When it comes to feeding your dog, you want to know that you’re giving him a nutritious meal which is free from any harmful ingredients. There are so many options and varieties that choosing the best dog food for your four legged friend is a confusing task.
Opting for grain free dog food has become more and more popular due to the increasing food sensitivities which dogs are experiencing, and is a great choice for anyone who wants to ensure that their pup is getting enough healthy protein to carbohydrate ratio which imitates a more natural diet.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a buying guide to help you choose the best grain free dry dog food for your pup, and give you absolute peace of mind when it comes to your dogs diet.
When considering your choices for the best grain free dry dog food, here are a few things to look out for –
A limited ingredient list – avoiding filler ingredients that at best are used to make your dog feel full on less nutritious ingredients and at worst can be harmful to your pup. A limited ingredient list also helps eliminate foods that your dog may be sensitive to.
See that all ingredients are properly identified – look especially at the meat meal – how it is prepared and what it consists of.
High protein percentage – to imitate a natural diet and preferably a smaller percentage of complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potato or avocado.
Meat Meal – meat meal is essentially rendered meat, which refers to the use of high temperatures and high pressure to separate fat and moisture from solid, dried protein. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however you should steer clear of vague labelling such as “meat meal” as opposed to more specific labeling such as “chicken meal” or “fish meal”, to have a better idea of the meat your pup will consume and avoid terribly low quality mixed “meat meal” which has been known to contain many unwanted meats including roadkill.
|BRAND||LINES||NO. OF GRAIN FREE FORMULAS||MAIN PROTEIN SOURCE||$/lb||RATING|
|ORIJIN||ORIGINAL||8||FREE-RANGE CHICKEN AND TURKEY||$3.38||5/5|
|EARTHBORN HOLISTIC||GRAIN-FREE||6||BISON AND LAMB MEAL||$1.70||4/5|
|BLUE BUFFALO||WILDERNESS||27||DEBONED CHICKEN & CHICKEN MEAL||$2.00||4/5|
|DIAMOND||NATURALS||3||CHICKEN & CHICKEN MEAL||$1.50||4/5|
|CANDIDAE||GRAIN-FREE PURE||14||FRESH CHICKEN & CHICKEN MEAL||$2.38||4.5/5|
|WELLNESS||CORE||7||DEBONED TURKEY & TURKEY MEAL||$2.42||4.5/5|
|NUTRISOURCE||GRAIN-FREE||17||CHICKEN & CHICKEN MEAL||$2.16||5/5|
|TASTE OF THE WILD||GRAIN-FREE||9||BUFFALO & LAMB MEAL||$1.63||4/5|
|PROFESSIONAL +||N/A||4||CHICKEN & CHICKEN MEAL||$1.00||3.5/5|
1. Orijen Original
This is a fantastic and trusted name in pet food.
The ingredients are premium quality and clearly stated.
This specific option is a mix of poultry, fish and eggs, which makes up 85% of the mix and the remaining 15% consists of healthy, dog friendly vegetables, fruits and other botanicals, including ingredients such as whole butternut squash, kale, juniper berries and apples and is 100% grain free, and limited to 20% low-glycaemic carbohydrates.
Orijen also contains herring, a fatty marine fish which is naturally high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and essential oils as well as probiotics for digestive health.
Orijen Original is a great option for dogs at all life stages, making it ideal for multiple dog households, where you may have dogs of different ages.
This is not only an incredibly healthy, high quality dog food, it is also enticing and tasty for your furry friend thanks to infusions of freeze dried liver, naturally enhancing flavors and tempting even the fussiest eaters.
25 lb for $86.63
Merrick has a number of different dog food formulas and lines, with a dedicated grain free line with options including beef, buffalo, chicken, duck, salmon, turkey, venison, and rabbit.
The first ingredient of this mix is deboned chicken, which, along with turkey and chicken meal helps comprise 70% of the total ingredients and is a great, healthy source of meat protein for your pup. Other ingredients include fresh produce such as peas, apples and blueberries, giving your dog plenty of minerals and antioxidants.
The sweet potato provides a gluten free source of complex carbohydrates and is easily digestible while giving your dog sustained energy. High levels of glucosamine aid in healthy hips and joints.
Merrick dog food is made in the USA from locally sourced ingredients and prepared in small batches in an organically certified 5-star kitchen.
25 lbs for $56.83
Earthborn Holistic dog food is an incredibly well balanced food, with all the ingredients needed to keep your pup healthy and active.
Made from bison meal and lamb meal, this food is rich in lean red meat and balanced amino acids, and contains fantastic nutrient rich vegetables and fruits such as peas, blueberries, cranberries, spinach and carrots for optimal fibre and vitamin levels.
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast is 100 percent grain free and has guaranteed levels of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E.
Earthborn Holistic is an environmentally conscious company which has fantastic programmes and incentives to limit any negative impact on the planet and also contributes to educating the youth about green issues.
28-lb bag for $48.00
Around $1.70 a pound
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness range of grain free, meat rich dog foods come in a number of different options, including red meat, wild salmon, venison, bison, chicken, and alligator & & catfish, to name a few.
This is a food which has been designed to imitate a natural diet, which means its heavy on the meat content and low on carbs.
The Lifesource Bits are small, dark kibble pieces which are mixed in with the Blue Wilderness and contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are approved and selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These bits are cold-formed to avoid losing valuable nutrients at high temperatures and include ingredients like barley grass, kelp, blueberries and flaxseed.
