Table of Contents
- Why It's So Hard to Find a Healthy Dog Food Brand
- Top 10 Dog Foods Analysis and Review
- 1 The Honest Kitchen (Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brand)
- 2 Taste of the Wild (Best Dry Dog Food Brand)
- 3Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food (Best Canned Dog Food Brand)
- 4 Castor & Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food (Best Organic Dog Food Brand)
- 5 Halo Purely For Pets Spot's Stew Puppy Formula (Best Dog Food for Puppies)
- 6 Grandma Lucy's Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- 7 Diamond Naturals Adult Formula Dry Dog Food
- 8 Dr. Harvey's Canine Healthy Dry Dog Food
- 9 Rachel Ray Nutrish Just 6 Dry Dog Food
- 10 Nutro Ultra Weight Management Dog Food
- The Bottom Line
- What you should know before buying dog food
- What do I know about dog food?
- Can a good dog food brand improve your dog's health?
- Who should buy these dog foods?
- How I chose these top 10 dog foods
- How I researched and evaluated each brand of dog food
- My top recommended dog food brand pick.
- Flaws but not deal breakers
- What to look forward to?
- Wrapping it up
The problem with the pet food market is that most dog companies aren't trying to find out the best dog food brand for optimum health of dogs; it's the nutritional sustainability and cutting costs (1).
After weeks of our dog food analysis and research, we managed to pick the top 10 dog foods, and here's how.
Why It's So Hard to Find a Healthy Dog Food Brand
Many conditions in dogs like arthritis can be alleviated with proper pet nutrition, too.
A holistic approach to dog nutrition with all-natural and human-grade ingredients and following the standards set out by NRC, AAFCO, and FEDIAF is the best way to keep dogs healthy through diet (4, 5, 6, 7).
Evaluating dog food ingredients alone isn't enough to find the best dog food brand for your specific pet and their health (8).
We recommend following an evidence-based approach like this one where other factors are also considered: labels and certifications, nutritional claims, recall history and company reputation, “Best By” dates, additives, and questionable ingredients, testing and quality control, and more.
A multifaceted dog food analysis and review is needed because the pet food market is still relatively lax, pet food companies will often deceive the customers. They aren't punished for their indiscretion.
Here's what I mean.
• False labels. Research shows that many commercial dog food diets are often mislabeled (9).
The study found that dog foods contain meats never indicated on the label, such as pork and goose.
• Fake “premium” foods. You can also ignore all those “premium” labels or “certified pet food” labels since they don't mean anything.
Studies found these expensive foods nutritionally the same as “regular” dog food brands (10). There's no need to spend that extra money.
• More severe problems. Many other studies that evaluated different dog food brands found that they don't adhere to nutritional guidelines set out by NRC, AAFCO, or FEDIAF, and that's a huge problem for pet owners (11, 12). Let's take a look at just a handful of such cases.
In a 2013 study, out of 45 assessed pet foods, 13% did not comply with AAFCO's guidelines, and many had excessive calcium levels. And we know that long-term feeding of dog food that's excessive or deficient in certain minerals (like calcium) can cause serious health issues (13).
In a more recent 2017 study, researchers found widespread non-compliance. Of all tested foods, only 6% of dry kibble and 39% of wet foods complied with FEDIAF guidelines, which is staggering. The majority of pet foods were imbalanced or had too high mineral concentrations.
Many more cases make it very difficult for pet owners to find quality dog food brands for health and optimum nutrition.
We've done our best to use the evaluation mentioned above and pick trusted brands with the list of top dog foods below.
That said, even with top dog food brands, you still need to consult with a vet or canine nutritionist before choosing a “perfect” dog food brand.
Remember that no single dog food brand can be the best for all dogs (14).
Below, we picked the top 10 dog foods accepted as healthy options for most dogs according to a subjective assessment.
We chose these from different categories: dry kibble, canned, dehydrated, raw, and puppy food. The cost of each brand was also accounted for.
From here, you can pick a specific brand and its variation/formula that best fits your dog and discuss it with your vet.
Top 10 Dog Foods Analysis and Review
1 The Honest Kitchen
(Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brand)
The Honest Kitchen's Dehydrated Food ended up as our top best dog food brand on the list. All of their foods are manufactured using FDA-approved human-grade ingredients.
Dehydrated dog food is the closest thing to fresh and whole-food, but not all dogs will love the taste or texture of these foods.
