Earthborn Holistic Vantage Puppy Food
Ingredients: Puppy Vantage is aimed at creating healthy, happy puppies without breaking the bank. Each bag contains premium ingredients like chicken, apples, carrots, fish oil, and more, for all-around health that you can see. Your puppy will love the taste, too.
Price/Where To Buy: You can get a 28-lb. bag of this great dog food on Chewy.com for just $51. Since this item falls in the greater than $50 range, youll get free shipping, too.
The Difference: Earthborn takes a more natural approach to puppy food, mimicking the natural diet that your puppys ancestors likely had in the wild. That makes for happy, healthier puppies, and a healthy wallet for the humans.
Best Raw: Instinct Raw Bites
Instinct makes it simple for you to feed your dog raw food safely they offer frozen recipes that you store in the freezer until its meal time. Their Instinct Raw Bites are available in three recipes chicken, beef, or lamb all of which are never cooked, 100% raw, and minimally processed.
Each recipe consists of 85% protein and 15% veggies, fruits, and other ingredients. Instinct Raw Bites never contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and generally have limited ingredients. Plus, this raw food has no grain, corn, wheat, soy, or fillers.
Instead, Instinct Raw Bites contain natural oils, omega fatty acids, as well as whole-food ingredients that support digestion.
Best Vet Recommended: Hills Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
Hills Science Diet Adult Dry Food is made with high-quality, natural, and easy-to-digest ingredients. Its formula is designed to support the dietary needs of adult dogs and starts with protein like chicken or lamb meal. It also contains whole grains like barley or brown rice, as well as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Regardless of the protein recipe you choose, this food is formulated to promote lean muscles, with natural fibers that support healthy digestion and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E that support skin and coat health.
Although vets may recommend different foods based on your dogs dietary needs, Hills claims that their food is the #1 veterinarian recommended brand. Hills Science Diet Adult Dry Food is only one of the formulas available the company also offers wet food, puppy food, food for specific health needs, and more.
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Different Types Of Dog Food
All it takes is a quick stroll down the dog food aisle at your local pet store to realize that there are many different options to choose from. Not only do you need to pick a brand, but you have to think about what type of food is right for your dog.
Here is a quick overview of the different types of dog food and their benefits so you can make a smart decision in choosing a food to buy for a dog:
Who Makes Instinct Dog Food
Instinct is owned by Natures Variety of Lincoln, Nebraska. All Instinct recipes are made at the companys own facilities in Lincoln.
Each Instinct dog food is formulated by the companys on-staff professionals. This includes a veterinarian who is board-certified in both veterinary nutrition and integrative medicine.
The companys chief scientific officer holds a PhD in food science. And one of its directors of research and development holds a masters degree in the same field.
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How To Shop For Dry Dog Food
As with anything else regarding your pet, a good place to start is talking to your veterinarian in this instance, about your dogs dietary requirements. Then look at the ingredient list on a bag of dry dog food. You can easily tailor a dry food diet to your pup’s unique needs because it is convenient and available in a variety of flavors, formulas from life-stage and breed-specific to weight management, says Ferris.
While your dog cant speak, their body can tell you a lot about whether or not youve picked the right brand of dry food, too. Dogs should have stools that are of normal consistency, formed and relatively easy to pick up, says Neuhauser, who also points out that a healthy coat and skin, and maintaining weight not gaining or losing too much are signs of good health.
When shopping for dog food, the Association of American Feed Control Officials , a nonprofit that helps set standards for animal feed and pet foods, recommends that you read the label, select a food based on your pets breed, age and health, and follow the manufacturers feeding guidelines. When it comes to ingredients like preservatives, Ferris suggests dog owners look for natural options over synthetic ones. Natural preservatives such as vitamin C, vitamin E and oils of rosemary, clove or other spices are better alternatives to chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin, which are often added in dog foods, says Ferris.
