Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Best Dog Food Brands 2021

Best For Puppies: Purina One

Dog Food: Best Dog Food 2021 (Buying Guide)


  • More affordable than Purina Pro Plan

  • Brand employs team of nutritionists and vets

  • Products made in USA

  • Limited number of products

The brands above all offer high-quality puppy food, but another top choice for puppies is Purina One. Similar to Purina Pro Plan, Purina One is a science-based food that offers premium nutrition for growing dogs. This brand offers three puppy-specific foods, including a regular dry food, large breed puppy dry food, and wet food option, and you can typically find these products at big name retail and grocery storesnot just specialty pet stores.

Like other Purina brands, Purina One formulas are created by the companys team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists, and they provide balanced and complete nutrition for growing puppies. The food follows AAFCO guidelines, and its made without any unnecessary filler ingredients.

Best Dog Food For Digestive Problems: Pet Plate

Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Renee Streeter, DVM, DACVN, believes that nutrition for pets is highly individualized, but Pet Plate, which she helped develop, is a win for many very picky dogs. Some of my most difficult-to-feed patients will routinely eat Pet Plate very well, she says. These dogs also tend to have digestive issues and these are the same dogs that usually benefit from this type of highly digestible diet. Pet Plates dog meals are made using fresh chef-cooked meals with high-quality, human-grade ingredientsincluding chicken, beef, lamb, lentils, sweet potatoes, and string beansat a USDA-inspected facility that follows the same food safety protocols as Whole Foods. The meals are flash-frozen to preserve the nutrients, then shipped directly to your door. Pet Plate meals are personally tailored for each pooch , and arrive in a frozen, insulated box similar to Blue Apron. Talk to your veterinarian or board-certified veterinary nutritionist to help determine the best foods for your fur baby. Next, read up on the longest-living dog breeds for long-lasting love, and the best probiotic dog foods for those with specific needs.

How Long Does Fresh Dog Food Stay Fresh

Since fresh dog food contains no preservatives, it must be kept refrigerated or frozen.

Storage instructions vary from brand to brand. In most cases, fresh dog food can last for up to 6 months, as long as the food package remains frozen and unopened.

Once a container is defrosted, it should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 4 days.

Recommended Reading: What Foods Dogs Cant Eat

Victor Classic Dry Dog Food


Victor Hi-Pro Plus is one of 5 kibble recipes included in our review of the Victor Classic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef meal, grain sorghum, chicken fat, pork meal, chicken meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Chicken, puppy, active sporting dog formula and more
  • Price: $

Victor Hi-Pro Plus derives the bulk of its meat protein from beef meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 22% fat and 37% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

An affordable, all life stages kibble recently added to our budget-friendly dog foods list. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewI have 5 active dogs of all different ages. Its been a struggle to find a quality, decently priced food that kept a good weight on all of them and didnt mess with their allergies. Theyve been on this food since April and its been amazing! No bad reactions when switching to Victor, no allergies, and they are all a good weight. Highly recommend.


Annamaet Ultra is one of 8 kibble recipes included in our review of the Annamaet product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole dry eggs, herring meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Puppies, salmon, small breed, senior, weight loss and more
  • Price: $$

Especially popular with sporting dog professionals. Enthusiastically recommended.

We All Want A Dog Food Brand We Can Trust

10 Best Dog Food Consumer Reports 2021

With confusing labeling, misleading marketing, and a lack of transparency so common in the world of dog food, a brands integrity can sometimes be more telling than the ingredient list.

Finding the best dog food is a process that requires attention to all details. Its a delicate balance of being conscious of the brand while not allowing what looks like a great brand history, reputation, and production process to supersede awareness of ingredients and the foods appropriateness for your dogs unique needs.

Read on as we list what are the healthiest dog food brands in the market today.

Here at DogFood.Guide we have a dedicated mission to provide dog owners like you with well-researched information so they can provide the nutrition and health care towards their dogs.

Our readers rely upon our dog food articles, reviews and recall alerts that we took the time to research. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.

DogFood.Guide is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an advocate and lover. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your dog.

Our site is supported by our readers. If you make a purchase through one of our links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operating our free blog. Thanks for your support!

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How Much Does Blue Buffalo Cat Food Cost

Compared to other brands positioned as super-premium and natural, Blue Buffalo is relatively inexpensive. For example, if you have a 10-lb cat who needs about 200 calories per day, Blue Buffalo Freedom canned food will cost you around $1.40/day.

