We all want our dogs to have the best food possible, both when it comes to taste and quality. But how do you know which dog food is the best? One easy way to find out is by checking out this best dry dog food review.
If you want to see our top recommended dry dog food and skip all the fuzz, the winner of this list is ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food, available on Amazon.
We have been scouring through the internet in order to find the best dry dog food for our four-legged friends. While this list is mainly based on other reviews and information available online, we made sure to only present to you the highest quality foods. Some things we have taken into account is the overall ratings, quality of ingredients, eco-friendliness and of course the price.
Keep in mind that this list may be revised at a later date, as some products come and go. Let’s take a look at our top three picks for the best dry dog food below.
Before we get started on this best dry dog food review, please remember that not all dogs have the same taste. While we have chosen the most trusted dog food in this list, there is still a possibility that your dog will reject the food.
Switching the dog food instantly is not recommended, as it takes some time for your dog to get used to the new food and may cause sensitive stomachs to react badly. It is always wise to ease the transition to a new food.
Best Dry Dog Food Review
In order to find out the best dry food for your dog, we went and had a look at the internet to find what food others had reviewed, we also checked amazons best sellers and tested a total of 23 different brands.
To keep this article sweet and short, we decided to only include the top 3 best dry food for your dog, so that you can easier pick the one that suits your dog the best.
Without further ado, let’s get into the list. Below we have listed our top 3 best dry dog food review. Below the list, you will also find some of the most common questions regarding dry dog food, be sure to read the entire article.
ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food – Top Recommended
First on the list, and our top recommended dry dog food, we chose ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food.
Even though all dogs have the same basic nutritional requirements, what makes a certain dog food best for your dog may vary depending on age, activity level and other dietary needs.
ORIJEN offers premium dry dog food designed to suit your dog’s natural needs, and it uses only the freshest, regional ingredients. The ORIJEN Original dry dog food is suited for dogs in all life stages, from puppies to seniors.
Quality and Other Details
ORIJEN follows a biologically appropriate approach to pet nutrition. Each of their products is designed to mirror the type of natural diet your dog should follow based on his wild ancestry.
Rich in meat and proteins, this dry food contains up to 90% meat, which is more than three times as much as used in a lot of conventional dog food.
While dogs have a limited ability to digest plant-based materials, that is why ORIJEN uses digestible, grain-free carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you are looking for a premium brand of dry dog food, you have to check out CANIDAE.
This is an independent, and family owned company that sources all the ingredients from other family-owned businesses throughout the US, and manufactures all their products in their own facilities.
The CANIDAE dry dog food is of very high-quality and is perfect for multi-dog families, all ages, breeds, and sizes. If you want to get your dogs something special, then this dry food is just right for you.
Quality and Other Details
CANIDAE Dry Dog Food is made with a premium multi-protein formula and digestible carbohydrates. Each of their recipes is made with a limited amount of ingredients to reduce the risk of food allergies.
Another reason why CANIDAE is our second most recommended dog food on this list is the fact that it is a premium brand that is designed to be affordable.
There are several different formulas and products in the CANIDAE dog food range. If you are looking for a specific type of dry dog food, you can have a look at their other formulas available on Amazon, what differs is the type of meat and the source of carbohydrates.
Third on our list is the well known, and loved brand, Taste of the Wild. While they make both dry and wet dog food, this review will focus solely on their dry dog food and the different flavors.
There are 3 different sizes of this dog food available on Amazon, as well as a range of different flavors and recipes.
We recommend you have a read through all the positive customer’s reviews on Amazon and see for yourself why this is such a popular brand. Every dog seems to love it, as well as our very own Boxer.
Quality and Other Details
Taste of the Wild dry dog food is made of high-quality ingredients, and doesn’t have a lot of grains, or filler ingredients like many other brands do. The best food for your dog is high-quality ingredients, protein rich, and grain free.
With high-quality proteins, such as bison and venison, combined with easily digestible carbohydrates, this food is less likely to cause any allergic reactions.
Taste of the Wild understands that dogs crave natural flavors, which is why each recipe is formulated around real roasted meats like Smoked Salmon, Roasted Bison and Venison, Roasted Fowl, Roasted Lamb, Wild Boar.
Does Dog Food Really Make a Difference? – What are the Advantages of Dry Food Compared to Wet Food?
Dry food is not only healthier for your dog, but also inexpensive. Because dry food has a much lower moisture content, your dog needs relatively less dry food than wet food to meet its daily energy needs.
In addition, dry food is healthier, as it causes significantly less damage on the teeth. For you as a dog owner, it also has advantages. The dry dog food is cheaper than the wet food, is easier to store and lasts for a lot longer.
