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9 Best Vet-Recommended Dog Foods in 2024 (Vet Answer) – Top Picks & Reviews

Written by: Dr. Lauren Demos DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Best Vet-Recommended Dog Foods in 2024 (Vet Answer) – Top Picks & Reviews

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

WRITTEN BY

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

close up of a dog eating from the bowl

Dogs can eat any food and be just fine, right? Not necessarily. Nutrition in dogs shouldn’t be all that different from people—find something healthy, tasty, and nutritionally complete. Easy, right?

We spend lots of time thinking about food for ourselves, but only recently has dog food received the same attention in mainstream life. But it makes sense. Just because we’ve always fed dogs one way, doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. And with all the different types of dog food that are now on offer, ranging from traditional dry and canned foods, to home delivery options, trying out different foods for our dogs has never been easier.

However, picking the right food can be a more challenging part of the process. So, here are some reviews on some of the options we like, to help you find the right food for your canine companions!
divider-dog pawA Glance at Our Top Picks (2024 Update)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall Dry
Winner
Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
  • High quality ingredients
  • Kibble size is appropriate for most breeds
  • Even picky dogs often like the flavor
  • Best Overall Wet
    Second place
    Purina Beyond Natural Prebiotic Fiber Purina Beyond Natural Prebiotic Fiber
  • Easy to find online or in store
  • Balanced nutrition for adult dogs
  • Best Value
    Third place
    Iams Proactive Healthy Weight Adult Iams Proactive Healthy Weight Adult
  • Easy to find online or in store
  • Even picky dogs love the taste
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Adult Dog Mobility Support Royal Canin Veterinary Adult Dog Mobility Support
  • Many people report good results for mobility
  • Tasty food well-liked by dogs
  • Cesar Steak Lovers Variety Pack Cesar Steak Lovers Variety Pack
  • Great on its own or can be used as a kibble topper, as well
  • Most dogs love steak!
  • The 9 Best Vet-Recommended Dog Foods

    1. Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Overall Dry

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
    Protein: 20%
    Fat: 11.5%
    Calories: 363 kcal/8-oz cup

    Science Diet is a tried-and-tested pet food brand. They use science, along with research from their team of veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists, so the food is both well-liked by dogs, and provides them a healthy, balanced diet. This food combines great nutrition, and is a convenient option that is both tasty and healthy, so it gets our recommendation for best overall dry dog food.

    Pros
    • High quality ingredients
    • Kibble size is appropriate for most breeds
    • Even picky dogs often like the flavor
    Cons
    • Made for adult dogs, so not ideal for growing puppies or senior dogs
    • Dry food which some dogs might not like

    2. Purina Beyond Natural Prebiotic Fiber – Best Overall Wet

    Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Cod, Chicken, Fish Broth, Turkey, Liver, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes
    Protein: 8%
    Fat: 5%
    Calories: 401 kcal/can

    Purina is a traditional maker of pet foods, so it has a long reputation in the industry for making quality foods. This is one of the best wet dog foods for the money, balancing both quality and value, and it’s an easy-to-find, great option for all-around feeding. You can even choose to feed a combination of both wet and dry food from the brand.

    Pros
    • Easy to find online or in store
    • Balanced nutrition for adult dogs
    Cons
    • May not be ideal for dogs that don’t like fish
    • Some dogs get gassy or develop smelly stools with fish-based foods
    • Also contains chicken so not suitable for dogs with poultry food allergies

    3. Iams Proactive Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food – Best Value

    Iams Proactive Health Healthy Adult Weight Control with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley
    Protein: 20%
    Fat: 9%
    Calories: 322 kcal/cup

    A winner for those looking to balance nutrition and value is Iams’ Proactive Health Adult Weight Management. This food is easy to find in most stores, and is backed by the reputation of one of the leading pet food manufacturers. The balance of ingredients, availability, and cost makes this a top choice for the family dog that loves their food, and needs the nutrition to back up their adult dog requirements.

    Pros
    • Easy to find online or in store
    • Even picky dogs love the taste
    Cons
    • Contains a chicken and egg protein mix (may not be ideal for dogs with poultry allergies)

    4. Royal Canin Veterinary Mobility Support

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Advanced Mobility Support Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Pea Fiber
    Protein: 23%
    Fat: 10%
    Calories: 316 kcal/cup

    Royal Canin is a highly reputable pet food brand, with diets produced and backed by science and a team of veterinarians. What’s more—dogs love the tasty foods, while enjoying all the benefits of the research behind these various diets.

    Pros
    • Many people report good results for mobility
    • Tasty food well-liked by dogs
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription or purchase through a veterinarian
    • Contains turmeric so may stain fabrics if left in contact

    5. Cesar Steak Lovers Variety Pack

    Cesar Steak Lovers Variety Pack Small Breed Adult Wet Dog Food Trays

    Main Ingredients: Beef, Chicken Liver, Beef Lung, Chicken Broth, Water, Pork By-Products
    Protein: 9%
    Fat: 4%
    Calories: 88 kcal/tray

    For a brand that mixes quality and value, Cesar is a great go-to. Easy-pop trays in a smaller size make great meals or accompaniments, for all-sized dogs that aren’t chow hounds. The steak variety pack is a nice touch, as it offers a variety of different flavors that all revolve around a steak lover’s dream.

