Best Dry Grain Free Dog Foods

Share

The following is a list of our best dog food brands — each known to include at least one dry grain free dog food.

Bowl of Grain Free Dog FoodTo qualify, each dry kibble must have been rated four or five stars by the Advisor.

And of course, it must be grain free.

If you know of a dry grain free dog food you feel should have been included on this list, please feel free to share your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re searching for some suggestions yourself, remember to browse our readers’ Comments below to get some more ideas.

For more information about grain free dog food, be sure to check out these links…

Best Dry Grain Free Dog Foods

The following is a list of our top-rated dry dog food brands. Each line has been shown to contain at least one grain free dog food.

  • Gina

    It’s called HALO Purely For Pets Vitaglo Dream Coat

    Here is a link to it at Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Halo-Vita-Dream-Natural-Supplement/dp/B0015QT5EU

    According to Amazon I have the one that says “Natural Supplement” though I don’t see that on the bottle anywhere. It costs about $20 but it will be enough for several months as you just give them a teaspoon or two at a time. I mix it into her kibble. I have cut back to just putting it in her morning meal and she is still doing well. She seems to enjoy the taste and her skin is so much improved. No more dander and she hardly scratches anymore.

    When the vet told me she had allergies I immediately started worrying about years and years of allergy meds, side effects, costs, etc; and then I was skeptical when the vet wanted to go with a holistic approach but I followed all of her direction; and it has really done the trick. I hope this helps you.

  • Betsy Greer

    What essential oils are you saying to get food?

  • Gina

    Until just a few weeks ago she was in a shelter in Austin and before that nobody knows. She was itching and scratching all the time from the first day we brought her home. We had to make our best guesses as to what the problem might be. I suspect she’d been on a high grain diet (cheap dog food) that didn’t do her any good. Once her skin got irritated it became a cycle: the scratching irritated her skin, and her irritated skin caused her to keep scratching. The first time I brushed her i noticed a lot of flecks of dander, so I could see how dry and flaky her skin was. That would certainly make me itch. The vet also gave us some oatmeal shampoo to bathe her in, which helped soothe her skin. I think the essential oil was key in helping her have healthier skin.
    She also may be extra-sensitive to flea bites. We treated the yard and gave her monthly dose of preventative. I think it was probably a combination of food allergy and flea sensitivity.

  • Storm’s Mom

    What is she allergic/intolerant to?

  • Gina

    We recently adopted a Golden Retriever, about 1 year old. She had terrible itchy skin issues, licking and scratching almost constantly. We immediately put her on Blue Buffalo. The vet we took her to diagnosed her with allergies, and following a holistic approach, advised us to add essential oil and enzymes (to help in the absorption of essential nutrients) to her meals. It worked like a charm. Her scratching is minimal, and the new fur that is growing in to replace fur she scratched away is looking absolutely luxurious, so much softer and shinier than her old coat of fur.

  • Soleil

    Your list of Best Dry Grain Free Dog Foods allows the mention of certain brands twice when there is more than one formulation worth mentioning of the same brand.

    While I see the Nulo Freestyle on your list I don’t see the Nulo Medal Series which is what I buy for my German Shepherd puppy and have had great success with. My puppy came to me a few weeks ago unvetted, with more than one type of worms, fleas and ticks, dry fur, weepy eyes and has turned around in just a short while with the help of basic vet care and a diet of the Nulo Medal Series dry puppy food.

    In comparing ingredients and estimated nutrient content I really like what I see in the Nulo Medal Series, which is on your 5 Star list, including the fact it has a fewer percentage of carbs than the Nulo Freestyle. The Medal Series is made for sale in the stores of a major pet supply retailer rather than for distribution on the open market but I was wondering what are the chances you could add it to your Best Dry Grain Free Dog Foods list just for the fact that someone else may find it to be equally as good in helping rebuild or maintain their puppy’s physical condition as I have found it to be for mine.

  • Booger Picker

    You can order your food from dogfooddirect that’s where I get mine can’t find it in stores in my area.

  • disqus_sTWKowF3Mc

    Nature’s Variety Instinct is a great food. It’s an all stages food, so you wouldn’t have to change as the puppy grown older. My dogs have been on it for years. They have limited ingredient as well. One thing to consider is that if you plan to ever volunteer with your pet, some organizations discourage any form of raw diets and the non-limited ingredient Instinct has a freeze dried raw boost.

  • theBCnut

    So just what additives are supposed to stimulate growth? For the most part, I agree to avoid LBP foods, but certainly not because they have additives that stimulate growth. Most don’t have appropriate calcium levels which, along with over feeding issues, are the cause of joint issues in LBPs.

  • Crazy4cats

    I would do another fecal test. I feel bad for you because I went through this also. Unfortunately, my pups’ systems were very sensitive for a long time. Did you ever find out which type of test was performed? Here is some info on tests: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2009/march/whats-your-pets-fecal-test-anyway-6735. I’m so glad you had a normal stool today. Like you said, one step at a time. A couple of other supplements that were (and still are) helpful are: Gastriplex by Thorne, Vetri Pro BD by Vetri-Science and Phytomucil by Animal Essentials. You can read about these on: dogaware.com. I feed Victor grain free food. It contains a clay that is supposed to help with digestive disorders as well. Good luck. It sounds like you might be on the road to recovery!

  • enggirl

    I picked up some pumpkin last night and gave her a little over a teaspoon. This morning her stool was firm. YEAH! One BM at a time. Lets hope that we are finally making some progress with this.
    Ive been reading a lot about giardia and another parasite that gets into their intestines. My understanding is that even after the anti-biotics, it can take weeks for their system to get back to normal. If that is the case, then she hopefully feeling better because its being flushed from her system. But how will we know if its all gone?

  • Crazy4cats

    Good idea. Make sure that they do the centrifugation test. It is the best test to find giardia or coccidia. My pups poos were mustard color when they had giardia and more greenish when they had coccidia. Wishing you luck :)

  • enggirl

    Her poop has been very yellow. I will call the dr and have them redo the stool tests.

  • enggirl

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will try the pumpkin. And I will stop for a bag of Merrick dog food on the way home. When we switched foods, I was considering using it instead of the Blue Buffalo. From what I have read and heard so far, there can be issues with any food depending on your dog.

    I dont remember having all these issues with any of the dogs we had as kids. We had other pets as well and there were only a few options for dog food. And they did just fine.

    Now we have what is being sold as better food for the animal, but so many people are having so many more issues finding one that doesnt make their pet sick. The claims dont seem to fit the results.

  • Crazy4cats

    I agree with everything that crazy4dogs said. Please have another fecal done that is sent out to lab. Mine have had both giardia and coccidia and it can be hard to detect. Is their poop greenish or yellowish at all? I also used slippery elm supplements that helped a lot. You can learn about these on dogaware.com. There is a ton of information on diarrhea, IBS, IBD and leaky gut remedies on that site. I’ve been there and it is frustrating good luck!

  • Crazy4dogs

    enggirl, did your vet do a stool float or an actual microscopic inspection (he may have to send it out to a lab if he doesn’t have that capability). The microscopic check is really the best. My current foster had diarrhea on and off which turned into really bad diarrhea. The rescue’s vet tested for worms & said he was clear. 3 more days of constant diarrhea with varying between limited food and boiled chicken, rice & pumpkin made me take him back. This time they sent the stool sample out (which they should have done originally). He had hookworm, even though he had been wormed. I had my own dogs tested but my vet said they had to be retested in 3 weeks as they may have eggs that didn’t show up yet. Hooks eggs hatch after 3 weeks so you have to re-treat and sometimes more that 2-3 times.

    My 1st foster (failure) had giardia even though he had been treated. My own vet always does the microscopic. It could be worms There’s giardia that isn’t always caught. Coccidia could be another possibility. There are just so many possibilities. It could be food, but it could also be a worms or an organism. The other problem is that antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad. You might want to try starting her on a probiotic. I give my own dogs & foster dogs Kefir (plain) on a daily basis but you can find priobiotics @ pet stores as well.

