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The 10 Most Popular Dog Foods of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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In the ever-evolving world of pet care, few things hold as much importance as what our four-legged companions consume. As devoted pet parents, we’re constantly on the lookout for the best nutrition to ensure our dogs lead healthy, energetic lives. With 2023 well underway, it’s time to unveil a comprehensive guide to the most sought-after and trusted dog foods that have captured the hearts – and appetites – of our furry friends.

Navigating through the labyrinth of dog food options can be overwhelming, as the market is flooded with an array of brands promising nutritional superiority. To provide clarity and guidance, we’ve undertaken an extensive journey to research, test, and analyze a multitude of options. This careful scrutiny has allowed us to compile a list of the top 10 dog foods that stand out not only for their popularity but also for their quality and effectiveness in meeting our loyal companions’ dietary needs.

Join us as we delve into this flavorful exploration, unearthing the ingredients, formulations, and benefits that set these dog foods apart. From grain-free delights to recipes designed for specific dietary requirements, our reviews cover a wide spectrum to cater to dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages.

Beyond the conventional considerations, our testing process delves into the heart of what truly matters: the health and happiness of our cherished pets. We’ve enlisted the help of canine taste-testers, consulted with veterinarians and nutritionists, and delved into the intricate world of pet nutrition to ensure that our recommendations aren’t just popular, but also genuinely nourishing.

In this blog series, we’ll be your companions on this quest for the ideal canine cuisine. Each brand featured on our list has undergone rigorous evaluation, taking into account factors such as ingredient quality, nutritional balance, palatability, and the presence of any potential allergens. Whether your furry friend prefers kibble, wet food, or a mix of both, we’ve left no kibble unturned in our pursuit of the best options.

So, if you’re a pet parent who’s dedicated to providing the very best for your loyal companion, look no further. Join us as we unveil the 10 most popular dog foods of 2023, backed by thorough testing, expert insights, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of our furry family members. Your dog’s next scrumptious meal might just be a click away.

Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS PRICE
71Zk83vi9LL._AC_SL1500_ Best Overall Dry: Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Dry Dog Food Small kibble for small dogs: This food is specially formulated with small kibble that is easy for small dogs to chew and digest.

Lamb meal and brown rice: This food is made with high-quality ingredients, including lamb meal and brown rice, which are both good sources of protein and fiber.

Supports healthy skin and coat: This food also contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, which can help to support a healthy skin and coat.
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81fOfunT+0L._AC_SL1500_ Best Overall Wet: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Adult Wet Dog Food Real chicken or beef as the first ingredient: This means that the food is made with high-quality protein that is essential for your dog’s muscle development and maintenance.

Feed three ways: You can feed this food as a meal on its own, mix it with your dog’s dry food, or use it as a delicious treat.

Natural ingredients: This food is made with the finest natural ingredients, including real chicken or beef, fruits, and vegetables.
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71mj9p71sqL._AC_SL1500_ Best for Cesar: CESAR Adult Wet Dog Food HOME DELIGHTS & Classic Loaf in Sauce Variety Pack Variety of flavors: This variety pack includes 6 different flavors to choose from, so your dog is sure to find something they love.

Convenient packaging: The trays are easy to open and serve, and the peel-away freshness seals help keep the food fresh.

Nutritious: This food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs, and it contains real meat as the first ingredient.
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71jYVAj+1ML._AC_SL1500_ Best for Senior Dogs: Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Dry Food Real chicken: This food is made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient, which provides a high-quality source of protein for your senior dog. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and supporting a healthy immune system.


Calcium: This food also contains calcium, which is important for strong bones and joints. As dogs age, their bones can become weaker, so it is important to provide them with a diet that is rich in calcium.

Natural fiber: This food also contains natural fiber, which can help to promote healthy digestion. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements and can also help to reduce the risk of constipation.
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71IpxVGJfnL._AC_SL1500_ Best for ACANA Dogs: ACANA Grain Free Dry Dog Food ✓ 60% high-quality animal ingredients, including ranch-raised beef, Yorkshire pork, and grass-fed lamb

✓ 40% wholesome fruits, vegetables, and nutrients for digestive health

✓ Freeze-dried cod coating for rich flavor and omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health
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71N7LiBRYNL._AC_SL1500_ Best for Large Dogs: Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food ✓ Tailored nutrition for large dogs 15 months to 5 years old weighing 56-100 lb.

✓ Helps support bone and joint health in older dogs.

