Best Dry Dog Foods: Reviews & Top Picks

Dog owners often want to know… ”How to recognize the best dry dog food on the market?”

Finding the very best is easy when you have the right guidelines, which can be tricky in a world of unreliable marketing and tricky selling options. This together makes finding the best brands a challenge.

To help you we did an in-depth review of available dog dry food brands and took into consideration views from designers, nutritionists, and veterinarians.

Below you will find the best dry dog food on the market. Plus, we will provide answers to the most worrying questions related to dog dry food, like how to know when dry dog food is spoiled.

How we chose

Because choosing the right food for your dog can be confusing and overwhelming, we reviewed all dog foods.

Every product on our list has been vetted to ensure that it aligns with Barking Royalty’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs)
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust

Additional factors we considered included:

  • Ingredients. We looked for supplements that are free of unnecessary ingredients such as fillers and artificial
  • sweeteners and colors.
  • AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. We checked if the food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
  • Price. We included products to suit a range of budgets.

Check the best dry dog foods that will help your Fido live a healthy life.

Best Overall

1. Orijen Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, Atlantic flounder, cage-free eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,940 kcal/kg, 473 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-free Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 38.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 12.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.8% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio3.75, healthy

Orijen Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is just one of many recipes that Orijen has to offer.

Often recognized as the best food on the pet market, Orijen continually perfects its products, using ingredients that are primarily packed with animal protein.

Orijen diets are crafted to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO for dogs and cats.

In other words, Orijen food provides complete and balanced nutrition.

This Orijen Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formula supports Orijen’s efforts to provide only the best for dogs.

Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formula is one of 8 dry recipes included in our review of the Orijen products.

The first ingredient in this formula is deboned chicken for better taste and protein source, followed by deboned turkey, Atlantic flounder, cage-free eggs, and whole Atlantic mackerel.

As a grain-free formula, it relies on protein from real meat offering up to 85% of premium animal ingredients.

The first five ingredients are always a fresh or raw animal protein, while the entire formula is made in the States with the world’s finest ingredients.

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Best Budget

2. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, oatmeal, grain sorghum

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,425 kcal/kg, 350 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 22.0% min
Crude Fat 12.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.3% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio6.66, healthy

Lamb meal is the first ingredient in this formula to serve as a high-quality protein source, followed by whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, oatmeal, and grain sorghum.

This formula aims to help large breed adult dogs thrive, by providing the nutrients that they need.

This formula was carefully designed to provide enough omega fatty acids to keep skin and coat healthy.

Chicken fat is added for an additional protein boost, while dried beet pulp delivers fibers and supports gut health.

Real fruit and vegetable are added to deliver the right amount of vitamins and minerals.

Diamond continually makes efforts to provide enough vitamins and minerals by using real and fresh fruits and vegetables, which is best seen in our review of other Diamond Naturals products.

As for this formula, dog owners will love that blueberries and oranges are present to help boost the immune system, while fiber-rich pumpkin, kale, and chia seed provide fibers to keep the intestinal tract clean.

Every serving of this food comes with probiotics and prebiotics that support healthy digestion, immune system, and overall well-being.

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Best Grain-Free

3. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, salmon meal, chickpeas, chicken fat

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,742 kcal/kg, 441 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 33.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.75% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio5.5, healthy

As grain-free food, this formula offers deboned turkey as the first ingredient for better taste and protein, followed by turkey meal, salmon meal, chickpeas, and chicken fat.

The top five ingredients are carefully mixed to create a strong protein base while offering enough vitamins and minerals.

Sweet potato is added to provide enough energy, while deboned trout offers an additional protein boost.

As a gluten-free formula, this food contains ingredients that serve to enhance fiber content and support gut health.

Dried apples, dried carrots, and dried tomatoes are carefully blended to support proper digestion.

In the same manner omega fatty acids support healthy skin and shiny coat.

Calcium and phosphorus are present to maintain strong bones, while vitamin B6 supports energy production.

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4. Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: This food contains 3,619 kcal/kg or 434 kcal/cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-inclusiveDry Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 24.0% min
Crude Fat 12.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.6% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.4% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio4.0, healthy

Chicken is often the first ingredient in dry dog food of brands that want to provide more than a strong protein base for dogs.

Protein helps dogs keep their muscles, making them more fit for challenges that wait for them in their senior years.

This is why the first ingredient in this formula is deboned chicken, followed by a chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, and peas.

Chicken meal provides a richer taste, while peas serve to enhance fiber and support gut health.

To support the intestinal tract and smooth digestion carrots, tomatoes, and apples are added, while blueberries serve as natural antioxidants.

Omega fatty acids make skin healthier, and coat shinier, while taurine supports eye health, makes immune functions stronger, and supports heart health.

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5. Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat, tapioca

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 4,406 kcal/kg, 518 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-free Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 37.0% min
Crude Fat 20.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.3% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.6% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio8.66, healthy

Chicken is the first ingredient in this formula for better taste and richer nutrition, followed by a chicken meal, peas, chicken fat, and tapioca.

