Dry dog food is the best option for economic dog owners who need convenience. It’s shelf-stable, helps clean teeth, and is usually the best budget option out of other food choices. But with so many brands out there, which one has the best dry dog food?
It’s high in protein, perfect for adult and senior dogs, and starts with raw meats. It doesn’t include any fillers or extra ingredients that some brands add to cut costs.
But, if you’re looking for an option for your puppy, senior, or small breed, we have recommendations for them too. The foods on this list are the best dry dog food in their category, and for good reason.
Our Best Dry Dog Food
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Adults)
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies)
- Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food (Best for Seniors)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites Dry Dog Food (Best for Small Breeds)
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Large Breeds)
- American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
- ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
- Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low-Calorie Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)
- Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Gain)
- ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food (Best for Allergies)
10 Best Dry Dog Food Reviewed
The recipes listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog’s kibble, please consult with your veterinarian.
- First 5 Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 422 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Grain-free and high-protein with novel proteins for all life stages
The best dry dog food needs to fit dogs of all shapes and sizes. And, it shouldn’t have unhealthy ingredients or fillers. Instead, grab some high-protein kibble that works for almost all dogs.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie dog food starts with water buffalo, bison, and venison. These novel proteins help maintain lean muscle mass. They also offer potassium for healthy bones.
Ocean fish meal and chicken fat supply omega-3 fatty acids for joint health — and give your dog a shiny coat. And, ocean fish meal includes DHA for healthy brain function.
Instead of grains, Taste of the Wild adds sweet potatoes and pea protein. These offer prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion and vitamin A for eye health.
This recipe includes blueberries, raspberries, and taurine for a healthy heart and immune system. Also, they add probiotics after cooking the food to aid in digestion.
This formula is manufactured in the US and by a family-owned brand. It doesn’t include grains, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or artificial colors.
Pet owners love that this food contains high-quality ingredients without breaking the bank. And, many noted that their dog’s coat and skin cleared up and were shiny after switching. This is great if you have a dog who tends to scratch or has a long and thick coat.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
- Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 400 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: High-protein dry puppy food with probiotics for healthy digestion
Puppyhood tends to be the least picky age for most dogs. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice taste, quality, or ingredients for your growing dog. Instead, choose high-quality puppy food that will encourage healthy growth.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy formula is a grain-free food made for young dogs. It starts with real deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal. These provide taurine and omega fatty acids and make the formula high protein.
Your pup will get a whopping 27% of Crude Protein per serving, helping their muscles grow strong and lean.
Chicken fat and flaxseeds provide healthy fats, as well as B vitamins for a boost of energy. And, whole grain oatmeal and brown rice add fiber to keep your dog regular.
Blueberries and kelp offer antioxidants as well. These improve your dog’s immune system and help improve their cognitive function as well.
This formula also includes a unique blend of calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. These help build strong bones and teeth, boost your pup’s metabolism, and keep their skin itch-free.
This kibble is bite-sized for a puppy’s smaller jaws, promoting tartar removal. It doesn’t include corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals.
Pup parents love that this food is cost-effective and includes the vitamins that puppies need to grow into healthy adults.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice
- Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4.25% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 416 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Non-GMO dry dog food with probiotics and glucosamine for aging dogs
Dry dog food is perfect for senior dogs as they age. First, it can help keep tartar off their teeth, keeping them from having bad breath and possible tooth extraction. And, it includes extra fats and vitamins to support their mature joints, muscles, and bones.
Wellness Complete Health senior dog food is the perfect balance of nutrition and convenience. This kibble starts with deboned chicken and chicken meal. These high-quality protein sources offer natural taurine and glucosamine for healthy joints.
Ground flaxseed and chicken fat are packed with healthy fats — including omega-3, omega-6, and chondroitin. These give your dog a shiny coat and help to nourish their joints.
For easier digestion and metabolism support, Wellness includes peas, oatmeal, and ground barley. They include folate, thiamine, and magnesium — which can help keep your dog at a healthy weight, even as they slow down.
