Best Dry Dog Food

Written by Hannah Ward
Updated: November 29, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dry dog food is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Large Breed Chicken Dry Dog Food.
  • There’s no need to settle for a one size fits all dry dog food option. Some of the best dog food brands offer a variety of suitable choices for the size, breed, age, and tastes of a dog.
  • Dry dog food promotes healthy gums and teeth in dogs. It also doesn’t spoil easily, and is easier to portion out than wet dog food.

Feeding your dog the best dry dog food is just one of the ways you can help it enjoy a long and healthy life. When you select the best dry dog food for your pet, you’re contributing to the health of its kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, and other organs. Furthermore, a dog’s coat, skin, and nails all benefit from feeding it the best available options.

Generally, dry dog food is convenient as it doesn’t spoil when left out, it’s easier to control portions, and it’s more affordable than wet food. It also encourages chewing which helps dogs eat more slowly, and promotes better dental health, helping to cut down on tartar build-up on a dogs teeth and preventing periodontal disease.

Some of the best brands offer a variety of choices that suit the size, breed, age, and even the tastes of a dog. You no longer have to settle for a one size fits all option. You can buy vet-recommended, dry dog food tailored to meet the specific needs of your pooch. So read on to discover our recommendations as the best dry dog food.

  1. Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe
  2. Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe
    • Contains high-quality protein to support an adult dog’s muscles
    • Contains omega-6s and Vitamin E for a dog’s coat and skin health
    • Comes in a variety of flavors
    • Contains fiber for a healthy gut
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal
  4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal
    • Smaller kibble bites are easier to consume and digest
    • Omega-6 fatty acids are a good choice for longer coats
    • Includes antioxidants, as well as vitamins C and E for a robust immune system
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe
  6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe
    • High quality bison is the first ingredient
    • Contains no chicken
    • Contains antioxidants, peas, and fish meal for Omega 3's
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ Real Chicken Dry Dog Food
  8. Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ Real Chicken Dry Dog Food
    • Additional ingredients to support joint and bone health in older dogs
    • First ingredient is high protein chicken
    • Contains B12, vitamin E, vitamin B2, and D3 supplements
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice
  10. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice
    • Large 34lb bag lasts longer than other 22lb options
    • DHA from fish oil for better coat, and brain development
    • Protein rich lamb and rice are two of the first three ingredients
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

The Top Picks for Best Dry Dog Food: Ranked

#1 Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Large Breed Chicken Dry Dog Food

Our selection as the best overall dry dog food is Hills’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Large Breed Chicken Dry Dog Food.

This company combines rigorous testing, research, and feedback from veterinarians to create high-quality dog food for all breeds and it all comes down to the ingredients. Protein is essential in the diet of a dog as it builds healthy muscle and tissues. This dry dog food contains high-quality protein in the form of chicken, barley, rice, and whole-grain oats so you can be certain that your pet is only eating the very best ingredients.

Another great feature of this food is that it contains prebiotics. These aid dog’s digestion so that they can enjoy this food without having an stomach upset. It also contains a high dose of vitamins C and E as well as natural antioxidants to help support your dog’s immune system.

Although this food has a lot going for it some customers reported that the kibble is too large for their pets — even larger breeds.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Digestion Large Breed Chicken Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This dry dog food contains high-quality protein in the form of chicken, barley, rice, and whole-grain oats.The kibble is too large for some pets.
It contains prebiotics to aid digestion.
This food contains vitamins C and E and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system.

If you’re looking for the best veterinarian-recommended dry dog food then we suggest Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe.

The main reason why veterinarians recommend this food is its ingredients. This food contains high-quality protein to support lean muscles in adult dogs. Veterinarians also recommend this food because it is easy to digest — specifically because it contains natural fiber for a healthy gut. Plus, it contains omega-6 and vitamin E to promote healthy skin and coat. In short, it is designed to provide the proper amount of nutrients in a good-tasting and easy-to-digest formula.

Another great thing about this food is that it is also available in lamb and brown rice flavor, plus there are several different bag sizes to suit the needs of you and your pet. This food is suitable for pets between one and six years old, although this does mean that it is not suitable for puppies or dogs older than six. However, there are other feeds available from Hill’s Science to meet the needs of pets in those age groups.