Nutro Max Adult Recipe With Farm
Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Sorghum, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Whole Grain Oatmeal, 5. Chicken Fat
- No corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Supreme-quality chicken protein delivers amino acids that help with muscle building and maintenance of a healthy metabolism
This holistic blend by Nutros Max boasts an excellent blend of high-quality natural ingredients that serve as a great source of optimal nutrition for your dog. The farm-raised chicken ensures your dog is served the recommended level of protein he needs for growth and maintenance. Rich in fiber and probiotics, the formula is easy to digest by your precious pooch.
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How To Shop For The Best Food For Dogs
One of the most important steps in figuring out the best dog food is through the ingredient list, said Freeman, noting the first three are the most critical. This will help you determine if the formula is vegetable-based with things like corn and rice or meat-based with chicken, fish, or lamb, said Freeman. While each dog is different, they generally do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet, she added.
Next, analyze what type of meat is within. Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb, said Morgan. She noted that meat, bone meal or meat byproducts could come from any animal. Similarly, poultry meal signals any bird, she said.
The ingredients will also highlight some of what you want to avoid. Freeman suggested avoiding dog food that includes: dyes , sugar and high salt , as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
Merrick Brand Dog Food
The ingredients that make Merrick a great choice include deboned duck, deboned chicken, turkey meal, salmon meal which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, potato protein and lamb meal.
Merrick dog food also uses duck fat and chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, blueberries, apples, salmon oil, organic alfalfa, natural flavor and salt.
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Cost Of Small Breed Dog Food
Once you have sorted through the various dog food brands and found one that you and your vet think will best benefit your dog, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend. A good rule of thumb to follow for commercial dog food diets is to stay away from the cheapest option. Your dogs food is a vital part of his preventative healthcare, and so you want to invest in it as much as possible. When it comes to dog food, you usually get what you pay for.
On the other hand, an expensive dog food is not a guarantee of quality, either. By talking with your veterinarian and comparing brands of dog food in a variety of price ranges, you should be able to find the best dog food for small dogs that also matches your budget.
Benefits Of Salmon Dog Food
There are many benefits to feeding your dog a diet rich in salmon. Here are just a few:
- Healthy protein source: Salmon is a high-quality source of protein, containing essential amino acids for the building of strong muscles. Amino acids are also necessary for building cartilage and maintaining hormone balance.
- Nutrient-rich: Salmon contains an abundance of essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Salmon is also a natural source of Omega-three fatty acids, which are great for joint health and lustrous skin and coat.
- Flavorful: For many dogs, the stinkier the food, the better and the tastier. This is also the case with fishy diets like salmon!
- Easy to digest: Fish like salmon has a high protein to calorie count, making it a heart-healthy choice while being easy to digest.
- Brain booster: Salmon helps boost brain function, so its great for older, senior dogs and the minds of developing puppies.
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What About Raw Food
Along with grain-free options, raw foods have become quite popular in the last few years. While some swear by it, others cite safety concerns associated with unrefrigerated raw meats or chicken. Due to the scarcity of peer reviewed science on the topic, weve decided to withhold judgment until theres more data to support a conclusion one way or the other. Though its worth reiterating that our research has shown that meat-only diets and uncooked grains are not beneficial to a healthy dogs diet.
Dog Food Brands Rated By Customers
As well as ratings for individual aspects, we’ve given each brand an overall customer score, based on customers’ overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending it.
If you’d like to see how your dog food scored or interested in which brand does best, look through the table below.
If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
|Dog food brands customer satisfaction survey ratings|
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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.
Different Types Of Special Diet Foods
Though all dogs have the same basic requirements for protein, fat, and essential nutrients, some dogs have special dietary requirements based on their age, their breed, or some kind of health condition. For example, if you are trying to get your dog to gain weight, you might switch him to a high-calorie or a high-protein diet. There is a dog food out there for every diet!
Here is an overview of the different types of special diets you may come across as you start shopping for the best dog food. Keep in mind that some of these foods are for specific health problems, so check with your veterinarian before switching your dog to one of these special diet foods:
In addition to shopping for the best food based on your dogs unique dietary needs, you can also shop based on his breed size. Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional requirements for dogs of different breed sizes.
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Should You Also Give Grain
If youve decided to go grain-free, does that mean you cant give your dog treats that contain grains?
