Dog Food: Ratings of Sources
Total of 18 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Susan Thixton
Our AssessmentOn this site, Susan Thixton rates big- and small-brand dog foods based on their first five ingredients: Five quality ingredients earn 5 paws, four earn 4 paws, etc. (Canned food can earn a maximum of 4 paws, because the extra water or broth -- although beneficial -- doesn't count as a quality ingredient here.) Thixton reports on the manufacturing facilities and supply chains for each brand. Controversial ingredients are flagged.
by Susan Thixton
Our AssessmentSusan Thixton also maintains this web site about all things pet food. This is an excellent site to learn about recalls or any dog food safety concerns or issues. Thixton also publishes a yearly list of the foods she would feed her own pets (available for a donation, starting at $10). All are from small brands. Frozen (raw and cooked) and dry varieties are listed, but no canned foods. The latest addition is the results of a consumer-funded lab-testing program that looked for contaminants and mineral/nutrient content in a small sample of dog and cat foods.
Recalls & Withdrawals
by U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Our AssessmentThe Food and Drug Administration posts pet food recalls here, organized by date. This is the website to visit to find out whether a dog food you're feeding -- or considering feeding -- has been recalled.
Best Dog Foods
by Mike Sagman
Our AssessmentDogFoodAdvisor.com rates dog foods from 1 to 5 stars, based on their ingredients and nutritional value. Site owner Mike Sagman gives a bottom-line assessment, highlights controversial ingredients and often answers reader questions and comments. A large number of foods earn the site's highest rating, but that number is dwarfed by the many foods that score lower -- sometimes substantially so. Highest rated dog foods in a number of categories, including dry, wet, grain-free dog foods and more, are listed here. A shorter but continuously updated Editors' Choice list is also available, but requires a subscription.
Best Dry Dog Food
by Editors of PetFoodRatings.org
Our AssessmentThis website rates dry dog foods based on their ingredient content and quality. Editors also rate the foods' cost, but they don't take that into consideration when making their top picks. Discussion is brief but adequate. Foods with high meat content rank highest. Some well-known brands -- such as Alpo Prime Cuts -- are highly criticized for the use of cheap fillers and by-products. New is a separate list of grain-free dog foods.
Diet Options for Dogs
by Mary Straus
Our AssessmentMary Straus is a self-described "dogaholic" who is knowledgeable about dog health and nutrition. This site includes a lengthy and informative discussion about feeding needs (for homemade diets and otherwise), with specific commercial food recommendations. Straus briefly explains why she recommends each food, but she doesn't rate the foods.
What Is The Best Dog Food?
by Carlotta Cooper and the Editors of Dog Food Guru
Our AssessmentThis article discusses the challenges in finding a "best" dog food, including differences between animals -- and dog owners -- and their needs, as well as keeping up to date with ingredient changes. Included is a list of 5-star and 4-star dog foods, naming the products that span from premium, high-end choices to national brands available at major pet chains and even a warehouse store brand. Additional reviews can be found elsewhere on the site, as can general news and information regarding dog food, including recalls.
by Editors of Whole Dog Journal
Our AssessmentEach year, Whole Dog Journal publishes a lists of approved canned and dry dog foods. The criteria used are rigorous, with an emphasis on high-quality protein sources. Other content includes discussions of what makes a dog food high quality, how to find the best choices for your dog and budget by reading ingredient labels and more. However, except for some teaser copy, most articles are only available to paid subscribers.
Dog Food Reviews 2015
by Editors of PetFoodTalk.com
Our AssessmentPetFoodTalk.com is like several other dog food review sources as it makes its recommendations based on the quality of the ingredients and how appropriate they are for feeding to a dog. Top products are named and rated, and a rating for relative cost is provided. User feedback gleaned from the Internet is shared in a The Word on the Street section. Ratings seem balanced, and the editors don't hesitate when it comes to saying whether or not a dog food is high quality.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com sells a wide variety of dog foods, ranging from supermarket varieties to high-quality foods that are hard to find anywhere else. Popular foods often get hundreds of reviews, while some get well over a thousand. Reviews can vary in quality, but many are long and helpful accounts of a dog owners' satisfaction in the short and long term with the food in question.
by Contributors to Petco.com
Our AssessmentThis is the website of Petco, a large pet supply company. Here, users can provide reviews and ratings of dog food and other products. Although many foods get only a handful of ratings, some get high grades in dozens and sometimes hundreds of reviews. The number of ratings is not shown on the main page and that makes navigation tedious -- especially since many dog foods get similar grades.
by Contributors to OnlyNaturalPet.com
Our AssessmentAt this natural pet-retail site, customer ratings (and the number of ratings) are provided right on the main page. Reviews list pros and cons and a bottom-line opinion about whether the reviewer would recommend a dog food to a friend, along with a brief write-up. Many of the reviews are from those who have been verified as buyers.
Dog Food & Treats
by Contributors to Chewy.com
Our AssessmentChewy.com is another major online seller of pet items, including dog food. Many of the foods here have significant owner feedback, sometimes totaling hundreds of reviews. Write-ups tend to be short, but still helpful, and most say whether or not they would recommend the food to another dog owner.
The Best Dog Foods: Dog Food Reviews & Ratings
by Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Our AssessmentViewpoints is an independent user-review site. Lots of dog foods attract some reviews, though usually only a handful. Others get more feedback -- dozens of opinions in some cases. Reviews have the same pluses and minuses as reviews at sites that are associated with dog food sellers, but many are reasonably detailed. Contributors can say whether or not they would recommend the dog food they are reviewing.
Choosing a Healthy Dog or Cat Food
by Editors of Dogma
Our AssessmentThis site is owned by a pet store with two locations in Orange County, Calif. The site has all the usual sales links, such as toys, bowls and treats, but it also has one page devoted to nutrition, which is well researched and in agreement with other sources. There are no ratings or recommendations, but there's a list of foods to avoid because they contain by-products, animal digest, hydrochloric acid or other undesirable or unhealthy substances.
BARF Frequently Asked Questions
by Bree Weasner
Our AssessmentBARF is an acronym for "biologically appropriate raw food" (sometimes referred to as "bones and raw food"), and this site is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in learning about raw food diets for dogs. The information is provided by those experienced with the BARF diet and from books written by experts. The site has an excellent question-and-answer page and covers everything from vegetarian raw food diets to the myth about feeding raw food causing a dog to develop blood lust and start stalking other animals for food.
Pet Food Labels -- General
by U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Our AssessmentThis government site goes into great detail about labeling regulations and industry standards. A great resource for devout label-readers, the article gives guidelines for spotting label trickery, including, for example, the 25 percent rule. If the named ingredients make up at least 25 percent of the product but less than 95 percent, the name must include a qualifying descriptive term, such as "beef dinner for dogs." No pet-food guidelines or ratings are found here, however.
Dog Foods: Help in Making the Choice Easier
by Owner of Woodhaven Labradors
Our AssessmentThis site belongs to a breeder of Labrador retrievers. This article looks at gimmicks and labeling with a critical eye. The author's position is that named by-products are OK -- in the wild, dogs certainly eat organs and other parts considered unpalatable by humans -- but unidentified by-products are not. The author states that her dogs do best on mid-range dog food (neither the most expensive nor the least) but no recommendations are made.