This is a fantastic dog food that is loved by many and often named the best grain free dog food.
24 lb for $49.00
Around $2.00 per lb
This grain free dog food is fantastic for dogs at all life stages, which means you’ll never have to change foods which is convenient.
Made from cage-free chickens, the Chicken & Sweet Potato grain free formula is nutritious and tasty, with the sweet potato providing complex carbs for extended energy.
The crude protein accounts for a minimum of 24% of this high quality food, and other ingredients include peas, lentils, flaxseed and salmon oil for an overall healthy dog.
Diamond Naturals Grain Free also helps with gut health, with a source of live, naturally occurring organisms for good digestion and a happy pup.
28 lbs for $42
Around $1.50 per lb
Canidae is an independent and family owned company, which produces some of the best grain free dry dog food available.
This is a high protein mix, with a combination of chicken and chicken meal, minerals such as zinc and potassium and vitamins including vitamin E, Vitamin B12 and vitamin C among others.
It also contains a probiotic mix, flaxseed, peas, chickpeas and alfalfa.
Crude protein makes up a minimum of 30% of this high protein food, and guarantees a healthy mix to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
If you are looking for a healthy food made by a family owned and run business which is passionate about their product, then this may be the best grain free dry dog food for you and your pup.
24 lb for $57.00
Around $2.38 per lb
7. Wellness Core Original Grain Free Dog Food
Wellness Core Dog Food is another high protein,low carb dry dog food which features on many lists for the best grain free dry dog food.
Core dog food is 100% free of both grain and animal by-products and contains 80% more meat protein than traditional dry dog foods, as well as ingredients such as apples, blueberries, broccoli and carrots.
Wellness Core uses good quality ingredients and contains essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids for a healthy and happy pup.
It’s also a healthy source of fiber and probiotics, and will help you keep your dog in top shape.
Dogs absolutely love this rich deboned turkey and chicken liver packed food and should thrive on the well balanced nutrition offered by Wellness Core Dry Dog Food.
26-pound bag for $62.99
Around $2.42 per lb
NutriSource has paid special attention to bioavailability in their dog food formula – meaning the ability of your dog to absorb the key nutrients offered by their premium ingredients efficiently.
This is achieved through their creation of a highly digestible, nutrient dense kibble with approximately +85% digestibility.
Ultimately this means that your dog needs less food since he can easily absorb and utilize the nutrients from this fantastic low-glycemic dog food.
NutriSource uses minimal processing in the making of this food in order to retain the nutrients naturally provided by the ingredients, and use humanely farmed chicken, low-ash chicken meal and north American farmed peas to create a formula which is ideal for all breeds and all life stages.
This is the best grain free dry dog food for dogs with particularly sensitive stomachs due to the prebiotic called Bi-Mos ™ which helps reduce pathogenic gut bacteria and prevents excessive gas, vomiting and other issues associated with sensitive tummies. This also allows you to switch between NutriSource foods to increase variety in your dog’s diet without worrying about upset stomachs.
NutriSource Chicken & Pea Grain Free dog food is an incredibly well balanced food which ensures your pup will receive all the nutrients he needs.
30 lbs for $65.00
Around $2.16 per lb
Taste of the Wild is based on a natural high protein, low carb diet and includes real roasted meat, including bison and venison, wild boar, smoked salmon, roasted fowl and roasted lamb.
The complex carbohydrates are provided by sweet potatoes and peas for an extended release of energy that should keep your pup happy and active.
The K9 Strain Probiotics contained in the formula combined with the fiber provided by chicory root promotes healthy digestion while the lean meat is easy to absorb protein at its tastiest.
Taste of the Wild also contains blueberries and raspberries for their fantastic antioxidant properties, while a carefully blended mix of fatty acids ensures your pup is getting the finest nutrient packed food.
Many pet lovers swear by Taste of the Wild, which is one of the best sellers in this list, and it’s easy to understand why once you take a look at their recipe and ingredients. It’s also incredibly good value for money.
30 lbs for $49.00
$1.63 per lb
10. AvoDerm Grain Free Chicken Meal and Potato Dog Food
AvoDerm dog food is an omega-rich formula made with California grown avocados. The avo rich formula is full of high quality fats and oils as well as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants which provide your pup with a healthy, balanced diet and boosts his immune system, as well as giving him an outstanding shiny coat.
The Chicken Meal & Potato Formula is packed with protein, which makes up a minimum of 28% of the formula, as well as a variety of other healthy ingredients such as salmon oil, chicken fat, kelp meal, flax seed, pineapple stem, sage extract and rosemary extract.
This carefully selected list of ingredients combines to give your dog a well balanced diet which meets all his nutritional requirements.
24 lbs for $53.00
Around $2.20 per lb
All the above mentioned grain free dry dog foods are among the best available on the market and will give your pup a well balanced diet.
A few of the dog foods in the list are, however, specifically formulated for certain types of dogs and their needs, so we’ve made a few top picks to help you choose the best grain free dry dog food for your pup.
For dogs with sensitive stomachs – we recommend NutriSource Chicken & Pea Grain Free dog food, since it is specially formulated to be gentle on tummies.
For an earth friendly option – we recommend Earthborn Holistic dog food, due to its environmentally responsible business practices.
For an overall healthy option – we recommend Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato.
For fussy eaters – we recommend Orijin Original since it’s packed full of freeze dried liver for an enticing flavor.