Best Dog Foods On The Market

Filed in Dog Health on August 22, 2020

Best dog foods on the marketHe may not have realized it but, when Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine…” he was speaking wisdom that applied to both humans and their four-legged companions.

The foods that you choose for your dog can directly affect their well-being and health.

As a result, it is important to understand what you are feeding them.

In this blog post, you will learn about the best dog foods on the market, including what ingredients to avoid.

Some Of The Best Dog Foods On The Market

Let’s dive into some of the top brands on the market (in no particular order):

1. Purina Pro Plan

Purina is a very large pet food company with a variety of dog food brands and even a line of veterinary prescription dog food for specific medical conditions.

One of their highest-end products available to the public is the Pro Plan line.

This food is created with the help of multiple veterinarians, researchers, behaviorists, and veterinary nutritionists.

With such a large and experienced team behind the creation of this food, it is no wonder why it is one of the best quality dog foods on the market.

Whole proteins are always the number one ingredient in this food and their ingredient lists are easy to read.

If you need more information on an ingredient, you can look it up right on their site including its benefits: https://www.purina.com/ingredients.

Purina offers a wide variety of formulas to accommodate every breed, life stage, and special requirements of our pets.

To name a few:
Pro Plan Puppy food– Comprised of the necessary components to sustain balanced growth for puppies
Pro Plan Bright Minds– Contains ingredients proven to aid in brain function and growth
Pro Plan Focus– Formulated towards specific breeds and issues such as weight management, sensitive stomach & skin, and pre/probiotics blends for gut health. No prescription is needed from a veterinarian for this diet.

Each type of Pro Plan comes in a variety of sizes as well.

This helps accommodate small dogs who need little kibble, big dogs who need extra joint help, and even giant breeds with specific growth requirements.

Purina even has a dog food finder on their site where they will match you with foods best suited to your furry friend.

Dry kibble is the more popular form of Purina Pro Plan in most pet stores, but they also have a wet food line that aligns with the formulations that were just listed.

If your dog is a picky eater, their wet foods range from shredded textures to morsels in gravy and everything in between to entice even the pickiest of pups!

Pro Tip: Heat up the wet food a little bit to bring out the aromas and you will immediately catch your pet’s attention!

2. Hills Science Diet

Hills is another giant name in the pet food industry who gained their high status through years of clinical trials and research.

Their team of veterinarians and nutritionists is a major reason for their high-quality food and veterinary-recommended prescription diets.

At Hills, your pet’s food can truly be their medicine.

There is a variety of puppy, adult, and senior dog foods available in different sizes and flavors.

However, the really interesting diets are those that focus on helping to treat or even prevent specific complications.

When you browse your options on https://www.hillspet.com/health-conditions/dog, you will find a list of conditions that may be affecting your dog including weight management, skin & food sensitivities, kidney care, digestive formula, and joint care.

If any of these conditions apply, you can search the prescription options for a well-written description of the condition as well as the nutritional information on the food to show to your veterinarian.

3. Honest Kitchen

Honest Kitchen may not have as much history as Hills or Purina but they are an excellent choice for owners who want high-quality organic dog food.

Many of their items are grain-free, so you should avoid those items (based on recent reports), but the whole grain options are wonderful.

All of the food they produce is human-grade, meaning the ingredients they source and use to create your pet’s food would be considered high quality enough for you to eat as well.

Every ingredient is proudly listed on the box and you’ll probably recognize most of them.

The only exception would be a few vitamins and minerals that are important but not common knowledge.

This dog food stands out from many others because it is dehydrated.

The box comes with instructions on how much to feed your dog based on weight and activity level as well as how much water to add.

After some warm water, this dehydrated food becomes a wet mix where some of the whole food ingredients are clearly noticeable.

For picky pups, this food seems to be a hit and it can also be used as a topper over Honest Kitchen dry kibble or other dog kibbles to entice your pup at mealtime.

4. ACANA

This is another top quality brand that has a focus on whole food ingredients of great quality.

Their company has been creating recipes since 1985, so you will find plenty of options for your pup through their brand.

Whole proteins are always the first ingredient, followed by a list of other whole foods you are familiar with.

What makes this brand interesting is all of the formulations it offers, and some of which use novel proteins such as duck, cod, and bison.

There are a few grain-free options so be sure to look under the grain inclusive options on their site.

Their seafood-based options are high in fish oils which are great for pets with dryer skin or picky pets who prefer new flavors.

This brand can be on the more expensive end when compared to most other pet foods.

However, the high-quality whole food ingredients are well worth it.

How To Read Dog Food Labels

If you’re going to learn about dog food then it is important to also understand how to read dog food labels.

Once you know a few easy tips, you will be able to understand more about what dog food brands have to offer, including what they may be hiding.

The FDA regulates pet food in a similar way to human food and they require all pet foods to be:

  • Produced in sanitary conditions,
  • Properly canned or bagged,
  • Safe for consumption, and
  • Truthfully labeled (source).

These regulations for sanitary conditions and proper packaging help prevent contamination with bacteria or diseases that could harm pets and owners.

However, there are incidents where contamination still happens and the dog food must be recalled.

Here you can find a list of recent recalls and concerns about pet food brands verified by the American Veterinary Medical Association https://www.avma.org/news/recalls-alerts.

If a brand has a lot of recalls or poorly managed recalls that resulted in outbreaks of illness, you should be wary of feeding their food to your pet.

It is important to note that “safe for consumption” does not mean high quality.

Anything with meat, poultry, or grain is generally considered safe for consumption by the FDA which could include less nutritious and undesirable parts of the animal.

Photo of colorful dry dog food.Listing of Ingredients

There is a system for listing the ingredients on your dog’s food label and understanding it will help you pick the best ingredients for your pet!

The FDA mandates that ingredients must be listed from most to least based on their weight (source).

This means the majority of your dog’s food is comprised of the first few ingredients listed, so you want to be sure they aren’t fillers. Instead, look for whole foods.

It is also important to note that the way brands are labeled hints at their ingredients (source).

Brands that have a name like “Kibble with Beef”, only need to contain 3% beef to be approved by the FDA.

In contrast, foods with an ingredient as the first word must contain at least 95% of that ingredient, such as “Beef Dog Food”.

This subtle difference is often used to convince pet owners into buying dog foods that actually contain very small amounts of the ingredients that they had intended to buy.

Key Terminology on Labels

Here is a list of unique words that may appear on pet food labels or packaging including their meaning:

  • By-Products– Parts of farm animals that we may not wish to consume, but sill hold nutritional value. Livers, hearts, and a few other nutrient-rich organs are positive by-products of farm animals. As long as the by-products are prepared into your pet’s food in a safe and sanitary manner they do not need to be feared.
  • CBD– This is a non-hallucinogenic extraction from the cannabis plant that is trending on the pet market. This is still being researched for any negative effects on pets and is not recommended by the AMVA until further research is completed.
  • Preservatives– These are necessary to prevent dog food from going bad while it sits in the store or in your pantry. There are natural preservatives if you are hesitant about artificially created preservatives.
  • Limited Ingredient–  There is not a regulated definition for the term “limited ingredient.” It often hints at a novel protein or carb source, but this label does not legally bind the food to contain anything specific.
  • Natural– Brands in U.S. states that have adopted the AAFCO’s definition of “natural” may only use it to describe food that doesn’t contain any chemically created synthetic additives.
  • Organic–  Pet foods labeled as organic must follow the regulations established by the USDA, which are the same as those that apply to organic labeled food for humans.
  • Grain-Free– These dog foods are free of grain and a popular trend in pet food. However recent research supported by the FDA has linked grain-free diets to a heart complication in dogs known as dilated cardiomyopathy (source). For this reason, grain-free diets are generally recommended against by veterinarians.

Source: https://www.petfoodinstitute.org/pet-food-matters/ingredients/choosing-a-pet-food/

Final Words: Best Dog Foods On The Market

Well, I hope you now have a better idea of some of the best dog foods on the market.

It is important to remember that every pet has specific needs.

Pets with chronic problems should consult a veterinarian before changing foods or attempting to get a prescription diet.

Always transition your dog slowly from an old diet to a new diet by mixing them based on the instructions from the dog food maker.

If you cannot find that information, please call your veterinarian to obtain proper ratios for mixing the food.

This assures that your pet won’t get a stomach ache or diarrhea from a rapid transition to new food.

Here’s to a long, well-fed, and well-loved life for your pup!

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