We have found the ingredients in The Honest Kitchen dog food to be a good fit for a well-balanced diet, and it contains no artificial fillers. However, this brand is also on the higher price spectrum.
- GRAIN FREE, FREE RANGE...
- SUITABLE FOR ADULT DOGS:...
- EASY HOMEMADE: Just add warm...
- HUMAN GRADE: Unlike most pet...
- WE SAY NO TO: This recipe...
All The Honest Kitchen foods are balanced for dogs of all ages. Depending on your pet's size, age and breed, his individual dietary needs will vary.
Most commercial diets are formulated for one specific group or age bracket and come in many different price ranges, from cheap dog foods to expensive ones.
For example, you can purchase dog food for puppies, senior dogs, active dogs, and dogs that need to lose weight.
Higher quality diets, like dehydrated dog food, offer whole food nutrition that incorporates all the canine's dietary needs, suitable for any dog.
- Calories: 447 (per cup)
- Protein: 24%
- Fat: 15%
- Carbohydrates: 53%
Ingredients (all ingredients dehydrated): Chicken, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, apples, organic kelp, honey, pumpkin, green beans, cabbage, bananas, papayas, basil, garlic, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.
The primary meat source is chicken. A 10 lb box of Force contains 16 lbs of free-range chicken. This is a good source of protein, amino acids, niacin, and Vitamin B6, which help to support energy metabolism. The Honest Kitchen's free-range chicken is from Petaluma Poultry, in California, USA. USDA-certified free-range, humanely raised, vegetarian fed without animal fat, by-products, or antibiotics.
A 10 lb box of Force contains 1/2 of a small pumpkin, 1 1/2 bunches of celery, and 2 1/2 bananas. Pumpkin contains potassium, iron, Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E.
- Pumpkin is low in calories and fat and high in dietary fiber. The Honest Kitchen's pumpkins hail from South America and Mexico.
- Celery is excellent potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C. This celery is grown in Europe.
- Bananas are a good source of potassium, minerals, and vitamin C. Bananas contain all eight essential amino acids and are filled with vitamin B6, C, carotenoids, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. These bananas are from the Philippines.
Force isn't this company's only recipe, and they have a range of other healthy options:
- The Honest Kitchen Zeal: Grain Free White Fish Dog Food
- The Honest Kitchen Revel Chicken and Whole Grain Dog Food
- The Honest Kitchen Embark: Grain Free Turkey Dog Food
- The Honest Kitchen Keen: Turkey & Whole Grain Dog Food
- The Honest Kitchen Preference: Base-Mix Dog Food
As a company, Honest Kitchen company produces a line of FDA-approved, natural, holistic, human-grade foods for dogs that are made in a human-grade food facility and not in a pet food plant to maintain the highest possible quality standards.
Foods are dehydrated to remove only the moisture, retaining natural nutrients found in the fresh whole food ingredients.
2 Taste of the Wild
(Best Dry Dog Food Brand)
Most dog owners feed their pets a dry kibble diet, and there is nothing wrong with that.
There are some fantastic dry dog foods on the market, and we've chosen Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food as our top choice.
This grain-free dog food is recommended for dogs of all ages, making it an excellent choice for a multi-dog household.
- Taste of the Wild high Prairie...
- High protein ingredients with...
- Ingredients from TRUSTED,...
- Nutrient rich and HIGHLY...
- Made in the USA FAMILY OWNED &...
This dry kibble is made with real roasted meat and supplemented with vegetables and fruit. Packed with antioxidants and highly digestible proteins, this dog food will support your pet's immune system and his overall well-being.
Their recipes also include pre-and probiotics to aid in digestive health. The company also contains proteinates in their recipes, which promote easy absorption of minerals.
Taste of the Wild bases their dog food formulas on research that shows domesticated cats and dogs still share DNA with their wild ancestors.
The company believes that if their DNA is the same, they are still craving the same types of food like fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat.
Dogs don't craze the grain, soy, and corn fillers used in commercial pet foods; they want natural, fresh ingredients.
Available recipes include:
- Venison & Garbanzo Beans
- Venison & Legumes
- Wild Boar
- Roasted Lamb
- Roasted Fowl
- Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison
- Smoked Salmon
Taste of the Wild also offers blends for puppies, senior dogs, and pregnant and nursing females.