What is the Price of Dry Dog Food?
The price ranges anywhere from a dollar per 2 pounds, to well over five dollars for the same amount. If you can store the food properly and the expiration date is long enough, you can save a lot on packages that include several large bags.
In addition, you do not necessarily have to buy branded products for your four-legged friend. Many of the cheaper products are made out of high-quality ingredients, and thus ensure adequate nutrition of your dog.
Watch your dog closely if you only feed it with dry food! Is he drinking enough, is the feces nice and soft? Dry food absorbs a lot of water in the stomach, the water balance of your dog can be confused by the proportion of only 10 percent in dry food.
Your dog needs to drink a lot more when eating dry food, compared to wet food, which is not so easy on a full stomach. Better reach for a healthy mixed diet and feed both: wet and dry food.
How do I Recognize Good Dog Food?
Good dog food is characterized by the fact that it is tailored to your dog. Depending on the preferences and intolerances of your four-legged friend, you should also select the food accordingly. Of course, it should also match your personal values.
In general, however, we recommend a dry food that is free of chemical additives, contains no sugar and contains little or no grain. Animal by-products should be noted on the packaging by name.
If your dog’s complete food contains meat, you must make sure that the proportion of fruit, vegetables, and meat is balanced. Dog food with too much meat can quickly become unhealthy for your dog.
When Should You Change the Dog Food – Why Should You Slowly Get Your Dog Used to the New Food?
If your dog experiences symptoms such as flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, sluggishness, or coat and skin problems, it may indicate an inappropriate dog food. In this case, you should change the food as soon as possible.
But also remember that in the worst case it can be a serious illness. Therefore, the first route should lead to the veterinarian who can give you a more accurate diagnosis. If the diagnosis really indicates a wrong diet, you should change the dog food step by step.
As your pet’s digestive system gets used to the everyday food, too fast a change could cause vomiting, diarrhea or even digestive problems. Especially if your dog is already weakened due to illness or has a sensitive stomach, you should carry out the change as gently as possible.
Why Should You Feed Your Dog Food Without Sugar?
Feed your dog as well as possible with a sugar-free diet, as sugar would harm a dog in the long run. The only advantage with sugary complete food lies in the taste since dogs taste sugary food usually better.
However, sugar-containing dog food has some serious disadvantages. The sugar can lead to obesity and addictions. Even more dangerous is the sugar when the dog does not get enough spout. Furthermore, sugar intake can quickly cause tooth decay.
Sugar can cause many diseases in dogs and is therefore very unhealthy for your four-legged friend. Therefore, you should make sure you give your dog a sugar-free diet so that he stays fit and healthy longer.
What Types of Dry Dog Food are There and Which One is Right for You?
Since there are many different diets for your dog, manufacturers of dog food make many different variants. So that you do not get lost in this overview, we explain the most important types of dry dog food bellow.
Basically, you can distinguish dog food based on the ingredients and the ingredients used:
- High meat content
- Without grain
- Without additives
- Dry dog food without animal by-products
- Organic dry dog food
- Vegetarian and vegan dry dog food
Each of these variants has advantages and disadvantages and is, therefore, best suited to different types of dogs.
For this purpose, we will introduce you to all the above-mentioned types of dry food, explain to you when the respective use makes sense and provide a clear overview of what each of their advantages and disadvantages is.
If your dog is overweight, then do not use dry food. The high energy density of this food does not necessarily contribute to your four-legged losing the pounds. Instead, you should focus on a lot of exercising and activities, as well as feed your dog with water-rich wet food.
Dry Dog Food With a High Meat Content
Nourish your four-legged friends as balanced as possible. Food with a lot of meat is especially suitable for dogs with allergies, as long as the rest of the food is compatible with your dog.
Since the modern domestic dog is originally derived from the wolf, the natural diet consists mainly of meat. That’s why dog food with a high meat content gets closer to the optimal nutrition of your dog.
Dog food, which consists of a greater extent of meat, also has many animal proteins, such as B6, B12, C and E, magnesium, calcium, and L-carnitine. These components strengthen nerves, muscles, bones, and teeth and thus help your dog to stay healthy and fit.
Meat provides the dog with almost all the necessary nutrients. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that meat represents a low risk of allergies and therefore can be easily digested by many dogs with an allergy.
- Appropriate diet
- Rich in proteins and nutrients
- Low allergy risk
- “All-Meat Syndrome” with excessive meat
However, you should not give your pet too many proteins, in the form of meat. Because an excess of proteins can put a heavy burden on both the liver and the kidney. Fruit, vegetables, and herbs should not be missing in the diet, despite the high meat content.
If your four-legged friend only feeds on meat, he can quickly get sick. This is also called the “all-meat syndrome”, which is caused by a one-sided diet.
When choosing dry food, make sure that the meat in the product is declared as meat or fresh meat. Meat food has a much higher meat content than fresh meat due to its low water content and processing.
Dry Dog Food Without Grain
Excessive grain in the food can have health consequences. In moderation, however, grains are healthy, provided there is no intolerance. In case of intolerance, you have to make sure that the dry food contains suitable substitute ingredients. If your dog is underweight, you should refrain from grain-free dog food.
In moderation, grain is perfectly healthy for your four-legged friend, as it contains valuable proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The carbohydrates contained in the crop can easily decompose dog stews into starch and eventually convert it into energy.
However, too much grain in the dry food is unhealthy and can cause problems for your dog, as grain-free food for dogs contains hardly any enzymes. The result is that the pancreas is completely overwhelmed with the production of the enzymes that are urgently needed for the digestion of the grain.
In addition, more and more dogs are developing intolerance to grain. This is often due to gluten, which is contained in the grain. Due to this intolerance, many dogs are dependent on a diet that is completely free from grains.
- Compatible with dogs with a grain allergy
- Healthy in moderation
- Diseases due to an excessive amount of grain
- Replacement products must be fed
If you want or need to feed your four-legged friend without grain, you should pay a lot of attention. It is very important that the grain is substituted by an ingredient that is both tolerable and energetic.
Good herbal alternatives include potatoes, peas, Jerusalem artichokes, and tapioca. If your dog does not tolerate gluten, so-called pseudo-wheat varieties are also suitable. These include millet, amaranth, quinoa and gluten-free grains such as rice and buckwheat.
Corn and soybeans are also suitable as substitutes. However, the likelihood of intolerance to these grains is very high. A grain-free diet is only unsuitable if your dog suffers from underweight and therefore quickly needs the energy to regain a healthy weight.
Dry Dog Food Without Additives
Some additives are healthy and important to your dog. These include minerals and trace elements in the form of calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine and iron. These are also indicated as raw ash on the content list.
Raw ash is ash that arises when the dog food is burned in an oven. Water, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins disappear and minerals and trace elements remain as ash. The proportion of raw ash in dried fodder should be between 5 and 7.5 percent. Higher levels may cause problems with digestion and should, therefore, be avoided.
- No artificial additives
- Triggers fewer allergies / digestive problems
- Natural healthy additives are missing
Dry Dog Food Without Animal By-Products
Animal by-products in dog food boost your dog’s natural and species-appropriate diet and may even contain important nutrients. However, there are also badly tolerated by-products. The quality of the animal by-products can be recognized by the list of ingredients.
Animal by-products consist of slaughter, kitchen and catering waste. Most of these ingredients are not suitable for human consumption. These include organs, skin, claws, eyes, tendons, and blood. By no means, animal by-products are bad for your dog and provide a more balanced diet.
- No inferior animal by-products
- Digestive problems are avoided
- Healthy animal by-products are missing
- Must be replaced by artificial additives
Animal by-products may even contain very important nutrients. This applies especially to the liver, lungs, and rumen. For example, rumen contains important plant residues, enzymes, minerals, and trace elements. But even with hair and feathers, your dog can eliminate tapeworms better.
For dried fodder without animal by-products, it often happens that the important, non-existent nutrients are replaced by harmful artificial additives. However, there are also by-products that are no longer useful even for the diet of a dog or are even difficult to digest.
Whether you have any useful or harmful by-products in dry food, you can see on the list of ingredients. If the ingredients merely mention the term “animal by-products” without further elaboration, you can assume that this is of poor quality.
You should only buy a dry feed with animal by-products if the individual ingredients are listed in detail on the packaging. Only then can you be sure that you are providing your dog with the right nutrition.
Organic Dry Dog Food
Food with an organic seal must be free from artificial additives and may only contain meat from animals of appropriate welfare. The animals bred for slaughter must not be hauled up fast with concentrated feed, nor should they receive preventive antibiotics or even growth hormones. In addition, organic dog food is produced without the use of genetic engineering.
Therefore, by buying organic food, you not only support the better quality of life of animals but you also improve the quality of life of your dog. The chemical-free food promotes the health of four-legged friends.
Furthermore, this type of dry food is very suitable for allergy sufferers who have an intolerance to preservatives, artificial flavors, flavor enhancers or colorants.
- No artificial additives
- No genetic engineering
- For allergy sufferers mostly suitable
- Morally and ethically acceptable
- More expensive than conventional food
In addition, the meat content in organic food is often higher than in other dog food. This will give your dog guaranteed the proteins he needs. In addition, all processed food comes from organic farming. Therefore, processed vegetables are treated without pesticides.
The biggest disadvantage with organic food is the unit price. This type of feed is one of the most expensive feeding methods for your dog. So you should decide for yourself if the extra charge for your dog is worth it.
Vegetarian and Vegan Dry Dog Food
Dogs can easily digest vegetarian food because their stomach can also utilize vegetable proteins and carbohydrates. A purely herbal diet is not necessarily negative and in some cases even advisable. Especially in dogs with coat and skin complaints as well as in quadrupeds with a sensitive digestive tract is recommended meat-free dog food.
However, your dog needs to be completely healthy and should not have a necessary need for animal nutrients. Consult a veterinarian first and have your dog examined for possible deficiencies more often, as soon as you feed him meat-free.
- Suitable for dogs with coat and skin problems or a sensitive stomach
- No slaughter of animals
- Replacement products must be fed
- Frequent vet visits
- Elaborate and time-consuming
In order to prevent deficiencies as much as possible, you should keep an eye on your dog eating additional substitutes. You have to bring these extra if they are not already included in the vegetarian dry food. Meat curd or egg is best suited as a meat substitute, as this gives your dog the vital protein.
In a strictly vegan diet, you can mix special dietary supplements in powder form under the food. These contain important vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.
Compare and Rate Dry Dog Food
In the following, we would like to show you the factors by which you can compare and evaluate dry dog food. This will make it easier for you to decide if a particular product is suitable for your dog or not.
Basically, most purchase criteria depend on the characteristics of your four-legged friend, since the feed should be tailored to the characteristics of your dog.
In summary, these are:
- Allergies / intolerances
In the following paragraphs, you can read in each case what it has with the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
Many manufacturers distinguish between small and large breeds in their product selection, as the size of your dog plays a significant role when it comes to the nutritional content of the food. However, the size of the pieces in the food varies as well.
Feeding a small dog with too large pieces of food would quickly make him overwhelmed, and there’s always the risk of choking. So that such problems cannot arise, you should get dry dog food that also fits the size of the breed of your own dog.
Furthermore, the nutritional content varies in the complete diet. Smaller dogs, such as Jack Russel, are often more active than their larger counterparts and have an increased metabolism. However, the small representatives also suffer from a greater calculus risk and sensitive digestion.
In contrast, large dogs are often frugal and cumbersome depending on the breed. However, they still have a very high energy requirement, because they have much more muscle mass. In addition, the likelihood of bone and joint discomfort in large dogs at a young age is high.
Also, the weight of the four-legged is an important factor in the choice of feed. Since a healthy weight is a prerequisite for a satisfied and long life, you should reduce the energy intake for a dog who suffers from obesity.
Dogs that are not particularly active in everyday life, need low-energy dry food. Best suited for this are so-called “light products”, which are characterized by a lower content of crude fat.
Underweight can have different causes. Often it is the wrong portioning of the dry food. If you feed your dog too little, his energy requirement is not covered and he thus loses weight. Then it is important to have a “home-grown” or “high-energy food” in the house.
If your dog needs to gain weight, you should not resort to regular dog food and only feed it in large quantities. This can lead to a shortage of nutrients.
The age of a dog determines to a large extent the energy requirement. Puppies and juveniles, which are still growing, need much more energy than adult animals. Seniors, on the other hand, consume less energy as a result of the limited activity and accordingly need lower-energy food.
Especially with these two age groups, you should rely on a specially tailored dry food. Due to the stressful growth phase of the body, puppies should have a dry food diet wh a higher protein content. We recommend a crude protein content of up to 30 percent.
Furthermore, it is important that the food contains many vitamins and is rich in calcium. So that these conditions are met, you should look for a special food for puppies and young animals, if your dog is still young.
Puppies are sometimes fed on a raw diet. However, one must also pay close attention to having all the important nutrients.
In contrast, decrepit dogs require a low-energy dry food. Retirement often starts between the ages of six and eight. It depends on the breed of your dog as well as its vitality. When the time comes, you should pay attention to the protein content in the complete diet, which must not be too high.
Liver, kidney and metabolism do not work as well in old age as they did at a young age. Also, the phosphorus content should not be unnecessarily high, so that increased kidney values can be avoided. It is also important to use an easily digestible feed to avoid exposing the stomach and intestine to excessive stress.
The activity of your four-legged friend is crucial in the selection of feed. Just like humans, dogs also have an increased energy requirement with a lot of exercises or a correspondingly low demand with a little exercise.
Especially if you train a lot with your dog and he is thus exposed to increased physical stress, you should choose high-energy and wholefood with high protein content. But also rescue dogs, hunting and sled dogs as well as breeding dogs or other four-legged friends, who are demanded a lot, need a “high-energy-feed”.
In contrast, a dog with relatively little activity needs a low-energy dry food with a low crude fat as well as protein content. For this are “light products” the best, which can also be used in these cases as a precaution against obesity.
Many dogs suffer from a food allergy or intolerance. Common causes of an allergic reaction are animal proteins (protein) or carbohydrate compounds of protein and sugar. However, allergies can also develop over time.
Therefore, you should avoid the following products as the most common allergens or feed only in moderation:
- Cow’s milk
- Chicken egg
- Soy products
- Grains and gluten
Incompatibility is often caused by artificial additives, dyes or preservatives. But also feed components of poor quality can be the trigger for it. Therefore, you should make sure that the dog food is of high quality and contains no chemical additives.
For allergy sufferers, there is a special hypoallergenic wholefood, which is designed for high compatibility. In this diet, all existing proteins are broken down into their amino acids. The consequence of this is that your dog’s immune system no longer perceives these components as foreign bodies and thus no allergic reaction can be caused.
The quality of the feed is one of the most important purchase criteria. Finally, high-quality food prevents illness and intolerance. High-quality dry dog food will help your dog live long and happy.
High-quality food must not contain any fillers, such as large amounts of grain, since, as already mentioned, it is healthy only moderately. Furthermore, the feed should under no circumstances contain any chemical additives or sugar. However, the search for sugar-free food is very difficult, because only a few products completely do without sugar.
There should also be animal by-products, which are also listed by name in the list of contents. The absence of individual animal by-products in the summary indicates an inferior quality of the dog food.
In addition, the feed should cover the nutritional needs of your four-legged friend. A high meat content and a balanced diet consisting of meat and vegetables are very healthy.
How Long is the Digestion Time for Dry Dog Food?
Mostly the digestion time is between five and eight hours. Of course, your dog’s metabolism also plays a crucial role. A young dog with a very good metabolism digests its food faster than a dog with an age-related weakened metabolism.
- Larger portions stay longer in the stomach than smaller portions
- Insoluble fiber goes through the stomach faster than soluble
- The more liquid the food, the shorter the length of stay in the stomach
- Fat foods are digested for longer than low-fat foods
Where to Store Dry Dog Food?
The best is a glass jar or a plastic container without plasticizer for storage. As a result, the pellets remain fresher and hardly lose their flavor. Also, packages that are coated with a thin layer of metal inside, are good for storing food. The most important is the airtight closure so that the dog food stays fresh longer.
In addition, the repository also plays an important role. The dry food should under no circumstances be stored in a damp or too hot place. If the moisture is too high, the food becomes soft, loses its taste and important nutrients, and in the worst case can even begin to mold.
How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last?
It depends on whether and how long the package is already open or closed. Basically, we advise you to use a package after opening no longer than four to six weeks. Due to the constant opening and closing of the pack, air constantly gets to the dry food, which can also reduce the shelf life.
If you always buy very large dog food packs for your dog, it is best to divide the contents into individual, smaller containers. If the package is still unopened, you can easily read the expiration date on the back of the packaging.
How is Dry Dog Food Made?
Dry food is produced by the extrusion process or the pelleting process (cold pressing). When extruding and baking, the mass is pressed under strong pressure and steam into a specific shape. By heating to over 100 ° C, the carbohydrates contained are digested and are therefore easier for your dog to digest.
After the pressing process follows the so-called coating, in which vitamins and solutions of protein hydrolysates or fats are sprayed. Subsequently, the dry food is still dried and cooled.
When pelleting the dog food is produced by heating to only 75 ° C. In this process, the various raw materials are mixed in ground form into a mass. The ingredients are then sprayed with cold water, resulting in a bonding of the mass. Finally, the raw mass is pressed only by a die in a pellet form.
To recap this article, we have listed our top recommended, best dry dog food review. We found that the ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food is the clear winner of this list, however, we are aware that there are other factors that play a part.
Our top three recommendations are meant as a guideline, to help you make your decision, try them out and see which one your dog likes the most.
We have also covered some of the most common questions regarding dry dog food, why it may be better than wet food and other questions that might help you decide.
If you enjoyed this article or learned something new, please don’t forget to share it with friends and family who may also benefit from this list.