Besides making sure they get plenty of exercises, feeding your dog an appropriate diet is one of the biggest things you can do to make sure they stay healthy. That’s why feeding your dog high-quality food is important. The best food you can feed your dog is premium dog food. Although premium dog food tends to be more expensive, it is usually made with the best ingredients and few, if any, artificial flavors and preservatives.
There are so many different dog foods on the market out there, and it can be confusing to try to sort out which is which. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of what we think are the best premium dog foods to help narrow down the choices and help make your decision a little bit easier. We’ve even provided reviews for you. All you have to do is continue reading to see which one suits the needs of you and your dog.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||
|The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food||
||Click to Save 30%|
|Best for Puppies||Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food||
|Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||
The 9 Best Premium Dog Foods
1. Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service – Best Overall
|Main Ingredients:||Beef and potatoes, chicken and sweet potatoes, pork and potatoes, turkey and brown rice|
|Protein Content:||7–10% min.|
|Fat Content:||4–6% min.|
We think that Nom Nom is the best overall premium dog food because they provide fresh food that is prepared in human-grade kitchens with human-grade ingredients. Nom Nom cooks all the food themselves using a process that helps ensure that all the nutrients remain in your food. Nom Nom is a subscription service, in which you are automatically charged and food is delivered to your door every two weeks, and the exact price depends on the size of your dog. That could be a downside to some people as those with larger dogs will pay more since they eat more food. However, they cater your meals to your dog’s needs, taking into account your dog’s breed, weight, and any allergies and nutritional needs.
Nom Nom offers four recipes to choose from, each with a main protein (beef, chicken, pork, and turkey) and vegetable ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, spinach, squash, or peas, among others. Protein, fat, and caloric content varies depending on which food you choose. But overall, Nom Nom ensures that all their recipes are healthy and that they meet the nutrient levels established in the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Food Nutrient Profiles.
2. Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Main Ingredients:||Turkey, turkey meal, chickpeas, peas, sunflower oil|
|Protein Content:||32% min.|
|Fat Content:||15% min.|
We consider Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food to be the best premium dog food for the money. Even though it is still pricey compared to other dog foods that aren’t considered premium, this food is one of the less expensive premium dog foods. It’s a limited-ingredient formula, which means that it contains fewer ingredients while still maintaining its nutritional value. That means that it contains no ingredients that some dogs may be allergic to or have trouble digesting, including grains, soy, corn, potatoes, and even chicken. It’s considered to be hypoallergenic while still being high in protein and low in calories.
This dog food also contains nutrients such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals that help to keep all aspects of your dog’s body healthy. The main protein source comes from farm-raised turkey, which is generally low in fat compared to other dog foods. The only downside to this food is that if your dog doesn’t like turkey, he probably won’t like the flavor since that is the only protein source used.
3. The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Dehydrated chicken, organic flaxseed, dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dried apples|
|Protein Content:||24% min.|
|Fat Content:||15% min.|
The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food is our third choice for premium dog food because it is the most expensive product on our list. Although it is pricey, one 10-pound box of dehydrated food makes 40 pounds of food. All you have to do is add water to rehydrate the food, making it softer and fresher than traditional kibble. Or, you use it as a topper for dry dog food.
This food is crafted with human-grade ingredients and made in a human-grade kitchen. It’s made without any by-products, fillers, or preservatives and instead contains only real, whole-food ingredients such as free-range chicken, organic flaxseed, and even vegetable ingredients such as apples, celery, and pumpkin. The amount of protein, fat, and calories this food contains also makes it suitable for all dog breeds, regardless of size or age.
4. Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food – Best for Puppies
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken, turkey, turkey giblets, flounder, whole mackerel|
|Protein Content:||38% min.|
|Fat Content:||20% min.|
We think that the best premium food for puppies is Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food. This formula is made with 85% animal ingredients and its first five ingredients provide a protein-rich diet that will help your puppy’s muscles develop properly and provide a wide range of nutrients in addition to protein. This food is also high in fat and calories, which puppies do need to grow into healthy adult dogs. However, you’ll have to be careful not to overfeed your puppy, especially if it’s a breed that is prone to being overweight.
