Anyone who’s owned a dog probably knows just how much dog food prices vary. You can find dog food very cheap, while some others cost a lot. Often, shoppers assume that more expensive is better. However, this isn’t often the case.
Most expensive dog food does tend to have more unique, expensive ingredients. For instance, some may include bison instead of chicken. However, these ingredients may not necessarily be better for your dog.
No one wants to pay way more than they need to for dog food. Therefore, it’s important not to get carried away by “expensive is better.”
Instead, it’s vital to truly look at what the food contains and consider your dog’s needs. Some dogs may need bison-based food, but most do not.
We’ve found the nine most expensive dog foods on the market in 2023. Below, you’ll find a complete breakdown of their macronutrients and ingredients.
1. Orijen Dog Original Recipe
- Main Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Whole Herring, Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Turkey, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Eggs
- Protein: 38%
- Fat: 18%
Orijen Dog Original Recipe is one of the few very expensive dog foods that is worth the money. It’s made from 85% animal protein, far more than most of the competition. The type of protein varies widely, too, and tons of organ meats are included. In this way, it provides varied and complete nutrition for your canine.
This food is mostly animal protein, so it is expensive. You’re getting your money’s worth in meat, simply put. As you might imagine, this food contains far more fat and protein than average.
Plus, this dog food is made solely in the USA, so you can rest assured that the facilities follow the proper safety standards. We also like that it’s coated in freeze-dried meat, which helps improve the flavor without unsightly ingredients like sugar.
2. Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food
- Main Ingredients: Lamb Tripe, Lamb Lung, LambHeart, Lamb, Lamb Liver, Lamb Bone, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Spleen
- Protein: 44%
- Fat: 24%
Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food is another very expensive dog food. It’s expensive for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s air-dried, which is more expensive than making traditional kibble. Secondly, it contains a lot of lamb. Lamb isn’t a very common dog allergen, but it is much more expensive than chicken or beef.
It’s important to point out that lamb isn’t hypoallergenic. It isn’t that lamb doesn’t cause allergies. However, dogs tend to develop allergies to the proteins they are regularly exposed to. Chicken and beef are the most common ingredients in dog food, so they also account for the most common allergens.
However, if your dog isn’t allergic to chicken or beef, lamb isn’t going to keep them from developing allergies.
This recipe is completely grain-free. However, it isn’t full of lentils and other veggies, either. Mostly, it’s just lamb, including many different organ meats. This high amount of animal meat is the main reason for the high cost. Lamb is expensive.
Furthermore, the lamb is free-range, making it even more expensive.
3. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe
- Main Ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Barley, Dehydrated Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Oats, Dehydrated Peas, Dehydrated Carrots
- Protein: 24.5%
- Fat: 14%
This recipe is a bit different from other options on the market. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe is designed to be rehydrated to feed your dog. It rehydrates to 4x its weight when warm water is added. Therefore, the 10-pound box makes 40 pounds of food.
Chicken is the very first ingredient in this dog food. However, the next few ingredients are organic barley, potatoes, flaxseed, and oats. There are also quite a bit of peas in this dog food, which may be associated with heart problems in dogs.
Because it contains so many peas and grains, this food is somewhat low in protein and fat. Furthermore, much of the protein included isn’t animal-based, so it may be more challenging for dogs to absorb.
However, you do have to keep in mind that per-pound costs don’t make that much sense for this food. After all, the food rehydrates to a fairly large amount, so you’re getting much more than the weight on the bag makes it seem.
4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties
- Main Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries
- Protein: 44%
- Fat: 35%
Like many of the foods on this list, Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties are a bit different than regular kibble. They’re freeze-dried patties that are designed to be rehydrated and then fed to your canine. Therefore, they’re very dense, making them very expensive per pound.
However, even if you take this into account, they’re still quite expensive.
They’re made with a lot of meats, including whole beef, beef liver, and several other beef organs. The recipe also includes cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and other quality fruits and veggies. These premium products are likely why the food is so expensive.
You are getting what you pay for, though. Therefore, if you can afford it, this food may be a good option for your dog.
5. Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food
- Main Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Kale
- Protein: 27%
- Fat: 37%
Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food is considerably more expensive than most other dog foods on the market, largely because it is freeze-dried. It also contains far fewer fillers and much more animal meat, which increases the price of dog food. Both of these factors together make it one of the most expensive options out there.
