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10 Best Legume-Free Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Legume-Free Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

dog eating from bowl in kitchenFood sensitivities can make shopping for dog food difficult, especially if your dog is allergic to common ingredients like legumes. While there are benefits to adding legumes to your dog’s diet, there are several reasons that you might prefer to steer clear. Allergies, sensitivities, and the risk of heart disease potentially linked to dog food containing legumes — which is still being investigated1 — are the biggest factors to consider when searching for legume-free dog food.

You might assume that avoiding legumes is as simple as not getting grain-free formulas, but legumes are common ingredients in grain-inclusive recipes too. To help make your search easier and point you in the right direction for legume-free dog food, here are 10 of the best choices. We hope that these reviews can help you determine which brand is right for your dog.

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A Quick Comparison of the Winners (2024 Update)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Food ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Food
  • Single meat-protein source
  • Good for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Butternut squash and pumpkin provide fiber
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Dry Dog Food Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Dry Dog Food
  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Natural omega oils to promote skin and coat health
  • K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food
  • Wild-caught salmon and trout
  • Natural fiber to promote healthy digestion
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • ORIJEN Amazing Grains Puppy Large Dry Food ORIJEN Amazing Grains Puppy Large Dry Food
  • Animal protein makes up the first five ingredients
  • Formulated for large breed puppies
  • Natural DHA and EPA
  • Nom Nom Tasty Turkey Fare Recipe Nom Nom Tasty Turkey Fare Recipe
  • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
  • Pre-portioned meals
  • Customizable based on your dog’s individual needs
  • The 10 Best Legume-Free Dog Foods

    1. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food — Best Overall

    ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned duck, duck meal, oat groats, whole sorghum
    Protein content: 27.00%
    Fat content: 17.00%
    Calories: 3,370 kcal/kg

    Our best overall legume-free dog food is the ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food. As a limited-ingredient recipe, it contains a single animal protein source — either duck or lamb — to avoid common food allergies, making it a good choice if your dog is sensitive to certain ingredients. It’s also packaged in a resealable bag to maintain freshness for longer.

    The recipe relies on real, nutritional ingredients without any artificial additives to make it a healthier, high-quality option for your dog. Along with the protein content, ACANA includes fiber from butternut squash and pumpkin to promote healthy digestion.

    While this formula comes in 4- or 22.5-pound bags, both options are on the expensive side due to the focus on natural ingredients and healthy nutrition.

    Pros
    • Single meat-protein source
    • Good for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Butternut squash and pumpkin provide fiber
    • No artificial additives
    • Resealable bag
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Dry Dog Food — Best Value

    Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Smoke-Flavored Salmon with Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, grain sorghum
    Protein content: 30.00%
    Fat content: 15.00%
    Calories: 3,640 kcal/kg

    Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Dry Dog Food is formulated to be high in protein to support bones, joints, and muscle mass. With salmon as the first ingredient, the recipe contains natural omega-fatty acids that promote skin and coat health, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables boost immune health. The formula also uses K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics to ensure a healthy gut biome and aid digestion. We think this is the best legume-free dog food for the money.

    Although this recipe doesn’t use artificial ingredients, it does include canola oil, which is an ingredient that many dog owners prefer not to feed to their dogs. The high protein content has been known to cause digestive upset in dogs that aren’t used to the diet, and some bags arrive ripped.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the first ingredient
    • Natural omega oils to promote skin and coat health
    • Antioxidant-rich vegetables support immunity
    • K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics
    Cons
    • Contains canola oil
    • Caused digestive issues in some dogs
    • Some bags arrive ripped open

    3. Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food — Premium Choice

    Zignature Select Cuts Trout & Salmon Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Trout, salmon meal, oats, millet
    Protein content: 28.00%
    Fat content: 15.00%
    Calories: 3,672 kcal/kg

    Dog food formulas using fish-based protein are one way of avoiding common food sensitivities, and the Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food uses wild-caught salmon and trout in the recipe. Although it’s one of the more expensive dog foods on this list, the formula focuses on natural, locally sourced, GMO-free ingredients. Each recipe is made in the U.S.A. to make sure the cooking process passes regulated health and safety standards.

