Dog food

Bowl of dog food (Photo by Matthew Coulton on Unsplash)

Determining the best dog food brands is tricky, as individual needs vary by breed, age, and health. However, highly rated options prioritize quality ingredients, scientific research, and diverse formulas to cater to a wide range of canine companions. Ultimately, consulting your veterinarian for personalized recommendations is the best way to ensure your furry friend thrives on the perfect, delicious bowlful. With that in mind, our top seven list of the best dog food brands could be a useful starting point for a conversation with your pet’s veterinarian. Here are some insights regarding how vets make their recommendations:

  • Age & Breed Matter: A Chihuahua puppy and a Great Dane senior have vastly different needs. Vets consider your dog’s breed, size, and age to recommend appropriate calorie content, protein levels, and specific nutrient ratios.
  • Health: It’s not just about keeping pups fed. Vets analyze your dog’s medical history, considering allergies, sensitivities, and even pre-existing conditions like kidney disease or joint issues, to tailor a diet that supports optimal health.
  • The Label Lowdown: Vet school doesn’t include “kibble decoding 101,” but vets are trained to decipher ingredient lists like pros. They prioritize high-quality protein sources, minimal fillers, and balanced vitamin and mineral profiles for complete nutrition.
  • Beyond the Brand: Not all brands are created equal, but vets know that. They often stay updated on research and clinical trials, recommending brands with a proven track record in scientific backing and real-world results.
  • Trial and Error: Finding the perfect food isn’t always a one-size-fits-all situation. Vets may suggest trying different options based on your dog’s individual response, monitoring energy levels, digestion, and coat health to find the ideal match.

Remember, your vet is your dog’s nutrition guru! Don’t hesitate to ask questions about specific brands, homemade diets, or any concerns you have. With their expertise and your pup’s tail wags as guidance, you’ll find the perfect bowlful for a happy, healthy canine companion. We combed through nine expert sources to find the best dog food brands that were recommended most across the board. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

a brown and white dog eating food out of a bowl
A brown and white dog eating food out of a bowl (Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash)

The List: Best Dog Food Brands, According to Canine Experts


1. Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet is cited by many of our sources as a high-quality brand that is recommended by vets. Be sure to seek out an individual consultation with your pet’s doctor before starting a new food routine. According to The Spruce Pets, “With the right flavor and formulation for a dog, we found that consistently serving Hill’s Science Diet leads to straightforward potty sessions and less dietary issues. But the price of this dog food has increased as of late, and the canned variety could benefit from an improved pull tab lid to make it easier to open without the use of a can opener.”

Hill's Science Diet Pet Nutrition Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 35 lb. Bag
Hill’s Science Diet Pet Nutrition Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 35 lb. Bag

NBC Select digs into the details: “Hill’s Science Diet’s dog food for puppies is designed for dogs up to 1 year old and is packaged in a small, easy-to-digest kibble, according to the brand. The formula contains natural DHA from fish oil that works to support healthy brain and eye development.”

Forbes Vetted recommends Hill’s wet food as well, “If you prefer to give your dog wet food, which has a higher moisture level and is generally easier to chew than kibble, this formula from Hill’s Science Diet is a winning pick. Designed for adult canines between the ages of 1 and 6, the formula—which comes in beef and chicken flavors—has a stew-like consistency that even picky eaters are guaranteed to love.”

2. FreshPet

FreshPet is an easy to find dog food owing to their use of branded coolers in the dog food section. Consumer Affairs compliments, “FreshPet provides fresh, refrigerated food for dogs and cats. They use whole ingredients with no preservatives. It is available online, in retail pet stores and grocery stores. FreshPet may be served as a meal topper or whole meal replacement.”

Select Freshpet Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dog Food, 5 Pound
Select Freshpet Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dog Food, 5 Pound

Feeding your dog fresh food has become a trend, making this brand a great choice. People assures, “Fresh dog food is an increasingly popular category, and several of the dog owners in our survey feed their dogs FreshPet. This brand sells fresh dog food made with human-grade ingredients, including both meat and vegetables, and the food comes in small tubes that must be refrigerated until serving.”

According to The Spruce Pets, “The preserving power of a refrigerator is the only preservative used to keep each serving of FreshPet food ready for your canine to consume, and we’ve found that it’s more likely appeal to picky eaters. Plus, the brand’s quality ingredients received high marks among our home testers putting FreshPet on par with our Best Overall pick, Hill’s Science Diet.”

3. Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is purported to focus their R&D efforts on formulation and flavor. Business Insider Reviews raves, “The main protein sources in this recipe are deboned chicken and chicken meal. Standout carbohydrates include brown rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and cranberries. Healthy extras include omega fatty acids and glucosamine.”

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 15-lb
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 15-lb

Considered as one of the most thoughtfully created dog foods, Blue Buffalo maintains their health-focused claims. Time Stamped praises, “Older dogs need specialized nutrition to keep them alert, mobile, and healthy in their senior years. Unfortunately, the high heat needed to kill bacteria and make dry dog foods shelf stable also destroys a disappointing amount of nutrients in the process, but Blue Buffalo’s signature ‘LifeSource Bits’ are formed under far less heat to avoid that outcome.”

The Spruce Pets exclaims that Blue Buffalo wet offerings are top notch as well: “All of Blue Buffalo’s meat-first recipes are made with human-grade ingredients and enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that dogs need. And throughout Blue Buffalo’s full selection of foods and treats for pets, you’ll never find by-product meals, corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives.”

4. Purina One

Purina is a pet food juggernaut. The Spruce Pets says, “Purina One recipes are made with natural ingredients and fortified with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Wet and dry dog foods are made without fillers, and all are manufactured in the United States.”

Purina ONE Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food - 31.1 lb. Bag
Purina ONE Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food – 31.1 lb. Bag

As one of the most readily available dog food brands, it is also nice to see that the Purina One line is highly rated for its healthful nutrition. Forbes Vetted describes, “Suitable for pups of all sizes, Purina One’s formulas rely on high-quality ingredients that support whole-body health. In the chicken and rice variety, for example, real chicken is the first ingredient, and the kibble is fortified with omega-6 fatty acids, prebiotic fiber, vitamins and four antioxidant sources.”

People also loves this brand, saying, “Purina One offers both wet and dry dog food, and if you have a small dog, there are special small breed formulas that will be easy for them to eat. Survey respondents say that this food helps their dogs maintain a healthy weight, and there are also specific formulas for health issues like weight management, joint health, and skin and coat health.”

5. Royal Canin

Royal Canin is considered as one the most commonly available dog food brands. Consumer Affairs adds, “Royal Canin offers nutritionally tailored dry and wet dog and cat food. They sells more than 200 formulas. Uses ingredients like poultry meal, milled corn, rice and fish oil. Product costs vary based on the pet’s breed, size, and age.”

Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag
Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag

Our sources also cite Royal Canin for its popularity amongst veterinarians. The Strategist comments, “Of the 13 veterinarians we spoke to, ten said Royal Canin dog food is their top pick for their own pets and the dogs they treat at work. Dr. Gregory Gstrein, a staff veterinarian at a VCA Animal Hospital in California, says, ‘The best foods are backed by actual research and feeding trials, and Royal Canin does the extensive work needed to prove their foods yield excellent real-world results.’”

According to NBC Select, “Royal Canin offers some of the most diverse dog food options on the market… I feed my 4-year-old dog, Bella, Royal Canin’s small-breed kibble — formulated for small dogs from 10 months old to 8 years that weigh 9 pounds to 22 pounds — after it was recommended by my veterinarian.”

6. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food

There are several options for dog food subscriptions. Business Insider Reviews states, “The Farmer’s Dog turkey recipe includes chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, parsnips, and spinach, plus omega fatty acids from fish oil. It is made from human-grade ingredients without preservatives.”

The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food offers frozen blends that are thaw-and-serve. Good Housekeeping explains, “The Farmer’s Dog will provide you with a recommended plan, but you have the option to select your own plan too. We appreciate that you can choose between a variety of protein sources like chicken, beef, turkey, and pork, and up to three recipes to keep your pet’s mealtime interesting.”

NBC Select offers, “There are several subscription home-delivery services for dog food, which regularly send bags of fresh food directly to your door. Dr. Judy Morgan, a veterinarian who specializes in integrative care, recommended The Farmer’s Dog, which she calls ‘TV dinners for dogs’ due to their palatability.”

7. Iams

Iams is a well-established brand that has been health-focused since 1946. Consumer Affairs claims, “Iams caters to the needs of specific breeds, like bulldogs, dachshunds and chihuahuas. Ingredients include chicken, cornmeal, sorghum or dried egg products and vegetables and fruits.”

IAMS Adult Minichunks Small Kibble High Protein Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken, 30 lb. Bag,(Packaging may vary)
IAMS Adult Minichunks Small Kibble High Protein Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken, 30 lb. Bag

Plus, Iams is easily accessible at most major retailers. People relates, “Iams offers a moderate selection of dry dog food, but its wet food options are fairly limited. There are formulas for different life stages and breed sizes, but you won’t find many options for health problems. The Iams Proactive Health Healthy Weight dog food can help manage weight problems, but the brand doesn’t have formulas for other conditions.”

The Spruce Pets reviews, “Within Iams collection of dog foods there are varieties to meet the needs of dogs according to their age, lifestyle, and size, and all recipes include fiber, grains, and omega-6 fatty acids to help support digestion, energy, and overall health.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Alan Corona

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  1. Dsj says:

    Look to be biased Paid artical most uses animal byproduct as content.
    There is no data or facts to support above study.
    Best in class is Blue Buffalo you know what you feed to your family…simple

  2. Lon says:

    Who can even Afford these Expensive Dog Foods these days? And where are the Clinical Studies?? This is one hell of an Insult. I feed my dog what she’ll eat. Way back when They Didn’t Even Make dog food & once they Did, I think they had the choice of ONE CANNED DOG FOOD…Alpo? STOP this Unrealistic BS. Old people are buying Cat Food to Eat because that’s All they can afford!!

    1. Elena Latici says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I live in Italy, and while there are cheap versions of dog and cat food, such as pasta, that I wouldn’t feed my dog, a trip to the local pet food store in my town is anxiety producing because of the prices. Dog food is pricey enough, but cat food is off the charts. I now spend more on my pets’ food than on myself. Add vet expenses to that and it’s no wonder that people are being forced to surrender their pets. Pet food has become a racket.

  3. Carminda Tandelcarmen says:

    We love our dogs but due to the procey dog food is their any choice or what alternative but healthy food we can give to our little breed dogs.

  4. Robert van der Linden says:

    Really Royal Canon?

  5. Mehedi Nayon says:

    We love our dogs but due to the pricey dog food is there any choice or what alternative but healthy food we can give to our little breed dogs?

  6. Ok9 says:

    This is a cut and pasted article with “expert opinions“. The experts all have affiliate links and pre-written, talking points about foods that you listed. That’s your top five list ? on my list they are so low its hard to read them . It’s Good marketing not
    good dog food. All you have to do is read the ingredients or the recalls , the Purina pro plan just having or admitted and recalling their plan
    . Purina has one of the worst track records put buys its way to the top of the list, their fourth ingredient is corn, corn, gluten in corn byproduct with wheat I almost gave myself celiac just writing thatv Corn , corn being something dogs don’t tolerate very well corn meal, Mace, corn gluten is in there. If you look at the listings and add it up, this is have corn and all of its worst possible forms corn and it’s friend Wheat and soy , let’s just make the dog diabetic. you might as well throw pedigree on there and doggy chow. If you look at the ingredients, they conflict with the title of this article or product placed promotion. marketing and manipulation are not good dog food. I could list some brands but read the ingredients. That’s what I do before I. Feed it to my best friend. It’s the least I can do.

  7. Mark says:

    This is the worst list of “best dog foods”I’ve ever seen! It’s actually laughable . Also there is no scientific backing to any of these unless you count what others feed their pets? Sorry but I’m laughing at this

  8. vincenzo says:

    Providing a healthy and balanced diet for your dogs is essential, and there are alternatives to pricey commercial dog food. Here are some options to consider

    1. Homemade Food:
    Cook simple meals for your dog with lean meats, veggies, and grains.
    2. Raw Diet:
    Some people feed dogs raw meat, bones, and organs, but be careful and research well.
    3. Affordable Commercial Food:
    Look for budget-friendly dog foods with fewer ingredients and high-quality proteins.
    4. Add Fresh Foods:
    Mix in veggies like carrots or fruits occasionally for added nutrition.
    5. Economical Proteins:
    Eggs and canned fish (in water) are affordable protein sources.
    6. Ask the Vet:
    Always check with your vet before changing your dog’s diet to make sure it’s healthy for them.

    for more information you can visit our website