What Is Dry Dog Food?
Dry Dog Food, which is often known as Kibble, is a form of dog food with very little moisture. It is well recognizable and is usually produced in small brown spheres.
The best-known feature of Kibble is that it can be stored for a prolonged period without major worry about it spoiling. This ease of use makes it extremely popular and the dog food of choice.
Also, Kibble is significantly cheaper to produce than other forms of dog food, which makes it appealing to dog owners on a tight budget.
The Problem With Kibble
The problem with Kibble is that dog food manufacturers tend to include a large proportion of plant-based ingredients within it. Some dog food brands have pushed this to the extreme, and their formulas now only include a tiny portion of meat or fish ingredients.
Despite this, these formulas are still advertised and marketed as if they contain a plentiful supply, which is misleading and outright false.
While dogs are omnivores, they excel best on a diet with a high proportion of meat and fish ingredients. The benefits of this kind of nutrition are especially true for puppies, active dogs, and pregnant dogs. These dogs require a higher proportion of protein and fat in their diet to fuel their activity and growth. You can learn more about dog nutrition and dog food in our Dog Food Guide.
Dry Dog Food Alternatives
The most popular alternative to dry dog food is wet or canned dog food. Wet or canned dog food is the polar opposite of dry dog food and contains a very high proportion of moisture.
However, as you can imagine, this comes with consequences. Wet or canned dog food must be appropriately stored and consumed within a few days of opening; else, it will spoil and could make your dog sick.
You can check out our favorite wet/canned dog foods in our Best Canned Dog Food article.
There are other, less popular alternatives such as freeze-dried dog food and fresh dog food. We’d recommend you check out articles on these varieties to learn more.
How We Chose The Best Dry Dog Foods
Nutrition – The nutrition a dog food recipe provides is essential. An adequate proportion of protein and fat is not only necessary but also critical for dogs to thrive.
Moreover, the protein and fat in a dog food recipe should be as a result of high-quality meat and fish ingredients, and not plant-based ingredients.
Ingredients – The quality and type of ingredients used in a dog food recipe are also important. Preference is given to high-quality meat, and fish ingredients as these are well understood and reliable.
Vegetable or grain by-products are not welcome additions in addition to unnamed meat or fish ingredients.
Brand reputation – Lastly, the reputation and history of the brand come into play. Brands with a repeated history of recalls or quality issues are best to be avoided.
Other brand traits, such as their transparency and participation in animal testing, are also important.
Best Dry Dog Food
Nature’s Logic is a brand that many consumers are unfamiliar with, but their popularity is rising. This popularity is in part, thanks to their consistent use of grain ingredients.
Many in the industry dissuade from suggesting dog food formulas that are high in grains. This adversity is as many they believe them to be low-quality ingredients and unwelcome additions.
However, Nature’s Logic’s dry dog food recipes make use of the grain Millet. Many believe that Millet is far superior to other lower-quality grains such as Wheat and Corn. It can act as a stable source of carbohydrates and fiber. We recommend learning more about Millet in our article Millet In Dog Food, before taking the plunge.
Another core advantage of Nature’s Logic is their extensive product range. They utilize a broad range of meat and fish ingredients such as Beef, Turkey, Venison, Rabbit, and more.
However, we’ve chosen to highlight one of their few multi-meat formulas in Duck & Salmon Meal Formula. The recipe contains a mix of Duck, Turkey, and Salmon ingredients along with Pork Liver.
Duck & Salmon is an unusual combination of meat and fish ingredients, but it ensures that the nutrition offered by the recipe is extremely impressive and high in both protein and fat. The Pork Liver rounds off this mix and can provide many minerals and vitamins that traditional meat cuts can not.
Victor is another successful brand to feature in this article and one that many of you will be familiar with. Victor is commonly found in local or large pet food stores and at a myriad of online retailers.
One of Victor’s most significant advantages is that they sell their dog food range in huge bags. This use of economies of scale allows Victor to be more affordable, which may appeal to owners of large dogs or multiple dogs.
The above Hi-Pro Plus is our favorite Victor recipe. It contains a substantial variety of meat and fish ingredients, all of which are meat meals. While meat meals may sound scary, they are, in fact, very nutritionally dense. This nutritional density is as they have had their moisture removed before being manufacturing.
