For most dogs, a salmon dinner is right up there with a good scratch and a new tennis ball. Salmon provides your pup with a lot of essential nutrients they need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Choosing this protein-packed ingredient is one of the best dietary choices you can make for your pet.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, if you have not been down the pet food aisle in a while, you may have forgotten the shocking number of brands, flavors, and verities of available pooch food; not to mention what you can find online.
This is where we come in! Out of all the different dog foods containing salmon, we have come up with a list of the ten best options. Check out which ones have the best ingredients, taste, and nutrients below, plus a rundown of the most important ingredients you should be looking for in pet food.
A Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Salmon Dog Foods
1. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
The first runner up on our list is the Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food. This option comes in either a 15 or 30-pound bag, and it is made of wild-caught salmon and high-quality protein. This delicious food is good for pups at any stage of life, plus it contains holistic ingredients including fruits and vegetables.
This formula is made without grains for dogs with sensitive skin and coats. On the other hand, it does contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics. Your pet will easily digest their meals, along with maintaining a healthy weight, lean strong muscles, and a shiny healthy coat. The hypoallergenic ingredients are tasty and will help keep your dog’s immune system strong.
Overall, this brand is the best salmon dog food for allergies. The dry food is easy to chew, contains no wheat or corn fillers, artificial colors or flavors, and has zero preservatives, to keep your pup energized and strong.
2. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food- Best Value
Our next formula is the best salmon dog food for the money. This brand has a rich mixture of ancient whole grains, nutrients, proprietary probiotics, plus the main ingredient, salmon. This dog food is an appetizing meal, and nutritious enough to give your pup all the stuff they need to be healthy and happy.
To promote sustainable fishing, this brand uses a mixture of wild-caught and farmed salmon that is smoked for an even better taste. Naturally containing omega fatty acids and proteins, it will give your pup a healthy coat and lean strong muscles and bones.
Beyond that, there are no artificial colors or flavors within this formula. You will also not find any fillers, preservatives, or any other harmful ingredients. Your pet will be able to ingest this dry food with ease, not to mention, they will be able to digest the food easily.
Great for all stages of life, this is a nutritious option for your pal. The only drawback to be aware of is the grain content, which can be harder for pups with sensitivities to handle. Beyond that, though, this is a great food for your pup.
The number three spot is the best grain-free salmon dog food available. As it falls in our premium category, this brand is more expensive up front, but it provides benefits that other options do not have. For example, this formula is made of ten simple and natural ingredients to keep your dog healthy and strong.
As we mentioned, this option does not have any grains including wheat, corn, or soy, making it a great meal for pooches with stomach issues. What it does have is antioxidants, probiotics, and plenty of protein that promotes life longevity. You also have the choice of four formulas depending on your pet’s age.
Besides grain, this pet food also has no artificial colors or flavors. It is made with whole foods and lacks any harsh preservatives and other nasty input. There are two things to be aware of, however. First, grains contain important nutrients that dogs need to stay strong. If your pup does not suffer from sensitivities, you should keep this in mind. Secondly, this food tends to create bad breath and even worse, gas in some dogs, so…be advised. Other than that, this is a great salmon based dog food for your pet.
4. Natural Balance Dry Dog Food
Moving on we have a salmon-based food that comes in three different sizes to fit your needs. This is another grain-free option that does not contain any artificial colors or flavors. The formula uses limited ingredients to keep your pup healthy, too. Not to mention, your pet will thrive with the abundance of protein, and the natural fibers promote healthy digestion.
This brand uses a mix of sweet potatoes and salmon to give your pet the vitamins and carbohydrates that promote a shiny strong coat and skin. You want to note that this option is not as high in probiotics and antioxidants as our top three choices, however. Also, although it is a smaller concern, salmon is the second ingredient to sweet potato, plus they add other fish meals to make up the formula.
Beyond that, this dog food is a great source of nutrients to keep your pup healthy. Recommended for adult dogs, the bits are easy to consume for all breeds, and there are no preservatives included in the food.
5. Wag Amazon Brand Dry Dog Food
The Wag is our next dry food up for discussion. The formula of this brand is constructed of salmon and other ingredients to give your pet a healthy blend of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. There are also no grains included in the food such as wheat, corn, or soy.
Besides grains, this option does not have any preservatives and colors or flavors that are not natural. With that being said, be advised that salmon and salmon meal are the first two ingredients. Salmon “meal” can be any number of fish parts, so the percentage of nutrient-rich meat is unknown. Also, many of the ingredients are considered “fillers” as they do not provide enough nutritional value for your pet.
