Best Dog Food With Grain

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grains and rice

While dogs don’t eat the same diet as humans, they still can benefit from healthy and wholesome grains.

These help them absorb more vitamins and nutrients and aids in healthy digestion. While there are many options available with these ingredients, which is the best dog food with grain? 

My top choice is Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food

It’s a mono protein formula with oats and rice — helping your dog stay regular and keep their immunity high. 

And, we have other options on this list as well for all life stages— even if you have a senior or dog who needs to lose weight. Here are our best dog food with grain choices. 

Our Best Grain-Inclusive Dog Food

  1. Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food (Best Adult Food With Grain)
  2. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies)
  3. Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Seniors)
  4. Whole Earth Farms Whole Grains Recipe Adult Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  5. American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  6. Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
  7. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Small Breeds)
  8. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Large Breeds)
  9. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)
  10. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food (Best for Allergies) 

10 Best Dog Food With Grain Reviewed 

The recipes listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog’s food, consult with your veterinarian. 


Best for Adults

Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Adult Health Lamb Meal
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Oatmeal, Peas, Rice, Chicken Fat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 454 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Monoprotein grain-inclusive dry food made with oats and flaxseed for adult dogs

High-quality dog food is essential when you want a healthy dog. And, if you’re looking to switch your dog’s food, you may want to keep it as simple as possible.

Luckily, Holistic Select Lamb Recipe is the perfect combination of probiotics, antioxidants, and healthy fiber. 

First, this formula only includes one meat protein — lamb. This is helpful for dogs with sensitivities to other proteins like beef. And, it still offers glucosamine and taurine — which are important for heart and joint health. 

Chicken fat and flaxseed provide omega fatty acids for additional joint support. And, these fats are what give your dog their energy, too, so they’re essential. 

Oats and dried beet pulp round out the healthy grains in this food. They provide prebiotic fiber for easier digestion and vitamins like zinc for a healthy metabolism. 

Holistic Select Adult Health dry dog food is made in the US with top-quality ingredients sourced from the US, Canada, and New Zealand. 

Pet parents love that this food works well for dogs with allergies. And, they note that the kibble is the perfect size for all breeds. 


Best for Puppies

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 374 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dog food with DHA for brain function and grains for easy digestion 

Your pup needs proper nutrition to grow up big and strong. That’s why it’s so important to find a dog food that offers wholesome ingredients that supports their development.

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development is an excellent choice if you’re looking for dog food with grains.  

It starts with savory chicken meal. This meat protein provides taurine for a healthy heart and chondroitin to support joints and muscles during growth. And, it helps to offer 25% Crude Protein to keep your dog’s muscles strong. 

Cracked pearled barley and whole-grain wheat give plenty of calories for energy. But, they also offer magnesium, zinc, and selenium — which are all critical for healthy brain and eye function. 

This formula is manufactured in the United States too. And, every ingredient meets strict requirements for purity and nutrient content. It’s approved for puppies up to 1 year of age, as well as pregnant or nursing dogs. 

Puppy owners admit that the bites are a little small and may not work for extra-large puppies.

But, they love how many nutrients the food has, and many note that it also helps their pups poop better. 


Best for Seniors

Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food

Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Food
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 381 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: A high-protein grain-inclusive dog food with DHA for joint health in senior dogs 

When dogs age, their nutritional needs change, and so does their body. Their metabolism slows, their joints and muscles get weary, and they may take longer to respond.

Because of this, dog food that can meet their needs is essential. Merrick Healthy Grains Senior dog food is the perfect solution. 

This formula starts with free range chicken as its main ingredient. This helps build and retain healthy muscle tissue. The natural DHA and glucosamine in chicken also keep your aging dog’s joints limber and protected. 

Healthy grains like brown rice, oatmeal, ground barley, and quinoa provide digestion support. And, they also offer a bit of extra protein and vitamins like manganese for energy. 

Chicken fat and salmon oil offer omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health. And, these also aid in joint and muscle recovery too — along with heart health. 

This formula is made in the US. It doesn’t include potatoes, peas, or lentils. 

Dog owners say that even their picky seniors gobbled this food up. And, many note a difference in their dogs’ energy levels and skin health.  


