Best Grain-Free Dry Dog Food in 2022
Every product and service on World Dog Finder is independently selected by our editors, contributors, and experts. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a referral fee. Learn more
There is a lot of talk regarding the best dog food options, and many dog owners decide to pick grain-free dog food. The “grain-free movement” is relatively new, and it was created by the notion of human gluten-free diets. The logic is that if we don’t need grain in our diet, it is probably not necessary for our dogs.
There is some truth to that, but contrary to popular belief, even the wild canids are omnivores. They are not exclusively carnivores, and they ingest plenty of grain and other things their prey has eaten.
Grain was vital because it provides carbohydrates in our dog’s diet, and the truth is they are somewhat necessary. However, there are plenty of other carbohydrate sources that can get your dog what they need but remove the potential negative side effects.
What to look for in grain-free dog food?
Many dog food brands include grain in their dog foods as a reliable source of carbohydrates. Still, the problem is some dogs cannot eat grain without getting an allergic reaction. The same problem is for humans as well, and some of us need to eat a completely gluten-free diet, which usually excludes most grains.
However, if you are opting for grain-free dog food, there are some things you should look out for. Those things are high-quality proteins, poorly labeled sources, artificial ingredients, fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants.
When it comes to grain-free dog food, it is incredibly important to choose a brand with great protein sources. The ideal scenario is that more types of animals are included as protein sources. They should be on top of the list of ingredients.
Poorly labeled sources
Poorly labeled sources like poultry meals or meal-by-product can be safe, but they can contain just about anything. Things like chicken-meal or duck-meal are mostly fine, but you should avoid things that are not clearly defined.
Artificial ingredients like colors or taste enhancers are entirely unnecessary in your dog food. Your dog doesn’t care what color their food is as long as it is made with high-quality ingredients. Some preservatives are acceptable if they prolong the product’s shelf life. Still, most high-quality foods are preserved by naturally occurring vitamins and tocopherols.
The significance of omega fatty acids in a dog’s diet is written repeatedly, and there is not much more that can be said about how important they are. Healthy fatty acids help our dog’s bodies prevent stroke, promote joint, skin, and coat health, and helps puppies develop brain functions. There are plenty of supplements that offer our dogs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids like salmon or fish oil.
Probiotics are vital for a well-balanced diet, and you should make sure they are included in your dog’s grain-free dog food. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help digest food and absorb all the right nutrients from it. You should look for dog food packed with probiotics, and there are plenty of probiotic supplement options available.
And last but not least, look for a grain-free dog food that has plenty of antioxidants included. Antioxidants can be fruits and vegetables like kale, pumpkin, blueberries, blackberries, carrots, and raspberries. Make sure you check the ingredient list because antioxidants help protect cells from free radicals. They help protect the body from cancer.
Here is the list of the best grain-free dog foods.
It is no secret that we are huge fans of ORIJEN, and their grain-free option is the best option there is. We placed their Six Fish Grain-Free recipe here, but plenty of other recipes use different protein sources that are just as good. If you are looking for an option that will promote coat, skin, and joint health, or if you have a senior dog that needs to be on grain-free dog food, there is nothing better than this dog food.
It is very rich in protein, and Orijen uses only the best ingredients. This recipe gets most of its protein from Atlantic mackerel, herring, monkﬁsh, Acadian redﬁsh, hake, and ﬂounder. The analysis says ORIJEN Six Fish contains a minimum of 38% protein and 18% fat. Plus, it is packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- 6 protein sources
- High-quality ingredients
- Taste great to dogs
Usually, the problem with grain-free dog food is its price. Since cheap, grain-sourced carbohydrates need to be exchanged for something else, the price can get pretty high, which is clear to see from nearly all prices in this list. Luckily, there is a more affordable option from Blue Buffalo.
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free is not the only option. Still, if you want your dog to have a grain-free diet, it is probably best to avoid chicken because it can trigger allergies as well. The salmon or duck options are great, and they are packed with omega fatty acids and glucosamine that helps with painful joints. This dog food contains 34% protein and 15% fats.
- Omega fatty acids
- Some owners reported bad reactions (less than 1%)
Canidae is another dog food giant that makes high-quality dog food. The problem with it is the higher price, but most of us don’t mind paying a little extra to get the best for our dogs. Luckily, this is not one of those cases, and Canidae PURE is actually quite affordable. This is a formula specially created for adult dogs.
Canidae is known for using the highest quality ingredients, and this recipe gets most of its protein from duck meat. This is an excellent protein source, and the grain carbohydrates have been replaced by sweet potato and peas. A closer inspection and analysis can tell us that Canidae PURE Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato has a guaranteed 32% of protein and 16% fats. It is also packed with glucosamine and chondroitin, making this food ideal for dogs’ joint health.
- High-quality ingredients
- Vet recommended
- Low on antioxidants
If you have a dog that needs grain-free dog food, picking the option that includes chicken or chicken meal can seem like a bad idea, but Wellness CORE Grain-Free dog food has a trick up its sleeve. It is packed with glucosamine and chondroitin, which will help with their joint problems and problems associated with arthritis and hip dysplasia. This is the best option for all senior dogs that might have some mobility issues.
Wellness grain-free option comes highly recommended by owners and vets alike, and dogs seem to love the turkey taste. This is a protein-rich food that will satisfy all of your dog’s needs. Make sure your dog doesn’t have chicken allergies, which are commonly associated with smaller breeds like Frenchies, Pomeranians, or Chihuahuas. Wellness Core has 34% protein and 16% fats.
- Includes chicken
If you are looking for an affordable, grain-free dry dog food, then Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the way to go. This is a recipe packed with healthy protein that mostly comes from buffalo. It is very close to what naturally dogs and wolves would eat in the wild, and it offers your dog a well-balanced option that is very healthy.
One of the most significant advantages this recipe offers our dogs is the antioxidants. It is packed with raspberries and blueberries. The other thing it provides is three different sources of healthy omega fatty acids like ocean fish, flaxseed, and salmon oil. It promotes coat and skin health, but you should make sure your dog doesn’t have chicken allergies because this food includes chicken meal. It has 32% protein and 18% fat.
- Chicken meal
World Dog Finder team