25 Best Grain-Free Dog Foods

25 Best Grain-Free Dog Foods

Grains are any tiny, hard seeds, particularly those from food plants like wheat, corn, rye, oat, rice, or millet. There are no grains in a grain-free diet for dogs. A dog’s diet should be enriched with whole grains in order to provide it with essential nutrients, including magnesium, B vitamins, iron, carbohydrates to provide energy, selenium, and fiber to aid digestion. It may be well known to dog owners that grain-free dog food tends to have more meat in it because it compensates for the lack of grains. Grain-free diets are not all meat, although they may have a higher proportion of meat in them. A portion of the grains may be replaced by other carbohydrates.

There is a misconception that grain-free dog foods are only made with high-quality ingredients, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A grain-free diet may be recommended in some cases instead of grain-inclusive dog food. As an example, a grain-free diet might be recommended as a trial for dogs suspected of having food allergies which are also known as adverse reactions to foods.

However, it is important to acknowledge that very few dogs are allergic to grains in dog food. Food allergies are almost always to the protein source (meat) in the food.

What are the Pros and Cons of Grain-Free Dog Food?

To be ideal, grain-free dog food should have meat-based ingredients like beef, chicken, fish, lamb, bison, buffalo, turkey, etc. These items should also be combined with non-grain products, such as vegetables and fruits. Just like any other type of dog food, a grain-free dog diet has both disadvantages and advantages.

Dogs might be incapable of digesting some grains, such as corn because they lack the enzyme required to break down starch and carbohydrates, causing digestive issues. The lack of grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rye makes it safer for dogs with gluten intolerance, and grain-free food lessens allergy risks. Some grains contain complex carbs that could cause increased blood sugar and multiple adverse health conditions, like cancer and diabetes which isn’t a danger for dogs on a grain-free diet. Grain-free food boosts the activity levels of dogs significantly. 

The added carbs to replace the grains could also be harmful. It could cause weight problems in older and less active dogs. Even worse is the risk it poses to diabetic dogs on low-carb diets. Picky eaters might take time to get used to the new food.   

Dog owners should consider the age, health, and nutritional requirements of their dogs before choosing grain-free or grain-containing food for their canine companions. A dog’s digestive system can be affected by changes in its diet. Thus, consult with a vet before making drastic changes to a dog’s diet.

The Top Grain-Free Dog Foods for 2022 are listed below.

  1. Best Overall Grain-Free Dog Food: Wellness Core Grain-Free Kibble
  2. Best Organic grain-free dry dog food: ORGANIX Grain-Free Organic Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe – $73.67- 18-lb bag
  3. Best grain-free dry dog food for small breeds: Nulo Freestyle Small Breed $24.99 – 6-lb bag
  4. Best grain-free dry dog food for large breeds: Wellness’s CORE Large Breed – $94.99 – 26-lb bag
  5. Best grain-free dry dog food for dogs with allergies: Canidae’s PURE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – $63.74 – 24-lb bag

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1. Wellness Core Grain-Free Kibble (Best Overall)

CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a product of Wellness Pet Food with its headquarters in Massachusetts, which was founded in 1997. The CORE grain-free dry dog food contains four protein sources, including turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, and salmon oil. Other ingredients include flax, quinoa, tomato pomace, and chicory root, omega fatty acids, and other B vitamins. CORE grain-free dry dog food provides at least 35% proteins, 38% fat, and 27% carbs of a dog’s daily nutrient intake. 

The lack of grains in CORE grain-free dry dog food is a benefit, making it easier for dogs to digest. However, the higher levels of protein in this product can lead to obesity in older and less active dogs. Unused protein is stored as fat.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements, so the amount of consumption changes according to dog breed. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

2. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is a fairly new brand of dog food, debuting around 2007 to meet the market demand for premium “natural” dog foods and grain-free foods with better ingredients. Their dog foods are made in five state-of-the-art facilities in the USA: two in California and one each in Missouri, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Nourish your dog with the balanced diet nature intended with Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Wild boar is the main protein in this grain-free recipe. It includes nutrient-rich legumes like peas and garbanzo beans that deliver the highly-digestible energy all active pups need.

Furthermore, it provides natural antioxidant support from real vegetables and fruits, prebiotic support from dried chicory roots. Essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to optimize their absorption and ensure maximum benefit, for complete and balanced nutrition with a taste of the wild.

The primary benefit of this is the exclusion of grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rye will reduce allergic reactions. However, the added legumes to replace the grains are packed with carbohydrates.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements, so the amount of consumption changes according to dog breed. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

3. American Journey Chicken and Turkey Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

American Journey is the brand of Chewy. It is a reasonably new brand, but they already have a reasonably extensive range of dry and wet dog food, with grains and grain-free. An example is American Journey Chicken & Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food. Real chicken is the primary protein in the recipe, followed by chicken broth and turkey to give dogs the taste and nutrition to maintain lean muscles. The recipe also contains omega fatty acids to ensure a dog’s healthy skin and coat, essential amino acids with additional minerals and vitamins. It’s full of flavor but free of grains, corn, wheat, artificial colors, poultry by-product meal, soy, preservatives, and flavors. Real chicken and turkey as the first ingredients are beneficial for maintaining a dog’s lean muscle mass. Many dogs on grain-free diets are actually allergic to poultry meat and not grains, in which case a grain-free diet will not resolve the allergy issues.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

4. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Recipe for Dogs

Whole Earth Farms is a pet food brand owned by Merrick Pet Care, which produces the well-known Merrick pet food brand. Merrick Pet Care has been in operation since 1988, and the Whole Earth Farms brand was introduced to pet owners in 2009. The manufacturing plant is in Amarillo, Texas. Whole Earth Farms never add by-product meals, wheat, corn, or soy, to their dog food recipes. Nor do they use artificial preservatives or artificial colors. All their recipes are based on high-quality proteins first, followed by the company’s Wholesome Harvest Blend of field-grown vegetables and fruits for optimal nutrition.

Whole Earth Farms’ pet foods benefit dogs’ healthy immune systems, healthy joints, and healthy skin and coat. However, the sugar content of the fruit and vegetables added to provide fiber might be harmful.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is a fairly new brand of dog food, debuting around 2007 to meet the market demand for premium “natural” dog foods and grain-free foods with better ingredients. Their dog foods are made in five state-of-the-art facilities in the USA: two in California and one each in Missouri, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Our priority is to source ingredients of quality.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food recipe includes buffalo and bison as primary proteins, sweet potatoes, and peas for the highly-digestible energy active pups need.

Essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to optimize their absorption and ensure maximum benefit, for complete and balanced nutrition with a taste of the wild canine companion constantly craves. The benefits of the formula include natural antioxidant support from real vegetables, fruits, and dried chicory root to promote healthy digestion and prebiotic support.

Potential harm could be caused by excessive energy the sweet potatoes and peas might provide for less active and older dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

6. Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Dog Food

Diamond Pet Food was established in Missouri in 1970. Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Beef & Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food is an example of Diamond Naturals’ extensive range of dry dog food. It contains superfoods and a guaranteed source of probiotics that will support your dog’s development and overall health. This grain-free recipe contains real beef and real lamb as primary proteins. Real vegetables and fruits included are Kale, sweet potatoes, raspberries, and blueberries. It provides canine companions with minerals, proteins, omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin, and antioxidants for overall health. 

A significant benefit is the guaranteed probiotics that support dogs’ development and overall health. Whole grains provide an important nutritional resource for your dog, including iron, magnesium, B vitamins, carbohydrates, and selenium, for energy, and fiber to aid in digestion. After adding all the fruit, vegetables, and other replacements for these nutrients, the grain-free dog food might no longer be as healthy as expected, or even harmful.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

7. Orijen Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen Grain-Free dry dog food is a product of Blue Buffalo, which was founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld in 2002 and started marketing dry dog food in 1985 in Alberta, Canada, and in Kentucky, in the U.S. by Champion Petfoods. Orijen dry dog food contains chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and chicken liver as primary protein sources. Other nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and more. Orijen High Protein Adult dry dog food provides at least 38% proteins, 18% fat, and 4% fiber of a dog’s daily nutrient intake.