This recipe includes probiotics as well, which can help reduce inflammation and soothe a sensitive stomach.
This formula is free of GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, and artificial preservatives.
Owners with seniors loved that this food kept their dogs at a healthy weight, as well as had plenty of healthy fats for joint health. And, many noticed an improvement in their dog’s arthritis symptoms.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Fiber, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
- Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 5.5% Crude Fat, 14% Crude Fiber, 10.5% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 271 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Grain-free dry dog food with small kibble size for small breed dogs
Unlike larger breeds, small dogs tend to be picky with their food. And, because they’re so cute, their owner may sneak them scraps or try to entice them with food toppers. But, Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites gives your small dog the flavor they crave without sacrificing their health.
Small dogs can have a lot of energy, but they still need to watch their metabolism. If they gain too much weight, they could stress their small frames and bones. This formula is lower in calories and provides 20% Crude Protein to keep your dog satiated.
It starts with chicken meal — offering a lean protein that still provides glucosamine and taurine. These help protect your dog’s joint and heart health.
For extra fiber and protein, pea fiber is also added. Not only will this keep your dog full, but it will help protect their sensitive stomach too.
To entice your dog to eat, this formula includes chicken liver flavor. This ingredient comes from chicken livers and gives a meaty and earthy flavor that even picky dogs love.
Carrots, cranberries, and green peas add a boost of antioxidants for a healthy immune system. And carrots have vitamin A to keep your dog’s eyes sharp and help them absorb protein.
It’s made in the US with sustainable and high-quality ingredients. It doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Split Peas, Whole Grain Sorghum
- Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 318 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Non-GMO dog food with glucosamine and chondroitin for large breeds
Large breeds need more amino acids to have healthy joints, muscles, and bones. Their weight and body structures need lean muscle mass and strong bones to support their health long-term.
To ensure that your big furry friend gets the vitamins they need, you’ll need large-breed specific food.
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed dog food is perfect for larger dogs. It starts with real deboned lamb and chicken meal. They provide glucosamine and chondroitin to support lean muscle mass and aid joint health.
Chicken fat and whole flaxseed offer essential amino acids for extra joint support and include DHA to boost brain function.
For easy-to-digest carbohydrates, Nutro adds whole brown rice and whole-grain sorghum to this formula. These offer prebiotic fiber for easier digestion, as well as selenium for thyroid support.
This formula only includes non-GMO ingredients and doesn’t include corn, wheat, or soy. But, it does include grains like rice, barley, and oatmeal. If your pup is sensitive to these ingredients, a grain-free recipe would be better.
Moms and dads of large dogs love that the food helps satiate their appetite. Many recommend it for working dogs due to its filling fiber and fat content.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
- Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 390 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: High-protein dry dog food for budget-conscious dog owners
One of the biggest appeals of dry dog food is that it is economical while being nutritious. But, high-quality components in many formulas start to increase their value.
American Journey kibble is still a modest bargain and includes similar ingredients. It’s the best dry dog food for budget-conscious owners.
This formula starts with deboned salmon and chicken meal. These animal proteins include vital amino acids to help your dog maintain your muscles. And, the salmon contains omega-3 acids for healthy joint function.
Healthy fats are crucial because dogs have so many legs, tendons, and bones to support. Salmon oil offers fatty acids as well and also supplements DHA and glucosamine. These building blocks nourish joints and aid in brain development.
Instead of grains that may cause allergic reactions, they include sweet potatoes and chickpeas. First, these offer natural fiber. And, they provide prebiotics for their digestive system.
This formula is grain-free and gluten-free. It also doesn’t include corn, wheat, and soy. It’s an excellent choice for grain-sensitive dogs but isn’t the best choice for dogs with protein allergies.
Many dog parents loved that even their picky pups gobbled down this kibble.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
- Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 473 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: High-protein and raw meat coated dry dog food
If you’re looking to spoil your pup with one of the top high-quality kibbles on the market, give Orijen a try. This high-protein and grain-free kibble starts with raw animal proteins. It also has human-grade fats, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables.
