FOOD & TREATS

Top 10 Dog Foods: Identifying The Best Food Options On The Market

Store for dog food
Anna Smith
Written by Anna Smith

Any dog owner wants to have a healthy pup that is full of energy, has a good muscle tone, vibrant and thick fur and that will live a long, happy life. In order to achieve that, the food ingested by dogs plays one of the main roles.

The chosen food should provide enough nutrients and the necessary energy needed for the pet’s body to function properly. In dogs, the energy requirements differ depending on breed, lifestyle and activity level, so making a list of top dog foods that applies to every dog is almost impossible.

Therefore, a pup’s diet must be in harmony with its development stage, physiological or pathological condition and so on.

In general, you can feed your dog with homemade food, dry food, semi-moist food or canned food. The supermarkets and the pet shops are crammed with many types of dog food that can be both good and bad.

Their labels are confusing since they use all kinds of terms such as holistic, organic or super premium when describing their products. This situation makes it difficult for a regular person who does not research for hours to pick the best food for his/her puppy to eat.

It could even be overwhelming for certain people to read all the labels and finally take a decision. There is also special food for small and large dogs, for dogs that need to lose weight, for active dogs or for lazy dogs. There are a few guidelines that can be followed by new owners when they are trying to buy the right food for their dogs.

«Must have» ingredients & top 10 dog food brands

What does healthy food mean when it comes to feeding your puppy? It means that it should contain all the ingredients that ensure the most basic nutritional needs of a dog, a good source of protein, adequate fats, fibers and moisture.

The ingredients from dog food are different depending on the manufacturer and the brand, but regardless of their provenience, they should meet certain standards.

Still, any dog food should contain proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients important for a proper development of a dog. Depending on the producer, dog food may contain animal and vegetal proteins, grains and other carbohydrates as well.

The top 10 dog foods by brand are as follows:

  Dry foods Canned foods
1 Acana Animonda
2 Bosch Happy Dog
3 Eukanuba Herrmanns Bio
4 Hill’s Hill’s
5 Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine Lukullus
6 Purina Pro Plan Rinti
7 Royal Canin Breed Rocco
8 Royal Canin Size Royal Canin
9 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Schesir
10 Taste of the Wild Terra Canis

The aforementioned classification is made based on data merging from different lists that include opinions from veterinarians and pet owners.

  • Acana — is produced with fresh ingredients that come from a Canadian region named Alberta. This is a family business that has especially conceived recipes, which meet the food requirements of any type of dog, based on the canine carnivorous nature. It has received several international awards for its excellent quality.
  • Bosch— produces a healthy dog food that also offers a complete and balanced nutrition of the highest quality. It is especially mixed in order to meet the needs of different dog breeds.
  • Eukanuba is a premium dog food which contains all the needed nutrients for a canine. Their food does not contain flavors, artificial colors or artificial preservatives.
  • Hill’s Science Plan is a qualitative dog food. In case your doggy gets sick, Hill’s offers a large variety of products with therapeutic role from their Prescription Diet range. It includes a wide range of very tasty dry food that has an adjutant role in a variety of health problems such as urinary infections, skin problems, obesity or kidney problems.
  • Purina — the dog food from Purina contains turkey, lamb, and chicken and beef meat too. Meat is basically the most important ingredient in their recipes. It is highly nutritional, tasty and healthy as well.
  • Royal Canin provides food for every dog size and breed. Their recipes differ according to the needs of young, small, old or huge dogs. They also have a therapeutic range of products.
  • Taste of the Wild is made in the United States of America. It is a tasty dry food for dogs that does not contain cereal and it was conceived for all dogs, regardless of their breed or age.
  • Animonda is a quality food based on the nutritional needs of dogs. It stands for quality, suitable recipes and natural ingredients.
  • Happy Dog — this brand offers healthy dog foods that meet every individual need that dog is known to have. It contains no artificial preservatives or chemical additives and it is prepared without soy.
  • Herrmanns Bio – this dog food is exceptionally made out of organic ingredients. This applies to both meat and vegetables, as well as to rice. It is a gastronomic delight for all dogs, especially for the sensitive ones.
  • Lukullus — this brand of dog food is based on carefully chosen ingredients mixed in perfect proportions. It offers an authentic taste and ensures all the nutritional requirements of a dog.
  • Rinti — the canned food from Rinti is fitted to your pup’s needs. It is made out of pieces of pure meat and it is delicious. It is based on a natural recipe.
  • Rocco— is a type of canned food that promises to provide everything that your dog needs in terms of nutrition. It has no chemical additives and contains whole pieces of meat.
  • Schesir— a combination of tuna and poultry, Schesir is a great choice when it comes to canned food for doggies.
  • Terra Canis — this food is prepared in Bavaria. It is based on a simple recipe, but it is quite appreciated and was also rewarded with prizes throughout the years.

