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Here Are The Best High-Quality Dog Food Brands, By Budget & Type

Choosing the right chow for your pup can be an overwhelming process — from dry to wet, fresh to frozen or dehydrated, raw to cooked, and whole grains to grain-free, the offerings are broad. Although there are many variables at play when looking for food (your dog's age, weight, breed, pre-existing health conditions, or dietary restrictions), there's one common factor that owners can use as a basic guideline for starting their search: the ingredients.

According to the experts at Chewy, aka the destination for all things pets, "it’s important to read the entire package, not just the front of the bag or can, to really understand what’s in the food." Dr. Laurie Coger (owner of The Healthy Dog Workshop) points out that the useful information is listed on the back of your pet's food under, "ingredients and nutritional analysis," where you should look for items that are free of preservatives, artificial colors, or low-quality proteins.

We sniffed out a few top-dog brands on the market that are producing high-quality food for your favorite four-legged companion — breaking each down by type and budget, from fresh new meal-subscription services to more affordable bagged kibble classics. Although it's ultimately best to consult your veterinarian on the right choice for your pup's needs, you can still get the [tennis] ball rolling with the popular options using premium ingredients ahead.

In celebration of our animal better halves, R29 is hosting a week's worth of pet-dedicated content — featuring everything from dog-approved chew toys to top-rated travel carriers and other totally drool-worthy finds.

We’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. 

American Journey


Best for: Grain-free dry food

Type: A bestselling Chewy-exclusive, grain-free food made in the U.S. from protein-first (from real deboned salmon to chicken, lamb, and beef) and nutrient-dense ingredients (whole fruits, veggies, omegas, and antioxidants).

Budget: Ranging from $8.99 for 4 lbs to $53.99 for 24 lbs.

Owner Praise: "Recently switched dog food brands to American journey. I have a picky doodle with a sensitive stomach. She loves this food. No stomach issues at all. She was a grazer with her old food but eats every last piece of American Journey. Great food with comparable ingredients to higher-priced food." – Bella, Chewy Reviewer

Shop American Journey

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, $, available at Chewy

The Honest Kitchen


Best for: Whole-grain dehydrated food

Type: Dehydrated whole grain, organic produce, and free-range meat ingredients made in the U.S. at a human-grade processing facility — female founded in a family kitchen.

Budget: Ranging from $23.40 for 21 oz to $68.59 for 40 lbs.

Owner Praise: "After much research into different types of dog food, I felt discouraged and began to feel I would have to home prepare the food. Then I discovered the Honest Kitchen brand. I priced all the items I would need to make the food myself and found Honest Kitchen's food was cheaper. Now they really had my attention. I began with a few samples from their direct website. My dogs ate it like it was a treat; a reaction I'd only previously received when feeding them salmon or peanut butter. So I shopped around for the best price and landed here on Amazon with the subscribe and save delivery." – Anna, Amazon Reviewer

Shop The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain Dog Food, $, available at Amazon

Nom Nom Now


Best for: Fresh food subscription

Type: Weekly meal subscription consisting of fresh (meaning gently cooked) whole-food and human-grade ingredients that are formulated for your pet by a veterinary nutritionist, made to order in the U.S., and delivered to your doorstep (not frozen).

Budget: Starting at $27 per week's worth of meals, varying depending on pet's size, age, and activity level (with a current 50%-off-first-order and two-week trial promotion).

Owner Praise: "Mya has suffered from colitis and IBS for many years, and she's also the pickiest with food. Since being on Nom Nom she is eating much better and has perfect poop!!!" – denton_kristen, Nom Nom Now Reviewer

Shop Nom Nom Now

Darwin's Natural Pet Product's


Best for: Raw food subscription

Type: Grain-free fresh raw (meaning uncooked) meal subscription made from free-range meats and organic vegetables, formulated by experts, custom made to order, and delivered to your doorstep.

Budget: Ranging from $5.79 per lb to $8.19 per lb with free shipping (with a current introductory offer of 10-lbs for $14.95).

Owner Praise: "My 3-year-old lab LOVES Darwin’s. We ordered the first time and ran out sooner than anticipated. After that, I set up my deliveries every two weeks (you can do any delivery time frame you want) and we will be sure not to run out again! Not only does my dog love it, but he is also in the best health of his life. After struggling with allergies, anxiety, ear infections, and kidney stones I was willing to try anything. I came across Darwin’s while I was doing hours and hours of research and reading online and I will never go back to anything else now. We had a small window of a few days before I got the schedule figured out where I had to buy some other brands of raw food at a local pet store, no shade but they just weren’t Darwin’s that’s for sure. Happy customer and even happier pupper over here." – Bailee Lene Lawson, Darwin's Natural Pet Products Reviewer

Shop Darwin's

Nature's Logic


Best for: Frozen raw food

Type: Frozen patties made from an all-natural blend of 90% raw protein plus fruit and vegetable concentrate that, while gluten- and legume-free, contain whole grains — a dietary choice in line with DCM (canine dilated cardiomyopathy).

Budget: Ranging from $37.99 for a 6-lb bag of 3.2-oz patties or 8-oz patties.

Owner Praise: "I have served my Mini-Poo Nature’s Logic canned food for several years now with good success, along with another brand of raw frozen food. But, this raw formula puts the other brand to shame because my 10-year-old dog is now playing like a 4-year-old! So much energy, a healthier coat, brighter eyes — what a difference. And he absolutely LOVES both the chicken and the beef!" – RTVGal2, Chewy Reviewer

Shop Nature's Logic

Nature's Logic Chicken Feast Patties Raw Frozen Dog Food, $, available at Chewy

Wag


Best for: Wet-canned food

Type: Amazon's affordable in-house pet brand offering grain-free and protein-first with nutrient-rich vegetables and no added corn or soy ingredients, all crafted in the U.S.

Budget: $19.99 for a 12-pack of 13.2 oz (that's around $1.67 per can).

Owner Praise: "I'm so pleased Amazon came out with Wag canned food. I'm a huge fan of the puppy dry food for my growing Mastiffs. I have been using a canned 95 percent chicken to add to the food but it is VERY expensive. I was hoping Amazon would expand the Wag line and they did. We have the chicken stew and lamb stew now and my boys eat it right up. Each can is filled to the top with meat there are veggies and sauce but they are not the star. This is not a can of sauce and veggies with a couple of bits of meat it is the opposite. Great deal easy-open cans no opener needed. It meets AAFCO and has no fillers. I am a fan as are my dogs." – Kia Fennell, Amazon Reviewer

Shop Wag

Wag Wet Canned Dog Food 12.5/13.2 oz (Pack of 12), $, available at Amazon
 

Instinct


Best for: Dry + freeze-dried raw food

Type: Top-rated food brand on Chewy that elevates grain-free dry food with a combination of protein-first and cage-free, freeze-dried raw ingredients made in the U.S.

Budget: Ranging from $16.99 for 4 lbs to $46.96 for 21 lbs.

Owner Praise: "Great for active dogs. My Malinois loves this, it’s great — solved his dry skin issues, keeps him energized and at a healthy weight." – Ammo, Chewy Reviewer

Shop Instinct

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Chicken Recipe, $, available at Chewy

Open Farm


Best for: Freeze-dried raw food

Type: Grain-free formula of freeze-dried raw meats, organic fruits, vegetables, and other superfood ingredients that are ethically sourced as part of the brand's work with Certified Human and Global Animal Partnership

Budget: Ranging from $29.99 to $32.99 for 13.5 oz.

Owner Praise: "Our dog LOVES this food! She can't wait for mealtime and dances until we can get the bowl down. She empties her dish in about a minute! She never ate any of the other dog food like that. We like that its freeze-dried rather than dehydrated, so the nutrients and flavors aren't affected. Healthy ingredients and farm-to-food processing make this the perfect dog food for our fur baby! It is a little on the pricey side, but we don't mind paying a bit more for the quality." – Michael, Amazon Reviewer

Shop Open Farm

Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food 13.5 oz, $, available at Amazon





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Here Are The Best High-Quality Dog Food Brands, By Budget & Type Here Are The Best High-Quality Dog Food Brands, By Budget & Type Reviewed by streakoggi on April 06, 2020 Rating: 5

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