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Home > Dogs > 8 Best Dog Foods at PetSmart in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

8 Best Dog Foods at PetSmart in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Labrador dog eating

Having a dog is a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider when taking care of your new dog. Your dog is just one facet of dog ownership, but it’s one of the most important; after all, dogs die if they don’t eat.

Prospective pet parents want food that is accessible and convenient to buy. So, finding food at a local pet store like PetSmart is vital to many dog parents. Here are our ten favorite foods that you can find a PetSmart today.

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A Glance at Our Favorite Picks in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Wellness CORE Wellness CORE
  • Wide variety of flavors and breed-specific shapes
  • High-protein and grain-free
  • Readily available at most pet stores
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Merrick Adult Dry Dog Food Merrick Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Affordable and available in large bag sizes
  • Wide variety of options for flavor and sizes
  • Holistic approach to animal diet
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Instinct Raw Boost Instinct Raw Boost
  • A good way to add raw food to your dog’s diet
  • Includes high-quality meats as the first ingredient
  • Kibble and freeze-dried real bits
  • Solid Gold Adult Dog Food Solid Gold Adult Dog Food
  • High-quality meat and vegetable ingredients
  • Good weight options and a wide variety of flavors
  • Science-backed formula
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Blue Buffalo Wilderness
  • Well trusted pet brand
  • High-protein and grain-free
  • Real meats as primary ingredient
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    The 8 Best Dog Foods at PetSmart

    1. Wellness CORE Dog Food – Best Overall

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free turkey dry dog food

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 26 lbs (bag), 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: Grain-Free, High-Protein

    Our choice for the best overall dog food available in PetSmart is Wellness CORE. Wellness CORE features a grain-free and high-protein formula with several flavor options that pet parents can choose from. One of the best things about Wellness CORE is that it’s readily available at most commonly found pet stores, including PetSmart.

    Wellness CORE has options for large and small-breed dogs and is highly recommended by veterinarians everywhere. It comes in bagged kibble and canned forms, which gives great versatility for any pet parents who want to give their dog a mixture of wet and dry food.

    The Wellness CORE lineup also includes treats and a raw infused food choice for pet parents who want to try feeding their dog raw food for the nutritional benefits.

    Pros
    • Wide variety of flavors and breed-specific shapes
    • High-protein and grain-free
    • Readily available at most pet stores
    Cons
    • It might be a little bit expensive for some pet parents

    2. Merrick Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Merrick Adult Dry Dog Food

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4 lbs, 10 lbs, 22 lbs, 30 lbs (bag); 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: Grain-Free, High-Protein

    Merrick is our choice for the best dog food at PetSmart for the money. Merrick has been a darling brand of the pet food industry for several years now; they have taken the world of dogs by storm with their holistic and affordable grain-free options for pet parents everywhere. Their foods feature a wide variety of flavors and breed-specific shapes that means that you can find the perfect food for just about any dog in their lineup.

    Pet parents can rest assured that they will be able to find something within Merrick’s lineup for their dog, whether you want to feed your dog exclusively kibble or provide them a mix of kibble and canned food. There are options for any dietary needs that your dog may encounter.

    Pros
    • Affordable and available in large bag sizes
    • Wide variety of options for flavor and sizes
    • Holistic approach to animal diet
    Cons
    • The company was purchased by Purina, which may leave some pet parents feeling wary

    3. Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe

    Food Type: Kibble
    Weight Options: 4 lbs, 10 lbs, 21 lbs
    Special Diet Options: High-Protein, Grain-Free, Raw

    Our choice for the best premium dog food at PetSmart is Instinct’s Raw Boost. Raw boost includes standard kibble and freeze-dried real bits that can easily allow your dog to reach its nutritional benchmarks. The inclusion of freeze-dried real food drives the price up a little bit but is well worth it when it comes to the nutrition that your dog needs to get.

    Unfortunately, though, Raw Boost food only comes in dry kibble form. This is not ideal for pet parents whose dogs won’t eat kibble foods. However, for pet parents whose dogs enjoy the texture of kibble, there is nothing on the market you can get that is better than the Instincts Raw Boost.

    Pros
    • A good way to add raw food to your dog’s diet
    • Includes high-quality meats as the first ingredient
    • Kibble and freeze-dried real bits
    Cons
    • It may be cost-prohibitive for pet parents on a budget

    4. Solid Gold

    Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Grain Free Cold Water Salmon Vegetable Dry Dog Food

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4 lbs & 22 lbs (bag), 13.2 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: High-Protein, Grain-Free, Sensitive Stomach

    Solid gold is a great option for pet parents who are on a budget but still want to give their pets the best they possibly can. While they don’t offer as cheap of an option as Merrick, their food is affordable and comes in relatively high weights. Solid gold has great formulas and recipes backed by science and contains mostly real meats.

