If you’re strapped for time and don’t want to read all the reviews, then the best dry dog food in the UK we found was the Harringtons Complete Dry Pet Food. Based on the research we did and the buyers feedback this is our top choice this year.
What type of dog food does your pooch prefer? Are they a fan of moist, meaty chunks, or do they prefer to chow down on the best dry dog food in UK supermarkets?
Many dog owners like to go for a balance when it comes to feeding their four-legged friends. However, there is actually a fair amount of difference in the choices between dry and wet.
For one thing, how do you necessarily know that you are giving your dog all the vitamins and minerals they sorely need? Which option is likely to hold the best source of protein?
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the following dry dog food:
There is a lot of controversy about the best rated dry dog food in the UK, with a lot of questions being asked by concerned dog owners just like you and me.
Dry dog food is, for want of a better word, processed. It is dried kibble which brings together vitamins, nutrients and minerals that dogs need to keep healthy. Some dry dog foods are ideal for bigger pets, while others are better for older dogs, those with longer hair, and more besides.
Dry dog food full of vitamins and minerals is all well and good, but how on Earth do you know which is the best dry dog food UK owners and their pets tend to go for the most? Sometimes, it’s not always the top idea to go for popular choice, but to pay attention to what experts have to say. What’s more, it never hurts to read the packet, either!
There is certainly nothing wrong with giving your dog dry food. However, there’s a fair bit of research you will need to look into if you want to know all about the dog food and how it is made. There is also likely to be a factor or two which will sway your decision.
For example, if you do not like the way dry food for dogs is made, or if you are particularly conscious of their nutritional needs, you are likely going to sway one way or the other. It might even come down to something as simple as choosing a mix that has vegetables in it! Ingredients have a genuine sway for most people, as does dog opinion – believe it or not!
This expert roundup provides all the answers needed to make a well-informed decision on what is good dry dog food and what you should be feeding your pet.
What To Look For in the Quality Dry Dog Food
When shopping around for dog food for your pet, you are of course going to be thinking up several different questions. You should be thinking about more than just which brand is cheapest – we’re pretty sure your pet will thank you to look for an option that’s going to benefit their immune system more than your wallet!
Not to add to your search for answers, but here are a few questions and considerations you might already be taking into accounts:
What Makes Dry Dog Food Different?
First of all, let’s take a look at the differences you should be able to spot in most dry dog food brands. There are plenty of dog foods out there which are likely to appeal to some pups, while others might make them turn their noses up. There can be some seriously picky dogs out there – trust us on this!
Doggies are omnivores with impressive digestive systems, and they can and do enjoy some disgusting snacks and foods, I know this from personal experience (cat poo is definitely the worst).
However, the “tasty” treats they pick up on walks are a different matter from what they should be eating day in/day out. Like all of us, a pup needs a decent diet to enjoy a long healthy life. Therefore, it’s important that you should be looking for a good quality mix of food with more than just the odd drop of salmon oil or vitamin A. For the best long term health, your dog should be eating a mix of different vitamins and minerals.
Taking vitamins every day whilst surviving on a food diet of cheap, processed rubbish like pizza and burgers won’t stop humans from suffering other diet-related health issues, like obesity, diabetes and heart problems and it’s the same for dogs.
What separates some dry dog food from others is how they are made up, as well as the sizes of nuggets and kibble you get in a bag. Some dry foods are best for older, adult dogs, while others are crammed full of natural ingredients for growing pups.
No one is expected to know all about dog food, nor is the average owner or buyer likely to know which best dog food is going to fit the needs of their dog ideally. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind, and to read up on what other dog owners have to say.
However, there are always going to be a few things you need to keep in mind when looking around for the best food for your dog. You shouldn’t just look for dry food that gets the top ratings or which is cheap. High quality mix is a must! Here are a few things you should consider when introducing dry dog food into their daily diet:
Yes – there’s a reason why there are so many different flavours of wet food and dry dog food out there. If everything was the same flavour, dogs would surely complain – and they most certainly do! Some dogs actually prefer variety in their diets, while some actually prefer types of meat or flavouring. For example, one dog might love tucking into chicken and vegetables, while others will prefer classic beef nuggets. Crucially, it is worth remembering that it’s not going to be you who is tucking into these nuggets of kibble!
