Best Dog Food for Hunting Dogs

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two hunting dogs

Do you have a hunting breed that needs plenty of food that provides energy?

You’re not alone. Hunting dogs are sought after, but they also need a special diet to keep up with their activities. Let’s talk about the best dog foods for hunting dogs.

Our top choice is Annamaet Ultra 32% dry dog food

It’s a high-performance dog food with the correct protein and fat percentages. 

But there are other dog foods on this list, too — including one for dogs with sensitive stomachs. You’ll be able to support your hunting dog no matter their nutritional needs. 

Our Pick
Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food
Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food
  • High-protein recipe
  • Designed for performance dogs
  • Made in the USA 
Best Budget
Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Performance Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Performance Dry Dog Food
  • High-protein recipe
  • 30% protein and 20% fat ratio 
  • Fortified with live probiotics
Best Premium
ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • 85% premium animal ingredients
  • WholePrey nutrition
  • Freeze-dried coated

Our Best Dog Food for Hunting Dogs

10 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs Reviewed 


Best Overall

1. Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food

Annamaet Ultra 32%
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Whole Dry Eggs, Herring Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 20% Crude Fat, 3% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 480 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat dry dog food for active and working dogs 

Hunting breeds are active dogs, so they need plenty of calories, protein, and fat to have peak performance. A high-performance dog food like Annamaet Ultra 32% dry dog food can meet all those needs. 

This formula starts with real chicken, whole dried eggs, and herring meat meal. These ingredients help provide a whopping 32% Crude Protein. And they’re full of l-carnitine for lean muscle mass and glucosamine for limber joints. 

This recipe is high in fat as well. It includes fatty ingredients, including Marine microalgae oil, chicken fat, and menhaden fish oil. These provide essential fatty acids like omega-3s to reduce inflammation. And they have DHA for cognitive function.

Annamaet Ultra 32% is gluten-free. But, it does contain grains like millet and brewers dried yeast.

These provide prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion and vitamin A for eye health. This is essential for hunting dogs, who need good eyesight to help with their work. 

This formula is free of peas, soy, corn, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. 

Dog owners say this food has made the most significant difference in their dogs’ digestion and energy levels. 


Best for Puppies

2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 415 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry puppy food with salmon oil and probiotics for gut and brain health

Active hunting dogs start their work at a young age. This helps during a hunting or training session and gets them used to the lifestyle. But because of this, they’ll need plenty of energy and nutrition to support their growing bodies and sensitive systems. 

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy dry dog food has novel proteins, probiotics, and healthy fats to boost and protect your pup’s health. But, the nutrients are perfectly balanced for joints and bones, as well as steady growth. 

It starts with water buffalo, lamb meal, and roasted bison. These novel and high-quality protein sources are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. And they offer essential nutrients like taurine, calcium, and B12 for energy, heart health, and strong bones. 

Pups need essential fatty acids too, which added chicken fat and salmon oil offer. And they also offer DHA and ARA for cognitive function and muscle recovery. 

This recipe is grain-free but includes healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. These provide prebiotic fiber for a healthy digestive system and vitamin C for immune support. 

This puppy formula also includes supplemented probiotics. These reduce possible inflammation from daily activity and aid gut health. 

Puppy owners say that their pups love this food. And they note that digestion, skin health, and cognitive function are all the better since offering this recipe. 


Best for Seniors

3. VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 11.5% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry dog food with fiber and healthy fats for dogs nearing retirement

Hunting dogs are usually winding down with their daily activities and workload by hitting retirement. This also affects their body. It lowers their metabolism, affects their muscles and joints, and even causes weight gain.

But, senior dogs still need plenty of nutrition, and vitamins and minerals, to support them in their golden years. So what do you feed a dog that’s used to extensive activity who’s now slowing down?

Try VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight dry dog food. It’s lower in calories and fat to aid in healthy metabolism. But, it’s still high in protein and contains healthy prebiotic fiber for digestive and immune health. 

It starts with beef meal and menhaden fish meal. These provide taurine for heart health, potassium for solid bones, and B vitamins for energy and cellular health. And menhaden fish meal contains DHA for improved brain health — essential for senior hunting dogs. 

This recipe is lower in fat, but it has chicken fat and vitamin E. These help your dog keep their luscious hair and itch-free coat, and healthy joints. And, vitamin E is a great antioxidant, keeping their immune system strong. 

Senior pet parents love that they can keep up with their dog’s energy while avoiding weight gain with this food. 


Best for Medium Breeds

4. Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Whitefish, Herring Meal, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 34% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 414 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fiber dry dog food with antioxidants for medium breeds

Small and medium breeds aren’t rare in the hunting scene. They can be some of the best hunting dogs because of their willingness to learn and be active.

They need more concentrated nutrition, but less calories overall. If you have a smaller or medium-sized hunting dog, try Wellness CORE Natural Ocean dry dog food. 

This poultry-free formula is perfect for smaller dogs. It’s even great for those with food allergies. And it’s packed with antioxidants for a boost to your dog’s immune system. 

It starts with real animal proteins, including whitefish, herring meal, and salmon meal. These contain essential fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and taurine. These nutrients aid in joint, heart, and muscle health, essential for working dogs. 

Ground flaxseed and canola oil encourage lean body mass and muscle tone by providing essential fats for energy and recovery. Plus, they help make the skin healthy and support a shiny coat. 

This formula doesn’t include meat by-products, fillers, corn, soy, or gluten. It’s also free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.

But keep in mind that it’s manufactured in a facility that also processes grains. So if your dog is sensitive, you may want to avoid this food. 

Small and medium breed owners love how this food doesn’t contain chicken for sensitive pups. But they say it makes their whole home smell fishy when the bag opens. 


Best for Large Breeds

5. Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Rice, Barley, Pork Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 376 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-fat and high-calorie dry food with omega fatty acids for active large breeds 

Giant breeds, especially when active or working, need lots of calories, fat, and protein. This is to help keep up their muscle tone, joints, and body mass. So it’s essential to choose a dog food made for large breeds. 

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed dog food is the perfect option. It’s made with high-quality protein options, healthy grains for vitamins, and essential fatty acids for joint and ligament support. 

It’s important to note that this formula is lower in protein, especially compared to most high-performance options. But, the proteins are easy to digest and absorb by dogs, so they still help protect and strengthen muscles. 

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient. This animal protein includes taurine for heart health and l-carnitine to help process and absorb healthy fats. And if that wasn’t enough, this recipe also includes chicken and pork meals for extra protein. 

Chicken fat and flaxseeds offer omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for hair growth and shine, joint protection, and bone health. 

Rice and barley provide gentle prebiotics for gut health. And they include nutrients like selenium and magnesium for immune health and metabolic support.

Large breed owners enjoy the quality of this food and love that it helps keep their dog’s energy levels up. 


Best Wet Food

6. Nulo Freestyle Lamb & Lentils Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Lamb Lentils Grain-Free Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Lamb Broth, Turkey Broth
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 9% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 506 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat wet dog food with gentle grains 

Before we dive into the deliciousness of wet food, let me note that it is not recommended to feed canned dog food only to a hunting dog. This is because they need too many calories, and it would talk many cans per day to provide them with that.

However, wet food can be a great way to entice pickier eaters, offer more water content, and make food easier to digest. So it’s perfect as a topper on kibble or a treat now and then. 

It features lamb as the first ingredient. This novel animal meat still offers plenty of protein content and is easy to digest while tasty.

And turkey and turkey liver add extra essential vitamins like vitamins D, B12, and A for energy, lean muscle mass, strong bones, and eyesight support. 

Lentils and carrots provide prebiotics and healthy fiber for healthy digestion. And the food also supplements probiotics for digestive health too.

Salmon provides protein, but it’s lower on the ingredient list. Coupled with flaxseeds, it’s a great source of essential fatty acids and EPA for brain function.

Dog moms and dads say their dogs get excited when they see their regular kibble topped with Nulo. 


Best Budget Food

7. Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Performance Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Poultry By-Product Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 20% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 484 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Budget-friendly, high-protein, and high-fat dry dog food for active dogs

Did you know that the most recommended high-performance diet consists of 30% Crude Protein and 20% Crude Fat?

This is because veterinarians and dog nutrition experts have noticed that this ratio helps provide enough energy while also supporting healthy muscle mass and joints. 

Purina Pro Plan 30/20 includes 30% protein and 20% fat and is the perfect diet for high energy dogs like hunting canines. And it’s also easy on the wallet, so even owners on a budget can provide high-quality food. 

Real chicken, fish meal, and egg product provide high-quality animal protein for strength and endurance. And they’re packed with other nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin to aid in muscle recovery and flexible joints. 

Beef fat and fish oil offer plenty of healthy fats for energy and healthy skin. And for mental clarity, they provide DHA. 

This food isn’t the best option for dogs who need a grain-free diet. This is because it includes corn gluten meal and rice.

However, these grains are gentle on the tummy as long as your dog doesn’t have allergies and include vitamins like vitamin C for immune support. 

Canine owners appreciate this food’s price point, but they also love how it helps their dog perform well. 


Best Premium Food

8. ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Wild Boar, Goat, Lamb, Lamb Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 463 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat premium dry food with probiotics 

Many hunting dog owners choose premium food to ensure their working pups have top-value nutrition. Try ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free dry dog food if you want to go this route. It’s packed with high-quality and real animal proteins, human-grade fruits and vegetables, and legumes to replace grains. 

The first five ingredients in this formula are ranch-raised beef, wild boar, goat, grass-fed lamb, and lamb liver. They’re also whole-prey animal ingredients — so they include the organs and bones of each meat.

These proteins aid in lean muscles and contain nutrients like glucosamine, iron, and vitamin D for strong bones and joints. 

This formula also has plenty of healthy fats because of added pork liver, beef fat, and pollock oil. These offer essential fatty acids for cognitive function and reduce inflammation after a long working day. 

This grain-free recipe includes whole red lentils and whole pinto beans for carbohydrates and extra energy. These contain prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion and iron and B vitamins for energy and brain health.

Supplemented probiotics also help fight inflammation and keep gut health in check. 

Pet owners love this protein-packed food and enjoy that it’s also grain-free. 


Best for Sensitive Stomachs

9. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Skin Stomach Care Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Salmon Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 349 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient diet with omega fatty acids for sensitive tummies 

Before we get into the details of this food, it’s important to note that it doesn’t follow the traditional “high-performance” recommendations for protein and fat.

But, the gentle formula is perfect for dogs with digestive system issues who still need energy and nutrition for hunting. 

It’s free of many common allergens, is low in ingredients, and has highly digestible proteins and fats to ensure that your dog can keep up on daily hunts. Let’s dive into why Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care dry dog food is perfect for pups with sensitive tummies. 

This delicious diet starts with real deboned salmon and salmon meal — 2 of 17 ingredients. And, these are the only protein sources, to aid in proper digestion and protect dogs with certain protein food sensitivities. 

Fish oil, canola oil, and vitamin E oil provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus vitamin E for limber joints, flexible cartilage, and strong muscles. And they also contain DHA for a better attention span. 

This formula also contains LifeSource Bits, a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that boost your pal’s immune system — which will also support their gut health. It doesn’t contain chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs. And, it’s free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. 

Pet parents love that this food doesn’t cause GI flare-ups or upset. And, they enjoy their dog’s newfound energy levels too.  


Best for Performance

10. Inukshuk Professional 30/25 Dry Dog Food

Inukshuk Professional 30:25 Dog Food
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Herring Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Wheat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 25% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 578 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein, high-fat, and high-calorie dog food for hunting dogs 

Hunting dogs need to be able to focus on their number one priority — the hunt. Because of this, feeding them once a day is usually advised by vets. But because of that, your pup will need plenty of calories, fat, and protein in one meal. 

If you’re looking for the best option to increase your dog’s performance — no matter the day or time — try Inukshuk Professional 30/25 dry dog food. 

Their 30/25 blend has 30% of Crude Protein, 25% of Crude Fat, and 578 calories per cup. So it’s perfect to feed at the end of a long and prosperous day so your dog can recover their muscles and energy while they sleep. 

This formula starts with both chicken and herring meals. These contain taurine for heart health, omega-3 fatty acids for flexible joints, and DHA for cognitive function. And chicken is full of l-carnitine, which aids in muscle growth and recovery. 

Chicken fat and herring oil provide healthy and essential fatty acids for supple skin and a shiny coat. And herring oil also contains EPA to reduce inflammation after a long day. 

Dog parents say this food helps their dog stay at a healthy weight and not lose too much. And many note that their pup loves this food, even if they’re usually finicky! 


hunting dog

Guide to Buying the Best Dog Food for Hunting Dogs

Are you looking to support your hunting dog? Here’s what to look for in their food and what to know. 

Activity Levels & Dietary Requirements For Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs need plenty of protein, fat, and calories to maintain their high activity levels. So it’s crucial to feed them the proper food. 

First, talk to your veterinarian about what your dog will need as calories, proteins, and fats. Next, focus on high-performance kibbles, like the options on this list. These will help your dog keep up their stamina. 

Also, it’s important to note the type of hunting dog you have. 

For example, terriers are smaller and hunt small animals. Example breeds include Rat Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers. Because their bodies aren’t large or giant, they need more nutrition in smaller amounts of food. 

Hound dogs are medium or large-breed hunting dogs, so they need more food overall but may need less protein and fat by percentage than smaller dogs. Hound dogs include Foxhounds, Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, and even Beagles.

The last type of hunting dog is gun dogs —  these large breed hunting dogs that can hunt and retrieve larger animals.

These gun dogs include Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Pointers. They need a large-breed specific food with plenty of protein and fat. 

