes it an excellent choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitive digestive systems. The manufacturer's recipe also includes whole butternut and a variety of dog-friendly fruits and vegetables to aid digestion and naturally boost vitamin intake.

Several pet owners have noticed an improvement in the overall softness and shine of their dogs' coats.


The high-fat content might be a cause for concern in overweight dogs and as such this food is not the best choice for dogs who need to lose weight or maintain a thinner physique.

Our #4 Pick

The ingredients combine to aid digestion and improve regularity. Without the addition of over-processed grains and a higher amount of fiber, this food helps to solidify the stools as well.

Overall, it appears that Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the best choice for dogs of all ages and sizes. Using high quality, lean protein, the manufacturers have developed a dry dog food that is ideal for weight management and overall digestive health.

The addition of peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes helps dogs to maintain adequate energy levels without increasing the calorie count, which is ideal for both active and inactive dogs.

Despite the fact that the main proteins are all fish-based, there don't appear to be any complaints about an overly fishy odor to the food. Similarly, there are no complaints about bad breath. Additionally, the lack of filler products or any artificial preservatives makes this a balanced choice for more sensitive dogs as well. With small-to-medium sized kibble, this product is a good all-rounder for most dog breeds.