The minimum protein content in their adult dog formulas ranges from 25-32%.
As you can see, they don't offer dog food made with traditional protein sources like beef and chicken.
This pet food brand may be a great choice if your pet has sensitivities or food allergies.
3Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food
(Best Canned Dog Food Brand)
There are pros and cons to canned dog food, but some pet owners don't choose.
Senior dogs and pets with poor dental health may have to eat canned dog food due to their inability to chew the crunchy stuff.
Whether you choose to feed your pet an all-canned diet or mix his canned food with dry kibble, Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food is the best choice.
- Contains two (2) 12-count case...
- Crafted with US Pork as the #1...
- CESAR Wet Dog Food is complete...
- Made in the USA with the...
- This gourmet dog food is...
Canned dog food is usually more palatable to dogs. If you're a dry kibble feeder and you've ever mixed things up with a can of wet food, you know how quickly a canine will devour damp dog food.
Canned dog food is made mainly of protein and fat. It doesn't have as many carbohydrates as dry kibble, making it more appealing to your dog.
Canned dog food is much easier for your dog to digest, but that also makes it messier when it comes out the other end.
Wet dog food also does not provide the crunchiness of dry kibble, which helps remove plaque and tartar build-up on a dog's teeth.
Canned food is also more likely to get stuck in gaps between teeth and cause decay.
If your dog needs to eat a canned diet, your vet will explain some of the precautions and extra care that you should take.
If your pet doesn't need to be on an all-wet dog food diet, you should speak with your veterinarian about the best choice for him. Mixing it with a bit of dry kibble may be more beneficial for your Fido.
Like the top two choices on our list, this food is formulated for all breeds, ages, and sizes. Cesar's well-rated dog food brand is made with 100% all-natural ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It's also made in the United States.
All dog food blends include easily digestible protein as the first ingredient. Brown rice, tomato pomace, and oatmeal are used for their natural nutrients, added fiber, and digestive support.
Cesar also adds additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to give your dog a complete and balanced meal.
4 Castor & Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food
(Best Organic Dog Food Brand)
Organic dog food is an excellent choice for pet owners concerned about the health and safety of their dog's diet, and science-based websites have rated Organix dog foods very high.
Technically, the USDA has not yet defined the term “organic” as it applies to pet foods, but it refers to how the ingredients in the dog food are grown, harvested, and processed.
- One (1) 4 lb Bag - Castor and...
- USDA organic certified grain...
- Natural dog food that is...
- This Non GMO dog food recipe...
- This organic grain free dog...
Right now, dog foods can put the organic seal on their products if they:
- Have 100% organic content
- If at least 95% of the content by weight is organic – excluding water and salt
- If at least 70% of the ingredients are organic, they can display “Made with Organic” and cite three organic ingredients on the front panel.
We chose Castor & Pollux. Organix Dry Dog Food is one of our top organic picks for the best dog food brand. The protein source is the first ingredient in every recipe. For example, in the Chicken & Brown Rice recipe real, organic chicken is the first ingredient. The company uses organic quinoa because it is a nutrient-rich grain that provides a gluten-free source of fiber.
Organic flaxseed is an excellent source of omega-three fatty acids, which foster skin and coat health. Castor & Pollux dog food is made in the United States, and the company says that it never sources ingredients from China.
They make their food in an Organically Certified kitchen too.
If you keep up with pet product news, you know that there have been many recent issues and recalls on products made in or made with ingredients from China.
Castor & Pollux makes many different blends of their Organix dog food. You'll have to decide which one is right for your pet.
You can choose from an adult dog, small breed, large breed, puppy, and healthy weight recipes.
5 Halo Purely For Pets Spot's Stew Puppy Formula
(Best Dog Food for Puppies)
All puppies are different, and all puppies have different nutritional needs. It is best to check with the breeder that your pup comes from or with your veterinarian to decide which diet you'll feed your puppy before you even bring him home.
Depending on the age and breed of your puppy, his nutritional needs will vary.
- 10lb bag of Halo Holistic...
- Guaranteed DHA to support...
- High-quality ingredients: This...
- Complete digestive health:...
- Responsibly sourced: Halo...
Adult dogs weighing less than 20 pounds are considered small breeds. Small breed puppies grow much quicker than large breed puppies.
They can reach full maturity by nine months old, whereas giant breed pups may not mature fully until they are 15-24 months old.
Most puppies should be fed puppy food until they have reached full maturity, but again it is best to check with your vet about your dog's specific needs.
There are hundreds of dog food brands that claim to be specifically formulated for puppies. During my in-depth research, I realized that many of these foods are very similar to the brand's adult dog formula. They are just made into smaller kibbles and have a few additional vitamins and minerals.
Puppies, like human babies, are developing quickly and need a unique blend of food that will foster that rapid growth. Halo Purely For Pets Spot's Stew Puppy Formula is the best dog food choice if you're feeding a young puppy.
This is holistic puppy food, meaning that the blend focuses on the whole animals, not just a specific system or particular aspect of the canine.
It is made with natural ingredients and is fortified with added prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
This food for dogs from Halo contains no artificial ingredients, wheat, corn, or gluten. They don't use rendered meats or plant or animal by-products. The elements include whole eggs, butcher-quality chicken, and farm-raised vegetables.
I like this option, and many pet food manufacturers do not offer it. It's impossible to tell if your pet will enjoy the flavor of a product before you purchase it, so it's nice to know that you won't waste the money buying a bag of this food and then having to throw it out if Fido refuses to eat it.
6 Grandma Lucy's Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Like dehydrated products, Grandma Lucy's offers freeze-dried dog food with many of the same benefits. The company uses all-natural ingredients to make grain-free, freeze-dried dog food with no preservatives or GMOs. These products are made in the United States as well.
- QUALITY YOU CAN TRUST - A...
- LIMITED INGREDIENTS - This all...
- ALL LIFE STAGES - Grandma...
- GREAT TASTE - We don’t...
- JUST ADD WATER - For each cup...
87% of the ingredients in their dog food are sourced here in the U.S. too. The rest come from Canada, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Grandma Lucy's Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food comes in various flavors, including chicken, venison, pork, lamb, bison, rabbit, fish, and goat.
No meat meals or by-products are ever used to make their pet food.
Freeze-dried food needs to be mixed with water, just like dehydrated food. Grandma Lucy recommends that you incorporate the food and let it sit for 3 minutes, and you can also refrigerate the food for 2-3 days if you'd like to make some in advance.
Although there is a bit of prep time for this food, the health benefits are incomparable to traditional commercial dry kibble diets.
7 Diamond Naturals Adult Formula Dry Dog Food
Researchers have been busy looking for links between some of the common ingredients in commercial pet food and the increased rate of canine cancer.
No solid proof has been found yet, but many experts in the field are urging pet owners to stay away from foods containing artificial ingredients and GMOs.
If you're thinking about switching your Fido to an organic diet, Diamond Naturals Adult Formula Dry Dog Food is a great choice.
- Fresh Chicken Is The #1...
- Antioxidant Formulation
- Balanced Omega Fatty Acids for...
This pet food brand is made with free-range chicken and organic grains, among other recipes. It's also formulated with vegetables and preserved naturally.
This dog food is also formulated to meet the needs of dogs of all ages. This is a great choice if you have a multi-pet household like mine.
I got tired of buying different dog food formulas for each of our dogs, so I spoke to our vet and switched to a blend formulated for dogs of all ages.
It's up to you and your vet, but if this type of diet will meet your dogs' needs, it will save you time and money.
Diamond Naturals incorporate necessary supplements into their pet food, like proteinate minerals and vitamins. There are higher levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids than most other commercial dry kibbles.
These supplements are essential in building and strengthening muscles, and omega fatty acids aid in skin and coat health.
8 Dr. Harvey's Canine Healthy Dry Dog Food
Even with all the healthy options on the market, some pet parents feel more comfortable making their dog food themselves.
This is an excellent option, as you can choose the ingredients you add and control what types of foods (organic, all-natural, etc.) you make the food with.
The drawback to homemade food is all the prep time.
- NUTRITIOUS - Canine nutrition...
- 100% HUMAN GRADE FOOD - dog...
- HOMEMADE EASY - Homemade dog...
- FULL OF NUTRIENTS - Feeding...
- MAKES 33 MEALS - This 5 pound...
You'll need to shop for the food and prepare it in advance. Even if you're feeding a raw diet, you have to wash all the fruits and vegetables and chop up all the ingredients.
To make things easier, you could buy a dog food base, like this one from Dr. Harvey's. Bases are a great way to get homemade food quality without all the work.
Dr. Harvey's Canine Healthy Dry Dog Food is a holistic blend of 9 dehydrated vegetables and 6 organic grains.
All you have to do is add meat and oil of your choice, and your pup will have a balanced, nutritional meal.
You have complete control over the protein content in your dog's food, and this all-natural formula has no preservatives, dyes, or chemicals.
9 Rachel Ray Nutrish Just 6 Dry Dog Food
When you hear Rachel Ray's name, you probably think of delicious creations crafted in the kitchen.
Did you know she cooks up dog food too? Rachel Ray Nutrish Just 6 Dry Dog Food did not make this list because of its celebrity namesake.
I included this as one of the best dog foods because of the brand's top-quality ingredients and palatable recipes.
- Contains one (1) 14 pound bag...
- Only 6 ingredients with added...
- Lamb meal is the number one...
- No fillers, artificial...
- Safely USA cooked with the...
This food contains six main ingredients, which are:
- Lamb meal
- Brown rice
- Ground rice
- Beet pulp
- Poultry fat
- Natural chicken flavor
Vitamins and chelated minerals like folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, iron proteinate, and biotin are the only other ingredients.
A complete list of all the added vitamins and mineral are available on the company's website.
This food is ideal for pets with food allergies since it contains no corn, wheat, or soy. It's a natural dog food with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
10 Nutro Ultra Weight Management Dog Food
Canine obesity is a growing epidemic, and unfortunately, the cure is straightforward.
Pet owners need to get serious about their dog's diet and educate themselves about the severe dangers of dog obesity.
Not only will being overweight make your dog feel sluggish, but it can also lead to some severe health conditions like heart problems, certain types of cancer, and early death.
- Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of...
- Features trio of protein from...
- Our premium, all natural dog...
- NUTRO ULTRA Dry Dog Food is...
- Made with no chicken...
If your dog is overweight, you need to act now! Speak with your vet about the best diet for your dog and do some research on dog food that is specifically formulated to help your dog shed pounds.
Nutro Ultra Weight Management Dog Food is my choice for the top dog food brand for weight management.
The formula is designed to help less active and overweight dogs shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
This formula is made with a protein blend of three lean types of meat and other ingredients such as rolled oats and vine-ripened tomatoes that foster heart health.
Nutro Ultra contains ingredients to promote skin and coat health, strong muscles, and a robust immune system.
It is made from lean, all-natural ingredients formulated to provide complete nutrition for adult dogs.
The blend includes natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints, as overweight dogs are more susceptible to hip and joint problems.
The Bottom Line
Shopping for top-rated dog foods can be a daunting and frustrating task.
There are thousands of different brands and recipes available.
There are also many different levels of quality. You need to be sure to select a high-quality dog food that will benefit your dog's overall health and well-being.
What you should know before buying dog food
Before buying dog food, you need to know how to read and understand the label on the product.
Unfortunately, government regulations on pet food are not nearly as strict as the regulations for human food.
This means that there are many loopholes that dog food manufacturers can use when labeling their product to make it seem healthier than it is.
Label items, such as the ingredients list and information panel (the part that shows the recommended feeding breakdown and the guaranteed analysis of the dog food), can be very confusing.
Each part of a pet food label must contain certain information, and if you know what to look for, it will be much easier to make the best dog food brand selection for your canine companion.
You also need to know that you will get what you pay for regarding dog food. Yes, the higher quality foods cost more, but they are worth it.
Picking dog food based purely on price is a terrible decision. You will pay less, and your dog will suffer for it.
You need to find a happy medium. Choose the best quality food that you can afford. Honestly, if you can't afford to feed your dog a healthy diet, you shouldn't adopt one in the first place.
Waiting until you can afford to provide your pet with quality care is a much better option than settling for lower-quality care because it's all you can afford at the time.
What do I know about dog food?
I've been a dog owner my entire life. We've had puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with food allergies.
We've dealt with canine obesity and have tried more dog food brands and formulas than I can count.
Foolishly, there was a time that I chose my dog's food based primarily on price. Now I know better.
We've used everything from the top-of-the-line, super expensive dog foods to prescription diets. Now we have two pretty healthy dogs that are at their optimal weight, and we are using a dog food that floats somewhere in the middle of the pack.
It's not the most expensive brand out there, but it's healthy for them, and we've noticed many positive changes in their health since making this switch.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about proper canine nutrition from our veterinarian and my research.