    I would pull her off the BB if she’s back to diarrhea on it. You could try feeding boiled beef and rice (I always add a touch of pumpkin) and see if there is improvement. That would show a chicken intolerance. If that works I would choose a food that contains no chicken. There are foods out there that don’t contain chicken in various formulas. Earthborn doesn’t have chicken in several formulas, Zignature is another one that uses single source proteins. Instinct has several limited ingredient formulas that are very simple. The Blue Buffalo just might not agree with your girl. Another option is to move her to a fish based food. Most dogs do very well as it is very easily digestible, second only to eggs. I personally feed single protein foods and rotate my dogs diets. That’s how I found out my chocolate Lab had developed and allergy to lamb.

    Another natural way to help if it is a Gastrointestinal upset is Slippery Elm. It’s totally natural and helps control diarrhea. Good luck! I hope this helps.

  • Betsy Greer

    Lots of folks report problems with Blue Buffalo. Personally, I’m not a fan of their products. It could actually be the chicken that’s the problem. I think I’d look for a chicken free food to try her on. Chicken is actually the second ingredient in the food you’re feeding currently. Actually, most of Blue Buffalo’s foods contain chicken.

    In the meantime, try adding a couple of spoonfuls of plain, canned pumpkin to her food.

  • enggirl

    My little girl is 22 months old. She is current on her vaccinations, I believe she was last in for vaccinations in January. Until now she hasnt had any problems with food.

  • Betsy Greer

    How old is your pup?

    When did she last have vaccinations?

    Does she have any food intolerance issues that you’re aware of?

  • enggirl

    Well we have gone through about 8 days of chicken and rice meals after which we worked into a new dog food mixing 50/50. Blue Buffalo, Freedom, grain free, gluten free, beef dry dog food.
    The chicken and rice diet helped but wasnt 100% solid stools. And now that she is only eating her dog food she is still having diarrhea. We have taken her off all treats as well and there isnt a huge improvement. We have tried giving her a pepcid as instructed by the vet as well.
    What do we do now? Her behavior isnt the same either and seems to be more anxious as the days go by.
    Does anyone have any idea what could be going on with her?

  • Neva

    We have 7 pyrenees or pyrenees cross dogs in our family currently we are feeding our little pack Iams puppy food. We are looking for a puppy food with 0 grains but until we find one the Iams is working great for them.

  • Neva

    We are currently feeding our pyrenees pups Iams Smart Puppy. You want to avoid bags labeled as large breed dog food! Alot of them have additives that stimulate the growth! You just want a well balanced food with minimal or no additives. We are thinking about trying the brand at walmart (pure balance, I believe) that has no additives.

  • W0lfman

    No dog food is perfect for every dog, try adding pro biotics, that helped me with my yeast overgrowth, can’t hurt, & you may see a difference.

  • W0lfman

    Alphabetical, can you list the choices in ranking order, from the #1 pick #2 pick and so on?

  • theBCnut

    Your instincts are good.

  • theBCnut

    Go with the large breed. There are no special dietary concerns for small breeds except that they can chew the size kibble, but if you feed a large breed wrong, you can end up with hip and elbow dysplasia. Look over on the forum side for the thread on large and giant breed nutrition. Pg 15 has the newest list of foods that are OK for large puppies. Look for Hound Dog Mom’s posts.

  • theBCnut

    Some “breeders” will do anything(and some vets will help), and then they dump the puppies at the shelter when they don’t sell immediately, because they don’t want to continue to feed something that big.

  • Melanie Paris

    Awe thank you, he is definitely different than any puppy I’ve had before. lol, I’m not sure how that happened. I adopted him and the vet said that he believes him to be a mix breed of the two. I am sure hoping the corgi is the father, I’m not sure the corgi female would be able to carry the great pyrenees pups :( still unsure about what the best food would be for him and whether or not to go with the large breed or small breed.