The benefits of including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are significant in protecting older dogs with hip and other skeletal and joint issues. However, the five protein sources in this formula might be harmful to older dogs because excess protein is stored as fat.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

8. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct, now called Nature’s Variety, produces premium raw pet foods, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, and manufacturing operations in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. In 2020, Instinct Petfood proudly became a member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition with a goal of transforming the lives of pets through raw nutrition. Instinct provides a variety of ways to add raw to your pet’s routine. That includes frozen raw meals, freeze-dried raw meals, raw toppers, kibble boosted with raw products, and more. Raw diets don’t have to be all-or-nothing for your pet to reap the raw benefits. Grain-free options for dogs of all sizes and ages, working with recipes made with functional ingredients for common health concerns. Compared to Instinct Original,

The benefits of the Raw Boost range include a probiotic boost, higher Omegas, and more antioxidants to support coat, skin, and gut health while boosting the dog’s immune system. 

Dog owners need a proper understanding of all the options for combining the various raw products with grain-free kibble to ensure the additions are not harmful but still contribute to a balanced diet 

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

9. Orijen Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen Grain-Free dry dog food is a product of Blue Buffalo, which was founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld in 2002 and started marketing dry dog food in 1985 in Alberta, Canada, and in Kentucky, in the U.S. by Champion Petfoods. Orijen dry dog food contains turkey, chicken, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), quail, whole blue whiting, whole mackerel, chicken liver, as primary protein sources. Other ingredients include herring, salmon, and boneless walleye, and various vitamins like vitamin A, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12), minerals such as iron, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and more. Orijen High Protein Adult dry dog food provides at least 36% proteins, 41% fat, and 23% carbs of a dog’s daily nutrient intake. 

Glucosamine benefits puppies by ensuring strong hip joints later in life. Even grain-free kibble can cause harm. This grain-free dog food’s ingredient list shows 85% poultry and fish proteins along with a long list of non-meat proteins. Depending on a dog’s age, acceptable protein content is between 20 and 30 percent.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

10. CORE Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

CORE Grain-Free Wet Dog Food is a product of Wellness Pet Food with its headquarters in Massachusetts, founded in 1997. Made with high-quality meats that canines crave, this natural, grain-free dog food provides high protein without excess fat or calories to support your dog’s overall health. The food contains no meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. This grain-free recipe features five different premium meat sources to provide complete, natural nutrition for your canine companion based on the raw feeding philosophy. The wholesome food is balanced with greens and botanicals that offer preventative health benefits, an omega blend that supports a dog’s skin, coat, and minerals that help boost overall metabolic function. A 12 ½ -oz can of the Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver grain-free recipe’s guaranteed analysis shows minimum contents of 12% protein, 8% fat, and .5% fiber. The first five ingredients are Chicken, Chicken Broth, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, and Ground Barley. Every dog will have different nutritional requirements depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may gradually transition to new wet dog food to avoid any digestive upset. 

11. American Journey Beef & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

American Journey is the brand of Chewy. It is a reasonably new brand, but they already have an extensive range of dry and wet dog food, with grains and grain-free. An example is American Journey Beef and Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food. Real beef is the primary protein in the recipe, followed by chicken and savory beef broth to give dogs the taste and nutrition to maintain lean muscles. The recipe also contains omega fatty acids to ensure a dog’s healthy skin and coat, essential amino acids, as well as additional minerals and vitamins. It’s full of flavor but free of grains, corn, wheat, artificial colors, poultry by-product meal, soy, preservatives, and flavors. 

Real beef and chicken as the first ingredients are beneficial for maintaining a dog’s lean muscle mass. On the other hand, grain-free diets could cause health harm in dogs on grain-free diets who are actually allergic to meat and not grains.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

12. Purina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Classic Entrees Adult Wet Dog Food

Purina was bought by Nestle in December 2001 with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. However, in 1894 Robinson-Danforth was founded, as a balanced food production company for animals under the brand Purina, becoming the first company in the world to offer such products.

Purina creates food that nourishes dogs, giving them the energy to catch a feather or run after a ball. Purina’s Pro Plan Savor recipe comes in two recipes, with either real chicken or turkey being the first ingredient of the tender dog food entree. . Packed with protein, this canned ground dog food helps support your four-legged companion’s lean muscles as he jumps and plays. The chicken recipe has 492 calories per 13-oz can, and 469 calories in the turkey recipe. The guaranteed analysis shows minimum contents of 9% protein, 6% fat, and 1.5% fiber. Purina wet dog food contains 23 essential vitamins and nutrients for complete and balanced nutrition for dogs of all life stages. 

Purina’s wholesome, high-quality dog food benefits your dog’s immune system while nourishing his healthy skin and soft coat. However, check for too much protein added to replace grains, which can harm a dog’s health.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

13. American Journey Stews Poultry & Beef Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

American Journey is the brand of Chewy. It is a reasonably new brand, but they already have a reasonably extensive range of dry and wet dog food, with grains and grain-free. American Journey offers a variety pack containing six cans of the Beef and Chicken Recipe and six cans of the Chicken and Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food. All the nourishment dogs need. Real beef and real chicken are the primary protein in the respective recipes, followed by chicken and savory beef broth to give dogs the taste and nutrition to maintain lean muscles. 

It has essential amino acids with additional minerals and vitamins. It’s full of flavor but free of grains, corn, wheat, artificial colors, poultry by-product meal, soy, preservatives, and flavors.

The omega fatty acids in this formula benefit the dog’s healthy skin and coat. Protein-dense grain-free recipes could be harmful in contributing to rising pet obesity.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

14. Orijen Tundra Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen Grain-Free dry dog food is a product of Blue Buffalo, which was founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld in 2002 and started marketing dry dog food in 1985 in Alberta, Canada, and in Kentucky, in the U.S. by Champion Petfoods. ORIJEN Tundra Grain-Free Dry Dog is a scrumptious kibble featuring fresh or raw grass-fed lamb, ranch-raised venison, duck, fish, Boer goat, and pork. ORIJEN Tundra Grain-Free Dry Dog Food provides at least 40% proteins, 18% fat, and 5% carbs of a dog’s daily nutrient intake. 

A significant benefit of this grain-free dog food is the raw flavor of the frozen liver-coated kibble. Anything higher than 29% protein in dog food is excessive for most dogs and might cause weight problems or other health harm.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

15. 4Health Grain-Free Puppy Dog Food

Schell & Kampeter Inc. manufactures dog food for the 4Health brand in several states. The same company owns the Diamond Pet Foods brand that has been producing 4Health dog food since 2010, which is when the 4Health brand was introduced to the public. Manufacturing facilities are located in California, Missouri, and South Carolina. 4Health Grain-Free Formulation Puppy Formula for Dogs provides lots of energy and nutrition for active and growing puppies with a formulation that helps maintain a healthy digestive system. This formula is also a good choice for pregnant or lactating dogs, providing vital nutrition for both moms and nursing pups.

The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in this grain-free food are beneficial for promoting shiny coats and healthy skin. However, harm could be caused by the artificial coloring to make it more attractive for humans but harmful to dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

16. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Beef Recipe

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Whole Food Clusters dry dog food is a product of The Honest Kitchen, a brand founded in 2002. This manufacturing facility is in Illinois, but the brand itself is run from California. This is a dehydrated meal that rehydrates to 4 times its weight. Just add warm water and serve it as an easy homemade meal or as a tasty topper for dry dog food. A 10-lb. Box makes 40 lbs. of fresh food.

This recipe is formulated with uncompromising quality control standards using real, recognizable ingredients, including ranch-raised beef, which is gently dehydrated to preserve nutrients. Making this recipe, you’ll also use the same whole foods you’d find in your own kitchen to satisfy The Honest Kitchen’s standard for 100% human-grade ingredients. In addition, this dog food is made in a human food facility, so you can be sure that it is of the highest quality and safety standard.

This recipe is packed with ingredients beneficial for a balanced diet for most dogs. However, the protein content is not high enough for puppies and senior dogs, which could harm their health.

With only 26% protein, this dehydrated dog food product would not be suitable for senior dogs because they need about 50% more protein than younger dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

17. Natures Recipe Dog Food, For Adult Dogs, Grain-Free

Jeff Bennett founded Nature’s Recipe 35 years ago. Some of Nature’s Recipe’s recipes have been tailored specifically for puppies, large breed dogs, small breed dogs, and mixed breeds. Its recipes use a relatively small range of protein ingredients, such as meat and fish. Chicken, beef, and salmon are all included in this selection.

