Why Grain-Free Dog Food?
Surely you have seen items in grocery stores and restaurants labeled ‘grain-free’. So, what’s all the fuss with eating grains? We would like to start by saying that grains are a perfectly healthy ingredient to be included in pet food, as well as grain-free diets. Either choice is perfectly fine for the nutritional health of your pet. But, and this is very important but, they must be formulated correctly. When selecting a diet with grain, whole grains are often better choices, but it all comes down to the individual needs of the pet and the preference of the pet parent.
Quality dog foods will contain easily-identifiable whole food ingredients and supplements. Ingredients to look for on the label include:
- Whole proteins like chicken, beef, fish, duck, and eggs
- Grain-free, or containing healthy whole grains
- Healthy supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin
- Healthy vegetables like sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots
Best High Protein Grain-Free Dog Food
Want to start your dog out on a grain-free diet? Make sure they’re still getting all the nutrients they need during this critical phase of growth. Here are ten top grain-free dog food options we like.
Nourish your canine companion with the balanced diet nature intended with Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food! Formulated with novel proteins including buffalo and bison, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly-digestible energy your active pup needs, along with natural antioxidant support from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion. Essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to optimize their absorption and ensure maximum benefit, for complete and balanced nutrition with a taste of the wild your furry friend constantly craves!Key Benefits
- Grain-free recipe made with real buffalo as the first ingredient followed by other real protein-rich ingredients including bison, roasted venison and beef for lean nutrition and to help support strong muscles.
- Natural recipe with added vitamins and powerful antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables support overall health, while omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support healthy skin and coat.
- Made with ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources with no grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
- Nutrient-rich and highly digestible recipe made with proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend to help support your canine companion’s digestive health.
- Made in the USA by a family owned and run company with the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols because your pal deserves nothing but the best!
A better way to feed kibble, Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food is high animal protein, boosted nutrition featuring bites of freeze-dried raw meat throughout. Created to unlock your dog’s potential to thrive, and put the benefits of raw nutrition into every bowl, it’s made with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient for strong, lean muscles. It also includes a probiotic boost for digestive health, higher levels of omegas for healthy skin and coat, plus more antioxidants for immune health—and it all comes from the finest ingredients from around the world.Key Benefits
- Boosted nutrition with high-protein kibble + freeze-dried raw.
- Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient so it’s packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles.
- Includes a probiotic boost for digestive health, higher levels of omegas for healthy skin and coat, and more antioxidants for immune health.
- Never contains any grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.
- Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
No matter how your furry friend spends his days, Dr. Tim’s Salmon & Pork Grain-Free RPM Formula Dry Dog Food was designed with the perfect blend of carbohydrates, fats and fiber to support his daily routine. It’s a slow-cooked, all-natural recipe designed by two folks who know what pet nutrition is all about—a Ph.D. canine nutritionist and an experienced veterinarian. So, you’ll be confident that you’re serving a bowl of real, metabolically balanced nutrition. With probiotics, prebiotics and natural antioxidants, it works to support your dog’s digestive and immune health, too. It’s even made without grains, corn, wheat or soy to ensure canines with sensitive stomachs can savor every bite. So, whether your dog is running around the backyard, lounging on the couch or just living the good life, Dr. Tim’s premium ingredients are metabolically balanced for his needs.Key Benefits
- Novel carbohydrate blend of tapioca, peas and white potatoes is free from corn, wheat and soy.
- DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids from salmon may boost his mental clarity, and pork is a rich source of protein, B vitamins and zinc.
- Slow cooking method minimizes the loss of ingredient integrity and maximizes digestibility, which leads to less clean up.
- Prebiotics and probiotics may benefit your dog’s well-being and immune system.
- Metabolically balanced for dogs with a sedentary to moderately active lifestyle.
Nourish your canine companion’s primal essence with the protein-rich nutrition of Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food. With real whitefish as the first ingredient along with herring, salmon and menhaden fish meals, this nutrient-dense, grain-free recipe contains all the protein needed to help your adult dog maintain lean, powerful muscles. It’s fortified with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine and probiotics to make sure his immune system, skin and coat, joints and gastrointestinal systems stay healthy and strong throughout his long, active life. You can be sure your furry friend is getting everything he needs to thrive from the core with this premium-quality diet that contains no wheat, fillers, or artificial ingredients.Key Benefits
- Real whitefish is the first ingredient in this protein-rich, poultry-free recipe that also includes herring, salmon and menhaden fish meals; contains no meat by-products or fillers.
- Nutrient-rich green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale deliver naturally unique dietary contributions.
- Flaxseed and salmon oil provide essential omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat; proprietary Acticoat probiotic coating aids digestive function.
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals for whole body health; antioxidants including blueberries support overall immunity support.
- Made in the USA from the world’s finest ingredients without the use of wheat, wheat-gluten, corn or soy; contains no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
Every Farmina food is made with the best ingredients with the correct amounts of protein, fats, limited carbohydrates and advanced long life vitamins and minerals. The Natural & Delicious Grain-Free formulas are comprised of 70% animal ingredients (pre-cooking weight) and 30% vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals. Delicious Herring & Orange flavor contains no peas, legumes, meals or by-products for nutrition you can feel great about.Key Benefits
- The #1 ingredient in this high protein, limited carbohydrate, and low fiber all life stage dog food is herring. It’s been formulated without grains or gluten and with a small kibble size, perfect for mini and small breeds.
- 98% of protein is from quality animal sources.
- It’s a low glycemic formula so it’s a great option for pets that need a food that won’t spike blood sugar.
- Contains no whole peas, legumes, meals or by-products.
- Natural omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat while added pomegranate and berries are rich in antioxidants to help fight free radicals.
Whether it’s a run on the beach or a morning jog together, our four-legged friends need quality protein and nutrition to keep up with us. Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Peas Recipe includes 80% animal-based proteins, which means more amino acids to fuel lean muscles. And with the low-glycemic-index ingredients and advanced probiotics, you’ll know your best friend is getting the nutrition they deserve.Key Benefits
- Grain-free adult formula that is free from chicken and egg proteins.
- Made from 80% animal-based proteins and low-glycemic ingredients.
- Vitamin B6 and niacin from lamb supports energy production, while probiotics aid in digestion.
- Amino acids support lean muscle mass and a healthy heart.
- Calcium and phosphorus help your dog maintain strong bones, and wholesome vegetables and fruits support optimal immune health.
Because the best dog ever deserves the best food ever, there’s Merrick Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food. It delivers allergy-friendly nutrition with a grain-free recipe that features real, deboned salmon, along with sweet potatoes, peas, apples, blueberries and more. Formulated with vitamins and minerals for complete and balanced nutrition, it also contains high doses of glucosamine and chondroitin for increased mobility, along with high levels of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat.Key Benefits
- Deboned salmon is the first ingredient, along with real fruits and veggies, for a hearty flavor your best friend will love.
- Grain-free recipe with no gluten ingredients, and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
- Supports healthy skin and coat with powerful levels of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids; glucosamine and chondroitin help aid healthy hip and joint function.
- Poultry-free formula is ideally suited for dogs with sensitivities to poultry ingredients.
- Proudly made in Merrick’s Texas facility using the world’s best locally-sourced ingredients from farmers they know and trust.
Say goodbye to baa-d ingredients and hello to the simple nutrition of CANIDAE PURE Real Lamb, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food. Formulated for all dogs including those with sensitivities, this limited ingredient recipe gives your dog a complete and balanced meal using just 10 wholesome and nutritious ingredients. They use protein-rich real lamb as the first ingredient for good muscle support and healthy calories, plus a mix of wholesome vegetables to provide nutrients and healthy energy. There’s never any grain, corn, wheat or soy in the mix, but they do add probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids to support all your pup’s vital systems. Give your best friend all the nutrition he needs and nothing he doesn’t with the simply grr-eat flavor of this food!Key Benefits
- Made from just 10 real food ingredients for great nutrition without complication.
- Grain-free and free from corn, wheat, soy and other fillers for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
- Fortified after cooking with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Made from a simple, whole food recipe at Canidae’s Texas facility.
Weruva is a line of luxurious natural and grain-free pet foods. Made in a human food facility, they gathered the best ingredients from around the world to make the best food for your best friend – for life. The factory operates at international human food processing standards, including that of the super-strict British Retail Consortium (BRC), and the pet food processing must pass BRC scrutiny. A hearty chicken soup with boneless, skinless, white breast meat and lots of chunk for a mouthful! Exploding with carrots and green peas…enough to satisfy every hungry tummy! And don’t forget, Weruva’s chicken is antibiotic free, hormone free and free range chicken breast.Key Benefits
- Gourmet, natural canned dog food with a delicious recipe featuring boneless, skinless white chicken breast, pumpkin, carrot and green peas in a yummy broth
- All of Weruva’s dog food formulas are formulated with the carnivore in mind, so this recipe focuses on high quality protein, minimal carbs and a high moisture content for the most nutritious meal around for your pup.
- Recipe is grain-free, gluten-free and carrageenan-free, so it’s ideal for any pups with sensitive tummies or allergies
- Contains added vitamins and minerals to make this delicious food a complete and balanced diet
- Suitable for all life stages, can be served as a standalone diet or as a yummy topper for dry food
ORIJEN Six Fish Dog Food
Brimming with wild-caught fish, ORIJEN Six Fish nourishes your dog with a sea’s bounty of fresh and raw ingredients. This grain-free, Biologically Appropriate dog food is loaded with fresh, whole, and wild-caught fish from the Vancouver Island coastline, including fresh Pacific pilchard, mackerel, hake, flounder, rockfish, and sole. Designed for dogs of all life stages, it provides a varied, meat-rich diet that nourishes dogs according to their evolutionary and biological needs–just as nature intended.
At a Glance:
- Biologically Appropriate, grain-free dog food for all life stages
- Made with whole wild-caught fish: Pacific pilchard, mackerel, hake, flounder, rockfish, and sole
- 85% meat inclusions; 15% vegetables and botanicals; 0% grain
- Features WholePrey ingredients in ratios that mirror wild prey
Pros and cons of grain-free dog food
Grain-free dog food benefits:
- High protein content
- No fillers like cornmeal or wheat gluten
- Helps maintain healthy weight
- Easier to digest
- Reduced flatulence
- Less simple carbohydrates (good for diabetic dogs)
- May provide allergy relief (itchiness, hot spots, excessive hair loss, etc.)
Grain-free dog food disadvantages:
- Tends to be more expensive
- Not suitable for less active dogs
- Could cause weight gain
- Can be high in carbohydrates
- Lack of omega 3 fatty acids
- Not always recommended for puppies