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9 Best Premium Dog Foods 2024: Vet-Approved Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Savanna Stanfield

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Best Premium Dog Foods 2024: Vet-Approved Reviews & Top Picks

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

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

Learn more »

cute corgi dog eating dry dog foodBesides making sure they get plenty of exercise, feeding your dog an appropriate diet is one of the most important things that you can do to make sure they stay healthy. That’s why buying high-quality food is important. Although premium pet food tends to be more expensive, it is usually made with high-quality ingredients and few, if any, artificial flavors and preservatives.

There are so many different dog foods on the market out there, and it can be confusing to try to sort out which is which. That’s why we compiled this list of the best premium dog foods, to help narrow down the choices and make your decision a bit easier. We also provided reviews! All you have to do is continue reading to see which premium food suits the needs of you and your dog.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2024)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nom Nom Freshly Made Dog Food Nom Nom Freshly Made Dog Food
  • Customized to your dog
  • Premium ingredients
  • Recipes meet AAFCO standards
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Low in calories
  • Hypoallergenic
  • High in protein
  • Third place
    The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds
  • Contains no by-products, fillers, or preservatives
  • Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food
  • Grain free
  • Proteins as the first five ingredients
  • Contains fruits and vegetables for added nutritional value
  • Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • High in protein
  • Great for large or active breeds
  • Contains fruit and vegetable ingredients
  • The 9 Best Premium Dog Foods

    1. Nom Nom Freshly Made Dog Food — Best OverallNom Nom Subscription Dog Food - rags lying on the floor with the products

    Main Ingredients: Beef and potatoes, chicken and sweet potatoes, pork and potatoes, turkey and brown rice
    Protein Content: 7–10% min.
    Fat Content: 4–6% min.
    Calories: 177–206 kcal/cup

    Nom Nom Freshly Made Dog Food is the best overall premium dog food because it’s freshly made food that is prepared in USDA kitchens with high-quality ingredients. Nom Nom prepares all the food itself using a process that helps ensure that all the nutrients remain in the food. This is a subscription service, so you are automatically charged and food is delivered to your door every 2 weeks, and the exact price depends on the size of your dog. That could be a downside to some people, as those with large dogs will need to pay more. However, the company caters the meals to your dog’s needs, taking into account their breed, weight, and any allergies and nutritional modifications.

    Nom Nom offers four recipes to choose from, each with a main protein (beef, chicken, pork, and turkey) and myriad vegetable ingredients, such as potatoes, carrots, spinach, squash, and peas, among others. The protein, fat, and caloric content varies depending on the food you choose. Overall, Nom Nom ensures that all its recipes are healthy and that they meet the nutrient levels established in the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Food Nutrient Profiles.

    Pros
    • Freshly made food
    • Premium ingredients
    • Customized for your dog
    • Recipes meet AAFCO standards
    Cons
    • Price depends on the size of your dog

    2. Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food — Budget Buy

    Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, chickpeas, peas, sunflower oil
    Protein Content: 32% min.
    Fat Content: 15% min.
    Calories: 394 kcal/cup

    Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the best premium dog food for the money. Even though it is still pricey compared to other dog foods that aren’t considered premium, this product is one of the less expensive premium options. It is a limited-ingredient formula, which means that it contains fewer ingredients while still maintaining its nutritional value. It doesn’t have ingredients that some dogs may be allergic to or have trouble digesting, such as grains, soy, corn, potatoes, and even chicken. It is considered to be hypoallergenic while still being high in protein and low in calories.

    This dog food contains nutrients like antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals that help keep all aspects of your canine’s body healthy. The main protein source comes from farm-raised turkey, which is generally low in fat compared to the main protein of most other dog foods. The only downside to this food is that if your dog doesn’t like turkey, they probably won’t like the overall flavor, since that is the only protein source used.

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic
    • High in protein
    • Low in calories
    • Cheaper than most other premium dog foods
    Cons
    • Some dogs may not like the flavor

    3. The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food

    The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Dehydrated chicken, organic flaxseed, dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dried apples
    Protein Content: 24% min.
    Fat Content: 15% min.
    Calories: 446 kcal/cup

    The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food is the most expensive premium dog food on this list, but while it is pricey, one 10-pound box of dehydrated food makes 40 pounds of food. All you have to do is add water to rehydrate the food, making it softer and fresher than traditional kibble. You can also use it as a topper for dry dog food.

    This food is crafted with human-grade ingredients and made in a human-grade kitchen. It doesn’t have any by-products, fillers, or preservatives and instead contains only real, whole-food ingredients, such as free-range chicken, organic flaxseed, and even vegetable ingredients like apples, celery, and pumpkin. The amount of protein, fat, and calories this food contains makes it suitable for all dog breeds, regardless of size or age.