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food is made from natural ingredients with added vitamins and nutrients. What’s important is what they leave out. This recipe is 100% free from added wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The taurine content is beneficial as an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of the heart muscle. This recipe contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to harm like liver toxicity, allergies, and the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells.

 Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

18. Tiki Dog Petites Pate – High Protein & Grain-Free Beef Dog Food

Whitebridge Pet Brands, LLC, located in Saint Louis, MO is the owner of a subsidiary, Tiki Pets, which was launched in 2005 as a premium brand of minimally processed, high-quality protein pet diets. In 2017, they launched Tiki Dog™ Aloha Petites ™, a range of indulgent wet and dry treats and toppers made exclusively for small dogs. Its products are free from animal by-products, white potatoes, wheat, corn, and artificial ingredients. 

Tiki Dog High-protein grain-free beef paté has real beef as the first ingredient, followed by beef broth, and beef liver. Ground dried chickpeas and sweet potato provide the fiber in this grain-free dog pate.

Both chicken and duck provide benefits because they are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life. However, Canola Oil is a controversial ingredient that could cause health harm because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed. 

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

19. Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free RPM Formula

Dr. Tim’s Pet Food Company was established in 2004 with headquarters in Marquette, Michigan, USA. Collaboration between a Ph.D. canine nutritionist and a practicing small animal veterinarian, both experienced in competitive dog sports, led to creating the RPM formula used in Dr. Tim’s Salmon & Pork Grain-Free RPM Formula Dry Dog Food. This product features non-traditional meat sources and non-grain carbohydrates. Designed for dogs with sensitivity to grain-based carbohydrates like corn, wheat, and soy, RPM features a novel carbohydrate blend of tapioca, peas, and white potatoes.

The primary protein sources for Dr. Tim’s Salmon & Pork Grain-Free RPM Formula are wild-caught Alaskan salmon meal and pork meal, both containing about 300% more concentrated protein than fresh meat and fish because the drying process removes all the water. Together they make up 90% of the proteins, enhanced by added probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants to boost the dog’s immune system and promote a natural gut microbiome. Further benefits include functional ingredients such as menhaden fish oil, dried egg, and taurine to aid the dog’s overall health. Furthermore, added Omega 3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA may boost your canine companion’s mental clarity. The Dr. Tim’s Salmon & Pork Grain-Free RPM Formula Dry Dog Food recipe contains no controversial ingredients, and there have been no recalls to indicate potential harm for dogs. Every dog will have different nutritional requirements depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may gradually transition to new wet dog food to avoid digestive upset. 

20. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition 90% Beef Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

Gentle Giants dog food was established by actor Burt Ward in 2008. He and his wife Tracy wanted to provide all-natural dog food to everyone after his experience with rescuing dogs for many years. The couple still owns the company, based in California. The Gentle Giants 90% Beef Grain-Free Wet Dog Food recipe is a hearty grain-free blend of tender beef, sweet potatoes, and multiple non-GMO vegetables, and fruits in a tasty beef broth for a succulent, wholesome dish. Also, it contains dandelion greens for gastrointestinal and liver health. In addition, the recipe contains many minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and green-lipped mussels from New Zealand for a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin to provide joint health. According to Burt Ward, this veterinarian-approved balanced and nutritious meal is perfectly formulated to support your dog’s daily life from puppy to senior, allowing large breed dogs to extend their lifespan significantly. 

Added green-lipped mussels benefit joint support and are a natural source of omega fatty acids.

Sodium selenite could be a harmful ingredient in dog food. Depending on the amount included,  it could be toxic to dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

21. Purina One Dog Food, Grain-Free with Real Beef and Bison

Purina was bought by Nestle in December 2001 with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. However, in 1894 Robinson-Danforth was founded, as a balanced food production company for animals under the brand Purina, becoming the first company in the world to offer such products.

Purina creates food that nourishes dogs, giving them the energy to catch a feather or run after a ball. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Classic Ground Real Beef & Bison Grain-Free Wet Dog Food. This 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs is made with real beef as the first ingredient plus real Bison and other high-quality ingredients for a meal option or topper your dog will love.

The taurine content is beneficial as an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of the heart muscle. However, sodium selenite could be a harmful ingredient in dog food. Depending on the amount included, it could be toxic to dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset

22. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Land with Bison Dry Dog Food

Canidae is a family-owned company, founded in 1996 on the family farm located in Kansas, USA. Canidae also operates a cooking facility and distribution center in Texas, USA.

Canidae recipes are made from wholesome, high-quality ingredients, balanced for whole-body health. The recipes are formulated in partnership with a vet nutritionist to exceed AAFCO standards. Canidae Grain-Free PURE Land Fresh Bison Dog Food is a limited ingredient kibble that has helped many dogs get their energy, appetite, and health back. Because improper digestion is due to sensitivities or allergies affecting so many areas of your dog’s health, when he starts digesting food properly, you will notice a huge improvement. Among the ten key ingredients in this food are no grains, and the source of protein is not commonly allergenic. Your dog will love the taste of fresh, real bison, whether or not he has food sensitivities.

Limited to 10 ingredients in dog food is beneficial for allergic dogs. It can help dog owners to easier identify allergies to specific foods. However, Canola Oil is a controversial ingredient that could cause health harm because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset. 

23. Farmina N&D Prime Lamb & Blueberry Dog Food

Farmina dog food has its roots in the Russo Mangimi company, an animal nutrition business located in Italy, founded in 1965 by Francesco Russo. In 1999, Dr. Angelo Russo, son of the owner Francesco, collaborated with Farmina, an English company specializing in food research, establishing Farmina Dog Food with a manufacturing plant and headquarters in Italy and the US office in New York.

The N&D Farmina Grain-Free Range indicates the benefits of Farmina dog food, Natural & Delicious. It is a scientifically developed dog food, naturally appropriate for a dog’s metabolism. Thanks to a low glycemic index, N&D can help prevent obesity and diabetes in your dog.

Farmina N&D Prime Lamb & Blueberry Medium & Maxi Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food comprises a delicious mix of the best ingredients with the correct amounts of protein, fats, limited carbohydrates, and advanced long-life vitamins and minerals. With regionally-sourced lamb, choice dried fruits like blueberries and sweet oranges, and essential vitamins and minerals, this classy dish is made without grains or artificial preservatives and has less than 3% fiber. At pre-cooking weights, 70% of this Natural & Delicious Grain-Free formula is animal-sourced materials. 

Beneficial nutrients present in this recipe include glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for strong joints in dogs of all life stages. However, potentially harmful ingredients in the recipes include brewers yeast, a controversial item that is a by-product of the beer-making process, often linked to allergies. Every dog will have different nutritional requirements depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may gradually transition to new wet dog food to avoid digestive upset.

24. Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food with Protein from Beef

Mars Petcare US, Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, has introduced Crave, a new brand of dog food crafted with high-protein, meat-first, grain-free recipes in 2017. The Crave High Protein Beef Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food recipe is made with beef as the first ingredient for 34% protein in every bite. It is a protein-packed kibble with a flavor and texture even picky eaters enjoy. The premium recipe is enhanced with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and omega fatty acids to support overall health and nutrition. This 100% balanced diet can be served to all dog breeds and can be mixed in with wet food or served on its own. It contains zero chicken by-product meal, wheat, corn, grains, soy protein, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

The inclusion of real beef as the first ingredient in this recipe is beneficial in providing protein to support lean, active muscles. However, the use of alfalfa meal is high in plant protein and fiber. It is more often associated with horse feed, while other options are available for dog food.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

25. Nature’s Recipe Prime Blends Grain-Free Beef, Lamb, and Potato Recipe

Nature’s Recipe was founded 35 years ago by Jeff Bennet. The range from Nature’s Recipe includes some specialized recipes such as those for puppies, large breed dogs, and small breed dogs. Nature’s Recipe uses a relatively small range of meat and fish ingredients in its recipes. This range includes some of the industry favorites like Chicken, Beef, and Salmon.

