Best Dry Dog Food in 2023 – Dry Dog Food Reviews and Ratings

Best Dry Dog Food in 2023 – Dry Dog Food Reviews and Ratings
We spent over 14 days testing and researching 20 different types of dry dog food and found that ingredients, flavor, and cost were most important. Wellness Complete Natural Dry Dog Food scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick. This healthy dog food is made from a combination of whole foods that provide dogs with plenty of nutrients, especially large breed dogs. It only has quality animal proteins and no wheat, soy, or corn. Our dogs loved it and we noticed improvement in their skin, coat, and overall health after a week of being on this quality food.

1. Wellness

Best Overall Dry Dog Food

5/5 Product Rating
Large breeds have different health needs than smaller dogs. That is why this Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food is so popular with customers.

It is made with the perfect balance and combination of whole foods that are full of nutrients that give the larger breed dog the things it needs for optimal health.

The great taste encourages dogs to eat it and by getting all these nutrients they will reap the benefits including balanced nutrition, overall health, the optimum absorption of nutrients, bone and joint health, digestive health and more.

The larger kibble size is perfect for the larger breeds and contains sources of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin which are known ingredients to help with joint problems.

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds contains wholesome grains, natural fibers, quality animal protein sources and has NO meat by products like wheat, corn, or soy. It also doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. If you have larger breed dogs, they will love this dry dog food and their health will show just how great for them it is.

Jennifer Abel


Best Overall Dry Dog Food – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating
Dogs are natural carnivores, so feeding them a dry dog food full of grains and corn products makes no sense. This is where Wellness excels with their Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food.

Packed full of turkey, chicken, salmon oil, fruits and vegetables it will supply your dog with the nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and probiotics that they need to stay in prime health inside and out.

Since dogs thrive on a diet that is made up of mostly meat, Wellness mimics this with the 100% grain free dry dog food that is close to the kinds of food they would eat in the wild.

You won’t have to worry about fillers, meat by-products, wheat-gluten, preservatives, colors and other things that are not healthy for dogs to consume.

Even though people have fed their dogs less than optimal dog foods for decades, when you invest in the right dry dog food, you will notice the difference in the health of your dog; Fewer illnesses, less sluggishness, less veterinarian’s visits. Your dog will not act or feel their age at all.

If you’re looking for a great, meat based dry dog food for your dog that is reminiscent of what their diet would be in the wild, then Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food will meet your needs perfectly.

Jennifer Abel

3. Blue

Best Budget Dry Dog Food

4.7/5 Product Rating
When you get a new puppy you want to start him or her off on the right paw with excellent nutrition that will allow them to grow up healthy, strong and without health issues.

One of the biggest factors in having a healthy puppy is what you feed him or her. Blue Buffalo prides itself on providing puppies with the best nutrients and all the essential amino acids that they need on a daily basis.

With delicious ingredients like brown rice, barley, and oats combined with whole carrots, sweet potatoes and garlic, your puppy will get not only excellent nutrition but great taste too.

Add in the mainstay of Blue Buffalo, the chicken that is in our puppy food, and you have the recipe for excellent health that’s hard to beat.

Puppies grow so fast during the first two years of their life, that what they eat is of extreme importance. When you start them off with an exceptional grade dry dog food like Blue Buffalo, you can feel confident that you are doing everything you can to ensure their optimum health.

Jennifer Abel

Dry Dog Food Buying Guide

Dry Dog Food Reviews

What is a Dry Dog Food?

dog food in a bowl on a white background
dog food in a bowl on a white background

With all of the choices available on the market today for dry dog food, it’s a wonder anyone can tell which ones are good and which ones just might have better advertising budgets. While some pet owners will just grab whatever dry dog food is the cheapest, the majority of them want to find a high quality dog food that will not only taste good to their pets but be good for them as well.

So what is the best way to sort through all the brands and types of dry dog food on the market and choose one that is good for your dog? The key is in the ingredients. What is in the dog food that you serve to your dog is of utmost importance when it comes to the benefits they get from that food.

Things to Avoid in a Dry Food

There are many ingredients that are common place in lower quality dry dog foods that should really be avoided if you want to serve your pet the healthiest food you can. We’ve listed these ingredients to avoid below but get into the habit of reading the ingredient labels when you are looking for dry dog foods or any other food for your pet.

A general rule of thumb you can bank on is the longer the ingredient list is the more chance you have to encounter so of these “avoid” ingredients below.

Animal By-Products Pet owners might see “animal by products” and think their dogs are getting meat, but this is not the case. Meat by-products by definition are things like feet, necks, hooves, hair, and horns. There is no nutritional value to these by products at all and they can cause digestive upset and other issues as well.

Corn – Corn is nothing but filler and has no business in a dry dog food. It has no nutritional value to the dog and is typically used for bulk.

Soy – Soy is another product that doesn’t belong in a meat eater’s diet. It is estrogenic and can really mess with your dog’s endocrine system.

