Premium Dog Food
A recent survey on doggies.com indicates that nearly 50% of you feed your dogs premium commercial food, so we thought it might make some sense to provide a guide to the available premium foods currently on the market.
It would be nice if there were one “fair and balanced” source that ranked all of the foods and came out with one that is the absolute best. Unfortunately, no such source exists. However, by reviewing the various manufacturers’ websites, we can look at the most un-biased information available – the guaranteed analysis of what’s in the bag.
I have chosen five premium foods to review based on high protein content, the most important factor. Caveats:
- Only one flavor or formula of each brand is shown, and other flavors may have different content.
- Only food made for the average adult dog was considered.
- Only dry food was evaluated.
- No assessment was made of the company’s values, ethics, or financial performance.
|Brand||Flavor / Formula||Min Protein (%)|
|Blue Buffalo||Blue Wilderness Salmon||34|
|PetCurean||Go Natural Grain Free Endurance||34|
|Taste of the Wild||High Prairie Canine Formula||32|
Artemis Maximal Dog
Beyond the fact that Artemis Maximal Dog has the highest amount of protein of any of the foods reviewed, what’s good about it? This holistic dog food is advertised as incorporating fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and digestive enzymes to truly meet all of a dog’s nutritional requirements. The protein all comes from production plants inspected by the USDA, and the protein comes from multiple sources to provide a variety of amino acids. Probiotics include naturally occurring micro-organisms which can aid in digestion, and the food is free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial additives, and by-products.
There are about 420 calories in one cup of Artemis Maximal Dog, and a 50-pound dog should be fed between 2 and 2-3/4 cups per day. Best online price: $48.99 for a 30-pound bag at The Pet Online. ($1.64 per pound)
Orijen Adult Dog Formula
Orijen’s Adult Dog formula contains 38% protein, the great majority of which is from free-range chicken and turkey, eggs, and wild-caught fish. The fats incorporated into the food are from animal-based sources rather than plant-based. It is grain-free and contains just 25% carbohydrates, less than half of what is found in many foods available in the typical supermarket. The main thing that makes Orijen different from other foods is the inclusion of botanicals such as chicory root, marigolds, peppermint, and dandelion root, designed to support metabolism and rid the body of toxins.
There are about 460 calories in one cup of Orijen Adult Dog Formula, and a 50-pound dog should be fed 1-1/2 to 3-1/4 cups per day, depending on activity level. Best online price: $62.99 for a 29.7-pound bag at The Pet Health & Nutrition Center. ($2.12 per pound)
Blue Buffalo Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe
Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe includes protein from deboned salmon, menhaden fish meal, and chicken meal. Carbohydrates come from sweet potatoes and white potatoes, while blueberries, cranberries, and carrots provide anti-oxidants. The vitamins and minerals in Blue Buffalo brand foods are cold-processed into “LifeSource Bits”. These bits are then added to the kibble which was produced in a high-heat environment. The separation during the manufacturing process is important because heat processing can degrade some vitamins.
There are about 415 calories in one cup of Blue Buffalo Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe, and a 50-pound dog should be fed 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups per day. Best online price: $48.99 for a 24-pound bag at Pet Flow. ($2.05 per pound)
PetCurean Go Natural Grain Free Endurance
PetCurean raises the question of how much protein is too much? Their website states that many grain-free products contain such a high level of protein and fat that excessive strain is placed on the dog’s kidneys and liver in trying to rid the body of excessive proteins and fats. PetCurean has tried to strike a perfect balance by providing lower levels of protein and fat in a formula that is still grain-free. It appears that this is accomplished by adding a lot of fruits and vegetables to the mix to provide a carbohydrate-alternative to grains.
There are about 470 calories in one cup of PetCurean Go Natural Grain Free Endurance, and a 50-pound dog should be fed 1-3/4 to 2 cups per day, depending on activity level. Best online price: $43.99 for a 25-pound bag (on sale) at Hearty Pet. ($1.76 per pound)
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Formula
Taste of the Wild brand is the one that is most intriguing to me because they have formulas based on different types of protein sources. For example there is a wetlands formula that contains waterfowl, a Sierra Mountain formula with lamp protein, and a Pacific Stream formula with smoked salmon. Some of these have lower amounts of protein than the High Prairie formula that gets its protein from bison and venison. Taste of the Wild foods are grain-free and derive their carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables (sweet potatoes, peas, tomatoes, and a blend of berries in the High Prairie formula). Water used in the production process is purified by reverse osmosis to remove micro-organisms, and both organic and inorganic chemicals.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Formula contains 370 calories per cup, and a 50-pound dog should be fed 2-1/3 to 3 cups per day. Best online price: $22.99 for a 15-pound bag at Victoria’s All-Natural Pet Health. ($1.54 per pound)
So, which one is best?
Choosing between these high-quality brands (and others) can be a challenge, and really depends on your personal preference and price range. However, the really good thing is that you needn’t choose only one. There’s no harm in switching your dog’s food monthly, weekly or even daily. Your dog will appreciate the variety, and you may be able to shop for sales, reducing your overall cost.