The Best Dog Foods
by Category for 2021

Finding the best dog foods of 2021 can be quite a task, given the vast array of brands and types available.

Whether you’re searching for grain-free diets, canned foods, or dry kibble, it’s crucial to select a dog food company that adheres to the nutritional adequacy statement set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

These foods are formulated to meet your pet’s nutritional requirements, whether they’re puppies, adults, or seniors. From high-protein options to those designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies, we’ve assessed the top-rated dog foods, taking into account veterinary nutrition guidelines, ingredient quality, and customer reviews.

Let’s dive into the best of the best, helping your furry loved ones lead healthier, happier lives.

What’s Covered in this Article:

What Makes a Good Dog Food?

Our dog friends might be very cuddly, but when it comes to food, they’ll eat just about anything! Although tempting, try to think like an expert and don’t practice this habit.

Food should be thought of very carefully, especially when feeding such delicate creatures. So what exactly are the components of dog food, and how can these be important in your dog’s diet?


In the world of dog nutrition, fats are not the enemy! They’re essential for maintaining a shiny coat and healthy skin, and they also provide a concentrated source of energy. High-quality dog foods often include omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish oils and flaxseeds.

However, the amount of fat should be carefully balanced to avoid weight issues, especially in less active dogs. Check the food labels to ensure that a reputable dog food company has formulated the food to meet your pet’s nutritional requirements.


Proteins form the building blocks of cells and are crucial for growth, maintenance, and repair. When looking at protein sources in dog foods, quality is key. Look for identifiable meat meals or real meat as the primary ingredient.

Whether it’s a grain-free diet for sensitive stomachs or puppy food rich in amino acids, high-quality proteins should be front and center.


Vegetables in dog food provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimal digestive health. They’re especially important in a balanced diet for breed dogs’ daily play time. Be it sweet potato, peas, or carrots, they contribute to the overall nutritional adequacy of the food.


Vitamins play a pivotal role in various metabolic reactions. They support everything from vision (Vitamin A) to immune health (Vitamin C) and metabolic processes (B Vitamins). Good dog food will contain a variety of vitamins to support your pet’s health, meeting the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).


Just like vitamins, minerals are vital for your dog’s health, contributing to strong bones and teeth, nerve conduction, and even the clotting of blood. Key minerals to look for in your dog food include calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Just like with other nutrients, balance is key, as too much or too little of certain minerals can cause health issues. Always opt for foods with a nutritional adequacy statement to ensure a balanced diet for your dog.

Remember, the best dog food for your pet is one that caters to their specific needs, whether it’s food for puppies, adult dogs, or senior dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s not just about feeding your dog; it’s about nourishing them. And that’s what makes a good dog food.

The Best Dry Dog Food Of All-Time?

That’s a pretty bold statement, but we’re pretty sure we’ve found a winner.

What are the Best Dog Foods for 2023?

Best Overall Dog Food

Royal Canin

This top-rated dog food brand has been around for quite a long time. During these years, Royal Canin’s journey in providing premium dog foods to all kinds of dogs has been quite bumpy, but still, the company strives to keep its brand focused on dogs with health issues.

Royal Canin is one of a few brands that cater to a variety of food options for dogs. Dogs of large and small breed can benefit from the high-quality dog food that Royal Canin offers.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Formulated for Dogs With Special Needs
  • Provides Complete Nutrition

This brand offers wet and dry dog food that is suitable for large and giant adult dogs as well as small breeds. Besides breed size, the brand also covers those dogs with sensitive skin or needing more omega fatty acids to complete their nutritional needs.

Canidae All Life Stages

Canidae All Life Stages is a versatile choice formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs at any life stage. Their food is packed with high-quality proteins, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. This dog food company has an excellent rating and has been celebrated at the AKC National Championship for its quality.

Best Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo

Just like Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo offers a selection of canned and dry puppy food for you to choose from.

Choosing the right puppy food is important since your puppies are growing at a rapid rate. An excellent source of nutrients is a must for them to have complete and balanced nutrition.

What you fur parents need to know about Blue Buffalo is that they formulate their dog foods to maintain high quality. Most of the ingredients used in making their dog food are natural and of high quality.

One animal protein that Blue Buffalo uses is fresh chicken. Their ingredient list varies in flavor and category. This makes sure that the needed nutrients like omega fatty acids, protein, and fat are of high quality.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Natural and High-Quality Ingredients
  • Provides Complete and Balanced Nutrients

If you want your puppy to experience the best dog food, you should try some of the formulations of Blue Buffalo.

Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food

Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing puppies. This food is rich in proteins for muscle growth, omega-3 fatty acids for brain development, and balanced to support your puppy’s health.

Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food

Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing puppies. This food is rich in proteins for muscle growth, omega-3 fatty acids for brain development, and balanced to support your puppy’s health.

Best Senior Dog Food

Wellness Core Senior Dog Food

Wellness pet food makes food for cats and dogs. Quality is best assured when a brand like Wellness takes the high ground and actually gets things done.

What do you look for when you shop at local stores for your dog food? Your one priority should be the ingredients used.

Lucky for you, Wellness uses natural ingredients and leaves fillers out of their list. This is a good indication that the brand cares for the utmost quality of its product. And since senior dogs are prone to sickness, Wellness provides the nutrients they need to intake to have healthy skin and a strong immune system.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • No Fillers Used
  • Encourages Healthy Skin
  • Boosts Immune System

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food

As dogs age, their nutritional needs change. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula provides your senior dog with the vitamins, minerals, and proteins they need. It also contains fatty acids for joint health and the right amount of calories to keep them at a healthy weight.

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Best Dry Dog Food


Just like Wellness Pet Food, Orijen also offers food for cats and dogs. As well as different dog food options like wet food or dry dog food.

Orijen has 3 principles that they like to keep:

  • Using only natural ingredients.
  • Only using ingredients that a dog is supposed to be eating.
  • Only sourcing food products from their own.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Natural Ingredients
  • Locally Sourced Products
  • High-Quality Dry Dog Food

You never have to worry about low-quality food to make sure that your dog healthy. Try Orijen to be part of the few fur parents that provide the best dry dog food to their furry friends. One dog food at a time.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe

This grain-free dog food from Wellness CORE is high in proteins and low in carbohydrates, providing the energy your dog needs. Its dry kibble formula also helps to maintain dental health.

Best Wet Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet is no stranger to making perfectly formulated dog foods. Experts like veterinarians and pet nutritionists are almost always involved in the making of these dog food.

The company values the sciences and would gladly take any expert’s opinion, especially based on food. Unlike any other brand, Hill’s Science Diet listens to a veterinarian.

This brand offers a variety of options. Some prefer dry, and some prefer wet food, which isn’t a bad thing. What kind to feed your dogs is entirely up to you and to your pet’s preferences. Most of their food provides many vitamins and omega fatty acids for your dog’s skin and coat health.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Hefty Serving of Vitamins and Fatty Acids
  • Recommended by a Veterinarian
  • Formulas Developed by Veterinarians

If you haven’t given it much thought, we recommend Hill’s Science Diet wet dog food. They offer different kinds according to size, age, and medical condition that your pet dog will need.

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Filets in Gravy Wet Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free offers a canned dog food option that is high in proteins and rich in nutrients. This wet food is perfect for dogs who prefer a softer texture or need extra hydration.

Best Raw Food

Answers Detailed Raw Frozen Dog Food

Answers Detailed is a good choice to start when trying out raw frozen dog food. Your dog might take a liking to it! A few fur parents actually had a great experience with the product. If you’re planning to ride along with the wave, we’re here to make sure you’re all set.

This brand created 4 formulas for raw dog food; Beef, pork, turkey, and chicken. The chicken formula is made with real chicken parts and is listed as the first ingredient in their ingredient list. How important is this? Well, chicken is home to essential amino acids that your dog will definitely need to sustain them.

Other than real chicken, there are a number of ingredients listed in their ingredient list. Most of them are organic, which is already a sign of high-quality dog food.

As far as nutrition goes, the chicken formula contains a hefty protein and fat amount, amounting to a whopping ratio of 77% and having a percentage of 41, 31, and 20 for protein, fat, and carbs, respectively. This is not a bad ratio, especially considering that the product doesn’t contain protein boosters.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Large Amounts of Protein and Fat
  • High-Ranking Raw Food
  • Organic-Grown Animal Proteins

Despite raw food being a controversial pick for some, as far as quality goes, Answers Detailed might change your mind.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

For pet owners interested in a raw diet, Stella & Chewy offers a safe and convenient option. Their freeze-dried raw dinner patties are high in protein and are made with fresh foods, including meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Best Budget Dog Food

Taste of the Wild

Budget-friendly dog food has never been this close to premium! Taste of the Wild Dog foods is worth trying when you’re tight on a budget.

Taste of the Wild offers dog food that caters to the instinctive needs of dogs. The ingredients used in making their dog food are from premium meat products like wild boar, bison, white fish, and other ingredients that aren’t grown domestically.

The brand offers varied choices depending on your need. Whatever life stage your dog is in, Taste of the Wild has got you covered. Grain-free dog foods are even available for dogs that have sensitive tummies.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Uncommon Animal Protein
  • Low-Cost
  • High-Quality

If you’re tight on budget and have a dog eating less than what they’re required to, try switching to Taste of the Wild dog foods. You get more for less and higher quality than most cheap dog foods on the market!

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition

Pedigree provides a complete and balanced dog food that is friendly on the budget. It is a commercial dog food option with a nutritional adequacy statement, ensuring it meets all the essential nutritional needs of an adult dog.

Best Fresh Dog Food

The Farmer’s Dog

This brand has been one of the few fresh dog food providers on the market. They’ve been making nothing but quality fresh dog food for little pups everywhere!

The Farmer’s Dog has an original blend that will make your dog crazy! This human-grade dog food ensures that your pup will get all the nutrients that they need from just one formula.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • High-quality
  • Customizable
  • Human Grade
  • Cooked Fresh for Your Dog

However, despite how fresh and high the quality of this dog food is, those owners who have a lower budget on their hands might have a hard time getting this product as it costs slightly higher than average.

Although if you have a budget that allows for it, consider getting The Farmer’s Dog to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Having fresh, premium, and human-grade dog food that fits just right with your pup will leave you satisfied.

Best Dog Food for Small Breeds

Nulo Freestyle Dog Food

Smaller dogs have higher energy levels and metabolism rates compared to large breeds. This accounts for a dog food option to sustain dogs that need them.

Nulo Freestyle offers dog foods that can supply these particular needs for your small pooch.

Their product can contain up to 39% protein and an ample amount of fat. The protein to fat ratio can go up to 55%, depending on the formula chosen. And this brand offers dog foods that are suitable for all life stages, which is pretty convenient.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Provide an Increase in Energy Levels and Metabolism
  • Suitable for All Life Stages

If you have a small dog full of energy, consider Nulo Freestyle to provide the energy they need. Although the product is excellent, it is a little pricey. If that’s not a problem for you, then go ahead and try Nulo Freestyle.

Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws for Small Breed Dogs

This dry food from Hill’s Science Diet is specially formulated for small breeds. It’s easily digestible and nutritionally balanced, providing the perfect bite-sized kibble for smaller mouths.

Best Dog Food for Large Breeds

Purina Pro Plan

Purina has been around for decades. They are providing dogs with all kinds of choices for their daily nutrition. But if there’s one thing Purina excels at making, it’s a dog food specifically for large breed dogs.

The Purina Pro Plan dog food is made for large dogs. Since large dogs have different nutritional needs, this dog food offers a different set of nutrients, particularly supporting joint health, muscle conditioning, and immune health.

Although this dog food is for large adult dogs specifically, Purina offers a wide variety of food ranging from puppy to adult dog food.

A few pros of this dog food are:

  • Supports Joint Health
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Conditions Muscles
  • Contain Prebiotic Fiber
  • Complete Nutrition

If you’re looking to find a balanced dog food that provides a fair amount of nutrition for your big doggy, consider getting Purina’s Pro Plan for your dog’s diet.

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Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult

Purina Pro Plan for Large Breeds takes into account the unique nutritional needs of larger breeds. It contains glucosamine and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid for joint health and mobility, and high-quality proteins and fats for maintaining a healthy weight.

Each of these dog food options has been rated highly by dog owners and have shown to support the dogs’ health through various life stages and specific needs. Remember, each dog is unique, and what works best for one might not work for another. Always consult with a veterinary nutritionist or your local vet to ensure you’re making the best choice for your furry friend!

The Top Healthiest Dog Foods of 2023

Best Fresh


Ollie dog food is one of the top-ranking quality and freshly cooked dog food on many sites to date. Their recipes are formulated by a veterinarian and are cooked fresh and ready to eat when delivered in packages.

This dog food prides itself in having absolutely no artificial flavoring and preservatives included in its dog food products.

