8 best dog food brands to consider for a healthy and balanced diet in 2023

8 best dog food brands to consider for a healthy and balanced diet in 2023

We consulted experts to help you navigate the many dog food options out there, including organic, natural, canned, and grain-free.

One of the many duties that come with having a pet is making sure your dog has healthy food, in addition to giving him a comfy bed and lots of toys. Making the best food choice for your dog is a crucial choice, but there are so many options available that it can be confusing. The appropriate meal, according to experts, can not only promote improved digestion and absorption but also provide your dog with clear health benefits.

8 best dog food brands to consider for a healthy and balanced diet in 2023

According to Dr Lori Teller, a board-certified veterinarian and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, commercially processed canned or kibble foods are formulated to meet dogs' nutritional needs for proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are also practical, reliable, and easily accessible, and they go through a process of quality control and inspection that is intended to catch any contaminants or pathogens before they affect pets or people.

It should not come as a surprise that Americans are spending more on food for their furry friends as the number of homes with dogs increases in the U.S. In 2021, individuals will spend more than $50 billion (up from $38 billion in 2020) on food and treats for their dogs, according to a new report by the American Pet Products Association. Dog owners will spend an average of $287 yearly on food. Premium dog food demand has increased over the past year at major pet supply retailers like Chewy and Petco, despite inflation worries driving down spending on other necessities like collars and toys.

When looking for the best dog food, there are a few considerations to bear in mind that we compiled after consulting veterinarians and animal nutritionists.

How to determine the best food for your dog

The two biggest factors that determine whether your dog’s food is good for their health is whether it’s nutritionally complete and balanced and whether you’re giving your dog the right proportions based on their size and weight. “Overall, when selecting your pet’s food, it is important to consider the information on the label and information beyond the label,” says Dr. Megan Shepherd, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and owner of Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, PLLC.

On the label, the nutrition adequacy — or the AAFCO statement — indicates the species and life stage the food is formulated for and how it’s substantiated, either by formulation or feeding tests. But what isn’t on the label can be equally as important. The Global Nutrition Guidelines set by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) recommend investigating the brand to determine the people involved in the product’s formulation and manufacturing and whether the company routinely analyzes its finished products for nutrient content, pathogens and other items that don’t belong in dog food.

“Do they have veterinarians on staff or, more specifically, do they have veterinary nutritionists who are board-certified in that field? Brands that provide the best diets also invest in research,” says Dr. Brian Roberts, a board-certified veterinarian and regional medical director in the Mid-Atlantic region with VCA Animal Hospitals.

Below, we break down some key considerations experts suggest when shopping for high-quality dog food.
  • Meeting AAFCO nutrition standards
  • Your dog’s size, weight, and life stage
  • Nutritional value and proportions
  • Ingredients and palatability

Best dog food to consider in May 2023

The brand makes both dry and wet food for a variety of dog sizes, breeds, and dietary requirements, including food sensitivities and gastrointestinal problems. Royal Canin provides some of the most varied dog food selections available on the market. After my veterinarian suggested it, I give my 4-year-old Havachon, Bella, Royal Canin's small-breed kibble, which is made for little dogs between the ages of 10 months and 8 years and weighing 9 pounds to 22 pounds. Shari Uyehara, manager of editorial operations at Select, claims that Loki, a 1-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel, receives the same diet because Loki's breeder recommended it. Bella often leaves other brands unfinished, but she seems to enjoy this one. Additionally, Royal Canin provides dry food.

Best subscription dog food: The Farmer’s Dog

There are a number of dog food subscription businesses that regularly deliver bags of fresh food to your door. The Farmer's Dog was recommended by integrative veterinarian Dr. Judy Morgan. She refers to them as 'TV meals for dogs' because of how tasty they are. Sadhana Daruvuri, the social editor for Select, feeds The Farmer's Dog to her Maltipoo, Bandit, who is 1 year old, and he adores it. Bandit underwent a trial because "I knew friends who tried it, and their dogs were all big fans, so I did a trial with him and it was obvious he liked it way more than his kibble," she says. This might not be the most economical choice for you if you're on a tight budget and have a large dog, but it might be more advantageous for owners of smaller dogs.

Best dog food for puppies: Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet’s dog food for puppies is designed for dogs up to 1 year old and is packaged in a small, easy-to-digest kibble, according to the brand. The formula contains natural DHA from fish oil that works to support healthy brain and eye development, as well as a vitamin E and vitamin C blend that helps support a healthy immune system in puppies, Hill’s Science Diet says. The food comes in a 4.5- or 15.5-pound bag, and the brand also offers a canned puppy formula, which our experts say can be great to mix into your dog’s kibble.

Best dog food for large breeds: Purina

According to Purina, the company works with a number of veterinary specialists to choose healthy formulas and components. According to Purina, the company's well-reviewed Pro Plan dog food is intended for dogs of all breeds and ages, including large-breed adults and pups. According to the manufacturer, the Purina Pro Plan formula includes natural prebiotic fiber for digestive health, omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin A for healthy skin and coat. Since Chance is now 9 years old and less active, Select's associate updates editor Zoe Malin says she feeds him the brand's weight-management dry kibble, which Purina claims have a more optimized protein-to-fat ratio. Chance weighs 100 pounds.

Best frozen dog food: Just Food For Dogs

Just Food For Dogs is designed to be high in protein and low in calorie count, so it can be beneficial for dogs who may be overweight or don’t get regular exercise, according to the brand. It offers a variety of meal options that are made up of locally sourced produce and only one source of protein for a limited ingredients diet. 

This sweet potato and fish option provides a balanced diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those in need of a novel protein due to allergies, Just Food For Dogs says. The brand offers two types of food: Fresh Frozen, which has no preservatives and can be thawed and served, and Pantry Fresh, which is shelf-stable for up to two years and doesn’t require refrigeration, according to the brand.

Best dog food for sensitive stomachs: Purina

Some dogs are sensitive to certain food ingredients, which can cause excessive itching, loose stools, occasional vomiting, and other symptoms. Investing in dog food formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin can help minimize these issues. This option from Purina is crafted without corn, wheat, or soy to make it more easily digestible for dogs with an intolerance to these ingredients. However, experts told us these types of ingredients should only be avoided if your dog has an intolerance, as they are full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. To help your dog maintain a complete and balanced diet, the brand says the formula contains high-protein salmon, probiotics, and prebiotic fiber for digestive and immune health, and omega-6 fatty acids to help support healthy skin and coat.

Best poultry-free dog food: Merrick

Best poultry-free dog food: MerriFormer Select editor Morgan Greenwald gives Merrick’s salmon and sweet potato kibble to her 1-year-old pit bull mix, Suzie, since she can’t tolerate some other types of protein. “She gobbles it down and she does great with it — she has a sensitive tummy and her vet said we should avoid chicken and turkey, so I stick to salmon,” Greenwald says, adding that she likes the sweet potato in the formula “because it's good for dogs' digestion.” 

The experts we spoke to agree: Studies show that proteins like beef and chicken are among the most reported causes of allergies in dogs, so it’s important to look out for common signs of allergies — like excessive itching and vomiting — to figure out what works best for them, says Dr. Joe Wakshlag, professor of clinical nutrition and sports medicine and rehabilitation at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. However, most dogs don’t usually experience these types of allergies, so you don’t need to avoid chicken and turkey unless you think your dog may have an allergy or intolerance.

Best wet dog food: Royal Canin

If you prefer to incorporate canned food into your dog’s meals, Royal Canin offers a variety of wet food options tested by veterinary nutritionists that can help you provide them with a little more diversity at dinnertime. Though it’s on the pricier side, this low-fat option can be good for adult dogs with gastrointestinal issues or digestive sensitivities, according to the brand. The formula contains prebiotics to help maintain good bacteria in the gut, a blend of dietary fibers that can promote healthy digestion, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help soothe the GI tract, according to Royal Canin.

Anas Ibn Yousuf

Hi Everyone, I am Anas from Kerala, One of the owners of PDFuploads. I have 8 Years of experience in Blogging.

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