Doc’s Choice Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Doc’s Choice Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Doc’s Choice product line includes 6 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Doc’s Choice Puppy Formula [U]
  • Doc’s Choice Adult Formula (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Doc’s Choice Adult Lamb and Brown Rice [A]
  • Doc’s Choice Adult Chicken and Brown Rice [A]
  • Doc’s Choice Grain Free Adult Chicken and Potato [A]
  • Doc’s Choice Grain Free Adult Lamb and Sweet Potato [A]

Doc’s Choice Adult Lamb and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Doc's Choice Adult Lamb and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, oat meal, brown rice, barley, dried potatoes, chicken fat (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), alfalfa meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, cranberries, blueberries, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin D supplement, thiamine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, biotin, ascorbic acid, choline chloride), minerals (cobalt carbonate, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, selenium yeast), probiotic (dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product), prebiotic (inulin - dried chicory root), taurine, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis23%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%15%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%31%46%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 46%

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

The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The sixth 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

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 three notable exceptions

First, chicory root 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.

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

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

Doc’s Choice Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Doc’s Choice Dog Food looks like an average dry product.

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 26%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Doc’s Choice is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Doc’s Choice 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.

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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.

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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

08/11/2017 Last Update

  • CommenterAndChief

    I fed the chicken and potato grain-free formula to my two senior Weimaraners. I first mixed it with their regular grain-free food for a couple of weeks slowly adding less of their regular food. By the time I got to feeding them only the Doc’s Choice, they both had severe diarrhea and stopped eating anything. I quickly put them back on their regular food mixing canned pumpkin for their diarrhea but it was too late for one of my boys. He died after one week on this food. The other Weim took a few days to get back to normal. I can’t say for sure that the food was the culprit, but it was the only thing that had changed in their routine and they were fine until they started on that food.

  • Tami D. Newman

    I have been feeding my two dogs Docs for almost 5 years now. My aussie and ACD both love it. My ACD, scavenger at heart, digestion was always a problem. Not since feeding her Docs. I’ve tried other brands and they will not take to them, always return to Docs.

  • Pitlove

    From the looks of the ingridients I’d say either 3.5 or 4 stars. If you’d like Dr. Mike to review it you can put in a request here:

  • chris bowman

    I just picked up a bag of Doc’s Choice Premium Grain Free. My dogs love it. Perhaps a review of this version can be made. Thanks for the good informative site.

  • Mary Kay Howe

    All can say is I tried a sample of Docs Choice that we got at a home show. My lab has had terrible allergies to the point that she would have to be on prednisone every spring and summer. We tried the docs choice, and ever since no allergies, no prednisone, and it works wonderful for us. It’s been about three years now. The only store we can find it at is Hy-Vee.

  • Jean Noble

    I tried Doc’s Choice for our 7 year old jack russell terrier when he started throwing up any other food we tried. We had lab work done, he had surgery and nothing showed up. The Doc’s Choice worked, he quit throwing up and has done much better in the last year.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Michaelcomaha,

    Menadione is still listed as an ingredient on their website, I believe Dr. Mike goes by the product website.

  • Michaelcomaha

    I just bought a bag of Doc’s Choice because I have two older dogs who are very ppicky eaters and this pelleted food is something different that they will sometimes eat when they won’t eat the better quality kibble I have, and sometimes they’ll eat this over cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast.  Anyway, I don’t see that they list menadione sodium bisulfate complex on their label anymore, so maybe your review made them see some light.

  • TeaInTheSahara

    The sticker on their packaging is misleading – it states that 3 Stars is “best quality” !  I am e-mailing them to let them know that this needs to change – because of that sticker, I was assuming that Doc’s Choice was rated “best quality”! Glad I finally came to this site!

  • Carol B

    Hi mike
    as you can see, i don’t use these sites, as have posted again on your raw food section (sorry) don’t want to waste your time….. Just to say thanks for the very speedy responce. hope their maybe someone out there with an Inuit that may be able to help fingers crossed.
    again thanks for the responce.

  • Hi Carol… Sorry to hear about your dog’s issues. In this limited venue, there’s no way for me to know what could be causing this. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Carol B

    Hi Mike, what a good website.. the thing is I have 2 dogs, 1 a lab cade 5years, 2 a northen inuit Rolo 2years, we had feed the 2 on technical for 2 years, then changed due to up-set tummies.. we now feed them Barking heads for the last 6 mths.. both dogs were doing ok, then after a mth, rolo started again with runny poos, he is full of beans no signs of illness, just the runny poos, have done all that the vets requested , boiled rice and chicken for 48/72 hours all went well so off on their hols a week in kennels, at home the runny poos started again. he has had an antibiotic injection when it first started this year… I should say this was what happened at the same time last year.. but with lots and lots of trips to the vets… i really think it is the food, but can not find anything for an inuit do you know of any food that may help ….any responce will be most welcome…….thanks carol (england P’borogh)

  • Jonathan

    “oven-roasted whole grain corn”? BWAHAHAHA!!! That’s as good as Science Diet calling corn “maize meal” on the ingredients list of their Nature’s Best line. lol