    Zignature Select Cuts relies primarily on real fish but also includes grains to provide natural fiber to support your dog’s digestive health. The blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps your dog healthy too.

    While there aren’t many ingredients in this recipe, some dogs have been known to suffer from digestive upset while eating this product. Some picky eaters might also dislike the fishy taste.

    Pros
    • Wild-caught salmon and trout
    • Natural fiber to promote healthy digestion
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Has caused stomach upset in some dogs
    • Some dogs dislike the fishy taste

    4. ORIJEN Amazing Grains Puppy Large Dry Food

    ORIJEN Amazing Grains Puppy Large Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, whole herring, whole mackerel, chicken liver
    Protein content: 38.00%
    Fat content: 16.00%
    Calories: 3,860 kcal/kg

    Dedicated to supporting the nutritional requirements of large breed puppies, ORIJEN Amazing Grains Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food uses nutrient-rich ingredients to support your new puppy’s health. The recipe contains natural DHA and EPA, along with prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber to support immunity, digestion, eye development, cognitive function, and skin and coat health. Animal protein makes up the first five ingredients to ensure that plenty of high-quality protein is included in the formula.

    High-quality dog food is always on the expensive side, and this option isn’t the friendliest on the wallet. However, if you don’t have a budget or don’t mind spending more to ensure that your new puppy gets quality nutrition, ORIJEN is a good choice. It does smell strongly of fish due to the ingredients, and some picky dogs might dislike the flavor.

    Pros
    • Animal protein makes up the first five ingredients
    • Formulated for large breed puppies
    • Natural DHA and EPA
    • Prebiotics and probiotics to promote digestive health
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Smells strongly of fish

    5. Nom Nom Tasty Turkey Fare Recipe (Fresh Dog Food Subscription)

    Nom Nom Turkey Fare Fresh Dog Food Subscription

    Main ingredients: Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots
    Protein content: 10.00%
    Fat content: 5.00%
    Calories: 1,479 kcal/kg

    Kibble has its benefits, but it also doesn’t always contain the same nutritional benefits as fresh dog food. It’s not always easy to find time to make our own dog food, though, which is where Nom Nom comes in with its Turkey Fare recipe. Formulated by veterinary nutritionists, the pre-portioned meals use real meat and vegetables to ensure a healthy diet for your dog.

    Nom Nom offers three other recipes alongside the turkey formula so you can ensure that your dog doesn’t get bored. You can also customize the meals that your dog receives according to their age, breed, and health.

    While the meal is shipped straight to your door, taking away the stress of grocery shopping, the fresh dog food needs to be kept frozen to retain freshness. Nom Nom also requires a subscription through the website and isn’t available at other retailers.

    Pros
    • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
    • Pre-portioned meals
    • Customizable based on your dog’s individual needs
    • Real meat and vegetables to ensure a healthy diet
    Cons
    • Must be kept frozen
    • Requires a subscription

    6. CANIDAE PURE With Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food

    CANIDAE PURE With Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, barley
    Protein content: 25.00%
    Fat content: 14.50%
    Calories: 3,642 kcal/kg

    Formulated with nine ingredients, along with vitamins and minerals, the CANIDAE PURE With Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food is a good option for dogs with food sensitivities. It uses fish to avoid allergies to chicken or beef and supplies omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health.

    The other ingredients also work to promote your dog’s overall welfare. Antioxidants protect the immune system, while probiotics help maintain a healthy gut. The additional glucosamine and chondroitin boost the health of your dog’s joints to keep them active for longer.

    Although the 4-pound bags are affordable, their small size won’t last long in multi-dog homes or for larger breeds. This recipe also includes canola oil, which can make some dog owners wary about using the product.