Trust your dog’s tastes. All dogs will eat if they are hungry enough, but that’s not the point! You should look for a high quality food mix which they are going to tuck into regularly. This helps to enrich their life, too. How would you feel if you had the same thing to eat every night?
What might perplex some people looking to buy food for their dogs is the fact that there are age ratings on many of the packets. This largely applies to dry kibble, too. But why is this? Crucially, it is all about which food options are likely to be easiest for your pet to eat. As dogs get older, they will likely be less able to crunch down into thick, tough pieces of kibble. Therefore, you will likely find that senior dry food mixes are made up of smaller chunks which are easier to digest.
However, age ratings can also mean that the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you receive are different, too. That’s because the nutrition a growing dog needs is likely to be much different to that of a senior. This means the ingredients may be different, or there may be more of a change towards highly digestible minerals. Either way, these mixes are optimised to provide the best overall health benefits your dog should be obtaining through a normal diet.
Why Worry About Grain?
You may well have seen plenty of dry dog food choices out there which talk about being grain free. What’s so bad about grain? The fact is, some cheaper food mixes can put nuggets together which include fewer natural ingredients than filler. By filler, we mean that horrible tasteless carbohydrate that purely exists to pump up the kibble. Unfortunately, there are still some cheaper dog food choices out there which go overboard on filling with grain. Therefore, you are going to need to make sure you are investing in dog food best of nutrients and natural ingredients.
The best dry dog food choices – including those in our list and buying guide coming up – are grain free. As the consumer is getting more and more clear on what grain actually is, there have been bigger pushes to erase it from our dogs’ dinners completely. This is a good thing!
Just like us, our dogs can be allergic to certain foods and additives. Therefore, if you are unsure whether or not your dog is likely to react badly to a specific type of new food, you must look for a hypoallergenic option. Just because a dog food is great for overall health doesn’t mean that it’s going to be free from allergens likely to harm your pet.
If you are really worried about this side of things, the best thing you can do is speak in confidence with your vet. We’re going to run through a few things below which vets generally advise to look out for – however, you must make sure your vet lets you know which ingredients, if any, are likely to disagree with your dog’s digestive system or otherwise.
However, it’s worth remembering that a hypoallergenic dog food is merely unlikely to give your dog an allergic reaction. If there are any foods or ingredients which are guaranteed to cause reactions, there is simply no reason to take the risk. Otherwise, you may end up risking your dog’s health – and as stated, it is always a good idea to consult a vet in the first instance.
Yes – the health of your dog comes first, but do also think about your money. It’s tempting to go for the lowest bidder if you are all about cutting back on the pennies. However, this really doesn’t mean you’re going for the best choice for your dog. That said, there are plenty of expensive dog foods out there which don’t actually give all that much back to your pet.
Therefore, learning to budget for wet dog food and dry alternatives is a skill that’s rarely taught. It’s something you may need to build up on thanks to experience! The best thing to do is look for ingredients first, and to consider your dog’s health and desires before cutting back. If you’re willing to spend hundreds on your own food, it makes sense that you owe your faithful friend a nice selection of healthy food in return. They’d do the same for you – probably!
What Do Vets Recommend?
In the UK, you’re likely going to find a similar phrase which appears on most dog food packets. That is, of course, ‘vets recommend us’. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a huge selling point. However, saying that all vets recommend a given food is a bit of an over-estimation. Instead, what you should be doing as a responsible dog owner is pay attention to what your dog likes and needs, and what your vet advises is the best choice for their diet and allergen profile.
Here are just a few things that vets suggest all good dry dog food should contain:
This is a bit of a general list, and it’s likely you’ll find all of the above in most kibble. However, dogs are also going to benefit from complex ingredients and a balanced diet, just like the rest of us. If you’re not able to share out meat and vegetables to your pets in the way you do for your family, then finding a good balance in dry and wet food mix is certainly the next best thing.
Pet Food Pitfalls
Pet food companies are in business to make a profit and many will use cheaper ingredients to do so. Unfortunately, in this country, the legislation is not strict enough and many owners are unaware what’s in the dog food they are buying.
