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Searching for the best dog food to feed your pup can feel like a daunting task due to the flood of different foods on the market, but every dog parent wants what’s best for their dog. So we’ve made a list of the foods our doggies love to devour, and the pups have insisted we share it will all the dog parents out there! So, to make life a little easier, here are our favorite dog foods, broken down by fresh food, kibble and raw.
Finding the Best Dog Food
Before you get to scrolling, though, here are some tips from Dr. Lorie Huston, DVM, for choosing the best dog food for your pup:
- Look for foods that follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods.
- Read the entire ingredients list, checking for any of your dog’s allergens or diet restrictions.
- Ensure the food has undergone feeding trials.
- Study the guaranteed analysis to ensure the content is suitable for your pup’s needs.
- If you’re not sure what food is ideal for your dog, seek your vet’s opinion.
Now, let’s look at the six best dog foods that will help keep your dog happy, healthy, and full!
Best Dry Dog Foods
Redbarn knows your dog loves meat, and they love your dog, so they make sure every recipe includes high-quality animal proteins in the first five ingredients. And because they hand-select only the healthiest ingredients, you can bet their foods are free from artificial chemicals and preservatives. Every scoop supports healthy digestion and skin while giving your dog a beautiful, shiny coat. Redbarn foods also help your pup maintain heart health. Plus, your dog will think every mealtime is a treat thanks to tasty recipes made with poultry, beef, and seafood.
For over 25 years, Redbarn has been a family-owned business that makes their food right here in the USA. And buying food from Redbarn means supporting worthy causes as this company with heart donates food, treats, and chews to shelters, rescue groups, and pet-related organizations to help support animals in need.
Deals and Offers: Sign up with your email and get 10% off your order
AAFCO Statement: Redbarn embraces AAFCO guidelines because it’s what’s right for our dog and cat pet parents.
Muenster Milling Co.
By removing water from raw meat at -60º F, Muenster Milling Co, offers a dog food option that’s minimally processed, shelf-stable, highly nutritious, and always free of artificial preservatives, binders & fillers. Their freeze-drying process ensures the protein, fat, and nutrients stay in, creating a tasty food full of bioavailable nutrients and vitamins derived from organ meats & organic amino acids. And this family-owned company uses meats that are farm-raised, cage-free, or wild-harvested to deliver a meal that helps reduce inflammation, skin issues, and stomach sensitivities. This nutrient-dense food option offers the choice of kibbles, meatballs, food toppers, or bites. Let your dog eat like their ancestors!
Plus, Muenster also gives you the option of customized food blends for your best friend. You can use their custom dog food wizard or build your own by selecting a formula, size, and options such as animal or plant-based fats, probiotics, freeze-dried raw meats, and protein boosters. Then, name your mix and set your frequency for the perfect diet to meet your dog’s needs.
Deals and Offers:
AAFCO Statement: Muenster Pet Foods are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages including large breed puppies.
Located: Muenster, TX
Related: 12 Best Dog Foods For Allergies
Best Fresh Food for Dogs
- Whole food recipes formulated by veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker
- Variety of limited ingredient recipes that are high in protein & low in carbs
- Made in a USDA-inspected facility with human-grade ingredients
- Every single batch they cook is lab safety tested for pathogens
- Offers sample boxes in addition to custom meal plans
Raised Right is a family-owned human-grade dog food company that works with veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker and pet food formulation expert Steve Brown to formulate limited-ingredient recipes that are high in protein and low in carbs. Most of their recipes have less than 2% carbs because they don’t use any high-carb fillers like potato, rice, oats, yam, pasta, barley, parsnips, corn, or wheat. Additionally, they were able to formulate their adult dog recipes to meet AAFCO’s requirements for a complete & balanced diet by using ONLY whole foods without having to add any synthetic vitamins or minerals. All of their adult dog recipes have 10 ingredients or less, with some having as few as just 7 or 8 ingredients!
Raised Right can proudly make the human-grade dog food claim as every ingredient in their food has passed the same standards necessary for human consumption, and all their food is lightly cooked in a USDA-inspected human-grade facility. Every single batch they cook gets lab safety tested for pathogens like E.coli, listeria, and salmonella to help ensure their food is safe for dogs to eat. They have a hold-release program where they don’t ever ship their food unless it passes the lab safety test. For transparency, they post the test results from each batch on their website for everyone to see, along with a map tracing each ingredient to its source. With Raised Right, you can enjoy peace of mind with every bite.
AAFCO Statement: Raised Right has formulated limited-ingredient whole food recipes that are complete & balanced specifically to each dog’s stage-of-life per AAFCO standards, as they offer both adult dog recipes & puppy growth recipes.
For more great options for puppies, see our list of the 10 Best Puppy Dog Foods.
- Contains no fillers, only quality proteins, veggies, vitamins, and minerals
- Pre-portioned meals are based on your dog’s unique dietary needs
- Formulated by in-house Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists
- All foods are prepared, mixed, and packed with care in USA kitchens
- Shipped to you fresh, cold, and on your schedule
Instead of throwing all the ingredients in one giant vat that steams away so much nutritional content, Nom Nom gently cooks every meat and veggie individually. Then ingredients are mixed in batches to seal in vital nutrients and maximize digestibility. This difference in cooking is visible and can be felt by your dog! Ingredients and nutrition info are posted on their website, so you can see just what you’re feeding your dog.
And with Nom Nom, every meal plan is based on your dog’s needs and the goals you hope to achieve through nutrition. Once you’ve created the best food plan for your dog, just sit back and wait for delivery. Nom Nom ships cold, fresh, pre-portioned meals anywhere in the lower 48 states on your schedule.
Deals and Offers: 50% off plus Free Shipping
AAFCO Statment: Balanced recipes exceed AAFCO standards for all life stages.
Located: Nashville, Tennessee, and the San Francisco Bay Area in C.A.
- Can choose from recipes or get personalized meals
- Designed by canine nutritionists
- Shipped to your door as often as you choose (or offered at some stores)
- Made in open-to-the-public kitchens
- Made with human-grade ingredients and no preservatives
- Offers full box shipping as an environmentally-conscious option
JustFoodForDogs is one of the best fresh dog food companies for variety. They offer many unique recipes, including options for dogs with special needs, like puppies, large breed dogs, dogs with sensitive skin, and dogs that need to lose weight. They can also create a custom diet for your dog if you do a free consultation.
Some other products include treats, supplements, and food for cats. All products are designed by canine nutritionists. The food is made in a kitchen that’s open to the public, so curious pet parents can visit the facility to see how the food is made. In each recipe, you can see a colorful assortment of healthy ingredients, including meat and vegetables. So, you’ll never have to wonder what’s going into your dog’s tummy.
These meals may use chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, venison, or fish as the animal protein source. The food is shipped to your door frozen in a thermal bag with ice. They come with informational pamphlets to help you successfully serve and transition the new food. If you want the food on a regular schedule, you can set up Autoship and choose how often you want dog food to arrive at your door. A few stores sell this food in person as well.
Deals and Offers: Free Shipping on Frozen Orders $99+ and Dry Goods Orders $49+
AAFCO Statment: All of our daily diets for dogs have passed AAFCO protocol feeding trials at Cal Poly Pomona University.
Located: Irvine, California
Ollie can always be trusted to deliver high-quality nutritious meals containing only carefully sourced ingredients from trusted farms. And because these dog food experts slow-cook foods at low temperatures in small batches, their recipes maintain maximum nutrition from human-grade, high-quality chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb, as well as superfoods such as fish oil and chia seeds. Fresh fruits and veggies also provide a wealth of health benefits and yummy taste too!
With Ollie, you’ll get clean and balanced nutrition that never contains any by-products, fillers, artificial flavoring, or preservatives. And when you buy a meal plan, you can set a regular schedule that sees vacuum-sealed food packages delivered right to your door, so your pup always has a fresh meal at the ready. Ollie recipes are veterinarian formulated and made in the USA.
Deals and Offers: 60% Off First Box with code IHDOGS60
AAFCO Statment: A board-certified veterinary nutritionist helped Ollie formulate their balanced and complete, human-grade recipes, abiding by the AAFCO standards.
Located: New York, NY, and Reno, NV
Take a look at a complete list of the Best Fresh Dog Foods!
