5 dog food brands that make the best kibble

5 dog food brands that make the best kibble

Disclaimer: This is sponsored content. All opinions and views are of the advertiser and does not reflect the same of KNXV.

Dogs can be our best friends and our steadfast companions, and many times we may find ourselves relying on them as much as they rely on us.

That’s why it’s important that we take care of them the way they deserve, not just giving them the love and affection they need but making sure that we’re properly addressing all of their physical needs too.

That all starts with making sure they get the right nutrition. Just like with what we eat, not all dry dog food is created equal. And the right dog food can provide the ideal foundation for a long and healthy life.

It can be difficult to know which dry dog food is ideal for your pup though, and there is a lot to consider. Not only do you need to factor in the nutritional value of the ingredients, but you also need to ensure that your dog enjoys the taste and texture.

Understandably, it’s not always easy to see which is the best dry dog food for your pup. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the five best dry dog foods for your consideration.

Top 5 Dry Dog Foods

  1. Best Overall: Chippin Pet Dehydrated Cricket Dog Food
  2. Best Flavors: American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  3. Best for Immune and Digestive Health: Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Joint Support: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  5. Best Value: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

In our search for the best dry dog food, we looked at a whole bunch of factors, including package size, ideal life stage, flavor, and top ingredients.

The Best Dry Dog Foods – Full Reviews and Analysis

1. Best Overall: Chippin Pet Dehydrated Cricket Dog Food

Best Overall: Chippin Pet Dehydrated Cricket Dog Food

What we love

While we’ve picked five favorites, the overall best dry dog food is this dehydrated cricket dog food from Chippin. It’s a unique option because it’s made from cricket protein. And unlike most dry dog food, you rehydrate it before feeding.

Even though this might seem like an unusual choice, Chippin Pet Dehydrated Cricket Dog Food can still provide everything that your dog needs in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.

This cricket-based dog food produces fewer emissions, uses less land, and reduces water use compared to traditional dry dog foods.

It takes roughly 2,000 times the amount of water to produce one pound of beef protein than it does to produce the same amount of cricket protein, so each bag of Chippin dog food saves 1,000 gallons of water.

Chippin is also a plastic-neutral company, meaning that for every gram of plastic they use in their packaging, they remove the same amount from the environment.

In addition to utilizing sustainable manufacturing processes, Chippin still manages to meet the highest nutritional standards. Their dog food is developed in conjunction with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and uses only the highest quality ingredients.

This dry dog food is made with all-natural ingredients chosen to ensure that it’s got all the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids your dog needs.

What customers love

Customers enthuse about how much their pups love this dry dog food. Some state that they feel good about supporting such an environmentally conscious company. Others credit the natural prebiotic fiber with helping to address their dogs’ stomach issues.

Pros:

  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Uses human-grade cricket protein
  • Made from all-natural ingredients
  • Combines benefits of wet and dry dog food

Cons:

  • Only available for adult dogs

Specs:

  • Life stage: Adult
  • Size: 3.5 pounds (makes 10.5 pounds of food), 10 pounds (makes 30 pounds of food), 20 pounds (makes 60 pounds of food)
  • Flavor(s): Cricket

Learn more about Chippin Pet Dehyrated Cricket Dog Food today  

 

2. Best Flavors: American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Flavors: American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

What we love

American Journey is popular pet food retailer Chewy’s entry into the market. So while it doesn’t have as long a history as our other favorite dry dog foods, it still comes from a company with an overwhelmingly positive reputation.

This grain-free kibble substitutes common carbohydrate options in other dry dog foods — like brown rice, for example — with sweet potatoes, making it a better choice for those whose dogs don’t handle grains well.

Grain-free foods may help improve your pup’s skin and coat, reduce gas and digestive discomfort, and even freshen their breath. The sweet potatoes in these formulas also act as an excellent source of dietary fiber and various vitamins and minerals for your dog.

This dry dog food also has supplemental chelated minerals added, meaning that they are easier for your dog to absorb and use. On top of this, it is full of other healthy ingredients such as flaxseed (which is another excellent source of fiber) and dried kelp (which is packed with even more vitamins and minerals). Incorporating these into your dog’s diet will help boost his health even more.

American Journey’s grain-free adult dog food comes in seven different flavors which your dog is sure to love, though it’s important to note that all of them include significant amounts of chicken. Whilst chicken meal is usually a healthy addition for dogs, some dogs may experience allergies or intolerances relating to chicken, meaning that their owners will wish to steer clear of this particular food.

What customers love

Customers love this brand, and a number of them noticed that their pups have had their skin issues clear up since switching to American Journey’s grain-free dog foods. Others say the same regarding digestive issues.

Pros:

  • Grain-free formula
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals
  • Contains dried kelp and flaxseed
  • Wide variety of flavors

Cons:

  • Grain-free foods have been linked to heart conditions

Specs

  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Size: 4 pounds, 12 pounds, 24 pounds, 48 pounds
  • Flavor(s): Beef & Sweet Potato, Chicken & Sweet Potato, Duck & Sweet Potato, Lamb & Sweet Potato, Lamb, Venison, & Beef, Salmon & Sweet Potato, Salmon, Whitefish, & Trout

Learn more about American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food today  

 

3. Best for Immune and Digestive Health: Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food

Best for Immune and Digestive Health: Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food

What we love

Purina has long been a big name in the pet food industry, with a significant international presence in both the dog and cat food markets, and when you look at their Pro Plan line it’s easy to see why.

It’s high in protein, vitamin A, and omega 6 fatty acids, which help to maintain a healthy skin and coat. Also the inclusion of guaranteed live probiotics helps to support your healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.

The advantages aren’t just restricted to the nutritional content though, as the inclusion of pieces of shredded chicken or other meats adds taste, texture, and variety to the food, which your dog is sure to appreciate at mealtimes.

Purina’s Pro Plan line also features a substantial range of specially manufactured dry dog food options. These include dry dog foods designed for puppies, senior dogs, large and small dogs, and dogs with specific medical needs such as weight management or a sensitive skin or stomach.

It should be noted that Purina Pro Plan does contains poultry by-product meal, which does provide additional protein and other nutrients that are beneficial for dogs. However, some owners prefer to avoid by-product meal in favor of something like chicken meal because they consider it to be higher quality in terms of its composition and nutritional value.

What customers love

Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food receives a lot of positive reviews about how much dogs love the taste, with some owners even expressing their relief at finally finding a food that works well and fits the preferences of all of their dogs. This dry dog food also comes very highly recommended by vets.

Pros:

  • Includes live probiotics to support healthy digestive and immune systems
  • Real shredded meat enhances the food’s texture
  • High in protein, vitamin A, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • A wide range of specialist options are available

Cons:

Specs:

  • Life stage: Adult
  • Size: 6 pounds, 18 pounds, 47 pounds
  • Flavor(s): Chicken & Rice

Learn more about Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food today  

 

4. Best for Joint Support: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Best for Joint Support: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

What we love

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula dry dog food is full of real meat, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s designed to have everything your dog needs to support their health and well-being, whatever their lifestyle may be.

Each formula is made with high quality protein — like real beef, fish, chicken, and lamb — and ground brown rice so your pup is getting a good balance of meat and grains.

It is particularly high in antioxidants, which can help support your dog’s immune system as well as to control levels of free radicals, potentially reducing their risk of cancer.

Notably, it also features added glucosamine, which is a safe and naturally occurring molecule that supports healthy joints and mobility. Scientific studies have shown that it can improve the quality of life for arthritic dogs. And if your pup has good joints, it can help to keep them that way, too.

This is all further supplemented by Blue Buffalo’s trademark LifeSource bits. These are small chunks of kibble containing a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants chosen by nutritionists and veterinarians to give your dog an extra boost.

They are “cold-formed,” increasing the benefits from these nutrients which could otherwise become less effective due to heat exposure.

You’ll also be happy to know that Life Protection is free from corn, wheat, soy, and all poultry by-product meals, focusing only on high-quality ingredients with a low chance of triggering any allergies or intolerances your furry friend may have.

As with other entries on this list, Blue Buffalo includes chicken products such as chicken meal and chicken fat in their ingredients, even for their fish flavor. Although these ingredients are safe and provide good nutrition, it’s good to know because chicken is one of the most common food allergies in dogs.

What customers love

Blue Buffalo’s customers are finding that even their fussy dogs enjoy this dry dog food. Many also noticed their pups seem to have more energy and a generally better mood since making the switch. Pet parents even saw shinier coats and fresher breath after introducing their dogs to Blue Buffalo.

Pros:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Free from corn, wheat, soy, and poultry by-product meals
  • Includes added glucosamine for joint health and support
  • Exclusive LifeSource bits further increase the nutritional value

Cons:

Specs:

  • Life stage: Adult
  • Size: 5 pounds, 15 pounds, 30 pounds, 34 pounds
  • Flavor(s): Beef & Brown Rice, Chicken & Brown Rice, Fish & Brown Rice, Lamb & Brown Rice

Learn more about Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula today  

5. Best Value: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

Best Value: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

What we love

Every flavor of Nutro Natural Choice prioritizes including plenty of high-quality protein from its named protein source: beef, chicken, lamb, or venison. This ensures that your dog will have all the protein they need to maintain their muscles and keep healthy, even if they’re highly active.

Nutro is also high in the essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6, which are essential for all dogs and serve many functions in their bodies. Omega fatty acids keep their joints, skin, and coats healthy, while even maintaining brain health, memory, and cognitive function.

This means that Nutro will keep your pet sharp and healthy now and in the future too. Plus, there is also plenty of natural fiber which keeps their digestive system healthy.

Nutro Natural Choice is also guaranteed to be free of any genetically modified ingredients, so you can feel confident feeding it to your dog.

Despite all this, owners will again want to note that all flavors contain some level of chicken products, either in the form of chicken meal or chicken fat, meaning that this brand is a no-go for dogs with chicken sensitivities.

What customers love

Nutro customers are happy with how much their dogs enjoy the food. They say the various flavors allow them to provide their pets with some variety whilst still keeping their nutrition and feeding habits consistent. They also state that it has been helpful for their dogs which previously were suffering from food allergies.

Pros:

  • High-quality protein
  • Guaranteed to be free from GMO ingredients
  • High in omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin health and a shiny coat
  • Natural fiber supports the digestive system

Cons:

Specs

  • Life stage: Adult
  • Size: 5 pounds, 15 pounds, 30 pounds, 34 pounds
  • Flavor(s): Beef & Brown Rice, Chicken & Brown Rice, Fish & Brown Rice, Lamb & Brown Rice

Learn more about Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food today  

How We Picked The Best Dry Dog Foods

We created this list by assessing a range of dry dog foods using our five-point analysis framework, which combines externally verifiable information with our own testing to produce a fair and accurate ranking, whilst avoiding the introduction of any bias. Here’s how it worked:

Considering expert opinions and research

We did this for the individual products and brands considered, and heavily researched what constitutes a good dry dog food.

Examining the feedback left by real customers

This included both positive and negative reviews, specific positive or negative points they have raised, and how consistent the reviews are.

Analyzing product information

We looked at nutritional and other information provided by the individual brands and suppliers in order to determine how well they meet the nutritional requirements of a healthy adult dog.

Verifying claims 

We used expert information, scientific knowledge, and academic research to corroborate the claims brands make about their products. This includes any specific claims made regarding the benefits or safety of any ingredients, either individually or in aggregate.

Testing the products ourselves 

In order to see how our dogs actually react to the taste, smell, and texture of the foods, we tried these dry dog foods out on our own pups.

How To Choose the Best Dry Dog Food for Your Pup

Choosing the best dry dog food for your dog will depend on your preferences, your dog’s age and health, and their individual preferences.

Whilst your priorities may vary, the following factors are all important to consider.

Nutrition and Ingredient Quality

Whatever your other concerns, ensuring that it has all of the nutrition that your dog needs should always be a priority.

Make sure you’re always looking for a dry dog food that’s labeled as a “complete and balanced diet.” That means it abides by the standards set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

All of our top picks for the best dry dog foods are guaranteed to provide a nutritionally complete and balanced diet, full of all the amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients your dog needs.

Special Requirements

There are a number of reasons that your dog may have special requirements when it comes to his food. For example, small dogs may need different food than large breed dogs, or pups with certain medical conditions may need a specifically formulated kibble. And senior dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies, so they may need a special diet too.

If you have any doubts or need guidance about your dog’s dietary needs, you should speak with your veterinarian.

Taste

Although the vast majority of dogs aren’t super fussy about food, they do still have their own preferences when it comes to the taste and texture.

Whilst all of our featured products were loved by our dogs and those whose owners left reviews, you should pay attention to your pup’s preferences to ensure happy mealtimes for both of you.

Other Concerns

We understand that some people are more concerned about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy than others, and this can extend to what they feed their pets.

If these issues are very important to you, you should take brand values, reputation, and manufacturing practices into consideration when buying dry dog food..

What’s the Difference Between Wet and Dry Dog Food?

The primary difference between wet and dry dog food is the water content. Whilst wet dog food has a water content in the range of 60% to 84%, this is much lower for dry dog food, typically in the range of just 3% to 12%.

This means that dry food will take up significantly less storage space than wet food and that your dog will get the same amount of nutrition from a smaller portion.

Of course, due to the lower moisture content, dogs on a primarily or solely dry food diet will need to drink more water than those who are primarily fed wet food.

Both wet and dry dog food diets — and even mixed diets — can be healthy for dogs, but dry dog food does have its advantages.

As well as taking less storage space and being easier to transport, it can also make for less messy mealtimes. Plus, individual pieces of kibble can easily double as treats.

Dry dog food will also last longer once opened and put in the bowl, so if your dog has a tendency to graze over a longer period of time rather than eating all of their food as soon as it’s put out, dry food will be more suitable.

Not to mention, dry dog food is good for your pup’s dental health. Biting into textured kibble can actually help scrape plaque and tartar off his teeth.

Should Dogs Eat Dry Food Every Day?

Dogs can eat dry food every day and can be perfectly healthy doing so, even when it makes up most or all of their diet. This is, of course, provided that you choose a healthy dry dog food to feed your pup. 

Do Dogs Get Bored of the Same Food?

Whilst they do enjoy some variety in their diet occasionally, the vast majority of dogs do not get bored of eating the same food.

This may partly be due to the fact that, although they have a highly developed sense of smell, dogs are less receptive to certain flavors and have significantly fewer taste buds than humans (approximately 1,700 compared to our 7,000).

Outside of occasional slight variations and treats, dogs benefit from a consistent diet. Regularity in both the timing of meals and the food provided gives your dog a sense of reassurance, not boredom, so once you’ve found the right dry food you can continue to feed them it with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are insect-based foods really a healthy choice?

Insect-based foods can be very healthy, both for humans and for dogs. Analysis undertaken as part of academic research into such foods has demonstrated that cricket powders are a good source of protein, fat, fiber, and minerals.

How do puppy and senior dog foods differ from standard adult dry dog foods?

Both puppy and senior dog foods are tailored to reflect a dog’s different nutritional requirements during various stages of their lives.

