If you do an online search for the words best dog food right now, you're likely to get over 700 million results to choose from!
If you're like me, you don't have the time to wade through that amount of information to figure out what's the best food for your pet.
Of course, chances are Fido would be more than happy to live on tasty left-overs, yummy dog treats or whatever he can beg/borrow or steal.... but he wouldn't be healthy!
So to make life a little easier I've put together a list of the Top Ten Best Dog Foods on the market right now.
I based my picks on the quality of the ingredients because that's what takes a food from mediocre to GREAT!
(If you're a puppy owner and want info. on the best dog food for puppies click here)
In order to come up with the Top Ten Best Dog Foods listed on this page, I looked at not only the type of ingredients but both quality and ratios as well...
I also took into account manufacturing processes, packaging, and cost!
When it comes to the best rated dog foods, the superior ones do cost more initially. BUT because your dog needs to eat less of them, yet gets a much higher level of nutrition, they're a lot more cost-effective than you might think.
But not everyone's budget can stretch to the most expensive brands, so in my choice of the 10 best dog food brands, I've included a couple of more mid-priced foods that are still excellent in terms of quality and provide really good value for money.
Although I can't (and don't want to!) tell you what to feed your pet, I hope this information will make it a bit easier for you to choose what's best for your dog, lifestyle and situation.
Please Note! The dog food brands listed here are not in any particular order and the first food isn't 'ranked' more highly than the last.
Well worthy of being on any 'Top 10' best dog food list, they offer three different ranges (Precise Original, Precise Plus and Precise Holistic Complete) and have formulas to suit large breeds, small breeds, seniors and those with certain food sensitivities. Something for just about everyone in fact.
Their manufacturing plant is USDA/AIB Certified 'Excellent', has an excellent safety record and no food recalls. All natural, human grade ingredients, naturally preserved, and with several different varieties to choose from. Dry foods are packaged by the company themselves to maintain quality.
The 'Pet Business' Magazine Award for 2010 in the 'Best Pet Food Category' went to Precise Holistic Select line
A high-protein, low-carbohydrate and grain-free range that provides what they call a 'biologically-appropriate' diet for your dog.
This means that their foods are formulated to meet the natural dietary requirements of canines.
Made up from 70% meat and 30% fruit and vegetables, this Orijen dog food closely matches a dogs' natural carnivorous diet.
Orijen was voted Pet Food Of The Year 2010-2011 by The Glycemic Research Institute.
There are several different ranges of all-natural and holistic Canidae dog food, and they're all formulated with human-grade ingredients.
Their 'All Life Stages' range contains over 50% high quality hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat protein, and offers both grain free formulas as well as those with the optimal addition of appropriate grains.
Canidae foods are manufactured in USDA approved facilities who consistently score 95% or above according to Silliker Good Manufacturing and Food Safety Audits.
WARNING: As with two other dog food brands which appear/ed on this page, Canidae is the latest food to see a wave of consumer complaints, focusing on vomiting/diarrhea/tummy upset as a result of their dog eating a Canidae food.
There has been no official statements, no recalls and not formal testing as far as I can see. It does appear that there have been some recipe changes, and that could be at the root of the problem.
Personally I don't feel that this food is now a 'bad' food at all, but I do want anyone reading this to be aware that it may not suit there pooch, and if there is any sign of digestive upset then try eliminating the food first to rule it out as the problem.
Eight different ranges of dog food, all made with premium ingredients and are specifically designed to suit dogs with allergies or sensitivities.
All dry foods are packed in the company's special 'foil barrier' bags which eliminates the need for chemical preservatives or flavor enhancers. Choose from Wolfking/Wolfpuppy, Hund-N-Flocken/Hundchen and others including the new high-protein/low carb adult dog food 'Barking at the Moon'.
The kibble itself is made from superior, all-natural and holistic ingredients and is then combined with Lifesource Bits which are a precise blend of nutrients and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
Blue Buffalo foods are also gluten free.
You can choose from the Life Protection Formula range which offers both size and age-specific formulas, as well as the Blue Wilderness range (high protein and low carbohydrate content, and a convenient alternative to a raw diet) and the Blue Organics range.
WARNING: Since the manufacturer changed the formula on the Blue Buffalo range of foods there have been complaints of dogs, and cats, experiencing loose stools, excessive thirst, bladder problems, infections, liver problems including liver failure, and even death.
Obviously there are many reasons why pets get sick, and dogs can be sensitive or allergic to any food ingredients. I'm not saying that Blue Buffalo is a 'bad' food, there is no research to prove that at this point, which is why it's staying on this list - for now.
But, I would warn you to keep a close eye on your dog if he's eating it, and if there are ANY signs of illness, stop feeding it and consult your vet. If/when this situation is resolved I will remove this warning.
Described as a 'biologically-appropriate' diet, Acana foods uses a high-protein, low-carb formula to produce dog food which mimics the natural diet that a dog's body was designed to eat.
Owned by award-winning, independent Canadian pet food company Champion Pet Foods (as is the superior Orijen range).Buy Acana Here
Acana foods are made from only wholesome, fresh and natural ingredients... never frozen, dried or powdered. Totally preservative free.
With several different formulas to choose from there's bound to be a food with the ingredients your dog needs, and which suits his size, age, activity level, health and preferences.
To maintain maximum nutrients and flavor, all formulas are prepared by steam cooking at Champion's award-winning kitchens in Alberta, Canada.
This is also a holistic range of dog foods, and all varieties are 100% free of corn, wheat, soy, chemicals, and artificial colors & preservatives.
The Prarie range contains meat, poultry, or fish protein, whole grains, plus fruits and vegetables.