Deciphering dog food labels

On average, a dog should have a diet containing 50% vegetables, 40% meat and 10% grain. Adult dogs require a minimum of 18% proteins in case of dry food and the little ones require at least 22%.

Also, every dog needs to eat a certain quantity of fat, depending on their activity level. Approximately 4% of a pup’s diet must be constituted of fibers. In order to compare different dog food, you should read their labels.

Deciphering dog food labels is not the easiest thing out there, but it is a great and effective way to determine whether or not the product is worthy of purchase and to be fed to your dog. With a little practice, you can find a highly digestible product that does not contain unwanted ingredients. The ingredients are listed in order of weight.

How to read a dog food label

The following indicators should be included on dog food labels: minimum amount of protein, minimum amount of fat, maximum amount of fibers and maximum humidity level. One trick that the producers use, is to divide one ingredient in its components, making it look like it is actually found in a lesser quantity than it really is.

Dog food made in America should also meet certain federal regulations to ensure that the ingredients aren’t dangerous to your dog. You can read what those are in our article about what makes good dog food.

You can find chicken listed first, followed by corn flour, corn gluten and corn bran. This might make you believe that chicken is the main ingredient, but the corn ingredients might exceed the chicken weight.

Look for natural and organic ingredients. A package of dog food that has the word “natural” written on it is not necessarily 100% natural. Avoid products that have corn, cornmeal, soy and wheat in their composition. These are hard to digest for dogs and they can cause allergies. Instead, choose products that contain barley, oats, millet and brown rice.

Depending on your doggy’s ability to digest, check the protein’s digestibility. This means that you should choose fish because it can be digested easily. For example, muscles and organs are hard to digest. You can do the same with the carbohydrates. In addition, avoid anything with preservatives, additives or any other parts of an animal that is not raw meat.

Choosing between canned or dry dog food

Canned food is really appreciated by most dogs because it is very tasty. However, a huge disadvantage of canned food is that it alters quickly after it is opened. It can be kept in a cool place, but no owner would want to feed his/her dog with something that is not fresh.

This type of food is highly beneficial for dogs that suffer from urinary tract problems. Also, it is ideal for obese or fat dogs because it has a larger volume, therefore the dog will consume less. However, it is quite rich in fats and low in carbohydrates.

Semi-moist food contains humectants such as sugar, so read the label carefully if your dog has weight problems before you feed it with something totally inappropriate. On another train of thoughts, canned food contains less amount of starch than dry food does.

Starch is known to contribute at weight gain to both human and puppies, so that is a positive aspect. Last but not least, canned food for dogs is easier to eat by puppies that have dental problems and that cannot chew properly.

If you’d like to find out which brands are the best for your pup, please read our article on the best brands of canned dog food available.

Canned dog food

Dry dog food is a commercial product that can satisfy the nutritional needs of dogs. It is presented in an easily digestible form. The final composition of this food is the result of intensive research lead by numerous nutritionists and vets.

This is why this type of food can ensure your pup’s nutritional needs with minimal effort from your side. It can be kept for a long time without having alteration issues and, also, it is the only type of dog food that can be consumed at discretion because the danger of alteration does not exist.

This way of feeding is chosen by newly dog owners because it is useful for their growth and in case of absence from home. However, next to every bowl of dry food there has to be another bowl with plenty of fresh water to avoid dehydration.

Another advantage of dry food for dogs is that it helps maintain dental health thanks to the abrasive action and slows down the formation of dental plaque and tartar on the puppy’s teeth.

Dry dog food

Although there are considerable differences between canned and dry dog food, you don’t always have to choose between them. Experts believe that the most balanced diet for a puppy can be achieved by combining these two types of food. A mixed diet is considered to be the healthiest one. Also, you can add supplements in your doggy’s meals.