Ingredients to Look for When Buyi Food For Hunting Dogs

Once you talk to your vet and know how much food your hunting dog requires, now is the time to find the right formula. Here are the ingredients you should look for. 

Protein Content

High protein content protects your dog’s muscle mass, bones, and even joints. Since hunting dogs use all of these body parts regularly, they need plenty of protein to keep up with their activities.

Look for a formula with at least 25% Crude Protein for hunting dogs. And focus on real animal sources, like beef, chicken, lamb, duck, venison, and fish. 

Fat

Fats are how your dog gets their primary source of energy. And they’ve been shown to reduce inflammation, protect joints, improve cognitive function, and much more.

So healthy fat content, at least 15% on a dry matter basis, is crucial. 

Also, try to feed your dog kibble that includes healthier fats, like salmon oil, coconut oil, chicken and beef grease, and flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. 

Carbs and Fiber

Most dogs can handle carbohydrates. But hunting dogs should have their carbs limited to what’s essential.

Easy-to-digest options like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oats are best, and they should avoid too many grains to keep them from feeling sluggish. 

However, fiber is essential in every dog’s diet. This helps boost their energy and keep them regular. While the carb sources listed above offer fiber, look at the percentage of the food you buy. It should be at least 2%, up to 6%-10%. 

Other Minerals and Vitamins

All canines, including hunting dogs, need vitamins and minerals to live healthy and long lives. These nutrients include vitamins like vitamin D and A for solid bones and eye health.

And minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium aid in joint, bone, and metabolic health. 

Most dog foods, including high-performance kibble, have the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals needed by your pup. But, be sure to talk to your vet to see if you need to supplement any based on your dog’s specific requirements. 

Hunting Dog Feeding Guide

Unlike other dogs, hunting dogs should eat once a day (preferably) or twice. They need to recover from their activities and eat healthy fats and proteins to boost their metabolism and keep muscle tone. 

By feeding them once a day, they can digest their food easier at night. And, their endurance is higher when they have an empty stomach, so feeding in the morning could mean a sluggish dog. 

Think about it this way — how do you feel after eating a large meal? Now imagine doing the same to your hunting dog.

If you want them not to be distracted by having to go potty or being defiant because they’re tired, you’ll want to feed them during the correct times. 

If they need to eat because of health issues like hypoglycemia, then give them a small amount of food in the morning, not a whole meal. And again, always talk to your vet to ensure your dog is getting the nutrition they need. 

High-Performance Dog Food Vs. Normal Dog Food

A high-performance diet typically consists of 50% Carbohydrates, 30% Crude Protein, and 20% Crude Fat. Normal dog food is more about 60%-70% Carbohydrates, 20% Crude Protein, and 10% Crude Fat. 

A high-perfomance food helps boost your dog’s metabolism, keeps them regular, and helps their muscles and joints recover after a long day of hunting.

Even if you don’t get food with these exact percentages, focus on high fat and protein levels. 

Health Problems in Hunting Dogs

While hunting dog breeds are generally healthy, there are a few health problems they may face. Here’s what to keep an eye on.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, can affect many dog breeds — including hunting dogs. But the most common dogs affected are smaller dogs, like terriers. Due to their higher metabolisms, they need more calories and be fed more often. 

If you have a small hunting dog, you can feed them more than once a day. But keep their meals small to prevent lethargy and distraction.

Then, at night, they can have most of their food. Also, be sure to stay within their nutritional needs. Don’t overfeed them since this can cause weight gain. 

Joint Problems 

Hunting dogs are prone to joint issues due to their highly dynamic nature. This includes hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as arthritis. These disorders will cause inflammation and a loss of joint function. 

While your hunting dog gets proper exercise with hunting, you’ll also want to focus on their nutrition. Omega fatty acids, potassium, glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin D are essential for supporting healthy joints and bones. 

Digestive Issues 

Did you know that your dog’s digestive tract is associated with their immune system? So when one is out of whack, the other is likely to be as well. 

Environmental activity and stress can cause inflammation and a compromised immune system with hunting canines.

This then affects their digestion and gut health. Some signs of digestive issues include a loss of appetite, excess gas, constipation or diarrhea, and fatigue.

Prebiotic fiber and supplemented probiotics can aid in better digestion. And essential fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation.  

Our Verdict

While hunting dogs have specific dietary needs, they’re relatively easy to meet if you have the right food. And luckily, we’ve included the 10 best dog food options.  

Of course, our favorite option is Annamaet Ultra 32% dry dog food

It meets the protein and fat requirements while avoiding gluten to make it easier to digest for dogs with allergies or intolerances. 

No matter which best dog food for hunting dogs you try, your furry and active pal will be in good hands and have tasty kibble waiting for them when they get home from work. 

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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