The Instinct range is grain
free, and there's also a frozen raw food option.
Timberwolf foods offer a range of superior, carnivore specific formulas made with high levels of animal based protein, multiple grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and herbs.
It is also concentrated and nutrient dense, so your dog will get maximum nutrition from a smaller quantity of food.. and pass fewer, more compact stools.
A holistic range of pet foods, made primarily with human-grade ingredients.
Wellness uses whole foods, with no meat by-products, preservatives, fillers, or artificial colors and flavors.
The Super5mix range contains age and breed specific holistic dog foods that meet the unique requirements of puppies/dogs of all ages.
The CORE range is grain free and protein-focused, and the Simple Food Solutions range has been designed specifically for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.
Based in B.C. Canada, this company produces the Now!, Go! and Summit dog foods.
Now! is a totally grain free range and ingredients include only fresh, hormone free, deboned meats plus farm-fresh fruits and vegetables.
There are no rendered meats or oils, no by-products. Low temperature, slow-cooking methods preserve the wholesomeness and nutritional excellence of the ingredients.
These foods are particularly good for dogs with digestive tract problems such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome/disease), Pancreatitis or Chronic Renal Failure.
Go! Natural dog food is a completely natural, concentrated (or 'nutrient-dense'), all-life-stages formula designed to give your dog a well-balanced, wholesome nutrition from puppyhood to senior citizen status.
Ingredients include fresh, hormone-free, deboned meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are four different foods, one of them is grain free.
Dog food labels and packaging can be very confusing, and often misleading too. All sorts of claims, colorful graphics and advertising slogans can mask the reality of what is inside that bag.
Plus the ingredient lists can be so long that your brain switches off half way through!
So, where to start? With basic guidelines I think...... at the very minimum requirement of any food is that it has this statement on the bag or pouch... 'provides a complete and balanced diet
This means that the food meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines for nutrition and has been tested or evaluated in some way. BUT, many poor quality dog foods carry this wording because the standards are not overly high.
Any other wording or phrases such as 'premium' or 'super premium', 'choice' or 'all natural' have no real significance and quite often no relevance to the quality of the food inside the bag either!.
They're just slogans used to promote that particular food brand, and to appeal to our human senses.
So, the next thing to look at is the ingredient list itself, this is much more important and more revealing.
The first 3 ingredients are the ones that make up the majority of the food and if you know what to look for you often don't even have to read further than these three to know whether or not it's a premium quality dog food or not.
This is what you want to see in any food that makes a '10 best dog food' list:
The second most important aspect of choosing the best dog food is making sure that it's a good fit for your dog.
What works for one dog, won't necessarily work for another... breed, size, age, activity level and so on, all play a part in determining the type of nutrition your dog needs to be healthy and happy.
If your dog has chronic health problems, allergies and so on, it's important to know that some health conditions can be aggravated by particular ingredients, or need a very specific balance of nutrients, and there are special dog food formulas for these types of problems.
But, if your pup or dog suffers from a serious condition such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, heart problems then you should always check with your own vet for advice on feeding him/her.
If you own a large or giant breed puppy, it's important to feed him a puppy food that is relatively low in protein. This is because big puppies grow incredibly fast and you want to control that growth rate as much as possible to avoid bone/joint issues.
For specific information and advice on choosing the best puppy food for your BIG pup, check out this webpage Best Puppy Food For Large Breeds
As with the foods themselves, manufacturing processes and quality control can vary a lot, and this also plays a big role in the quality of the food produced. Most manufacturers produce dog food that is available in a range of formulas.
So, once you've found a food that contains the quality of ingredients that you want to see, you should be able to find a formula to suit every puppy or dog, regardless of age, size or breed.
There is a little variation in the top 10 best dog food choices from each list, reflecting the changes in the dog food industry since Sarah's list was compiled.
The reassuring news is that both lists contain many of the same brands, which shows that the majority of premium dog food manufacturers are maintaining a high level of quality in their products.
Because the most important thing about any dog food is what's IN it, it makes sense to choose a food that contains natural, organic and/or human-grade ingredients.
The number of organic and natural food for dogs is growing all the time, with this sector of the pet food market outstripping any other right now - and this is expected to continue.
Not ALL foods labeled 'organic' or 'natural' are what they seem though, so it pays to know what to look for - and of course, why this type of pet food is one of the best options out there.
If YOU 'are what you eat', then so is your dog! I can sum it up this way - if you steer clear of the generic, low quality dog foods and choose to feed one of the ones above (or a food of a similar quality), you'll be taking a big step towards keeping your precious pooch happy and healthy.
Although deciding which food to use can be a challenge, hopefully the list above has got you pointed in the right direction!
Getting the proper nutrition both as a puppy, and an adult dog, has a huge impact on your pet's overall health... even on how long he may live.
On the other hand, eating poorly formulated puppy or dog food can cause problems such as allergies, skin/bone/joint issues, chronic digestive problems, obesity, heart problems and more.
In fact, the money you may end up spending at the veterinarian's office to treat the various health issues that could result from poor nutrition, could well mean that choosing a premium dog food in the first place works out less expensive over the long haul.
If you have a puppy under a year old and you're looking for information on the best food options for him/her, check out these pages....
The 10 best dog food choices I've featured on this page are my personal choices, but there are a LOT of great dog food options out there.
I would love to hear your recommendations, reviews, and experiences too.
If you use a food that isn't featured on this site, but is of excellent quality and works wonderfully for your dog... then please share it!
It only takes a minute, and your experiences and input could help other dog-lovers make the right choice.
Click below to see what other visitors are saying about dog food.......
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