Best Dog Food Reviews 2017
Top-Rated Brands and Comparisons

We all love our pets, but that doesn’t mean we always know what is the best thing to feed them. With hundreds of different kinds of dog food on the market, it can be difficult to find out what the best dog food is for our pets.

The simple answer is that the best dog food brands for your pet depends on your specific breed, their sensitivities, and a number of other factors. Dedicated owners like you, however, are looking to find out more than that.

Let’s dive into the world of dog food so that you can give your pet the best nutrition possible. By understanding what dogs need to eat, what makes a good dog food, and what brands are known for providing quality food, you can create an incredibly healthy lifestyle for your dog.

This article will cover the best dog food brands, dog food ratings for specific conditions, what dogs can and cannot eat, and more! Everything you need to know about the best pet food in one place. Here we go!

The Basics

What Dogs Need To Eat​

The first thing you should learn about your dog is what they need. Most dog foods can be narrowed down to three main nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Depending on your dog’s breed, health status, and activity level, the percent of these nutrients that your dog should eat will differ, but you still need to understand what protein, fat, and carbohydrates do for your body.


Protein is essential for growing dogs as well as dogs that use their muscles a lot because protein is used to repair muscles. They also work to keep your dog’s cells functioning properly.

Quality meats give your dog many essential nutrients as well as the energy needed to live an active life. Dogs that have diabetes and puppies both need high-protein diets to function properly. Protein usually comes from animal-based sources in dog food. Meat meals such as chicken meal are also great sources of protein.


Fats are the largest source of energy for your dog. They are a very concentrated source of energy, and fats also help your dog’s body to absorb and use all the vitamins and nutrients that are in their food.

High-fat diets are great for dogs that work all day long and for dogs with kidney disease, as they help these dogs get more nutrients.


Carbohydrate sources in dog food such as grains, potatoes, beans, fruits, vegetables, and more all give your dog energy in addition to nutrients and fiber that will keep your dog’s gut and intestinal health balanced.

Fiber is one type of carbohydrate that is very important to dogs. Moderately fermentable fiber sources such as beet pulp are great for dogs, and fiber helps to keep your dog’s digestive system working properly. Fiber sources should be carefully considered to prevent excess gas.

More Than These Three Nutrients

In addition to these three main nutrients, the moisture level, vitamins, minerals, and full ingredients list of your dog’s food is very important. This is a lot to take in, so rather than explaining why each of these nutrients is important for every dog, let’s explore the best dog food brands and the best dog foods for specific situations to give you a full understanding.

The first thing you should learn about your dog is what they need. Most dog foods can be narrowed down to three main nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Depending on your dog’s breed, health status, and activity level, the percent of these nutrients that your dog should eat will differ, but you still need to understand what protein, fat, and carbohydrates do for your body.

Examine the Formulas
and Ingredients

When you choose a dog food, it’s important that you know what formula it is and what ingredients are in the dog food. All of this information can easily be found on the bag itself, or on the manufacturer’s website!

1. Guaranteed Analysis

When you are looking at different pet foods, start by looking at the Guaranteed Analysis. This panel will give you the following information:

  • Protein (min %)
  • Fat (min %)
  • Fiber (max %)
  • Moisture (max %)

Some labels might also show the following information:

  • Amount of calcium
  • Amount of phosphorus

2. Check Out The Ingredients List

The ingredients list of a dog food will show you exactly what is in the pet food.

The ingredients list shows ingredients listed by weight, starting with the heaviest item. If the first ingredient is a meat product, remember that meat is usually about 75% water, so it actually is a bit lower on the ingredients list.

Meat meals, on the other hand, are concentrated sources of animal protein and they have no excess water or fat weight.

While looking at the ingredients list, you will want to look for any controversial ingredients that may not be good for your dog (see section below for more information about these ingredients).

3. Remember These Important Things

There are a few more things about dog food labels that you should know when choosing a pet food.

Using the phrases “Natural,” “holistic,” and “human-grade” on dog food does not always mean exactly what it seems like. There is no legal guideline for using this terminology.

Organic pet food also does not have any official standards, so you have to rely on your knowledge, not the product labeling, to determine if you believe the food is organic.

Bad Ingredients,
Poor Health

Feeding your dog a balanced diet with the best pet food available is important. You do not want to give your dog low-quality ingredients or food that may cause them health problems down the road. Just because your dog will try to eat everything doesn’t mean that everything is good for them!

Bad ingredients can truly lead to poor health. Your buddy’s body uses the nutrients in their food to run around and play, and low-quality sources will actually prevent their bodies from working as efficiently as they should.

There are a few types of ingredients that you should be aware of that can lead to poor health in a dog. These items are often found in low-quality dog food as cheap fillers, and they can be avoided by choosing high-quality dog foods instead.

Avoid Unnamed Meats and By-Products

Sometimes you will see foods that say “poultry by-products” instead of “chicken meal.” You never want to choose a food that has an unnamed source of protein, because you won’t know exactly what you are feeding your dog.

Additionally, meat by-products are the ground up, internal remains of an animal. Some dog food brands will try to argue that this is good for the dog, but they cannot guarantee the quality. If they really wanted to include these internal parts, they could include them as whole prey rather than by-products.

Remember that protein meals, such as chicken meal, are quality sources of protein in most cases.

Avoid Chemical Preservatives

There are three main chemical preservatives that are known for being used in low-quality dog food. Choose a pet food that does not contain:

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)

BHA and BHT can cause kidney damage and have been proven to cause cancer in both humans and dogs.

Ethoxyquin is an herbicide that has been shown to cause all of the following medical conditions:

  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Cancer (liver, spleen, stomach, skin)
  • Immune deficiency syndrome
  • Blindness
  • Leukemia

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a type of antifreeze. While companies try to sell this product as pet-safe and non-toxic, it is not good to feed to your dog, so choose a pet food without this dangerous ingredient.

What Dogs Can and Cannot Eat

In addition to looking out for dangerous ingredients that can cause your pet serious health issues, there are many ingredients that can be confusing for pet owners. Is coconut water okay for dogs to eat? Can they have a treat, like donuts?

To cover every single food out there would take days!

A good rule of them is that dogs cannot eat any processed or heavily sweetened foods such as donuts or potato chips. These foods are not good for their bodies, and they give them no beneficial nutrients.

Natural foods such as green beans, coconut water, and carrots can be healthy treats for dogs as long as they are given in moderation and closely monitored.

It basically comes down to this: Only feed your dog foods that give them beneficial nutrients. They do not need empty calories and potentially dangerous ingredients added to their diet!

To learn more about foods that pets can eat, check out these topics:

Can My Dog Consume...?

Common Ingredients: Good vs. Bad

That was a lot of information about good and bad foods to feed your dog. Let’s sum it up with a useful comparison of the good and the bad when it comes to dog food ingredients!

Remember, however, that there are always exceptions, and you should consult with your vet about your dog’s specific situation if you are concerned about their diet.

The Good:

  • Whole proteins: chicken, beef, fish, duck, liver, eggs, pork
  • Whole grains: oats, quinoa, brown rice
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas
  • Carrots

The Bad:

  • BHA, BHT
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Poultry meal
  • Poultry by-products
  • By-products
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • White Rice
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Garlic

Types of Dog Food

Now that you know what is good and what is bad when it comes to the ingredients in dog food, it’s time to take a look at the different types of dog food that are on the market.

Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, is the most used type of commercial dog food. This food is long-lasting and comes in many different varieties that you can choose from.

These foods are balanced to provide complete nutrition for your dog without needing to mix them with anything else. They are ready to eat and even come in different sizes for different sized dogs.

The big con of using this kind of food is that they often contain fillers, preservatives, and processed ingredients, so it is important to choose dry food very carefully.

Canned (Wet) Dog Food

Wet food is often used as a meal supplement or for dogs that need to get more water. This moist food is perishable, which makes it slightly less convenient to use compared to dry dog food.

Wet food is very easy for dogs to eat, and it offers a complete diet with all the nutrients that your dog needs. Like dry food, there are many different types of canned food available to choose from.

Puppy Dog Food

Puppy dog food can come as either canned or dry dog food, but it is formulated specifically to help puppies grow up healthy and strong.

Dry puppy dog food usually has smaller kibble so that it is easier for puppies to eat. They also usually contain extra nutrients.

Large puppy food will have a limited amount of calcium so that they do not grow up too quickly. Large puppies that grow up too fast can actually suffer from bone and muscles issues throughout their life, so a limited calcium diet is recommended for them.

Now that you know what is good and what is bad when it comes to the ingredients in dog food, it’s time to take a look at the different types of dog food that are on the market.

Senior Dog Food

Senior dogs have special health and dietary issues that need to be addressed with their food. Like puppy food, there are both wet and dry dog foods that work well for senior dogs.

The main things that differ between senior dog food and regular, adult dog food include:

  • Glucosamine, for strong bones & joints
  • Less protein, because they are less active
  • Chondroitin, for joint health
  • Extra fat, for better nutrient absorption

Grain-Free Dog Food

One type of dog food that is becoming increasingly popular is grain-free dog food. This type of dog food has no grains in it. Grains are known to be a common allergen for dogs, and more and more research is showing that it can slow down your dog’s digestive and immune systems.

Choosing dog foods that are free from wheat, corn, soy, and all grains is a great way to make sure they are getting food that their bodies can actually use. Grains are not easily processed by their systems, so it’s better not to feed them these ingredients.

Limited Ingredient Foods

The final type of dog food you should know about is limited ingredient dog food. These ingredients are formulated with as few ingredients as possible while still providing a complete, balanced diet for your dog.

These foods are made for dogs that have food sensitivities or allergies. The fewer ingredients in the food, the easier it is to control your dog’s reaction to specific ingredients. Limited ingredient diets are becoming more and more popular as dog owners begin to pay more attention to their dog’s diet needs.

Best Dog Food Brands:

Brand Name

Types of Food




20 dry foods


7 dry foods and 3 freeze-dried dog foods


26 dry foods and 9 wet foods

Eagle Pack

9 dry foods and 4 wet foods

The Honest Kitchen

7 dehydrated foods


acana dog food brand

This amazing brand has four different lines of dry dog food, each of which offers incredibly high-quality ingredients and no filler, all at a relatively reasonable price. Their heritage and classic formulas have impressively balanced blends, while their regional and singles formulas both put more focus on a more focused ingredient line up.

Whether your dog needs a very high level of protein, a single protein diet, or just a traditional, balanced diet, there is food at ACANA for them. They have not had quality issues in the past, and they are a company that prides themselves on making food that is biologically balanced for your pet. Feed your dog ACANA, and you’ll likely see positive change in no time!


orijen dog food brand

Orijen is very similar in makeup to ACANA, but it is a more expensive product. In fact, many people consider this to be the top brand, with ACANA being the cheaper alternative. I, however, believe that ACANA’s larger variety of foods makes them the superior brand.

Still, there is no doubt that Orijen is one of the ultimate dog foods. The offer supreme quality of ingredients, with meat always being at the top of the ingredients list. Their protein to fat ratios come in a few different varieties, so depending on your dog’s life stage and activity level, you can find the right food for them.

For those with puppies, Orijen Puppy is one of the most highly rated puppy foods out there.


fromm dog food brand

Like ACANA, Fromm dog food comes in a few different lines. The formulas that I recommend as top of the line are all in the Four Star and Gold lines, though the other lines have their benefits as well. The Four Star and Gold lines put a higher focus on quality ingredients and nutritional balance, which is why I recommend them.

Fromm has been in the dog food industry for over one-hundred years, and they have really grown with time to put the latest of dog food nutritional research to work in their foods. They also put a huge focus on food safety, which makes me feel very comfortable with their foods.

For a shiny coat and better digestive functionality, try Fromm.

Eagle Pack


Eagle Pack is the next top dog food brands that I’d like to share with you. Eagle Pack is a newer company than some others. They began in 1985, and they have been making great food since then without facing any recalls.

Not all of their foods are completely grain-free, which is why I am only giving them 4.5 stars, but they are still corn- and wheat-free which is really important for dog owners to look for in good food.

One thing I really love about Eagle Pack is how clear they are about the ingredients they use and exactly what those ingredients are. Their website offers a useful index of ingredients, so use that to decide if the ingredients they use would suit your dog’s health.

The Honest Kitchen


The final company I’m including today as a top dog food is The Honest Kitchen. This company has the smallest variety of foods on my list, but I love them so much that this brand still makes it to the top.

These foods are dehydrated, which means that you add water to them and then you’re good to go! You might balk at the idea of paying between eight and nine dollars for a pound of food, but remember that you will be using very little food and rehydrating it, so it’s actually quite affordable.

The ingredients at The Honest Kitchen are all incredibly high-quality and well-balanced. They understand what good food can do for your dog, and I love that.

The Best Dog Foods
For Dogs With Specific Issues