Being able to provide adequate nutrition for your hunting dog is crucial for them to perform at their best. The right food will build lean muscle, provide endurance, and protect joints and ligaments from the strain. Hunting dogs are elite athletes, and if you want your dog to be successful, then they need to be provided with the best nutrition.
Did you know that a 50-pound, active hunting dog will burn up to 2,200 calories per day? Of course, not every dog has the same dietary needs because it depends on their metabolism, weight, and how much of their energy is being used. As such, we know that it is important for you to find a dog food that is ideal for your active dog. This review list of the top six best dog foods for hunting dogs is here to help. The buyer’s guide also provides considerations to keep in mind that will help you when making your final choice.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 6 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs — Reviews 2020
1. Holistic 22953 Select Natural Dry Dog Food — Best Overall
Holistic Select is a natural dog food formulated to support digestive health. It contains prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, natural fibers, and botanicals to provide a complete and balanced diet for your adult dog. The main ingredient is lamb meal, followed by oatmeal, peas, rice, and chicken fat.
It has plenty of protein and fat to provide energy for your active hunting dog, including 454 kcal/cup of food. There are plenty of fruits and veggies to provide the needed vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system and antioxidant-rich superfoods to support cellular health. We like that there are no fillers, meat by-products, or artificial flavors present in this formula. It is made in the U.S.A. and backed by the Holistic Select Guarantee, which offers your money back if you aren’t satisfied with the product.
On the downside, the kibbles are small and tend to break easily, causing there to be wasted food at the bottom of the bag.
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food — Best Value
This formula by Rachael Ray Nutrish is the best dog food for hunting dogs for the money because it offers balanced nutrition at an affordable price. The primary ingredient in this recipe is turkey and turkey meal, with a crude protein content of 26% and fat content of 8% minimum. The calorie content is 269 kcal/cup of food, which is adequate to maintain your hunting dog’s weight during the offseason when they aren’t as active or a good choice for your less-active senior hunting dog.
The formula has prebiotics to support digestion, cranberries for the immune system, and amino acids to support a healthy weight and metabolism. What this doesn’t include is fillers, by-product meal, wheat or wheat gluten, and artificial flavors and preservatives. It does not sit in our number-one spot because this formula is not as high in protein and fat as other formulas.
Purina Pro Plan Sport is ideal for performance dogs such as hunting dogs. It is suitable for all life stages and includes chicken as the main high-quality protein, followed by dried egg. The formula is 30% protein and 20% fat to fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle. It also has omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine to support joint health and mobility, as well as antioxidants to nourish the immune system and defend against free radicals.
It contains 30% crude protein, 20% crude fat, and 541 kcal/cup of food; these numbers show that it is perfect for performance dogs who need the extra energy. This formula is also grain free for those dogs who can’t tolerate grains, and there are no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
On the downside, the Purina Pro Plan is a pricier product, which is why it sits at number three on our reviews list. However, it is made in the U.S.A., and Purina offers a money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely happy with this dog food.
4. CRAVE Grain-Free Dry Adult Dog Food
Crave is another grain-free choice that has a high amount of protein and fat to suit your hunting dog. The protein is derived from lamb and venison and equals 34%, with a fat content of 17%. If that isn’t enough, the metabolizable energy is 472 kcal/cup, which is plenty for active dogs to maintain their stamina.
There are plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as chickpeas, split peas, and dried potatoes. There is no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat or soy protein, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The combination of animal and plant proteins is highly digestible, and your dog will love the flavor provided from the combination of lamb, chicken, and venison.
There are plenty of vitamins and minerals in this recipe to provide complete and balanced nutrition. On the downside, this food is not ideal for times of low activity because it has a high number of calories, protein, and fat. It is more suitable for training or during hunting season, when your dog is the most active and needs the extra energy in the form of calories and fat.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
This recipe by Blue Buffalo Wilderness using real bison as the main protein ingredient. It also has fish and beef meals with dried egg to increase the flavor and the amount of protein. It is ideal for dogs who have sensitivities to poultry and grain because it is free from both. The formula is appropriate for highly active adults because it has 30% crude protein and 15% crude fat at 386 kcal/per cup.
