This is our review of the best dry dog food in 2023.
What type of pet 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 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:
- Harringtons Complete Dry Pet Food (Lamb & Rice) – (Best Affordable Dry Dog Food)
- Lily’s Kitchen (Adult) Dry Venison & Duck – (Best Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs)
- Arden Grange Pet Foods (Adult Chicken – 12kg) – (Top Dry Dog Food for Allergies)
- Royal Canin Medium Adult 15kg – (Best Breed Specific Dry Dog Food)
- Eukanuba Dry Dog Food Breed Nutrition (Labrador) – (Best Vet Recommended Dry Dog Food)
- Pooch & Mutt – Complete Small Dog Dry Dog Food – (Best Small Dog Dry Food)
- YARRAH VEGA Vegetarian Organic Dry Dog Food – (Best Vegetarian Dry Dog Food)
There is a lot of controversy about the best rated dry dog food in the UK, with many 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 meat, usually chicken fat, to improve the taste, 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, with longer hair, and more.
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 a popular choice, Is that new rice dry mix advertised on the TV the best? Pay attention to what experts have to say and it never hurts to read the packet, either!
There is certainly nothing wrong with giving your dog kibble. However, you will need to look into a fair bit of research if you want to know all about dog food and how it is made. There is also likely to be a factor or two which will sway your decision.
Do you need hypoallergenic kibble, is there a new dry dog food you’d like to try, does Fido like fresh lamb or are you looking for something for active dogs made with freshly prepared chicken and chicken meal?
This expert roundup provides all the answers needed to make a well-informed decision on good dry dog food and what you should be feeding your pet.
Reviews – Our 7 Best Dry Dog Foods
There is such a wide range of brands and countless types of dog food and dog treats on the market; it’s difficult sometimes to tell which is right for your pet.
We have researched and concluded 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 introduce dry dog food gradually. Again, consult your vet if you are really unsure and need advice!
One of the best complete dry dog foods for all breeds and is rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This complete dry dog food contains lamb and lamb meat meal, no added wheat, no soy, no dairy, and boasting no artificial colours or flavours. It also has Yucca extract as an ingredient that fights against flatulent odours, which is an excellent selling point. Especially in our home!
What sets Harrington’s apart from the other dog food brands in many ways is the fact that there are adult dog formulas, senior ranges and dry puppy food. We think that Harrington’s offers value for money too – these are some of the biggest bags of soft dry food on the market.
- There are no added sugars and no nasty bits thrown in
- Contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 – For glossy coats and strong bones
- It’s made in the UK and is regulated for the British pet market
- Lamb can be too rich for some canine companions (they do other flavours)
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? 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 and healthy vegetables and botanical herbs. There are no fillers and artificial additives. That’s always going to be a plus point and the nutrients are plenty in this highly digestible complete dry dog food.
- One of the best dry dog food choices for ingredients packed with protein in the UK
- 100% natural ingredients
- Botanical herbs help to give extra nutritional boosts. one of the brand’s big selling points.
- No good for puppies
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 owners, 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.
This medium-sized hypoallergenic kibble from the range is suitable for most dog breeds and contains Human food industry grade chicken, chicken meal 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 – it’s a great alternative to boring, filler-stacked kibble from elsewhere.
- Hypoallergenic dog food – ideal for those dogs with food allergies
- Easily digested
- Premium ingredients – fresh chicken including chicken meal, beet pulp, rice, peas and a number of essential vitamins and minerals for all dogs, such as vitamin A
- Worth that bit extra 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 breeds. For example, dogs such as labrador retrievers need a particular diet – they are prone to obesity. Therefore, food such as this Eukanuba standard will likely help you combat your dog from putting on too much weight.
This tasty 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%.
- Great for dental hygiene
- Formulated for specific breeds – in this case, this food is formulated for insatiable labs.
- Recommended by breeders – formulated to stop labradors from getting too fat!
Majority find it a bit pricey, as it’s specially formulated
If you have a young or growing dog, you should be looking for the best quality UK pet food formulated with nutrients, grains and vitamins likely to support dogs with many years left in them.
Royal Canin offers a kibble that promotes the ideal shape in doggies from 12 months to 7 years thanks to an adapted energy intake with this easy to digest complete dog food. 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.