This food also contains a wide range of fruit and vegetable ingredients including pumpkin, butternut squash, pears, apples, and cranberries, all of which provide essential nutrients that your puppy won’t get from protein sources alone. Plus, this food is grain-free which is good since some dogs are allergic and you’re still learning what your puppy can and can’t eat. But be sure to check if a grain-free diet is necessary for your pup.
Even though this is a premium food, it is still one of the more expensive ones on our list.
5. Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, chicken liver|
|Protein Content:||38% min.|
|Fat Content:||18% min.|
Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the adult dog version of our number four product. All of Orijen’s dog food contains protein sources as the first five ingredients and this food is no exception. It’s high in protein and great for large or active dogs who need to maintain healthy muscles. However, it is higher in fat and calories than other food, so you mustn’t overfeed your dog so that he doesn’t become overweight.
This food also contains fruit and vegetable ingredients such as apples, pears, cranberries, collard greens, squash, and pumpkin which provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as antioxidants that keep your adult dog’s body functioning properly. And although it is cheaper than the puppy food version, it is still one of the most expensive products on our list. Be sure to check with your vet if grain-free is necessary for your dog, as it’s not an appropriate diet for all canines.
6. Castor and Pollux Organix Organic Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic sweet potatoes, organic potatoes, organic peas|
|Protein Content:||26% min.|
|Fat Content:||15% min.|
If you’re looking for dog food that contains only organic meat and plant ingredients, then Castor and Pollux Organix Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe dog food might just be the food for you. This dog food is USDA-certified organic and contains free-range chicken as the main protein ingredient and the food itself is cooked in an organic-certified kitchen as well.
This food also contains ingredients such as organic flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes which provide fiber to help with digestion and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system. It’s free of grains, corn, soy, and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. It’s also low in calories and fat. The only downsides are that chicken is the only protein source, so some dogs may not like the flavor, and it is pricey because it is a premium organic dog food.
7. Acana Freshwater Fish Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Rainbow trout, catfish, catfish meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans|
|Protein Content:||29% min.|
|Fat Content:||17% min.|
Acana Freshwater Fish Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a great premium dog food choice because it is made with 60% animal ingredients, most of which come from fish, and 40% fruit and vegetable ingredients. All ingredients, including meats, proteins, and vegetables are either fresh or raw so that they maintain their maximum nutritional value. This food is also high in protein and fiber and it’s suitable for breeds of all sizes.
This food is free of grains, soy, and corn, all of which pose digestive problems for some dogs. If your dog doesn’t have any digestive issues then that information may not be relevant to you, but this food is a good choice for people that do need to consider that when choosing food. This food is also low in calories. Since the main protein source is fish, some dogs may not like the taste of it. And remember that this is a premium food, so it is expensive. However, it’s cheaper than some of the other foods on the list.
8. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken and Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat, tapioca|
|Protein Content:||37% min.|
|Fat Content:||20.5% min.|
We like this particular Instinct Raw Boost recipe because it contains both kibble and freeze-dried raw meat. Raw meat is beneficial for dogs because when meat is cooked, some of the nutritional value gets cooked out of it. Having some raw meat in this formula helps ensure that your dog gets as much nutrition from the protein ingredients as possible. This food also contains probiotics, which aid in digestion, as well as fatty acids that help promote a shiny coat. Antioxidants also help ensure that your dog’s immune system stays healthy.
We also like that this food is grain-free, which as we’ve mentioned is great for dogs that may have allergies or sensitive stomachs. But this food does contain tapioca, which is generally used as a filler ingredient to give the food texture and lubrication instead of providing nutritional value. It’s also higher in fat and calories, so you’ll have to be careful to feed your dog the right amount to prevent weight gain.
9. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe
|Main Ingredients:||Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes|
|Protein Content:||38% min.|
|Fat Content:||15% min.|
Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Dog Food Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe is a great choice for premium dog food. The only reason it is so low on our list is that it is designed specifically for small-breed dogs. With that being said, your large breed dog could probably eat it, especially if it is an older dog, but the kibbles are smaller and it may not provide the exact nutrients that your large breed dog needs.
But as far as premium dog foods go, this food is very affordable compared to the rest of the foods on this list. It’s also grain-free and made with real beef as the first ingredient and contains prebiotics and probiotics to help with digestion. The small kibble will be easier for your small dog to chew and it also helps to reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. It’s also high in protein but low in fat and calories. Besides not being designed for large dogs, the only other downside would be that some dogs may not like the beef flavor.
Buyer’s Guide: How to choose the Best Premium Dog Foods
Now that you’ve seen our list of what we think are the best premium dog foods, you may still be having trouble deciding which one is best for your dog. We’ve created a Buyer’s Guide with information that you may want to consider when choosing premium dog food to help make your decision easier.
Normally, ingredients are one of the first things you should consider when choosing dog food. But since most premium dog foods are made with high-quality ingredients, your budget is also something to consider.
We say this because premium dog food can be pricey especially compared to other dog food that isn’t considered “premium.” But, some premium dog foods are cheaper than others, and it’s important to remember that ‘more expensive’ doesn’t always mean better.
However, you do need to consider how much money you can reasonably spend on premium food for your dog and make sure that you can sustain that cost over a week, a month, or however frequently you usually buy dog food. Larger dogs tend to go through more food, so you’ll need to consider that too.
It is worth noting that many dog foods come in different sizes, especially dry dog food. In most cases, buying a larger bag will save you more money over time. If this is the case, you need to make sure to properly store the food resealing it well to minimize oxidation and retain quality. But if something were to come up and you couldn’t buy a large bag, you can always buy a smaller bag for less money until you’re able to buy the larger bag again.
It’s also worth noting that our top product, Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food, is a subscription service. While the exact cost of the food will vary based on the size of your dog (again, larger dogs go through food faster), you’ll be paying a set price regularly for food. With Nom Nom, that regular basis is every two weeks. Again, if you decide to go that route, make sure that you can sustain that price since you are automatically charged that set price every two weeks.
After you’ve found several premium dog foods that are within your budget, consider what their ingredients are. The best dog foods will have meat as at least the first two ingredients. However, limited-ingredient food or food designed for certain dietary needs may only have one meat-based ingredient. That’s okay too if that’s what your dog needs to stay healthy.
As far as other ingredients go, it’s really up to you and your dog’s preference. Consider what flavors your dog likes as well as whether or not he can tolerate grains, corn, soy, etc., all of which are common allergens or ingredients that some dogs may have trouble digesting.
It’s important to remember that all premium dog foods are made with all or mostly all-natural ingredients as well, so you generally don’t have to worry about the ingredients being low-quality. But whether or not you want dog food made with organic or human-grade ingredients is your choice.
Finally, you’ll want to take your dog’s overall health as well as his size or breed into account. Some dog foods are suitable for dogs of all sizes and breeds, while some are designed specifically for large breeds or small breeds. Whether or not to go with a large-breed or small-breed dog food over a general dog food is ultimately up to you.
But you may also want to consider your dog’s overall health when choosing dog food. For example, if your dog is overweight or you’re worried he may become overweight, you may want to choose a food that is lower in fat and calories. If your dog is active, you may want to choose a food that is higher in protein.
Also, if your dog is a puppy or a senior dog, you may want to consider choosing food that is appropriate for that age. Puppy and senior dog foods often have different ingredients or nutritional components based on what that particular age group needs.
Although they can be expensive, feeding your dog premium dog food is one of the best things you can do for his health. For the best overall premium dog food, we like Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food because it is made with human-grade ingredients in a human-grade kitchen. For the best premium dog food for the money, we like Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula because it contains only ingredients that are beneficial for your dog. Whichever food you choose, we hope you found these reviews helpful for making your decision easier.
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Featured Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock