Here are the 20 best dog foods available in 2017…

The pet food market has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years, and now you can find all types of options on store shelves. From dry kibble to grain free formulas and raw food in refrigerated cases, dog owners have tons of decisions to make when it comes to what to feed their pets. Unfortunately, a large percentage of commercial dog food is loaded with ingredients that are far from wholesome and basically amount to being fillers. Some of the things put into dog foods are even problematic and have been known to cause digestive and other health issues. In the worst cases, pet owners suspect that low quality food actually caused the death of their dogs.

When looking for a quality dog food that’s nutritious, it’s best to choose a formula that has a significant amount of meat based protein, zero artificial colorants, and no preservatives derived from chemicals. Excessive amounts of generic animal fats, anonymous meat ingredients, and salt should be avoided as well.

1. Victor Grain Free Active Dog and Puppy Formula

This formula is one of the best dog foods to buy, and pet owners who want a brand that’s not chock full of fillers and ingredients without much nutritional value will appreciate its contents. In the Active Dog and Puppy variety the top ingredients are beef meal, sweet potato, chicken meal, and peas. Fatty acids and vitamins are also included in each formula, and this is an excellent pick for the owners of puppies. What a young dog eats has a profound influence on its development, which is a top reason for ditching foods with poor nutrition and opting for a high quality formula from a brand such as Victor Grain Free

2. Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

When it comes to high quality dry dog food with a unique variety of flavors, few brands beat Merrick Grain Free. They have formulas such as Real Rabbit and Chickpeas, Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato, and Real Texas Beef and Sweet Potato. The Real Duck and Sweet Potato formula contains deboned duck, turkey meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, and peas as its first five ingredients. There’s also a variety of fruits and veggies thrown into the mix for good measure including apples, blueberries, and potatoes. Reviews from dog owners state that this particular formula was well received by their pets.

3. Taste of the Wild Wet Dog Food

Taste of the Wild offers several varieties of canned dog food, all of which are highly rated. It contains no controversial ingredients and fillers and is one of the best dog foods to pick if you’re looking to give your pet protein from actual meat. It’s also easy for dogs to digest as it’s absent of harmful preservatives and ingredients that tend to upset their stomachs. For instance, in the Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon variety the top ingredients are beef, beef and vegetable broths, and beef liver. This particular formula also has lamb and wild boar in addition to sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries.

4. Pinnacle Peak Protein Formula Dog Food

This dog food brand’s formulas meets AAFCO nutrient profiles and is suitable for animals in all stages of life, so it’s a good choice if you own dogs of different ages. It contains a good mix of carbs, protein, and fat and doesn’t have any grain fillers. The top ingredients are chicken meal, chicken, and potatoes, and it also contains salmon oil for a healthy dose of omega-3. This dog food is also a good source of vitamins E, C, A, B6, B1, B21, and D3.

5. Wellness Core Dog Food

Wellness Core is a line of seven dry dog foods, and each one is well received by pets and their owners. Contrary to dog foods that are known for being laden with chemicals, colorants, and artificial flavorings, this one will truly nourish your pet. In addition to meeting AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult dogs and puppies, this is a high quality line of food that has no fillers. One of the best dog foods that Wellness Core offers is for large breeds. Its top five ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, and peas.

6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food

If you’re looking for a nutritious dry formula, one of the best dog foods available is Nature’s Variety Instinct. The company produces several different varieties, with the distinction between each being the flavors — dogs of all ages can eat this food, and owners haven’t reported any dangerous or ill effects. In the well liked Duck and Turkey flavored formula the main ingredients are duck, turkey meal, salmon meal, and tapioca. There are also cranberries, carrots, apples, and a variety of vitamins added into the mix. These are nutritious additions to the food, which are more often than not missing from formulas made by less expensive and low quality brands.

7. Holistic Select Dog Food

Holistic Select has a line of dog food that includes over 12 varieties, with many of them aimed at benefiting dogs in different life stages. This makes the brand’s offerings ideal for those with both puppies and adult dogs, or anyone who has dogs with special dietary needs. Each is full of healthful ingredients and has a good mix of protein, carbs, and fat. Holistic Select’s formulas include ingredients such as cranberries, carrots, pumpkin, quinoa, apples, and peas, but the top ingredients are typically meat meal.

8. Acana Regionals Dog Food

Dog owners give this dry food brand high ratings because it contains real ingredients as opposed to fillers and chemicals that can cause upset stomachs and other illnesses in their pets. Acana Regionals offers several varieties, such as Appalachian Ranch. The latter is full of meat and has deboned beef, pork, and lamb as the first three ingredients. It also contains nutritious additions such as dried kelp, rosehips, juniper berries, and kale. This brand’s formulas are highly rated and there are very few complaints about it causing digestive troubles in dogs.

9. Annamaet Grain Free

Annamaet Grain Free has become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially among dog owners who have tried lesser quality brands that resulted in their pets getting sick. There are four formulas in the line, each with real meat and no fillers that lack nutrition. The Manitok Red Meat variety includes deboned lamb, lamb meal, lentils, chickpeas, venison meal, and an assortment of healthy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, watercress, field peas, carrots, and celery.

10. Fromm Family Gold Dog Food

Fromm Gold dry dog food is recommended by many vets, and it’s loaded with nutritious ingredients. There are a variety of formulas in the line that are targeted towards dogs at different life stages, from puppies to seniors that are no longer as active. The Adult formula is one of the best dog foods available from the brand and it contains duck, chicken meal, chicken, brown rice, and pearled barley among the first ingredients. The formula has a good amount of protein and fats as well.

11. Horizon Legacy Dog Food

Horizon Legacy is becoming more widely used, and the brand currently offers three high quality formulas. One of the formulas is for puppies, another for adults, and the third is for dogs at any life stage. The adult formula’s first ingredient is chicken, while chicken meal, peas, pea starch, and turkey meal round out the top five.There are also probiotics added to this formula, so it would be a good option for dogs who have experienced digestive troubles with other foods.

12. Bully Max High Performance Dog Food

If you’ve been looking for a dog food geared towards high performance that’s not all fillers, chemical preservatives, and suspicious ingredients, Bully Max is worth looking into. It has a great balance of protein, carbs, and fat, and the formula is full of nutrition. The flavoring of the food is natural, and top ingredients include chicken meal, brown rice, ground grain sorghum, and chicken fat.

13. Dr. Tim’s Dog Food

Dr. Tim’s line of dry dog foods has been well received and highly rated among dog owners for years, and there are specialty formulas appropriate for different situations. In addition to formulas made for active dogs and those with weight issues, Dr. Tim’s offers a formula that’s excellent for all life stages. The active dog variety contains real meal, dried whole eggs, quality sources of vitamins and protein, and DHA. Compared to the ingredients labels on lesser quality options, the list of ingredients on this dog food is outstanding.

14. Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care

The unfortunate side effect of dogs reacting adversely to low quality dog foods is they can develop allergies that don’t go away just by switching brands. If that’s the case for your dog, Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy Care is one of the best dog foods to consider. It’s a line of dry dog food that is specially formulated to prevent allergy problems and be easy for dogs to digest. The Venison Meal and Egg variety contains venison meal, whole dried eggs, turkey meal, tapioca, and peas in the first several ingredients. There’s also omega-3, DHA, vitamins, and fiber from vegetables.

15. Abound Moist Dog Food

Abound is known for packaging its moist dog food in handy tubs, but it’s also developed a reputation for being high quality and easy for dogs to digest. One of the best dog foods offered by Abound is the Chicken Vegetable Stew formula, which contains healthful ingredients such as real chicken broth, chicken, peas, carrots, and brown rice. Vitamins D3, A, B12, and E are added along with folic acid.

16. Bravo Homestyle Complete

If you’re unable to find frozen, raw dog food in your local stores, look to freeze-fried options such as Bravo Homestyle Complete. This particular brand offers three excellent formulas that have loads of protein and healthy amounts of fat and carbs. The Complete Turkey Dinner variety has turkey, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and green beans among the first six ingredients. There’s also healthy herbs included along with dried kelp and vitamins.

17. Aunt Jeni’s Home Made Raw Frozen Dog Food

Aunt Jeni’s brand of raw frozen dog food has received rave reviews from pet owners, and it’s become more widely available in stores across the country. The one formula the watch out for is the Home Made Lamb variety, but the others don’t have any suspicious ingredients or fillers. For instance, the Home Made Beef formula has beef meat and hearts, apples, celery, whole eggs, kale, acorn squash, and pumpkin along with organic flax seeds. The balance of nutrition is on the mark for this formula and it’s one of the best dog foods that Aunt Jeni’s makes.

18. Blue Buffalo Blue’s Stew

Many dog owners are familiar with Blue Buffalo’s dry dog food line, which happens to contain ingredients that are a bit more controversial than those in its canned wet food. The latter is a safer bet if you’re very concerned about the digestive health of your pet. The Hearty Beef Stew formula has no harmful additives and its top ingredients are beef, beef broth, water, peas, egg, and potato starch. Vitamins and vegetables are also included to give it a good balance of carbs, fat, and protein.

19. K-9 Kraving Raw Frozen Dog Food

One of the biggest trends in dog food is selling it raw instead of preserved and filled with chemicals. K-9 Kraving makes a line of raw formulas that’s available frozen. The formulas are well balanced and full of healthy protein such as chicken, beef, beef liver, and beef heart. The food also contains veggies such as sweet potatoes and broccoli, which help provide additional fiber.

20. Dogswell Dog Food

Dog owners who prefer to feed their pets wet canned food should check out Dogswell. The brand has a line of six varieties with ingredients that are quite nutritious. The Duck and Sweet Potato Stew variety is a vitality formula that contains duck, chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and red peppers among other healthy additions.

The 20 Worst Consumer Rated Dog Foods of 2016

Many people think that there are few differences between dog food brands, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are minimum nutritional guidelines that formulas have to meet, there’s a world of difference between top tier premium dog food and brands that are rated as being at the bottom of the barrel. Some of the latter have even been involved in incidents where dogs got sick as a result of eating the food, and it’s shocking just how many brands contain little other than fillers, artificial ingredients, and ingredients that have been shown to adversely affect the health of dogs.

1. Purina Beneful Original Formula

This is one of the worst rated dog foods on the market, and it’s full of harmful fillers. What’s worse, this formula has been cited as the cause of skin and allergy issues, gastrointestinal problems, liver failure, and death in a number of dogs. Even though some dogs don’t experience any ill effects right away, feeding a dog Purina Beneful Original Formula daily is akin to a human eating fast food for each meal — the health benefits are few and far in between and such a diet is generally not worth the risk.

2. Blackwood 1000 Chicken Meal & Corn Formula

This brand of dog food has an ingredients list that’s full of items that provide no health benefits to dogs and can even be detrimental to their health. It also contains a lot of ingredients that contain GMOs. As the health effects of genetically modified foods haven’t even been firmly established in humans — although many studies that have been conducted suggest that GMOs are not safe for us to eat — it’s definitely not a good idea to fill your dog with such foods on a daily basis

3. Wegmans Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix

This store brand dry dog food has ingredients that have been deemed unsafe for dogs to consume, as well as chemicals including BHT, BHA, xantham gum, corn gluten, and food coloring. Wegmans Bruiser Kibble Variety Mix proves the adage that you typically get what you pay for. The price of it is attractive, but if you’re looking to give your dog balanced nutrition you should look for an alternative.

4. Purina Dog Chow

Purina Dog Chow is so harmful to dogs that a class action lawsuit was launched to get the company to own up to the thousands of deaths that it has allegedly caused. In addition to online complaints about this formula, many dog owners are upset by the fact that Purina denies the problems with their dog food.

5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food

This is one of the pricier dog foods that some vets recommend, although it’s difficult to see why. One look at the ingredients list and you’ll notice this formula is packed with the same fillers and toxic ingredients that cheaper brands have. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food has been associated with several cases of dogs who have died from anal cell carcinoma, while other dog owners have reported that their pets got sick soon after eating the food

6. Walmart’s Ol’ Roy Dog Food

Corn, soybean meal, corn syrup, and ground wheat are foods that your dog doesn’t need and each can cause problems with allergies and their digestive systems. However, those are the top ingredients listed in Walmart Ol’ Roy Dog Food. This is yet another store brand that skimps on quality and nutrition for the sake of offering a lower price

7. Purina Be Happy Beef Flavor Dog Food

Purina Be Happy Beef Flavor Dog Food has a very misleading name. For one, the first ingredient listed in it is ground yellow corn, followed by ground wheat and soybean meal. Beef and bone meal is the fourth ingredient — that hardly sounds like something that contains the nutritious protein that dogs need. You’d be better off mixing your own beef dog food or adding beef broth to a better quality product.

8. Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Beef Flavor Dry Dog Food

Pedigree brand dog food has many formulas that have garnered consumer complaints, but this one is the worst. In addition to reports of dog deaths, pet owners have said their dogs have gotten sick, vomited, or developed diarrhea after eating this food. Its top ingredients are ground whole corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, and animal fat. It also contains artificial coloring and vegetable oil, and Pedigree admits that its kibble contains pig hair. If you wouldn’t willingly eat food with animal hair mixed into it, why feed it to your dog?

9. Purina Veterinary Diets

It’s hard to understand why any vet would recommend a product with an ingredient list like the one on Purina Veterinary Diets. In this case, the name is just a marking scheme and there’s not much nutrition in the food at all. If your pet does have special dietary needs due to allergies or illness, it’s best to be very careful when you buy or make their food. What’s certain is that no dog benefits from ingredients like propylene glycol, caramel color, soy, and corn gluten.

10. Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Formula

This dog food is famous for two things: its signature commercials and begin related to dog deaths and illnesses. There’s so many preservatives in this dog food, including BHA and sorbic acid, but whats really disturbing are the vague ingredients listed on the package. Apparently, “animal digest” gives Kibbles ‘n Bits Original Formula its chicken flavor, and the “wheat middlings” are to bulk it up and make it cheaper to produce. This is food that you should definitely avoid if you’re concerned about your dog’s nutrition.

11. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original Formula

Puppies are much like human children in that what you feed them early on can have a big effect on their growth and development. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original Formula may have the phrase “Health Smart” in its name, but it’s actually not all that healthy. In one particularly disturbing account, a dog owner on the Consumer Affairs website noticed that her pet displayed symptoms of a parasite soon after eating this food. However, a vet evaluation confirmed the digestive problems were due to the food, and no parasites were present in the dog.

12. Purina Dog Chow Healthy Morsels Formula

Seriously, what’s the deal with dog foods claiming to be healthy when the formulas are anything but? Purina Dog Chow Healthy Morsels Formula contains these not so healthy ingredients: brewers rice, sugar, salt, potassium chloride, and colorants including Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 2. The artificial colorants alone have been proven to be harmful to humans and animals when ingested regularly, so it’s best to keep this food out of your dog’s dish.

13. Kal Kan Dog Food

Kal Kan is a brand that’s rated very poorly by consumers across the board, and it’s largely because of the controversial ingredients that it contains. The first eight ingredients in the Complete Adult formula (which includes ground yellow corn, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal ) are noted as being bad for dogs’ health and nutrition.

14. Alpo by Purina

So many complaints about dogs getting sick and dying came in about Alpo by Purina that the FDA started its own investigation into the company’s processing plants. The agency issued a warning in late 2015 to a Purina facility that cans the dog food stating that their processing didn’t align with minimum standards, not all of the food was heated to the proper temperature, and the conveyor belt system has no checks to prevent unprocessed cans from going out to consumers. If the brand doesn’t care to meet basic production guidelines, then there’s no reason to assume that it’s a good option to feed your dog.

15. Gravy Train Dog Food

One of the better known brands of dog food is Gravy Train, which is widely available in grocery and big box stores and supermarkets. It’s appealing to some dog owners because of its affordable price, but a quick glance at the label on it will reveal some of the most commonly used, nutrition-poor ingredients. The beef flavored formula has caused the most problems, doesn’t actually contain much beef, and it was subject to a large recall in 2007. Like many other lower quality dog food brands during that year, there were concerns that Gravy Train Beef Sticks contained melamine.

16. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food is known for causing digestive problems, illness, and allergies in dogs, and the ingredients list reveals why. Even though the first item listed is “chicken”, the formula also has corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, potassium chloride, brewers yeast, salt, and flax, all of which are unnecessary in a dog’s diet and can cause chronic health issues if eaten over a long period of time. This Iams formula is much like the brand’s other types of foods and should be avoided, especially if your dog has existing allergies or health problems

17. Purina Senior 7+ Healthy Morsels Soft & Crunchy Bites Dog Food

Older dogs are especially vulnerable to becoming sick, and their diet is a key part of keeping them healthy and active for as long as possible. This Purina dog food formula, which is aimed at owners of senior dogs, is noted for containing some of the worst ingredients that you could possible give any dog, especially an aging one. Aside from the GMO corn, ground wheat, soybeans, sugar, salt, phosphoric acid, preservatives, and artificial coloring, it also contains various bone meals and animal fats. Exactly what animals are contained within the food isn’t clear and, unfortunately, regulations don’t stipulate that it has to be disclosed. For any senior dog or one with fragile health, the better option would be mixing up your own food for it that’s made of natural and whole ingredients — you’ll find that the cost is comparable to buying this brand

18. PRO PAC Adult Chunk Premium Dog Food

PRO PAC Adult Chunk Premium formula dog food comes in a total of three formulas — Adult, Adult mini chunk, and Performance Puppy — and purports to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines. One must question why, then, the food contains so many fillers, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and things that re known to be detrimental to the health of dogs. Just as too many cheaper brands contain such ingredients, this higher priced dog food does as well.

19. Science Diet Adult Dog Breed

Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Oat Fiber, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

20. Nature’s Recipe Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe looks like an average dry product. But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating. Nature’s Recipe is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, lamb or fish meals as its main sources of animal protein which isn’t ideal.