✓ Nourishes skin and coat with EPA and DHA.
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81IDQmJWZRL._AC_SL1500_ Best for Allergies: Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe Limited ingredient: Made with a single source of protein from duck and easily digestible carbohydrates from oatmeal.

Suitable for dogs with food sensitivities: This recipe is free of common allergens like grains, corn, and soy.

Supports digestive health: Contains natural prebiotics and omega fatty acids to promote a healthy digestive system.
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71y8b9uzHEL._AC_SL1500_ Best for Chicken Dog Food : The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog Food ✓ Limited ingredient formula with only 6 whole food ingredients, perfect for dogs with food sensitivities.

✓ Made with real, whole food ingredients like free range chicken and organic quinoa.

✓ Gently dehydrated to maintain nutrients and taste.
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1. Best Overall Dry: Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small Bites, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe is a formulated dog food designed to cater to the nutritional needs of adult dogs, particularly those that prefer smaller kibble sizes. This specific recipe features lamb meal and brown rice as its primary ingredients, offering a balanced diet for your canine companion. The 33 lb. bag provides a substantial amount of food to keep your dog well-fed over an extended period.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small Bites, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe can be a suitable choice for adult dogs that benefit from a smaller kibble size and the nutritional qualities of lamb and brown rice. However, individual dogs have unique dietary requirements and preferences, so it’s important to consider your dog’s specific needs before making a decision. Consulting with a veterinarian can provide additional guidance in selecting the right dog food for your furry friend.

2. Best Overall Wet: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Adult Wet Dog Food

The Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food Variety Pack offers a selection of high-quality, natural wet dog food options for adult dogs. This variety pack includes 8 cans of 12.5 ounces each, with 4 cans of chicken flavor and 4 cans of beef flavor. Blue Buffalo is known for its commitment to providing nutritionally balanced and wholesome food options for dogs, and this variety pack is no exception.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In summary, the Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food Variety Pack offers high-quality, natural ingredients in both chicken and beef flavors, catering to adult dogs’ nutritional needs. However, it may not be suitable for all budgets, and individual dogs’ taste preferences and dietary requirements should be considered when selecting this product.

3. Best for Cesar: CESAR Adult Wet Dog Food HOME DELIGHTS & Classic Loaf in Sauce Variety Pack

The CESAR Adult Wet Dog Food HOME DELIGHTS & Classic Loaf in Sauce Variety Pack offers a convenient and delicious meal option for your beloved canine companion. This variety pack includes 36 individual 3.5 oz. easy peel trays, providing a diverse selection of flavors to keep your dog excited about mealtime. CESAR is known for its commitment to providing high-quality ingredients and a gourmet dining experience for dogs. The Classic Loaf in Sauce recipes are designed to cater to the palates of adult dogs, offering a balance of flavors and textures to satisfy their taste buds. Each tray is easy to open, making feeding hassle-free and mess-free.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In summary, the CESAR Adult Wet Dog Food HOME DELIGHTS & Classic Loaf in Sauce Variety Pack offers a variety of flavors and convenient portion control, with the trade-off of a higher cost and potential packaging waste. It’s essential to consider your dog’s dietary needs and preferences when choosing this product.

4. Best for Senior Dogs: Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Dry Food

NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Senior Dry Dog Food is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of senior dogs. Crafted with high-quality ingredients, this Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble provides a balanced diet that supports the health and well-being of your aging canine companion. The 30 lb. bag is designed to last, offering an ample supply of nourishing food for your senior dog.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In conclusion, NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 30 lb. Bag offers a well-balanced and tailored diet for senior dogs with a focus on high-quality, natural ingredients. While it may have a higher price point, the health benefits it provides to aging dogs can make it a valuable investment for their overall well-being. However, like any pet food product, it’s essential to monitor your dog’s response and consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about dietary changes.

5. Best for ACANA Dogs: ACANA Grain Free Dry Dog Food

ACANA Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Red Meat Recipe, 25lb is a premium dog food product formulated to provide high-quality nutrition for dogs. This specific recipe is designed with a focus on red meat ingredients, catering to dogs’ carnivorous nature.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In conclusion, ACANA Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Red Meat Recipe, 25lb offers numerous benefits such as high-quality protein sources, grain-free formulation, and a limited ingredient list. However, it comes with a higher price point and may not be suitable for all dogs, so it’s essential to consider your pet’s specific needs and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

6. Best for Large Dogs: Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a specialized nutrition formula designed to meet the unique dietary needs of large breed dogs. Available in a 35 lb bag, this dog food is tailored to support the health and well-being of large breed adult dogs, typically those weighing over 55 pounds.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In conclusion, Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food offers specialized nutrition tailored to the unique needs of large breed dogs, with a focus on joint and digestive health. While it comes with several advantages, including its tailored formulation and quality ingredients, potential drawbacks include the price and individual dog preferences. It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine if this product is the right fit for your specific large breed dog’s dietary requirements.

7. Best for Allergies: Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe

The Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe is a specialized pet food designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. This dog food formula focuses on simplicity and quality, providing a straightforward blend of only a few key ingredients to minimize the risk of triggering adverse reactions in your furry friend.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In conclusion, the Simple Limited Ingredient Duck & Oatmeal Recipe is a beneficial option for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies due to its hypoallergenic nature and straightforward ingredient list. However, it may not be the best choice for all dogs, and careful consideration of your pet’s specific needs is necessary before switching to this formula.

8. Best for Chicken Dog Food : The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog Food, Chicken & Quinoa, 10 Pound (Pack of 1) is a premium dog food option that offers a simplified and natural approach to feeding your furry friend. This particular formula is made with minimal ingredients to cater to dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, and it is dehydrated to preserve the nutrients and flavors of the ingredients.

Here are some additional pros and cons that you may want to consider:

In summary, The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog Food offers a simplified, high-quality diet for dogs with food sensitivities. While it comes with a higher price tag and requires a bit of preparation, its minimal ingredients and nutrient retention through dehydration make it a healthy option for many dogs.

9.  Best Food Toppers: Honest Kitchen Pour Overs

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What We Like

  • The mixture of pieces and broth
  • Fewer ingredients and no fillers or additives
  • Food fit for humans
  • U.S.-made with ingredients from throughout the world
  • Simple pouring and reusing

What We Don’t Like

  • It can be difficult to open and close cartons.

In order to make kibble more appetizing for dogs, food toppers are made to be poured or sprinkled on top of it. Honest Kitchen Pour Overs are stews that resemble meat and are made of a rich broth with several pieces. These pour overs really smell wonderful, and Honest Kitchen claims to have been the first to offer human-grade ingredients in pet feeds. The nine varieties of the stews range from single proteins like chicken or turkey to meats combined with pumpkin for a healthy digestive system.

 They are made with a small number of ingredients and don’t contain fillers, GMOs, artificial flavours, or preservatives. Warming up the stews after a long cooking time will make the food more appetizing. Although they can be a bit difficult to open, cartons can be sealed and kept in the refrigerator until their next use. There are at least two servings in each carton.

At the time of publication, the variety pack of three cost $8.

Stage of life: Adult | Various Flavors: Chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef; turkey and pumpkin stew, chicken stew, salmon and pumpkin stew; and turkey and salmon stew | Nutritional Details: 4.5% minimum crude protein, 0.5% minimum crude fat, and 91.0% maximum moisture (chicken stew).

10.Best for Weight Management: Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Dog Food, Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula

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What We Like

  • Vets’ recommendations
  • No synthetic flavours or colors
  • Formulas for small- and large-breed animals are also offered.

What We Don’t Like

  • Accessible only in recipes using chicken

Dogs that are overweight or inactive should eat weight control foods. This recipe contains 15% less fat than equivalent adult Pro Plan recipes. While the high fibre content makes your pet feel fuller so it won’t need to eat as much, the protein-to-fat ratio helps it maintain muscle mass. Additionally, probiotics are added as well as omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, and probiotics for digestive health, skin, and coat health.

It is only available with chicken as the primary protein and is available in standard kibble or a blend with shredded parts. There are no synthetic flavours or colors. Additionally, Pro Plan offers weight-management solutions for both small and large breeds of dogs.

$50 as of the time of publication

Stage of life: Adult | Various Flavors: Shredded chicken and rice combined with chicken | Nutritional Details: (Rice and shredded chicken) 12% maximum moisture, 9% minimum crude fat, and 27% minimum crude protein

11. Best Pouches: Portland Pet Food Company Meal Pouch

What to Look for In a Dog Foods

Selecting the right dog food is crucial to ensuring your furry friend’s health and well-being. With a plethora of options available, it’s important to know what to look for when making this important decision. Here are key factors to consider when choosing the best dog food:

  • Quality Ingredients: The foundation of a nutritious dog food is high-quality ingredients. Look for real animal proteins (e.g., chicken, beef, fish) listed as the first ingredients. Avoid foods that rely heavily on fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Complete and Balanced Nutrition: Ensure the dog food is labeled as “complete and balanced” by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This means it meets the essential nutrient requirements for your dog’s life stage, whether puppy, adult, or senior.
  • Life Stage and Size Appropriateness: Different life stages (puppy, adult, senior) and sizes (small, medium, large, giant) have varying nutritional needs. Choose a formula tailored to your dog’s specific characteristics for optimal health.
  • Avoid Artificial Additives: Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are unnecessary in dog food. Opt for foods with natural ingredients that provide real benefits.
  • Limited Allergens: If your dog has allergies or sensitivities, select a dog food with limited ingredients or novel protein sources to reduce the risk of triggering adverse reactions.
  • Digestibility: Easily digestible foods are gentler on your dog’s stomach and can help prevent digestive issues. Ingredients like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits contribute to better digestion.
  • Healthy Fats: Look for sources of healthy fats like fish oil, flaxseed, and chicken fat. These provide essential fatty acids that support your dog’s skin, coat, and overall health.
  • Natural Preservatives: Natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) are preferable to artificial preservatives. They help keep the food fresh without unnecessary chemicals.
  • Consult Your Veterinarian: If your dog has specific health conditions or dietary needs, consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations. They can guide you toward the most suitable options.
  • Avoid Excessive Fillers: High-quality dog food should prioritize nutrients over fillers. Avoid foods with excessive amounts of carbohydrates, which can be used as fillers and provide less nutritional value.
  • Brand Reputation: Choose reputable brands that have a history of producing reliable and safe dog food. Read reviews and do your research before making a decision.
  • Price vs. Value: While budget is a consideration, focus on the overall value rather than just the price. Spending a bit more on quality food can potentially lead to fewer health issues and vet bills down the road.
  • Reading Labels: Familiarize yourself with how to read dog food labels. Ingredients are listed by weight, so ensure the first few ingredients are high-quality protein sources and other beneficial components.
  • Personal Preference: Every dog is unique, and some dogs may have preferences for certain textures or flavors. Pay attention to what your dog enjoys and what works best for them.

Remember that transitioning your dog’s food should be done gradually to prevent digestive upset. Slowly mix the new food with the old food over the course of several days.

By considering these factors and keeping your dog’s individual needs in mind, you can make an informed decision and provide your furry friend with the nourishment they need for a happy and healthy life.

FAQ

Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about dog food:

  • What is the difference between dry and wet dog food? Dry dog food (kibble) is convenient, has a longer shelf life, and can help maintain dental health. Wet dog food contains more moisture, which can be beneficial for hydration, especially in dogs that don’t drink much water. Some owners choose to feed a combination of both for variety and balanced nutrition.
  • How do I know which life stage formula to choose for my dog? Choose a dog food formula that corresponds to your dog’s life stage (puppy, adult, senior). Each stage has different nutritional requirements to support growth, maintenance, and health in different life phases.
  • Is grain-free dog food better for my dog? Grain-free dog food became popular as an option for dogs with grain allergies. However, recent studies have raised concerns about a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Consult your veterinarian to determine if a grain-free diet is necessary for your dog.
  • Can I feed my dog human food? Some human foods are safe and even healthy for dogs in moderation, such as lean meats, certain vegetables, and fruits. However, many human foods can be toxic to dogs, like chocolate, grapes, and onions. Always research before offering human food to your dog and consult your vet.
  • How do I switch my dog’s food? Switching your dog’s food should be done gradually over about a week. Start by mixing a small portion of the new food with the current food and gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old food.
  • What’s the importance of protein in dog food? Protein is essential for dogs as it provides amino acids necessary for growth, tissue repair, and overall health. Look for high-quality animal protein sources as the main ingredients in your dog’s food.
  • Can I make homemade dog food for my pet? Homemade dog food can be an option, but it’s important to ensure it’s nutritionally balanced and meets your dog’s needs. Consult with a veterinary nutritionist to create a well-rounded recipe that provides all necessary nutrients.
  • How much should I feed my dog? Feeding guidelines vary based on your dog’s age, size, activity level, and the food’s caloric content. Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the packaging as a starting point and adjust based on your dog’s individual needs.
  • Are there any dog food ingredients I should avoid? Avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Also, be cautious of foods with excessive fillers, unidentified meat by-products, or overly long ingredient lists.
  • What should I do if my dog has allergies or sensitivities? If your dog shows signs of allergies or sensitivities (itching, vomiting, diarrhea), consult your vet. They can recommend an elimination diet or prescribe a hypoallergenic dog food.

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet to ensure their specific nutritional needs are met.

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