I honestly feel that I know more about dog food than the average pet owner. I often find myself being asked by family and friends about recommendations for pet food.
However, I certainly wouldn't call myself an expert or canine nutritionist, but I have a lot of knowledge and experience with dog food.
Can a good dog food brand improve your dog's health?
Absolutely! This should no longer be a question if you've read this entire article. However, if you're just jumping in now, I'll try to give you the condensed version.
A vet recommended dog food brand or any high-quality option that you know fits your pet will improve a dog's overall health and well-being.
You'll notice differences internally and externally.
The best brand of dog food will make your dog's skin and coat healthier, aiding in his external appearance. You'll also notice the signs of a healthier digestive tract, including less gas, more beneficial stool, and easier digestion.
Good dog food will increase your dog's energy level and improve his dental health too.
Feeding your dog a diet that caters to his individual needs will drastically improve his health and wellness. If you have a senior dog, their food should aid joint health and give the dog energy.
The best food for puppies will help them grow and develop as their bodies change so quickly.
If you make a wise choice and feed your dog healthier, quality food, you will notice health improvements shortly after transitioning his diet.
Who should buy these dog foods?
Yes, it seems like a silly question. Of course, every dog owner needs to buy dog food. You don't have a choice. Whether you feed your pet a raw diet, organic diet, dry kibble, or canned dog food, you need to buy some type of food for him.
As I mentioned earlier, it will benefit both you and your Fido if you buy the best quality dog food that you can afford.
It may seem like a lot of money to spend now, but high-quality dog food will end up saving you money in the long run because your dog will be healthier.
That means fewer vet bills, supplements, and medications in the long run.
Proper nutrition will also add years to your dog's lifespan, which you'll be VERY thankful for down the road.
How I chose these top 10 dog foods
I knew there were thousands of dog food brands and formulas on the market, which meant there were sure to be hundreds of products that were healthy and safe.
Creating this list started with a lot of research about what pet owners should be looking for when shopping for dog food, how to read dog food labels and all the different types of canine diets that are available.
Before writing this article, I spoke with my veterinarian to get to the bottom of some of the most frequently asked questions about pet nutrition.
We chatted about the safest diets for dogs, common food allergies, and the artificial ingredients and by-products that make up many commercial pet foods.
There are many common misconceptions about the pet food industry, but many of the stories you hear are true.
Once I understood what makes high-quality dog food, I began researching options. It was easy to see that many more poor-quality products were on the market than I expected.
About 1 in every four dog food products that I looked at were healthy, safe, and offered balanced nutrition.
That's when I went to the customer reviews. I wanted to know what pet parents who had tested these top 10 dog foods thought.
I culled through hundreds of product reviews. This also gave me a good sense of the palatability and appeal that the foods had.
Did dogs like the dog food?
Were owners impressed with the health benefits?
Did the dogs have any side effects when you switched their diet?
I narrowed it down to the top few choices in each category and then researched the manufacturers.
Where did they source their ingredients?
Have there been any recalls on their products?
This helped me narrow it down to the best dog food brand choice in each category.
How I researched and evaluated each brand of dog food
My research was mainly done online, aside from my product testing.
As I mentioned, I did speak with my veterinarian, and I also looked for information from other experts in the field.
Many studies have been performed on the canine diet and the commercial dog food industry, and I also used many of these in my research.
My top recommended dog food brand pick.
After all of the research, reading, and product testing, I chose The Honest Kitchen's Dehydrated Dog Food Formula as my pick for the top quality pet food brand available on the market. I purchased the turkey recipe for this review, but it's also available in chicken, fish, and beef varieties.
I also selected the grain-free variety, but you can choose from their whole-grain formulas.
This is an all-natural, dehydrated dog food with added vitamins and minerals.
It is made with cage-free turkey and offers complete and balanced nutrition for puppies and adult dogs.
If you've never used dehydrated food, it's a bit more work than traditional kibble, but the health benefits are numerous.
Dehydrated food comes in powder form. You mix the dog food with warm water, stir it well and then leave it to sit for 3 minutes.
Other dehydrated dog foods may need to sit for 15-20 minutes, but they will have the exact instructions on the packaging.
I found that this dog food was still a bit runny after 3 minutes, so I let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving it to my dogs.
