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Best Dog Food of 2022 – Healthier, High-Quality Meals For Dogs

Your dog’s devotion to you is unsurpassed. The best way that you can return that unconditional love you receive from him is to care for his health. That starts with his nutrition. Shopping for dog food online or in stores can feel overwhelming, and sometimes, marketing is deceptive. It might seem like you’ve found the best dog food option but when you look at the food label, you realize there are some questionable ingredients in the mix. If you are considering trying a different type of food for your dog, you’ll love this list of the best dog foods we put together.

We list the pros and cons of each best dog food option and give you the inside scoop on the ingredients and flavors used. We also tell you a little bit about the dog food brand, so you know who is behind the scenes and we share some reviews from real customers to help you get another pet parent’s take on each product. We also answer some of your most frequently asked questions and offer guidance on the best dry dog food, wet dog food, and we share a list of ingredients to avoid.

Top 5 Dog Food Brands

  1. JustFoodForDogs – Editor’s Choice for Best Dog Food
  2. Chippin Pet – Runner Up for Best Dog Food
  3. KetoNatural Dog Foods – Honorable Mention
  4. Purina Pro Plan – Budget Friendly
  5. American Journey – Customer Favorite

How Did We Choose the 5 Best Dog Food Brands?

We put this list of best dog food options together using a simple four step framework. Below is what we considered:

There are dog food options out there with low-quality ingredients, fillers, and artificial additives. Some of these less-than-nutritious ingredients are found in dry food and some in wet varieties. We believe dogs deserve only the best nutrition, so we’ve only selected products made by companies that prioritize high-quality ingredients.

Just like humans, dogs may have a certain preference for their meat. One dog may really love the flavor of chicken while another loves the flavor of beef or lamb. Still, another dog may prefer a salmon flavor. We selected a variety of different options so you can find one that your pup will love. We also highlight the best dry dog food and fresh meals to offer a good selection. 

Dry food is an ongoing expense, so we also considered affordability when putting this list together. You’ll find a variety of different price points on our options to suit any budget.

Customer reviews are where we find the details about a dog’s true preferences – whether it’s about dry food or wet food. We only chose the best dog food brands that have a high number of positive reviews.

Top 5 Dog Food Options – Reviews

1. JustFoodForDogs – Editor’s Choice for Best Dog Food

Pros:

Cons:

  • Same day delivery not available in all areas 

Ingredients and Flavors

Daily Dog Food

Just Food for Dogs sells daily meals for dogs and puppies. Each of their meals contains human edible ingredients like fish and sweet potato, beef and russet potato, lamb and brown rice, and venison and squash. Their meals are always free from preservatives and growth hormones and depending on the meal you select, you can purchase a small box, a medium box, or a large box if you’re feeding a small pack or a large breed. If you select the fish and sweet potato meal, you’ll find that it’s gluten-free and grain free and contains 26 calories per ounce. The ingredients in this meal include wild caught Pacific cod, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, green beans, and broccoli. Each meal is cooked in an open kitchen.

Pantry Dog Food

If you prefer to be able to store your dog’s food on the shelf instead of in the refrigerator, you also have a selection of pantry meals to choose from. These best dog food meals contain ingredients like lamb and brown rice along with cauliflower, carrots, spinach, blueberries, and cod liver oil. If your dog has specific nutrition requirements, there are also meals formulated specifically to support your dog’s health. For example, for adult dogs you can offer renal support with a low protein meal, critical care support, and joint and skin support.

About the Company

Just Food for Dogs operates with several guiding principles. They focus on relentless advocacy for pet health and prioritize complete transparency. They base their decisions on scientific evidence and look to drive change in their industry. As fellow pet owners, they work to honor pet life through support of rescue efforts as well. Their mission and core values aren’t just reflected in the way that they do business, rather they look at these guiding principles as a way of life.

What Other Pet Parents Say 

There is an overwhelming number of positive reviews from happy pet owners who are relieved to have finally found a food that their dogs love. One dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis and her owner was directed to Just Food for Dogs by her veterinarian. Because she made the switch for incredible quality and freshness, her dog has remained healthy since starting the new diet.

Learn more at JustFoodForDogs.com

2. Chippin Pet – Runner Up for Best Dog Food

Pros:

  • More digestible than chicken
  • Reduces carbon footprint 

Cons:

  • International shipping unavailable 

Ingredients and Flavors

Chippin offers silver carp daily food. It’s a limited ingredient recipe that contains silver carp, oats, pumpkin, ground flaxseed, dried chicory root, and brewer’s yeast among other ingredients. It contains 26% protein, 13% fat, 5% fiber, and 10% moisture. The food is oven baked and provides your dog with omega support. These recipes are created with board-certified veterinary nutritionist and PhD’s to support your dog’s gut health, to be highly digestible, and to offer a hypoallergenic option with silver carp protein.

About the Company

Chippin is all about pets and they encourage people to “chip in” to help save the planet. They focus on making high-quality, drool-worthy products that use 80% fewer resources. They also prioritize sustainability and make sure that the protein they sell leaves a smaller eco-paw print on land use, oceans, air quality, and biodiversity. They know there’s a world of high-quality protein options for dogs and that’s why they formulate these recipes.

What Other Pet Parents Say 

One verified buyer is thrilled that his dog, Bear, gets excited to eat again. Other pup parents feel good supporting a company that is conscious about the planet and they love that their dogs happily eat their meals. Another buyer has three dogs to support and uses Chippin meals as treats for her dogs to help them enjoy their regular meals more. One five month old Boxer/German Shepherd transitioned to this food recently and the transition was smooth – no digestive upset. This pup now has great energy and a shiny coat to show for the great nutrition!

Learn more at ChippinPet.com

3. KetoNatural Dog Foods – Honorable Mention

Pros:

  • Discounted pricing when you trade your email
  • Subscribe and save 5% on dog food
  • Free shipping on orders $20 
  • 100% money back guarantee

Cons:

  • Customers in Alaska and Hawaii are responsible for shipping fees 

Ingredients and Flavors

You have two main dry food recipes to choose from on the Keto Natural Dog Foods website. They offer a chicken recipe and a salmon recipe. The chicken recipe includes chicken, pea protein, ground green peas, oat hulls, chicken fat, and flaxseed meal. You can purchase this recipe in an 8.4 pound bag or a 24.2 pound bag. The salmon recipe contains ingredients like salmon, pea protein, ground green peas, and salmon fat, along with several vitamin supplements. You can check the guaranteed analysis on the website. For both recipes, the guaranteed analysis states a minimum of 46% crude protein and 16% crude fat.

About the Company

Keto Natural puts science first. Instead of relying on emotional ads, hollow marketing claims, or feel-good stories, they prefer to rely on substantive facts. They operate with the belief that pet owners deserve a smarter choice. They strive toward offering transparency and they also work toward being forthcoming with their pet parent partners. They recognize that there have been increasing cases of obesity, cancer, osteoarthritis, and diabetes in pets and it’s why they strive to provide pet food that is both progressive and altruistic.

What Other Pet Parents Say 

Customers have transitioned their dogs to Keto Natural for different reasons. One dog, Buddy, had bad allergies and his owner had a hard time finding food he actually liked until she fed him Keto Natural. Another dog transitioned to Keto Natural with no digestive upset and has lost 2 pounds in two months. Still, another dog that was diagnosed with diabetes has seen an improvement in her blood sugar. Her owner couldn’t be happier.

Learn more at KetoNaturalPetFoods.com

4. Purina Pro Plan – Budget Friendly

Pros:

  • Available in multiple bag sizes
  • High protein and high fiber
  • Options suitable for all breeds 

Cons:

  • The chicken nuggets in the food may be a bit large for smaller dogs and may be better suited for a large breed

Ingredients and Flavors

Purina Pro Plan adult shredded chicken and rice formula is a dry food option that’s available in multiple bag sizes, ranging from six pounds up to 47 pounds. Ingredients include chicken, rice, whole-grain wheat, dried egg product, and fish meal along with several different vitamins. Every recipe by Purina contains real meat as the very first ingredient and incorporates mixed textures like crunchy kibble and tender, shredded pieces that when combined offer a palatable meal for your pup. Additionally, these recipes include prebiotic fiber to help nourish specific intestinal bacteria. This recipe incorporates omega fatty acids and vitamins to nourish your dog’s skin and coat too! 

About the Company

Purina is a company of pet lovers that focuses on nourishing pets and enriching lives. For over 90 years, they’ve held the belief that pets and people are better when they are together. They are all fellow pet owners, which is why they have a passion for pet nutrition. They conduct industry-leading research on the well-being of pets year after year to keep their products enhanced with the latest discoveries on pet nutrition.

What Other Pet Parents Say 

Customers love that this food is vet recommended and that is also approved by their dogs. One verified buyer has two standard poodles, and this is the only food that he’s found that helps his dogs have normal bowel movements. He’s tried more expensive products and his dogs’ stomachs couldn’t handle them. He’s been using Pro Plan by Purina for over two years, and feels that it’s a huge blessing that his dogs experience healthy digestion. Another pet owner refers to her dog as a “picture of health” because his coat is shiny, and his eyes are so bright. She is happy with her choice and recommends it to other dog owners.

Learn more at Chewy.com

5. American Journey – Customer Favorite

Pros:

  • Available in different sizes
  • Grain-free, high protein
  • Contains nutritious fruits and vegetables
  • Includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

Cons:

  • Free shipping available only for orders over $49 

Ingredients and Flavors

American Journey chicken and sweet potato recipe is a dry food that contains deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, pea protein, and chicken fat. Additional ingredients include blueberries, carrots, dried kelp, and several different vitamins. The guaranteed analysis states 34% crude protein and 15% crude fat. This is a high-protein food that is not only delicious for your dog but that is also full of amino acids to help him maintain lean muscle mass. There are also vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants included in the recipe for immune system support and phytonutrients. Because this is a grain-free dog food that’s also free of corn, wheat, and soy, it’s ideal for pets with sensitive tummies. 

About the Company

American Journey is Chewy’s brand. Chewy works closely with production partners to develop their recipes and keep their products meeting and exceeding their high standards. They make their meals with satisfying, flavorful proteins rich in amino acids to make sure there is a recipe for every dog. You’ll always see high-quality meats like real, deboned lamb, beef, salmon, or chicken as a first ingredient, no matter the recipe.

What Other Pet Parents Say 

Aside from their pups loving the food by American Journey, customers are also really impressed with Chewy and their customer service. They’ve found their support team extremely helpful when looking for specific dog products. Other verified buyers are relieved knowing that their dogs love the recipes. When dealing with a picky dog, it can get pricey and overwhelming trying out different options but several pet owners have commented that they’ve finally settled on American Journey because their dogs love the flavor.

Learn more at Chewy.com

How to Shop for the Finest Dog Foods

Maybe in a parallel universe there exists a world where all dog food is created with great care, with only beneficial ingredients, never any fillers or artificial colors and preservatives, and where it’s basically made with perfect nutrition for your dog. The reality is we don’t live in that alternate universe. We live in a world where food for dogs simply isn’t created equally across various dog food brands. Some are very clearly better than others. When you search for dog food online, you’re presented with so many options that trying to make a decision is overwhelming. But there are several things you can consider when shopping for the greatest food for your pup and that’s how healthy the ingredients are, how affordable the food is for you and your budget long-term, and also the flavors that your dog will actually enjoy. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve put this list of items to look for when you set out on your search for high-quality food.

Consider Nutritional Needs

If your adult dog is aging but is completely healthy without any illnesses or conditions, then he may do well with most commercial options because they are formulated to provide your dog with the bare minimum nutritional requirements. However, certain breeds and dogs that have been diagnosed with illnesses or other conditions may require a specific set of nutrients in their food. If you have a puppy, his set of nutritional needs will be completely different than if you have a senior dog. Similarly, large breed dogs have a different set of nutritional requirements than smaller dogs. The first and best place to start is with an assessment of your dog’s unique nutritional requirements. From there, you can make the best choice in brands when you’re shopping.

Let’s Dispel Myths

You can search anything online and because of that, there are a wide variety of articles and blogs dedicated to answering your questions. However, not every article or blog that you come across on the internet is written by a credible source. In fact, you’ll notice that most blogs and articles you come across are based entirely on opinions or personal experiences. While anecdotal evidence does have some merit, when you’re searching for top dog food options, what you want to rely on are credible sources. Credible sources include veterinarians, scientific studies, and canine nutritionists. If you find an article or a blog with an outrageous claim or one that’s touting a miracle, human-grade food for dogs, make sure that you’re checking the source. This is the best way to keep yourself from falling into a false belief. It’s also the best way to protect your dog from the damaging effects of opinions instead of relying on facts as they have been studied.

Know How to Decipher Dog Food Labels

If you’re anything like most of us, when you read a dog food label, you skim rather than read it because it sounds a lot like gibberish. How are you supposed to know what differentiates a good food product from a bad food product? Well, there are some telltale signs that can help you better understand the product you’re considering.

For example, you can look through a list of ingredients, check for a statement of nutritional adequacy, and also look at the intended animal species. The labels on food for dogs should contain feeding guidelines based on the weight of your dog, so that you know how much food to provide. The ingredients list is probably the most important and even though the label doesn’t let you know what the quality of the ingredients are or exactly where they’re sourced, you can look out for the way manufacturers split up the ingredients to make it appear as though they’re actually different ingredients. 

For example, you might read flaked corn and kibbled corn on the ingredients list and think they are separate. However, what this pet food label is telling you is that the contents of corn in that particular dry food is really high. So high, in fact, that they had to break it up into multiple ingredients to make it appear as though the food is healthier. Another ingredient you can look out for is meat meal. Initially, you might think that meat meal is not a beneficial ingredient and it’s just some kind of clever wording to disguise something heavily processed. However, a meat meal contains more meat than whole meat. Meat meal contains more meat because there is less water weight than what is found in whole meats. A little research goes a long way and in the list we specified above, we vetted the ingredients list for you!

Consider Breed Sizes

Large breed dogs are going to require a different set of nutrients than smaller dogs by nature. Larger dogs have a lot of stress put on their joints and they are prone to a variety of issues like arthritis as they develop. Because of this, they require food that is specifically formulated for a large breed. If you have a small breed, they may require a significantly smaller kibble size to keep them from choking. Each dog has his own nutritional requirements and if you aren’t already aware of what those are for your dog, a quick internet search can help you understand exactly what your dog needs. This way, you’re prepared and know what to look for when shopping for dog food.

Puppy Food is for Puppies

Puppies, like human babies, are going through a massive growth process within the first year after birth. They need a lot of nutrients to get them growing healthily, which is why puppy food is created. Puppy food is labeled as such and is ideal, especially for puppies that are going to grow into a large or extra-large breed. They need all the support they can get to get them to the adult life stage and well into their senior life stage.

Senior Dogs Need Specific Nutrients

Just like puppies need a specific set of nutrients to help them grow and develop, adult dogs also require a specific set of nutrients. Many senior dogs, though not all, may battle with obesity. This is because they’re less active as they used to be and so their nutritional requirements may change. Recipes with omega fatty acids might be needed for coats that may have lost their youthful luster. Senior food should also taste good to your dog and they may require wet, soft food as opposed to crunchy kibbles because their teeth have changed as well. Consider your dog’s life stage and what he needs and always talk to your vet to get personalized recommendations.

Dry Dog Food Versus Wet or Canned Dog Food

When deciding between dry dog food and wet or canned food, you may find that purchasing both and mixing them might be the best option for you and your dog. Each type of food has its own health benefits, so you can consider those when you decide.

Wet Dog Food Benefits

Wet food obviously has a higher moisture content than dry kibble. This helps to keep your dog hydrated, especially if he tends to avoid drinking water. This could also be extremely helpful for dogs that have a history of urinary or kidney disease. Another benefit of wet options is how palatable they are. Canned food tends to be a lot more flavorful and aromatic when compared to dry dog food and if your dog has been struggling with getting his calories in, offering up meals of the best wet dog food could be the most enticing option. Wet food is also known to create that “full” feeling in dogs that lets them know they’ve had a great meal. And if your dog has any dental disease or other abnormalities in his mouth, canned food may be a lot easier for him to chew and get down.

Dry Dog Food Benefits

Because the best dry food is crunchy, it’s helpful with promoting dental health. Dry dog food can prevent tartar buildup and prevent any incidences of periodontal disease. Dry dog food is also a very convenient food option for your dog because when you leave it out, dry dog food won’t spoil the way wet food does. You’ll also find that even the best dry kibble is more cost effective in the long term. With the best dry dog food, you can also use food puzzles and slow feeders, which are designed to enrich your dog’s cognitive function and improve his quality of life.

What Ingredients Should I Avoid When Buying Dog Food?

Sadly, some dog food manufacturers use low-quality ingredients and fillers to cut costs. But when you know what to look for, you don’t have to worry about giving your dog low-quality food. Avoid the following ingredients.

Melamine

Melamine is a type of plastic that gets added to some foods to make them appear as though they have more protein. If your dog ingests melamine, he can get really sick because this ingredient is toxic for dogs. Avoid this ingredient in dog food at all costs.

Propylene Glycol

This is an artificial additive that is sometimes included in dog food to create a certain texture that allows food to remain soft for chewing. Even though the FDA considers this ingredient safe, it’s still better to avoid it to preserve your dog’s health.

Carrageenan

This is an ingredient that is used in dog food to create a thicker consistency. It’s primarily used in wet food and can be harmful to your dog, causing conditions like G.I. inflammation.

Food Dyes or Corn Syrup

These are needless ingredients because dog food does not require artificial colors. Your dog doesn’t care what his food looks like as long as it tastes good. Food dyes are used in dog food to make them more appealing to humans. Obviously, this is silly because humans aren’t the ones eating the food. Try to avoid products that contain either food dyes or corn syrup because neither has health benefits for your dog.

MSG

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, and you probably recognize it because it’s also used in human food to enhance flavor. Many dogs are allergic to this ingredient, and it doesn’t add nutritional value. Often, it’s used in products with low-quality ingredients to make them more palatable. If you spot this ingredient, it’s best to keep looking.

When Should I Switch to Senior Dog Food?

There are several symptoms you can look out for to confirm when it’s time to switch your dog over to senior dog food. If you notice that your dog’s coat has gotten dull and flaky, you may need to switch to dog food that contains omega-3 and omega six fatty acids to get your dog’s coat looking shiny and healthy again. Senior dogs may not require a diet change if they are healthy, and their body is in good condition. However, if your dog has developed any disease related to aging like arthritis, dental problems, kidney disease, or diabetes, then a dietary adjustment may be necessary. It’s always best to connect with your veterinarian whenever you’re considering changing your dog’s food because your vet knows your pet’s medical history and can give you the best advice.

Safest Way to Switch My Dog to New Dog Foods

Switching to a new food, whether it’s wet or dry dog food, can cause gastrointestinal upset in your dog. To prevent discomfort, it’s best to slowly ease your dog into a new dog food over 7 to 10 days. You’ll start by mixing in a little bit of the new food with his old food, slowly increasing the new food and decreasing the old food over that period of time. By the 10th day, you will have transitioned him from the old food to the new food. Dogs’ stomachs can be very sensitive and if you don’t transition slowly, you could be dealing with a sick pup that leaves a mess all over your floor. Always take your time when transitioning and keep an eye on your dog to see if he’s responding well to the new diet.

Conclusion

The best food for your dog incorporates a variety of different nutritional elements, ranging from high-quality meat sources to vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s organ health. Whether you select dry dog food, wet dog food, or fresh human-grade meals, the best options are packed with nutrition to support good health and longevity. Good health starts with nutrition and when you prioritize nutrients for your pup, he gets a chance to stay alongside you in a healthy state for many years to come!

Best Dog Food of 2022 – Healthier, High-Quality Meals For Dogs