A Pup Above
A Pup Above sells dry dog food, but they’re best known for their fresh dog food. You can also buy combos of the dry and fresh food. This brand doesn’t provide a personalized service like some of the other brands, but you can save money if you get a subscription. The food is delivered in frozen packages to your door, but a few stores also sell it.
This brand uses sous vide cooking, which means “under vacuum” in French. The food is vacuum sealed and cooked at a precise temperature to preserve the flavor and nutrients. When you receive the food, you can let it thaw in the fridge overnight before your dog’s next meal. The fresh food options come in beef, pork, turkey, or chicken. You’ll determine how many patties to give your dog based on your dog’s weight. All the formulas are created by a veterinary nutritionist, and they’re only ideal for adult dogs, not puppies.
AAFCO Statment: A Pup Above pet food is formulated to meet AAFCO standards. You can find an AAFCO Complete and Balanced Statement on the food packages.
Located: Austin, Texas
Best Raw Food for Dogs
We Feed Raw
We Feed Raw is another dog food company that creates meal plans that cater to your dog’s needs. All you have to do is answer some questions about your pet, and then the company will suggest the ideal food for them. During the questionnaire, the company takes into account your dog’s age, weight, breed, allergies, and current diet.
This company offers raw dog food in several proteins, including chicken, beef, turkey, duck, lamb, and venison. All the formulas are created by a PhD animal nutritionist who has over 30 years of experience in the industry. The food is always high in protein, so the first four to five ingredients come from real animal products. All the meat comes from animals raised on farms in the United States and New Zealand.
This company only uses USDA-certified and human-grade meats for its products. The food is shipped to your door at no additional cost. It can be shipped to any of the 48 contiguous states. The food ships cold, and it can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to four days. In the freezer, it can last for up to six months.
Deals and Offers: New customers save 25% on a subscription with code IHEARTDOGS35
AAFCO Statement: Our dog and cat foods comply with AAFCO recommendations for all life stages.
Located: Charleston, South Carolina
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Grain-Free Dog Food Healthy?
Grain-free dog food isn’t automatically healthier than food with grains. Unless your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to grains, they don’t need grain-free dog food.
When Was Dog Food Invented?
The first commercial dog food was created around 1860 in England. Before that, people regularly fed their dogs table scraps, especially leftover bread.
When Does Dog Food Expire?
Unopened dry dog food lasts about 18 months after it’s made. Once the food bag is opened, it should be used within 6 weeks. Wet, fresh, and raw dog food have shorter shelf lives and will need to be ordered more often.
How Long Does Kibble Last Once Opened?
Once opened, a bag of dry dog or cat food (often referred to as kibble) should ideally be used within four to six weeks. However, this can vary depending on the specific brand, as some kibbles may contain preservatives that extend their shelf life. To help maintain its freshness, it’s recommended to keep kibble in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Additionally, sealing the bag or storing the food in an airtight container can help keep it fresh longer. If you notice any changes in the food’s color, smell, or texture, or if your pet refuses to eat it, it’s best to discard it as these can be signs that the food has spoiled.
What Dog Food Should Puppies Eat?
Most puppies should eat a formula that’s specifically designed for puppies because it contains ingredients that are necessary for their growth and development. Once dogs reach 9 to 12 months old, they can start eating adult food instead.
Should You Put Dog Food in a Plastic Container?
Dog food can be moved into an airtight container, but it stays freshest when it’s kept in its original bag. The dog food bag is designed to keep kibble fresh, so if you want to put the food in a plastic container, put the bag with the food inside into the container.
Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
Dog food isn’t dangerous to cats, but you shouldn’t serve it instead of cat food. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, so their food formulas are different. Dog food doesn’t usually have enough protein, fat, and minerals for cats.
Related: 9 Best Dry Dog Foods
Related: Best Air Dried Foods for Dogs
Conclusion: The Best Dog Foods
All of these dog foods are high-quality options for optimal nutrition, but what it boils down to is what your dog needs in their diet as well as what they enjoy eating. After all, dining should be about more than bland bits; it should be a tasty experience that brings pleasure and health benefits!
With this list of the best dog foods and your pup’s needs in mind, it’s time to get shopping!
Related: Best Dehydrated Dog Foods
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