The Healthiest Dog Foods — And Some You Should Avoid Slideshow

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Buying cheap dog food is an easy trap to fall into when you first bring a dog into your home — dogs are expensive, and between the vet visits, chewable toys, and grooming care, it can be tempting to go for the most affordable option on the shelves. However, if there's anywhere you should cut back costs on caring for your pet, dog food should be last on your list.

The ingredients and nutrition in your dog's food can make a huge difference in your canine's health (not to mention your experience with your new pet). A healthy dog is a happy dog, and anyone with a heart knows that our furry friends deserve the best!

When your dog doesn't get the right nutrients, it can experience malnutrition, indigestion, and even some dangerous health conditions.

To make sure your dog is only getting fed the best, we've compiled a list of the 10 best and the 10 worst dog foods.

To assist with these rankings, we used the trusted reviews from Dog Food Advisor and assessed many customer reviews of the most popular brands on the market (so that you don't have to).

Blue Buffalo

Healthy. At Petco, Blue Buffalo has dominated the shelves as the most popular brand on the market. Made with whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, the carbohydrates in Blue Buffalo dog food will keep your dog's energy sustained and digestion regular.


Healthy. Halo provides a low-carb option for your pet! If you and your dog want to go on matching diets, with Halo you can. The main ingredients in this top-notch recipe are salmon and whitefish, and the mixture is enhanced with flaxseed,  as well as peas, chickpeas, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, and lots of vitamins and minerals.


Healthy. One of the most well-known options, Iams' nutrient profile is pretty good when it comes to dog nutrition. The ingredients vary based on the kind of Iams that you purchase, but they tend to contain real meat and grain ingredients.


Healthy. Similar to some other foods on this list, Merrick includes duck meat, salmon, and chicken in their products. However, Merrick also incorporates probiotics and prebiotic fiber into their Lil' Plates recipes for smaller breeds to aid in their digestion. All the benefits humans receive from kombucha are packed in these dry pellets for your dog.

Nature’s Variety

Healthy. Nature's Variety boasts some of the highest meat content on the market. Treat your dog to duck meat, salmon, and chicken all in one kibble. Because this brand is brimming with healthy fats and protein, you may have to step in to make sure your dog stops eating after one bowl.


Healthy. Nutro contains only real food ingredients along with some added vitamins to give your dog an extra boost of nutrition. No chance your pup will become nutrient-deficient on this kibble — if you don't believe us, just check out the raving reviews. Can't argue with that!


Healthy. High in protein, loaded with healthy fats, and made with all-organic ingredients, Organix is a great choice for your dog. This brand uses real chicken instead of the ambiguous "chicken meal" alongside whole grains.

Solid Gold

Healthy. This appropriately-titled dog food (Solid Gold) contains all-natural ingredients, some of which are impressively healthy. Chia seeds, quinoa, and lentils are examples from the impressive list on the backs of these bags. With a large amount of protein and zero chemical additives, this chow is the way to go.

Wellness CORE

Healthy. Wellness CORE's dog foods not only contain the classic whole ingredients like chicken and turkey, they also pack an extra health boost for your pet with other fruits and vegetables such as kale, blueberries, and sweet potatoes. Your dog deserves just as many nutrients as you do!

Whole Earth Farms

Healthy. A popular choice among consumers, Whole Earth Farms uses concentrates of meat that contain up to 300 percent of the protein in normal meat. High-protein and filled with added probiotic bacteria, this brand is a great choice for your dog's dinner.


Avoid. Beneful products contain multiple unnecessary and unnatural additives, including colorings like Yellow 5 and Red 40. The appearance of your dog's food is not worth the cost to nutrition. Unless you put the color of its pebbles over the health of your dog's stomach, skip this brand.


Avoid. This brand contains an abhorrent amount of animal by-products instead of real and nutritious cuts of meat. These by-products contain far less nutritional value for dogs and have been known to cause indigestion. Additionally, Cesar went through a massive recall in October of 2016 when their foods were found to contain small pieces of plastic, a dangerous choking hazard for pets.

Better to skip this brand and go for one that uses the real thing!

Hill’s Science Diet

Avoid. While Hill's Science Diet claims to have science on its side, in reality the food is packed with controversial ingredients such as corn meal and soybean oil. These compounds are suspected to contribute to canine allergies and indigestion.

Natural Balance

Avoid. Natural Balance tends to be far too low in protein for most dogs to remain healthy, deriving less than 20 percent of its calories from protein. Made up of mostly carbohydrates, this brand will leave your dog hungry for more fats and proteins after dinner.

Nature’s Recipe

Avoid. Nature's Recipe dog foods contain a fair ingredient profile, but a below-average level of proteins and fats, the two nutrients most essential for dogs to lead a healthy life.


Avoid. Pedigree is by far the worst when it comes to ingredients. The first ingredient is corn, which is of little nutritional value to a dog. The next biggest ingredient is "poultry by-product meal." This is a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste made from waste left over from slaughtered poultry once all of the prime cuts are removed. If you care about your pet, you might want to leave these bags on the shelf.


Avoid. The main ingredient of many kinds of Purina dog foods is "chicken by-product meal", which is made up largely of parts of chicken that are indigestible or provide less nutritional value. Additionally, the beef in the food is loaded with chemical preservatives. This brand may be a popular choice, but it doesn't seem to be a smart one.

Royal Canin

Avoid. The main ingredient of some of Royal Canin's products is brewer's rice — the same grain compound deemed as a by-product of the healthier, more digestible whole grains. Click here for 12 Human Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog.

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