Best Wet Food

Whole Earth Farms Whole Grains Recipe Adult Canned Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Whole Grains Adult Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Whitefish
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 8% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.4% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 415 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein wet dog food made without by-products and lentils for adult dogs

Is your dog a picky eater? If so, it may be hard to feed them dry kibble. Instead, give your particular pooch a wet food with wholesome grains and natural ingredients.

Whole Earth Farms Whole Grains Adult recipe is cooked in the US with high-quality ingredients sourced close to home. 

This wet dog food contains multiple sources of protein — including chicken, chicken liver, and whitefish. These provide iron, omega fatty acids, and protein for strong muscles, joints, and energy. 

For grains, Whole Earth Farms adds brown rice and oatmeal. These are fiber-rich and also include prebiotics to protect gut health. And, the formula has sweet potatoes too — for flavor and essential vitamins like vitamin A

If your dog has allergies to legumes, this is the perfect alternative for them. This formula is 100% free from lentils and peas. It also doesn’t include corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial colors, or preservatives.

Pet parents use this as both a topper and daily food. Many comment that it was the perfect way to switch from grain-free food to an option with grains.  


Best Budget Food

American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food

American Journey Active Life Salmon Brown Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Rice Bran
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 345 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Wallet-friendly dog food with antioxidants for a healthy immune system 

Luckily, most dog foods with grains are great for budget-conscious owners.

But, if you’re looking for high-value and low-cost nutritious food without fillers, American Journey Active Life formula is your best bet. You can buy this food in bulk too, thus saving even more. 

This recipe starts with real deboned salmon and menhaden fish meal. These provide a whopping 25% lean protein — maintaining lean muscle mass and protecting joints. And, they include omega fatty acids and DHA for a shiny coat and boost brain health. 

Chicken fat offers taurine, while flaxseeds add fatty acids that are essential for a healthy heart.

Along with these healthy fats, whole grain brown rice and oatmeal provide fiber which aids in proper digestion. And, brown rice includes calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. 

One of the best additions to this dog food is the natural antioxidants. Blueberries, cranberries, and kelp include vitamin C and iodine for a healthy metabolism and immune system. 

American Journey Active Life doesn’t include wheat, corn, soy, or poultry by-product meals.

Pet owners love the bigger bag sizes of the food. But, some admit that the kibble is slightly drier than other options, so it may not be suited for seniors. 


Best Premium Food

Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food

Zignature Select Cuts Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Oats, Millet, Sunflower Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Content Content: 374 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Premium US manufactured dog food with real animal protein

Looking for the highest quality dog food with grains? Look no further than Zignature Select Cuts dry dog food. 

It features real lamb sourced from a small New Zealand farm. This provides 25% of Crude Protein that all dogs can enjoy — even those with allergies. It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.  

For grains, this formula includes millet grown in the midwestern US and oats from Alberta, Canada. These grains deliver plenty of fiber for healthy digestion and vitamins like B vitamins for energy.

This recipe also features quinoa, an ancient gluten-free grain with vitamins like calcium for strong bones.

The sunflower oil in this food is cold-pressed just a few miles from where Zignature is produced — which is right in the United States. This provides omega-3 fatty acids for itch-free skin and a shiny coat. 

The ingredients are completely free from GMOs. And, this formula is also free from potatoes, chicken, eggs, tapioca, corn, wheat, and soy. 

Dog moms and dads are happy about the GMO-free ingredients that are locally and sustainably sourced. And, they note that the food is really “meaty,” which entices their dogs to eat. 


Best for Small Breeds

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Turkey Oatmeal
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Brown Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 408 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Non-GMO grain-inclusive dog food with glucosamine for small dogs and their joints

Your small breed needs protein and healthy fats to keep up with their smaller muscles and joints. When these are well taken care of, your dog can keep up with their daily life and activities.

Wellness Small Breed Complete dry food is perfect for small dogs that need grains. 

First, the recipe begins with real deboned turkey, salmon meal, and chicken meal. These lean proteins still offer 28% Crude Protein, taurine for heart health, and chondroitin to rebuild muscles. And, the salmon meal also includes omega fatty acids for healthy skin. 

Oatmeal, brown rice, and barley are perfect carbohydrates for energy and fiber. And, they include manganese and selenium for a boost to the immune system and metabolism. 

