This is our review of the best grain free dog food in 2023.
Grain-free dog food is a hot topic these days, with many questions being asked by dog owners who want to feed their dogs the best possible diet to keep them fit.
Therefore, we have compiled a fantastic range of grain-free dog food products already highly sought after this year. Don’t miss the chance to find out what you should be feeding your dog.
A dogs digestive system is not developed for grains; wheat, corn, rice etc., are added because they bulk out the meal and are a cheaper option than quality meat-based ingredients, but does that mean your pooch is not getting a balanced diet?
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the following grain-free dog foods.
- Harrington’s Complete Grain Free Rich in Turkey with Vegetable
- Forthglade 100% Natural Grain Free Complete Selection
- Lily’s Kitchen Chicken and Duck Dry Food 1 Kg
- Country Kibble Natural Salmon, Trout, Sweet Potato & Asparagus
- Autarky Adult Tasty White Fish and Potato, 12 kg
- Crave Dry Dog Food with Lamb & Beef
- Applaws Complete and Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our Best Grain Free Dog Foods
Some doggies thrive on just about any form of nutrition, but for those who have sensitive digestive systems, need the highest protein dog diet or suffer from food allergies, switching to grain-free dog foods might just be the option.
Always check with your vet if you’re unsure about changing your dog’s food and do so gradually, remember too your pooch may be allergic to the protein source in their food such as chicken or fish and the grains may be completely innocent; this can only be determined by process of elimination.
We have compiled a list of grain-free food full of meat protein, omega fatty acids, fish meal, and more, resulting in healthy skin, a healthy coat, and providing optimal nutrition for your four-legged friend.
If you’re considering feeding your dogs the best-balanced diet, here are a few grain-free food options.
Contains: Poultry Meal, Potato Starch, Peas, Potato Pulp, Poultry Fat, Linseed
This complete grain-free dog food is best for dogs with sensitive digestion. Made in the UK by Harrington’s, it has no grains, soy or dairy and is rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Containing chicken and Turkey Meal, It is also rich in natural antioxidants to support a healthy immune system. It is great value for money and provides a well-balanced grain-free diet for your dog.
- No additives or preservatives
- Made in the UK
- Value for money
Contains: Turkey with Sweet Potato, Vegetables Composition, Turkey, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Peas
This grain-free dog food variety pack consists of 4x turkey, 4x duck and 4 x lamb, all tasty sources of protein for dogs over 1 year old.
This wet food is gently steamed to retain all the natural goodness and nutrients and its high-quality ingredients contain no sugars, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or animal derivatives. Forthglade also do a dry food alternative
- Convenient packs
- Nutritionally balanced
- Locally sourced high-quality ingredients
- Small packs (would be pricey for large animals)
Contains: Chicken & Duck, Fresh Chicken, Freshly Prepared Duck, Chicken Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Peas
Made in the UK BY Lily’s Kitchen, this all-natural grain-free dog food has no artificial colours, sweeteners or preservatives, and no rendered meats products. Dogs seem to love the recipes by this brand and this dried kibble is no exception.
It is ideal for dogs with sensitivity to grains and is low in fat, too, so it helps support weight control. If your canine companion has a sensitive stomach, this is one of the top grain-free recommendations for a well-balanced diet throughout your best friends life
- Low in fat
- No additives
- Contains botanical herbs
- A bit pricey
Contains: Salmon, Trout, Freshly Prepared Salmon, Trout Dried Salmon Salmon Oil, Fish Stock, Sweet Potato
This natural grain-free dog food from the popular Country Kibble range boasts 50% salmon and trout. With a higher meat content than many brands, it is low in fat, contains no artificial preservatives and is best for dogs with allergies or sensitive digestive systems.
Due to the high salmon and trout in this product, it provides a high percentage of protein to help build muscle and weight along with omega fatty acids, which maintain brain health, fight against dementia and ensure a glossy coat
- High meat content
- Easily digested
- No additives
Contains: Turkey with Sweet Potato, Vegetables Composition, Turkey, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Peas
A grain-free food designed with active doggies in mind and made with freshly prepared fish, this dog food boasts natural anti-oxidants and is wheat & soy-free.
It also contains green-lipped mussels, sweet potatoes, marine algae, olive extract and glucosamine to support joints and prebiotics, which help promote healthy digestion—all in all, a top choice for dogs who love fish and want a healthy balanced diet.