Nevertheless, you do have the option of a 15 or 30-pound bag, or you can let your pup try it out with a 5-pound tester bag. Your pet will find this meal appetizing, and they will be able to chew it easily at any stage of life or breed size.
The only other issue to be aware of is the transition time. Although you should always transition your dog from one food to another, this particular dog food may take longer than other types. Plus, your pooch may have stomach problems while they are switching over.
6. Purina 381445 Adult Dry Dog Food
Continuing on to the next salmon dog food, we have the Purina shredded blend. This option is a mix of hard kibble-like chunks and softer shredded pieces that pups find very tasty. The ingredients indicate salmon first, plus it contains many other vitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants to create a healthy meal.
Besides the salmon and good stuff, this food contains rice, soy, and poultry by-product, which you should be aware of in case of stomach trouble. Although wheat and rice have nutritional value, it is not recommended for pets with sensitive tummies or allergies. Further, this brand is best consumed by adult dogs.
You also want to note that this food features guaranteed live-probiotics to keep your pups digestive tract working well; however, they are last on the list. That being said, the antioxidants provide a great immune system boost, as well. Nevertheless, this food does contain some preservatives.
7. Merrick 38380 GF Dog Food
The Merrick is another grain-free dog food that is available in 4, 12, or 25-pound bags. This pup meal is made with deboned salmon, along with sweet potatoes and other vitamin-rich ingredients. Your pooch will benefit from omega-3 fatty acids to keep their skin and coat healthy. What’s more, this is a great option for older dogs, as it contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help with joints.
The real whole foods formula does not have any fillers, preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, or gluten to keep your pet’s stomach working well. What this option is low on is the proprietary probiotics that help with digestion, though. Some pups have a hard time processing this food, and it can cause stomach issues.
Also, you want to note that this dog food is higher in fat than others, as well as its fair share of fish and salmon meal. Furthermore, peas are the main ingredient that holds little nutritional value for your furry pal. Finally, this product is recommended for adult dogs only.
8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Protein Dry Dog Food
This next product is high in protein and made of deboned salmon, along with other nutrients and vitamins that will help your pooch live a healthier life. For example, this formula has good levels of fiber and healthy fats that promote lean muscles and healthy coats.
Although the ingredients are wholesome, be aware that this is not a limited formula, and it contains a lot of additional supplements. While that is not a bad thing, it does decrease the natural products in the food. What’s more, the brand claims to be chicken by-product free, yet it contains chicken meal as the second ingredient on the list.
Beyond that, this is another option that can be harder to digest for some dogs. It has a lower amount of probiotics, plus it can be harder on the stomach. You want to make sure your pup has a long transition time. Also, this is an adult dog formula that is not recommended for pets with teeth issues as the bits can be hard to chew. To give some credit, however, there is no corn, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.
9. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
In the second to last spot is a salmon, sweet potato, and pumpkin recipe that is free of corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colors or flavors. The brand also claims not to use chicken by-products, however like the review above, poultry fat along with salmon meal are listed. This option also has preservatives which can cause your pal some side effects.
This pet food is made for adult dogs and all breeds, yet the kernels are small; therefore, you need a lot more than normal to satisfy larger pets. It’s also important to note that the bits are harder and can be tough on soft teeth.
On a brighter note, this brand is easy to digest as it contains its fair share of fiber. Interestingly, though, many pups are not crazy about this flavor. Whether it’s the pumpkin flavor or some other deterrent, it is not a top meal in the pooch community.
10. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food
The last salmon dog food up for review comes from the kitchen of Rachael Ray. This salmon and sweet potato dinner is grain-free with no artificial colors or flavors. It also does not contain any preservatives or fillers. This option is full of vitamins and healthy ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle.
The issue with this product, however, is centered on the fact that the formula is not conducive to dog health. Although the ingredients sound great, it does not lend well to digestion, nor does it promote lean and strong muscles for canines. For example, this recipe is lacking in probiotics and essential antioxidants for your pup’s well-being.
Another concerning issue, as we have seen in some of the options above, is the claim that there are no chicken by-products. However, in this case, poultry fat is listed as an ingredient. Not to mention, chicken flavoring is an interesting flavor in a salmon flavored dog food.
A big drawback of this product is two-fold. First, the average pup does not like it and will not eat the food. Second, this formula has a very strong odor of fish which is overwhelming. Whether the smell is off-putting to dogs is not clear, but it can stink up your home. Overall, this is our least favorite option for salmon dog food.
Important Things To Know About Salmon Dog Food
When it comes to salmon dog food (and dog food altogether) there can be some tricky information out there. First and foremost though, if you are changing from one dog food to another, you always want to give your pup some transition time.
