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The Best Natural Dog Food for 2022

Best Natural Dog Food Brands

In this report, our editors take an in-depth look at the best natural dog foods on the market.

And we’ll share the recipe rating and a brief summary for each of our top picks.

But first…

What Is Natural Dog Food?

Based on industry guidelines

Natural dog foods must be made only from plant, animal or mined sources. And they cannot contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

In addition…

Longer lasting chemical preservatives are banned from use in natural dog food. So, short-term antioxidants, like vitamin E, must be used to keep kibbles fresh.

Which Food Types Are Most Natural?

The industry’s official definition of ‘natural dog food’ is weak and doesn’t go far enough. Yet it’s far better to also think of natural foods as those made with ingredients that look more like they do in nature.

After all, there’s a big difference between a factory-made dry food pellet and a wet or fresh recipe… which is easy to see in this comparison:

Fresh Wet Dog Food vs Dry Kibble
Fresh Wet Food vs Dry Kibble (Photo credit: Nom Nom)

Since wet foods are far less processed, contain more moisture and are made at lower temperatures, they’re considered “more natural” than dry kibbles.  And why you’ll find more wet recipes on our best natural dog food list below.

In the next section…

You’ll find The Advisor’s most recommended natural dog foods. And we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding these healthy, whole food brands.


Editors Choice Logo for Best Natural Dog Food

Best Natural Dog Food
September 2022

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best natural dog food brands for September 2022.



The Farmers Dog Fresh Natural Dog Food

The Farmer’s Dog

Rating:

The Farmer’s Dog Beef is one of 4 natural recipes included in our review of The Farmer’s Dog product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: USDA Beef, sweet potato, lentils, carrot, USDA beef liver
  • Type: Grain-free (sweet potatoes, lentils, carrots)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, chicken, and pork

The example recipe here gets the lions share of its animal protein from USDA beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 29% fat and 24% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.

The full product line has been designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. While each recipe includes human-grade ingredients.

Every Farmer’s Dog formula is 100% complete and balanced and suitable for puppies, adults or seniors. A healthy feeding option for those who can afford the brand’s premium price. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I love this company. They truly care about their customers and have a great product. My dog has lost weight and is more energetic.”

Read more buyer reviews at TheFarmersDog.com

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Ollie Lamb Natural Dog Food

Ollie Dog Food

Rating:

Lamb Dish with Cranberries is one of 4 natural recipes covered in our review of the Ollie product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, chicken, and beef

This Ollie recipe draws most of its animal protein from fresh lamb. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 37% protein, 30% fat and 25% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 82%.

A veterinarian-designed meal tailored to your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies. Made entirely of human-grade ingredients.

A complete and fully balanced formula. Fresh-made and recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “Leia has a sensitive tummy and used to not eat (or throw up) her dry kibble. She literally jumps for joy when we pull Ollie out of the fridge. What a huge difference Ollie has made in our dog’s life.”

Read more buyer reviews at Myollie.com

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Raised Right Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food

Raised Right Fresh Dog Food

Rating:

Raised Right Adult Pork is one of 11 fresh recipes evaluated in our review of the Raised Right product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Pork, pork heart, pork liver, carrots, blueberries
  • Type: Grain-free (carrots, blueberries)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Turkey, beef, chicken, and others

This Raised Right recipe obtains a better part of its meat protein from fresh pork. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 57% protein, 23% fat and 12% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.

Each limited ingredient diet is created from a single source of animal protein. Which makes it easy to zero-in on possible food sensitivities. The entire product line is safety tested for disease-causing bacteria before shipping.

And the company posts full test results for each batch, which makes it simple for clients to verify before purchase.

One of the best fresh, high-protein dog foods on the market. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I had been using gently cooked dog foods for a while when I came across Raised Right. I was astonished at how much higher in protein it was over all the other foods. I switched over and noticed right away why. It has absolutely no fillers in it. I’d never go back to anything else.”

Read more buyer reviews at Raisedrightpets.com

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Nom Nom Turkey Fare Natural Dog Food

Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food

Rating:

Nom Nom Turkey Fare is one of 4 natural recipes analyzed in our review of the Nom Nom Fresh product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Beef, chicken, and pork

This Nom Nom recipe draws much of its animal protein from ground turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 18% fat and 38% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

We also note the inclusion of zinc gluconate and 3 other chelated minerals, costly components typically found only in better quality pet foods.

An affordable (but not cheap) fresh-made option. Highly recommended.

For More Choices:  See our Best Fresh Dog Foods page

Sample buyer review… “Tula gets so excited when it’s mealtime. She no longer has skin issues, her coat looks wonderful and her stools are the best they’ve ever been. I can’t imagine ever feeding her anything but Nom Nom!”