- No artificial colours or preservatives
- Hypoallergenic food
- No Gluten
Made with at least 60% meat protein and no artificial flavors or colouring, this grain-free recipe has been made for dogs with sensitive digestion. This complete dog food is suitable for all breeds of dog at all life stages
Crave have become a popular dry dog food brand due to their quality ingredients; many dog owners praise this grain-free option some seeing an improvement in their dog’s digestive system and a healthier shiny coat within days of swapping; they also do a range of grain-free treats
- High in protein for strong bones and muscles
- Ideal for dogs with grain allergies
- Lots of flavours
- Some reviews have mentioned it can cause the runs
This grain-free formula is ideal for older dogs with canine food allergies, containing 75% free-range chicken, including chicken meal, and the rest is vegetables and natural extracts. (Although not if they’re allergic to chicken)
Full of omega fatty acids, pre and probiotics and with no artificial flavors or additives, these grain-free recipes will give your hound the essential nutrients he needs along with a healthy coat and boost to the immune system. This brand also does grain-free wet food.
- Formulated for older dogs
- Grain-free formulation is great for dogs with wheat allergies.
- Quality ingredients to support healthy digestion
- None we could find
Is Grain Free Dog Food Better for Dogs?
It’s important to remember that this grain-free diet entered the marketplace around the same time as other human dietary trends such as the Paleo and Keto diets. So are pet owners transferring their eating philosophies onto their furry friends?
That being said, grain-free dog food is not simply a fad; a dog’s diet should be high in protein with meat and fish as the main ingredient; a grain-free dog food can be beneficial for breeds who suffer from food allergies.
Do be aware, though, that some dogs don’t respond well to too much protein; it depends on your dog’s energy levels for one. Same as humans, if you’re sitting on your butt all day, what’s the point of filling up on protein shakes.
Also, if your pup suffers from kidney disease, too much protein can cause serious problems; there have even been some studies into aggression levels increasing on a high protein diet. Try to buy foods with relatively high meat content and grain substitutes, such as brown wholegrain rice and sweet potato.
What’s in the average bag of dog food
Understanding what’s in dog food can be a complicated task; what is menhaden fish meal? Does my dog really need green beans? Are cereal grains essential?
The thing to remember is the highest proportion of ingredients come first and to be fair, that should always be meat or some form of protein; some of the most famous dry dog foods have under 30%, what comes underneath however, should be looked at carefully too.
The ingredients listed below are from the Pedigree Chum dried puppy food
- Meat and animal derivatives 30%
- Oils and Fats
- Derivatives of vegetable origin
- Vegetable protein extracts
Now what that’s telling us is cereals are the main ingredients, only one third is animal protein and that is just derivatives which can include all the nasty bits of animals “hoomans “won’t eat, then the 3rd ingredient is oils and fats not great for the current dog obesity problem in the UK.
These change depending on which food you choose a grain-free recipe; for example, may have lamb or lamb meal as its number 1 ingredient, with sweet potato or squash as the carbs.
You know what you expect from quality grain-free foods; look for human-grade meat, complimented by Turkey Meal or Lamb Meal. Meat Meals are much better than derivatives as they are parts of an animal that have been crushed, rendered and dried to form a concentrated powder full of nutrients, so don’t worry if the packet says salmon meal, herring meal or chicken meal, it can still be full of the good stuff.
There should be some form of vegetables and fruits, maybe carrots, pumpkin, apples and apricots or cranberries, plus omega fatty acids and minerals. Many companies add superfoods like Turmeric and Kale for added health benefits. Of course, the better the ingredients in a grain-free diet is usually reflected in the price. We always advise you to buy the best you can afford and a grain-free diet needn’t cost the earth.
How Do You know your dog suffers from allergies?
Diagnosing allergies is a costly and difficult task, which any vet will tell you. however, if your canine companion suffers from any of these symptoms its likely something is not agreeing with them
- Constant licking
- Loss of hair
- Repeated ear and skin infections
Some of these symptoms can be related to seasonal allergies. Check out our article about giving Piriton to a dog if this is the case. But the only way to really tell what your pooch is allergic to is by process of elimination. Sometimes it may be the protein or eggs in the food others;, it’s the grain or other ingredients.
Did you know a dog can become allergic to food at any stage of his life? Fido may have been eating chicken for years; then, suddenly, it’s a problem!
Feeding your adult dog a grain-free diet won’t harm them, and grain-free puppy food may help the development of your furbaby; you could see an improvement in their health and general well-being.
Remember, it’s not just pet food; treats and human food can also contain things that your pup may be allergic to, so it’s important when trying a non-gluten dog food or grain-free diet that any snacks are grain-free too.
Breeds prone to allergies, which may benefit from a grain-free option include;
- Chinese Sharpeis
- Poodles (Poodle crosses)
- West Highland White Terrier
- Golden Retrievers
It’s a fact that many grain-free dog food brands like Royal Canin and Blue Buffalo use higher-quality ingredients than other pet supplies, which may be why the best meals seem to sit better with our four-legged friends who have digestive problems and their pet parents rather than the lack of grains.