Nature’s Recipe Prime Blends Grain-Free Beef, Lamb, and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food is a protein-packed canine kibble, crafted with a wholesome and savory bone broth and features real beef as the very first ingredient. It also supports your canine companion’s overall health with added vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. This recipe is 100% free from added wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The taurine content is beneficial as an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of the heart muscle. Sodium selenite could be a harmful ingredient in dog food. Depending on the amount included, it could be toxic to dogs.

Depending on the amount included, sodium selenite could be toxic to dogs.

Depending on the breed, life stage, health, environment, and activity level, every dog will have different nutritional requirements. Maintain optimal body condition by adjusting food as necessary and asking your veterinarian if you have any doubts. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may need to transition to new wet dog food gradually to avoid any digestive upset.

What are the Facts that you Should Know About Grain-Free Dog Foods?

It is important for dog owners to understand that their dogs’ digestive systems are different from human digestive systems. It might be interesting to know that only about 10% of dogs are sensitive to grains. Reportedly, more dogs are allergic to proteins, mostly chicken. It is always best to consult with a vet before changing a dog’s diet. If a veterinarian suggests a grain-free diet, choosing the correct brand is crucial. 

Facts about grain-free foods to consider are listed below.

  • Grains in food contain carbohydrates, a nutrient essential for energy and optimal health.
  • Grain-free does not necessarily mean carb-free because manufacturers add pea powder, and other legumes to replace the carbohydrates.
  • Manufacturers add fruits and veggies to replace the fiber typically provided by grains.
  • Both the legumes and the fresh produce could add sugar and starch which might lead to weight problems or even obesity. 
  • However, all this does not mean grain-free is bad. If recommended by a vet, it could improve the dog’s life enjoyment significantly, but if not, it could make a canine companion’s life miserable. 

Grain-free diets should not be chosen because it is the in-thing. Instead, only upon a vet’s orders should such a change be made to a dog’s diet.

What are the Price Factors for Grain-Free Dog Foods?

The best grain-free dog foods will always be more pricey than the lower grade brands. Higher-priced grain-free dog foods are typically higher quality. However, consumers should still scrutinize the ingredients to ensure the added nutrition and taste justify the higher price. The nutrition-related price factors are listed below.

  1. Proteins are usually the most expensive ingredient in grain-free dog food, and then some proteins cost more than others. The lowest-priced protein is typically chicken, followed by turkey, pork, and beef. Duck, salmon, and seafood are significantly more expensive and novel proteins like kangaroo, bison, emu, and quail are ultra-expensive.
  2. Top-quality ingredients affect the price of grain-free dog food. Quality products contain more protein and less protein meal. Proteins like meat, chicken, and others have high water content, which is lost during any high-temperature processing. Manufacturers replace the lost nutrients by adding protein meal, a perfectly healthy additive. However, the meal should never exceed the whole protein amount. It is essential for the ingredient list to specify the meal source such as meat, chicken, fish, or other meal instead of listing it as protein meal or poultry meal which leaves the consumer guessing the source of the meal. High-quality grains like oatmeal or whole brown rice are included rather than brewer’s rice or other low-quality carbs. The inclusion of antioxidant-providing vegetables and fruit, and even added cheese could significantly increase the cost of grain-free dog food.
  3. Added high-quality supplements play a significant role in the price of grain-free dog food. Essential additives include Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint protection, hip dysplasia, and osteoarthritis. Several probiotics are necessary for the promotion of digestion and to ease diarrhea, constipation, or other gastrointestinal problems. Added Prebiotics, provide food for the good bacteria in the dog’s gut. For reducing inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are obtained from high-quality sources like salmon oil and fish oil. Unnecessary additives like artificial flavorings and colors are often added to cheaper brands of grain-free dog food.

Based on these points, grain-free is not necessarily healthy for your dog.

What is the Clean Label on the Grain-Free Dog Food Packages?

The Institute for Food Technologists defines the clean label on grain-free dog food packages as a holistic way of manufacturing grain-free dog food with limited healthy and wholesome ingredients. The ingredients must be natural and items that consumers can recognize when they read the label on the grain-free dog food package.

The clean label trend is consumer-driven, which is necessary for dog owners who want to feed their dogs with the same care as the rest of their families. Consumers want to read the ingredients label, recognize the items and their health benefits, and feel comfortable that the company behind the brand cares as much as they do about the healthfulness of their dogs.

Do Dogs Like the Taste of Grain-Free Dog Food?

Almost any brand of grain-free dog food is well received by dogs because many brands have added legumes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other fruit and vegetables that are tastier than the omitted tasteless grains. However, all those additives might bring more disadvantages than advantages. 

Where Can You Buy the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods?

Where to buy the best grain-free dog foods should not be a significant problem because there is an endless list of online and brick-and-mortar dog food retailers. The most appropriate choice of retailer would be the one that stocks the brands of dog food that meet the dietary needs of a consumer’s different dogs. One dog owner could have a senior dog living with arthritis or other age-related health problems and a puppy with allergy problems.

The top ten dog food suppliers in the U.S. and their head offices are listed below.

  • Mars Petcare, Inc, McLean, VA
  • Nestlé Purina Petcare, St. Louis, MO
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Topeka, KS
  • Diamond Pet Foods, Meta, MO
  • Blue Buffalo, Wilton, CT
  • Merrick Pet Care, Amarillo, TX
  • Central Garden & Pet Walnut Creek, CA
  • Amazon, online
  • Chewy store, online 
  • PetSmart, Phoenix, AZ and online

Do All Vets Recommend Grain-Free Dog Food?

Many vets do not recommend dog owners should put their dogs on grain-free diets without the right reasons. Grain-free diets are not proven to be very beneficial to dogs. Only dogs with diagnosed direct allergies to grain could benefit from it if prescribed by a vet.

Grain allergies are fairly rare, and food allergies linked to the protein source rather than the grain source are significantly more common. The FDA has alerted dog owners that links may exist between grain-free diets and a diagnosis of DCM, dilated cardiomyopathy. It is a heart muscle disease that could cause an enlarged heart. That will compromise the dog’s heart to pump blood properly. Health authorities believe this health threat results from high amounts of legumes like peas and pea flour in grain-free diets. 

What is the Nutritional Value of Grain-Free Dog Food?

An AAFCO statement on pet food packaging explains how the food is formulated to contain essential nutrients and identifies the appropriate life stage for the food. Basically, it lets you know whether a particular food is “complete and balanced.”

Adult Maintenance: These foods are intended for adult dogs with the standards to meet listed below.

  • Protein 18% and then further broken down into specific amino acid requirements.
  • Fat 5.5%
  • Minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium
  • Vitamins Including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12, choline

Growth and Reproduction: These foods are designed for puppies/kittens and pregnant or lactating females. A newer guideline for puppy foods also includes a statement about large dogs (those over 70 lbs.). Standards to meet are listed below.

  • Protein 22.5% and then further broken down into specific amino acid requirements.
  • Fat 8.5%
  • Minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium
  • Vitamins Including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12, choline

Dog foods marketed for “all life stages” must meet the more stringent standards for “growth and reproduction.” 

Nutritional adequacy standards established by AAFCO must be met or exceeded in order for dog food to be marketed as “complete and balanced” for a certain life stage.

Calories: According to the AAFCO, the calorie content of a product should never be the sole consideration for purchase, but rather one factor among many. Depending on life stage and condition, a pet may need lots of calories to give it the energy to grow, reproduce or work; therefore, fewer calories doesn’t necessarily add up to a healthier diet.

What are the Best Freeze-Dried Dog Foods?

Freeze-dried dog foods are the preferred choice of many dog owners. Some nutritionists agree because high-quality proteins like chicken, salmon, turkey, and other animal proteins often included in freeze-dried foods deliver excellent nutrition. Protein is essential for the maintenance and growth and maintenance of almost all the tissues in a dog’s body.

The four best freeze-dried dog foods are listed below.

  • TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood: It contains 100% USA-born and raised cage-free turkeys.
  • Bixbi Liberty Freeze-Dried Dog Food: Used for a dog’s full meals or as a topper on grain-free dog food.
  • Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals: The most affordable freeze-dried dog food despite containing as much as three times the volume of meat in kibbles and other non-GMO produce.
  • Heed Foods: A boutique dog food company that produces top-quality highly digestible prebiotic kibble with the added bonus of several freeze-dried mix-ins to choose from to make a dog’s dinner extra special.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods to Mix with Wet Dog Food?