This recipe starts with raw farm raised chicken, turkey, and wild-caught flounder and mackerel. To give your dog the nutrients their ancestors had, they include animal organs and bones. These offer iron, B vitamins, and chondroitin for joint and bone health.
Eggs and chicken fat add more protein and healthy fats. These also provide a natural source of taurine for heart function.
This formula is wheat, corn, and soy-free. But it does include pinto beans and lentils for carbohydrates. These legumes offer selenium and manganese — helping regulate your dog’s metabolism and digestion.
Instead of artificial preservatives, Orijen uses rosemary extract to preserve their kibble. This formula doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. And, it’s manufactured in the US.
Owners love that Orijen doesn’t include any by-products. They also enjoy the raw meat benefits their dog can get without feeding them a raw diet.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Peas, Oat Groats
- Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 7.5% Crude Fat, 10.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 315 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Grain-free and high-protein dry dog food for weight loss
Almost half of adult dogs are overweight. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, a higher-protein and lower-fat diet can help. And, if that food is lower in calories, it’s even better.
Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low-Calorie dog food is specifically for overweight adult dogs. It’s lower in calories than most formulas without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.
In fact, it still has 26% of Crude Protein to help keep your dog full between meals. This is also helpful if you have a dog that tends to beg for more food or your food at the table.
It starts with salmon and chicken meal. These lower-calorie animal proteins offer glucosamine and DHA for healthy joints and muscles.
Chickpeas, dried peas, and oat groats provide filling fiber and extra protein. These help support healthy digestion and boost their metabolism. Plus, chickpeas include iron and selenium, which aid in energy production and thyroid function.
Chicken fat and salmon oil offer balanced omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. And, they also help give your dog more energy, which can help them with their daily exercise routine.
This lower-calorie dog food is a favorite amongst pet parents. Many notice that their dogs can lose weight quickly while on the diet.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Tapioca
- Guaranteed Analysis: 37% Crude Protein, 20.5% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 508 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat dry dog food to encourage weight gain
While weight gain is a severe issue in the dog community, some pups struggle to gain a healthy amount of weight.
If you find that your dog can’t seem to maintain their weight, or aren’t in a healthy weight range for their breed, try Instinct Raw Boost. This grain-free is high-protein and includes plenty of healthy fats to help your dog build lean muscle and boost their weight.
First, it starts with cage-free deboned chicken, herring meal, and chicken meal. These provide natural B vitamins for energy and omega fatty acids for joint support and extra calories.
For extra fat, chicken fat and salmon oil are included too. These provide energy for your dog and are their primary energy source. But, they also add extra quality calories, helping your pup build new tissue — and gain weight.
Although this is a kibble, it is freeze-dried raw coated. This means raw meat is added — which boosts flavor and nutrition. The raw meat offers extra probiotics and fats, nurturing your dog’s immune system and joints.
This formula is free of grains, corn, wheat, soy, and chicken by-product meal. It doesn’t contain any artificial colors or preservatives.
Dog owners love that even their picky eaters ate this food. And, many recorded that it caused weight gain and regulated their dog’s digestion.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Oat Groats, Whole Sorghum, Lamb Liver
- Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 371 kcal/cup
- Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food for dog’s with allergies or sensitivities
Food allergies can make it hard to shop for quality dry dog food. But, a limited ingredient diet can help your dog thrive without being boring, dry, and packed with unnecessary ingredients.
ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet is perfect for dogs with sensitivities. Instead of the usual chicken or beef, it starts with deboned lamb. This novel protein still includes plenty of vitamins — including biotin for energy and lean muscles.
Oats and pumpkin help improve digestion. And, these ingredients help soothe tummies and reduce inflammation that causes irregular digestion. Both are fiber-rich and also offer vitamin C for immune support.
Fish oil is also one of the 13 ingredients. This provides essential fatty acids that protein your dog’s skin and coat, as well as nourish their joints.
