As the pet food industry changes, so do the recipes you see on shelves. Many contain artificial ingredients that could potentially cause significant health problems for your dog down the line. Pet owners are learning at this stage that recipes we once trusted for our dogs are completely unhealthy.
There are many phenomenal choices on the market now more so than ever. If you’re looking for a more natural or holistic approach, you might look for natural dog foods on the market. But how do you know which natural dog food is the best?
Here are ten of the best dietary choices we could choose for your dogs. Hopefully, our reviews help you pinpoint the recipe that will create the healthiest version of your pooch.
A Glance at the Winners (Updated in 2023)
|Best Overall||JustFoodForDogs Sampler Variety Pack||
|Best Value||Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend||
|Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Meal Feast||
|Best for Puppies||Lotus Oven Baked Kibble||
|Vet’s Choice||Castor Pollux Organix||
The 10 Best Natural Dog Foods
1. JustFoodForDogs Sampler Variety Pack — Best Overall
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken and white rice, beef and russet potato, turkey and whole wheat macaroni|
|Calories:||Varies by recipe|
We had a blast reviewing some great natural food options, but our best overall natural dog food was Just Food for Dogs Sampler Variety Box. When it comes to innovators in the pet food market, this brand brings it home with frozen fresh dog food options that can be delivered to your door in a timed fashion.
These recipes contain ingredients you can see, and each one offers a flavorful burst of deliciousness. Your pup will never get bored with any of these flavors, including beef and russet potato, fish and sweet potato, Turkey and whole wheat macaroni, lamb and brown rice, venison and squash, chicken and white rice, and balanced remedy.
The exciting thing about this is that if you’re unfamiliar with fresh dog food options, you can let your dog sample all of these flavors and choose the one that works best for them. We think this is a terrific introduction to the natural pet food world, retaining all of its nutrients and using minimal but comprehensive fruits, veggies, and grains.
2. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Dog Food – Best Value
|Main Ingredients:||Lamb, rice flour, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, chicken byproduct meal|
|Calories:||380 per cup|
Suppose you’re looking for a more natural approach to dog food at an affordable price, consider Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Lamb & Rice. It is an all-natural recipe at a more affordable cost making it the best natural dog food for the money.
With lots of healthy antioxidants and easily digestible grains, this recipe is totally solid. The first ingredient is lamb, followed by rice flour and whole grain corn. This recipe definitely isn’t corn, wheat, or soy-free. Sometimes corn can be a little too harsh or irritating to some dogs’ digestive systems.
It also contains some byproducts that might not be for everyone. So, while the quality of this dog food is slightly less than our number one, it is a better option than many commercial dog foods you see on the shelves.
This recipe also contains glucosamine to help support your dog’s joints regardless of age. It also includes an antioxidant blend of vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc, and selenium for an overall top-notch immune system.
3. Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Meal Feast Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Beef meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed|
|Calories:||375 per cup|
Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Meal Feast might be one of the more expensive options on our list, but we think the ingredients breakdown makes it absolutely worth it. This natural dog food is made from 100% organic ingredients.
This is a grain-inclusive formula with non-GMO millet, which is low glycemic and terrific for dogs of many food sensitivities. It is also MSG-free and contains no hydrolyzed proteins, wheat, soy, rice, corn, or soy. All of the ingredients are minimally processed to keep the nutrients intact.
Instead, these typical ingredients are replaced by dried chicory root, alfalfa nutrient concentrates, pumpkinseed, and dried fruits and vegetables. It contains many antioxidant-packed ingredients: blueberry, spinach, dried kelp, and cranberries.
In addition to a list of incredible ingredients, it also contains live probiotics and digestive enzymes to support proper digestion. All carbohydrate sources are easy to digest. Plus, you can feed this to your dog at any stage of life. So even if you have the same urine puppy, these recipes work splendidly.
4. Lotus Oven Baked Kibble – Best for Puppies
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken, chicken liver, chicken meal, rye, brown rice, barley, herring meal, oats, chicken fat|
|Calories:||400 per cup|
Lotus Oven-Baked Kibble for puppies is an outstanding recipe that would greatly benefit your little ones. This recipe is crafted with grain-inclusive ingredients using rye, brown rice, and barley, all easily digestible grains.
The kibble is completely bite-sized, so it is easy for your puppy to eat. It is packed with protein, amino acids, and antioxidants to support your dog’s growing body. A really terrific thing about this dog food is that it’s very low in starch, meaning it’s less processed.
They put optimized calcium and phosphorus in the recipe and antioxidant and fibrous ingredients that help regulate your dog’s digestive and immune systems. The only complaint about Lotus is that it does not contain any DNA or EPA, which are essential puppy ingredients. If you do choose to buy this natural dog food, you might want to supplement your puppy to support their brain and body.
5. Castor Pollux Organix Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic oatmeal|
|Calories:||383 per cup|
Castor Pollux Organix Organic Chicken is a recipe that is recommended by our professional veterinarians on staff. It contains just the right number of goodies that are all-natural and free of harsh and toxic ingredients.
This recipe contains a fair amount of protein, measuring 26% on the guaranteed analysis. And any dog can benefit from a beautiful list of overall organic ingredients. The first three ingredients are organic chicken, chicken meal, and oatmeal.
It has USDA-certified ingredients to nourish your dog’s skin, coat, and organ function. It also is crafted in small batches to provide a soluble fiber with fruits and vegetables. We also love the calorie count on this recipe, as it is perfect for a middle-of-the-road lifestyle.
This is a grain-free recipe, so it won’t work for all dogs unless it’s otherwise combined with a suitable dry kibble. Otherwise, this delicious, nutrient-dense hydrating recipe will work beautifully for any pooch.
6. Natural Balance Platefulls Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Duck, chicken, carrots, pumpkin, green beans, chicken bone broth, salt, parsley|
|Calories:||322 per cup|
We love Natural Balance Platefulls if you’re looking for a wet food selection for your picky pal. This diet has real ingredients you can see and is assured to appeal to even the pickiest taste buds.
The recipe is incredibly simple, containing only nine ingredients. This is very fresh dog food, and we love what we see in the recipe. It has just enough protein suitable for dogs of all sizes.
It also has a moderate calorie count to work for various activity levels. Duck is a very uncommon protein in commercial dog food, making it super compatible with pooches who require a limited ingredient or novel protein diet.
7. Nutro Natural Choice Adult
|Main Ingredients:||Deboned lamb, chicken meal, brewers rice, whole grain brown rice, split peas, chicken fat|
|Calories:||320 per cup|
Nutro Natural Choice Adult Lamb and Brown Rice are our favorite overall. This is an adult maintenance diet, meaning it is specially tailored for healthy adults with no known allergies. It is an extremely well-rounded nutrition choice with natural ingredients to nourish all of your dog’s bodily systems.
This brand is all into natural nutrition. We chose this one explicitly because it contains lamb as the first ingredient, a somewhat uncommon and nutrient-dense protein in many standard diets.
Rather than using potentially irritating grain ingredients, this grain-inclusive diet contains brewers’ rice, whole-grain brown rice, and split peas to provide an easily digestible carbohydrate source. Although this recipe’s protein and caloric content is moderately low, we recommend it for healthy adults with low to moderate activity levels. This recipe would not be suitable for high-energy breeds.
This formula is GMO, byproduct, corn, wheat, and soy free. It’s packed with Omega fatty acids, essential antioxidants, and to be his appropriate vitamins and minerals. All in all, we think that this is moderately affordable for the average budget, and the ingredients are definitely quality that are human grade and molasses-free.
8. Purina Bella True Delights — Best for Small Dogs
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken broth, chicken, carrots, potatoes, guar gum, xanthan gum, celery powder, salt|
Purina Bella True Delights was their favorite selection for little dogs for a few reasons. Sometimes, smaller dogs have a little trouble with dry kibble because their mouths are so tiny. Since kibble tends to be challenging to chew, these little delights are natural recipes with soft textures and high water content to soften the meal.
These tiny patties are perfectly portioned to spruce up any old dry dog food. They are grain-free, but they can be added in with grain-inclusive diets. All recipes are chunky but very soft, so even if your dog experiences dental issues or they are very picky,
They will likely take to this formula with no problems. That’s not all. True delights come in multiple flavors, so you can get a flavor variety pack or another package that would suit your dog’s taste buds better. Don’t be afraid to check out all the other toppers they offer.
9. Acana Wholesome Grains Sea to Stream
|Main Ingredients:||Whole Atlantic herring, whole mackerel, whole catfish, herring meal, mackerel meal, catfish meal, oat groats, whole sorghum|
|Calories:||371 per cup|
Acana Wholesome Grains Sea to Stream Fish & Grains is a grain-inclusive recipe with excellent freshwater fish ingredients. This dry kibble is packed with excellent choices, using oat groats and whole sorghum as carbohydrate sources rather than potentially irritating grains.
The protein content in this recipe is 31% on the guaranteed analysis, making it much higher than average dog food. However, the calorie content is moderate so it will work for various healthy adults with low to high activity levels.
They will still benefit greatly from the protein given from whole Atlantic herring, whole mackerel, whole catfish, herring meal, macro meal, and catfish meal. Because this dog food contains so many fish ingredients, it is absolutely packed with omega-fatty acids.
It is geared towards nourishing the nervous and circulatory systems. It also contains a proprietary heart-healthy vitamin pack. Plus, it includes zero artificial ingredients, and it is 100% free of gluten, potato, and legumes.
10. Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain
|Main Ingredients:||Lamb, lamb meal, grain sorghum, millet, cracked pearled barley|
|Calories:||411 per cup|
We really loved Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain with Ancient Grains. This grain-inclusive recipe has a slew of excellent ingredients specifically designed for the natural health of your dog’s primal roots.
