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The 5 Best Grain Free Dog Foods
Many dog owners feed their dogs a grain-free diet, and for that, you need the best grain free dog food. Grain free dog foods are, by definition, free of any types of grain, predominately corn and corn by-products. There is disagreement in the animal world if dogs are predominately omnivores (meat and plant eaters) or carnivores (meat only). What is known is that each dog and each breed is different.
Depending on your dog’s dietary needs, they may feel better on a grain-free diet than on a regular dog food diet. For dog owners who want to feed their dogs a healthier diet, read our grain-free dog food reviews & ratings to find the best grain-free dog food today.
In This Article
Best Choice: Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food
The Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food is the best grain free dog food because it is also gluten free. There are no filler ingredients or artificial flavors and the turkey is farm raised in the USA.
The Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food comes in bags weighing 6, 14 or 28 pounds. The number one ingredient is US farm raised chicken. The product does not contain grains, glutens or fillers, poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors, colors or artificial preservatives. Additional ingredients include added vitamins and chelated minerals. This is one product that does well if moistened by adding 1/4 cup of water to 2 cups of the dry dog food.
The Rachael Ray Nutrish company also offers a variety of other food products, both wet and dry to dogs and cats of different ages and breeds. We agree with the many vets and dog owners that Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food is a great product and give it our FIVE STAR rating.
- Tasty turkey and potato recipe
- In addition to being grain free, this product is gluten-free as well
- No filler ingredients or artificial flavors
- Might make dogs itchy
Premium Pick: Instinct Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food
The Instinct Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food is the best grain free dog food because it combines dry and wet dog food without grains. It also comes in different flavors and size options.
The Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food comes in 4, 10 and 20 pound bags. The main ingredient is cage-free chicken – which is the advertised raw bits within the food. The product is made without grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives. In addition to the main ingredient of chicken, the product also contains a probiotic along with antioxidants and omega ingredients.
The product is made in the USA, though with ingredients from the USA and other countries. Though we like the product, there have been some comments that the amount of “raw bits” has decreased over time. As a result, we give Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food our THREE STAR rating.
- Comes in different flavors and sizes
- Combines high protein dog food with freeze-dried raw
- Minimally processed with non-GMO fruits and vegetables
- Quality is sometimes inconsistent without the raw
Best Value: Purina Beneful Grain Free with Real Chicken
The Purina Beneful Grain Free with Real Chicken is the best grain free dog food because it is gluten-free and made without corn or wheat. It contains natural ingredients plus vitamins and minerals.
The Purina Beneful Grain Free Dog Food With Real Chicken comes in two sizes; 4.5 and 12.5 pound bags. It’s main ingredient is farm-raised chicken. It also contains blueberries, pumpkin and spinach. This product is made without corn, wheat or gluten. The product also contains 23 minerals and vitamins. We give Purina Beneful Grain Free with Real Chicken our rating of THREE STARS.
- Comes in different flavors and sizes
- Made without corn, wheat, or gluten
- Farm-raised chicken and no filler or animal by-product meal
- Inconsistent quality when buying more than once
Runner Up: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food is the best grain free dog food because it supports brain, eye, muscle, and bone development. The small-bite kibble is easy for dogs to consume and it is free of artificial preservatives.
The BLUE Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food bag is available in 4, 11 and 24 pounds. The main ingredient is de-boned chicken with no poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy. Also contained in the product is what the manufacturer calls its, “LifeSource Bits”. These bits are mixed in with the chicken and contain additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The BLUE Freedom company also offers many additional grain free products for senior dogs and puppies. An excellent choice for a grain free dog food. We give the BLUE Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food our highest FIVE STAR rating!
- Multiple-sized bag options
- Includes chicken, peas, and potatoes as protein
- Supports muscle and bone development in puppies
- Might cause side effects such as digestive problems or diarrhea
Honorable Mention: Taste of the Wild Grain Free Canine Formula Dog Food
The Taste of the Wild Grain Free Canine Formula Dog Food is the best grain free dog food because it is nutrient-rich and highly digestible. There is no corn, wheat, filler, or artificial colors or preservatives.
Taste of the Wild Grain Free Canine Formula Dog Food comes in 5, 15 and 30 pound bags. The main ingredient (first on the ingredient list) is Bison (Buffalo). This product is different than our other recommendations because it contains Bison along with quite a few vegetables and fruits. It also contains pre-biotics and species-specific bacteria probiotics.
The manufacturer states that its has a, “proprietary K9 Strain probiotics are added after the kibble is cooked so your dog gets guaranteed live, active cultures that support healthy digestion.” Because of it’s unique ingredients and taste that most dogs seem to enjoy, we give the Taste of the Wild, Grain Free Canine Formula Dog Food our FOUR STAR rating.
- Roasted bison and roasted venison flavors for dogs to enjoy
- Protein rich for strong muscles
- Includes super foods and fatty acids
- Might cause negative side effects in some dogs
Editor’s Choice: NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
The NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is the best grain free dog food because it is GMO free and made with fruits and vegetables. It is easy for dogs to digest and provides nutritional value for a wholesome diet.
The NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food comes in 4 or 25 pound bags. Out of our 6 choices, this is our one choice which contains real lamb protein as a main ingredient.
This weight loss dog food does not contain any added artificial flavors, preservatives or artificial colors. It also does not contain corn, wheat, or soy protein. It does have added vitamins and minerals. The taste is savory vs. sweet and/or meat flavored which most dogs seem to enjoy. We give the NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food our rating of THREE STARS.
- Comes in chicken or lamb flavor in or 4- or 24-pound bag
- Contains a unique blend of fruits and vegetables, including lentils and sweet potatoes
- Promotes healthy digestion and weight management
- Inconsistent quality of product
Does Your Dog Have Food Allergy Symptoms?
As you review and look into each grain free dog food, note the weight of each product. Though the price on one product may be the same as another, one may weigh more than the other. For a true comparison to price, divide the price by the weight to get a price per pound. Then compare prices of grain free dog food.
Some dogs do have real allergies to different types of grains. In those cases, a grain-free diet is the way to go with your dog. The following symptoms might be expected if your dog is allergic to grains;
- Inflamed skin
- Skin itchiness & irritability
- More than average hair or coat loss
- Hair & coat bald patches
- Skin scabs & sores
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, they may have a grain food allergy. The best way to confirm this is a trip to the vet. The vet can then run a food allergy test. You, as the dogs owner, can also try out different foods to see if it makes a difference in the symptoms. Be sure, however, to keep your dog on the test food long enough (one week or more) in order to see if the suspected food allergy symptoms are better or worse.
What are the Ingredients in Grain-Free Dog Food?
Though every grain free dog food has their own unique product ingredient mix, most have generally the same ingredients. The most common ingredients in grain-free dog food are;
- Chicken & poultry meal
- Lamb, beef or bison meat and by-products
- Vegetables & fruit
- Pre and probiotics
- Added vitamins
Most grain free products will usually only contain one of the meat products with different vegetables (spinach, beets and others) and fruits (mainly berries). Only one main meat is used to give the product a unique flavoring and smell. Fish, when used, though rare, is usually salmon.
The best grain free dog food can go a long way in improving your dog’s health and quality of life, giving them energy to move around and exercise. That’s why we recommend the Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food to decrease your dog’s allergies and give them a more complete and nutritious meal.
Grain free dog food can be an essential element and part of your dog’s life, much like a dog weight gainer. With the many types, brands and manufacturers of dog food without gluten or grains can be confusing and frustrating. However, our top six grain free dog foods, along with vitamins and probiotics, can help make your dog healthy and happy for many years to come with an AAFCO safe dog food.