Mixing grain-free dog foods with dry dog foods can benefit dogs’ hydration levels. Like humans, dogs’ bodies contain 75% water. They need to drink lots of fluids to support the hydration of their bodies. 

  • Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Dog Food: This grain-free recipe features 5 different premium meat sources to provide full, natural nutrition for your canine companion based on the raw feeding philosophy. Use it as a meal or a topper.
  • Merrick Grain-Free Wet Dog Food: It can be mixed with any of the recipes for 12.7-oz canned dog food or Merrick’s 16-oz pouches of bone broth. 

Dog food manufacturers recommend replacing 25% of dogs’ daily wet food with good quality wet food. Below are some suggestions for combining the best grain-free dog foods with wet food.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Puppies?

The best grain-free dog foods for puppies are those that meet the unique nutritional needs of puppies. Puppies need more calories than adult dogs, and their food must have proper levels of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals essential to boost the development of healthy immune systems, strong bones, and more. Canned, grain-free dog food is often overlooked by owners of new puppies yet it can be extremely nutritious. Compared to fresh puppy food recipes, canned puppy food recipes often contain fewer vegetables, as well as a greater amount of moisture. The brands listed below are included in the list of best grain-free dog food for puppies. Many puppy and dog owners provide their pups with a mix of dry and canned food to give their canine friends some much-deserved variety.

  • Grain-free Puppy Plate: A Merrick product is one of the top wet puppy foods. It contains a variety of poultry ingredients, including chicken, duck, and turkey.
  • Canidae Pure: The range includes their Foundations Formula, a nutritious, straightforward growing puppy formula. It contains a mix of chicken, peas, and eggs, all considered top-quality ingredients.
  • Wellness Halo Wet Puppy Food: Grain-Free, tailored for the nutritional needs of growing puppies.

What are the Brands for the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods?

Looking to save money on dog food does not mean settling for cheap bulking agents and fillers. 

Good quality grain-free dog foods are available, and knowing which ingredients to look for will help. The size, breed, age, and health of the dog must be considered. The brands to look for are listed below.

  1. Best Overall Grain-Free Dog Food: Wellness Core Grain-Free Kibble
  2. Best Organic grain-free dry dog food: ORGANIX Grain-Free Organic Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe – $73.67- 18-lb bag
  3. Best grain-free dry dog food for small breeds: Nulo Freestyle Small Breed $24.99 – 6-lb bag
  4. Best grain-free dry dog food for large breeds: Wellness’s CORE Large Breed – $94.99 – 26-lb bag
  5. Best grain-free dry dog food for dogs with allergies: Canidae’s PURE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – $63.74 – 24-lb bag

Note: Prices mentioned in this article are as of 12/14/2021

What are the Other Dog Food Types?

It may not be as versatile as human food, but there are still plenty of options for dog food. In selecting food for a dog, finding one that meets the needs of every aspect of its nutritional profile should be the top priority. There are five different dog food types as listed below.

  • Dry dog food or Kibble: Dry dog food is known as kibble, and to ensure it is balanced and complete, ensure it is certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Dry dog food without AAFCO certification usually doesn’t meet the standards, containing synthetic minerals and vitamins.
  • Dehydrated and freeze-dried: Some popular new formats of pet food are dehydrated or freeze-dried foods, either entirely raw or lightly cooked beforehand. This type of food retains more nutrients than kibble or wet food that is heated to a higher temperature. While this may be a newer format for many pet owners, it does have some exceptional benefits.
  • Freeze-dried raw: Some forms of raw feeding are gaining popularity. While they are entirely raw, the moisture has been removed and the product has been pressed into small pucks, patties or pellets. Freeze-dried raw diets must be re-hydrated, otherwise, they will absorb moisture from your dog, resulting in dehydration, and possible bloat.
  • Semi-Moist: This term is used for foods that are shaped like bacon strips, burgers, pork chops, and other dog favorites. However, it is typically only the shape that links it to a healthy protein. These items are usually without any nutrients and packed with artificial flavors and colorings. Semi-moist dog foods can be given as occasional treats but they should never form a part of a dog’s diet.
  • Home Cooked: Dog owners who want to have full control over the nutrients they feed their pups may choose to cook their dogs’ meals. This might be the ideal way to make sure a dog gets all the nutrients it needs. However, it is time-consuming and needs familiarity with canine nutrition because their needs differ from humans’ needs.
  • Raw Food: Going all-natural is not uncommon, and many families choose to change their lifestyles, including that of their dogs. Raw meat and bones are the primary proteins, along with organs included in the mix. Raw bones are natural calcium and phosphorus sources. Most dogs are perfectly able to digest raw food, but it is wise to discuss the change with a vet before switching to a raw diet.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Dogs with Allergies?

For dogs with grain or gluten intolerance, grains in the grain-free dog food could be replaced with red jacket new potatoes, peas, carrots, and red delicious apples, along with real meat, served in a savory gravy. Like Merrick Grain-Free grain-free dog food Grammy’s Pot Pie.

One of the following ways might mitigate any allergic reactions in dogs.

  • Hypoallergenic recipes: Veterinarians and Nutritionists have developed clinical nutrition specially formulated to help your dog with discomfort and a variety of skin conditions due to food sensitivity. Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Canine is a complete and balanced food that provides all the nutrition dogs need.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for French Bulldogs?

The best grain-free dog food for French Bulldogs are those that meet their unique nutritional needs. Understanding those needs can help owners to avert innate health problems, and ensure optimum health. Two of the best grain-free dog food options for French Bulldogs are listed below.

  • Wellness CORE Grain-Free grain-free dog food Smooth Pate, Natural, Adult: With added Vitamins & Minerals, No Meat by-products, Wheat, Corn, Soy, Artificial Flavors, Colors, or Preservatives. The first five ingredients on this Core grain-free dog food ingredients are turkey, turkey meal, potatoes, peas, dried ground potatoes, and it contains all the nutrients required by Frenchies.
  • BLUE Basics Grain-Free Large Breed grain-free dog food: A limited-ingredient canned food formulated for dogs with food sensitivities. This chicken-free recipe features high-quality turkey, easily digestible carbohydrates, plus omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

Frenchies are known to have sensitive stomachs, and their tendency to gain weight easily must be considered when choosing their kibble.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Huskies?

The best grain-free dog food for a Husky depends on the age of the dog. Husky puppies, adults, and seniors all have different nutritional needs. Adult Huskies can thrive on just about any well-balanced grain-free dog food. However, Husky puppies are predisposed to develop Hip Dysplasia, a crippling, permanent disease that can be prevented by ensuring their food does not contain too much calcium while they are growing. Noteworthy is that grain-free food is not recommended for senior dogs because the high protein content provides too much energy for old dogs.

Below is a list of top-quality grain-free dog food for Huskies.

  • Husky Puppy – Up to 12 Months: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This puppy food is loaded with real chicken, a top-quality protein that satisfies your canine companion’s craving for meat and encourages healthy and strong muscles. Your pup’s cognitive health and eyes will get a boost from taurine and other essential ingredients. A nutritious meal also contains fatty acids like ones found in mama Husky’s milk along with a blend of carefully formulated vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for support of overall growth and development. And the best part— it contains no corn, grains, soy, wheat, and meat by-products.
  • Husky Adult – 12 months to 8 years: Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Duck & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food. Farm-raised duck features as the primary protein of this limited-ingredient dry food version for dogs. Next, come potatoes as an easily digestible carbohydrate source. Dogs deserve nutrition, quality, and flavor in dry dog food, so this premium food is designed to satisfy those needs. It is produced in the USA using the world’s finest ingredients and does not contain any added pea protein, peas, legumes, lentils, wheat, corn, or soy.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Labradors?

The best grain-free dog food for Labradors must be high in top-quality proteins and fats from animal sources. There is no specific brand of grain-free dog food that is best for Labradors, but the best choice of grain-free dog food would be a brand that has specified meat as the first ingredient and with high levels of protein in their nutritional makeup. Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to hip dysplasia, so avoid grain-free dog food with high calcium contents for growing pups.

Two top choices of grain-free dog food for Labradors are listed below.