These should not be given randomly though. Only a vet can recommend the right ones depending on your pet’s individual characteristics, which should also be established by a specialist. There are bones with calcium at any pet shop that you can buy safely for your dog to chew on.

Different types of food for young and adults dogs

Your dog’s type is an essential selection criterion and it is always correlated with the age of the animal. Along the way, while your puppy grows and develops, its type of food changes as well. Not only the type of food must be different, but the amount ingested must be changed too.

According to this type of categorization, there are four main sorts of food, as it follows: starter, junior, adult and senior.

The starter food type is a variant designed for younger pups that have up to two months. The nutritional needs of a very young specimen are different from those of an adult. This is because a young body needs a higher amount of vitamins and proteins in order to develop.

In most cases, the starter food type is recommended for pregnant females to provide the necessary nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Such food is characterized by a soft texture, easily digestible and which contains a double or a triple amount of protein compared with any conventional food for adult dogs. It has the advantage that it can be later used as complementary food.

Dog in a shopping cart

The food for junior dogs is recommended to weaned puppies, aged up to 1 year, and for pregnant females too. Also, newly mothers can rebuild their body weight after a prolonged breastfeeding period by eating this type of food.

When it comes to the intake of nutrients, this product is similar with the starter one. This is because the doggy still needs extra vitamins and proteins to develop in a harmonious manner. It comes in the form of canned food and dry food, which can be used complementary, as recommended by the veterinarian.

The food especially conceived for adult dogs is recommended to be consumed by doggies with ages between 1 and 7 years. This sort is not as rich in proteins as the other ones, but it retains the necessary input in order to keep any dog healthy and to provide enough energy throughout the day. Both canned and dry adult food can be used according to the dog’s preferences and requirements.

Senior dogs have special food at their disposal too. After 7 years of life, a dog’s metabolism tends to change, so it needs another sort of food. Basically, its body begins the aging process and requires the correct dose of nutrients that keep it balanced. This type of food is found canned and dry. A sedentary and a very active senior dog must be fed differently.

A healthy puppy is a happy puppy that looks gorgeous. The way a dog’s fur looks like and a dog’s level of energy are closely related to what that dog eats. You can make your doggy jump of joy if you give it the best food there is and if you do not forget that its needs change, so its food must be changed as well.

The best brands and the best combinations are not easy to identify, but as long as you keep in mind all the guidelines listed above, you will be able to always make the right choices for your lovely companion to be healthy, to look beautiful and to feel the best way possible as well.

Puppy eating

Try not to get tricked by labels that are meant to deceive you or to look for dog food that is cheap. On the long run, you will spend more with a dog that has not been eating healthy than with a dog who has. Always choose to pay more when it comes to dog food. You can save money in other domains of your life that do not regard the health of your gentle, friendly and loyal animal.

As a last resort solution, you can cook for your puppy, but how to cook for it might require too much energy from your side and more money too. Also, the risk of not doing it right is higher than you might think. However, we do have a handful of great recipes you could consider trying out, so take a look at our article on recipes for homemade dog food.

Your animal’s health is the most important aspect, so whatever you do for your doggy should be done in order to achieve a 100% health certificate.

About the author
Anna Smith
Anna Smith

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.

  • Mary Ong

    Thanks, for this. It really helps! Actually, I am not surprised at all that Acana tops the list for the best dog food. However, it is expensive, so I looked for an alternative. I found Taste of the Wild! It is a great food with similar quality but lower cost. :)

    • Anna Smith

      You’re very welcome! Acana is okay, and your chosen alternative is also good! Although I would recommend you to try it in small servings first to make sure that your dog likes it.

  • Missy Carter

    Finding the right balance between cost and quality is key. Most of us pet owners love our pets to bits. Although one of the criteria I have in buying dog food is that it shouldn’t break the bank.

    • Anna Smith

      In addition to that, Missy, not all high-end dog foods are compatible with our dogs. There is this preference and affinity that dogs and dog food have. This means that you can have the most expensive dog food in the world yet your dog may not like it.

  • Virgil Chandler

    Its good to keep a balance with dry, semi dry and moisturises food. Sometimes, especially even a little bit of junk food. It doesn’t hurt to eat a bit of junk right?

  • Carrie Phelps

    Anna sometimes I give my doggy a bit of the meals we ate in the house. Is this a bad idea? My doggy enjoys those meals a lot though.

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