The only other drawbacks to this food that we could find are that some customers complained that the kibble size is quite small which isn’t really suitable for larger dogs. A small number of other customers found that this food caused their pets to itch a lot.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe

ProsCons
This food is highly recommended by vets.It is not suitable for puppies or dogs older than six years old.
It contains high quality protein to support muscle growth.The kibble size is small.
This food contains omega-6 and vitamin E to promote healthy skin and coat.A small number of customers reported that this food caused their pets to itch.
It contains natural fiber to make it highly digestible.
There are several different bag sizes available.
Top Vet-Recommended
Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe
  • Contains high-quality protein to support an adult dog’s muscles
  • Contains omega-6s and Vitamin E for a dog’s coat and skin health
  • Comes in a variety of flavors
  • Contains fiber for a healthy gut
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Small Dogs: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal

If you have a smaller dog then we recommend Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal.

The best feature of this food is that it has small-sizes kibble pieces that are specifically designed for smaller mouths. Not only is this easier for small dogs to consume, but it is also easier for them to digest too.

This food is available in three tasty flavors — chicken and rice, lamb, and lamb and brown rice. It contains high quality protein which supports muscle growth. It also contains omega-6 and vitamins C and E to promote a healthy coat and skin. The natural antioxidants in this food are also specifically blended to support the immune system of toy and miniature dog breeds.

Unfortunately, some owners claimed that this food does not smell very nice, while others reported that their pets simply didn’t like it.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal

ProsCons
This food has small kibble pieces which are specifically designed for smaller mouths.Not all pets like this food.
It contains high-quality protein to support healthy muscles.Some customers said that it didn’t smell very nice.
It contains omega-6, natural oxidants, and vitamins C and E to promote a healthy immune system, skin, and coat.
There are three different flavors available.
Best For Small Dogs
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal
  • Smaller kibble bites are easier to consume and digest
  • Omega-6 fatty acids are a good choice for longer coats
  • Includes antioxidants, as well as vitamins C and E for a robust immune system
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Picky Eaters: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe

For dogs that are picky eaters we recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe.

This dog food is designed to please the palate of even the fussiest eaters. This top choice contains high-quality bison as the first ingredient and it is completely free from chicken and chicken by-products. It is also free from soy, corn, wheat, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Another great thing about this food is that it contains lifesource bits which are a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to promote a strong and healthy immune system. It also contains omegas 3 and 6 which are essential for maintaining a healthy coat and skin. It even includes chondroitin and glucosamine to maintain healthy joints. This means that you know your pet is only eating the very best and most nutritional food.

Although this food has a lot going for it, some customers reported that their pets didn’t like the food, while others found that is caused their dogs to have gas.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe

ProsCons
This food does not contain any chicken, chicken by-products, whet, soy, or corn.Some pets just don’t like this food.
It is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.It can make a small number of pets develop gas.
High-quality bison is the first ingredient.
This food contains chondroitin and glucosamine to maintain healthy joints.
It includes lifesource bits which are a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
It contains omegas 3 and 6 to promote a healthy coat and skin.
Best For Picky Eaters
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe
  • High quality bison is the first ingredient
  • Contains no chicken
  • Contains antioxidants, peas, and fish meal for Omega 3's
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Senior Dogs: IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Aging Senior Dry Dog Food

Many senior dogs need something a little extra to help them stay in the very best of health, and that’s why we recommend IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Aging Senior Dry Dog Food for older pets.

Senior dogs often need a specific blend of nutrients to maintain their health as they get older, and that’s why this food is tailored to meet those needs. This food contains high-quality protein in the form of real, farm raised chicken as the first ingredient. It also contains a unique blend of prebiotics and fiber to make it easily digestible, plus antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.

This food contains absolutely no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, nor does it contain any fillers. Instead, this food is a quality, wholesome food with balanced nutrition to meet the needs of your aging dog.

Unfortunately, a small number of pet owners found that this caused their dogs to develop strong-smelling gas.

Pros and Cons of IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Aging Senior Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is specifically tailored to meet the needs of older dogs.Some customers reported that this food caused their pets to develop strong-smelling gas.
It contains farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.
It is free from fillers and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
This food contains prebiotics, fiber, and antioxidants to promote a healthy digestive and immune system.
Best For Seniors
Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ Real Chicken Dry Dog Food
  • Additional ingredients to support joint and bone health in older dogs
  • First ingredient is high protein chicken
  • Contains B12, vitamin E, vitamin B2, and D3 supplements
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best for Puppies: Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food

Puppies need the right type of nutrients so they can grow up to be healthy, strong adult dogs, so that’s why we recommend the Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food.