To support immune health for your hunting dog, this food has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients included in every bit, and the kibble is cold-formed to preserve potency. Glucosamine is present for healthy joints, while the precise blend of calcium, phosphorus, and other essential vitamins promotes strong bones and teeth.
Also included in this formula are peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, which are healthy complex carbohydrates that provide extra energy. There are also carrots, blueberries, and cranberries that deliver antioxidants for a healthy immune system. On the downside, some dogs don’t like the smaller vitamin and mineral kibble dispersed with the larger kibble.
6. VICTOR 2381 Hero Canine Dry Dog Food
Victor provides a formula that is ideal for adult dogs with allergies or sensitivities to grain, while remaining high in protein and fat to fuel their bodies for their active lifestyle. The crude protein equals 33% and crude fat 16%, with the primary sources being beef meal, chicken fat, and fish and blood meal. It offers 383 kcal/per cup of food.
Victor includes four core ingredients for a well-balanced diet. These include selenium yeast for a strong immune system, mineral complexes for healthy coat and skin, and prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health.
The food is made in Texas at a Victor-owned facility, and it meets all nutritional levels for an adult dog. The kibble is easy to chew and small in size so your hunting dog will enjoy the texture and the taste. On the downside, Victor Hero Canine is a pricier food, and there are few vegetables and no fruits used in this recipe.
When you are looking for the best food to feed your hunting dog, it can seem like a daunting task. There are many things to consider before making your final decision, and that’s what this buyer’s guide is about. It’s good to learn about what constitutes great dog food for your performance dog so you can provide them with the nutrition to stay healthy and vibrant throughout their life.
How much energy is consumed will depend upon more than one factor. Knowing your dog’s weight and activity level is a good starting point. A dog relaxing for most of the day won’t require as many calories as one out hunting in the cold weather. The colder the weather, the more calories will be needed.
Keep in mind that your hunting dog will require a different feeding schedule when they aren’t hunting in order to maintain their physique and keep them ready for the next hunt.
Like any human athlete, some dogs need a formula that is ideal for their food sensitivities. For instance, dogs can be sensitive to grains, poultry, poultry products, and other ingredients. It is good to know your dog and be aware of certain ingredients that can be troublesome.
Not all dogs have sensitivities or allergens to food, and this is one area where getting your veterinarian involved is ideal so they can guide you on the best ingredients for your dog or help you figure out if they have food sensitivities — or if it is something non-food related.
Each stage of life requires different levels of nutrients. Some formulas are suitable for all life stages, meaning that you can feed it from puppy to senior. Puppies grow fast and require plenty of nutritious food, while adult dogs still require the same nutrition but in smaller amounts. At the senior stage, most dogs aren’t as active and can develop food sensitivities, but they still need a nutritious diet to maintain overall health.
Ingredients to Avoid
Try to stay away from fillers, artificial colors and preservatives, and meat by-products. These ingredients don’t provide any valuable nutrients to your dog’s diet, and some can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, or other illnesses.
Tips for Feeding Your Hunting Dog
Hunting dogs put in many long hours during a hunt, and their bodies need the fuel to sustain them throughout the day. A good-quality dog food will help keep your dog performing its best.
Our top pick is Holistic Select because it is an all-natural dog food that contains high amounts of protein and fat yet remains highly digestible for active dogs. The best value is Rachael Ray Nutrish that is offered at an affordable price while providing balanced nutrition for your hunting dog. If the price isn’t a concern, the Purina Pro Plan Sport is an option that offers plenty of all-day energy for your high-performance dog.
We hope that our reviews list helps you find the best dog food for your hunting companion so you can both enjoy the day, and you can rest assured knowing your dog has the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy and vibrant throughout the hunting season.
Featured Image: Wolfgang Horvath from Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 6 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs — Reviews 2020
- Buyer’s Guide