    Solid Gold makes various foods for all different dietary needs, including limited ingredients and sensitive stomach formulas. They produce both kibble and canned foods, so pet parents who want to feed their dog a mixture of the two types of foods will be able to purchase both at their local PetSmart.

    Pros
    • High-quality meat and vegetable ingredients
    • Good weight options and a wide variety of flavors
    • Science-backed formula
    Cons
    • Expensive for the weight option provided

    5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4.5 lbs, 11 lbs, 24 lbs (bag); 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: High-Protein, Grain-Free

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness is the high-protein form of blue Buffalo’s main food. Blue Buffalo is a long, trusted brand for dog and cat nutrition, and their wilderness formulas do not disappoint. They offer an affordable way for pet parents to introduce a high-protein recipe into their dog’s diet. Blue Buffalo uses high-quality ingredients in real meets as the primary source of nutrients in their foods.

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness comes in both kibble and canned forms. Both the Wilderness kibble and Wolf’s Creek Stew cans are backed by veterinarians and pet care professionals worldwide. However, some have concerns about the high concentration of carbohydrates in their recipes.

    Pros
    • Well trusted pet brand
    • High-protein and grain-free
    • Real meats as primary ingredient
    Cons
    • Higher carbohydrate content than some people want to see

    6. Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free

    Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4 lbs, 12 lbs, 24 lbs (bag); 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: Grain-Free

    Wellness Complete Health is a great choice for pet parents who want the quality of Wellness CORE but don’t need or don’t want the high protein index of the CORE line. Wellness Complete Health features all the same high-quality ingredients as the CORE line with different health indexes for more comprehensive dietary options.

    The Wellness Complete Health line features several different sizes and flavors; there’s truly a Wellness food for any dog! They also feature several lines of canned food in addition to their dry kibble for pet parents who want to feed their dogs a mixture of food types.

    Pros
    • Same ingredient quality as Wellness Core
    • Options for dogs of all sizes
    • More comprehensive dietary options
    Cons
    • Lower protein index than CORE

    7. Blue Buffalo Freedom

    Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Chicken Recipe

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4 lbs, 11 lbs, 24 lbs (bag); 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: Grain-Free

    Blue Buffalo’s Freedom is Blue Buffalo’s original grain-free recipe. While they’ve added several other grain-free options in recent years, Freedom is where it all started with this family favorite. Freedom comes in multiple flavors; even the pickiest dog will find something they can love here!

    Blue Buffalo Freedom also comes in both canned and kibble form so pet parents don’t have to worry about having to find a new canned food to go with their dogs’ kibble. The variety of weight options for Blue Freedom mean that you can fit it into just about any budget too!

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Trusted by pet parents and vets
    Cons
    • Options may seem kind of limited compared to other brands

    8. Blue Buffalo Basics

    Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient

    Food Type: Kibble & Canned
    Weight Options: 4.5 lbs, 11 lbs, 24 lbs (bag); 12.5 oz (can)
    Special Diet Options: Grain-Free

    Blue Buffalo Basics line is Blue Buffalo’s limited-ingredient diet. Limited-ingredient diets are mainly aimed at pet parents of dogs who have food allergies; the limited ingredient pool allows them to freely feed their dogs without worry of allergens or cross-contamination in their food bowls.

    Basics comes in a wide variety of kibble and canned options so that pet parents can find something for their specific dog’s needs. Blue Buffalo is one of the most popular options amongst pet parents for a reason: they bring amazing quality to every bite!

    Pros
    • Limited-ingredient diet is excellent for pets with food allergies
    Cons
    • Limited flavor variety

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Food at PetSmart

    Getting a new dog is a huge responsibility. One of the significant responsibilities that prospective parents will have to contend with is feeding their dogs. When choosing dog food it is essential to identify what kind of food you need for your dog. There are many dog foods on the market, and it can seem daunting to choose the correct one, but there are a few significant factors you want to consider before purchasing dog food.

    Food Size

    The size of your dog’s food is essential. Large breed food may be too big for small breed dogs for their mouths to chew comfortably. However, small breed food might be so small for a large breed dog that they inhale and choke for a large breed dog. You want to consider whether or not your dog will be able to eat the food properly.

    It’s also important to consider your dog’s life stage when considering the size of your dog’s food. Puppies tend to eat faster than adult dogs, and food that is too small for them might also get inhaled, just like with a larger breed dog.

    Dietary Restrictions

    You’ll also want to consider if your dog has any dietary restrictions when choosing its food. While prospective parents of the new puppy may not know their dog has any allergies, they may find that their dog is intolerant or allergic to many common ingredients in dog food. If this is the case, you’ll need to purchase food based on these dietary restrictions.

    Nutritional Profile

    Many people are misinformed about the nutritional needs of dogs. Most people think that dogs are carnivores, but scientific observation has shown that they are, in fact, omnivores. This means dogs are designed to break down the nutrients in plant material and animal proteins.

    Dogs can derive nutrients from several sources, including fruits and vegetables. A quality dog food will contain both meats and vegetables to provide the most holistic and well-rounded nutritional profile for the dogs eating their food.

    While dogs can consume animal proteins and plant matter, their primary food source should be animal proteins. A high-protein diet can help your dog achieve good health outcomes and should be encouraged. There is some controversy about grain-free diets, but grains can actually be healthy for our canine friends. Grain-free diets will be beneficial for dogs with grain allergies, however. It’s important to talk to your vet if you have any questions or concerns about including grains in your dog’s diet.

    Not all dogs can handle a protein-rich diet. Some health concerns can require reducing the amount of protein in a dog’s diet. Dogs at risk of kidney disease, liver disease, or some specific types of bladder stones will want to reduce the amount of protein in their diet.

    Additionally, you want to consider the differences between puppy and adult formula. At the same time, it may seem like a hassle to get your dog puppy food. It’s essential to do so during the stages during which there. A dog is considered a puppy for the first 12 months of its life; during this time, it will do the most of its growing and change size very rapidly. This amount of growth takes a lot of energy, and thus puppy foods have a higher concentration of calories that they can consume to turn into new muscle and bone growth.

    However, once a dog reaches the adult stage at 12 months of age, these extra calories are no longer necessary and can cause your dog to gain weight rapidly if you continue to feed them puppy-formulated food. After 12 months, you want to switch your dog slowly to an adult formula food with a profile geared more towards a dog that is no longer growing.

    Ginger dog eating
    Image By: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

    Ingredient List

    The big thing pet parents want to look at is the ingredient list for the food you’re purchasing. If the company publishes a comprehensive list of ingredients, parents can ensure that what they’re purchasing is high quality and contains the necessary nutrients for their dogs.

    The first ingredient in every ingredient list should be real meat. Dogs need a protein-rich diet filled with high-quality protein sources like real meat. You don’t want to see high concentrations of low quality meat for their ingredients, such as meat by-products or meat meals.

    You also don’t want to see many synthetic or unnamed products in the ingredient list. These are signs that the food is low quality and may contain toxic things for dogs in high quantities.

    white boxer dog eating
    Image By: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

    Kibble vs. Canned Food

    There are many debates on whether kibble or canned food is better for dogs. If the nutritional profile of kibble is appropriate, then kibble is an excellent food source for dogs; kibble even has dental benefits for dogs as the crunchy texture helps clean the plaque off their teeth.

    However, canned food offers a higher moisture content for your dog, which can help keep them from getting dehydrated. Canned food is also often more palatable for dogs, and many dogs prefer the textures of canned food to their kibble.

    There is no definitive better or worse between the two; most parents feed their dogs a mixture of canned and kibble foods. Some pet parents will mix their dog’s canned and kibble food to increase their dog’s appetite and encourage them to either kibble. However, some pet parents prefer to feed their dog canned and kibble foods as separate meals. There is no right or wrong way to feed your dog their food as long as they eat a nutritious species-appropriate diet and stay well hydrated.

    Food Availability

    Another critical factor that pet parents consider is the availability of food near their homes. They want to be able to not only purchase food online, if necessary, but also to buy food at stores nearby to their homes. PetSmart is one of the most widely trusted pet stores in the United States.

    With locations all over the United States, pet parents want to know what the best foods they can buy at PetSmart are, and being able to pick up food on your way home from work when you run out is an incredibly convenient option.

    shih tzu dog eating outdoors
    Image By: thanakarn Singto, Shutterstock

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    Conclusion

    Switching your dog’s food is no easy task. There are lots of things to consider and lots of options to peruse. Our choice for the best overall dog food at PetSmart was Wellness CORE. Pet parents on a budget will love Merrick‘s wide variety and affordable prices. For those who are looking to spend a little bit more, PetSmart carries Instinct Raw Boost, which is a fantastic premium option. If you have concerns about your dog’s dietary needs, contact your dog’s veterinarian so they can guide you towards a food that satisfies their specific needs.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

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