Read more buyer reviews at nomnomnow.com

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A Pup Above Fresh Turkey Dog Food

A Pup Above Dog Food

Rating:

Turkey Pawella is one of 4 fresh recipes included in our review of the A Pup Above product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey liver, tomatoes, carrots, green peas
  • Type: Grain-free (tomatoes, carrots, green peas)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Beef, pork, and chicken

This particular example recipe obtains the bulk of its animal protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 22% fat and 27% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

A fully-balanced, fresh food formula that meets 100% of AAFCO nutrient profile requirements for adult maintenance. Designed by a team of board-certified veterinary nutritionists. Each professional has more than 10 years of clinical experience in veterinary medicine.

A top natural dog food selection. Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Mealtime is so much more fun with A Pup Above! Grizzly can sometimes be a picky eater, but watching him chow down his food when I add this to his meal is just so satisfying. Thanks for making mealtime so easy and delicious for us!”

Read more buyer reviews at Apupabove.com

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Castor and Pollux Organix Butcher and Bushel Organic Carved Turkey Dinner Wet Natural Dog Food

Castor and Pollux Organix Butcher and Bushel Natural Dog Food

Rating:

Carved Turkey Dinner is one of 5 wet recipes evaluated in our review of the Castor and Pollux canned product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Organic turkey, organic chicken broth, water sufficient for processing, organic chicken, organic chicken liver
  • Type: Grain-free (carrots, sweet potato)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Variety of chicken and turkey combinations

Castor and Pollux Organix Butcher and Bushel gets the dominant portion of its animal protein from fresh organic turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 42% protein, 21% fat and 29% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

This USDA certified organic product is made with minimally processed fruits and vegetables. It’s also a quality source of antioxidants and balanced minerals. Readily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I love that it’s healthy and organic. I feel confident feeding it to my dog.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Purina Beyond Natural Pate Grain Free Beef Wet Dog Food

Purina Beyond Natural Dog Food

Rating:

Beef, Potato and Green Bean Recipe is one of 10 wet formulas covered in our review of the Purina Beyond product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, beef broth, chicken, liver, potatoes, green beans
  • Type: Grain-free pate (potatoes, green beans)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Beef, chicken, turkey, and various other recipes

Purina Beyond Natural Pate recipes draws most of its meat protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 27% fat and 28% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

This high-protein wet dog food is made with real Texas beef. Contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The pate consistency makes it ideal for use as a tasty topper. Adds real flavor and “life” to any processed dry kibble.

Budget-priced. A solid “natural” option. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My two dogs love this can food because it is ground, NOT in chunks like most can dog food. It works GREAT when mixing with dry food or when mixings with meds.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Newmans Own Organics Chicken Dinner

Newman’s Own Organics Natural Dog Food

Rating:

Chicken dinner is one of 3 wet recipes evaluated in our review of the Newman’s Own Organic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Organic chicken, organic chicken broth, organic pea flour, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs only

This Newman’s Own Organic recipe receives much of its animal protein from organic chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

A top-rated, certified organic, natural dog food made by a company that donates 100% of its profits to charity. A quality product. Recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “The only food that my dog will eat! It helps with her digestive system and her coat is nice and shiny”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice All Life Stages Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Dog Food

Rating:

Chicken and Rice is one of 13 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Diamond Naturals product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, white rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, barley, white rice)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Beef, lamb, chicken, and a variety of other recipes

Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice obtains the better part of its meat protein from fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 18% fat and 45% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.

This fully balanced, grain-free formula is also an ever-popular member of our Best Budget-Friendly Dog Food list. A top choice for those looking for exceptional value. A perennial favorite with value-conscious dog parents. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “They do really well on it, their coats are nice, stools are perfect. I only feed diamond naturals dog food”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Orijen Natural Dog Food

Orijen Dog Food

Rating:

Orijen Original is one of 9 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Orijen product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, chicken liver
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

Orijen Original receives the better part of its animal protein from fresh chicken and turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 20% fat and 28% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Formulated with 85% premium animal ingredients including poultry and fish, for a complete and fully balanced mixture of essential protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Freeze-dried coated delivers a burst of raw flavor. An ever-popular brand. Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “This is great quality food, for your furbabies. Made with real meat and protein is at the top of the list.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Castor and Pollux Organix Chicken and Sweet Potato Dry Kibble

Castor and Pollux Organix Dog Food

Rating:

Chicken and Sweet Potato is one of 3 dry recipes rated in our review of the Castor and Pollux product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic sweet potatoes, organic potatoes, organic peas
  • Type: Grain-free (sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Senior and small breed

This Castor and Pollux Organix recipe derives much of its animal protein from organic chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 17% fat and 46% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Each recipe is fully USDA certified organic… a fact that applies not only to each ingredient but also to the entire manufacturing process of the line.

One of The Dog Food Advisor’s all-time favorite organic brands. An exceptional recommendation.

For More Organic Options:  See our Best Organic Dog Food page

Sample buyer review… “The is dog food was a hit with our dog! It is USDA certified organic and has no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors! We appreciate that it has no soy, no corn and no wheat. The ingredients are definitely high quality! The price tag does reflect the high quality ingredients so it boils down to what you are willing to pay for a dog food with high quality healthy ingredients!”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Dehydrated Dog Food

Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Natural Dog Food

Rating:

Whole Grain Chicken is one of 8 dehydrated recipes included in our review of the Honest Kitchen product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Dehydrated chicken, organic barley, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic oats
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, oats)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, beef, fish, and others

Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken acquires much of its animal protein from dehydrated chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 15% fat and 50% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Made with real human-grade (not feed-grade) ingredients. Complete and fully balanced nutrition for adults and puppies of all breed sizes.

Add warm water and the product rehydrates to 4 times its packaged weight. Ideal as a topper for dry kibbles. A 10-pound box makes 40 pounds of fresh dog food. Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “This is a great product that my dog loves. She sees the box and gets excited. Great nutritional value and my dog loves it.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Canidae Pure Salmon and Sweet Potato Natural Dog Food

Canidae Pure Natural Dog Food

Rating:

Salmon and Sweet Potato is one of 10 dry recipes rated in our review of the Canidae product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, lentils, sweet potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free (garbanzo beans, peas)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Duck, salmon, wild boar, lamb, bison, and others

This Canidae recipe draws the better part of its animal protein from fresh salmon. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 16% fat and 41% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

A limited ingredient design that’s made with just 8 “real” ingredients. Complete and fully balanced nutrition contains no soy, wheat, corn, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

A top natural dog food pick. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My dogs are very picky eaters. I have a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd. I typically buy separate food for them but both Dogs LOVE this! I would highly recommend”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about finding and feeding natural dog food:


How can I switch to a natural food without making my dog sick?

In the following video

Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help reduce your dog’s risk of digestive upset when you switch to a more natural diet.

It’s best to switch your dog to a natural or fresh food gradually.

Start by mixing 20% “new” with 80% “old” food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100% over the next 8 to 9 days.

Schedule Old Food New Food
Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
Day 9 0% 100%

Why do some natural dog foods contain zero preservatives?

Keep in mind, canned foods do not need preservatives. And most fresh cooked and raw dog foods are refrigerated. So many of these types of natural recipes contain (by default) no preservatives.

A Pup Above Fresh Turkey Dog Food
Fresh Recipe (Photo credit: A Pup Above)

What factors define the best natural dog foods?

To claim a product is natural, the FDA requires only that a food be free of artificial ingredients.

So, it’s important to add a few more requirements to this weak definition to find the best natural dog food for your dog. These stronger guidelines include:

  1. No artificial ingredients
  2. No controversial preservatives
  3. Natural moisture content (over 70%)
  4. Minimally processed at lower temperature
  5. Looks more like real food and less like dry pellets

Keep in mind, dry dog foods almost never meet all of these requirements.

Farmers Dog Chicken Recipe 275
Fresh Recipe (Photo credit: The Farmer’s Dog)

Is natural dog food grain-free?

Not necessarily. ‘Natural’ simply means that the ingredients come from minimally processed plant, animal, or mined sources without using chemicals.

Some natural dog foods are grain-free, while others are made with grain. Neither type can be considered natural if they contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Visit The Advisor’s Best Grain-Free Dog Food and Best Dog Food with Grain pages for our most recommended brands.


Are natural dog foods also considered organic?

A limited number of natural recipes can also be organic. But keep in mind, organic dog foods are far more tightly regulated. Certified organic products must meet strict standards established by the United States Department of Agriculture.

USDA Organic Seal
USDA Certified Organic Seal

And since they tend to be more costly, the best organic dog foods can be more difficult to find in stores.


How do fresh dog food subscription programs work?

Most fresh dog food subscription programs work the same way. First,  you’ll answer a few questions about your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies. This creates a customized feeding profile for your pet.

Finally, you’ll create a delivery schedule. And soon after, fresh-made pet food arrives at your home, packed in dry ice.

View The Advisor’s best fresh dog food brands here.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

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