The Best Victor Grain-Free Dog Food: Ranked

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: July 11, 2022
© Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock.com

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Victor ranks as one of the better premium dog food brands. This company uses quality ingredients and often uses a lot of meat in their dog food, leaving little room for grain. Therefore, they create some of the most meat-heavy, grain-free foods out there.

However, they cost more than most of the competition, largely because of all the meat they use. Meat costs considerably more than veggies and grains, which is why this brand typically costs more overall.

Still, just because this brand tends to use a lot of meat in its formulas does not mean that they are the best option for all dogs. They make a few different formulas, which have slightly different ingredients and purposes.

Below, we’ve reviewed some of their most popular formulas. Take a look to figure out which one is best for your dog (and if they’re worth the high price).

  1. VICTOR Select Yukon River
  2. VICTOR Select Yukon River
    • Grain-free
    • Contains fish meal with chicken fat and sweet potato
    • Enriched with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids
    • Promotes digestion
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Grain-Free
  4. VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Grain-Free
    • Formulated for puppies and active adult dogs
    • 77% of the protein in this formula comes from meat
    • The primary meat source is beef meal
    • Sweet potatoes provide carbohydrates for energy
    • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. VICTOR Purpose Hero Grain-Free
  6. VICTOR Purpose Hero Grain-Free
    • Formulated for large-breed dogs that are prone to joint issues
    • Includes significant amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your dog's joint health
    • The first ingredient is beef meal
    • It also includes fish meal, which contains omega fatty acids for additional joint support
    • Contains sweet potatoes and peas for easily digestible carbohydrate energy
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. VICTOR Purpose Ultra Pro Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  8. VICTOR Purpose Ultra Pro Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
    • Created for puppies and extremely active dogs
    • Provides extra amino acids which are essential to puppies and active adults
    • This formula contains the highest protein of any Victor recipe and also has the lowest carbohydrate count
    • It may be suitable for dogs that tend to be overweight
    • Includes lots of meat, including beef meal, chicken meal, pork meal, and fish meal
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. VICTOR Turkey & Sweet Potato Stew
  10. VICTOR Turkey & Sweet Potato Stew
    • Enhance your puppy's growth
    • A great choice for dogs that are sensitive to grains
    • No artificial flavors or preservatives
    • Added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  11. VICTOR Select Lamb Meal & Sweet Potato Grain-Free
  12. VICTOR Select Lamb Meal & Sweet Potato Grain-Free
    • Developed for dogs with allergies to specific types of meat
    • This recipe is based on lamb meal and it's free from chicken and beef, the most common dog allergens
    • Grain-free
    • Contains high levels of peas and sweet potatoes for carbohydrates
    • Supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  13. VICTOR Select Chicken Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
  14. VICTOR Select Chicken Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
    • The first ingredient in this formula is chicken meal
    • It also contains menhaden fish meal and blood meal
    • Fish provides high levels of omega-fatty acids
    • Peas are the second ingredient, which may be an issue since the FDA is researching a possible link of peas to certain canine heart issues
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

1. Best Overall: VICTOR Select Yukon River Recipe

The large majority of dogs will find this salmon-based recipe suitable. Victor designed it to meet the nutritional needs of all life stages, which means that it can be consumed by adults, puppies, and seniors.

It includes extremely high levels of protein, which puppies need to grow and adult dogs need for muscle maintenance. This protein largely comes from the inclusion of Menhaden fish meal, dehydrated salmon, and blood meal. These ingredients also contain high levels of amino acids, which dogs need to survive.

However, the second ingredient in this dog food is listed as peas. While peas are quite healthy for people, they may be linked to certain heart conditions in dogs. Therefore, we cannot recommend them for most canines, at least until the FDA investigation is completed. Keep this in mind when purchasing this dog food.

Plus, peas are quite high in protein. Therefore, they raise the protein content of this food substantially. However, pea protein doesn’t appear in this food, just whole peas.

This recipe includes probiotics, as well. These provide extra digestive and immune support.

Best for Allergies
VICTOR Select Yukon River
  • Grain-free
  • Contains fish meal with chicken fat and sweet potato
  • Enriched with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids
  • Promotes digestion
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Puppies: VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Recipe

You can feed most VICTOR recipes to both puppies and adults thanks to their high nutritional content. However, VICTOR designed this formula specifically for puppies and more active adults. If your dog falls into this category, consider purchasing this food. Plus, it also costs less than most VICTOR formulas out there.

77% of the protein in this food comes from meat. The primary meat source is listed as beef meal, which appears as the first ingredient. Fish meal and blood meal also appear pretty high on the list, with pork meal appearing further down. All of these ingredients provide quality amino acids and other nutrients that your canine needs to thrive.

Peas and sweet potatoes appear as the second and third ingredients. Sweet potatoes provide easily accessible carbohydrates, which provide more energy to active dogs and puppies. However, peas may be unsuitable for some dogs, especially since they are being investigated by the FDA.