ACANA’s premium ingredients are sourced from a trusted group of farmers, ranchers, and fishers. Every batch is made right in their Kentucky kitchen. This formula is free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, gluten, and legumes.
If your dog is allergic to grains, ACANA also has a grain-free limited ingredient formula. However, the oats in this recipe shouldn’t affect many dogs and can be an essential carbohydrate. Many pet parents loved that this food helped with gestational issues.
What to Consider When Buying Dry Dog Food
Were you looking for and trying to pick the right dog food? Here’s what you need to know.
Just because your dog eats kibble, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be fueled by healthy and wholesome ingredients. When picking the best dog food, look for those with high-quality components.
First, the food should start with real animal proteins, with meat meals as a decent second option. Then, healthy fats should be listed — including oils like salmon oil or other options like chicken fat. After that, fruits, vegetables, and easy-to-digest carbohydrates should follow.
If the ingredients used are organic or human-grade, even better. And, raw coated kibble is a great choice as well, since your dog will get more easily absorbed protein and vitamins.
Also, look for brands and formulas that source their ingredients from countries like the US, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. These places are usually stricter with ingredient quality and sourcing, which means better food for your pup.
Another essential thing to remember is your dog’s age and life stage. Are they a puppy, adult, or senior? Or, are they pregnant or nursing? These questions will help you find a better formula that suits their specific needs.
Please do not feed your puppy an adult formula no matter what you do. This can cause over-nutrition, leading to health issues later in life — like bone and joint problems.
Size or Specific Breed
Depending on the size or breed of your dog, you may need to choose a specific formula of dog food. For example, small dogs need smaller kibble to avoid choking — while large breeds need more fat and vitamins for their joints.
Before switching to any new food, always consult your veterinarian about what’s best for your dog. That way, you can choose the food that will keep them healthy and happy.
Does your dog need to lose weight? Is your dog allergic to specific proteins? Based on your dog’s health needs, you’ll want to choose a dry dog food that fills those requirements. There’s no reason to buy high-fat dog food if your dog needs to lose a few pounds.
If your dog has a disorder or disease, speak with your veterinarian about the dog food they recommend. Regular dry kibble may not work for your pup, and they may need prescription food.
What to Avoid When Buying Dry Food
Fillers, additives, and preservatives aren’t nutritious for any dog. At best, they don’t offer anything for vitamins or minerals. But at worst, these ingredients can cause long-term health problems — and even lead to death.
Avoid brands and formulas made with artificial colors, flavors, and artificial preservatives. Also, avoid fillers like meat by-products, wheat, soy, and corn should whenever possible.
Dry dog food doesn’t have to be bland. And, it can still offer quality ingredients, vitamins, and nutrients to your dog — without an exorbitant price tag. So, what is the best dry dog food?
My favorite choice is Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
But, there are other terrific options as well. No matter what you’re looking for — from weight loss to a limited ingredient dog food — you can find dry food for your dog on this list.
Want to know more about dry dog food and dog food brands? Here are a few common questions and their answers.
Is dry dog food the best option for my dog?
Dogs are fine eating dry dog food; but, some may be picky and prefer wet dog food or dehydrated. But wet food, raw food diets, fresh food, and even dehydrated food can get expensive.
The benefits of dry food are that it’s convenient, affordable, and can also help support dental health — since the kibble scrapes off plaque. And, if you choose the right dry food, you can get a healthy and nutritious option.
Which protein sources are best for dogs?
The best protein sources are real animal proteins. This includes meats like fish, duck, beef, chicken, and meat meals (since they’re ground options).
Is fish a food source of protein in dog food?
It is. Fish is also a healthy source of omega fatty acids and other vitamins your dog needs. And, if your dog is allergic to proteins like chicken or beef, fish is a great alternative.
How to store dry dog food?
The best way to store dry dog food is to add the kibble to an air-tight container. Of course, don’t keep this container open or in direct sun. Instead, store it in a cool, dry place if at all possible.
Dry dog food already has a long shelf life. But this will keep the kibble for months, or even years, longer than just sitting in a bag.
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