Orijen Adult Dog Food
Orijen Adult Dog Food

Best dry dog food

Orijen Adult Dog Food is expensive, but experts -- and dog owners -- say it's worth it. It's a high-protein, grain-free food made from fresh, locally sourced Canadian meats, eggs, produce and wild-caught fish. All preservatives are natural and protein sources are certified as being fit for human consumption. Orijen is made in a company-owned plant and the food has a spotless recall history.
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Taste of the Wild High Prairie
Taste of the Wild High Prairie

Best value dry dog food

It costs more than the dog kibble that can be purchased in your local supermarket, but experts say Taste of the Wild High Prairie is worth it: It's grain-free and soy-free, with no artificial preservatives. Buffalo meat is its top named ingredient, followed by lamb meal and chicken meal -- and there's even venison in the mix. It's not as meaty as Orijen, however, and the safety record, while good, is not quite spotless.
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Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula
Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula

Grain-free dry dog food

If you want a top-quality grain-free dog food that you can pick up at most major pet-food retailers, Wellness Core looks like a top choice. It's not quite as meaty as Orijen, and is a little pricier than Taste of the Wild, but it contains high-quality ingredients with no grains and no inferior by-products. Turkey, turkey meal and chicken meal are the first three ingredients. Some other Wellness products have been caught up in recalls, but Core is recall-free.

Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice & Vegetable
Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice & Vegetable

Best supermarket dog food

It's hard to find a quality dog food on the shelves of a supermarket or warehouse store, but Kirkland dry dog food (sold exclusively at Costco) comes pretty close. It has an above-average meat content compared to its supermarket competition and, while the dog food is not grain-free, it mostly avoids the use of lower-quality grains.
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Est. $35 for a 40-lb. bag Estimated Price
Fromm Family Gold Salmon and Chicken Pate
Fromm Family Gold Salmon and Chicken Pate

Best canned dog food

Experts say dogs should really eat wet food, and Fromm Family Gold illustrates why. It's grain-free and loaded with meat (USDA-approved, human-quality meat, at that), and with veggies, vitamins and minerals -- a simple recipe that's ideal for dogs, reviews say. It costs less than other super-premium canned dog foods, too.
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Newman's Own Organics Beef & Liver
Newman's Own Organics Beef & Liver

Organic canned dog food

Newman's Own Organics Beef & Liver has a nutrient profile that mimics what a dog would eat in the wild. It's grain-free, and made mostly from USDA organic, free-range beef and liver. The food is GMO free and the beef comes from a country with strict regulations prohibiting the use of hormones and antibiotics. Still, Newman's Own costs less than other premium dog foods -- and all profits go to animal charities.
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The Honest Kitchen Embark
The Honest Kitchen Embark

Best raw dog food

You can get pretty close to a dog's wild diet with The Honest Kitchen Embark, reviews say. It's grain-free and, made from near-raw turkey and veggies. Embark comes in a convenient, dehydrated powder that you mix with water to make a moist food; a 4-lb. box yields roughly 16 lbs. of dog food. With all-natural ingredients and a strong safety program, this is a hands-down expert favorite.
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There's a great dog food for any dog, or any budget

The pet-food recalls of 2007 served as a wake-up call to millions of pet owners, as well as some -- but not all -- pet-food makers. Although the panic over food tainted with melamine has largely subsided, owners are still casting wary eyes on pet-food labels. More recent recalls have done little to soothe pet owners' frazzled nerves, nor have continuing rumors and speculation about foods that may sicken or even kill dogs.

Most, by now, are aware of the reports of lawsuits filed in early 2015 against Purina over its Beneful brand. This isn't the first time Purina Beneful (Est. $14 for a 15.5 lb. bag) has been swept up in controversy. However, our best research shows that any links between Beneful and dog illness are uncertain at best, and remain unproven at present. It's also worth noting that Beneful has never been involved in an FDA recall.

But if you are concerned about the quality of what you put in your dog's bowl, it doesn't matter. Beneful is one of a host of dog foods that trade low price and convenience for an ingredient list that the best experts say isn't very good. If budget is a top concern, you can do much better and not spend any more. One example is Kirkland Signature dog foods, which we discuss in our section on the best dry dog foods.

Fortunately, dog owners have lots of resources to help them pick a safe, nutritious product. Sites and publications like PetsumerReport.com (and its companion blog, TruthAboutPetFood.com), DogFoodAdvisor.com, PetFoodRatings.org, DogFoodGuru.com, DogAware.com and others put dog foods under the microscope, scouring labels for red-flag ingredients, demanding safety information and tracking recalls. Owner reviews are helpful as well, especially when it comes to learning which foods are eagerly eaten, and which ones leave our four-footed companions cold.

The result? We found good dog foods for every budget, from Costco kibble to pricey "human food" dog food. There are three main choices:

Dry dog food is convenient, and it costs the least per feeding (without water, it weighs less to ship and is a concentrated food source). Unlike cats, dogs will drink plenty of water to hydrate themselves, so dry food is perfectly acceptable. Just be careful: Most supermarket kibble consists mainly of corn and soy pellets -- not the meat that dogs evolved to eat, experts warn. High-meat, low- or no-grain kibbles are best. Experts say you should serve canned or fresh food, too, to make sure your dog gets enough moisture and protein. The cost of dry dog foods varies widely, from as much as $3 per pound to as low as 88 cents per pound for good feeding choices.

Canned dog food is often high-meat and grain-free -- ideal for dogs, experts say. It's more expensive per feeding than dry dog kibble. Expect to pay about $2 to $2.50 for a can of high-quality dog food. Canned food must also be handled more like a human's fresh foods. "Unlike kibble, wet foods exposed to the environment can easily grow bacteria - and quickly become contaminated," notes Mike Sagman at DogFoodAdvisor.com. For that reason, he adds, canned food should not be left in a dog's bowl for more than an hour or two, and any unserved dog food must be refrigerated -- and even then discarded after a couple of days.

Raw dog food gets closer to a dog's wild diet. Raw or lightly steamed meats and veggies are dried and ground up; you add water to make a moist dog food. Expect to pay about as much per feeding as top-quality canned food. Raw dog food is also sold frozen.

To find the top dog foods among all these types, we consulted the websites and publications named above and many more, including thousands of user reviews. Based on that information, we looked first at ingredient quality and the safety of the food -- paying special attention to recalls, the reasons behind them, and how forthcoming dog food makers are with their customers. While every dog owner might like to feed their dog the best food available, not all have the budget to do that, so we also look to value to find choices that are close to the best, but cost less.

Elsewhere in this Report:

Dog Food Ingredients: While reviews help, an informed shopper can make excellent dog food choices just by reading the label. Here, we tell you what to look for -- and what to avoid -- in every dog food in every category.

Best Dry Dog Food: Kibble can be a dog owner's best friend. It's inexpensive compared to other dog foods, convenient and nutritious -- or can be if you choose wisely. This is what to look for.

Best Canned Dog Food: Canned foods can be fed regularly or as a supplement to your dog's kibble diet. These dog foods are the canned varieties that experts and users deem to be best.

Raw Dog Food: Raw dog food can be pricey, but it is the closest thing to what your dog would eat in the wild. Here's the lowdown on the top choices, along with information on feeding your dog a homemade diet.

Buying Guide: Not sure where to start to find the best food for your dog and your budget? We explain what you need to consider and make suggestions to help you in your search

Our Sources: These are the reviews and other sources we consulted to find the best-rated dog foods of all types. They are ranked in the order of their expertise and helpfulness.

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Beneful Dry Dog Food, Healthy Weight, 15.5-Pound Bag, Pack of 1
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