To do this, slowly add some of the new food in with the old. Watch your pet for signs of digestive trouble, and continue increasing the new food and decreasing the old food as long as your pooch is stomaching the product well.
Besides transitioning time, however, there are some factors you should know when looking over different options. Take a look at the list below on some of the most important dog food topics.
- Ingredient lists: First, you should be aware that the FDA does not require pre-market approval for dog food, yet they do make sure the ingredients are safe and have a legitimate purpose in the formula. The FDA also requires all manufacturers to provide ingredient lists on all products. There are several other requirements you can check out
Ingredients are listed by the most concentrated ingredient on top to the least amount at the end. For example, if a dog food claims to be made with fresh salmon yet salmon is last on the list, there is very little fish in the food.
- Split Ingredients: You also want to be aware of something called “split ingredients”. Brands are required to list ingredients by pre-cooked weight. To make a “good ingredient” more elevated on the list, lower quality items in the recipe can be split. For example, if the food is made of 60 percent peas and 40 percent salmon, a brand could potentially split the peas into different fragments such as pea meal, pea flour, and pea extract. By doing that, each fragment will have a lower weight thus making the salmon the more concentrated product.
The best way to spot this trick is to look for one ingredient on the list that appears in many forms. Outside of that, you want to concentrate closely on the top six to ten ingredients. This is where the bulk of the formula will be; which is also why limited ingredient products are so popular.
- “Meal” Ingredients: Meat “meal” can be attached to pretty much every protein. If you check your labels, chances are you will see something like salmon meal, chicken meal, etc. This can be a complicated issue, though. Meal can potentially be a good thing or bad thing depending on the brand and manufacturer. The term “meal” means it is a more concentrated form of the meat, and it contains less moisture than fresh meat.
Here’s the problem with “meal”, though; Let’s say it’s salmon “meal” we are dealing with. If the brand used the filets, steaks, and other nutritious parts of the fish, the resulting “meal” will be packed with good stuff. As the “meal” has less moisture, that good stuff will also be more concentrated, and can be better for your pup than actual meat.
On the other hand, if the “meal” is made of the scales, bones, and other undesirable parts that nutrition level plummets. The difficulty is determining which part of the salmon is being used. Terms such as “human grade”, for example, are not recognized by the FDA, so they can be used at will. Thus the “meal” problem continues. As a general rule, though, natural products tend to have better “meal”.
- Grain: Many of the reviews above feature grain-free formulas. It is a common misconception that grains such as wheat are bad for your pet. This is untrue. Ingredients (like wheat) have a lot of nutritional value for your pup. The exception is when your dog has sensitivities or allergies to the ingredients. What you want to stay away from, however, is white flour.
- Other Ingredients: There are four important ingredients you want to look for in a dog food formula; protein, probiotics, antioxidants, and fiber. Protein helps your pup stay strong and energized, while probiotics help with digestion and boost the immune system.
Antioxidants are great for overall health, plus they take care of the skin and fur. Lastly, fiber is another digestion aid, and it keeps bacteria from growing within your pet’s organs. Beyond that, you should look for vitamins, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients that will aid your pet in a healthy lifestyle.
What To Avoid When Shopping For Salmon Dog Food
Although we would love to break down every single important ingredient in salmon dog food, we all have to work, sleep, and most importantly play with our pups. To keep things simple, here is a list of things you should avoid in pet food:
- Artificial flavors and colors
- White flour
- Meat or meat meal (unnamed/unidentified meat products)
- Corn Syrup
- Xylitol (sugar alcohol)
- Propylene glycol
- Chicken by-products
There are many other ingredients that are not good for your pup, but these are the worst ones you should be on the lookout for to keep your furry pal healthy and safe.
We hope you have enjoyed the reviews above, and they have helped you choose a healthy salmon dish for your furry friend. We know the possibilities are endless, so having a firm understanding of what is good and what is not is crucial for your pet’s health and well being.
If you need a quick dinner, definitely try out our number one choice the Diamond Naturals 9423-30-DND Dry Dog Food which is the best overall option available. On the other hand, if you need a cost-efficient tasty meal for your salmon loving pal, try the Taste of the Wild 9672 High Protein Dry Dog Food. It will give you the best bark for your buck.
Written By Shannon MacDevine
Featured image credit: Salmon, Gwen, Flickr
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 10 Best Salmon Dog Foods
- 1. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
- 2. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food- Best Value
- 3. CANIDAE Real Salmon Dog Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Natural Balance Dry Dog Food
- 5. Wag Amazon Brand Dry Dog Food
- 6. Purina 381445 Adult Dry Dog Food
- 7. Merrick 38380 GF Dog Food
- 8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Protein Dry Dog Food
- 9. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 10. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide