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A walk down the dog food aisle of a local store or a scroll through the dog food section of a digital pet store presents every dog parent with a myriad of options. Should I stick to the good old kibble? Or try some relatively expensive moist food Instagram dog influencers swear by?
No two dogs are alike. Thus, the decision about what to feed depends on your pup’s individual needs. The right food will improve digestion and absorption and provide your dog with many different health benefits.
Consult your veterinarian before shopping to get an idea of what’s most suitable for your canine buddy.
Chewy is a household name when it comes to pet nutrition. So who better to turn to in our search for highly-rated foods by dog parents?
Chewy dog parents walked, so you can run. Here’s a list of bestsellers based on their reviews and rankings. Regardless of special dietary needs or life stage —a growing puppy, an active adult, or an aged senior—there’s something for every dog.
Best for Puppies: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Food
Best for Puppies
With roasted bison and venison as the primary ingredients, this grain-free recipe is formulated to give your adorable pup a taste of the wild. In addition, it has a high protein content that supports bones, joints, and lean muscles.
What’s more? Your puppy gets natural antioxidant support from the included fruits and vegetables, highly digestible energy from sweet potatoes and peas, and improved gut and digestive health from dried chicory root.
It’s also packed with omega fatty acids, amino acids, and essential vitamins and minerals for nutrient absorption, skin and coat health, and overall nourishment.
As much as this is a puppy-specific formula, some breeds need grains to thrive. However, there’s also a growing concern about dilated cardiomyopathy possibly associated with grain-free diets.
“My wife and I continued with this food after our Husky pup exhausted his supply from the breeder. So far, so good. He has remained healthy with a beautiful shiny coat,” a satisfied user stated.
Pros and Cons of Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Food
|Made in the USA.||Relatively pricey.|
|A special, highly-digestible recipe for puppies.||You may have to supplement it with a formula that has grain.|
Best for Affordability: Purina ONE Natural True Instinct
Best for Affordability
It’s hardly surprising that the high-protein diet from Purina ONE is popular among dog parents. It’s an affordable choice that delivers good value for money. It has a crunchy kibble texture which strengthens the teeth, and 30% protein content for a strong heart and muscles. (the protein is mainly derived from turkey).
All the ingredients are natural and guarantee 100% nourishment to your adult dogs. It’s grain-inclusive, but this recipe has no poultry by-products or additives.
It features natural sources of glucosamine to improve joint health and four antioxidant sources to maintain a robust immune system.
However, this formula may aggravate some dogs because it provides protein content from various sources.
This recipe is loaded with high-protein grain sources. As a result, it’s significantly cheaper than other high-end options because the protein grain sources are a less expensive substitute for meat.
Purina ONE Natural Instinct is a hit with picky eaters. According to a user, “My fussy dogs don’t eat anything as regularly as this kibble. Routine vet checks show they’ve been in good shape, so I have nothing to worry about.”
Pros and Cons of Purina ONE Natural True Instinct
|Reasonably priced.||Contains some low-quality ingredients.|
|A highly-digestible mix.||High protein content doesn’t translate to more meat.|
Best Wet Food: Merrick Lil’ Plates Dinner Duos Variety Pack Grain-Free
Best Wet Food
The Itsy Bitsy Beef Stew and Petite Pot Pie varieties are trendy. This Merrick small breed dog food variety pack includes 12 single-serve, readily available trays.
This grain-free wet food is made with natural, gravy-covered beef or chicken chunks suitable as a portion-controlled meal for small dogs or a kibble topping as a special treat for larger dogs or picky eaters.
With this, you can give your favorite canine a meal optimized for increased energy levels and strong muscles, free of gluten, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Ease of use is one of the selling points of this formula. “I particularly appreciate the individual servings compared to buying large cans of food. In addition, this doesn’t require a lot of storage space. I mix it with kibble for my Pomerinarian, and she loves it,” a user stated.
The texture isn’t as smooth as a pate dish. Thus, it may not appeal to some dogs.
Pros and Cons of Merrick Lil’ Plates Dinner Duos Variety Pack Grain-Free
|Handy and convenient to use.||May be expensive.|
|Packed with real meat.||Packaging generates a lot of waste.|
|Worth the price.|
Best for Weight Loss: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
Best for Weight Loss
- Available in 5-, 15-, 30-, and 34-pound bags, as well as a bundle of two 30-pound bags.
- Advertised as having no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-products.
- Made with real meat, grains, vegetables, and fruit.
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BLUE Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight dry dog food, which is made with fewer calories from fat, offers a satiating meal. It also supports dogs in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
It features deboned chicken, L-Carnitine, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and LifeSource Bits, a balanced nutritional mix improved with a Super 7 package of components high in antioxidants. The L-Carnitine aids the development of lean muscles and reduces calories.
Omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, glucosamine, and chondroitin are included for flexible joints, nutrient absorption, and healthy skin and coat. No poultry by-products, artificial flavors, corn, wheat, or artificial colors exist.
Be extra cautious with storage because your dog will experience adverse effects if the food is exposed or out-of-date.
Having fed the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula to an overweight dog, a user had this to say. “I noticed a significant drop in the weight of my Cocker Spaniel after a month of consistent feeding. I give him 2 cups twice daily, and he’s not asked for table scraps or treats ever since.”
Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
|Low in calories.||The odor may be repulsive.|
|Nutritionally balanced to support weight loss.|
|Made in the U.S.|
|Formulated with natural ingredients.|
Best for Large Dog Breeds: American Journey Protein & Grains Large Breed Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe
Best for Large Dog Breeds
Need a specific diet for your Bernies, Newfies, Hounds, or Great Danes? Search no further than the American Journey protein and grains recipe specifically formulated to satisfy the nutritional needs of dogs over 70 pounds.
Real deboned salmon packs a punch with its significant contribution to the 24% high-quality protein content. In addition, it contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which supports the development of the brain and vision, glucosamine, and chondroitin to maintain joint health.
This recipe is a carefully balanced mixture of high-fiber grains and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to support general well-being and immunity. Omega fatty acids aren’t left out; they improve your pooch’s skin and coat.
However, the kibble size may not be big enough for some breeds. Thus, they’re not able to chew it before swallowing.
After reading reviews from other Chewy parents, a tester got this for their 120lbs Bullmastiff who is allergic to chicken and lamb. Now, the dog’s poop is more firm, and the coat is a lot shinier and more fluffy.
Pros and Cons of American Journey Protein & Grains Large Breed Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe
|A rich source of nutrients for large dogs.||The Kibble size could be bigger.|
|Doesn’t contain artificial additives.||Only available in 28lb size.|
|Supports stool regularity.|
Best Value for Money: Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dog Kibble Adult Dry Dog Food
Best Value for Money
This formula is a cost-effective option that offers a full range of essential nutrients. In addition, it has a unique blend of fiber which supports healthy digestion, and a concentrated level of Vitamin E for immune health.
It adds omega fatty acids, Vitamin B, and zinc for the nourished skin you love to see. With each mouthful, the crunchy kibble texture cleans the teeth and maintains
optimal dental health.
At 21.0%, the protein content of this recipe is relatively low. It also has a lot of controversial ingredients, such as BHA-preserved fat and sodium selenite.
A user bought this for his Boxer based on a friend’s recommendation. He says, “it has a decent quality for the price, and the dog seems to like it.”
Pros and Cons of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dog Kibble Adult Dry Dog Food
|Budget-friendly.||Contains some controversial ingredients.|
|Features nutritional supplements.||Doesn’t include probiotics.|
|Protein content could be higher.|
Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
The Purina Pro Plan salmon and rice recipe is loaded with highly digestible prebiotic and probiotic fiber to cater to your adult dogs’ skin and stomach sensitivities.
The live probiotics enhance the immunological and digestive systems of your canine companion.
Real, nutrient-dense salmon is the first ingredient in this high-protein dish, including rice and oats. Omega-6 fatty acid-rich sunflower oil keeps the skin and fur healthy. In contrast, the Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish oil is good for the flexibility of joints.
This meal is free of corn, soy, and wheat but has some questionable ingredients, including menadione and sodium selenite. Menadione is derived from Vitamin K and has been associated with red blood cell abnormality, allergies, and liver damage.
A user shares their experience with the Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula. “My Pug had problems sticking to various diets, but he is doing much better today. This kibble is his ideal size, and he genuinely enjoys it. It doesn’t cause his skin to become itchy or dry. The best part is his firm stool that doesn’t smell bad.”
“Nearly a year ago, I began feeding this to my senior German Shepherd, who has sensitive skin and a delicate stomach. Much to my surprise, he likes salmon and enjoys this meal,” another user noted.
Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
|It packs prebiotics and probiotics fiber for gut health.||It includes menadione.|
|It’s specifically for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs.|
|It has up to 26% protein level.|
Choosing the Best: What To Look For
Dog food recipes are formulated with many ingredients. Ensure that you read between the lines and select the best fit for your dog’s needs. A whole protein source is a critical addition to any dog food. You should avoid meals with high-fat content if your dog is prone to obesity. Check for fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as they apply to your dog’s peculiarities.
Kibble, pate, or fresh? What’s your dog’s preference? Some dogs don’t mind a combination of kibble and canned food for improved taste. Determine what works best for yours and feed accordingly.
Manufacturers often consider the risk factors of each breed size in their formulas. Thus, choose the food that matches your dog’s life stage. Small breeds can transition to adult food at seven to nine months, while larger breeds usually do so at 12 to 14 months. Consult your veterinarian before every switch.
Shopping on Chewy comes with some perks that may influence your choice. For example, some dog foods may be discounted, or you may benefit from Chewy’s promotional deals.