This particular food is designed for puppies under one year old to give them the very best start in life. This food contains high-quality protein in the form of lamb to support the growth of strong, lean muscles. It also contains omega-rich fish-oil which promotes brain and vision development. Additionally, this food includes probiotics for digestive health, antioxidants for a healthy immune system, and calcium and phosphorus to aid the development of teeth and bones.

Vitamin A and omega-6 are also added to help with a healthy coat and skin. This food is also really easy for puppies to digest as it contains the fiber that they need to maintain a healthy digestive system as they goes through a day of energetic explorations!

However, some customers found that their pups didn’t like this food, although they did like the chicken flavor option which is also available. Also, some found that the kibble pieces were a bit too soft and crumbly.

Pros and Cons of the Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is tailored for puppies under one year old.Not all dogs like this food.
It contains high-quality protein for strong muscular development.The kibble pieces are quite soft and crumble easily.
It includes omega-rich fish-oil to promote brain and vision development.
It includes probiotics, omega-6, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and antioxidants for a healthy digestive and immune system.
Best For Puppies
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Lamb & Rice
  • Large 34lb bag lasts longer than other 22lb options
  • DHA from fish oil for better coat, and brain development
  • Protein rich lamb and rice are two of the first three ingredients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Our Criteria: Factors to Consider When Selecting the Ideal Dry Dog Food

Choosing the right food for a canine friend is an important responsibility. You want to make sure you find a food that they not only enjoy, but that will also deliver the nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life. The best way to choose the right diet and food for your pup is to consult with your veterinarian. For instance, diet may depend on the dental health condition of your dog or maybe the sensitivity of their digestive system.

Since all dry foods on the market are not the same, you’ll want to take time to carefully compare the various options out there. Use the features we highlighted below to help you with your search.

Ingredients

As with any other dog food, premium ingredients are key when selecting dry food for your dog. Look for food that lists meat as their first ingredient. This will help you feel more confident that your dog is getting a good serving of quality protein. Vegetables can also be a good ingredient found in dog food, but you probably don’t want them to be listed as one of the first three ingredients. Unless your dog has a grain sensitivity, look for nutritious whole grains like brown rice or barley too.

Avoid purchasing food that list any fillers, like corn or soy. You should also skip food with preservatives, colors, flavors, or other additives that may be potentially harmful.

Age and Breed

The nutritional needs of puppies and adult or senior dogs vary. Choose a dog food that is formulated for the stage of life your dog is in to help make sure their nutritional needs are being met. Also, the nutritional requirements of a dog can vary from one breed to another. Some food may be formulated for a specific breed — such as more active dogs or less active dogs.

Health Concerns

Finally, if your dog has any health concerns or dietary restrictions, keep those in mind as you are shopping for dry dog food. When choosing a food for allergies, for example, veterinarians often recommend grain-free formulas.

The Best Dry Dog Food: Summary

Choosing any food depends on your dog’s personal preferences and needs. It’s also important to remember that the dietary requirement of dogs can even vary between different breeds or based on their activity level. No dog food is equal, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly research the ingredients when choosing one for your pet. We hope that this product review has given you a useful insight into what to look for, as well as narrowed down the choices for you.

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About the Author

I have been writing professionally for several years with a focus on animals and wildlife. I love spending time in the outdoors and when not writing I can be found on the farm surrounded by horses, dogs, sheep, and pigs.

Best Dry Dog Food FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What amount of dry dog food should I feed my canine?

Most dog food companies include a chart on each bag of dry dog food. Oftentimes, the weight of a dog is what dictates how much dry food it needs. So, it’s best to go by the weight chart on the back of a dry dog food bag to ensure you’re giving your dog the proper amount of nourishment.

Can I mix a combination of dry and wet dog food together?

Yes, wet and dry dog food can be mixed together. Many owners mix a little wet food in with dry food to make the food more appealing and tastier for their dogs. However, keep in mind that when mixing foods, it is important to make sure both the wet and dry foods are designed to match the dietary needs of your dog. For example, this means that you should avoid mixing dry puppy food with wet adult food.

Does dry food contain more protein than wet food?

No, most dry foods have a lower protein content than wet foods. Wet foods are often formulated with premium meat, poultry, or fish ingredients as the first ingredient.

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