- Helps support natural defences – a fantastic boost to your dog’s immune system
- Enhanced flavour – this might not matter much to you, but it matters to your dog!
- Contains fatty acids – fatty acids are crucial to helping your dog look and feel healthy
- Not suitable for canines with allergies
This award-winning UK pet food company is becoming a firm favourite due to the natural ingredients and superfoods such as kale and spinach found in their recipes. This new dry dog food is a tasty chicken and sweet potato flavour which is grain-free.
Ideal for small breeds, this complete dry dog food contains probiotics and even a calming supplement and the grain-free kibble is perfect for smaller mouths. They do pouches, treats and supplements too for various life stages. We think this is definitely one of the higher quality dog foods and many pet parents agree, judging by the reviews.
- Made by an independent UK company
- No artificial colours, preservatives or flavours
- Designed for smaller breeds
- Not the cheapest pet food, but we think its worth that little bit extra
Well, I never! A vegetarian dry dog food. You may think meat is an essential part of a dog’s diet, but this complete dog food is all about veggies. 100% organic it is perfectly balanced for adult dogs and contains soya instead of meat and meat by-products such as lamb meat meal and chicken meal.
This may not be the right dry dog food for some, who believe dog’s main source of protein must be meat, but great for the planet and ideal for vegan and vegetarian owners who care about the environment and their dog’s digestion but don’t want their pup to eat flesh. with the finest ingredients and ethically sound who are we to argue with this inspired pet nutrition and looking at the reviews many seem to agree.
BARKING HEADS also do a good range of plant-based food and cat food too.
- Completely balanced pet food even without the meat
- Promotes a healthy immune system
- Environmentally friendly
- A bit pricey though this 10kg bag is better value than the smaller options
What To Look For in the Quality Dry Dog Food
When shopping around for dog food for your pet, you may be confused by all the different advice out there. You may have questions such as;
- Are dry dog foods as good as raw foods?
- What about grain-free?
- Is it worth the money for organic?
- What’s the right dog food for active dogs?
- What is the best dog food recommended by vets?
- Can I get complete dry dog food at an affordable price?
You should be thinking about more than just which brand is cheapest – we’re pretty sure your pet will thank you for looking for a regular dry dog food 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 account:
Is dried dog food the best option?
Are there any reasons why my dog should prefer or benefit from wet dog food instead? What if I feed them a mixture of the two? It’s getting harder to know which options are likely to be best for pets’ health in general, which is largely why we’ve put together this round-up of dry dog food options for you today.
Should I be feeding grain-free?
- What is the best grain-free dog food and how does it differ from others.
- Is my dog likely to turn its nose up?
- What about other food-specific intolerances in my dog that I might not be aware of?
What is the best brand?
This is a big one. From Lily’s Kitchen and Barking Heads to Pedigree and Harringtons, more dry dog food brands are on the market than ever before, from grain-free to brown rice mixed with venison and superfoods. Therefore, it’s likely a good idea to start reading through a few reviews and seeing what other dog owners and lovers of pets have to say.
Is dried better than tinned?
This is something we’re going to explore below. There is certainly nothing wrong with choosing canned food over soft dog food per se – or even the other way around. You might even want to strike a balance.
What are the best hypoallergenic brands? This comes back to the general health of your dog. Has your vet advised that they have food intolerances? Maybe there are a few ingredients you should be keeping an eye out for.
What Makes a Dry Diet 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 foods out there that 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).
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. 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 and 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.
Some combine brown rice with fresh lamb, whilst others fill out their bags with fillers and unwanted additives; some add fresh vegetables like sweet potato and green beans. There are salmon meals and some interesting stuff like wild boar and Bison, some companies like Barking Heads and Freshpet offer vegetarian options- I know, right! (Don’t tell George).
No one is expected to know all about dog food, nor is the average owner or buyer likely to know which best dog food will fit the needs of their dog ideally. The right food should maintain healthy bones, be easily digested, and boost the immune system through various life stages. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind and to read up on what other doggy parents 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. A 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 tinned and dry dog food out there. If everything were 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.