Ollie only works with natural ingredients that bring out the best-tasting flavors that dogs will surely love. Ollie’s recipes are packed with a punch and are filled with nutrients such as amino acids and protein. These nutrients will keep your dog strong and healthy. And what’s more is that it includes omega-3 oils to add that glimmering shine to your dog’s coat—also keeping their skin soft as a baby.

If you’re second thoughts about your current dog food choice, Ollie will come and save you from your worries. Try Ollie, a human-grade dog food, and you might thank the heavens for this creation.

The Farmer’s Dog

In the category of fresh dog foods, The Farmer’s Dog comes out on top. This food company uses real, whole-food ingredients that are gently cooked to preserve their nutritional value. Each meal is pre-portioned and tailored to your pet’s specific nutritional requirements, ensuring they get the right balance of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. As a pet owner, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re feeding your dog fresh foods that support a healthy dog’s life.

Best Dry Dog Food

Wellness Core Grain Free

Wellness has long been an established quality pet food provider. This brand makes sure that its product line of pet foods is of the best quality.

This dog food is one of the many veterinarian-recommended dog foods around. Having grain-free and no by-products included in the ingredients is a highly recommended brand by many experts in the field. They even offer limited-ingredient dog food for dogs that have medical conditions.

This particular dog food contains probiotics and a healthy blend of fatty acids to help support your dog’s skin, coat, digestion, joints, and overall health.

It’s safe to say that they’re one of the best dry dog food providers on the market.

Canidae Grain-Free PURE

Canidae Grain-Free PURE dry dog food is a highly-rated dog food brand known for its quality and nutritional adequacy. Their grain-free diets are great for dogs with food allergies or sensitive stomachs. It contains a high protein content from quality meat meals, complemented by an assortment of fruits and vegetables like sweet potato, offering a complete and balanced dog diet.

Best Budget

Diamond Naturals

The Diamond Naturals brand may not be the highest quality, but this dog food can be classified as a mid-tier quality for a low price!

Although grain inclusive, the brand provides a decent mix of proteins and grains, with proteins that feature beef as the first ingredient and mid-quality grains like white rice.

Like all the other brands in this list, Diamond Naturals also includes a healthy mix of vitamins and fatty acids that will improve your dog’s health as a whole.

So if you’re really tight on budget but still want an option that provides the best care for your dog, try to switch to Diamond Naturals for budget-friendly and quality dog food.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

For dog owners looking for a balance between cost and quality, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula offers an excellent option. Despite its reasonable price, this commercial dog food doesn’t compromise on nutritional value. It features real meat as the first ingredient, alongside a unique blend of vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Best Limited Ingredient

Canidae Pure

Canidae offers dog food with limited ingredients to ensure the best health benefits that your pooch will get from their diet while catering to their sensitive stomachs.

This brand has always been known to include only real and quality meat as its priority ingredient. It also includes other red meats for protein enrichment, helping your dog’s body grow lean and strong. And have you know, only 7-10 ingredients were used in making this product, which is very impressive considering the benefits it carries.

And like most of the brands listed here, this dog food is included with probiotics and is free from corn, wheat, and soy. Only the healthiest choice of grains for the health of fine-breed (or non-breed) dogs!

And when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Canidae also makes different formulas for different life stages. All are made from fresh chicken, lamb, salmon, and wild boar.

Take our word for this awesome product and try Canidae Pure for your dog’s diet.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets

Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities often require a simplified diet. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets offers a range of proteins and single-source carbohydrate formulas, making it easier for dog owners to select a diet that is less likely to upset their dog’s stomach. This dog food for sensitive stomachs is a great tool to keep your loved one’s health in check.

Best Organic


Merrick’s product line of dry dog food is one of the top-ranking organic dog food recipes. And are made with real and de-boned proteins that build muscles and maintain your dogs’ high energy levels.

Most of their recipes are also made grain-free and organically sourced. This makes it easier and more accessible to those dogs that have certain issues with eating cheap grains.

With Merrick’s dog food filled with so much nutrition like fatty acids, proteins, and probiotics, it’ll definitely make your dogs more energetic, have healthier joints, digestion, and basically an overall healthy life.

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Castor & Pollux Organix

Castor & Pollux Organix takes the crown in the organic dog food category. This dog food company uses only certified organic ingredients, ensuring your dog is not exposed to any synthetic pesticides, artificial preservatives, or antibiotics. The main ingredient is organic, free-range chicken paired with organic sweet potatoes, peas, and other nutritious vegetables, providing a balanced diet for your pet.