    Pros
    • Great on its own or can be used as a kibble topper, as well
    • Most dogs love steak!
    • Smaller tray size means less waste for small dogs
    Cons
    • Some dogs will lick the gravy and leave the meat
    • A single tray may not be enough for larger dogs

    6. Science Diet Adult Sensitive

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Sensitive Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley
    Protein: 20%
    Fat: 13%
    Calories: 382 kcal/cup

    Science Diet Adult Sensitive is a great choice for dogs that struggle to find a food that agrees with them. Sometimes, that means a dog with constant soft stools, or just regular bouts of vomiting. For others, it means itchy, dry skin. Consider this food as an option to help support your dog’s sensitive systems, in a tasty package!

    Pros
    • Many dogs see significant improvements in vomiting or stool issues
    • Also supports skin health with added omega fatty acids
    Cons
    • Not appropriate for dogs with chicken allergies

    7. Royal Canin Dental Diet – Best Prescription Dental Diet

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Dental Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat, Wheat Gluten, Dried Chicory Root
    Protein: 20%
    Fat: 15%
    Calories: 329 kcal/cup

    Tooth brushing at home can be a nightmare when it comes to dogs, though it is a helpful way to address dental disease before it becomes a major issue. Treats can help to a degree, but can also contain high amounts of calories. Therefore, sometimes using a dental food can be a great alternative or supplement to the above.

    Pros
    • Suitable as a main diet, or as a treat or diet topper
    • One of the best ways to help with oral health; clinically proven to reduce plaque buildup
    • Good alternative for dogs that don’t like or won’t allow tooth brushing at home
    • Different sizes available for small, medium, and large breed
    Cons
    • Only available from veterinarians
    • Different sizes for small and large breeds
    • Not suitable for dogs that already have dental disease

    8. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains – Best Grain-Conscious Diet

    Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains Adult Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat
    Protein: 26%
    Fat: 16%
    Calories: 393 kcal/cup

    Merrick Classic Healthy Grains is our recommended choice for dog owners who want to feed their dog a dry food with a proper balance of meat and grains. With deboned chicken as the main ingredient, hearty fiber-rich grains make up the other top ingredients. In addition to those primary ingredients, this recipe is enriched with omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin. These components help with skin, joints, and bone health.

    Pros
    • Healthy balance between meat and grains
    • Added vitamins and nutrients to help skin, coat and digestion
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like the taste
    • Often requires an online purchase as may not be readily available in store

    9. Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend – Best High-Protein Dry Food

    Purina Pro Plan High Protein Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Poultry By-product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Soybean Meal
    Protein: 26%
    Fat: 16%
    Calories: 387 kcal/cup

    Purina Pro Plan is a well-known line of diets produced by one of the longest standing pet food companies. Most dogs love the taste, and the company has stood the test of time in providing quality food at a great value.

    Pros
    • Nutritionally balanced so can be fed as primary food, or in combination with others
    • Contains live probiotics for GI health
    Cons
    • Not ideal for dogs that need low protein diets
    • Not easily found in many stores

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Vet-Recommended Dog Foods

    Ultimately, how do you pick a good food for your dog? Hopefully, we’ve helped to introduce some of our favorite foods that we find helpful in our own canine households. That said, never hesitate to seek out additional advice—even informal advice, such as that from friends, colleagues, and family, who can sometimes provide interesting observations.

    Dogs can certainly have personal preferences, just like people. They may prefer dry over wet food, or a certain texture. Flavors, too, can be an important factor for some dogs. So, don’t give up if they don’t like a poultry based food. Instead, try seafood or beef, to see if you get a different response.

    Next, you want to pick food that meets any specific medical needs your dog may have. Generally, these are selected with the help of your dog’s vet.

    If you are going to transition your dog to a different food, or have different foods on offer, follow the rules of thumb for switching between one to the other, to prevent gastrointestinal upset. Traditionally, this involved starting with a 75:25 blend of old and new foods, gradually swapping this ratio around every 24–48 hours, until only the new food was on offer. Some dogs may do fine with a straightforward swap, however, so find out what works best for your pooch and stick with that.

    Pet foods, in recent years, have made unfortunate news for containing imbalanced vitamins and minerals, or for being contaminated with bacteria or other items that you don’t want your dog eating. Some of these ended in recalls in recent years. One of the most assured ways to avoid contaminated dog foods is to stick to well-established brands that have been around for a long time. They are more likely to catch issues with different food batches early on or prevent them altogether.

    Remember, we still don’t know nearly as much about pet nutrition as we would like. So, just because something is data-backed for people (e.g., gluten allergies), doesn’t always mean the same information applies to our pets. When in doubt, talk to your dog’s vet!

    divider-paw

    Final Thoughts

    Hopefully, these reviews make the process of choosing the right dog food slightly easier. We’ve picked out top choices based on availability, taste, and value, that are also simply good, healthy food options to feed your dog.

    The best overall dry food for adult dogs, in our opinion, is Science Diet Adult Chicken. We love how the tasty combination is healthy and nutritionally balanced for pups of all shapes and sizes.

    Equally important, we found Purina Beyond Wet to be the best overall canned food for adult dogs—not only for taste, but because it is easy find in stores or online, and for the good balance of nutrition it provides.

    For best value overall, we like Iams Proactive Health—a classic dry food, that seems to have nailed the balance of taste and quality, and at a great value.


    Featured Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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