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Best Dog Food Brands

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Best Dog Food Brands of 2024: Expert Reviews & Ratings

 

Looking for the best dog food brands for 2024? Here, we’ve compiled expert reviews and ratings to help you choose the top options for your dog’s health and well-being. Discover the standout fresh food brands and why veterinarians recommend them.

 

Key Takeaways

 
  • The best dog food brands of 2024, like Purina, Hill’s Science Diet, and Royal Canin, are lauded for their high-quality ingredients, nutritional value, and veterinary formulation, which ensure dogs’ well-being.
  • Each highlighted brand offers unique formulas catering to specific needs, such as Purina Pro Plan’s diverse range for different health requirements, Hill’s Science Diet’s life stage-focused nutrition, and Royal Canin’s breed-specific foods.
  • The market for dog food extends beyond dry and wet options, including fresh and raw diets from brands like Maev and The Farmer’s Dog, which emphasize natural, human-grade ingredients tailored for individual dog needs.
 

Top Dog Food Brands of 2024


In the quest for the crown of canine cuisine, a select few dog food brands have risen above the rest this year, earning the title of best dog food brand. Crafted with care and backed by science, these top dog food brands have been vetted for their exceptional quality and nutritional prowess. 

The criteria for their royal selection include their formulation by veterinary nutritionists, a trustworthy list of ingredients, and their status as high-value brands. It’s no wonder discerning dog owners, guided by the expertise of Dr. Alejandro Caos And Dr. Megan Conrad, have given their nod of approval to these top contenders.

Veterinary recommendations have always been a cornerstone in the world of pet nutrition. Renowned brands like:

  • Purina

  • Hill’s Science Diet

  • Royal Canin

  • Iams

have built a reputation for their rigorous standards and consistent quality. Purina and Hill’s Science Diet, particularly, have been highlighted for their top-rated formulations this year, a testament to their dedication to canine well-being.

But what makes the best dog food the truly best in a show? A complete and balanced diets diet, for starters, should be a mosaic of:

  • meat

  • vegetables

  • grains

  • fruits

providing a symphony of nutrients that dance to the tune of your dog’s health. It’s essential that the information you rely on for your pet’s diet comes from a trusted source. As a product review company, not a manufacturer, we take pride in offering unbiased insights that prioritize your pet’s health above all.

The stage is set, and the champions of dog nutrition are ready to be unveiled. Each brand that has earned its place on this list represents the pinnacle of what 2024 offers senior dogs. Based on a comprehensive survey of 407 dog owners, meticulously updated by Anna Mejorada, these brands are the jewels in the crown of the best dog* foods this year:

  1. Purina Pro Plan

  2. Hill’s Science Diet

  3. Royal Canin

  4. Iams

  5. Blue Buffalo

 

These dog food brand options have been recognized for their high-quality ingredients, nutritional value, and positive impact on dogs’ health and well-being.

Purina Pro Plan

 

Purina Pro Plan stands as a shining beacon in the dog food arena, offering a smorgasbord of options for every canine connoisseur. Whether your furry friend is a dainty Dachshund or a colossal Great Dane, their specific needs are catered for with Purina’s extensive range of formulas. From sensitive stomachs to weight management, each bag is a promise of a complete and balanced diet, tailored to perfection.

The key to Purina Pro Plan’s success lies in its carefully chosen ingredients. Here are some of the key ingredients and their benefits:

  • Glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids: support joint health

  • Live probiotics: ensure a healthy digestive system

  • Chelated minerals: included for superior absorption, ensuring your dog gets the most out of every bite.

Pet parents have spoken, and their reviews are glowing. With ratings that highlight the brand’s:

  • ease of use

  • quality

  • engagement

  • value for money

It’s clear that Purina Pro Plan is a crowd favorite. Vets and professional breeders put their trust in it, especially the Purina Pro Plan Puppy formula, which is renowned for its optimal growth support through controlled calcium levels.

But what sets Purina Pro Plan apart from the pack? It’s the brand’s most beloved line, revered for its high-quality ingredients that make most dogs wag their tails with gusto. Pet owners who’ve chosen this brand have shared heartwarming stories of their dogs living longer, healthier lives, a testament to the brand’s commitment to canine longevity.

Whether it’s the Purina Pro Plan Sport, formulated for dogs of all ages, or the Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food, rich in salmon and prebiotic fiber, the brand offers a symphony of flavors and health benefits. With a main ingredient like chicken setting the stage for a delectable feast, it’s no wonder Purina Pro Plan is the toast of the town among discerning dog owners.