For example, a meal stating it is ‘rich in chicken” can contain as little as 14% chicken or chicken meal, not necessarily the chicken we would eat and well below what most of us would consider “rich”.
This allows for some fancy marketing which the big players take advantage of and can be very confusing for dog owners. Therefore, you must make sure that you purchase from a reputable brand, one which your vet states is safe to buy from, and which receives clear expert approval.
It’s not necessarily hard to find the best dry dog food for your pup, but there are perhaps more things you need to consider than you might think. If this means looking through all the ingredients of your dog food in complete detail, then so be it. Your dog’s health is worth more than taking a silly risk or two!
Healthiest Options for Canines
Ideally, the main ingredient in any quality dog food should be meat, yes, doggies are omnivores and will eat almost anything – but when was the last time Fido rushed into a field of wheat and started to chow down?
A dog’s digestive system is built for meat, and unfortunately, not many complete pet foods contain a lot of it.
Then there is the question of what kind of meat? Meat meal and derivatives can be extremely vague – this allows companies to change the ingredients to cheaper ones when needed and leaves us even more in the dark as to what foods we are feeding our canine companions.
Of course, if your pup suffers from allergies, has a sensitive stomach or itchy skin you will want to choose a pet food brand which produces a hypoallergenic dry food this usually means it contains no wheat, corn, soy, dairy or artificial additives.
Remember, again – hypoallergenic doesn’t mean it will not cause allergies it just means there is a lower risk!
Product Review & Buyers Guide
There is such a wide range of brands and types of dog food on the market, it’s difficult to sometimes tell which is right for your pet.
We have researched and drawn the conclusion that these are the top-rated dry dog foods without the nasty added extras that are in other pet foods. Trust us – these are dog foods that pets genuinely love, and which receive vet approval. As always, if you are not sure when it comes to treating your dog to a new batch of kibble, you should be doubly careful to read through the ingredients listed. And, again, consult your vet if you are really unsure about what to expect!
One of the best complete dry dog foods for all breeds and is rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It contains no added wheat, no soy, and no dairy as well as boasting no artificial colours or flavours. It also has Yucca extract as an ingredient which fights against flatulent odours which is great for the dog and us!
What sets Harrington’s apart from the pack in many ways is the fact that there are adult dog formulas, senior ranges and those foods built for young pups. This isn’t always a given across dog food, however, it pays to narrow down your options. We think that Harrington’s offers a stack of kibble for what you pay, too – these are some of the biggest bags of dry dog food on the market.
In addition, only natural ingredients are used here, meaning that there’s no risk of your dog chowing down on that useless grain.
- Lamb can be too rich for some canine companions (they do other flavours)
- Can sometimes be expensive for the average pet owner budget
Lily’s Kitchen is a great dry dog food brand that has really opened up in recent years. That’s all well and good, but how tasty are their chunks in practice? What really impresses us about Lily’s Kitchen isn’t the brand recognition but the focus on natural ingredients.
This grain free complete dry food for dogs is made using 35% freshly prepared venison from the UK, along with healthy vegetables and botanical herbs. There is no dried meat, meat meals (i.e. carcasses) or meat derivatives or any fillers and artificial additives. That’s always going to be a plus point. That, and the nutrients are likely to be highly digestible. It’s always good to get some actual meat into your dog’s daily diet, and this choice does that without going too over the top.
- It’s easily one of the most expensive meat based dry dog foods available in the UK right now
For a great all-around option, it is worth looking at Arden Grange. Arden Grange adult dog food tends to be popular with plenty of pet owners, meaning that it’s sometimes worth reading into what the pack is likely to follow. The ingredients are clear to see, and regardless of the Arden Grange adult dog food you pick, you’re likely to be giving your dogs a genuine boost to their immune system responses.
This medium size hypoallergenic kibble from the range is suitable for most dog breeds and contains Human-grade chicken and fewer carbohydrates than many alternatives. Arden Grange complete dog foods contain nutrients and natural supplements promoting optimum health. This food is packed with beet pulp, vitamin A and more besides – meaning it’s a great alternative to boring, filler-stacked kibble from elsewhere.
- Again, may be one of the more expensive options out there, though it’s worth it for the top quality meat and minerals!