You can make up enough food for 2-3 days and leave it in the refrigerator if you'd like. That way, you don't have to try and remember to premix food every day.
Each box of dog food from The Honest Kitchen contains many wholesome ingredients.
I purchase this food in 2-pound boxes, making 8 pounds of dog food when mixing it with water.
In every box of turkey recipe dog food, there is:
- 5 pounds of cage-free turkey
- One bunch of spinach
- 1/8 of a coconut
- Five eggs
- ¾ of a bunch of celery
- Two de-cored apples
- ¾ of a banana
- Two handfuls of cranberries
This information is listed on the company's website for each dog food variety that they sell. I like to look for products that are made in the United States. With all the recent recalls and issues popping up with pet products, it's comforting to buy a product made here in the U.S.
Within a week of switching to this dog food from The Honest Kitchen, we noticed some changes in our dogs. I was already feeding them quality dog food, but it wasn't dehydrated and didn't offer all the added nutrients that this food does.
We noticed an improvement in the shine of our dogs' coats, and I also saw an increase in our 5-year-old boxer's energy level.
The feeding requirements of this food are less than the dry kibble that we were previously feeding our girls, and less food means less waste.
We also noticed a reduction in the amount of gas they had, which means their digestion is better – a common benefit to dehydrated and wet dog food formulas.
Our boxer also lost a little weight in the few weeks that we have been feeding her this food. Poor commercial nutrition has been linked to canine obesity, but our girl was certainly not obese. I was impressed that she lost 3 pounds, though.
That showed me that her previous diet had a higher fat content than she needed.
Flaws but not deal breakers
There aren't any drawbacks to this food from a nutritional standpoint.
Because it comes in so many varieties and you can choose from grain-free or whole-grain options, it's an excellent food to feed any dog. It's also formulated for dogs of all ages, ideal for a multi-dog household.
The one downside to switching your pet to dehydrated dog food from The Honest Kitchen is the price.
The price varies slightly depending on the blend you select, but the grain-free turkey recipe that I chose costs about $85 for 10 pounds of dehydrated food (which will make 40 pounds of dog food when mixed with water).
The feeding guidelines vary based on your dog's weight and activity level.
Our girls are both between 51 and 70 pounds, and they are both average in the activity department. That means that they each need 2-2.5 cups of The Honest Kitchen's Dehydrated Dog Food every day – split between morning and night.
After a quick calculation, a 10-pound box would last us about ten days.
That means we will spend approximately $255 per month on dog food for both girls.
That's more than $3,000 on dog food each year! I know that isn't in everyone's budget but think about the cost savings if your pet is healthier.
That means fewer vet visits, fewer supplements, and fewer medications. It wouldn't take long to save thousands of dollars each year at that rate.
What to look forward to?
The study of canine nutrition is just getting started. Research into the best diet for dogs, the links between nutrition and disease, and even the ingredients in commercial dog foods have just begun.
There is still so much left to learn, and you can be sure that experts will continue working in this field.
The trends in pet foods often mimic the trends in the human food industry. Health and sustainability are the two most prominent movements in both markets.
Researchers have quickly realized that we won't be able to feed everyone forever with the increasing human population and the increasing pet population.
New developments in sustainability and nutrition are on the horizon, and it will benefit both you and your pet if you take notice of them.
The one thing that we know for sure is that nutrition is directly linked to overall health and well-being – and that's as true for our dogs as it is for us.
Staying on top of the latest research in canine nutrition will help you feed and care for your pet in the best way possible.
Wrapping it up
We love our dogs. They are like furry family members.
The worst thing about being a dog owner is that we live much longer than our canine companions.
If you want your pet to have the healthiest, happiest, and most extended life possible, you need to feed him a well-balanced dog food choice to meet his nutritional needs.
It's no secret that a high-quality dog food brand will cost you more money upfront, but think of the savings that you'll get in the long run.
Better nutrition means a healthier dog, so you'll end up spending less on veterinary care throughout your lifetime.
High-quality dog food offers added supplements for optimum health. This means you won't have to pay for joint dietary supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, omega fatty acids, and probiotics.
The best dog food for your pup should be necessary when thinking about adopting a dog.
Speak with your veterinarian before adopting to discuss the best dietary options for the dog you're considering.
Be sure to check out how much that dog food will cost you and make sure that you can afford it.
If not, you need to wait and adopt a canine companion when you can afford the best care for him.