Trying a new brand of dog food can be a bit scary and intimidating for dog owners. There are so many choices and in order to ensure your dog’s health, you want to make sure you are choosing the right one for him or her.
There isn’t one “best dry dog food” out there. There are many excellent brands of good quality, and it’s up to you, the owner, to do your research.
We make your research process a bit simpler by highlighting the top ten.
These quality foods are some of the best on the market today, and if you want to feed your dog a quality, nutritious meal each day, you are in the right spot.
Check them out!
How to Choose
Here are a few things to consider as you compare and contrast dry dog foods.
- Age of Dog. Puppy, adult or senior dog? There are age-appropriate formulas for all of the, so make sure to get one that offers your dog the right amount of nutrients for its age.
- Activity Level. Avoid a high protein, high calorie diet for an inactive dog that stays indoors most of the day, and remember to provide an active dog with enough nutrients to keep him strong.
Pet food labels usually tell you serving sizes based not only on the dog’s weight, but also on their activity level. This will help you to alter the servings accordingly even if you do choose a richer kibble.
- Size of Breed. Toy breeds, small breeds, medium, large and giant breeds all have different nutritional needs, so be sure to take into consideration the adult size of your dog as you select a type of food.
Dog food manufacturers are always changing in order to keep up with the current industry trends, and nowadays you’ll find them labeled under the following categories:
- Grain-Free. Grain-free formulas are becoming a standard option for many pet food manufacturers today. Since grains are not a natural part of a dog’s diet (they were introduced by humans who used them as pet food fillers), they are harder for dogs to digest. Often times too much grain in your dog’s diet is the source of allergic reactions and dry, itchy skin.
- Organic. Organic dog food is made with plants, vegetables or fruit that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. A healthy, safe food source for your pooch is always a great way to go!
- Holistic. Holistic is a difficult term to describe since different people use it in different ways. Typically, holistic foods are free of artificial ingredients and by-products, but it doesn’t necessary mean that it is organic.
It uses natural ingredients that contain some of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs, and the rest are supplemented with pure vitamins and minerals.
- Limited Ingredient. Limited ingredient doesn’t mean lacking nutrition. This type of food is great to help you figure out what type of food your dog may be allergic to and it offers them an equal amount of nutrition without exaggerating on the ingredients.
- Gluten-Free. Gluten-free formulas are great for dogs who have a gluten allergy or intolerance, but remember that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean grain-free.
Top 10 Dry Dog Foods Overview Table
|1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Dry Dog Food||8 pounds||$$||4.8|
|2. Hill's Ideal Balance Grain Free Adult Dog Dry Food Bag||21 pounds||$$||4.7|
|3. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food||30 pounds||$$||4.6|
|4. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food||12 pounds||$$$||4.6|
|5. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food||14 pounds||$$||4.6|
|6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Dog Food||30 pounds||$$||4.5|
|7. CANIDAE Life Stages Dry Dog Food||30 pounds||$$||4.5|
|8. Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food||33 pounds||$$||4.5|
|9. Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||23.5 pounds||$$$||4.4|
|10. Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs||40 pounds||$||4.2|
The size of the actual kibble makes a huge difference, and while we know that you can’t always choose food based on the size of the kibble, it is something to take into consideration as you shop.
Dogs that eat quickly without chewing their food have a harder time digesting it once it arrives in the stomach. Everything has to work harder to break down the food, and some dogs might regurgitate it.
Remember that the act of chewing and breaking down the kibble also helps keep the teeth healthy, clean and it prevents tartar build up.
If you’ve already found the right food based on the quality and the fact that your dog likes it, then think about getting a special bowl that will slow them down.
If your dog eats fast because you have other dogs present in the home (eat before it gets “stolen” by the competition), then you may want to separate the dogs at meal times in order to take the pressure off.
Top 5 Best Dry Dog Food Reviews
If you’re looking for the best dry dog food for small breeds, then chances are that both you and your dog will love Nutro Wholesome Essentials.
This formula contains a healthy mix of ingredients including oatmeal (for sensitive stomachs), soluble fiber (for easy digestion) antioxidants for a healthy immune system and plenty of nutrients for a balanced metabolism.
Chicken is the main ingredient and picky eaters seem to enjoy the flavor immensely. Check out their puppy, senior and toy breed formulas, as well!
If you’re in need of kibble for a larger dog or this is not the right one for your pooch, have a look at some of our other suggestions below (number four is also for small breeds).
This grain-free formula from Hill’s is a hit with dogs and dog owners thanks to the healthy mix of quality ingredients.
This is made with lean protein chicken, brown rice that contains fiber for healthy digestion, vegetables and fruits that contain the vitamins and minerals that dogs need, flaxseed for a healthy skin and coat and finally some cranberries that help promote a healthy bladder.
This does not contain corn, wheat or soy and there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
A quality kibble for many adult dogs! It’s worth a try (get the 3.5 pound bag to start) to see if your dog likes it.
Active and energetic dogs will do well with the High Prairie Formula from Taste of the Wild (there are also many other formulas they make but we’ll focus on this one).
This food packs a punch with its mix of roasted bison, venison, buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal and beef, so dogs who need a protein-rich diet will do well with this. It is also grain-free and contains sweet potatoes, peas, tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, vitamins and other supplements that will keep your dog healthy all over.
This is definitely a quality food and dogs love the flavor, but if you have already tried it and haven’t had success with it for various reasons (too rich, your dog didn’t like it, etc.) then we still have two more suggestions.
This 100% grain-free food for small breeds has everything they need to promote a healthy lifestyle.
This has a higher quantity of protein compared to many other dog food brands, which make it perfect for small, active dogs. It also has a healthy serving of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, probiotics and fiber for good digestion.
They also have plenty of other formulas and flavors available, all free of corn, wheat, soy, meat by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives.
An excellent choice for any small dog who loves the flavor of chicken and turkey.
This food is great because it is balanced for large breeds of all stages (from puppy to adult) and doesn’t contain an excessive amount of ingredients.
For simplifying your dog’s source of nutrients, proteins and carbs, or if you have a dog with allergies, this is a great option.
The larger kibbles are specially designed for large breed dogs, which encourages them to slow down and chew their food rather than eating quickly without chewing. As we mentioned above, chewing the kibble and breaking it down before it is swallowed is important, as it also helps dogs to keep their teeth clean.
This has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It is a simple, nutritional formula specifically designed for large dogs. You’ll especially want to give it a try if your big pup has allergies and does well with lamb!