Top 5 Healthy Dog Food Brands

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As much as I would like to be able to feed Max only the most easily-digested wet foods, there are times when it’s just not feasible. That’s why I always have a pack of dry dog food from the store. I want the best, healthiest, and most natural dry food products for Max. My thoughts are: if I’m going to have to feed Max commercially-produced kibble, the least I can do is pick the one sold under a brand that cares as much about the dogs’ health as I do.

Still, there are so many varying brands of dry dog food out there! Nonetheless, I’ve taken the time to browse through the product detail information, customer reviews, and tried the ones I found most promising to see which ones are Max-approved. Only 5 brands made the cut.

Top 5 dog food brands you should consider

Below are the top 5 healthiest dry dog food brands to choose from. Remember, however, that they are dry, everyday-kibble that should be used as a part of your dog’s daily meals, and not treats. The best dog treats should be given intermittently as a reward for good behavior.

1. Wellness Core Grain Free Formula

These days, it’s difficult to find a dry food brand that hasn’t been taken over by major corporations intent on cashing in as much as possible from careless dog owners by producing super cheap dog foods that have nothing to offer save for an attractive packaging and an aggressive marketing campaign. Fortunately, there are still some boutique dog food producers left that care more about quality than quantity — one of them being Wellness Core.

Wellness Core Grain Free Formula has won the AAFCO seal of approval on nutrient levels. Its protein level of 38% is exemplary compared to the other dry food brands. The 13% fat level is also just right to keep your dog’s physique well-balanced. The 41% carbohydrate reading is also good news, since it is well below the average line, meaning your dog will get all the good nutrients without getting bogged down by empty carbohydrates. Best yet, you never have to wonder where the ingredients came from since Wellness Core’s commitment is to create a product that has the label “Made in the USA” proudly stamped on the package.


  • Grain Free
  • Protein Focused Nutrition
  • AAFCO seal of approval
  • Made in the USA

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2. Orijen Grain Free

Orijen is another quality-oriented boutique dry food producer that you can entrust the health of your canine companion. Orijen would’ve ranked first on our list if it weren’t for the cost, which is a bit high. After all, it is packed with the most beneficial nutrients and made from the best ingredients, and that quality level is reflected in its price.

Orijen Grain Free contains high levels of protein (42%), above-average level of fat (20%), and impressively low rate of carbohydrates (30%). The Grain Free formula is also high in essential oils and Omega-3 fatty acids, so it’ll make your dog’s coat shine like no other dry food brand will. If you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further than Orijen.

Another unique point worth noting with Orijen is that the company goes the extra mile to add probiotics into their dry food. The probiotics will benefit your dog’s overall health and digestive system. This is an advantage few brands other than Orijen can boast.


  • Grain free
  • Single-source protein
  • Contains probiotics
  • Sourced and made in the USA

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3. Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is rising quickly in popularity among dog owners these days, mainly thanks to the affordable price.

If you are looking for a dog food that is tasty, healthy, and won’t break the bank, then Taste of the Wild can be the answer. It has a lower protein level than most of the other dry food brands on this list (32%) and a higher level of carbohydrates at 43% – which may leave something to be desired – but its fat content makes up for it at 17%.

Taste of the Wild claims that the company follows the nutrient formula dogs would naturally consume in the wild, so it’s really the best arrangement for them. Made from natural ingredients such as flaxseed and beans, it’s easy on the digestive system and the nutrients will be readily absorbed into your dog’s body. Another thing worth mentioning is that Taste of the Wild only uses purified water in the production of their dog food line, so there’s no risk of contamination.


  • Grain free formula
  • Contains sweet potatoes and peas
  • Made with real roasted meat
  • More affordable than others on this list

Amazon offers Subscribe & Save for a hassle-free way to save 5% and always keep your pantry stocked!

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4. Nature’s Variety Instinct

Nature’s Variety is just an all-around well-rounded dog food. It’s not as expensive, but the nutrient count closely rivals that of Orijen Grain Free. With 39% protein and 31% carbohydrates, this one falls just slightly behind Orijen, and yet it’s much more affordable at about $2.17 per pound. Too much fat is never good, but although Nature’s Variety has a higher amount of fat than Orijen (at 22%), it’s still at a perfectly acceptable level.

The recipe used by Nature’s Variety is slightly more creative than what the other brands use. Whereas the other brands stick to the tried and true flaxseed and salmon oil, Nature’s Variety Instinct adds pumpkin seeds and canola oil into the mix. It’s a daring but also innovative choice — and obviously the right one if you look at the five-star ratings this brand has received from dog owners on numerous sites.


  • Natural ingredients
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Contains pumpkin seeds and canola oil
  • Nearly matches protein count of Orijen
  • Reasonably priced compared to Orijen

Amazon offers Subscribe & Save for a hassle-free way to save 5% and always keep your pantry stocked!

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4. Merrick Grain Free

Merrick makes good on the company’s promise to only use natural sources of protein in order to create great flavors and easily-absorbable nutritional contents. My Max loves the taste and watching him eat a lot of it while imagining the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that would do miracles for his general health gives me great pleasure.

You don’t need to worry that much about your dog’s digestive system either with this one, because even if your dog is going over the usual portion with Merrick, it won’t be a problem thanks to the chelated minerals, which are bioengineered minerals known to be much easier to absorb than any other type of minerals.

At 43%, the protein level is off the charts — higher even than Orijen, which comes at a much more expensive cost than Merrick’s $2.16 per pound. Merrick has the same carbohydrate level as Orijen, at 30%, and it falls only the slightest bit behind in fat content at 19%. Merrick Grain Free is a wonderful choice that is rapidly gaining popularity among dog owners who are conscious about their canine companion’s health.


  • First Ingredient is de-boned chicken
  • Highest protein level on this list
  • Grain free recipe
  • Rich in Omega 6, Omega 3 Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • 70% meat / 30% fresh produce

Amazon offers Subscribe & Save for a hassle-free way to save 5% and always keep your pantry stocked!

Find It On Amazon!

So Which One Should You Choose?

It really depends on your dog’s preference. All of the above are tried and true dry dog foods that have been highly rated by dog owners around the world. Max and I have hand-picked only the best for you. All of them can give your dogs the health benefits that they need, eliminate the worry of digestive problems, and are not that different in terms of price. In the end, it all comes down to the taste.

Try them one by one to see which one suits your dog’s palate. After all, all of those good nutrients mean nothing if your dog is not willing to eat it.


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About Author

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.

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