Each of these brands has been highly rated by dog owners and is known for its commitment to providing quality, nutritious meals for dogs. Remember, each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s always wise to consult with your vet or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure you’re making the best choice for your furry friend.

Picky Pups: How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your Fussy Eater

Choosing the right food for a fussy eater can feel like trying to win a national championship – it requires patience, understanding, and a bit of strategy. The first step is to ensure the nutritional requirements of your pet are met.

Dogs need a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) provides guidelines for nutritional adequacy in pet foods, so look for their statement on dog food labels.

Top-rated dog foods like Royal Canin and others often offer complete and balanced diets, so they’re a great place to start.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what’s best for one may not be the best for another. For instance, some dogs prefer dry kibble, while others enjoy wet or canned foods.

A type of dog food that’s often a hit with picky eaters is fresh foods, which companies like The Farmer’s Dog provide. These meals are specially formulated to meet the specific needs of individual dogs, making them a potentially appealing option for your picky pet.

It’s always recommended to consult with veterinary medical professionals or board-certified veterinary nutritionists before making significant changes to your dog’s diet. They can provide valuable insights and health tools to support your dog’s nutritional needs and overall health.

Portion Control: The Perfect Guide to Feeding Your Dog Based on Size

Feeding your pooch shouldn’t just be done willy nilly. There should be rules to follow if you want them to grow like they’re intended to.

The question of “how much” varies according to factors that should be considered. Dogs are fed differently according to age, weight, and medical conditions.

When feeding according to weight, you need to classify what your dog’s weight category falls under. There are four weight classes, which are toy dog, small, medium, and large.

Toy Dogs

Navigating the world of pet nutrition for your toy dog can feel like preparing for a national championship. These petite pups, often the stars of dog shows like the AKC National, require less food due to their small size. Toy breed dogs, like Chihuahuas or Yorkies, typically weigh less than 10 pounds and require around 1/4 to 1 cup of dry dog food daily. Make sure to choose highly rated dog foods with a nutritional adequacy statement, ensuring complete and balanced diets that provide the essential proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals they need.

Small Dogs

Small dogs may be slightly larger than their toy counterparts, but their nutritional requirements are still unique. Breeds such as French Bulldogs or Pugs typically weigh between 10 to 25 pounds and require approximately 1 to 2 cups of food daily, whether it’s dry kibble, canned dog food, or even grain-free dog food for sensitive stomachs. As pet owners, remember to consult with veterinary medical professionals or board-certified veterinary nutritionists for the best advice.

Medium Dogs

Medium dogs, like Border Collies or Springer Spaniels, often weigh between 25 to 50 pounds. Their dietary needs are typically met with 2 to 3 cups of food each day, depending on their age, activity level, and the dog food brand they select. Whether it’s fresh food from The Farmer’s Dog, commercial dog food from a well-established dog food company, or a dry dog food option, ensure they have the essential nutrients for a healthy dog’s life.

Large Dogs

Large dogs, like the majestic German Shepherds or the friendly Labrador Retrievers, usually weigh over 50 pounds and require more food to fuel their big bodies. Typically, they need between 3 to 5 cups of food daily, but this can vary based on their health and activity level. Whether you’re feeding them a grain-free diet, canned foods, or dry kibble, always make sure they’re receiving balanced diets that meet their nutritional needs.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and individual needs can vary. Always consult your vet to ensure your dog is getting the right amount and type of food for their specific needs.

Feeding Fido in 2023: Unleashing the Best Dog Foods by Category

As we wrap up our journey through the world of canine cuisine, it’s clear that the best dog foods by category for 2023 cater to a range of dietary needs and preferences, ensuring every dog can find a dish that fits its unique palate.

Whether it’s the nutritional needs of specific breeds or the requirements of different life stages, 2023’s top-rated dog foods stand out in providing complete and balanced nutrition.

From dry kibble to canned dog food and grain-free diets to meals packed with omega-3 fatty acids, each category offers options to keep your furry friend’s tail wagging.

Brands have risen to the challenge, providing food options that not only meet the nutritional adequacy statement set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) but also appeal to the most discerning of dogs.

The emphasis on veterinary nutrition has seen a rise in dog food brands partnering with board-certified veterinary nutritionists, ensuring each meal is formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of your dog, from puppyhood to the senior dog years.

While the world of dog food can feel like navigating a national championship, remember the goal: feeding your dog a diet that supports a healthy life because they’re not just pets, they’re loved ones.

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