Puppies require higher levels of protein and fat, as well as more calories overall, to support their growth and maintain their body heat. These nutrients also provide the energy they need to play and be their active and excitable selves. 

So, puppy food is higher in protein and fat and is more calorie-dense. Puppy foods will also generally have slightly higher levels of calcium and phosphorus to support proper bone development.

While there is dry dog food out there specifically formulated for senior dogs, there is no real issue with feeding a senior dog standard adult dog food. However, those senior foods may include a number of adjustments or additional ingredients that could provide additional benefits and support for your slightly older friend.

This may include changes to the protein ratios in order to help maintain lean muscle mass, which can begin to decrease with age, and additional glucosamine and omega 3, which can help to support their joints.

How do I switch my dog to a new dry food?

If you can help it, try not to abruptly switch your dog’s food all at once..

A sudden and complete change can upset their stomach and may cause feelings of uncertainty if they feel that their usual routine is being interrupted. For these reasons, it is far better to make the change gradually.

This doesn’t need to be a long process, with dog food manufacturers and suppliers generally recommending a period of several days to one week. During this period, the new and old foods should be mixed together in each meal, with the proportions gradually being altered during this time.

This means that during the beginning of the transition period, the mix will consist primarily of their old food, and by the end, it will consist almost entirely of the new food, at which point the use of the old food will be discontinued entirely. Aim to have a roughly equal mix of the two foods halfway through the transition period.

But pay attention to your food’s specific transition instructions, because they may vary from brand to brand.

This gradual change will reduce the risk of your dog experiencing any digestive troubles as a result of the change and will allow them to get used to the change more easily.

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound that can help with joint health and mobility, including reducing pain caused by issues with the joints such as arthritis.

double-blind scientific study has demonstrated that, when taken in combination with chondroitin, which is naturally found in dog food ingredients, glucosamine can reduce the severity of and pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.

This means that if your dog has issues with arthritis or other problems which affect their joints, choosing a dog food high in glucosamine could help reduce their symptoms.

What are meat meals?

Meat meals are common dog food ingredients that are made by cooking down the parts of an animal that are unfit for human consumption. A few different types of meat meals in dry dog foods include:

  • Chicken meal
  • Pork meal
  • Lamb meal
  • Fish meal
  • Turkey meal

But there’s an important distinction between meat meals and meat by-product meals.

Chicken by-product meal, for example, is made from the leftover portions of chickens after the meat and other “more desirable” parts have been removed. Those ingredients are then cooked down into a meal.

Meat meals like lamb meal, chicken meal, pork meal, turkey meal, and fish meal are considered higher quality than meat by-product meals because they’re made from tissues instead of by-products.

Many dry dog food companies include meat meals in their formulas because it’s cheaper and easier to produce.

Others rely entirely on their primary protein source and simply supplement it with plant-based ingredients, allowing them to stay free from chicken meal, chicken by-product meal, other meats, eggs, and dairy.

What is corn gluten meal?

Corn gluten meal is another common ingredient in dry dog food. Basically, after the starch, germ, and fiber have been removed from a kernel of corn, what you’re left with is corn gluten meal.

Dog food manufacturers include this in their recipes because it’s a good source of plant protein.

Conclusion

The best food for your pup will of course depend on his individual needs and your situation, which means the absolute best dry dog food will vary from pup to pup.

However, our list features some of the best of the best dry dog foods in terms of both taste and nutrition, and we’re convinced that at least one of them would be a great choice for you to try. 

Of course, if your dog does have some special dietary requirements, one of these brands may well have you covered, as they all feature top-notch nutrition and many have alternatives for dogs with different requirements.

However, if you’re not sure whether any of them would be suitable, or you are uncertain of how to address any specific needs your dog has, you should check with your veterinarian.

Summary

  1. Best Overall: Chippin Pet Dehydrated Cricket Dog Food
  2. Best Flavors: American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  3. Best for Immune and Digestive Health: Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Joint Support: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  5. Best Value: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food