For stronger protein presence herring meal and menhaden fish meal are present, while dried tomato pomace provides extra flavor and softer texture.

Real fruit and apples are added to provide enough minerals and vitamins, while cranberries serve as a great antioxidant.

Instinct provides cage-free chicken for high animal protein, while in total gathers up to 70% of real animal ingredients.

The other 30% are made of real fruit and vegetable, and wholesome ingredients mixed with nutritious oils.

This formula comes with no grain, or any sort of potato, and is completely free of corn, wheat, and soy free.

Instinct dog food continuously promotes its food as grain-free and minimally processes dog food to deliver as many raw ingredients to each dog as possible.

Their food is crafted with real and whole ingredients, including non-GMO fruits and vegetables, while many claims for their food to last about 2-3 months as long as it is maintained properly.

To keep dog dry food as fresh as possible for long period, just reseal it between feedings.

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6. Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Beef meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 375 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: All Life Stages
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 34.0% min
Crude Fat 15.0% min
Crude Fiber 5.0% min
Moisture 9.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

The first ingredient in this formula is beef meal as a quality source of protein followed by millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, and yeast culture.

Nature’s Logic is one of the younger food manufacturers within the pet industry, founded in 20065.

Ever since their offer is primarily focused on delivering dog food and traits that come with no synthetic vitamins.

One of their goals is to be sustainable, which is why their food is made of high-protein beef meal from USA-raised cattle.

This specific formula contains minimally processed food, such as blueberries and cranberries to deliver natural vitamins and minerals.

Peas and lentils are added to provide enough fiber, while potatoes provide energy.

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7. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,719 kcal/kg, 422 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-free
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 32.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.3% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.8% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio9.33, healthy

Water buffalo is the first ingredient in this formula to serve as a source of high-quality protein and low-fat content.

Not only that food with water buffalo is often recommended for overweight dogs, but food with this ingredient is often recommended to balance a dog’s weight.

Water buffalo is followed by lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, and peas, making a great balance between protein, fat, and fiber.

As a grain-free formula, this food is heavily dependent on high-quality protein and gluten-free ingredients, making it suitable for sensitive dogs.

For an extra protein boost, this formula contains egg products, potato protein, and pea protein.

For richer flavor, this formula contains ocean fish meal, roasted bison, and roasted venison.

Dried chicory root is there to provide enough fiber, while blueberries and raspberries serve as antioxidants.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free formula is one of 10 dry recipes included in our review of the Taste of the Wild dry dog food.

Experienced god owners know that Taste of the Wild Pet Food creates formulas that are based on the pet’s ancestral diet, therefore their formulas and protein-based and grain-free to provide pets with complete nutrition for health and vitality.

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8. Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, rice, poultry by-product meal, beef fat, corn gluten meal

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,824 kcal/kg, 373 kcal/cup/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Adult Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 29.0% min
Crude Fat 17.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.0% min
Moisture 12.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acids1.7% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

Dry dog food made by Purina is mostly chicken-based and delivers the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken.

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Adult Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula is one of 10 recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan products.

It is known that dry dog food often contains chicken as the first ingredient for better taste and the right nutrition.

This formula is no exception as chicken is the first ingredient, followed by rice, poultry by-product meal, beef fat, and corn gluten meal.

For a richer taste, this formula contains soybean meal, dried egg product for more protein boost, and folic acid as an essential vitamin for dogs and cats as well.

This formula is nutrient-dense bit-sized kibble offering a texture that dogs love.

Due to its high protein percentage, this formula is carefully crafted to meet the needs of highly active small dogs.

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9. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,560 kcal/kg, 459 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-free Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 32.0% min
Crude Fat 14.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.5% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids1.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.1% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio1.4, suboptimal

Salmon is the first ingredient to deliver protein and omega fatty acids, followed by a salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, and peas.

Salmon is beneficial for dogs for many reasons.

It supports the dog’s immune system, can decrease inflammation, and at the same time it keeps the dog’s skin healthy, and coat shiny.

For dogs who don’t like chicken or are tired of the famous chicken taste, any food with salmon should make the dog’s diet more diverse and interesting.

For a richer taste, this formula offers canola oil, while potatoes provide enough energy.

Carefully crafted to deliver the best nutrients to dogs of sensitive digestion, this formula is fitted for the breed of all sizes.

Canidae continually delivers products that are according to their food labels and promotion premium and of high quality.

Their recipes are carefully made to not contain more than ten whole food ingredients, with the first five ingredients always being of high-quality animal protein. Therefore, real lamb is often included in these formulas.

As a brand that uses limited ingredients, its food is often promoted as being best suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs, or any digestive issues.

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10. Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal, de-boned chicken, de-boned turkey

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,756 kcal/kg, 394 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Grain-free Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 32.0% min
Crude Fat 14.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.5% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.33% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids1.8% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio5.45, suboptimal

Not only one, but the six first ingredients of this formula are rich in protein and high-quality meat.

