Taking care of a dog is a big responsibility. You have to provide them with the proper shelter, attention, and nutrition. That means you can’t just go and pick up any random bag of dog food at the supermarket. If you care about the health and well-being of your pets, you need to know their dietary requirements and choose the best dog food brands for their needs. 

To make things easier for you, we have listed down the best ones this year according to experts, interspersed with simple feeding guidelines for your dogs.

Best overall dog food

dog food

We asked 10 vets, and eight of them agreed that Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula Dog Dry Food ($20 on Amazon) is the best overall pick for their pets and the dogs that they treat in their clinics. Dr. Gregory Gstrein of the VCA Animal Hospital in CA says: “the best foods are backed by actual research and feeding trials.

This brand does the extensive work needed to prove their foods yield excellent real-world results.” Meanwhile, Dr. Catriona Love of the Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group says this product is what her 11-year old Chihuahua eats and among the top brands she recommends to dog owners. “I think dogs tend to like it more,” she says.

Best wet dog food

best wet dog food

The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food ($93 for 24) gets the vote of long-time veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Werber, for the best wet food for dogs. He says Royal Canin has a consistent and positive history of reliability and availability. He is a fan of mixed feeding because most dogs have a low intake of fluids. He adds that adding low-carb moist canned food to dry food is good for your pets. Don’t believe it? Dr. Werber says his dogs will prove otherwise.

Best dry dog food for sensitive stomachs

best dog food for sensitive stomach

Just like humans, some dogs have sensitive tummies. Experts say that owners should try Hill’s Science Diet. This brand meets AAFCO’s standards and comes in a wide variety of specialized formulas including food for dogs with weight issues, sensitive skin, and picky stomachs. Dr. Ochoa feeds her eighth-year old Schnoodle Dry Dog Food Sensitive Stomach & Skin ($33 on Amazon). She also gives this to dogs who stay at her clinic’s boarding facility.

Best dehydrated raw dog food

Best dehydrated raw dog food

There are some strong opinions in the veterinary community regarding raw-food diets. Dr. Marty Goldstein explains there are extra precautions you need to take with raw food and freeze-dried raw foods have less risk of food-borne illnesses and can be stored without refrigeration. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties Grain-Free Dog Food ($31 on Amazon) meets AAFCO standards and can be served dry or mixed with a little warm water to rehydrate them. It’s good for digestion and immune system function as well as less inflammation and allergies.

Best fresh dog foods

Best fresh dog foods

Dr. Jamie Richardson of Small Door Veterinary in New York recommends the direct-to-consumer NomNomNow Subscription Dog Food. They work directly with veterinary nutritionists to create specific diets that conform to AAFCO standards. The subscription starts at around $3/day for small dogs, but they will ask you to fill out a survey about the dog’s breed, age, activity level, and weight goals to determine the right meal plan for you. You can also get a variety pack with four of the brand’s foods for a flat $15 if you want to test it first.


If you are working with a budget and looking for more affordable fresh food for your dogs, The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Dog Food is a good alternative. They also worked with board-certified nutritionists to formulate complete and balanced recipes that meet AAFCO standards. Subscription starts at $2, but a survey will determine your actual meal plan cost.

Best dog foods for large dogs with sensitivities

Best dog foods for large or giant dogs

Vets say you shouldn’t feed giant-breed dogs with foods that have legumes as a protein source due to the potential connection between canine dilated cardiomyopathy and grain-free foods. Instead, choose a brand like Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dog Food ($15 on Chewy) which contains brewers’ rice and barley. Purina products meet AAFCO standards and are formulated by veterinary nutritionists. Their Pro Plan line features a wide array of proteins to choose from: chicken, beef, salmon, duck, lamb, pork, and quail (because not all proteins agree with all dogs).

Best prescription dog food for allergies

Best prescription dog food for allergies

Some dogs have food allergies and they require a special diet. Dr. Krause shares that her pug is on a super-hydrolyzed diet due to his allergies. She says It is so far from natural, but her dog does great and he’s happy with it. Other vets recommend Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Ultamino Dry Dog Food ($55 on Chewy), but you need to ask for a vet’s prescription as well as feeding guidelines for your dogs.

Best prescription dog food for weight loss

Best prescription dog food for weight loss

If you need to manage your dog’s weight, there are products like Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food ($39 on Chewy). This one is well-recommended by vets for overweight dogs to take the weight off. Dr. Gstrein also noted that prescription dog foods like this have Derm Defense formula which is great for dogs with itchy skin due to allergies.

Best dog food for small-breed puppies

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0702/9579/products/30149325_grande.png?v=1628717436

If you value your pets’ health and nutrition, you shouldn’t feed your puppies the same food you give your adult dogs. Dr. Richardson says puppies have different dietary requirements and should be fed food with higher levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. She suggests sticking to puppy-formulated food like Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food ($45 on Chewy) for at least 12 months until your pup is skeletally mature.

Best dog food for large-breed puppies

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71PugeVAASS._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Large breed puppies need more time to reach skeletal maturity (14 to 18 months). They must be fed with specifically formulated food like Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large-Breed Formula Dry Dog Food ($42 on Amazon) to avoid developing bone or joint abnormalities. According to Veterinarian Dr. Karie Anne Johnson of VIP Vet Visit, Purina works with veterinary nutritionists and their products go through strict quality control measures.

Best dog food for budget

Best dog food for budget

Last on our list of best dog food brands is for the budget-conscious owner. If you have to buy a cheap brand, get a budget food that does not cut corners on quality ingredient meat and not grains or fillers like with some brands. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (29.99 on Chewy) does the trick.

1