That makes it just a little bit more expensive than budget brands like Friskies and Fancy Feast.

Different Breeds Different Needs

Weve already discussed how dogs and wolves have different nutritional needs. However, those needs can vary notably from breed to breed. Larger breeds, like Great Danes for instance, are often prone to a variety of bone disorders, such as hip dysplasia. Counterintuitively, that condition has been linked to too much calcium in their diets as puppies. Essentially too much calcium at an early stage hinders the animals body from breaking down old bone. This, in turn, disrupts new bone development at a critical stage in the dogs growth, leading to lasting health problems throughout his or her life.

Large and giant breed dogs grow incredibly rapidly during their first year of life. Again using the example of Great Danes, who are generally 1-2 pounds at birth, in their first year they can reach a weight of between 90 and 140 pounds. Such rapid growth–up to a 90-fold increase in body weight–puts great strain on their joints. Its now recommended that large and giant breed puppies have their daily calorie intake reduced to slow their growth rate and take some of the pressure off their joints. Obviously this does not mean you should starve your dog–just that you should maintain a body mass on the slimmer side. Again, keep an eye on those ribs and hips.

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Do Dogs Need Different Food As They Get Older

The BVA says: Yes. It’s essential that puppies and kittens are fed on puppy dog food and kitten cat food, as they have specific energy and nutrient requirements. As they get older, different breeds of dog will age at different rates. For example, a Great Dane is likely to be senior before a Yorkshire terrier.

Your vet will be able to advise on the best diet for your pets life stage, breed and lifestyle, and tell you if your pet has any special dietary needs.

Best Dog Food For Larger Breeds: Hills Science Diet Large Breed

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Katharine Kancer, DVM, has a big mouth to feed. Her Bernese mountain dog, Ella, chows down on Hills Science Diet Large Breed. This specific food is complete and balanced with the nutrients she needs at this point in her life stage and is formulated for large breed dogs, which have slightly different nutrient requirements, says Dr. Kancer. For example, she says adult, large, and giant breed dogs benefit from having more glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids in their diets to help their joints. Dont miss these 20 things youre doing that vets probably wouldnt.

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What Should I Look For When Buying Dog Food

If you want to know if a dog food is nutritionally complete, with a healthy balance of protein, fat, and fiber, look for an Association of American Feed Control Officials statement on the packages reading label or on the brands website. AAFCO is not a regulatory body, but they set recommendations for nutrient content for dog food creators to use as a guideline to make sure the food has everything a dog would need, Dr. Kimmselstiel explains.

In addition to protein, fat, and fiber, a healthy, high-quality dog food should also contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, Lori Prantil, MPS, DVM, DACVIM, with VCA South Shore Animal Hospital, tells SELF: These components are needed to build and maintain tissue and carry out biological reactions, and the necessary amounts can vary somewhat with the dog’s stage of life. If you want to know those correct amounts, again, get in touch with your trusty vet.

Are Grains In Dry Dog Food Bad For My Dogs Diet

Grain-free diets are an excellent option for dogs with a sensitive gut. The allergen-free recipe does not trigger food-related sensitivities in dogs. However, whole grains contribute valuable nutrients including minerals, vitamins, fiber, and essential fatty acids. They are not fillers and can have beneficial health implications.

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What Are The Differences Between The Best Dog Food And The Worst Dog Food

Almost all dog foods you find in stores are labeled as completely natural and 100% balanced. Let us tell you a secrettheyre not, at least not all of them! The first thing you have to do when choosing food for your furry one is to check if the ingredients have nutritional value. The list you see on the back of the package will tell you everything you need to know. The first five ingredients are essential, and what you find listed as the number one ingredient is what the pet food is made up of the most.High-quality food consists of natural ingredients such as meat, whole grains, and vegetables. The first ingredient on the list should be a healthy protein source, like chicken or fish. Low-quality food has animal by-products or grains listed as number one.

If you come across meat-meals in the ingredient list, also pay attention. High-quality food brands will have meat meals such as:

  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Beef

Low-quality brands will list meat by-products such as beef by-product meal. Meat by-products are usable parts derived from slaughtered animals, mostly consisting of kidneys, brain, bones, blood, lungs. Within these products are often 4-D meats, which cant be used by humans roadkills or euthanized animals.

  • Additives

If your precious canine has any health issues, you must strictly look for healthy ingredients. Some of the worst dog foods you could see above dont have a meat source listed. So if your pup has allergies or sensitive skin, you need to be careful with food choices.