    Pros
    • Omega fatty acids support skin and coat health
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Limited ingredients for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin promote joint health
    Cons
    • Contains canola oil
    • 4-pound bag is too small for large breeds

    7. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food

    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
    Protein content: 26.00%
    Fat content: 16.00%
    Calories: 3,711 kcal/kg

    Available in four bag sizes and formulated for all dog breeds, the Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food is suitable for households with several dogs. The recipe contains a blend of omega oils, glucosamine, and chondroitin to support your dog’s joints, skin, and coat health. It’s made with real chicken along with fibrous vegetables and grains to promote healthy digestion.

    Although Merrick is fortified with vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s overall health, some dogs are allergic to chicken, and their immune system may overreact to the main ingredient. Some owners have found that their dogs suffered from diarrhea after eating this product, while fussier dogs refused to eat it due to the strong smell.

    Pros
    • Natural fiber to aid digestion
    • Omega oils, glucosamine, and chondroitin support overall health
    • Suitable for multi-dog households
    • Made with real chicken
    Cons
    • Some dogs are allergic to chicken
    • Fussy dogs might dislike the smell
    • Caused diarrhea in some dogs

    8. Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Dog Food

    Stella & Chewy's Wild Red Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Beef, pork, pork meal, barely
    Protein content: 36.00%
    Fat content: 16.00%
    Calories: 3,789 kcal/kg

    Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Raw Blend Kibble Wholesome Grains Red Meat Recipe uses natural ingredients to provide dogs with beneficial nutrition. Using whole prey ingredients, which include muscles, organs, and cartilage, the formula provides a high-protein diet for adult dogs.

    Real vegetables like pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, and spinach are used to boost the number of natural nutrients in the recipe. The added fiber also helps promote gut health.

    This formula also contains freeze-dried, raw chunks of meat for extra flavor, but some bags may have more chunks than others. Some pet owners find the smell of this dog food unpleasant, and others noticed that their dogs suffered from diarrhea while on this diet.

    Pros
    • Fibrous vegetables for gut health
    • Whole prey ingredients
    • Animal-based protein
    • No artificial additives
    Cons
    • Some owners dislike the smell
    • Caused diarrhea in some dogs
    • Number of freeze-dried chunks varies between bags

    9. VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

    VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Beef meal, grain sorghum, chicken fat, pork meal
    Protein content: 30.00%
    Fat content: 20.00%
    Calories: 3,815 kcal/kg

    Highly active dogs need a meal plan that can keep up with their energy requirements. The VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food is formulated for active breeds of all ages to give them the nutrients that they need to keep doing their jobs. It contains protein from real meat and nutrient-rich vegetables to provide a healthy, balanced diet. The specialized VPRO Blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants promotes immune and digestive health.

    Several owners have mentioned that the smell of this product is unpleasant and that their dogs refuse to eat it. This formula also has many different meat-protein sources that may set off allergic reactions in dogs that are sensitive to certain ingredients.

    Pros
    • Formulated for highly active breeds
    • Nutrient-rich ingredients
    • Suitable for dogs of all ages
    • VPRO Blend promotes digestive and immune health
    Cons
    • Fussy dogs dislike the flavor
    • Food has a strong, unpleasant odor
    • Can cause allergic reactions in some dogs

    10. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, salmon broth, whitefish, chicken liver
    Protein content: 10.00%
    Fat content: 6.00%
    Calories: 1,261 kcal/kg

    Made with natural ingredients, the Wellness CORE Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is produced in the U.S.A. to ensure that it meets high standards for health and safety. It’s designed for adult dogs and puppies and can be used as a lone meal or mixed with kibble.

    Along with the real meat and fish ingredients, Wellness CORE contains fruits and vegetables to promote lean muscle mass, immune health, and skin and coat health.

    The label is misleading; while the recipe does contain fish, chicken is listed as the first ingredient, making this option unsuitable for dogs with sensitivities to chicken. Open cans need to be kept in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. This product has also caused diarrhea in some dogs.

    Pros
    • Natural ingredients promote a healthy diet
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Can be used alone or mixed with kibble
    • Promotes lean muscle mass
    Cons
    • Chicken content can set off allergies
    • Has caused diarrhea in some dogs
    • Leftovers need to be refrigerated

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Legume-Free Dog Food

    Why Are Legumes Used in Dog Food?