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 ranges on many of the packets. This applies to dry kibble, too. But why is this? which food options are likely to be easiest for your pet to eat. As dogs get older, they may be less able to crunch down into thick, tough pieces of kibble. Therefore, you will likely find that senior mixes are made up of smaller chunks that are easier to digest.
Your pooch needs different nutrients, vitamins and minerals as they get older and the nutrition a growing dog need is much different to that of a senior. This means the ingredients may be different, perhaps including brown rice or fish, or there may be more of a change towards highly digestible minerals or supplements for joint pain. Either way, these mixes are optimised to provide the best overall health benefits your dog should be obtained through a normal diet.
Why Worry About Grain?
You may well have seen plenty of top dog food choices out there that talk about being grain-free. What’s so bad about grain? The fact is, many dog foods include fewer natural ingredients and use filler instead. By filler, we mean something with no nutritional value and that pumps up the kibble. Common fillers include corn, wheat, white rice, meat by-products, barley and sugar beet. Unfortunately, there are still some cheaper dog food choices out there that go overboard on filling with grain. Therefore, you are going to need to make sure you are investing in dog food full of nutrients and natural ingredients.
Many dogs are also allergic to wheat, so the grain-free option will definitely be the best dry dog foods for these hounds.
The best dry dog food choices – including those on our list – are grain-free. As the consumer is getting clearer on what grain actually is, there have been bigger pushes to erase it from our dogs’ dinners completely. Changing filler to brown rice, sweet potatoes and vegetables give our four-legged friends more nutrition, which can only be 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 could look for a hypoallergenic option. Just because 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 with your vet. We’re going to run through a few things below which vets generally advise to look out for – however, your vet will let you know which ingredients, if any, are likely to disagree with your dog’s digestive system or otherwise.
However, it’s worth remembering that dog food which is hypoallergenic 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 priced grain-free option 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 inexpensive options out, which are now including brown rice, sweet potato and fresh salmon, including some supermarket own brands.
The best thing to do is look for ingredients first and 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.
What Do Vets Recommend?
In the UK, you’re likely going to find a similar phrase that appears on most dog food packets. That is, of course, ‘vets recommend us’. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a huge selling point. However, every dog is different, maybe you have an active dog, or you want something that is made for various life stages. Looking for the best dry dog foods isn’t rocket science; you should read reviews, ask your vet for advice and maybe most important of all, see what your pooch enjoys.
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 you’ll likely 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 cannot share meat and vegetables with your pets in the way you do for your family, then finding a good balance in dry kibble 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 ask us what is dog food made of, as some of the brands use fillers in the foods.
For example, a meal stating it is “rich in chicken” can contain as little as 14% chicken or chicken meal and chicken fat, 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. Therefore, you must make sure that you purchase from a reputable brand, which your vet states is safe to buy from and 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 your dog food ingredients in complete detail, then so be it. Your dog’s health is worth it.
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. Unfortunately, some contain not much of it; always check that the packet says Turkey meal or chicken meal. The meal is made from the rendered and ground edible part of the animal such as bones, skin and offal, where meat by-products are totally different and should be avoided.
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 that produces hypoallergenic dry food; this usually means a chicken meal 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!
Worst: Ingredients to Avoid
Unfortunately, there are going to be some dog foods that 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!:
- Propylene glycol
- Rendered fat
- Artificial colouring
- Artificial flavouring
- Corn syrup
- Artificial colouring
However, let’s keep an open mind about this. Not all dried food for dogs contains the best ingredients, but as long as the labelling is clear and 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 high in meat meal, white rice and preservatives; 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 that contain nasty additives, by-products and toxins. This is not always easy to do, but you owe your dog 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 a home-cooked meat meal or even take a look at the best raw dog food currently available.
That being said, for many of us, that isn’t an option; for a middle of the road option, I recommend either Arden Grange complete food or Harringtons; both use natural ingredients, are hypoallergenic and have no artificial additives.
What’s Better – Wet or Dried Pet 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 balance. If you’re looking for the best canned 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, brown rice 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 the best dry food is Harrington’s as it 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 kibble, with a high proportion of meat and meat meal 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 pet food that is grain-free – Yes, it’s filling, but it’s not going to do their immune system any good, and we’re sure they’d rather be tucking in turkey meal and chicken fat rather than corn or barley.
We hoped this content helped 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!