As long as the meat meal is named, we consider it a satisfactory and beneficial ingredient. Examples of meat meals used in Hi-Pro Plus include Beef Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, and Menhaden Fish Meal.
The formula uses two primary sources of carbohydrates, Grain Sorghum and Millet. While some dog owners may turn their nose up at these ingredients, they are perfectly acceptable additions that can provide carbohydrates and fiber.
Besides, the sum of carbohydrates provided by the portion of these two ingredients is modest and satisfactory for the vast majority of dogs.
Spot & Tango Duck & Salmon Review
Spot & Tango is a brand that has broken into the fresh home-delivered dog food niche. You can read about this type of dog food here. However, unlike most of their competitors in that arena, they have also chosen to produce dry dog food, which has set them apart.
This mix of fresh dog food and dry dog food is known as Unkibble. This new Unkibble range from Spot & Tango includes three recipes, and of those three, Duck & Salmon is our clear favorite.
Duck and Salmon are both excellent meat and fish ingredients that can provide dogs with superior nutrition. The nutrition provided by this particular Spot & Tango recipe is significantly above average and includes almost 30% protein by weight.
Alongside its protein and fat content, Salmon can provide high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These fatty acids are well known, and many believe they can offer health benefits to humans and dogs alike. The benefits of these fatty acids can include improved cognitive function and an improvement in a dog’s skin and coat.
The recipe makes use of a mix of plant-based ingredients include Flax, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach, and Apples. This broad combination of plant-based ingredients provides a modest proportion of carbohydrates and fiber and some crucial vitamins and minerals.
American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Review
American Journey is a brand owned by the online pet food distributor Chewy. Until recently, American Journey products were only available on Chewy’s website, but they have recently been seen in PetSmart stores after PetSmart acquired the site.
American Journey doubles up on the low cost of shipping offered by Chewy by also making the formulas they produce very affordable. This affordability has made them extremely popular as consumers hunt for a mix of quality and price.
The brand has a moderately sized range of products, including dry dog food, canned dog food, and limited ingredient dog food. Chicken and Brown Rice dog food recipes are a staple of the industry, and American Journey’s version is worthy of discussion.
A mix of Chicken and Chicken Meal are the recipe’s primary ingredients and, when combined, can provide a satisfactory proportion of protein and fat.
As you might have guessed, Brown Rice is the primary plant-based ingredient and can provide carbohydrates and dietary fiber. However, there is a notable portion of Peas and Barley present, which provide similar nutrition.
While this recipe does make use of a portion of Rice Bran, this portion is tiny and does not detract from the quality and nutrition of the other ingredients. You can learn more about Rice Bran here.
While many of the brands featured in this article are relatively unknown, Orijen is certainly not, and its inclusion in this article will come as no surprise.
Orijen is a Canadian brand that is probably the best-known premium dog food brand. They produce some of the highest quality and most nutritious dry dog food available across the world.
Despite many of their competitors having fairly limited product ranges, Orijen has a wide range of dog food formulas that utilize countless high-quality meat and fish ingredients.
Each recipe is guaranteed to contain at least ten meat or fish ingredients, which is unprecedented in the commercial dog food world.
The above Regional Red recipe is one of our favorites, and, as the name would suggest, it has a focus on red meat ingredients such as Beef, Pork, and Lamb.
While many dog owners try to limit their intake of red meat, it is perfect for an energetic and hungry dog and can provide them with a plentiful supply of protein and fat.
The high-quality red meat ingredients are combined with an extensive range of fruits and vegetables such as Beans, Pumpkin, Spinach, and Carrots. This broad range provides a modest proportion of carbohydrates and fiber and many beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Health Extension Buffalo & Whitefish Recipe Review
Health Extension is a family-owned pet food company based in the United States, which many dog owners will be unfamiliar with. What makes Health Extension stand out is the very impressive transparency they have about the source of their ingredients, including an interactive map for visitors to their site to explore.
This level of transparency is unprecedented in the industry and is something that many larger pet food brands could learn from. Consumers are increasingly interested in this information, and Health Extension has gained many long term followers thanks to their efforts.
Health Extension has a moderately sized product range, which includes some prevalent recipes, like Chicken & Rice, but also some less common ones. Examples of these include recipes that contain Buffalo, Venison, and Duck. However, the unusual mix of Whitefish and Buffalo caught our eye.