Hill’s Science Diet

 

Elegance and science converge in the form of Hill’s Science Diet, a brand synonymous with tailored nutrition that meets the nuanced needs of every dog, regardless of age or size. Small and large breeds alike find solace in specialized formulations that not only satisfy their appetites but also bolster their individual health requirements.

Dive into the world of Hill’s Science Diet and discover a culinary landscape designed to support the life stage of your canine companion.

  • Puppies relish in the Small Bites Dry Dog Food, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

  • Adult dogs aged 1-6 benefit from the omega-6 and vitamin E infused formula.

  • Senior dogs aged 7+ aren’t left behind, with lifestage foods crafted to address their specific developmental and health needs.

The commitment to diversity doesn’t end there. Hill’s Science Diet takes pride in offering formulations for small breed and large breed dogs, each meticulously engineered to meet their distinct nutritional requirements. For dogs embarking on a weight management journey or those with sensitive stomachs, Hill’s Science Diet steps up with solutions that include the Perfect Weight formula and Sensitive Stomach & Skin range.

In a nod to the health-conscious pet parent, Hill’s Science Diet offers selections free from corn, wheat, or soy, championing options that enhance immune system function, sustain lean muscles, and promote heart health. The formula for small and mini breeds, with chicken meal as the main protein source, is a showcase of the brand’s commitment to quality and specificity.

Hill’s Science Diet offers a range of dog foods, including:


  • Prescription dog foods for medical conditions like urinary and kidney problems

  • The Perfect Weight formula, which supports a healthy weight in over 70% of pets within 10 weeks

  • The Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin formula, which includes prebiotic fiber and digestive health support

With Hill’s Science Diet, your dog can not only eat well but thrive.

Royal Canin


Royal Canin reigns supreme with a regal array of hyper-specific formulas that cater to the smallest of details in a dog’s life. From the towering Great Dane to the sprightly Chihuahua, every breed finds its match in Royal Canin’s extensive catalog. These bespoke recipes are crafted with the utmost attention to breed-specific health concerns and nutritional requirements.

The brand’s dedication to precision nutrition is evident in its offerings raw food diets for different breeds. Some examples include:

  • The majestic Golden Retriever, which benefits from cardiac support

  • The robust Labrador, whose diet is controlled to prevent obesity

  • German Shepherds, whose breed-specific formulas address unique health concerns like gastrointestinal sensitivity with highly digestible proteins and specific fibers

With Royal Canin, size truly does matter. The Size Health Nutrition line features kibble that’s tailor-made in size and texture, enhancing palatability and easing consumption for dogs of varying statures. It’s not just about size, though; energy levels and joint health are also at the forefront of Royal Canin’s nutritional considerations.

The brand’s specificity extends to different life stages, with formulations for large adult dogs, giant breeds, and other size categories. Each offering, from the full wet food or dry food formulas for medium and large breeds to the specific options for puppies, is a testament to Royal Canin’s commitment to a dog’s life journey.

Royal Canin’s crowning glory may well be its small breed adult dry dog food, perfect for those petite companions weighing between nine and 22 pounds. It’s a celebration of the unique needs of every dog’s breed, age, and size, ensuring that every meal is a royal banquet in its own right.

Blue Buffalo


In the verdant pastures of dog nutrition, Blue Buffalo stands out with its steadfast commitment to natural ingredients and a robust portfolio that serves a medley of dietary needs. With a staunch stance against:

  • poultry by-product meals

  • corn

  • wheat

  • soy

Blue Buffalo offers a refreshing alternative that prioritizes your dog’s health and your peace of mind.

The diversity of Blue Buffalo’s product lines is a testament to the brand’s understanding of individual pet needs. Whether it’s the grain-free desires of the FREEDOM line or the pursuit of high-protein nutrition with BLUE Wilderness, there’s a formula for every preference. The Life Protection Formula, emphasizing meat-first recipes, is a cornerstone of Blue Buffalo’s offerings.

For those canine companions with sensitive stomachs or particular taste preferences, the BLUE Basics range provides a sanctuary of limited-ingredient diet options. Each carefully curated formula ensures that even the most delicate of dogs can dine without distress.

Yet, it’s not just about eliminating the common allergens. Blue Buffalo’s commitment to functional nutrition shines through with the BLUE True Solutions line prescription foods, targeting specific health concerns with carefully selected ingredients. Grain-free enthusiasts will find solace in the brand’s deliberate avoidance of wheat, barley, rye, and corn, ensuring a diet that respects and responds to food sensitivities.