There are some dry dog food choices out there which UK owners look for when it comes to specific dogs. For example, dogs such as labrador retrievers need a particular diet – they are prone to obesity as a result of their difficulty in getting full. Therefore, food such as this Eukanuba standard is likely going to help you combat your dog from putting on too much weight.
This dry food for doggies by Eukanuba has been specially formulated for labrador retrievers and is one of their range of breed specific formulas. It contains L-carnitine to reduce body fat as well as using 3D DentaDefense technology, which cleans Fido’s teeth reducing tartar build-up by up to 80%. For more on the best puppy food for labs, take a look here.
- Again – like Grange Adult, it can be a bit pricey, as it’s specialised
If you have a young or growing dog, you should be looking for the best quality UK food formulated with nutrients and vitamins likely to support dogs with many years left in them.
With this easy to digest complete dog food, Royal Canin offer a kibble that promotes ideal shape in doggies from 12 months to 7 years thanks to an adapted energy intake. Rich in vitamins and nutrients it also contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This is a hugely popular dry food brand, and the fatty acids are just the icing on the cake.
- Not suitable for canines with allergies – look for a hypoallergic food for your adult dog instead
Worst: Ingredients to Avoid
Unfortunately, there are going to be some dog foods which contain less than natural ingredients. These can be hard to spot if you don’t know much about your chemicals, however, that’s where we can help.
The following ingredients are those you should definitely give a miss. No adult dog wants to eat any of the following, and it’s safe to say they’re probably not going to benefit from any of them!:
However, let’s keep an open mind about this. Not all dried food for dogs contains the best ingredients, but as long as the price reflects this, the labelling is clear and we, as pet owners are not being misled, fair enough. As long as you are clear on what you are getting into with leading UK dog food, there should be no cause for complaint.
Always check the label some of the more expensive leading brands contain ingredients we should not be feeding our dogs and the quality of meat is the same as ones that cost much less.
We all want our best friends to lead happy healthy lives, which is why there is so much concern over what goes into our four-legged friends’ food.
Our advice is to buy the best dog food you can afford and avoid ones which contain nasty additives by-products and toxins. This is not always easy to do, but you owe your dog the best food for their long term health! If this means investing in immune system boosters or big brands such as James Wellbeloved or Arden Grange Adult, then so be it!
Tips for Fussy Eaters
Of course, some dogs require special diets but rather than paying exorbitant amounts for processed food, it may work out cheaper to do some research and prepare either home-cooked meals or a raw diet.
That being said, for many of us, that isn’t an option, for a middle of the road option I recommend either Arden Grange dry food or James Wellbeloved pet foods both use natural ingredients, are hypoallergenic and have no artificial additives.
What’s Better – Dried or Wet Food?
There are plenty of benefits to a diet of wet food as well as a diet of dried food. However, that’s for a different buying guide! Many owners choose to give their dogs a bit of both for a balance. If you’re looking for the best wet food dogs love tucking into, you should really consider similar points we raise here.
The fact is, dried food may be packed with more nutrients than wet food, on the whole. You may not have access to as much beet pulp, vitamin A, salmon oil or other healthy ingredients. However, at least with wet food, your dog is tucking into meat chunks. With dried food, you also have access to great brands such as Harringtons and James Wellbeloved.
Our Top Pick
Ok – after all this talk of the best ingredients, the best meat flavours and more, what is our best pick for dried dogs food? Your dogs may not care as much as us, but we feel that Harrington’s offers the best all-around pick for dogs. packed with brilliant ingredients and free from anything nasty, UK dog owners will likely get plenty of wagging tails from their delicious mixes. We’re saying delicious – only our dogs have tried it, we promise!
Of course, much is down to personal preference, if your pooch is doing well with no health issues on a cheaper food brand that’s great, but sometimes the extra money spend on good quality kibble can be offset by reduced vet’s bills. You don’t always have to look for the premium kibble packed with vitamin A, beet pulp, salmon oil and the like, but you really should give your dog’s health your full attention. At least look for a dogs dried food option that is grain free – why some dogs might find grain filling, it’s not going to do them or their immune system any good.
Do your research and see whether it really is the top dry dog food for your pooch. Trust what dogs have to say as much as industry experts!