Best Grain Free Dog Food: Reviewed for 2021

Published: August 6, 2021

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When you’re serious about grain-free dog food for allergies or any other reason, you need to know what your best options are. If you’re looking for options for large breeds, puppies, or for senior dogs, grain-free food may be just what you need. There are so many grain-free options that, regardless of whether you feed wet food or dry food, you have excellent chances of finding something your dog will just love, to the last bite.

Since there are so many great options that you can take advantage of for the money. We’ve put together a list that we’re sure will help you in your search. Hopefully, our reviews will help you find the perfect grain-free food, regardless of whether you’re looking for the most affordable option or to splurge. In addition to finding the best overall choice, we’ll also answer some questions you might have.

The Top Picks for Grain Free Dog Food, Ranked

CRAVE Grain Free Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with Protein from Salmon and Ocean Fish, 22 lb. Bag
  • Contains one (1) 22 lb. bag of CRAVE High Protein Adult Grain Free With Protein from White Fish and Salmon All Natural Dog Food Plus Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Nutrients
  • Inspired by the diets of their wolf ancestors, CRAVE adult dog food is made with real ingredients including high-quality animal protein and the full meaty flavor dogs love
  • Satisfies a dog's natural desire for animal protein with real white fish as the first ingredient
  • Supports a strong, lean body with 34% high protein
  • Dry grain free dog food recipe formulated with no corn, wheat, or soy and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and zero grain
  • A Flavor That Dogs Love: Do you want a food with a flavor that dogs just love? Prefer to avoid ingredients your dog doesn’t enjoy? This grain-free food is a flavor that your dog is certain to love!
  • Let Your Dog Eat Like a Wolf: This dog food has the ingredients that are closest to what your dog’s wolf ancestors would have eaten
  • High Protein For Your Dog’s Needs: Contains 34% protein to keep your dog healthy and strong
  • A Quality List of Ingredients: Besides being grain-free, this food is free from artificial flavors and colors, as well as preservatives. Grain-free carbohydrate sources like pea flour give your dog energy.
  • Complete Nutritional Needs for All Sizes: This food has complete nutrition for dogs of all sizes

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein has earned A-Z Animals #1 position for overall grain-free dog food.

Grain-free dog food real meat as an ingredient is often more satisfying for dogs. Dogs will have varying food needs as they age, and various life circumstances or health issues may impact how much your dog eats. We recommend CRAVE Grain Free High Protein for that reason.

In testing, dogs of all ages and sizes readily ate this food and enjoyed it. Knowing that your dog will enjoy healthy food should give you greater peace of mind about your choice.

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein has some of the healthier ingredients available in dry food. These ingredients include:

  • White Fish
  • Salmon Meal
  • Lentils
  • Split Peas
  • Pea Starch

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein is free of grains that many prefer not to have in dog food, including:

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy

CRAVE products also use sustainable packaging that uses a more efficient shape, less water, and allows less air inside the bag. Fewer carbon emissions because the packaging helps make the company more responsible. Very few customers have had complaints about this food. We think that dog owners have a greater appreciation for the high-quality ingredients that this food contains that leads to satisfaction.

In short, CRAVE Grain Free High Protein has earned our #1 spot for:

  • High-quality ingredients that include salmon and white fish
  • A high protein content that meets your dog’s nutritional needs
  • Well-rounded to meet the needs of dogs of different sizes
  • Free from grains like corn, soy, and wheat
  • Suitable for large breeds, for puppies, and for senior dogs

Click here to check out CRAVE Grain Free High Protein.

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain Free and Limited Ingredient with Superfoods (Beef, 1.0 lb)
  • HIGH PROTEIN, NUTRIENT DENSE: Authentic whole-prey ratios, featuring 96% free-range Beef, Organs, Bone, and New Zealand Green Mussels. Safely air-dried ingredients deliver peak nutrition and mouth-watering taste for the pickiest dogs.
  • GRAIN-FREE, LOW CARB: Limited Ingredient (L.I.D) premium dog food without added carbohydrates, ideal for food sensitive dogs. NO cheap fillers such as grain, potato or peas, which are linked to obesity, food allergies, and other health concerns.
  • 10% SUPERFOOD BOOST: Cold-washed Green Tripe, New Zealand Green Mussels, and Organic Kelp; holistic ingredients to support digestion, healthy skin and coat, joint health, reduce inflammation, and promote heart and brain health.
  • TOPPER or COMPLETE MEAL for ALL LIFE STAGES: Perfect as a topper for a nutrition and flavor boost, and ideal as a complete meal for peak nutrition and health; optimized from puppy to senior dogs, including small and large dog breeds.
  • ETHICAL and SUSTAINABLE: ZIWI sources only 100% free-range, grass-fed, grass-finished meats, and wild-caught seafoods, all from New Zealand farms and pristine oceans. Farmed without added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants.
  • High-protein formula dense in nutrients that include free-range beef
  • Limited ingredients make this food perfect for dogs with sensitivities
  • Contains superfoods that reduce inflammation and boost overall health
  • A perfect food both for puppies, for senior dogs, and all stages in between
  • Crafted using ethical and sustainable methods

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food is A-Z Animal’s top pick for allergies in dogs.

You won’t find many things for allergies that beat ZIWI Peak. The ingredients include New Zealand beef that is 96% free-range, New Zealand Green Mussels, bone, and organ meat. Organic kelp and green tripe, along with the New Zealand Green Mussels, give dogs a superfoods boost of 10%. Dogs will enjoy better brain and heart health, less inflammation, better digestion, and improved joint, skin, and coat health.