Navigating the dog food world can be akin to wandering through a labyrinth of labels and ingredients. Blue Buffalo provides a guiding light with its clear commitment to natural, wholesome nutrition, offering pet parents a choice that aligns with their values and their own pets’’ well-being.

Best Dry Dog Food Options


The debate between using dry pet food and wet dog food is a tale as old as time in the world of pet care. Yet, regarding convenience, longevity, and cost-effectiveness, dry dog food often emerges as the victor. 2024’s best dry dog food options are a parade of nutritionally dense and palate-pleasing choices catering to the most discerning dogs.

Take Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast, a powerhouse of protein, fat, and estimated carbs that packs a punch in every kibble. Or Canidae Grain-Free Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato, which combines the richness of the sea with the earthy goodness of sweet potato and vegetables, offering a balanced meal that’s hard to beat.

Instinct Original with Real Beef is another contender, boasting a profile that balances protein and fat with a lower carb count, making it an ideal choice for active dogs. Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog Formula follows suit, with a composition designed to fuel the most adventurous of canines.

The array of canned, dry dog food options doesn’t end there. Here are some examples of dry dog food brands and their unique features:

  • Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken and Oatmeal: high-quality ingredients like fresh turkey

  • Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Beef and Brown Rice: energy-promoting formula

  • Wellness Core Original: high-quality ingredients like fresh turkey

  • Annamaet Ultra: energy-promoting formula

The choices are abundant.

Dry dog food’s popularity isn’t accidental. Its ease of storage and serving makes it a practical choice for busy pet parents. And with brands striving to meet the healthiest dog food standards, there’s no shortage of quality options to fill your dog’s bowl.

Best Wet Dog Food Choices


While some dry dog foods, treats and kibble reign supreme in the convenience department, wet dog food holds its own with a siren call of flavor and moisture that can entice even the pickiest of eaters. The best wet dog food choices of 2024 prove that a juicy, tender meal can be just as nutritious as its crunchy counterpart.

Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken Wet Dog Food is a standout. Its hearty blend of deboned chicken, chicken broth, brown rice, and chicken liver is sure to appeal to any dog’s carnivorous cravings. It’s a wet dry food, that satisfies hunger and provides a rich, meaty experience.

Royal Canin Adult Gastrointestinal Canned Dog Food offers a gentle oasis for furry friends with more delicate digestive systems. Its blend of canned food ingredients includes:

  • low-fat content

  • prebiotics

  • dietary fibers

  • omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil

makes it a top choice for soothing the GI tract and promoting healthy digestion.

Wet dog food’s appeal extends beyond taste; it’s a boon for dogs with dental issues unable to crunch on dry kibble, or those requiring a higher moisture diet due to health conditions. It’s a meal that’s both a comfort and a cure, nestled within a can of pet food, specifically a dog’s only wet food can.

The allure of wet dog food is undeniable. It’s more than just a meal; it’s an experience that can transform a routine feeding into a moment of joy for dogs. With options like Merrick and Royal Canin leading the pack, wet dog food formulated well is a choice that offers both palatability and health benefits.

Fresh and Raw Dog Food Brands


In modern dog diets, fresh and raw dog food brands are like the artisanal chefs of the canine world, crafting meals that are as close to nature as possible. These brands have garnered a following among pet parents who seek a more primal, raw diet, for their dogs, one that’s rich in human-grade ingredients and tailored to individual nutritional needs.

For example, Maev, raw meat and dog food is a culinary masterpiece combining USDA-certified beef and chicken liver with a medley of fresh vegetables, fruits, and supplements. Species-specific probiotics and omega fatty acids are woven into this raw best dry dog food, tapestry, boosting immunity and supporting overall health from the inside out.

The Farmer’s Dog brings the convenience of human-grade dog food right to your dog’s age and doorstep with its subscription service. Starting at a manageable $2 per day, this brand offers meals that can be stored in the fridge or freezer, ensuring your dog gets the freshest and finest meals. It’s particularly renowned for its:

  • suitability for pets with sensitivities or allergies

  • high-quality ingredients

  • customized meal plans

  • convenient delivery service

This makes it a beacon of hope for those with picky eaters and finicky stomachs.

Ollie, another champion of fresh dog food, prides itself on homemade meal flavors that span the spectrum from chicken to lamb. The ease of use of their website and app, the flexibility in delivery dates or locations, and the compact packaging make Ollie a frontrunner in the fresh dog food space.

Fresh and raw dog food brands like Maev, The Farmer’s Dog, and Ollie are reshaping the dog food landscape. With their commitment to quality, convenience, and tailored nutrition, they offer a modern approach to feeding our pets that many dog owners have come to cherish.

Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Pet


Selecting the perfect dog food is not merely a matter of taste—it’s a decision that hinges on the pillars of nutritional adequacy and balanced portions. The right dog food can be the gateway to stronger muscles, a lustrous coat, and a robust immune system. As such, it’s a choice that demands careful consideration and a discerning eye.

Understanding the nuances of your dog’s size, weight, and health conditions is the first step in the process. Large breed dogs, for example, require a different balance of nutrients to support musculoskeletal health, especially during their growth stages. Conversely, small breed dogs have specific needs that can be addressed with specially formulated small-breed dog food.

The role of a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist cannot be overstated when choosing your dog’s food. These experts can provide invaluable guidance based on your dog’s life stage, breed, and any health conditions they may have. Whether it’s a puppy formula for your growing companion or a senior dog food for your aging friend, the advice of a professional veterinary nutritionist is crucial.

For dogs with special dietary needs or allergies, the ingredient list on dog food labels is like a map to safe nourishment. It’s important to avoid vague terms like ‘meat meal’ and seek out dog foods labeled as having clear, identifiable sources of protein. The nutritional adequacy statement on the packaging canned dog food should proudly declare the food as ‘complete and balanced,’ a seal of approval from organizations like the AAFCO.

Choosing the right dog food, including puppy food, is a journey that may require trial and error before finding the ideal match. By paying close attention to your dog’s response to new puppy food, avoiding artificial preservatives, and consulting with your vet, you can ensure that your dog enjoys their meals and thrives on them.

How to Transition Your Dog to a New Food


Introducing a new food to your dog’s diet is not something to be done on a whim—it’s a delicate dance that should be approached with patience and tact. The transition from old to new food should be gradual, taking place over a span of 7-10 days to prevent any digestive upset that could throw your dog off balance.

The mixing method is the key to a successful transition. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Starting with a blend of 75% old and 25% new food, you can slowly shift the balance over a week.

  2. By days 3 to 4, aim for an equal mix of old and new food.

  3. By days 5 to 7, the new food should dominate the bowl at a ratio of 3/4 to the old food’s 1/4.

Day 8 marks the final stretch where you can fully commit to the new diet, serving up a bowl of 100% new dog food. However, it’s important to watch your dog’s reaction to the raw food diet throughout this period. Any signs of digestive distress may necessitate a slower transition, extending the mixing period to ensure a smooth changeover.

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when the transition hits a snag. If your dog experiences any gastrointestinal issues, it’s imperative to seek the advice of your veterinarian. They can help troubleshoot the problem and provide guidance on how to proceed without causing further distress to your pet.

Transitioning your dog to a new food is as much about the journey as the destination. By following these steps and maintaining a keen eye on your dog’s well-being, you can confidently navigate this change, ensuring that your dog’s dietary switch is a resounding success.

Other Best Dog Foods



Summary


As we’ve journeyed through the best dog food brands of 2024, we’ve uncovered a world where quality ingredients, tailored nutrition, and expert formulation reign supreme.

From the trusted formulas of Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet to the breed-specific nourishment of Royal Canin, the personalized offerings of Blue Buffalo, and the fresh approach of Maev and The Farmer’s Dog, every choice we make for our canine companions is a step towards their optimal health and happiness.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if dog food is complete and balanced?

To know if dog food is complete and balanced, look for the nutritional adequacy statement on the dog food label, specifying that it meets the AAFCO’s nutritional levels.

Can I feed my large breed puppy adult dog food?

No, feeding large-breed puppies a formula specifically designed for their nutritional requirements to support their growth is important.

Is grain-free dog food better for my dog?

Grain-free dog food is not necessarily better for all dogs but can benefit those with grain allergies or sensitivities. It’s crucial to consult with your vet to determine if a grain-free diet is suitable for your pet.

How often should I switch my dog’s food?

You should generally not switch your dog’s food unless there’s a specific reason, such as a change in life stage or health condition, or if the food is no longer meeting your dog’s nutritional needs. Always make changes gradually and with your vet’s guidance.

Can switching dog food cause digestive issues?

Yes, abruptly switching your dog’s skin and food can cause digestive upset. To minimize the risk, it’s important to transition your dog to the new food slowly over a period of 7-10 days.

How often should I feed my dog?

Puppies generally require more frequent meals, about three to four times a day, to support their rapid growth and development. As dogs mature into adulthood, the standard feeding routine typically transitions to twice daily.

However, for some dogs, particularly those prone to bloating or with specific health issues, more frequent, smaller meals may be recommended. Large breed dogs, for example, can benefit from spaced-out meals to prevent the risk of bloat.