  • Nom Nom Fresh dog food: Designed customized feeding plans based on your Labrador’s weight, age, breed type, and activity level, and then creates a pre-measured portion size, according to the number of calories needed to keep your Lab at the ideal weight. Nom Nom is suitable for all dogs of all life stages.
  • Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food: Each Diamond Naturals dry formula is specially formulated with probiotics and superfoods to support your Labrador friend’s development and overall health. This grain-free recipe is made with real chicken as the first ingredient, and real fruit and vegetables including sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. It provides your furry friend with protein and minerals, along with omega fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, plus antioxidants for overall nose-to-tail well-being. Help your pal achieve a complete and balanced holistic diet with Diamond.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Dachshunds?

Choosing the best grain-free dog food for Dachshunds needs special care and attention. Dachshund owners should consider the following when they choose the best grain-free dog food for their pups. Due to their long spines, Dachshunds are predisposed to intervertebral disk disease. They need controlled amounts of calories, protein, and fat. The top best choices of grain-free dog food for Dachshunds are listed below.

  • Farmina Natural & Delicious Chicken Grain-Free Mini Breed Formula Dry Dog Food: Farmina’s small breed food like Dachshund food is made with the best ingredients and the right balance of fats, protein, limited carbohydrates, and advanced long-life minerals and vitamins. The Natural & Delicious Grain-Free formulas are 70% animal ingredients and 30% vitamins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Nulo Freestyle Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe: Keeping a Dachshund companion healthy requires plenty of protein. This lamb & chickpeas grain-free recipe gets 81% of its protein from real meat, including turkey, lamb, and salmon, so your muscles will grow and you’ll be able to bounce back after exercise. Your best canine friend will receive the nutrition they deserve with ingredients low in glycemic index and probiotics.

Dachshunds can be prone to spinal diseases, weight problems, joint problems, and constipation. It might be a good idea to invest in high-quality food for a Dachshund.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Small Sized Dogs?

The best grain-free dog foods for small breeds are formulated to provide balanced nutrition for doggies whose adult weights do not exceed 20 pounds. Small breeds tend to have higher metabolic rates than larger breeds. Thus, the best choice of wet foods for small breeds must be formulated to optimize their health. Two of the top choices are listed below.

  • Instinct Original Small Breed Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe: Satisfy your petite pup’s need for the best wet canned dog food. A grain-free recipe high in animal protein, formulated for your small breed dog and made especially for him to thrive, is guided by Instinct’s belief in raw. This balanced meal contains real meat, vegetables, and fruits with a delicious loaf texture, as well as omega fatty acids to help promote a healthy and shiny coat.
  • Canidae Pure Bolognese Style Dinner with Beef & Carrots Grain-Free dog food in trays: Spoil your small canine companion with the delectable taste of this grain-free recipe, designed for small dogs and crafted with real, recognizable ingredients like real beef first, plus whole food carrots. All life stages of petite and small breed dogs. Small breeds tend to have higher metabolic rates than larger breeds. Thus, the best choice of wet foods for small breeds must be formulated to optimize their health.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Medium-Sized Dogs?

When choosing the best grain-free dog food for a medium-sized dog, its breed, age, and health will determine its nutritional requirements. The six basic nutrients are proteins, water, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Two of the best grain-free dog foods suitable for most medium-sized dogs are listed below.

  • Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb & Brown Rice Formula: Lamb & Brown Rice Canned Formula provides high-quality nutrition for your canine companion, with a limited number of protein and carbohydrate sources. Complete and balanced for all life stages from puppies to adults of medium-sized breeds. The formula contains a premium quality protein source not commonly used in pet foods, and a premium quality carbohydrate. All essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are included in this unique blend for dogs, ensuring a high digestibility.
  • American Journey Poultry & Beef Stews Grain-Free Variety Pack: These meat-rich recipes combine high-quality beef or chicken with wholesome carrots, simmered in a savory broth for the flavor dogs love and crave. Real meat is always the first ingredient to give medium-sized dogs the protein their bodies need to maintain lean muscle mass. Furthermore, animal proteins provide essential amino acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as omega-3 and 6 for healthy skin and coat.

The best grain-free dog food for medium-sized dogs must contain at least the essential nutrients in the dog’s regular diet to maintain overall health.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Large Dogs?

The best grain-free dog foods for large breed canines are different from the formulas for medium and small dogs. The nutritional demands of big dogs should meet the special needs to support their different body structures. The ingredients of all large breed dogs’ foods should include nutrition to promote healthy, strong joints, from puppyhood through maturity. One of the most common problems in large breed dogs is hip dysplasia, a skeletal problem where the hip joints don’t form properly. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids will decrease joint inflammation and can help the dog’s body repair and strengthen tissues. Below are the top two grain-free dog food products for large breed dogs.

  • Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Wet Canned Stew Dog Food: A dog food line formulated with wild game meats, great for large breeds because they are what they would eat in the wild. The available flavors include Southwest Canyon made with wild boar, Wetlands made with duck, quail, and turkey, Sierra Mountain made with lamb, High Prairie made with bison and venison, and Pacific Stream made with salmon. Taste of the Wild Canine Formula Stew is power-packed with 7 to 8.5% crude protein. They are also fortified with calcium to support your large breed’s bone health. They contain natural, wild ingredients so they are very easy to digest.
  • Wellness Complete Health Duck & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dog Food: This natural, canned wet food for large dogs is packed with premium protein and designed for optimal health. It is crafted for 100% complete and balanced everyday nutrition featuring delicious duck combined with nutrient-rich vegetables. This pate-style grain-free dog food contains only premium, all-natural ingredients and is formulated with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are especially important for large breed dogs.

Large and giant breed dogs eat a lot of food. So most of the time pet owners stick with dry dog food rather than feeding them canned food to save money. However, canned food can add nutritional value, give them extra energy, and be a special treat. So it’s great to consider adding canned dog food to your large dog’s feeding routine.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Itchy Skin?

Itchy Skin problems in dogs are more likely to improve by changing the dog’s diet to a limited ingredient program that can help with identifying the cause of the itching. Limited ingredient diets involve food with fewer ingredients, like only one protein, which makes it easier to identify the allergen that causes the itchy skin. 

Veterinarians say only 10% of food allergies in dogs are caused by grain allergies. Therefore, a vet might recommend a hypoallergenic diet instead. It contains hydrolyzed proteins, which means the proteins have been broken down into their basic building blocks called amino acids. An example of one of the best grain-free dog food products of each diet type is listed below.

  • Forza10 Nutraceutical ActiWet Dermo Icelandic Fish Recipe: Designed for itchy canine companions and dull-coated dogs. Canine skin conditions are addressed in this wet food. You can feed your dog Icelandic fish made from 100% antibiotic-free fish without worrying about it causing any skin problems. Aloe vera and fish oils, along with therapeutic herbal extracts, help support optimal skin and coat health.
  • Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food: Ease your dog’s itchiness with this delicious dinner made with real, farm-raised lamb from New Zealand, wholesome peas, chickpeas, and carrots. Zignature’s meat-first recipe provides dogs suffering from skin allergies with the protein they need, while the limited ingredient recipe leaves out common allergens like chicken, wheat, corn, potatoes, and soy, resulting in optimum hypoallergenic, low-glycemic nutrition. Then, add antioxidants, essential fats, and a complete range of vitamins and minerals to create a nutrient-rich meal that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.

Like people, dogs can develop allergies to just about anything. If you don’t find any fleas or ticks and your dog still has itchy skin, you might be dealing with a food allergy of some sort. Before you start any treatment, it’s best to check with your vet to rule out what your dog might be allergic to.

What are the Best Chicken-Free Grain-Free Dog Foods?

When choosing the best grain-free dog food for dogs with chicken-related sensitivities, careful consideration is necessary because animal protein is a vital ingredient in any dog’s diet. Chicken is the most prevalent protein in grain-free dog foods, mainly because it is the cheapest protein on the market. However, many dogs have allergic reactions to poultry, and their owners must find alternative diet options for their dogs. Below are two of the best chicken-free grain-free dog food options available.

  • Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free 96% Real Beef Dinner Recipe Canned Dog Food: Backcountry grain-free dog food without chicken. Real deboned beef is the very first ingredient in this delicious wet food for dogs. In addition to adding moisture and flavor to your dog’s diet, it helps to build and maintain healthy muscle tissue. There is no chicken in this protein-packed dog food, nor are there grains, peas, or potatoes in it. Instead, it contains 96% beef protein. Dogs with chicken allergies can enjoy this savory product made in Hereford, Texas. Dogs with chicken allergies can eat it as a tasty entrée or mix it into dry food for a uniquely textured supper.