Chicken meal is the first ingredient in this formula to provide better taste, and stronger nutrition, and create a stronger grain-free recipe base.

Followed by turkey meal, salmon meal, de-boned chicken, and de-boned turkey, this formula offers up to 87% of the protein right from premium-quality meat and fish.

For a richer taste, this formula contains potatoes and salmon oil, while the whole dried egg offers more protein.

Real fruit and vegetable are added to provide enough vitamins and minerals while specifically carrots, lentils, and pea fiber deliver fiber and promote gut health.

As a gluten-free formula, this food is suitable even for dogs with more sensitive digestion.

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How To Choose The Best Dog Food For Your Dog?

The best thing that you can do to find the best food for your dog is to arm yourself with the right kind of knowledge.

In practice, this means that you need two things:

  • To know how to read pet food labels
  • To have a trustworthy veterinarian

These two knots as your veterinarian can help you understand a dog’s nutritional needs better and what to search for precisely in dog food.

As a general rule, nutrition should follow the dog’s age. Just like humans, dogs need different nutrition and nutrients during each stage of life.

For example, there is not much point in feeding puppies with senior dog food, as they won’t get the nutrients that they need to thrive.

They may eat it and have a feeling of full stomach for a while, but they won’t get the nutrients that they need.

This is why you should thrive to always deliver dogs the food that they need.

Make sure that the dog’s food is both complete and balanced for its stage of life.

If a dog has any kind of medical issue, the diet should be shaped around that specific condition, as nutrition will always help dogs be better and healthier.

You can feed your dog a pure kibble diet, as long as you feed the right kind of food.

If you what to serve your dog raw food make sure that you talk with your veterinarian first.

It is always safe to mix kibble food with some human foods, as long as you know which human foods are safe for dogs.

For example, mixing kibble food with carrots, eggs, or a spoon of olive oil is perfectly safe, while mixing it with garlic or onion is putting your dog into a life-threatening situation.

Still not sure how to choose the best dry dog food? Focus on dry dog food that contains the appropriate ingredients for your dog’s life stage.

How To Read A Dog Food Label

One of the most effective ways to choose the right dry dog food is to know what to search for and how to find it.

Once you master the basics of dog nutrition you should aim to master reading dog food labels.

Labels will help you separate good food from poor food or food of poorer quality.

Now, this may be easier said than done as food labels are often rich in information, plus there is commonly really small print making it challenging to follow.

On top of that labels can often be misleading. Luckily, mastering the art of reading pet food labels is easy when you have clean directions.

First and most importantly, know that dog food labels are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide eight points of information, including:

  • Product name
  • Net weight of the product
  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • Guaranteed Analysis
  • List of ingredients
  • Intended animal species (i.e. dog or cat)
  • Statement of nutritional adequacy
  • Feeding guidelines

Know that different states may have their own labeling requirements, but these are the basics.

Does Dog Food Expire?

This is something that dog owners usually want to know, especially if they are used to buying in bulk.

Even if you don’t have a habit of buying in bulk, you can still see a great deal on dog food and wish to stock on Fido’s favorite food.

However, there might be a small worm of doubt questioning your decision, trying to make you think twice if shopping for large amounts of dog dry food is actually a good idea.

Before we elaborate on how to keep dog dry food fresher and how to recognize when dog food goes bad, know this – dry dog food does expire.

The good news is that if dog dry food is left unopened, it can last between 12 to 18 months. Furthermore, unopened canned foods can last up to two years from the date of manufacture.

Pro tip: once you open the bag, you should use it within six weeks.

Is there a way to make dog dry food last longer? Luckily, there is and it has everything to do with storage.

If you store the food properly you can help it preserve its freshness for as long as possible.

How Can You Tell If Dry Dog Food Is Bad?

The first sign is usually the expiration date on the bag that has passed.

Another common sign is an unusual or rather rancid odor coming from the bag.

Finally, dogs will refuse bad food.

Dogs are massive foodies and nothing excites them like when there is a nice bite available, but that doesn’t mean that they will eat anything.

In fact, they will be fast to show you that something is wrong with the food.

If your dog refuses to eat the food it may mean that something is wrong with it.

If your dog shows any signs of discomfort or sickness after consumption know that something is probably wrong with the food.

Good to know: If you leave dog dry food open for a longer time, especially in excessive heat or temperatures it will speed up the rottenness of the food.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the best dry dog food can be challenging, but it is something that every dog owner has to go through.

With so many different brands on the pet market dog owners usually don’t know where to start, or how to choose the best brand.

This is why having the right information should help. Know what your dog needs, learn how to read food labels, and know how much to feed your dog daily.

To keep your dog’s weight in balance and optimal serve food that is specially designed for dogs.

Avoid feeding your dog with treats too often, and use them only as a reward and as an occasional reward.