Read about our journey that led me to these recommendations in Dog food part 1: picky eaters.
Here are my dog food recommendations split by category and order of preference:
- Raw. Chunks. Of. Dead. Animals. Seriously, if you can handle the challenges – do it.
- Northwest Naturals frozen raw. Not cheap, and probably not easy to find outside my area, but formulated in ideal raw-feeding proportions so you get all the benefits of raw without the risk. They also have a line of freeze-dried nuggets that I cut up and use as training treats, and are easy to use when traveling. Overall I buy this brand as a protein-source supplement when I can’t find a given protein. A good alternative that I also would recommend is Primal, which is the same idea but probably a bit easier to find. Theirs is the only raw duck meal that Braam will eat.
- Victor. This kibble was a major diamond-in-the-rough find and I recommend it to practically everyone. It hovers around $1 – $1.25 a lb, which for a premium kibble is very good. It’s a little rare in stores, and the packaging looks like it was designed as a prop for a 1950s infomercial, but I see serious-dog-people disproportionately feeding it as opposed to other brands. We have tried and liked the Performance, Yukon River, and Ocean Fish.
- Lotus baked kibble. I am not an expert at how kibble is made, but according to people smarter than me, most kibbles are extruded, and Lotus is baked in an oven. That makes it different: it looks and feels different than every other kibble I’ve ever seen, and Braam ate the duck flavor very well. It also comes in two kibble-sizes, which makes it easier to trick a picky eater into thinking this is an interesting new food.
- The Honest Kitchen dehydrated mixes. Despite the initial HK sticker shock, I usually keep a small box of it in the dog food drawer and will mix up meals by occasionally using a bit of this along with kibble or smaller chunks of raw food. A lot of raw feeders do this, but HK (despite in many ways aligning itself with the community) is NOT raw (although their vegetable ingredients may be) so while my dogs do fine eating something like small raw fish in a bowl of rehydrated HK, I prefer mixing only kibble into it.
- West Coast Canine Life premix. This one is cool because it is a nutritionally complete powder, basically. You mix your own meat, veggies, etc. into it and bake it, or leave it raw if you are feeding raw. It’s nice because feeding it means your dog will for sure get even those tiny little nutrients you might forget about, but you can “customize” it how you like. I kept a bag of this on hand for quite a long time (in fact, I’m not quite sure why I never reordered any the last time we ran out!) and I made dog pancakes out of it for dog birthdays too, which was a lot of fun. Like a lot of these concentrated, high-quality mixes though, it’s not cheap.
- No. Why.
Brands I no longer feed for various reasons but would not negatively judge you for feeding:
- Taste Of The Wild
- Nulo Freestyle
- Stella and Chewy’s raw
- Sojo’s raw
- Darwin’s Natural Selections raw
Notice all of these have top ratings at DogFoodAdvisor.com, which is an authoritative resource on canine nutrition… start there for dog food research!