Best Dry Foods for Dogs 2024

Written by Jasmine Sawatzky

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/02/2023, edited: 03/05/2024

Best Dry Foods for Dogs 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.


Choosing the best dry dog food for your pet can be a daunting task, with so many options and sometimes misleading marketing tactics. But with a bit of digging and understanding of your dog's nutritional needs, you can make a healthy decision for your fur-baby.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing dry food for your pup.

  • Puppies need a diet that is high in protein and fat to support their growth and development, while adult dogs need a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to maintain their weight and energy levels.
  • Senior dogs may require a diet that’s lower in calories and higher in fiber to support their aging bodies, and small kibble pieces to help keep their teeth in tip top shape.
  • The size and breed of your dog
  • Any specific health concerns or dietary restrictions that may affect your woofer's nutritional needs.
  • Budget — you need to pick a food that you can afford to buy for years to come! 

Furtunately, most dry dog food brands have specific formulas for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and life stages.

A great way to check if a dog food brand is reputable is to peek at the ingredients list. Ideally, it should contain high-quality ingredients, such as whole meats and vegetables, and avoid those that contain fillers or by-products. The first ingredient listed should be a whole meat source, such as chicken, beef, or fish.

When choosing the best dry dog food, it's important to check with your veterinarian for recommendations based on your dog's individual needs. 

Now, let's get into our top choices for dry dog food!



Overview

Orijen Dog Food

Paw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw icon
5

Orijen prides itself on using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients in its formulas, which are designed to mimic the diet of wild dogs. This dry dog food is available in a variety of different flavors, including chicken, fish, and red meat, and each formula is made with a variety of fresh, whole ingredients. 

Some of the ingredients you might find in Orijen dry dog food include free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

The original formula is grain free, but their Amazing Grain line has all the same flavors dogs have grown to love, with the addition of healthy grains. 

Orijen Dry Dog Food variations by life stage:

Puppy

  • Puppy
  • Puppy Large
  • Amazing Grains Puppy
  • Amazing Grains Puppy Large

Adult

  • Fit & Trim

All life stages

  • Original
  • Regional Red
  • Small Breed
  • Six Fish
  • Tundra
  • Amazing Grains Original
  • Amazing Grains Six Fish
  • Amazing Grains Regional Read

Senior

  • Senior
Orijen Dog Food

Orijen Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Variety of protein sources
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Nutrient-dense

Considerations & Concerns

  • On the pricey side
  • High in calories
  • Some pet parents complain of a strong smell
  • Large kibble size so it might not be suitable for smaller dogs

What pet parents say about Orijen Dry Dog Food

“This stuff is great. I have been feeding my dogs raw for two years, but I am getting tired of the hassle that I tails raw feeding. I found Origen after the endless search for a quality kibble to change them to. Origen fit the bill. It has everything in it that feeding raw delivers. This is quality food and my dogs love it too.”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced on Chewy. Copyright Mars Petcare US, Inc.




Instinct Original Dog Food

Paw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw iconHalf paw icon
4.5

Instinct dry dog food is a crowd-pleaser! This grain-free option is made from high-quality protein sources, including real meat, poultry, and fish, and free from gluten, and artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

This dog food is designed to provide a balanced and complete diet for dogs of all breeds and sizes, with added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support overall health and wellness. 

These recipes include ingredients such as sweet potatoes, peas, and chickpeas, which provide natural sources of carbohydrates and fiber to support digestive health. What makes it unique is that each piece of kibble is coated with freeze-dried raw meat. 

Instinct Original Kibble variations for all life stages:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Rabbit
  • Salmon
  • Chicken

Instinct Original Dog Food

Instinct Original Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Grain-free formula
  • High protein content
  • No artificial preservatives or colors
  • Made with high-quality ingredients, including real meat, fruits, and vegetables
  • Good for weight management

Considerations & Concerns

  • Expensive
  • Limited availability
  • High protein content might not be suitable for all pets

What pet parents say about Instinct Original Kibble

“My Pitbull mix has terrible food allergies. I have tried everything except a full raw diet which I can not afford and NOTHING worked. He would have really loose stool and had really yeasty paws. I tried Instinct GF chicken and his paws are the best they have ever looked! His stools are more firm too. I am very impressed with Instinct and this is definitely a high quality food. If your dog has bad allergies and is not allergic to chicken then give this a try!”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Nature's Variety.




Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Paw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw iconHalf paw icon
4.5
Verified ribbon icon

Vet recommended

Your pup will be howling for dinner once you start feeding them Taste of the Wild dry dog food. Formulated to mimic the ancestral diet of dogs with a blend of high-quality, natural ingredients, it uses unique proteins like wild boar, bison, smoke-flavored salmon, roasted duck, venison and Angus beef. It also includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and probiotics to provide a complete and balanced diet for your dog.

Plus, Taste of the Wild comes recommended by Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, member of Wag!’s licensed veterinary team. “Taste of the Wild offers both wet and dry dog and cat foods for all life stages incorporating species-specific probiotics, antioxidants from ancient grains, fruits and seeds, and omega fatty acids.”

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food variations by life stage:

Puppy

  • High Prairie Puppy Recipe
  • Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe

Adult

  • High Prairie Canine Recipe
  • Pacific Stream Canine Recipe
  • Wetlands Canine Recipe
  • Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Recip

All life stages

  • Sierra Mountain Canine Recipe
  • Pine Forest Canine Recipe
  • Southwest Canyon Canine Recipe
  • Ancient Wetlands Canine Recipe
  • Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe
  • Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe
  • Ancient Stream Canine Recipe

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

Considerations & Concerns

  • Limited availability in stores
  • High in calories
  • History of lawsuits and recalls

What pet parents say about Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food

“Ever since switching to taste of the wild, my dogs don't eat as much and they are more satisfied. Glad I switched from using the normal brands of dog food, they would eat [a lot] and seemed like they would never get full. I would highly recommend this brand of dog food. They have more energy and spunk.”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright SCHELL & KAMPETER, INC.




Nulo Freestyle Dog Food

Paw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw iconHalf paw icon
4.5

Nulo Freestyle dog food is an exceptional choice for pet parents who are seeking a high-quality and nutritious diet for their furry friends. 

This brand is known for being grain-free, protein-rich, and carefully crafted to meet the nutritional needs of dogs of all ages and sizes. It has an excellent ingredient list that includes premium protein sources, healthy fruits and vegetables, and beneficial probiotics and prebiotics.

What makes the Freestyle line unique is that it’s free from grains, chicken, and egg protein, making it a great choice for pups with allergies. Many dog owners report seeing positive changes in their dog's coat, energy levels, and overall health after switching to Nulo Freestyle dog food.

Nulo Freestyle Dry Dog Food variations by life stage:

Puppy

  • Nulo FreeStyle Puppy Turkey and Sweet Potato
  • Nulo FreeStyle Puppy Salmon and Peas
  • Nulo FreeStyle Large Breed Puppy Salmon and Turkey

Adult

  • Nulo FreeStyle Adult Salmon and Peas
  • Nulo FreeStyle Adult Lamb and Chickpeas
  • Nulo FreeStyle Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato
  • Nulo FreeStyle Adult Trim Cod and Lentils
  • Nulo FreeStyle Adult Small Breed Salmon and Red Lentils

Senior

  • Nulo FreeStyle Senior Trout and Sweet Potato

Nulo Freestyle Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • High-quality protein sources
  • Grain-free
  • Added probiotics and prebiotics
  • No artificial preservatives or colors

Considerations & Concerns

  • Higher cost
  • Limited availability
  • Smaller bag sizes

What pet parents say about Nulo Freestyle Dry Dog Food

“I switched to Nulo about 4 years ago and never looked back. My senior dog loves the food and I find her to be in fine health. Her previous food was supposed to be top quality but started to have recalls that concerned me. This line so far has lived up to my expectations. I love that the food is not filled with fillers and items that an older or more sensitive dog can’t tolerate.”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from the Chewy and Nulo websites. Copyright Nulo.




Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food

Paw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw iconPaw icon
4
Verified ribbon icon

Vet recommended

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog food is a solid choice if you want to feed your pup like family. This pupular brand gives a True BLUE Promise that real meat is the first ingredient with no poultry by-product meals, no corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial flavors or preservatives. In the ingredient list, you’ll find a high-quality protein first, combined with wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Blue Buffalo often includes added supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health, and antioxidants like vitamin E and Vitamin C to boost the immune system. Overall, Blue Buffalo Life Protection dry dog food is a nutritious and flavorful option for pet owners who want to feed their dogs high-quality, wholesome food.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food variations by life stage:

Puppy

  • Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe
  • Small Breed Puppy Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
  • Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Adult

  • Adult Beef & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Fish & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Healthy Weight Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Small Bite Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Adult Small Breed Beef & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Toy Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Small Breed Adult Fish & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Small Breed Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Small Breed Adult Healthy Weight Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Adult Large Breed Beef & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Adult Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Large Breed Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe

Senior

  • Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Large Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • High-quality ingredients
  • No by-product meals
  • No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Different flavors and sizes

Considerations & Concerns

  • Expensive
  • Grains can be an allergen or cause digestive issues in some dogs
  • High in calories

What pet parents say about Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry

“This food is Awesome! Our puppies are now over a year old and we started feeding them Blue Buffalo a few weeks ago. Positive change, their coats are so shiny and they appear to be much happier with BB. Older dog has more energy (positive for him not so much for pups. The picky eater is no longer leaving food in her bowl!!”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Blue Buffalo Company Ltd.

FAQ

Is dry food healthier for dogs?

plus-wag-green-icon

Can dogs live on dry food only?

plus-wag-green-icon

Should I add water to dry dog food?

plus-wag-green-icon

What are the pros and cons of dry dog food?

plus-wag-green-icon

What can I add to my pet's kibble every day?

plus-wag-green-icon

How does Wag! determine paw ratings for dog food?

plus-wag-green-icon

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.