Choosing a brand of dog food. It seems like such a big decision, doesn’t it.
Besides, it’s what we feed our dogs day in and day out.
We all know how important nutrition is for their health, wellbeing and longevity, but with so many brands and options on the market, it can get a little bit confusing.
Added to the fact there is all of the marketing out there. Plus, some of the biggest stores seem to only certain brands, and routinely run offers and discounts on them.
But today, I am going to be walking you through why I don’t recommend most of them.
In fact, I steer well clear.
Well at least I do now.
Over the years, I’ve tried countless dog food brands, spoken to numerous vets, and have conducted countless hours of research.
All to find the right food for them.
And let me tell you, it hasn’t been an easy journey!
So today, I want to help you save some time and energy by sharing the dog food brands that I’ve learned to avoid, and those that will serve you and your dog going forward.
Let’s dive in!
What Dog Food Brands To Avoid
Kibble and Bits
Kibble and Bits may be one of the most well-known and most widely available brands out there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its optimal for your dog.
In fact, I would avoid it for the most part!
This brand unfortunately includes artificial colors, flavors, and lower-quality ingredients that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat.
Trust me, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Pedigree is another big-name brand that falls short in the quality department.
While they have a few decent options, many of their products contain corn, wheat, and soy – all of which can cause allergies and digestive issues.
Plus, they’ve had a few recalls in the past, which doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence, and I doubt it would for you either.
IAMS is one of those brands that seems to be in every store, but it’s not a brand I’d recommend.
They use a lot of by-products (you know, the stuff that’s left over after the good parts of the animal are used), and they’ve also had their fair share of recalls.
Now, don’t get me wrong – Blue Delights has some pretty packaging and a wholesome-sounding name, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
This brand has been known to use lower-quality ingredients and have a less-than-stellar macronutrient profile.
What Makes A Dog Food Brand Worth Avoiding?
Now that I’ve given you the lowdown on some of the brands I’d personally avoid, let’s break down what makes a dog food brand worth steering clear of in the first place.
Brands That Use Cheap Fillers
Cheap fillers like corn, wheat, and soy are best avoided.
Not only can they cause allergies and digestive issues in dogs, but they’re also not very nutritious.
Brands that use these fillers are typically trying to cut costs and boost their bottom lines, and our dogs are unfortunately on the other end of that.
Brands With An Unfavorable Macronutrient Profile
Your dog needs the right balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to stay healthy and thrive.
Unfortunately, some dog food brands skimp on the good stuff (like high-quality protein) and load up on carbs instead.
This can lead to weight gain and other health issues, so make sure you’re choosing a brand with a solid macronutrient profile.
Brands With Lots Of Added/Unnecessary Ingredients
When it comes to dog food, simple is often better.
Brands that use lots of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are usually trying to make up for the lack of quality in their ingredients.
Stick to brands that prioritize whole, natural ingredients.
History of Recalls
Brands with a history of recalls due to contamination or other issues may indicate a lack of quality control and could make their dog food a less reliable choice for your pet’s health and safety.
Negative Consumer Reviews
A large number of negative reviews from pet owners reporting health issues or dissatisfaction with a particular dog food brand can be an indication of an inferior product.
It’s essential to research and consider the experiences of others when choosing a suitable dog food for your pet.
What Dog Food Brands Are Best
I would like to present to you below my two favorite brands, based on my research, trialing with my own dog Bailey, and following the advice and having discussed these at length with my vet
Sundays For Dogs
Created by a veterinarian, this brand offers natural, whole-food kibble made from premium and minimal ingredients.
Unlike other brands that use heat extrusion, Sundays For Dogs uses an air-drying process, which retains more nutrients and results in higher protein content.
Rest assured that the ingredients are all human-grade, featuring real USDA sourced beef and quality chicken cuts.
Worried about harmful food dyes?
Sundays For Dogs doesn’t use any, ensuring a safer option for your pet.
Plus, this smaller company takes pride in excellent customer service and has never faced a recall, setting it apart from the larger commercial brands.
I personally love the ability to order Sundays For Dogs through their subscription service, which is often available with promotions and discounts, and where it will be delivered right to your dog.
Ready to make the switch?
Visit Sundays For Dogs’ official website to learn more.
Just Food For Dogs
Just Food For Dogs is another option that ticks all of the boxes.
The whole brands’ philosophy is based on using real, human-grade ingredients that are cooked in USDA-certified kitchens.
We’re talking fresh, whole foods that you’d be proud to serve at your own dinner table.
Plus, their meals are nutritionally balanced and formulated by a team of veterinarians and pet nutrition experts to ensure that your dog is getting everything they need to thrive.
One of the things I love most about Just Food For Dogs is their transparency.
They’re more than happy to tell you exactly what’s in their food, where it comes from, and why it’s in there.
You can even take a tour of their kitchens if you want to see the magic happen for yourself!
Another great thing about Just Food For Dogs is the variety they offer.
They’ve got different recipes to suit every dog’s tastes and dietary needs, and they even have custom meal plans if your dog has specific health concerns.
Plus, they have options for both wet and dry food, so you can mix and match to find the perfect combo for your fur baby.
Visit the official Just Food For Dogs website to learn more.
Choosing a brand of dog food is very much about identifying those ones to avoid, as much as it is about finding the best options out there.
If I can summarize in only a few words let it be this.
Be very careful and mindful of the big, commercial store-available brands.
This is not to say none of them are any good, or do not have certain and beneficial use cases.
But if you are looking for a premium food that really benefits the health and wellbeing of your dog, you are going to need to seek out a more bespoke option.
One that is backed by the research.
One that is designed by veterinarians.
So take a look at each one, and you’ll soon see for yourself why you simply need to make the switch.
Related guides you may want to read:
- 11 Ingredients To Avoid In Dog Food [& The Ones To Look For Instead]
- What To Look For In Dog Food Ingredients [& What To Avoid]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.