This grain-inclusive diet doesn’t include GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives. And, all ingredients are sustainably sourced, while the food is manufactured in the US. 

Small breed owners enjoy that the food keeps their dogs limber. And many even note an improvement in their breath and their coats’ shine. 


Best for Large Breeds

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Chicken Brown Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Key Feature: High-protein dog food with calcium and phosphorus for strong bones in large breeds

Large breeds need protein, healthy fats, and minerals like calcium to keep lean muscle mass and strong bones.

And, if your dog needs grains, you’ll also want to look for lower-calorie options to keep your big dog from overeating and gaining too much extra weight. 

That’s where Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula comes in. This dog food starts with real meat protein — deboned fresh chicken. This provides glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. And, it also has L-Carnitine for lean muscle development and heart health.

Brown rice, oatmeal, and barley include natural prebiotic fiber. These help keep your dog regular and aid in healthy metabolism. And, brown rice and oatmeal have calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula also includes their proprietary blend of “LifeSource Bits” — chelated vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system. 

This formula is free of corn, wheat, soy, and poultry by-product meals.

Large dog owners recommend this food for strong joints and muscles. Many noticed a difference in their dogs’ mobility and energy levels too. 


Best for Weight Loss

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Lamb & Brown Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 11% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 240 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Non-GMO and soy-free dry dog food with fewer calories for weight loss

A diet is never fun. But, sometimes, it’s necessary, especially for dogs. If your dog is overweight, it can cause joint issues, diabetes, muscle degeneration, and more. So it’s essential to keep them at their healthy weight. 

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight dog food offers a lower calorie formula while keeping the kibble tasty.

It starts with real deboned lamb as the first ingredient. This includes taurine and glucosamine for a strong heart and to support their joints as they work on weight management. 

Whole-grain barley and whole-grain brown rice offer high-fiber content for regular digestion. And, they boost your dog’s metabolism — helping them lose weight and rebuild lean muscle mass.  

And the benefits don’t stop there. Dried pumpkin is added for fiber and dried kale provide essential antioxidants. These help support your dog’s immune system and will improve their energy. 

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is also made with non-GMO ingredients. It’s free of chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy. 

Pet owners switch to this food if they don’t want a prescription-only dog food. They’ve commented that Nutro includes almost the same ingredients as the vet-prescribed food. 


Best for Allergies

ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food

ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Lamb
  • 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: Chicken-free and gluten-free dog food for dogs with food allergies

Yes, food allergies are common for many dogs. And, this can make it challenging to find the right dog food that won’t trigger any reactions.

If your dog can’t be grain-free but needs to avoid certain ingredients, try a limited ingredient diet with whole grains. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet is the perfect solution. 

It starts with deboned lamb and lamb meal — avoiding common allergens like chicken and beef. This novel protein offers plenty of healthy fats and vitamins like l-carnitine for lean muscle mass. 

Whole oats and whole sorghum are gluten-free grains that can help improve digestion. And, they can reduce inflammation and limit potential allergic reactions with vitamins like vitamin C and magnesium. 

For healthy fats, fish oil and lamb fat offer essential acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat nourished. 

ACANA only uses premium ingredients sourced from trusted farmers, ranchers, and fishers. And, their Kentucky kitchen manufactures its own food. This recipe is free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, gluten, chicken, peas, and legumes. 

Pet parents appreciate the transparency of this brand. And, they love that this food is genuinely chicken-free for their allergic pups


shih tzu eating kibble

Buying Guide for Dog Food With Grain

Want to switch to dog food with grains? Here’s what you need to know.

Are Are Grains Bad for Dogs? bad for dogs?

Grains aren’t bad for all dogs. However, some pups have sensitivities or a grain allergy. In cases like this, most grains should be avoided. And instead, you should focus on vegetables with plenty of carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes. 

Keep in mind that some dogs are more prone to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) when they aren’t eating grains.

This disease affects the cardiac muscle. It causes a decreased ability of the heart to generate pressure to pump blood through the vascular system.

The actual cause of canine DCM is unknown. But factors like lack of nutritional value in food and genetic predisposition may play a part. 

DCM is hereditary and occurs at a higher rate in specific breeds — like Doberman Pinscher, Great Danes, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels. These dogs need grains and/or supplementation of taurine to help avoid DCM. 