This type of product may not be superior to some high-quality dog foods. Some still include fillers like one potato, meaning they still contain many carbohydrates, so it always pays to check the label, especially if your dogs are a bit overweight.
Ensure to read the back of each of the packages, so you know exactly what you’re feeding your furry friend. If you are unsure, check online or ask your vet for more information and whether it is suitable for your best friend.
Difference Between Gluten & Grain Free Dog Foods
Many people believe that gluten and grain-free is the same thing, but this is a misconception. Some grains contain gluten, such as wheat, barley and rye, but there are also plenty of others such as rice and corn that do not.
Like some humans, adult dogs can develop an intolerance to Gluten. It’s not an allergy as such, but the undigested gluten hangs around in the gut, meaning a reduced area in the intestine for nutrients to be absorbed, leading to bloating, fatigue, skin problems and more. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include
- Loss of weight
- Dull coat
- Persistent diarrhoea
- General lack of condition
Gluten sensitivity can be hard to diagnose as the symptoms are quite generic and can be caused by other allergies; however, feeding your pup a gluten-free diet won’t cause any issues, so why not try. You could notice healthier skin, better poos and less itching.
Grain Free is different to gluten-free, but some foods are both, so always check the back of the pack to make sure you can see the full list of ingredients and that the gluten or grain-free dog food has all the required nutrients to enrich your dogs diet. The best grain-free dog food can be in cans, pouches or dry.
The Health Benefits of Whole Grain Dog Food
Grain seems to be a dirty word when discussing dog food but is grain-free dog food really the best choice? What about whole Grains. This simply means that they are 100% of the natural kernel and nothing has been touched or removed during the production line. Oats & brown rice offer a great source of minerals, vitamins and fibre and usually avoid gluten.
Some of the key benefits of whole grains include:
- High in fibre
- Good grain free foods is an excellent source of magnesium & selenium, which eases a dogs digestive system.
- Antioxidant-rich which can help weight loss & stabilise sugar levels
Grain-free food for dogs as a whole is a great alternative if you want to try to improve your dog’s health; however, many dogs thrive on foods that include brown rice and animal protein, which could perhaps be a cheaper choice.
As dog owners, we all want our dogs to lead long, happy lives, which is why the great debate on the best grain-free dog food continues. My recommendation is to buy the best dog food you can afford, whether that’s wet or dry food, and avoid ones that contain by-products, animal derivatives, preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings.
If your pet prefers wet dog foods, the Forthglade range is a great dog food option, especially for small dogs (it can be a bit pricey for larger breeds). James Wellbeloved and Country Kibble have high ratings and are both popular choices for complete dog food.
While many of the best grain-free dog products work out more expensive than cheaper supermarket dog food brands, the reduction in vet’s bills is a welcome bonus if you have dogs that suffer from digestive problems or allergies. Some of the best-rated grain-free foods can help balance out the various issue that your dogs might be having when it comes to their digestive system.
The most important thing is that dog food provides your pet with a healthy and happy diet, and you may find switching their diet to grain-free is the best decision you can make regarding your dog’s food.
Do Vets recommend a grain-free diet for dogs?
You may be surprised to learn that some vets don’t recommend grain-free food for your four-legged friends. Why?
Of course, if your dog is allergic to cereal grains, then it’s the way to go, but many food allergies in dogs are caused by the protein source, not the grains. Maybe think about swapping a chicken meal for some lamb or another meat protein.
Another consideration is that grains provide your pooch with fibre and a whole range of health benefits; I know, it just got a lot more confusing. Grains can be essential for some dogs who are on a low protein diet for kidney or liver disease, giving them the energy they need.
Many grain-free dog foods substitute grains for legumes and pulses such as lentils and pea protein. The FDA has conducted studies investigating if these ingredients cause a higher risk of heart disease with inconclusive results, but a big proportion (90%) of the dogs they tested were on grain-free dog food.
Always check with your vet when considering changing puppy foods; it may be that grain-free dry food options are the best food for your furry friend, or you may be forking out more than you need when it’s not really necessary.
Last Word and Top Pick
All of the grain free puppy food discussed above not only taste great for your dog but also include health benefits due to being organic. Our favourite was the Harringtons Complete Grain Free which we voted the best grain-free dog food; although many of the others are chock full of animal protein, menhaden fish meal and essential nutrients as well, this is the best value and they do a range of dog treats too.
Grain-free dog food is not necessarily for everyone some dogs do just fine on regular dog food and if it’s not broken why fix it, but if you have a hound with a sensitive stomach or one with allergies it’s a great option
If your dog is overweight, you may need to switch to the best grain-free option or gluten-free dog food. Perhaps a certain dog food gives your dog bad wind, or they’re scratching incessantly, then you may want to try grain-free dog food. Getting your dog’s diet right is the singularly best thing you can do for them.