  • Melanie Paris

    Thank you :) He is a sweet puppy. I don’t want to over feed him, nor do I want to over feed him. But the amount the food bag says to feed him just don’t seem like it’s doing the job. The ingredients are not what I am wanting him to eat either. I think that he should have a different brand of food, grain free and I’m just not sure which food is the best. I am also still unsure on whether I should be feeding him a large breed food or small breed food. My gut instinct tells me to go with the large breed due to the size of his paws. I called several vets in my area today, as was told by most of them to just give him Purina Puppy chow, and with all the grains and by products, that doesn’t seem healthy for him.

  • Cyndi

    A corgi and a great pyrenees made that?? How the heck did THAT happen?? Lol!! Cute little guy though!

  • theBCnut

    Cute puppy!! Never ever worry about whether a dog seems to feel full. Some dogs just don’t have that mechanism that tells them to stop eating. Feed ONLY according to his body condition and make sure you keep him lean until he is completely full grown. That’s to protect his joints until they are fully formed.

  • Melanie Paris

    Hello, I just adopted a 4 month old Corgi/Great Pyrenees mix, who is currently weighing 25 lbs. At the moment he is eating Hill’s Science Diet, but he doesn’t seem to be getting full. I am feeding 3 1/2 cups per day. I am looking for suggestions on puppy food that will be well suited for his breed as well as for his health. Any suggestions?

  • Shar24

    The grain free Salmon and Pea would probably be your best bet as a good place to start. The Lamb and brown rice might work as well, since it doesnt’ have corn in it and lamb is often used for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin, but if not then you would want to eliminate the rice.

  • Shar24

    Walmart has a brand, Pure Balance, that a lot of people seem to think highly of, and they have grain free varieties, as well as some novel protien options for a reasonable price.

  • Shar24

    rude

  • enggirl

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with me. I dont even know if she has a problem with grains. But we will try a grain free food and go from there.

  • Cynthia

    I understand, been there done that. Most vets really aren’t schooled in pet nutrition. When we rescued Hershey our special needs dog, I already knew my vet didn’t care what I fed him, we had to put our 16 year old mini schnauzer to sleep after moving here, she was on semi good food (she refused the good stuff) I had asked him then about pet nutrition he ssid he didn’t care what I fed her as long as she was thriving. So when Hershey came along & was in horrible condition I knew not to even ask. I did my research & put him on blue buffalo & while many here on this board disapprove he’s thriving & isn’t paralyzed as 2 vets predicted he eould be by age 2 or 3, he’s now 8, thinks he’mighty dog. Follow your instincts, many here have tons of experience & excellent advice to offer. I’m glad I found this place. Good luck!

  • enggirl

    My exclamation was not about changing her food. I was not aware that chicken could also be an issue with her. The instructions from the bet were so vague and non-committal that Im not sure that what they suggested was the right thing to do. They gave us a paper with a few dozen different foods to try. A FEW DOZEN! With no indication of what to avoid. After reading through the commentaries here, I have picked up on some things to avoid and also somethings to try. I dont like playing the needle in a haystack game with my dogs health any more than I do with my childrens. Changing vets is also on my list of things to do. Thanks for the info. And as for changing foods or not changing foods regularly…. it would depend on my dog and what works best for her.

  • Cynthia

    Wow, I didn’t mean to imply that if your dog is sick DUE to his food not to change it, from what you’re describing here something definitely is not right & I too would have suspected the food & yes I would have changed foods in a heartbeat! I’ve been VERY lucky in that none of my dogs have ever been affected by their food, the special needs dog does have issues from time to time w/metacam &Tramadol which we rarely have to use now that he gets regular Adaquan injections & like your vet I was told to give him chicken & rice for a few days to settle his tummy, personally, I found that the babyfood, stage 2 foods Ham (small jars) worked best, added a generic pepcid ac pill & it calmed his tummy
    down well. I was simply saying that
    as a rule I do not believe in constantly
    changing their food, but if you have a
    sick dog due to the food, by all means
    a change is needed. I hope your dog
    gets well soon. The same thing
    hapened to my cat. She had been put
    on a canned food for her urinary tract
    issues, started vomiting, unable to
    keep her food down. Crazy4Cats
    actually helped me find out about cat
    nutrition & she has made a full
    recovery. I wish you & your dog well.

  • enggirl

    You cant be serious! My 22 month old mini-Australian Shepherd has been sick for 4 weeks now. I noticed her energy level was lacking just prior to our vacation. She was anxious and passing soft stool, then diarrhea and vomiting. Her appetite has declined. Last week the vet took blood tests and stool samples and said there was nothing in the results. They put her on an anti-biotic and de-wormer (out of precaution) and told us to give her CHICKEN and RICE. There has been no improvement in her stool and she vomits occasionally, which seems to be from the anti-biotic. She has been eating Natures Choice, Lamb and Rice. Today we are going to get her new food. I hope that a new food does the trick.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Thank you for changing your comment to read “many of their foods are essentially the same” instead of “all of their foods are essentially the same”

  • Cynthia

    Thank you, I didn’t see the packed in water in the other post, trying to get my caffeine in me! I know a lot of people are for raw diets, I do see the benefit & I know all 3 dogs would love such a diet, but given the success I’ve had w/the special needs dog I really do not want to make such big changes in his diet. I amso glad I found this board, everyone here is very helpful & friendly

  • Cynthia

    Sorry didn’t see the packed in water, not enough coffee in me yet, thank you!

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Cynthia,

    You want sardines packed in water, not oil. You can drain the liquid of our pour it over the kibble.

    Also, if someone else has already suggested this, forgive my redundancy. There is a fantastic little download written by Steve Brown, who many consider to be one of the authorities on raw feeding, about how to easily augment a diet of kibble with fresh whole foods. The download costs $2.95 and is worth every penny! http://www.seespotlivelonger.com/home/sll/page_41/see_spot_live_longer_the_abc_way___electronic_down.html

  • Cynthia

    Hi, love your pic here, sorry I missed your reply & thank you for this information. I’m certainly willing to move them to a different protein within the Blue Buffalo line, the duck being the one I would switch to. I really do appreciate everyone’s input here, everyone has given some excellent information. Their next bag of Blue Buffalo will be duck. Thank you again

  • Cynthia

    I will try the sardines! Thank you! I think all 3 dogs would like them. Do you drain off the oil or just mix it into the kibble?

  • Cynthia

    Thanks, I do want the best for all of them, he’s turned out to be our little miracle dog. They also get Glucosamine & Chondroitin w/MSM & Vitamin C & Manganese Advanced Hip & Joint formula, it has really helped the special needs dog. He gets regular pain injections but other than that unless he has a bad flare up he’s not on Tramadol or Metacam though once in a while he needs a muscle relaxer. To look at him you’d never know anything was wrong, his x-rays however tell a much different story. Small dog w/a BIG attitude!

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Cynthia,

    There are 5 varieties in Blue’s Life Protection formulas that do NOT contain any chicken and 11 varieties in Blue’s Basics line that do NOT contain any chicken.

    The proteins in the Life Protection and Basics lines that do not contain any chicken are:

    Fish
    Lamb
    Salmon
    Turkey
    & Duck

  • Crazy4cats

    Sardines packed in water once or twice a week is another way to make their kibble healthier.

  • Cyndi

    Well, I guess I certainly can’t blame you there. Atleast you’re not feeding him crap food, but it truly is better for dogs to have a rotational diet. Keep doing what you’re doing, you must be doing a great job!

  • Cynthia

    Thank you for your kind words. All of the dogs are always offered fresh veggies (canned as a last resort then I rinse them like crazy first to get as much sodium off as possible) w/their meals, Green beans, tomatoes & zuccinni are the favorites, the Pekignese & the fat Chiuahua LOVE poached eggs, the other dog won’t touch eggs no matter how they are prepared. Other than that, they have the Blue Buffalo, no table scraps.

  • Crazy4cats

    It sounds like you have done an amazing job with this pup. I understand your reluctance to switch foods. No matter how much common sense it makes, it would be scary! Do you ever give him any fresh, canned or healthy leftovers to him? This could at least add a little variety to his diet. Good luck!