Protein deficiency makes a dog vulnerable to developing health problems, like skin damage and hair loss, so the alternative to chicken dog food should be chosen with care.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Shih Tzu dogs?

The choice of the best grain-free dog food for Shih Tzu dogs will depend on their life stage. A wet food formulated for an adult Shih Tzu may not have enough calcium or protein for a puppy, or it could have too many calories or too little protein for an inactive senior Shih Tzu. Histidine is an essential amino acid of which a Shih Tzu puppy needs more than double the amount required by an adult dog,

  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain: Trying to find the best grain-free food for your Shih Tzu? Rachael Ray’s food is made with the finest ingredients. Your pup can enjoy this food without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Additionally, it is gluten-free without any unnecessary fillers, and it is made with farm-raised turkey from the United States.
  • Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food: This grain-free food for Shih Tzu pups has meat products listed as its first three ingredients, which is a good sign of it having enough protein to properly fulfill your fur baby’s needs. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is full of prebiotics, fiber, live active probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. This dog food has a complete package of benefits for your dog. It promotes eye and mouth health, strengthens the immune system, and improves overall health. It is made with natural ingredients, the way good Shih Tzu dog food should be made, and it is full of delicious flavor, which your four-legged friend is sure to love.

Shih Tzu puppies, adults, and seniors all have different nutritional needs. Therefore, the age of a Shih Tzu plays a significant role in grain-free dog food choice.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods to Prevent Tear Stains?

Choosing the best grain-free dog food is important, especially if the dog owner wants to avoid tear stains on a puppy’s face. Many people do not realize that those awful tear stains on the white faces of their Maltese or other fluffy dogs could be caused by the food they eat. Generally, cheap dog food doesn’t ensure long-term good health and is more likely to produce tear stains than high-quality options. Two of the best grain-free dog foods to prevent tear stains are listed below.

  • Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Turkey & Potato: This product from Wellness is great for tear-stain prevention. It has high-quality proteins like adult whitefish and digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. This natural, grain-free dog food can support full-body health. It includes omega fatty acids, glucosamine, antioxidants, probiotics, and taurine for your dog’s health and shiny coat. It excludes gluten, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors that may harm your dog. It contains wholesome ingredients to keep your dog active all day.
  • Instinct Original Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Dog Food: This canned option contains grain-free chicken and is suitable for dogs that are prone to tear stains. This high animal protein, grain-free recipe is guided by Instinct’s belief in raw and made especially for your dog to unlock his potential to thrive. It’s thoughtfully balanced with wholesome foods including real meat, fruits, and vegetables in a delicious loaf texture, along with natural sources of omega fatty acids to help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Cheap grain-free dog foods often contain excess chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives with little nutritional value and are highly likely to cause brown tear stains.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods with Glucosamine?

When choosing the best dog food for large breed dogs, noting that a significant percentage of dogs suffer arthritis due to degeneration of their joints as they age is essential. Fortunately, changing the dog’s diet to a grain-free dog food containing glucosamine could prevent the pup’s suffering. Glucosamine is a natural substance that helps to reduce arthritis pain in dogs as they age. Degeneration of joints can be prevented if the dog’s diet includes glucosamine through adulthood. Two of the best grain-free dog food products containing glucosamine are listed below.

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Senior grain-free dog food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness high protein grain-free dog food contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. Real turkey is the first ingredient on the list. There are no grains or artificial ingredients in this product. It includes prebiotic fiber and naturally sourced omega-3 fatty acids. You can feed this as a food topper on kibble or as a complete meal.

Dog owners who think their dogs are lazy when they prefer to rest rather than be active might want to consider pain as the cause instead of laziness.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods with Pumpkin?

The best grain-free dog food with pumpkin can aid and regulate digestion and bring relief to dogs with digestive issues. Pumpkin also offers high-quality carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins to further benefit a dog’s nutrition. The bulk of the nutrition in pumpkin is dietary fiber and carbohydrates.

  • Pinnacle Turkey & Pumpkin Recipe Grain-Free dog food: This grain-free dog food provides your dog with the perfect nutrition and taste, and it is cooked in small batches, so it is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies. The limited-ingredient recipe is crafted with quality and nutrition in mind, featuring tasty turkey as the first ingredient and only source of animal protein, pumpkin to support the immune system, and quinoa seeds to support muscle growth. Plus, it’s free of wheat, corn, white potatoes, soy, and making for a wholesome, holistic meal for your loyal canine companion.

Pumpkin in grain-free dog food can not only help ease mild constipation but is also crucial for brain and eye development and provides all-around immune support.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Dogs with Pancreatitis?

Choosing the best grain-free dog food for a pup with pancreatitis is crucial. Pancreatitis is a serious, painful condition. One of the dietary tools vets often use to ease the dog’s pancreatic enzyme production is a low-fat, highly digestible diet while allowing the pancreas recovery time.

  • American Journey Healthy Weight Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe: Though this recipe is highly affordable, it’s low in fat and calories to help your dog recover from pancreatitis while also maintaining healthy body weight. To help dogs achieve a healthy weight, American Journey Grain-Free Healthy Weight kibble provides reduced calories, natural sources of fiber so dogs feel fuller after meals, and L-carnitine to aid in fat metabolism and muscle contraction. As part of its joint health and mobility support, it also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help your pup keep up with his daily exercises. The meals are packed with nutrient-rich ingredients including chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and mineral-rich kelp, plus essential vitamins and minerals. There are never any corn, grains, soy, wheat, or chicken or poultry by-product meals.
  • Wellness Core Grain-Free Reduced-Fat Turkey and Chicken for Dogs With Pancreatitis: The protein in this grain-free, low-fat dry food allows your dog to maintain a healthy weight by helping to maintain his muscle. The food is prepared using carefully chosen ingredients including premium proteins such as chicken, turkey, and salmon oil, as well as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains fortified with vitamins and minerals, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and antioxidants. Designed to promote lean body mass, this grain-free dog food is packed with nutrition and muscle tone, supports a healthy coat and skin, and promotes whole-body health. It is developed without any meat by-products, fillers, corn, soy, wheat gluten, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

In severe cases, pancreatitis can affect the health of the liver and other neighboring organs. It is crucial to take your dog to your trusted veterinarian if you suspect pancreatitis.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Yorkies?

Your Yorkie deserves the best grain-free food. Toy Yorkshire Terriers, weighing between 5-7 pounds, are cute and cuddly dogs of the toy breed. 

To get the best dog food for your Yorkie, you should feed him a dog food formulated for toy breeds. This food is high in fat, calories, and nutrition. They come in smaller kibble sizes for easier chewing in those tiny mouths. 

  • Royal Canin Adult Yorkshire Terrier grain-free dog food: Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Adult Dry Dog Food is tailor-made nutrition created just for your Yorkie pure breed. This exclusive breed-specific diet is uniquely formulated for your small breed Yorkshire Terrier with specific nutrients to help small dogs thrive. The specialized kibble shape and texture are designed for your toy breed’s small jaw, making it easy for little dogs to pick up and chew. Biotin and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids help maintain healthy skin and coat. Targeted nutrients including vitamin C, EPA, and DHA help support your toy dog’s vitality. And the combination of this Yorkie dog food’s kibble shape and texture helps reduce tartar formation by encouraging your Yorkie to chew.
  • Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grain-Free Small Breed Free-Range Chicken Stew Canned Dog Food: Complete nutrition for your precious pup made with responsibly sourced ingredients. We start with chicken that has been fed organically and given access to fresh air, light, and plenty of room to roam, resulting in a wholesome and delicious recipe. Organically grown produce is grown on farms that respect the environment by not using synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. We prepare the best nutrition for your best friend’s health right here in the US because it is the best ingredients that make better dog food.

Unfortunately, the Yorkie breed is predisposed to health concerns such as collapsing tracheas, hypoglycemia, and dental issues. Thus, it is crucial to feed Yorkies a nutritionally balanced food developed specifically for their wellbeing.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs?

