Best Dry Dog Food

When you think “dog food,” you probably immediately imagine a bowl of kibble. That’s because dry dog food is one of the most convenient, cost-effective choices for feeding your dog — and can also be an extremely healthy, hearty choice.

Kibble offers the convenience of a complete diet in one product; the right dry dog food can be a staple of your dog’s healthy diet. However, not all dry dog foods are created equally, and many may contain unhealthy ingredients that can make your dog sick, overweight, or generally less healthy than those foods without extra fillers and preservatives.

To find the best dry dog foods, we looked for brands and formulas that prioritize hearty, healthy ingredients that are sourced responsibly. We also eliminated brands that had been slow or irresponsible when it came to responding to recalls.

What We Learned

Why choose dry dog food?

Dry dog food is a convenient, easy option for many pet owners who find the lack of mess, ease of transportation and feeding, and generally simple nature of kibble to be the perfect fit for their pet and their lifestyle.

But dry dog food can offer other benefits, as well; for some dogs, wet dog food can be difficult to digest, or too easy to eat extremely quickly, which can lead to gas and other intestinal discomfort. Kibble is also less expensive than canned or raw foods, and can be purchased in bulk more easily. It keeps longer, and is generally shelf-stable for long periods of time.

Dry dog food isn’t perfect for all pets, though. For picky eaters, senior dogs, or even dogs who are supposed to lose weight, canned food may be a better choice. The best way to know for sure, though, is to ask your vet.

Additionally, many varieties of dry dog food contain grains, fillers, and other additives that we do not recommend. To ensure that you’re picking the best dry dog food, always be sure to carefully read the label and every ingredient.

What makes a great dry dog food?

If you do decide to pick kibble as part of your dog’s diet, you’ll want to look for a formula that’s high in protein, and lists real meat products as its first ingredients.

As with all dog food, it’s best to avoid those that contain excessive fillers and preservatives, like corn, soy, or sodium selenite.

Our recommended dry dog foods all contain hearty, real ingredients, like sweet potatoes, fish, eggs, carrots, and other healthy, nutrient-dense food products. They are also all grain-free; there’s really no reason for your dog’s dry dog food to contain grain or grain products, aside from the manufacturer’s desire to save money.

Grain-free dog foods are also usually a better pick than those that contain grains, but some “healthy grains” like oats and quinoa (which also offers a complete protein) may be included in our recommended formulas.

The Bottom Line

If you choose to feed your dog kibble as a primary food source, be sure to look for formulas that are free of preservatives and fillers, and rich with real meat protein sources.

Additionally, do some research about which brands have been involved in recalls; though dry dog food is more shelf-stable than other kinds, there is still a risk of salmonella and other diseases being transmitted through food. All of our recommended brands have been either free of recalls, or responded quickly and adequately to any food safety scares.

Dry dog food is a convenient, lower-cost option when it comes to feeding your dog, but the possibility of bad ingredients means consumers have to be extra careful when reading labels and making purchases.

Top Picks

Orijen Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ACANA Wild Prairie Regional Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food

ZiwiPeak Daily-Dog Lamb Cuisine Air-Dried Dog Food