    Pros
    • Made with human-grade ingredients
    • Suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds
    • Contains no by-products, fillers, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Pricey

    4. Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food

    ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, turkey giblets, flounder, whole mackerel
    Protein Content: 38% min.
    Fat Content: 20% min.
    Calories: 475 kcal/cup

    The best premium food for puppies is Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Puppy Food. This formula is made with 85% animal ingredients, and its first five ingredients provide a protein-rich diet that will help your puppy’s muscles develop properly. It also provides a wide range of nutrients in addition to protein. This food is high in fat and calories, which puppies need to grow into healthy adult dogs. However, you’ll have to be careful not to overfeed your pet, especially if they’re a breed prone to being overweight.

    This food also contains a wide range of fruit and vegetable ingredients, including pumpkin, butternut squash, pears, apples, and cranberries, all of which provide essential nutrients that your puppy won’t get from protein sources alone. Plus, this food is grain free, which is good because some dogs are allergic, and you’re still learning what your puppy can and can’t eat. But be sure to check with your vet if a grain-free diet is necessary for your pup.

    Even though this is a premium food, it is still one of the more expensive ones on this list.

    Pros
    • Grain free
    • Proteins as the first five ingredients
    • Contains fruits and vegetables for added nutritional value
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • High in fat and calories

    5. Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, chicken liver
    Protein Content: 38% min.
    Fat Content: 18% min.
    Calories: 473 kcal/cup

    All of Orijen’s dog foods contain protein sources as the first five ingredients, and Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is no exception. It’s high in protein and great for large or active dogs that need to maintain healthy muscles. However, it is higher in fat and calories than most other foods, so you mustn’t overfeed your dog.

    This food contains fruit and vegetable ingredients like apples, pears, cranberries, collard greens, squash, and pumpkin, which provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like antioxidants that keep your adult dog’s body functioning properly. Although it is cheaper than the puppy food version, it is still one of the most expensive products on this list. Also, be sure to check with your vet if grain free is necessary for your dog, as it’s not an appropriate diet for all canines.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Great for large or active breeds
    • Contains fruit and vegetable ingredients
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • High in fat and calories

    6. Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
    Protein Content: 26% min.
    Fat Content: 15% min.
    Calories: 387 kcal/cup

    If you’re looking for dog food that focuses on high-quality ingredients, Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food might just be for you. It contains deboned chicken as the first ingredient, which contributes to the 57% protein level. The remaining 43% comprises vegetables, minerals, and vitamins. All of Merrick’s recipes, including this one, are cooked in U.S.A. facilities.

    This food also has ingredients like flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes, which provide fiber. It contains omega fatty acids, along with glucosamine and chondroitin, which support skin and coat and promote healthier joints, respectively. It’s free of grains, corn, soy, and wheat and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

    The only downsides are that poultry is the only protein source, so some dogs may not like the flavor, and that you’ll need to verify with your vet whether grain free is actually suitable for your dog.

    Pros
    • Deboned chicken as first ingredient
    • Includes flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes
    • Free of grains and artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Some dogs may not like the flavor
    • May not be suitable for all dogs

    7. Acana Freshwater Fish Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    ACANA Grain Free Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Rainbow trout, catfish, catfish meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans
    Protein Content: 29% min.
    Fat Content: 17% min.
    Calories: 396 kcal/cup

    Acana Freshwater Fish Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a great premium dog food choice because it is made with 60% animal ingredients, most of which come from fish, and 40% fruit and vegetable ingredients. All ingredients, including the meats, proteins, and vegetables are either fresh or raw, so they maintain their maximum nutritional value. This food is also high in protein and fiber and is suitable for breeds of all sizes.

    This product is free of grains, soy, and corn, all of which pose digestive problems for some dogs. If your pup doesn’t have any digestive issues, that information may not be relevant to you, but this food is a good choice for people who do need to consider that when choosing their pet’s food. This product is also low in calories.

    Since the main protein source of this food is fish, some dogs may not like the taste of it. Also, remember that this is a premium food, so it is expensive. However, it’s cheaper than some of the other foods on this list.

    Pros
    • Grain free
    • High in protein and fiber
    • Suitable for all dog breeds
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Some dogs may not like the taste

    8. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken and Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food

    Instinct Raw Boost Adult Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat, tapioca
    Protein Content: 37% min.
    Fat Content: 20.5% min.
    Calories: 508 kcal/cup

    We like Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken and Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food because it contains both kibble and freeze-dried raw meat. Raw meat is beneficial for dogs because when meat is cooked, some of the nutritional value gets lost. Having a small amount of raw meat in this formula helps ensure that your dog gets as much nutrition from the protein ingredients as possible. This food also contains probiotics, which aid in digestion, and fatty acids, which help promote a shiny coat. Antioxidants help ensure that your dog’s immune system stays healthy.

    We also like that this food is grain free, which is great for dogs that may have allergies or sensitive stomachs. However, this food does contain tapioca, which is generally used as a filler ingredient to give dog food texture and lubrication instead of providing nutritional value. This product is also high in fat and calories, so you’ll have to be careful to feed your dog the right amount to prevent weight gain.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Contains freeze-dried raw meat
    • Contains probiotics, fatty acids, and antioxidants
    Cons
    • High in fat and calories
    • Contains tapioca, a filler ingredient

    9. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe

    Merrick Lil’ Plates Premium Grain Free Dry Dog Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
    Protein Content: 38% min.
    Fat Content: 15% min.
    Calories: 395 kcal/cup

    Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Dog Food Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe is a great choice for premium dog food. It’s designed specifically for small-breed dogs, but your large breed could probably eat it, especially if they’re older. That said, the kibble pieces are small, and the food may not provide the exact nutrients that your big dog needs.

    As far as premium dog foods go, this one is quite affordable. It’s also grain-free, has real beef as the first ingredient, and contains prebiotics and probiotics to help with digestion. The small kibble will be easy for your small dog to chew, and it will also help reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. It’s high in protein but low in fat and calories.

    Besides not being designed for large dogs, the other downside is that some dogs may not like the beef flavor.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Low in fat and calories
    • Great for small-breed dogs
    Cons
    • Not ideal for large breeds
    • Some dogs may not like the taste

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Premium Dog Food

    Now that you’ve seen our list of what we think are the best premium dog foods, you may still be having trouble deciding which one is best for your dog. We’ve created a buyer’s guide with information that you may want to consider when choosing premium dog food to help make your decision easier.

    Budget

    Normally, ingredients are one of the first things you should consider when choosing dog food. But since most premium dog foods are made with high-quality ingredients, your budget is also something to consider.

    We say this because premium dog food can be pricey especially compared to other dog food that isn’t considered “premium.” But, some premium dog foods are cheaper than others, and it’s important to remember that more expensive doesn’t always mean better.

    However, you do need to consider how much money you can reasonably spend on premium food for your dog and make sure you can sustain that cost every week, month, or however frequently you usually buy dog food. Large dogs tend to go through more food, so you’ll need to consider that too.

    It is worth noting that many dog foods, especially dry dog food, come in different sizes. In most cases, buying a larger bag will save you more money over time. If this is the case, you need to make sure to properly store the food, resealing it well to minimize oxidation and retain quality. But if something were to come up and you couldn’t buy a large bag, you can always buy a smaller bag for less money until you’re able to buy the larger bag again.

    It’s also worth noting that the top product on this list, Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food, is a subscription service. While the exact cost of the food will vary based on the size of your dog (again, large dogs will go through food faster), you’ll be paying a set price regularly for food. With Nom Nom, that regular basis is every 2 weeks. If you decide to go this route, ensure that you can sustain that price, since you are automatically charged every 2 weeks.

    boston terrier eating dog food
    Image By: Jaja Fekiacova, Shutterstock

    Ingredients

    After you’ve found several premium dog foods that are within your budget, consider their ingredients. The best dog foods will have meat as at least the first two ingredients. However, limited-ingredient food or food designed for certain dietary needs may only have one meat-based ingredient. That’s fine if that’s what your dog needs to stay healthy.

    As far as other ingredients go, it’s up to you and your dog’s preference. Consider what flavors your dog likes and whether they can tolerate grains, corn, soy, etc. These are common allergens or ingredients that some dogs may have trouble digesting.

    It’s important to remember that all premium dog foods are made with all or mostly all-natural ingredients, so you generally don’t have to worry about the ingredients being low quality. But whether you want dog food made with organic or human-grade ingredients is your choice.

    Health/Size/Breed

    Finally, you’ll want to take your dog’s overall health, as well as their size or breed, into account. Some dog foods are suitable for dogs of all sizes and breeds, while others are designed specifically for large or small breeds. Whether to go with a large-breed or small-breed dog food over a general dog food is ultimately up to you.

    But you may also want to consider your dog’s overall health when choosing a food. For example, if your dog is overweight or you’re worried that they may become overweight, you may want to choose a food that is low in fat and calories. If your dog is active, you may want to choose a food that is high in protein.

    Also, if your dog is a puppy or a senior dog, you may want to consider choosing food that is appropriate for that age. Puppy and senior dog foods often have different ingredients or nutritional components based on what that particular age group needs.

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    Conclusion

    Although it can be expensive, premium dog food is one of the best things that you can give to your dog for their health. For the best overall premium dog food, we like Nom Nom Dog Food because it is made with premium ingredients in a USDA kitchen. For the best premium dog food for the money, we like Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula because it contains only ingredients that are beneficial for your dog.

    Whichever food you choose, we hope that you have found these reviews helpful in making your decision easier.


    Featured Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

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