The best grain-free dog food for canines with sensitive stomachs would depend on the dog’s age, diet, health, and weight. For example, older dogs (7 years or more) and puppies are more likely to suffer digestive problems. Yorkies, Great Danes, and German Shepherds are more likely to be born with a sensitive stomach or develop one later in life.

A number of digestive conditions are also caused by food allergies. Ingredients that are low in quality (fillers, wheat, corn, etc.) can also cause chronic digestive issues and flare-ups. It may take you a while to find the perfect food recipe for your pup because of his sensitive stomach.

Following are grain-free dog foods that are suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs and are highly rated by owners who have already given them to their dogs.

  • HILL’S Grain-free Real Meat Shreds Original Stew Premium Wet Dog Food: Hill’s Science Diet has long been recommended by veterinarians for dogs with a range of sensitivities. This specialty formula contains prebiotic fiber to help healthy bacteria thrive and balance microbiomes. Vitamin E and nourishing Omega 6 can help support skin and coat, and all the ingredients are easily digestible. Since chicken is the first ingredient on the label, your dog can enjoy its delectable, meaty flavor.

Dogs can develop food sensitivities at all life stages, but age, size, and breed are a big part of a dog’s propensity to develop tummy issues.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for Picky Eater Dogs?

Finding the best grain-free dog food to tickle the tastebuds of a dog who is a picky eater could be frustrating. You can try different protein sources. Does your dog prefer beef or chicken? Neither? Then perhaps your pup would fancy a less popular choice, like venison or duck.

  • Health Extension Grain-Free Italian Feast Venison Recipe Canned Dog Food: When you fill his bowl, offer him a meal inspired by the luxurious style of Italy. It is more than just delicious to eat this Italian feast starting with real venison. Your dog will never have a dinner like it before since it is a source of high-quality, unique protein. You’ll also find chickpeas, carrots, and flaxseed among the delicious ingredients. If you mix it with virgin coconut oil and a few healthy drops of apple cider vinegar, you’ve got a meal that’s bursting with flavor and benefits.
  • Ollie Hearty Beef Eats: Ollie dog foods are made fresh, based on a profile for your dog, and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Ollie will then customize the meals and portions based on things like your dog’s breed, activity level, age, and any existing allergies. They’re all veterinarian-formulated recipes that start with high-quality meat, harvested from farms in the US and Australia, and then finish with fruits, veggies, and — in some cases — bonus ingredients like cod liver oil or chia seeds.

If you suspect your dog’s issues with food are more than just a picky palate—or if you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet.

What are the Best Grain-Free Dog Foods for German Shepherds?

Choosing the best grain-free dog food for a German Shepherd dog is vital. Adult German Shepherds are known for their skin allergies and sensitive stomachs. This is the main reason why you need to pay close attention to the food that they are eating and create a special diet for them.

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Puppy Grain-Free Canned Dog Food: Perfect for your growing German Shepherd pup, this irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural grain and gluten-free ingredients. It begins with high-quality proteins in the form of tender pieces of beef and is topped with fruits and veggies, along with vitamins and minerals. Made from wholesome ingredients with no grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavor, or preservatives, this grain-free, high-protein puppy food is formulated with DHA to help support cognitive development, brain, and eye health.
  • ORIJEN Tundra Grain-Free Dry Dog Food: This scrumptious kibble features fresh or raw grass-fed lamb, ranch-raised venison, duck, fish, Boer goat, and pork. Crafted with the most nutrient-dense and succulent parts of the prey, this recipe is also made with WholePrey animal ingredients, including organs and bone, delivering 85% quality animal ingredients. Dogs are sure to enjoy the raw flavor of this frozen liver-coated dog food.

How does the Ingredients List on Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Work?

At first glance, an ingredient statement on a pet food product can be pretty overwhelming. An ingredient list must display all ingredients from most to least by weight. The biggest contributors are first, and the smallest are last. The first five are where you want to see the primary ingredients in the list.

Grain-free dog food will not include ingredients like wheat, rice, corn, barley, oats, soy, or rye. However, it might still contain carbs such as lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, or peas. It could contain more meat as a substitute than regular dog food, which means it has high protein.

What Ingredients Should be in Grain-Free Dry Dog Food?

Here are a few basic things you would want to see on the ingredients list when choosing dry dog food.

  1. Proteins must be specified, and meals are good sources if the source is named. Choose dog food stating beef and beef meal instead of meat meal, and chicken meal rather than poultry meal. The same applies to byproducts. The liver, kidneys, and hearts of animals may not be in demand by humans, but they can be beneficial for dogs if included in dog food. However, it must state the origin of the byproducts.
  2. Fats and oils are essential, but again, they must be specified. You want to see chicken fat and not poultry fat and herring oil instead of fish oil. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids need not be high levels because any fish oil in the recipe will provide more.
  3. Carbohydrate sources for a grain-free diet are potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas. Corn is also a good carb, but not near the top of the ingredients list.
  4. Fruits and vegetables provide a nice touch if they are organic and unprocessed. However, the dog owner should not base the choice on the fruit or vegetable content.
  5. Flavorings to look for are stocks or broths made with liver or other parts of specified animals like chicken, beef, etc.
  6. Preservatives you want to see include Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Rosemary-, Sage-, or Clove Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, and other forms of Vitamin C.
  7. Sweeteners should not be added to kibble, but small amounts of honey or Blackstrap Molasses contain trace minerals, and they can be near the bottom of the list of ingredients for treats.
  8. Supplements may seem to be written in a foreign language, but here’s what you can accept as safe. Chelated minerals are also labeled as chelates, proteinates, amino acid chelates, or polysaccharide complexes. Nonacidic, time-released versions of Vitamin C (labeled as Ester C, Calcium Ascorbate, Stabilized Vitamin C or L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate), natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol, Natural Tocopherol), and natural sources of Vitamin K (egg yolk, liver, oats, kelp, alfalfa)

What Bad Ingredients Should Be Avoided in Grain-Free Dry Dog Food?

Dog owners would benefit from learning about the many ways dog food manufacturers hide bad ingredients on the list. One method they use is known as ingredient splitting. It involves loading the recipe with something like peas, which are a protein source, but they list it as peas, pea flour, pea protein, and pea starch, and when you add them all together, the volume of peas might exceed the amount of real meat protein.

Grain-free dog food will not include ingredients like wheat, rice, corn, barley, soy, or rye. However, it might still contain carbs such as oats, lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, or peas. It could contain more meat as a substitute than regular dog food, which means it has high protein. 

Look out for the following bad ingredients when you buy kibble.

  1. Generic meat products include meat, meat byproduct, meat byproduct meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal, fish, fish meal, poultry, poultry by-products, poultry meal, poultry by-product meal, liver, liver meal, glandular meat, etc. Without specifying the source, the consumer is left guessing.
  2. Fats and oils can be equally misleading when sources are not specified. Choose chicken fat rather than fat or poultry fat. Unspecified ingredients like animal fat, poultry meal, vegetable oil, fish oil, or mineral oil are unacceptable.
  3. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are necessary, but not when listed as fragments like potato product, middlings or mids, or mill run, unspecified grain sources like cereal food fines, distiller’s grain, fermentation solubles, etc.
  4. Fibers on the list should not include corn bran, peanut hulls, rice hulls, soybean hulls, and oat hulls.
  5. Fruits and vegetables should be whole natural fresh produce, not apple pomace, grape pomace, citrus pulp, beet pulp, etc.
  6. Flavorings to look out for include all highly rendered products like any kind of digests, broth from unknown sources, glandular meal, artificial flavoring. Also, any form of onion is toxic to dogs.
  7. Preservatives like BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, TBHQ, and Metabisulphite are all harmful to dogs.
  8. Sweeteners should never be added to dog food, so look out for cane molasses, any form of corn syrup, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycol.
  9. Dyes and colorings are typically added to hide something or make dog food attractive for dog owners. It has no place in dog food. Those with numbers are particularly harmful, like Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, and other numbered colors.
  10. Supplements are a great place for manufacturers to hide things. Menadione in any form, often listed as vitamin K3 or vitamin K supplement. Yeast culture and other useless supplements that are poorly absorbed like sulfates and oxide-based mineral supplements like zinc oxide and iron oxide.

It is always a good idea to check the calorie count per cup of dog food. An easy way to calculate your dog’s daily calorie requirement is to allow 30 calories per pound of your dog’s ideal weight.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.