    Many dog foods use legumes in the ingredients to provide fiber and carbohydrates without upping the cost of production or the final product. Some recipes also use pea protein to supplement the animal protein in the formula or use legumes as thickening agents.

    The multiple benefits are what make legumes a popular part of the ingredient list. Most commonly, you’ll find legumes in grain-free diets that don’t have the fiber and carbohydrates from grains. However, legumes are added to many grain-inclusive formulas too.

    Risks of Legumes

    Despite the multiple benefits, legumes do have a few risks associated with them that make many dog owners wary about purchasing dog foods that use them. Some dogs can have sensitivities to certain ingredients — like legumes — and eating them frequently can cause skin issues and digestive upset.

    The biggest issues, however, come in the form of grain-free diets. During the FDA investigation into the link between grain-free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy, the American Veterinary Medical Association found that the dogs most affected were eating grain-free food with a high legume content.

    However, nobody knows whether it’s the legumes that are at fault or whether dogs are missing out on some other important nutrients in legume-heavy, grain-free diets. Heart disease also hasn’t affected all the dogs that eat grain-free food.

    Are Legume-Free Diets the Best for Your Dog?

    Whether avoiding legumes is the best choice depends on you and your dog. In moderation and as a supplement to a balanced diet, legumes do have many health benefits for dogs. However, in the case of food sensitivities, it’s best to avoid the ingredient to keep your dog healthy.

    Personal preference comes into your decision too. If you’re uncomfortable feeding your dog with legume-inclusive formulas — especially grain-free recipes — there are plenty of alternative ingredients that you can look for that have similar benefits.

    Natural nutrients from fruits and vegetables, alongside protein from real meat, are ideal to consider when searching for dog food. Pumpkin, for example, is well-loved for being easy to digest, particularly for sensitive stomachs, and an excellent fiber source.

    a dog eating on a bowl
    Image by: Mart Production, Pexels

    How to Choose the Right Dog Food

    Legume-free or not, choosing the right dog food can be an interesting challenge. There are a few ways to make sure your dog gets the nutrition that they need even if you prefer to skip ingredients like legumes or certain animal proteins.

    Health Concerns

    One of the biggest things to consider when choosing a dog food is whether it supports certain health issues that your dog might suffer from. Prescriptions, weight-watching, or sensitive-digestion formulas are all worth considering if your dog suffers from specific health concerns.

    Food sensitivities are important to consider too. Choosing a legume-free dog food is a good choice in theory, but if your dog is sensitive to the chicken in the new formula, they will still have issues with the food. Consider all the ingredients contained in the recipe before settling on your final choice.

    Life Stage

    Most dog food is generic and designed for all ages and breeds. This is great if you have several dogs at home that are all at different life stages. However, these generic formulas have the downside of not being focused on one specific type of dog. Puppies, for example, benefit significantly from the nutrients in puppy-oriented formulas.

    With a formula that’s designed for your dog’s age and breed, they’ll be receiving the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy.

    Veterinarian Recommendation

    When in doubt, don’t be afraid to discuss options with your veterinarian. They’ll be able to help you diagnose food sensitivities and point you toward the dog food brands that are reliable and safe for your dog. While you should still do your research, seeking advice from your vet or their personal opinion on a food that you’ve chosen can help ease your mind when it comes to feeding your dog.

    dog owner talking to vet
    Image by; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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    In Conclusion

    In these reviews, we looked at the best legume-free dog foods, including ACANA, which uses natural ingredients to provide a balanced diet. The budget-friendly Taste of the Wild is best for owners who desire value for money, while the premium Zignature Select Cuts is an option if you don’t mind stretching your budget.

    For more specialized diets, ORIJEN Amazing Grains is formulated to support the development of large breed puppies. Finally, for healthy nutrition and a balanced diet is Nom Nom’s Turkey Fare.


    Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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