The first four listed ingredients of the Buffalo & Whitefish Recipe are meat or fish ingredients, which is extremely impressive and not a trait that many other dog food brands could state. These meat and fish ingredients in abundance ensure that most of the formula is meat and not plant-matter.
As you might have guessed, Whitefish is present alongside the Buffalo as the primary ingredients. While Whitefish sounds a little vague, it is, in fact, a high-quality fish ingredient, and likely contains fish like Cod, Haddock, or Hake.
The vegetables present in the formula are Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Tapioca, Sweet Potatoes, and Pumpkin. These ingredinets form a considerable selection that covers almost all of the common carbohydrate-providing ingredients used in dog food. However, this more extensive range may make this formula inappropriate for those dogs that suffer from plant-based allergies.
Farmina N&D Cod, Spelt, Oats & Orange Review
Farmina is a premium dog food brand based in Europe, and its N&D range contains some extremely high-quality and nutritious formulas. Across the board, their recipes retain their high-quality thanks to the use of excellent ingredients. We are particular fans of their puppy recipes (which we discussed in our article – Best Puppy Food, but their adult recipes are not to be brushed aside.
Despite their vast product range, they make use of a select few meat and fish ingredients, such as Chicken, Cod, Duck, and Lamb. We’ve chosen to highlight the Cod recipe as it is very rarely seen in dog food despite its appealing nutrition.
The Cod formulas use a mix of whole Cod and dehydrated Cod to ensure that the total proportion is significant. This proportion of Cod can then provide an ample portion of protein and fat that is significantly above average.
Many of Farmina’s recipes tend to go with the safety of legume ingredients, but this particular recipe from Farmina is Pea and Legume-free. Instead, it makes use of a range of grain ingredients, including Spelt and Oats. These grains are less common than others but can adequately provide a portion of carbohydrates and fiber.
Almost all Farmina recipes also contain much smaller portions of a broad range of fruit and vegetables. Examples include Blueberries, Carrots, Apples, and Pomegranate. These could give the Kibble a unique flavor and provide some less abundant micronutrients.
Sport Dog Food aims to fill the sporting and working dog food niche, which is surprisingly sparse. Examples of working and sporting dogs include K9 dogs, sled dogs, and tracking dogs.
Many of Sport Dog Food’s formulas provide very satisfactory nutrition, high in protein and fat, which is necessary to ensure that working dogs can perform to the peak of their ability.
However, non-working dogs can still purchase Sport Dog Food’s products, and many will not just enjoy them but excel on them thanks to their nutrition and quality they can provide.
The above recipe contains a minimal number of ingredients, including a single core fish ingredient in Whitefish Meal. This lack of other fish ingredients could make this an ideal formula for those dogs with allergies or an easily upset stomach.
It is also worth pointing out that the level of the Omega Fatty Acids is also high in this formula, much higher than other Sport Dog Food recipes, which is a pleasant surprise.
Beyond the Whitefish, the formula contains a large portion of starch ingredients like Sweet Potatoes and Tapioca. These starch ingredients’ purpose is to provide carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
While Sweet Potatoes are well known, Tapioca is a lesser-known ingredient. While it is not widely known in the western world, it is prevalent in South America. Learn about Tapioca in our article Tapioca In Dog Food.
Earthborn Holistic’s Venture range is a group of limited ingredient formulas. They each combine a single high-quality source of meat or fish with a mix of vegetable ingredients. Limited Ingredients are designed to help dog owners identify allergies or intolerances by eliminating the vast majority of ingredients. Owners can then reintroduce ingredients to identify an allergy.
However, while that might be the primary purpose of these recipes, there is nothing stopping dogs without allergies from enjoying them. In many cases, we highly recommend experimenting with them.
However, we’ve chosen to highlight the Rabbit formula from Earthborn Holistic, which uses Rabbit Meal as its primary source of meat. Rabbit is an unusual ingredient that many dog owners may not have tried themselves, let alone fed to their dog. Despite this, it can provide adequate nutrition and a unique flavor.
The formula also contains a mix of Peas and Pumpkin, which are high-quality vegetables that can provide carbohydrates and plenty of dietary fiber to aid digestion.
Pumpkin, in particular, is a fantastic inclusion as it contains carbohydrates, fiber, and several beneficial vitamins and minerals that can improve a dog’s health and wellness.