This affordable dry food has limited ingredients that never include added carbohydrates. There are no fillers, such as peas, potatoes, or grains, that are never good for dogs living with allergies.

One of the advantages of this food is that it is versatile enough for complete nutrition or used as a topper for wet food. In addition to being an excellent high-protein choice for large breeds, it is ideal for puppies as well as for senior dogs.

A significant point that appealed to us was grass-fed, free-range meat and wild-caught seafood. The meat is free of antibiotics, growth agents, and hormones, and we think this we appeal to others as it did to us.

Some have reported problems with the bag not being as fresh as they preferred. Also, a few dogs have gotten ill with digestive upsets.

Click here to check out ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food

Purina ONE Grain Free, Natural Pate Wet Dog Food, SmartBlend True Instinct With Real Turkey & Venison - (12) 13 oz. Cans
  • Twelve (12) 13 Oz. Can - Purina One Smartblend True Instinct Natural Classic Ground Grain-Free Formula With Real Turkey & Venison Adult Wet Dog Food
  • Real Poultry Is The #1 Ingredient
  • Features Real Venison And Other High-Quality Ingredients
  • Contains No Poultry By-Products
  • Four Antioxidant Sources Help Support His Immune System

If you’re in search of wet food to meet the requirements for your dog’s grain-free diet, we recommend Purina ONE Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Dog Food.

  • Appealing formula: Turkey and venison formula appeals to dogs of all ages
  • High-quality: This food features only high-quality ingredients with no by-products
  • Excellent immune system support: Contains four antioxidant ingredients to give your dog a healthier immune system
  • Easily digestible: The wet food format is easy for your dog to digest

This food is an excellent value for the money because of the turkey and venison formula. Besides including real venison, the food is also free of poultry by-products, something that we always consider a benefit in dog food.

We enjoyed knowing that this food is antioxidant-rich. One of the things that can impact your dog’s overall health is its immune system. Whether you’re choosing the affordable path or looking to splurge, you can be sure that an antioxidant-rich food will benefit your pet’s immune health.

Some dogs have sensitive stomachs that are unable to manage kibble well or have dental issues. Wet food can quickly fix this problem by allowing for easier digestion and less wear on the teeth. When we tested this food, it was easy to see how quickly dogs ate it.

A few have reported finding small pieces of bone in the food, which can be a severe safety hazard for puppies or smaller dogs. Some have also reported dogs vomiting after eating this food.

Click here to check out Purina ONE Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Dog Food

Is Grain Free Food Best for my Dog?

Whether grain-free food is best for your dog will depend on several factors. Some dogs are very sensitive or allergic to grains like corn, wheat, or soy. When this is the case, you want to choose a food that is free from these common irritants.

Although commonly chosen for allergies, there are other reasons owners may decide grain-free food is the best option for the money. Many owners prefer to avoid ingredients that their dog may not digest very well. Others may feel that grains are not natural for dogs to eat.

Deciding whether you want to splurge on high-quality grain-free food or even a more affordable option is always a good choice if you want to try out a new food for your dog.

Why Ingredients Make a Difference in Grain Free Dog Food

Although grain-free foods avoid grain-based ingredients, they are not free from carbohydrates. Sometimes, the alternatives that are used are higher in carbohydrates than the products that have grains. Reading the nutritional information is always helpful.

Some breeds have higher protein requirements than others. Checking the nutritional information to see the balance of carbohydrates and protein will help you determine if the food meets your dog’s needs.

The DCM Issue and Grain Free Food

There has been a concern in recent years that grain-free dog food has been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM. Although there have been cases of dogs on grain-free diets developing DCM, there has been no definitive link found. Experts suggest ensuring that dogs get food nutritionally complete for their breed and life stage.

People opting to switch their dog to a grain-free diet should feel optimistic about the food’s safety. Most dogs will take to one of these diets very quickly. One of the things that you can expect is better overall health.

The Different Types of Grain Free Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared

The answer to what is the best grain-free dog food will depend on your dog’s needs. Check out the pros and cons list below, which will help you in making your decision.

A broad variety of brands and formulas to choose from Some brands use only a limited variety of protein sources
Available as either wet food or dry food Not all brands have wet and dry options
Foods available in all price ranges Some find grain-free food considerably more expensive than other varieties
Excellent for dogs with skin allergies Alternative carbohydrates in some foods ma

Last update on 2021-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Grain Free Dog Food: Reviewed for 2021 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best grain-free dog food?

The best grain-free dog food is CRAVE Grain Free High Protein, which uses ingredients closest to what wolves consume in the wild.

What is the best dry grain-free dog food?

The best dry grain-free dog food is ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food, which is also one of the top foods for dogs with allergies and in a convenient dry formula.

What is the best grain-free dog food for puppies?

The best grain-free dog foods for puppies are ZIWI Peak and Purina ONE Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Dog Food, both of which can easily meet the nutritional needs of puppies.

Why do dogs need grain free dog food?

Dogs may need grain-free dog food if they have skin allergies or sensitivities to certain grain ingredients found in food that contains grain.

Is grain-free food a better option for dogs?

Grain-free food may not necessarily be healthier, depending on what carbohydrates are substituted for other ingredients.

Why is grain-free bad for dogs?

Some relatively isolated incidents have resulted in dogs on grain-free diets developing dilated cardiomyopathy, a severe heart condition.

What are some cons of grain-free food?

Less active dogs may gain weight eating grain-free foods, the carbohydrate amount might be high, and these foods are more expensive overall.

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