Artificial Colors, Flavors, Sweeteners and Preservatives – Ingredients such as BHT, BHA, Propyl Gallate, and Ethoxyquin are not good for your dog at all, so if these are in the ingredient list, pass over that food. If the dry dog food claims to contain fish, make sure that it says NO artificial preservatives.

Unidentified Meat – A dry dog food that contains meat should list the source of the meat and not generics. Even if the dog food claims to have meat in it, if all it says is “meat, poultry or animal” move on to another food.

Grains – In general, grains are added to dry dog food to hold the kibble together and because it is cheaper than meat. Since dogs are meat eaters, having a dry dog food with a lot of grains doesn’t make much sense from a nutritional standpoint. Brown rice is okay but should not be the predominant ingredient in the food.

The First Five Ingredients are the Most Important

As we stated above, the longer the ingredient list is the worse off the nutritional value will typically be. You want to find dry dog foods that have excellent ingredients in the top 5 positions of the ingredient list. What ingredients do you look for? We have them outlined below.

Meat, Meat and more Meat – Dogs are carnivores by nature. In the wild meat is their predominant food source and when fed a meat based diet, domestic dogs will thrive as well. You want to look for words like “Chicken, Turkey, Buffalo, Lamb, etc” the meat source that is in the dry dog food you are considering should be identified. Not with “by product” added after it. Many of the high quality dog foods that are on the market have deboned chicken, deboned turkey, buffalo and other real meat as the number one ingredient. This is very preferable when it comes to being a great contender.

Dry Dog Food2Chicken or Turkey Meal – Chicken meal or turkey meal is another good protein source that is preferable in a quality dog food. The best choices have meal listed as a 2nd ingredient rather than a 1st one. There is a difference between chicken meal and chicken by product so don’t confuse the two. Remember: if it says “by product” leave it alone.

Brown Rice – This is a whole grain and not bad for dogs at all as long as it is not the predominant ingredient. Grain free choices are much better for the dog’s digestive system and health but if you want to get one with grains, just make sure it is brown rice.

Whole Fruits and Vegetables – Some of the higher quality dry dog foods list vegetable and fruits in their ingredient list. This is fine and even better if they are in the 3rd and 4th position on the ingredient list. If they replace grains in the dry dog food, that’s even better.

The Ideal Dry Food at a Glance

So what would the ideal dry dog food consist of? Look for as much of the following to be “ticked off” the list as possible when comparing dry dog foods.

  • High in quality meat such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb or buffalo
  • Fresh cut vegetables and fruits
  • High moisture content
  • Good levels of animal fat (make sure the animal is identified such as chicken fat, beef fat, etc)
  • No grains
  • No heavy doses of other starches
  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
  • No by-products of any kind
  • No corn, soy or gluten

It may sound like a difficult to find list but our top rated dry dog foods meet the criteria and others do as well, you just have to take the time to look at those labels. It is worth it to see the exceptional health your dog will be in after eating an excellent quality dog food.

Dog Life Stages

There are different life stages throughout a dog’s life and that will vary depending on the dog’s breed and what activity level they have. Regardless of the age of your dog, you want to make sure they are getting the appropriate nutrients for their stage of life.

PuppyThis stage encompasses all dogs under 1 year of age. You want to make sure that your puppy is getting the proper balance of fats and proteins as well as fiber. They grow so fast during this first year so you want to ensure that the dry dog food they’re eating will help them grow at a steady, healthy rate and not too fast or too slow. This will also ensure good bone and joint development.

Adult – From 1 to about 6 years of age is considered the adult stage. You don’t want your dog to gain too much weight, so make sure the dry dog food you feed them has good protein to fat ratios that match their activity levels.

Senior – Above 6 years old your dog has entered the “senior” stage. They need less protein and fat but increased fiber needs to maintain a healthy weight. In many senior foods, glucosamine is added to help with joint health.

Dry Dog Food3Performance or Active – if you have a hunting dog, police dog or other working dog, they will have additional nutrient needs such as added protein, fat and antioxidants which will help them maintain their work load and proper body conditioning. Just like an athlete requires more calories, a working dog does as well.

Weight Management If your dog weighs more than your vet recommends they may need a weight management food. This type of food has lower fat and protein levels and may have increased fiber to help them still feel full while they are slimming down. As long as the ingredients are still pure, a weight management dry dog food is fine. Read those labels.


What your dog eats will directly affect their health all through their lives. You may notice that on high quality food such as our top rated choices in this review that your dog suffers from less health problems, skin problems and digestive problems as well. It is a proven fact that a dog fed a high quality food will live longer and be more energetic than if they are just fed whatever is on sale that week.

With the information you have learned in this buyer’s guide you will be able to read the ingredient labels on the dry dog food you look at and know what you are reading and what to avoid.

It’s not as difficult as it may first seem, and with practice you’ll be an expert at picking out the unhealthy ingredients in the different foods you take a look at. You may find it very fascinating to look at some of the popular brand name dry dog foods on your local store’s shelves. You may be very surprised at what is actually in them.


  1. Wellness Complete –
  2. Wellness CORE –
  3. Blue Buffalo –
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