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List of Premium Dog Foods

Updated on May 9, 2011
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.

Choosing Dog Food

There are tons of options available when choosing a dog or puppy food for your pet. It can be hard choosing the right one, but if you know what to avoid and what to look for, you trip to the pet store, grocery store, or pet boutique, may be a little easier.

First off, don't always jump on the dog food that your vet recommends. In most cases, there are other foods that are so much better. For instance, there are much better options to Hill's Science Diet and Eukanuba. Although, your vet may strongly believe in a particular brand of dog food, it's best that you do your research first. You never know, what you're vet is recommending may be the best dog food for your dog, but at the same time, there may be better options.

Depending on what you're looking for, you will be able to find plenty of options for your dog. The best thing to consider when looking for a dog food, is a wheat free dog food. You want few to no fillers, and you want a high percent of meat and protein base ingredients in the dog food.

When choosing dog food, don't always go to the most expensive brand, as just because it's expensive, doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best dog food for your dog. The most important thing that you'll need to do is to read the ingredients and nutrition labels on the bag.

Otherwise, a few brands of dog food that you should avoid, include the following bad dog foods:

  • Alpo
  • Beneful
  • Eukanuba
  • Gravy Train
  • Iams
  • Kibbles N' Bits
  • Might Dog
  • Ol' Roy
  • Pedigree (One and Pro Plan formulas)
  • Purina

One dog food brand that you may not realize is not all that great to feed your dog, is actually Science Diet dog food. The reason behind this is because when private label companies get bought out, the formula gets changed.

Nestlé bought Purina; Heinz bought Nature's Recipe; Colgate-Palmolive bought Hill's Science Diet; Proctor & Gamble bought Iams and Eukanuba; Mars bought Pedigree. As you can see, the major players in dog food are companies that make human foods and products ranging from toothpaste, candy, and condiments. Personally, this isn't the dog food that I'd like to give my dog- from a company that makes my toothpaste or favorite chocolate bar.

Premium Canned Dog Food

  • By Nature Organics
  • Cupboard Creations
  • Evangers Classic
  • Evangers Super Premium
  • Fromm Four Star
  • Go Naturals
  • Instinct
  • Innova EVO
  • Merrick
  • Nature's Logic
  • Nature's Variety
  • Solid Gold
  • Timberwolf
  • Tripett
  • Vets Choice Health Extension Meaty Mix
  • Wellness 95%
  • Weruva
  • Wysong

Premium Dry Dog Food

  • Acana
  • Artemis Fresh Mix formulas
  • Artemis Maximal Dog
  • Before Grain
  • Blue Wilderness
  • Canidae
  • Evanger's Pheasant & Brown Rice
  • Fromm Four Star
  • Go Natural
  • Go Natural Grain Free Endurance
  • Innova
  • Innova EVO
  • Instinct
  • Merrick
  • Nature's Logic Natura
  • Nature's Variety formulas
  • O&M Prime Life Plus
  • Orijen
  • Pinnacle Peak Protein formula
  • Show Bound Naturals
  • Solid Gold
  • Timberwolf Organics
  • TOTW Canine Formula )
  • Wellness
  • Wellness Core

Ingredients to Avoid or Limit in Dog Food

When looking for a new dog food to feed your dog, it's best to make sure that you know how to read the dog food label, so that you can pick out the best food. If you are not sure how to read the label, there is a link below to help you figure out what means what on the label. Once you think you have the label figured out, you want to make sure that when choosing a dog food, you try to avoid the following ingredients. In some cases, limited amounts may be fine, but in others total avoidance may be necessary.

  • Wheat: Wheat is the number one allergy in dogs and because of its high carbohydrate content, is a contributing factor in canine obesity. Label may refer to wheat flour, wheat germ, wheat mill run, middlings or mid.
  • Corn: Corn is the number two allergy in dogs and another source of heavy carbohydrates because of its high sugar content. While corn can be source of certain nutrients, the corn used in commercial dog food contains the entire corn plant, including the root to the stems.
  • Soy: The number three allergy-provoking food for dogs, soybean meal or soy flour is a highly processed form of soybeans that are void of the essential fats, antioxidants and minerals naturally found in the soybean.
  • By-Product Meal: In reference to meat, poultry, or beef, by-products refers to any part of the animal other than the muscle tissue. By-product refers to the head, feet or feathers parts of the animal.
  • Digest: Referred to as “poultry digest” or “meat digest,” this term actually refers to roadkill animals and euthanized pets.

  • Ethoxyquin: This deadly preservative is banned for use in human foods but is commonly added in commercial dog foods. It is thought to cause certain cancers.
  • Egg Product: While whole eggs are extremely nutritious for dogs, “egg product” refers to egg shells, eggs that have gone rancid or those that have spoiled.
  • Brewer’s Rice: Refers to rice sections that have been discarded from the rice kernel. Brewer’s rice is broken shells of rice that lack nutrients and have been discarded. They are either going to get swept off from the floor and tossed into the garbage or added into the dog food mixer.
  • Preservatives: Additives like BHA are meant to prolong the shelf-life of the dog food or improve the food’s appearance, but they offer no nutritional value to your dog’s food and may actually harm your pet.
  • Cellulose: This pulp left over from fibrous plants is just another name for sawdust.

Other chemicals and additives to look out for include:

  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) - can potentially cause liver and kidney dysfunction
  • BHT (butylated hydroxytolulene) - can potentially cause liver and kidney dysfunction
  • Propylene glycol - causes the destruction of red blood cells
  • Coloring agents
  • Drying agents
  • Flavoring agents
  • Lubricants
  • Texturizers


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My Lab/mix was on 4 health when I got her. She was pooping in her crate (and eating it) around 3-4am, in spite of long walks in am and before bed. I changed her food to Grandma Lucy's a wonderful dehydrated grain free product and the results have been amazing. Stool is well formed and regular. Grandma Lucy's is a wonerful product and I highly recommend it! No fillers, smells like people food. I add a little yogurt, and pumpkin as well.

    • santos88 profile image


      9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Great article, and very informative. I recommend Orijen to anyone out there, it was rated the #1 dog food in 2010 and 2011.

    • TheEpicJourney profile image


      9 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

      Very informative article. Your lists and descriptions of the common ingredients to stay away from was very well laid out. The dog food I feed Zoe is a brand not often heard of called 4Health. It's only sold by Tractor Supply. I've done my best to compare the ingredients in it to the bad list as well as compared it to some of the ingredients in the good list dog foods. I found it to be pretty good and at a very reasonable price considering what I thought to be a quality dog food. If you get the time to check it out i was just wondering what your thoughts would be on it.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      my golden rtetreiver just loves taste of the wild canine formula with roasted bison and venison

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi, I am a little confused, In your article What is the best dog food for my puppy, you mention Eukanuba as a Premium brand and I quote "Some brands, like Eukanuba and Royal Canin (both great premium brands),", and in this article you say I should stay away from Eukanuba. I am from Guatemala and unfortunately I don't have all the dog food choices you mention, I do have Eukanuba though but now I not sure I feeding my dog with a good dog food.

    • SJKSJK profile image


      10 years ago from delray beach, florida

      Thanks for the information. I would do anything to keep my baby healthy.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i have just rescued 2 german shepaerd pups, my vet tells me there bout 12 weeks old gave them jabs worms and wan not but im finding hard to get a foos they like.... lately i have been makin my own... things like fish, lentil, seasame seeds for calcium is this the rite thing to do?

    • SUSIE405 profile image


      10 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      I have a little Maltese and have been using Blue Buffalo since she was a pup. Maltese are known for being finicky eaters, so I mix some chicken or roast beef in her food. She seems to like it, loves the chicken and beef, then nibbles on the Blue. I have tried many other premium foods, but she won't even take a bite, so I go back to Blue.

    • zdog profile image


      10 years ago from Lake Elsinore, Ca

      I worked for Hills and have friends that worked for other companies. I have found after having dogs for thirty years that you need to quit buying the dog food hype.

      All my dogs dogs got love and exercise which made them happy. And happy always makes for healthy.

      My dogs only go to the vet for shots, of course I don't have over breed pure breeds.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, I do agree that there are different degrees of bad and good food.

      I'd actually say the wal*mart brand - ole roy- is one of the lowest brands of dog food. My cousin has recently upgraded to pedigree, still not one of my favorites, but better.

    • Tirzah Laughs profile image

      Tirzah Laughs 

      10 years ago from USA

      Eagle HOlistic Lamb and Rice is nice and fairly clean. It's hard to find though.

      I'm just letting people know that Eukanuba is not nearly as bad as feeding a poor dog Kibbles N Bits or Dad's. That stuff is the lowest of the low.

      Two of my dogs are elderly and one of my dogs is a puppy so I'm getting it from both ends right now :-).

      If anyone can recommend a low protein dog food for a dog with kidney issues and the palate of a 4 star chef, I'd love you forever. Kidney dogs can't have the high protein so I'm switching again. My male dog is old and of a health prone breed.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the comment. I am aware that the brands I've listed are higher priced, but they're also better. I am aware that small dogs should be with the mom for at least 10-12 weeks (nothing new to me).

      I don't want corn or wheat in my dogs' food. Nor do I want any extra additives. my dog's health is more important to me and if I can afford the best of the best, I'm buying it.

      When I have the time, they do get homemade stuff, but time is limited, so a great dry kibble dog food is what my dogs get.

      Being picky about what a dog eats is actually a big concern for me and why I used to spend 30-60 minutes in the dog food isle. I don't have to do that any more, as I've settled for the best.

      Yes, the stuff at the bottom is an issue, but when you get the fillers and junk at the top, which is so common in most dog foods, that's a BIG problem.

    • Tirzah Laughs profile image

      Tirzah Laughs 

      10 years ago from USA

      Just like with people food, dog food varies but most of the brands you listed are extremely high priced.

      There are foods to avoid such as Pet's Pride, Dad's and Kibbles N Bits. PP and Dad's have so much filler your dog will poo three times as much. Not a good outcome.

      Kibbles N Bits because its the equivalent of giving your dog a Twinkie for lunch each day. And if your dog has and food coloring/preservative issues, K N Bits will set it off. And dogs usually really like it, it's hard to wean them off of it.

      As for wheat and corn in a dog food, having that in there isn't the end of the world. The key is to have a high protein content in the dog food. If the protein content is high, you should be fine. The exception are dogs with food allergies or breeds prone to skin conditions/food allergies. Corn and wheat are the two biggest culprits. Also, high corn products can cause additional gas and sometimes constipation.

      But buying a food with those items isn't bad as long as its got a good protein percentage.

      Would it be great if you could cook for your dog everyday? Sure but most of us have budgets and don't have time to cook for ourselves, let alone the dog.

      As for the Shih-Tzu, do not change his food right away. The poor pup will be under a lot of stress the first few weeks and he doesn't need the extra strain. Eukanuba is an okay dog food, middle of the pack. Make sure the dog food you choose has a good protein content, is geared toward puppies and introduce it SLOWLY into your puppy's diet or you'll be dealing with the squirts.

      FYI...most Shih-Tzu and other small breeds should stay with their mother until a minimum of ten weeks of age. Check out the book "The Irrepressible Toy Breed' for tips on toy dogs. They are not large dogs and have different milestones for development.

      Show dogs, hunting dogs or dogs with special dietary needs often do better on a specialized diet. Dogs such as huskies who are a bit closer to the dog of the wild, often do better with a more natural diet.

      But a regular dog will do fine on a mid to high level dog food, including Eukanuba.

      You just want to avoid the real crap at the bottom of the list.

      If your dog does develop food allergies such as my Pap did, try canned chicken (rinsed to remove sodium) mixed greenbeans or rice as an alternative. Its quick and easy and you can mix up enough for several weeks at one time and freeze it.

      But don't get overly worked up about your dog food. As long as it has a good protein percentage and your dog has a glossy coat, good energy and isn't getting porky, you should be fine.

      Oh and I've had several bad experiences (vet visits) with Beneful, both wet and dry. I cannot recommend them with a good conscience.

      Lately I'v settled on Eagle Holistic Lamb and Rice and I was fairly happy with Royal Canide for Fussy Eaters until my Pap with her million and four allergies developed a problem with it.

      As for Glucoasimine---just get dehydrated chicken treated with Glucosamine. They eat it happily. However some of the dehydration processes can add sodium so try to stick to a more naturally done brand.

      If you don't want to do food, get the liquid gels and put them in a pill pocket or a piece of cheese. *Limit dairy products as they can upset some dogs digestiosn. A small piece of cheese doesn't bother most dogs but no guarentees.

      Super cheap dog food though equals more poop.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Im about to bring home an 8 week old shih tzu and i could really do with some advice on what to feed him. The breeder has been weening him on iams which i have just read is a no-no, can anyone advise me as to what to do and feed him on, is james well beloved good for puppies? please help im picking him up in 3 days!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I feed my 6 week old America pit bull bakers complete puppy dry is that food the best I can give my puppy and some times I mix some pedigree tinned meat ?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've dediced to cook for my 2 dogs. They both have sensitive tummies, and their droppings are always black when they eat kibble (the best kind on your list is not availablein my country). Thank you for your helpful article.

    • taty96 profile image


      10 years ago from Ecuador

      Very informative article, makes me re think how I feed my dog

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank You soooo much for the advice! it is very helpful. We really appresiate the information. it truly is priceless to get good advice like this. We love our puppy and want to give her the best. :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have a 9 1/2 year old Dobie-Lab mix in good health and weight. I want a good quality dog food that has glucosamine and chondritin in it, as she gets stiff in the winter months and refuses to eat the supplement wafers (even if I grind them up in her food... then she just won't eat!).

      I used to feed her Wellness but then couldn't find it when I moved. However, I've read about the insect infestation that many customers have complained about and am leary about it. I've also considered Canidae but heard about the bones.

      Any help is greatly appreciated!!


    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Some people think that raw from the start is ok, but if you're going to feed a raw diet, I would actually suggest feeding raw and kibble in order to ensure the dog is getting properly nutrition. There are many dogs who do not fair well with a sole raw diet, and become malnourished. The diet is a great one, but try offering both raw and a premium dry kibble.

      I have two links above about the BARF diet, you may want to check them out.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I am about to get A SIBERIAN HUSKY PUP AND WAS WONDERING IF I SHOULD RAW FEED IT from the begining or just stick with dry and what to start with

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      From what I've seen the Dick van Patten's Natural Balance formulas range from 3-4 star out of 6 stars. There are controversial fillers in the food. It also contains more grains than other dog foods, like Innova. The brand was also affected by the 2007 dog food recall for rice gluten. Even Natural Balance Premium is good, but it's not on the top. I'd recommend it over the bad dog food brands, for sure, but it's not a top premium food, just mediocre.

    • chardee42 profile image


      11 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I'm sure a lot of people will have food they would add to your list. Would you consider adding Natural Balance? Their low ingredient formulas with no grains can be very helpful for dogs with allergies.


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