The choice is up to you, but if your dog has grain sensitivities, avoid treats that contain grains. For instance, brown rice might be fine, but wheat is a no-go for your dog.
Otherwise, your dog might appreciate a change in its usual diet and will gobble those treats right up.
Whole Earth Farms Grain
Top Ingredients: Pork Meal, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Pork Fat
Packed with lip-smacking flavors extracted from pork meal, lamb, and beef, the grain-free formula is one of the most famous picks of pet parents. This delicious blend by Whole Earth Farms is loaded with goodness for your pooch. Fill up their bowl with a savory meal exploding with nutrition that helps your little darlings grow, sustain, and stay active and happy.
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Best Budget: Taste Of The Wild
Courtesy of Chewy
Tread carefully when it comes to budget-friendly dog food. Sometimes, you get what you pay formany cheap dog foods are made with poor quality ingredients or stuffed with fillers. Not so for Taste of the Wild: While this family-owned company prides itself on being affordable, it also touts its use of high quality ingredients.
The proteins in the food are all foods that your dogs ancestors would eat . And the ingredients go beyond chicken and beef: youll also find more unusual meats, like trout and bison, on the ingredient list. No matter what, the first ingredient on the ingredients list is always meat, poultry, or fish .
Taste of the Wild products are all made in the United States. The brand has safety and testing protocols in place to ensure that food is both healthy and safe. All products are made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Taste of the Wild is available for sale at major online retailers as well as local pet food stores. The brand makes both wet and dry food, as well as food for many stages of a dogs life: puppy, adult, senior, and pregnant/nursing dogs. Grain-free foods are also available for pets with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection
Budget-friendly grain-inclusive dog food
This formula features lamb as the #1 ingredient and includes healthy whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal while leaving out the corn, wheat, and soy.
- LifeSource Bits. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection brand offers LifeSource bits. These are specially formulated bits of dog food that contain a blend of the healthiest ingredients, with whole grains, antioxidants, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals all blended precisely to create a healthy food option for dogs.
- 30 Pound Bag. Blue Buffalo offers a 30 pound bag of food for owners who want their dog food to last. It also comes in smaller bag options if you dont want to commit to the 30lb bag.
- Breed and Size-Specific Offerings. One big thing that sets Blue Buffalo apart is their wide array of choices and customization for different dog breeds and sizes, from the best food composition for senior dogs, to the best chow for puppies. You have many options to choose from with Blue Buffalo, and youll probably be able to find the perfect blend of dog food for your individual dogs needs.
- Lamb and Brown Rice. One of the best options for ingredients is the lamb and brown rice. It pairs a lean meat choice with a whole grain option. There is also a healthy weight chicken and brown rice option, as well as other lean meat choices.
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Convenient Customized Consistent: Ollie
Price: Starts at $2 a day, depending on plan, recipe, and dog size. General averages range from $9 to $42 per week.
Get your first order at 60% off, plus a free bag of treats, using the link below.
Our experience: The feeding instructions were very detailed yet easy to understand, and I appreciated the booklet with instructions for easing my dog from his current kibble to an Ollie diet to avoid digestive issues. The brand is definitely very focused on education: the booklet also included tips for keeping the food fresh, guidelines for feeding , and expected results from switching to Ollie .
The food is easy to store, though two weeks worth took up quite a bit of space in my freezer. Even though it was wet, fresh food, it didnt gross me out like other wet foods have, probably because it more closely resembles human food and smelled pleasant.
Overall? I tried the chicken recipe with my dog, and he was a big fan.
What sets them apart:
Available recipes: Heed the Cattle Call , Get Your Gobble On , Dare to Cross the Road , Get Some Sheep Thrills
Price: Depending on age, breed, and size of dog, meal plans start at $2 a day.
Use the link below to get 50% off your first two weeks of food.
What sets them apart:
Refrigerating, then scooping and fluffing the food, then using the fridge container was a little extra. My husband complained about it, and neither one of us could remember which package to use as we had been taking turns feeding Whiskey.
The Farmers Dog