Victor Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Victor Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Victor Grain Free product line includes six dry dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Victor Grain Free Hero
  • Victor Grain Free Chicken
  • Victor Grain Free Ultra Pro
  • Victor Grain Free Lamb Meal
  • Victor Grain Free Yukon River Canine
  • Victor Grain Free Active Dog And Puppy

Victor Grain Free Active Dog and Puppy recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Victor Grain Free Active Dog and Puppy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Beef meal, sweet potato, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pork meal, menhaden fish meal (source of DHA-docosahexaenoic acid), dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried egg product, flax seed (source of omega 3 fatty acid), yeast culture, natural chicken flavor, potassium chloride, dried kelp, salt, montmorillonite, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), dried carrot, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, dried chicory root, taurine, zinc amino acid complex, hydrolyzed yeast, vitamin E supplement, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, selenium yeast, l-carnitine, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, magnesium amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, lecithin, fructooligosaccharide, folic acid, yeast extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Yucca schidigera extract, citric acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.2%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis33%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%18%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%37%33%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 33%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.

The second ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The third ingredient is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is pork meal, another high protein meat concentrate.

Although pork meal contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork, it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The eighth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

The ninth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With seven notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, montmorillonite clay is a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.

Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, we find chicory root. Chicory is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

We also note the use of yeast extract. Yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Victor Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Victor Grain Free looks like an above-average dry dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, alfalfa meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Victor Grain Free is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Victor Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/13/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • Crazy4cats

    Sounds great. Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing this with me, C4C. Sandy and I will be reviewing this product line within the next 2 to 3 weeks. Looks good, do far.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi All-
    Victor’s new line of canned food is manufactured by Simmons Cannery. That is good news, in my opinion. It is available on I am planning on trying the canned cat food soon!

  • Chelle1967

    We’ve switched to the Victor with glucosamine and our pack has done great on it. Nice shiney coats, increased energy, better poops. I do add a fish oil capsule or an organic coconut oil capsule and a probiotic for them daily. We are able to get ours at the local co-op.

  • Martha Lohan

    Hi crazyaboutdogs, I buy Victors Hi-Pro Formula dry from and the 40 lb bag is $1.28 per pound. I have 3 medium sized dogs that love this food, but they are not picky eaters. (I never met a picky be able! Lucky you.) I would just buy a small bag to start out and slowly integrate it into your beagle’s diet. Incidentally, Chewy is very good about refunds/returns, just read the comments on site. Good luck.

  • B Talley

    Yes, it did help. I checked their website and got the info I was looking for. Maybe it’s on the bag somewhere, but I just didn’t see it. I keep the food in a sealed container after I get it, so I had already thrown away the bag. Thanks for taking the time to reply with the web site info.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi B Talley-
    I think it is very important to list the calories per cup. I have two labs and they tend to get chubby if I don’t watch what they eat closely. Here is Victor’s website:
    It lists the calories for each of it’s formulas. Their grain free foods are higher in calories than their recipes with grain.
    My dogs have eaten the Hero and the senior/healthy weight formulas without issue.

    I thought the calories were listed on the bag somewhere. Also, provides pictures of several of the foods they sell. Calories might also be found on their site.

    Hope this helps!

  • B Talley

    How can I determine the amount of calories(kcal) per cup of Victor grain free dog food? I can ‘guess’, but I would really like to know why the majority of dog food labels do not include this information. Is it just not that important?

  • Susan

    Hi, there’s a few puppy foods out there, just make sure it say “Large breed Puppy” have you looked at “Canidae” Large Breed Puppy Duck meal Brown Rice & Lentils, then rotate with another brand with a different protein find 3 different brands all with different proteins & rotate between the 3 brands…Have a look at “Sport Dog Food” Elite Series click on the GF Chicken Meal & look at the ingredients compared to Victors ingredients…

  • IJ

    Hello Marie!
    Looking for grain free large breed puppy food for samoyed puppy, which brand would you suggest? I did lots of research and still has hard time to find all. natural or organic food for puppy which will not cause health problems.
    Thank you

  • Crazyaboutdogs

    About how much does victor cost per pound?

  • Crazyaboutdogs

    Yes, as long as it’s not beef by-product meal or anything along those lines

  • Cannoli

    it all depends on your definition of good.

    my definition of good dog food is very low to no Carbs. this food has rice so no Bueno for me

  • Champ Richard Jr.

    Is the beef and rice good

  • Pitlove

    Hi Josh-

    Red “flagged” ingredients are not always “bad” ingredients, just ingredients that have stirred up controversy. The controversy is not necessarily substaniated though.

  • Josh Hopkins

    How did this get a 5 star rating with so many red ingredients listed? The ingredient list also seems a little long to me…

  • Crazy4cats

    Looks like Victor added a grain free lamb recipe to their line. Has anyone tried it?

  • gmcbogger38

    Grain free victor is definitely tiny enough for little dogs.

  • Bobby dog

    I wish you continued luck with Victor. Many regulars here use it and are quite pleased with the results!

  • Marie Peppers

    you are right.. I did use Fromm but can’t afford that for my Gang so went to Victor .. Pretty good luck with it .. Ok, well thanks.. I had no idea they were in a New Venture

  • Bobby dog

    You always need to do what you feel comfortable with. I see it as the company wants an opportunity to keep growing to fulfill the demand of their products. I don’t necessarily see it as a negative when a company wants to invest in itself.

    Time will tell in the end if finding an investment partner is good or bad. If you haven’t noticed anything different and have been satisfied with Victor over the past two years I would think that is a positive.

  • Marie Peppers

    ok.. i see .. So Victor is not a family company.. Darn I am so sad.. I guess further reason to make my own food

  • Marie Peppers

    I don’t understand .. What are you trying to tell mey Bobby dog ?

  • Bobby dog

    Hello Marie Peppers:
    Trinity Hunt Partners bought a majority of Mid America Pet Food a few years ago.

    “In July 2014, THP and its co-investors successfully completed the purchase of 70% of Mid-America Pet Food (“MAPF”), a rapidly growing, Texas-based branded premium pet food manufacturer. The balance of the Company is owned by Scott Glover, the founder and CEO.”

    You can find more info here:

  • Marie Peppers

    I have been using Victor and really enjoy the results of the product. I especially like they never have recalls and are a Long time family owned company. I often suggest people use Victor as one of the better choices for my clients. I help people with home-cooking and or choose commercial dog foods. Look me up if you need help , Marie of Ask the Pet Nurse

  • Crazy4cats

    That’s no good. What were you feeding before? Did you transition them to the new food or just switch cold turkey? Sometimes when you feed one food for a long time and switch to a new one, it causes digestive upset if you don’t transition slowly. Especially if it is a big change in ingredients and/or fat, protein and fiber percentages. I feed Victor off and on with no issues. When switching to a new food, I usually use The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form supplement for a few days while making the change. I hope your dogs get better!

  • Yorkie Collier

    I changed dog food and bought victors all life stages and I’m so upset, all my dogs are vomiting and severe diarrhea. Didn’t have issues with the other brand .

  • Brenda Dee

    We have Chihuahuas, the smallest is barely 3lbs. She loves it and none of them have problems eating it.

  • unprofitable servent

    My doberman luvs victor, its a very good dogfood.

  • LabsRawesome

    Victor kibble is tiny. I have a Dachshund that eats it. My Lab and Springer also love Victor.

  • June V.P.

    How large is the kibble in the Victor grainfree. I have small dogs, one very small toy

  • Crazy4cats

    Hey, that’s brand new. Thanks for the notice!

  • Natasha Myers

    It’s on for like $54 for 30 lbs. Free shipping on orders over $49. They also have an autoship feature

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, I think that one is about the same as what used to be called Joint Health, but now called their Hero formula that I feed. Thanks for your response. Here are my two…

  • sammy1023

    I’ve always had him on the Active Puppy and Dog, the red bag. I thought of switching once but he’s always done so well on it I didn’t want to tempt fate.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi sammy1023-
    Your dog looks great. I also feed Victor kibble regularly. I have two large male dogs (golden/lab) and have fed grain free joint health and currently the healthy weight/senior formulas. I’m curious which formula/s you feed? Thanks for sharing your review and pic!

  • sammy1023

    Rocky (boxer/pitbull/lab) has been on Victor for a number of years, at 10 he is going strong. Looks and acts years younger. Love this food.

  • Karma_Grant

    Glad to see they didn’t drop in ratings. My boy (GSD mix) is allergic to chicken so the only Victor’s he can have is the Yukon and it’s been almost a year and half since it was in his rotation and planned on getting a bag this weekend. Happy to know my plans don’t have to change.

  • GSDgrl82

    I normally feed a prey model raw diet but my freezer recently died so I had to go back to kibble in the meantime until I get a new freezer. I have 5 dogs and my fridge freezer has nowhere near the space I need for their raw(pre made is waaay too pricey for large dogs). Anyways I normally use six fish Orijen when I need to feed kibble but decided to try Victor Yukon(my GSD is allergic to some things) and all of my dogs are doing great on it. Normal albeit much larger(ah I miss you raw poops) stool, shiny coats, etc. The only thing I noticed is more build up in their ears and more tarter build up(never have that issue with raw). Anyways I was impressed with this food!

    I’m surprised though that this doesn’t make editors choice but Wellness and Evo do??

  • Judy

    Thank you!

Get Free Recall Alerts by Email

Get Free Recall Alerts by Email

Receive lifesaving dog food recall alerts anytime there's a recall event in the U.S. or Canada.

You'll also get our best tips and ideas to help you feed your dog better... and safer.

No spam.  Unsubscribe anytime.

You have Successfully Subscribed!