A healthy diet for dogs is rich in protein and healthy fats to support lean muscle and provide energy. The best dry dog food contains animal-based sources of protein and fat with limited carbohydrate content. It should be moderate in calorie content to help your dog stay fit and healthy.
Dry dog food tends to be higher in carbs than wet dog food, but you can certainly find recipes that focus on animal-based ingredients. A great dry dog food is made with whole food ingredients, focused on animal protein, and free from artificial additives.
The Best Dry Dog Formulas in 2022
Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food
ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food
Nature's Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Formula All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Why Should You Trust Us
As dog parents ourselves, we understand how hard it is to choose the right dry dog food with so many recipes available on the market in 2022. So how do you navigate past marketing claims to get real facts?
That’s where we come in. With over 1525 recipe reviews, Pet Food Sherpa is the largest database for dog food recipe reviews overseen by a vet nutrition specialist.
Our team has analyzed over dry dog foods and selected the 10 best recipes, we then used our pet food algorithm to determine the scores for each recipe.
You should keep in mind that no single dry dog food is right for all dogs. Instead, use our list as a research tool to help you make a better-informed decision on your pup’s diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much dry food should I feed my dog?
There are no standard recommendations in terms of how much dry food to feed a dog. The proper feeding amount depends on numerous factors. First and foremost, however, you have to consider the calorie content of the dry dog food itself – every recipe is different.
Generally speaking, larger dogs require more calories per day than smaller dogs. That being said, small breeds burn calories at a faster rate than medium and large breeds. The best thing you can do is choose a nutritionally balanced recipe formulated for your dog’s breed size and follow the feeding recommendations on the package according to his body weight.
While body weight is one of the primary determining factors for how much to feed your dog, it’s also important to consider his age and activity level. Younger and more active dogs may require more calories than older and less active dogs. It’s best to start with the recommendations on the package and make adjustments as needed.
Work with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s weight and increase his daily portion if he loses an unhealthy amount of weight or appears to be low in energy. If your dog gains an unhealthy amount of weight, scale back his daily portion.
To give you a general idea how much dry food to feed your dog, here is a chart:
|Dog Size (lbs.)||Feeding Amount (cups)|
|3 to 10||1/3 to ¾|
|10 to 15||¾ to 1|
|15 to 30||1 to 1 ¾|
|30 to 40||1 ¾ to 2 ¼|
|40 to 50||2 ¼ to 2 2/3|
|50 to 70||2 2/3 to 3 ½|
|70 to 90||3 ½ to 4 ¼|
Remember, these are general guidelines. Check the feeding recommendations on the pet food package for recipe-specific guidelines determined by the calorie content of the formula.
2. How long does dry dog food last?
One of the primary benefits of dry dog food over fresh or frozen food is that it has a long shelf life. In fact, dry dog food is treated and packaged to make sure it lasts as long as possible. When properly stored in a cool, dry, dark place, dry dog food can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
When it comes to storing dry dog food, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important that you don’t open the package until you’re ready to start feeding the product to your dog. It’s also a good idea to check the label before purchasing dry dog food to make sure it’s still good. The label should tell you when the product was packaged and how long it will stay fresh when unopened.
Once you open a bag of dry dog food, it’s best to use it within four to six weeks. This being the case, it’s important to purchase dog food in appropriate amounts. While you may be able to save by buying in bulk, dry dog food starts to lose some of its nutritional value after opening. Buying the largest bag possible may last you several months, but the quality won’t be as high toward the end of that period.
To keep your dry dog food as fresh as possible for as long as possible, store it in the original packaging. Dry food should be protected from air, heat, and light, so consider placing the entire bag in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry, dark location.
3. Is dry food or wet food better for dogs?
It’s difficult to provide a definitive answer in the debate between dry dog food and wet because there are many factors to consider. The most important thing, of course, is to provide your dog with a nutritionally balanced diet.
Look for a product that is formulated according to AAFCO nutrient profiles to ensure that it will meet your dog’s basic nutritional requirements. It’s also a good idea to choose a recipe formulated for your dog’s breed size. From there, you have freedom of choice.
Dry food comes with many benefits, but most of those benefits apply to the dog owner rather than the dog. First, the convenience factor. Dry dog food has a much longer shelf-life than fresh or frozen food once the package has been opened. The unopened shelf-life is a little shorter than unopened canned food, but you can safely leave a bowl of dry dog food out for longer than opened canned food. Opened canned food should be refrigerated but dry food can be stored at room temperature.
Another benefit of dry food is that it tends to be less expensive than wet food and other high-quality dog foods. That being said, it’s important that you don’t shop by price alone. You should always review the label to make sure the product you’re buying is of good quality.
Dry dog food can also be easier to feed simply because portioning is simple – you just measure out your dog’s food in cups. Wet food can be tricky if your dog’s feeding recommendations are more or less than a full can or pouch.
While dry food can be very beneficial for dog owners, wet food tends to be a little better for your dog. Not only is wet food generally more appealing to dogs for the taste and texture, but it contains the hydrating moisture dry food lacks. You can always add water or broth to dry food, but you don’t have to take that extra step with wet dog food.
Though this isn’t true for all recipes, wet dog food also tends to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than dry food. Due to the extrusion process through which dry foods are manufactured, higher levels of starch, thickeners, and other carbohydrate ingredients are generally necessary. Dogs do have a higher ability to digest plant matter than cats, but protein should still be the priority.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide between wet dog food and dry dog food. Consider the convenience factor for yourself but make sure to make your final decision with your dog’s best interest in mind.
4. What can be mixed with dry dog food?
Dry dog food provides an affordable, convenient dietary option for dogs, but some dogs are pickier than others. Whether you have a picky eater or a dog who simply doesn’t prefer the texture of dry food, there are plenty of things you can mix into your dog’s food to encourage him to eat.
Some of the best options to mix with dry dog food are liquids like water or bone broth. While water only adds moisture and helps soften the texture of dry dog food, bone broth provides a boost of protein, essential nutrients, and flavor. Goat’s milk is another nutritious option, and it can be particularly beneficial for your dog’s digestive system.
If boosting your dog’s hydration by adding liquid to his dry food isn’t a concern, other options include things like pumpkin puree, scrambled eggs, steamed veggies, and fish oil. Pumpkin puree is great for moisture and the dietary fiber can help ease digestive concerns like diarrhea and constipation. Scrambled eggs are rich in protein while steamed veggies provide fiber and essential nutrients. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help support your dog’s skin and coat.
Another simple option is to mix your dog’s dry food with wet food from a can or pouch. This is a great way to add some flavor to your dog’s food without altering his diet too much. You can also purchase dog food toppers that come in wet, semi-moist, and dry form.
5. Is dry cat food bad for dogs?
If you live in a multi-pet household, your pets will probably steal mouthfuls of each other’s food from time to time. The good news is that dry cat food shouldn’t be harmful for your dog. That being said, a diet that consists primarily of dry cat food won’t be good for him.
Dogs and cats are both part of the carnivore family, so they have similar nutritional requirements, but there are some key differences. Cats are obligate carnivores which means their diet needs to come exclusively from animal sources. Dogs are more similar to omnivores in that they are able to digest and derive nutrition from limited amounts of plant matter.
While a high-quality dry cat food may be higher in protein than dry dog food, it won’t be formulated for your dog’s specific nutritional needs. Cat food tends to be more concentrated in fat and calories than dog food, so it could contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Differences in nutritional requirements between the two species could also contribute to nutritional deficiencies if the majority of your dog’s diet is made up of dry cat food.
In short, dry cat food is not necessarily bad for dogs. A few mouthfuls here and there is unlikely to harm him, but it certainly shouldn’t become a significant part of his daily diet.
6. How do I store dry dog food long term?
Dry dog food is designed to last for months at a time when properly stored. That being said, it is perishable and needs to be protected against heat, air, and light. The best place to store an unopened bag of dry dog food is in a cool, dry, dark place like the kitchen pantry.
While dry dog food can last for 12 to 18 months unopened, it’s best not to purchase more than you’ll be able to use within a couple of months. Once opened, the food will be exposed to the elements and that can affect the quality and the nutritional value of the food. An opened bag of dry dog food should be used within 4 to 6 weeks. So, if you stock up on too much dry food and can’t use it all within the Best By date, your dog might not be getting the quality nutrition he needs.
When it comes to storing dry dog food, it’s best to keep it in the bag once you’ve opened it. Many pet food manufacturers have moved to resealable bags, but you can also roll down the sides and secure it with a clip. For maximum protection, however, it may be best to place the entire bag in an airtight container. It’s not recommended that you pour the bag into a container because the bag provides a barrier that helps seal the fats and oils into the dog food, preventing them from going rancid.
Another benefit of keeping your dry dog food in the original packaging is that you’ll have access to label information, should you need it. In the event of a product recall, it will be helpful to have the UPC code and lot number to see whether your dog’s food may have been affected.