VICTOR heavily fortifies this dog food with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it provides complete nutrition to practically any dog out there. However, the high-calorie content may be troublesome for older dogs that are not particularly active. Therefore, we only recommend this formula for very active adults or puppies.

Most Popular
VICTOR Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Grain-Free
  • Formulated for puppies and active adult dogs
  • 77% of the protein in this formula comes from meat
  • The primary meat source is beef meal
  • Sweet potatoes provide carbohydrates for energy
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Joint Health: VICTOR Purpose HERO Recipe

We recommend this formula for bigger dogs that may develop joint problems. Some breeds are predisposed to joint issues, like German Shepherds. Therefore, if your dog falls into this category, consider choosing this dog food.

This formula includes significant amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, which may improve your dog’s joint health. Studies have found that these ingredients support and reverse joint problems, making them a great additive for adult and senior canines.

Beef meal appears as the first ingredient in this dog food. Menhaden fish meal, blood meal, and pork meal all appear later in the list, as well. Therefore, this food remains a very meat-heavy option. Plus, the fish meal provides extra omega fatty acids that may also provide some extra joint support.

Like most VICTOR formulas, peas and sweet potatoes both appear high on the ingredient list. Therefore, this formula contains highly digestible carbohydrates that are particularly important for extremely active dogs. As you’d imagine, this formula remains particularly good for dogs that do a lot of moving throughout the day.

However, the peas do contain a high level of protein. When looking at the overall protein level in this dog food, keep this in mind.

Best for Joint Health
VICTOR Purpose Hero Grain-Free
  • Formulated for large-breed dogs that are prone to joint issues
  • Includes significant amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your dog's joint health
  • The first ingredient is beef meal
  • It also includes fish meal, which contains omega fatty acids for additional joint support
  • Contains sweet potatoes and peas for easily digestible carbohydrate energy
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best High-Protein Formula: VICTOR Purpose Ultra Pro Dry Dog Food

For extremely active dogs, we recommend this high-protein formula. It provides extra amino acids, which active puppies and adults need to thrive. In fact, this formula contains the highest protein content out of all formulas made by this company. Plus, it also has the lowest carbohydrate count, which may be suitable for easily overweight dogs.

To achieve an extremely high protein content, this food contains a lot of meat. Beef meal, chicken meal, pork meal, and fish meal all appear high on the ingredient list. These various meat ingredients provide amino acids and other nutrients your dog might need. Plus, because the meat source is varied, your dog is eating an extremely varied diet.

Typically, varied diets provide more nutrition. However, they are not necessarily suitable for dogs with allergies and similar problems.

Plus, this formula contains absolutely no grains, as you’d expect.

Best High-Protein Formula
VICTOR Purpose Ultra Pro Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Created for puppies and extremely active dogs
  • Provides extra amino acids which are essential to puppies and active adults
  • This formula contains the highest protein of any Victor recipe and also has the lowest carbohydrate count
  • It may be suitable for dogs that tend to be overweight
  • Includes lots of meat, including beef meal, chicken meal, pork meal, and fish meal
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Wet Food: VICTOR Turkey & Sweet Potato Stew Cuts in Gravy

Typically, dog owners prefer dry dog food over wet food. However, some dogs just do better on a wet formula. The higher moisture content may help prevent certain health problems, and wet dog food tends to be tastier. Therefore, wet food can also be a great option for picky dogs.

This particular formula includes almost just meat. Turkey broth, turkey, chicken liver, and dried egg whites appear as the first four ingredients. Turkey broth increases the moisture content while also providing extra taste and nutrition. Whole turkey and chicken liver both provide high levels of protein and amino acids. Organ meats remain one of the best ingredients companies can add to their dog foods, as they are extremely nutrient-dense.

As the recipe name suggests, sweet potatoes are included lower on the ingredient list. They provide much-needed carbohydrates to the food, as they are a very starchy veggie. Potato starch appears right after them in the ingredient list. This starch is a concentrated carbohydrate from potatoes, raising the carbohydrate content of this dog food.

Best for Puppies
VICTOR Turkey & Sweet Potato Stew
  • Enhance your puppy's growth
  • A great choice for dogs that are sensitive to grains
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best for Allergies: VICTOR Select Lamb Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe

Typically, dogs develop allergies to meats. Meats most often found in dog food are the usual culprit, simply because dogs eat those the most. Dogs typically only develop allergies after extensive exposure to a type of protein.

This formula relies mostly on lamb meal. Therefore, it is missing chicken and beef, which are the most common dog allergens. Grains aren’t included, either. Therefore, dogs with serious allergies may eat this food without a problem. (Of course, it does depend on what they’re allergic to.)

On top of the meat, this formula includes high levels of peas and sweet potatoes. These provide some extra nutrients and seriously raise the carbohydrate content in this dog food. However, peas also include a high level of protein. Therefore, they help raise the protein content of the food, though they don’t necessarily include all of the amino acids your dog needs.

This formula includes high levels of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Therefore, it provides a complete diet for your canine.

Best for Allergies
VICTOR Select Lamb Meal & Sweet Potato Grain-Free
  • Developed for dogs with allergies to specific types of meat
  • This recipe is based on lamb meal and it's free from chicken and beef, the most common dog allergens
  • Grain-free
  • Contains high levels of peas and sweet potatoes for carbohydrates
  • Supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids
Check Chewy Check Amazon

7. Best Chicken-Based Formula: VICTOR Select Chicken Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe

As the name suggests, this formula includes primarily chicken. While chicken remains the most common ingredient in dog food, VICTOR surprisingly makes very few formulas that rely heavily on chicken. This formula includes chicken meal as the first ingredient, followed by chicken fat as the fourth.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a chicken-based formula for one reason or another, we highly recommend this one.

On top of the chicken, it also includes menhaden fish meal and blood meal. Fish provide high levels of omega fatty acids, which is likely why they are included. These fatty acids provide plenty of coat and skin support, which most dogs benefit from.

Peas appear as the second ingredient on the list. Peas contain a lot of protein, which is why dog food companies tend to use them. However, the FDA is currently researching a possible link of peas to certain heart conditions in dogs. Keep that in mind when purchasing this food. (And perhaps keep an eye out for the end of that investigation, as well.)

Best Chicken-Based Formula
VICTOR Select Chicken Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
  • The first ingredient in this formula is chicken meal
  • It also contains menhaden fish meal and blood meal
  • Fish provides high levels of omega-fatty acids
  • Peas are the second ingredient, which may be an issue since the FDA is researching a possible link of peas to certain canine heart issues
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Choosing a dog food can seem a bit complicated. There are a lot of factors to consider. However, a few stand out as the most important. When choosing a dog food, consider each formula’s protein content, life stage, grain inclusion, and ingredients.

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in turn.

Protein Content

While dogs are not obligate carnivores like cats, they still require quite a bit of protein to thrive. Protein contains amino acids, which dogs need to build muscles and perform various other life-supporting functions. However, not all proteins include the same amino acids.

Meats are considered “complete” proteins because they contain all necessary amino acids. While some veggies do contain high levels of protein, they will not be “complete” in this sense. Therefore, where the protein comes from remains just as important as the fact that there is protein.

Life Stage

Dogs need different nutrition at different stages of their life. Puppies need different nutrition than adults because they are growing and developing. Different dog foods are typically made to fit different life stages. However, VICTOR formulas typically meet the requirements for all life stages, though they still have puppy-specific formulas.

Often, senior dog food isn’t necessary unless your dog develops particularly conditions associated with old age. Seniors don’t need particular nutritional needs. However, senior dog food usually contains ingredients for common health conditions associated with old age, such as eye and joint problems.

Grain Inclusion

Grains have always been a bit of a controversial subject. Many argue that dogs aren’t made to eat grains (though this isn’t true). When used in conjunction with meat, grains can provide extra carbohydrates and fiber that dogs wouldn’t get otherwise.

However, some dogs can be allergic to grains. But, grain allergies are not as common as allergies to meat-based proteins, like chicken and beef.

Ingredients

Of course, dog food is only as good as its ingredients. Therefore, we highly recommend taking a look at the ingredient list before deciding to purchase any dog food. You’ll sometimes be surprised by what you find.

Preferably, dog foods should contain a high level of meat. Some sort of meat should be the first ingredient, and preferably meat should appear in many places throughout the ingredient list.

Carbohydrates like grains and veggies will likely appear, as well. These provide extra nutrients, like fiber, as well as a fast source of energy. Dogs that have high energy levels may need more carbohydrates to fuel their movement.

The Different Types of Victor Grain-Free Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared

There are two main types of Victor dog food: wet and dry food. Both of these provide different benefits to dogs and have different potential downsides, as well.

  • Dry dog food – Kibble remains one of the most popular options to feed your dog. It is extremely easy to feed and available in a range of different recipes.
  • Wet dog food – Sometimes, dogs do best on wet dog food. This food contains more moisture, making it tastier and easier for dogs to eat.

Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
InexpensiveOften high in carbohydrates
Easy storageNot as tasty
Long shelf lifeUsually contains preservatives
Many recipes available
Dental benefits

Wet Dog Food

ProsCons
Higher moisture contentExpensive
Higher in proteinHarder to feed
Fewer carbohydratesShort shelf life after opening
Usually primarily meat-based
Tastier

Verified Reviews: Users’ Experiences

Typically, this brand receives extremely rave reviews. Customers love how much meat is packed into this food, as well as fatty acids and other ingredients. Most complaints involved the price of the food, which is quite high. Several customers simply didn’t think that this brand was worth the price.

Often, customers reported that certain digestive problems were resolved by this brand’s food. For instance, one user reviewed the pro recipe, stating that her dog’s chronically loose stool disappeared after she purchased this food. Plus, her dog also stopped producing as much gas.

Despite being mostly aimed at large breeds, most users reported that the kibble size is small enough for many smaller breeds, too. Several older dogs stated that the smaller kibble size made this food easier for their older dogs to eat.

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