Complete And Balanced Dog Foods

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One of the first things you should look for on a dog food label is the statement is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This isnt just an advertising slogan. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has strict requirements to make sure that a product is in fact complete and balanced for dogs . Complete and balanced diets must contain the minimum amount of all of the nutrients necessary for dogs, which is also indicated in the guaranteed analysis. This analysis gives the minimum amount of crude protein and fat, along with the maximum amounts of water and crude fiber. The analysis does not, however, give the exact amount of these components, which means there is room for considerable variation. The manufacturers average nutrient profile is often a better tool for evaluating a product.

You can always contact the dog food company directly to get more information about its product. A reputable company that has your dogs interests at heart should be happy to answer your questions and in many cases will give you more information than what is available on the website or product label. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a helpful sheet with questions you can ask a company representative.

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What About The Worst Dog Food Brands

Some of the worst dog food brands in Australia are actually the most well known. What ads have you seen recently on TV featuring a cute dog apparently loving some brand of dog food?

The reason for this is the big players in dog food make the some of the worst foods. Its why they make so much profit selling a cheap formula with impeccable marketing is a business strategy which works.

Those companies have huge budgets for marketing their products, and not just for ads either by influencing breeder communities, dog shows, University sponsorships and endorsements.

If youre feeding one of those best-selling dog food brands, then read the review on this website, or at the very least look at the ingredients what does it really say about the product?

Herein What Popular Dog Food Is Killing Dogs

According to the report, Sportmix cat and dog food products manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin, which are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus that grows on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food.

potential contamination with Salmonella

Also Check: What Age Do You Stop Feeding Your Dog Puppy Food

Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food


Nutro Ultra Adult is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Nutro Ultra product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain sorghum, whole grain barley, whole grain oats
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Beef, duck, lamb, fish, small breed, large breed, puppy, senior and more
  • Price: $$

This Nutro formula derives most of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 24% protein, 15% fat and 53% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Available in a wide range of flavor and recipe options. One of our top value picks.

Sample buyer reviewI have 5 dogsranging in different sizes and breeds. This is the ONE food I can get them all to eat without having to buy a bunch of different brands or formulas. Thank you Nutro!

This Go! Carnivore formula derives the majority of its animal protein from chicken, turkey and salmon meals, as well both chicken and turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 18% fat and 36% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Free of GMO ingredients and loaded with meat. A rare find. Highly recommended.

Best Dog Food For Australian Cattle Dogs

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This highly intelligent dog was bred to herd livestock. They also make very good companion dogs and become very attached to their families. The Blue Heeler is not prone to a lot of health issues.

They do need food that provides a lot of energy to these active dogs. That is why we at A-Z-Animals recommend Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food as the best food for your Blue Heeler. This highly balanced food also supplied the correct amount of minerals for the development of strong bones. But not all food is suitable for all life stages. That is why we compiled a complete list of all the best food for your Blue Heeler here.

Read Also: Who Makes Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food

When it comes to dog food, too many brands choose fillers over high-quality, potent, natural ingredients. Thats why Natural Balance aims to meet the need for high-quality dog food with its tasty, limited-ingredient dog food blends. The bottom line? Your dog is only getting what it needsnothing more, nothing less. These simple and nutritious formulas are packed with great ingredients your dog will love and you wont feel bad buying. We need to keep our best friends healthy, and with Natural Balance, thats just what youll do. You can get a bag of salmon, duck, or chicken-flavored dog food for just $54 for a 28-lb bag. Available on Amazon.

Misconception About Dog Food

Youll be forgiven if this surprises you. We fall victim to clever marketing, and pet food marketers are up there with magicians they know how to trick us.

Most commercial dog foods are grain-based, not meat-based.

Walk down the dog food aisle in any supermarket across the world, and spend time looking at every packet of dog food. What pictures are on the front? What claims do they make?

Ask yourself how many say Rich in Wheat!, Grain is the first ingredient!, Packed with rice your dog will love!, or Made with real corn!.

Any of them?

Now turn those bags around and read the ingredients. Most commercial dog foods are made from grains!

Dont be fooled by grain-free slogans either. They usually swap grains for potatoes, tapioca, or other starchy high-carbohydrate ingredients. Theyll still market it as meaty.

When you read my reviews youll find thats not the only trickery they use to make a dog food appear like the best dog food in the aisle.

Even claims like meat first ingredient doesnt mean theres much of it in the product, so dont be fooled by that one either.

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