It’s made with high-quality protein in the USA. Plus, all of the fruits and veggies are organic. The included lamb is raised without added hormones or steroids. The food also contains no corn, wheat, soy, legumes, or lentils.
This food is great for those that want to feed their dog raw food without the hassle of making it themselves. You don’t have to rehydrate this food like others, though. It’s ready to serve right out of the bag, though you can rehydrate it if you wish.
You’re paying for the premium ingredients and convenience in their food’s high price.
6. ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Main Ingredients: Beef, Deboned Pork, Beef Meal, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Whole Green Peas, Pork Meal
- Protein: 29%
- Fat: 17%
Like many expensive dog food recipes, ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains mostly meat. This particular recipe focuses on beef and pork, with both types of meat appearing in the first few ingredients. While only the first three ingredients are meat, the third one is beef meal, which is extremely concentrated.
Therefore, this recipe does contain a lot of beef. It’d work well for dogs allergic to chicken and needing a quality alternative.
With that said, this recipe does include lots of lentils and beans, which increase the protein content. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, keep this in mind when you’re looking at the protein content. Not all the protein is meat-based.
This food is grain-free, making it a good option for dogs who are allergic to grains. However, most dogs don’t fit into this category and do just fine on grain-inclusive food. Grain-free isn’t necessarily better and doesn’t mean that this food contains more meat. (The grains have just been replaced by lentils.)
7. Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe
- Main Ingredients: Venison, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Safflower Oil, Fish Oil
- Protein: 9%
- Fat: 2%
Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe is much different than other foods on this list. However, it is also one of the most expensive dog foods available.
Unlike most dog foods on the market, this one is fresh. In other words, it’s prepared just like human food is. When you purchase it online, it is shipped to you frozen. Then, you thaw it before feeding it to your canines.
This food also includes fairly high amounts of venison. While all meat is expensive, venison is particularly expensive due to its rarity. This choice of meat is likely why this food is so expensive, though venison doesn’t necessarily provide any benefits to most dogs. For this reason, you’re likely better off choosing a different recipe that has a cheaper meat option – unless your dog has extensive allergies and must eat venison.
This recipe includes very few fillers. It’s grain-free and uses mostly venison. That’s why it’s so expensive. Whether or not it’s worth the price largely depends on your dogs. Most do fine with chicken- or beef-based food, which is much cheaper.
8. K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Main Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Tripe, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Blood, Eggs
- Protein: 35%
- Fat: 37%
Like most foods on this list, the K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food contains tons of meat. Beef is the primary source of protein, including many kinds of organ meats. Organ meats are very healthy for dogs, as they contain many nutrients they need to thrive. Plus, they often don’t add much cost to the food, as many organs are thrown out.
One reason this food is so expensive than others is because it’s made in New Zealand. Therefore, to get it in any other country is costly. This food can easily cost you hundreds of dollars per bag.
We will admit this food is pretty high-quality. It’s grain-free and freeze-dried. It’s very high in protein and fat, which works well for most dogs. You can expect a healthy canine with a glossy coat when you invest in this dog food.
However, you aren’t paying for many added benefits, and you can find fairly similar foods for much cheaper. For this reason, we don’t necessarily consider this food to be worth the extra cost, especially if you don’t live in New Zealand.
9. Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor
- Main Ingredients: Water, Hydrolyzed Chicken, Corn Starch, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil
- Protein: 3%
- Fat: 2.3%
Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor is a specialized dog food for canines with severe food allergies. The food includes hydrolyzed chicken, which cannot produce allergic reactions. This process does lead to a higher cost, though, as an extra step is involved in creating this food.
An expensive specialty food like this may be necessary for dogs with many food allergies. However, there are cheaper hydrolyzed protein foods on the market, including others made by this company. If your vet has recommended this food, feel free to ask for cheaper recommendations, as this recipe is extremely costly.
This company does partner with vet offices and gives them commissions. Therefore, vets may not always know there are cheaper options out there.
Summary of 2023’s 9 Most Expensive Dog Foods
|1||Orijen Dog Original Recipe|
|2||Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food|
|3||The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe|
|4||Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties|
|5||Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food|
|6||ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food|
|7||Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe|
|8||K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food|
|9||Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com
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