What Are the Benefits of Grains in Dog Food?

There are many benefits if your dog eats food with high-quality grains. Let’s talk about them. 

Vitamins and Minerals 

First, grains offer plenty of vitamins and minerals that your dog absorbs. They provide prebiotic fiber, which aids in digestion.

But, they also offer B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, which are great for cognitive and metabolism support. And, manufacturers can also supplement taurine — which is essential for heart health in dogs. 

Firm Stools 

Along with fiber, dog food with grains assists in healthy digestion and stools. They help your dog’s colon and intestines absorb water and vitamins, thus giving them firmer poops

More Affordable Dog Food 

Even quality grains are cheaper than animal proteins. So many dog foods with grains are also more affordable.

If you’re a dog owner on a budget, this can be helpful. Your dog will still have a high-quality diet, but you won’t have to spend your whole paycheck. 

Good vs. Bad Grains

Not all grains are created equal. Some grains are healthier than others, and some should be avoided as much as possible. 

Grains like brewers rice, soy mill run, corn gluten meal, and wheat middling shouldn’t be the main parts of your dog’s diet. 

Instead, focus on grains like: 

  • Millet
  • Brown rice 
  • Quinoa 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Farro 
  • Buckwheat

These grains are filled with vitamins and minerals your dog needs. And they’re also easy to digest so that they won’t mess with your pooch’s gut health. 

dog eating

What To Look For When Buying Dog Food With Grain

Before choosing a dog food with grain, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, protein is still the most crucial ingredient.

You’ll want to choose real meat sources — like fish, lamb, chicken, or beef. And, you’ll want them to be sourced from countries with stringent food regulations. This includes the US, Canada, New Zealand, and England. 

Next up, your dog needs healthy fats, too — these will help protect joints and give your dog energy. Fish oil, chicken fat, coconut oil, and flaxseeds are top choices. 

High-quality dog food with grains should also have wholesome fruits and vegetables. These give your pup the vitamins and minerals they need.

Unlike proteins, fats, and wholesome nutrients, fillers should be avoided when possible or unnecessary. Additives like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives don’t offer any additional benefits to your dog.

And, fillers like by-products, wheat, soy, and corn should be skipped if your dog has sensitivities to them. 

When to Feed Grain-Free Dog Food?

There are a few cases where grain-free dog food would be a better choice. If your dog experiences gas and digestion issues, avoiding grains all together is helpful — and even legumes and lentils if they are still experiencing trouble.

That’s because they contain fiber and raffinose — which take longer to break down and can cause gas buildup and even bloat if your dog’s stomach doesn’t agree with them. 

Allergies can also be the main reason to avoid food with grains. Unlike humans, dogs can’t get tested for every single allergy.

So instead, many pet parents choose to skip out on grains altogether and switch to grain-free food. Of course, grains aren’t always the reason for allergic reactions, so be sure to talk to your vet. 

Our Verdict

Ready to feed your pooch a diet filled with high-quality proteins, fats, and grains? The grain-inclusive dog foods on this list are the perfect place to start. 

Of course, my favorite choice is Holistic Select Adult Health Dry Dog Food

Not only is it an excellent option for all adult dogs, regardless of size or breed, but it also helps if your dog has food sensitivities. And, it only includes the top-quality grains that your dog needs. 

But, no matter what you choose, all of the dog foods with grains on this list are great options. 

FAQ

Want to know more about buying dog food with grain? Here are some common questions and answers. 

What is the best dry dog food with grain?

Our favorite choice is Holistic Select Adult Health dry dog food. This includes both oatmeal and rice — two of the easiest-to-digest grains for dogs. 

Do dogs need grain in their diet?

For most dogs, grains are an essential part of their diet. They provide important nutrition for your pup, including B vitamins, selenium, iron, magnesium, fiber, and prebiotics. 

However, it’s vital to keep grains to less than 20% of your dog’s overall food. This will keep your dog from consuming too many calories and grains that could lower digestibility.

What is the best dry dog food with grains for allergies?

The safest option on our list is ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient dry dog food. This is because it still includes grains but is safe for most dogs with allergies. So even if your pup is sensitive to many foods, this could be an excellent option for them.

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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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