We just want to say upfront that this recipe contains high fat and carbohydrates. That means the high caloric content combined with the fat can put the pounds on moderate to low activity levels. So, we think this dog food will work best for high-energy dogs.
This formula contains live pre and probiotics to balance gut health, making sure digestion rolls along smoothly. It also has lots of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin to provide total body support to all life stages.
The main protein being lamb is a novel protein for most pets, which is less likely to trigger allergies in your pets.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Natural Dog Food
We know how important it is to provide a solid nutrition source for your dog. After all, a poor diet can lead to various health issues that can be expensive and life-shortening for your dog. Below is some relevant information on how to shop for natural dog food that provides adequate health.
What Is Natural Dog Food?
Natural dog food can have a few meanings, but the general consensus is the same. They use fewer synthetic ingredients and more hearty and healthy choices. They typically source their ingredients from excellent sources, ensuring either organic or well-raised sources are used in production.
You have to be careful sometimes because even though something claims it is natural dog food, the ingredients tell it all. Even in natural dog food, there still might be specific triggers that could disrupt allergies or sensitivities. So, it’s essential to thoroughly examine the entire ingredients label to ensure that you buy the right product for your dog’s dietary needs.
Organic vs. Natural
You might think that because dog food is labeled natural, it must mean it’s organic. However, that is not the case. Unless the ingredients are specifically labeled as USDA-approved organic, they are not. So, if you are looking for organic, just make sure that it explicitly states that that is what the dog food contains so there are no misconceptions or slips in marketing.
Types of Dog Natural Dog Food
You can find natural dog food in lots of different varieties. Each one has its own targets and benefits, so you can work with your vet to pick the one that works for your dog’s needs.
Breed Size & Age
When it comes to ensuring your dog’s performance is top-notch, it’s important to feed them according to their life stage. Companies make formulas to nourish all breeds—toy to giant. Some even get more specific, buying a breed-specific diet.
All Life Stages
All life stages formulas are designed to meet the nutritional requirements from puppy to senior.
Puppy formulas contain many beneficial nutrients to keep your growing pup healthiest. They often contain much-needed ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and EPA. These nutrients help your dog’s developing body grow strong and healthy. Puppy recipes are also very high in protein to feed growing muscles.
Adult dog food is designed for maintenance purposes. Once your dog is fully grown, these recipes cater to the health of the average dog, containing ingredients that help keep up with routine health.
Seniors need total body support, especially in their joints. Many senior recipes are lower-calorie, high-protein diets containing joint support additives like chondroitin and glucosamine.
Recipe types are the ingredient combos that make up each formula. They fall into different categories. Here are a few you most commonly see—all of which can be totally natural in content.
Everyday nutrition recipes are great inclusive formulas that are designed For average healthy adults.
Limited Ingredient Diet
Limited-ingredient diets use fewer additives to create a completely balanced diet. Many dogs with dietary sensitivities require these recipes to eliminate a lot of common triggers and everyday diet recipes.
There has been some controversy about grain-free diets over the years. Grain-free recipes exclude grain ingredients to eliminate gluten allergy triggers. So, ensure your dog has a grain sensitivity before committing unless you’re supplementing or combining with a grain-inclusive food.
Sensitive stomach recipes use easy-to-digest ingredients to soothe the digestive tract. They often use soluble carbs like sweet potatoes and other veggie starches to give energy.
Ingredients to Watch for
Just because something is labeled as natural doesn’t always mean it’s the kind of “natural” you prefer. One interesting thing about something being labeled with natural flavors is that it can contain up to 100 different synthetic ingredients per one natural ingredient.
Also, look out for dyes, unnatural preservatives, and fillers. These items serve no nutritional purpose and add no value to the meal. Some can even harm your dog long-term.
This is troublesome, as it’s a flaw in marketing. Many consumers are misled by marketing tactics that appeal to the naked eye but really don’t hold up.
Did our reviews help you find what you’re looking for? If you want a recap—remember how much we love JustFoodForDogs Sampler Variety Pack. It is an excellent introduction to the fresh food world and provides solid, nutrient-rich nutrition to any dog—no matter the age.
If you want to save money but want to go natural, we suggest Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Lamb & Rice. It is a protein-rich recipe with everything your dog needs to thrive—while avoiding all the artificial flavors and fillers.
If you don’t, Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Meal has a totally natural, clean recipe that works for adult dogs, even ones with sensitivities.
Lotus Oven-Baked Kibble for Puppies has a comprehensive recipe for puppies that is entirely natural. Your dog getting the proper nutrition during their early years is essential, and this food fits the bill—but wet food with glucosamine or DHA might be an excellent additive.
Our vets recommend Castor Pollux Organix Organix Chicken. It is very top-of-the-line dog food, packed with nutrients all healthy adults thrive from. We love that it contains all USDA-approved ingredients.
No matter which natural diet you choose, your dog will benefit from the cleaner ingredients.
Featured Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock