Choosing the right dog food for your pet is a critical decision. The nutrients provide a solid foundation for your puppy’s growth and development. Likewise, the right product supports your pup’s continued good health. If your dog is allergic to beef or chicken, a diet with whitefish may be an excellent alternative to make sure he gets the protein he needs.
This ingredient isn’t as common in dog products as it is with cats. The first thing you may notice is that there are limited choices. Our guide will discuss the factors you should consider when comparing products. We’ll go over the things that make one food better than another. We’ve also included detailed reviews of several brands with pros and cons for each one.
Armed with this information, you can make an informed choice for your pet.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry||
|Best Overall||Diamond Naturals Whitefish & Sweet Potato Dog Food||
|Best for Puppies||Whole Earth Farms Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food||
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PW Canned Dog Food||
|Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals Grilled Ocean Whitefish Entree||
The 10 Best Whitefish Dog Foods – Reviews 2020
1. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food provides an excellent alternative for pups allergic to poultry sources. It contains two other fish sources that offer a fair amount of omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat. The product also has a lot of fruits and vegetables for additional nutritional support.
However, a few are so low on the ingredient list that the amount is probably small at best. The protein content is high at 34%, so your pet will likely stay sated longer. The fat comes in at 15%, probably because of the salmon and herring. The food also has probiotics to help your dog digest the food easier.
2. Diamond Naturals Whitefish & Sweet Potato Dog Food – Best Value
Our research found that Diamond Naturals Whitefish & Sweet Potato Dog Food is the best whitefish dog food for the money. It provides a lean source of protein at 335 calories per cup. Many of the other products we’ve seen lean more toward 400 calories. The protein content is adequate at 24%, along with 14% fat. There are also a host of added vitamins and minerals for nutritional support.
Like the previous product, this food contains probiotics to aid digestion. It has some filler ingredients like raspberries. However, they are higher on the list, offering more nutrition than comparable diets. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content are decent with the whitefish and flaxseed sources. The price is right, too.
3. Whole Earth Farms Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
Whole Earth Farms Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food is a bit of a misnomer since the fish is the tenth ingredient on the list. Salmon and chicken are the primary protein and fat sources. Together, they provide 26% and 14%, respectively. The product contains tapioca and apples to provide adequate fiber for better digestion.
The food includes probiotics and a variety of added nutrients. Unfortunately, legumes are also high on the list of ingredients that replace the grains. The product is formulated for all breeds of all sizes. The salmon and flaxseed provide excellent skin and coat support.
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PW Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PW Canned Dog Food is an excellent example of the manufacturer’s focus on tailored nutrition. This product provides a safe alternative to other meat sources for pups with sensitive digestive systems. Whitefish is the primary protein source with potatoes providing carbohydrates and bulk.
We liked the fact that the food has a minimal number of ingredients, making it easy for pet owners to find a food that their dog can handle. On the downside, you need a prescription to buy it. It’s also expensive. However, that’s often the case with specially prepared diets like this one.
5. Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals Grilled Ocean Whitefish Entree
Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals Grilled Ocean Whitefish Entree is an excellent choice if you have a finicky pet. It is highly palatable, albeit quite aromatic, too. Whitefish is the first ingredient, which we always like to see on these products. It also contains organ meats and chicken to up the protein content to 12%. Brown rice provides a plant-based protein source, along with fiber for improved digestion.
There are several added vitamins and minerals. We liked the fact that the manufacturer labeled them as such to help consumers understand the nutritional content. The food is expensive, which can certainly put it in the dealbreaker category. However, the tub makes it more user-friendly to use and store in between meals.
6. Purina Beyond Ocean Whitefish Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Purina Beyond Ocean Whitefish Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is the last of the wet products that we reviewed. While whitefish is listed first, there is also chicken and turkey for protein sources. Together, they provide 8% with 5% fat. This food also has minimal ingredients, with sweet potatoes providing the bulk and fiber. It is rich and maybe too heavy for some pets.
The product has adequate nutrition, but it does not include additional omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. The protein sources in the food don’t provide enough of these vital nutrients. However, it is highly palatable and will satisfy picky eaters.
7. Blackwood Whitefish Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Blackwood Whitefish Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is geared toward pets of this size, explaining why there is only one size available. However, it’s an expensive experience to see if your pet will like it. Whitefish is the first ingredient with brown rice, chicken, and duck, providing additional protein sources. While it provides an excellent fiber source, there are lots of fillers, too.
The protein content is decent at 24%. The fat percentage is a bit lower than we’ve seen in comparable products at 12%. That can make it easier for sensitive pups to digest. However, there are also some curious additions to the product, such as crushed red chili pepper. On the positive side, there is also glucosamine for joint support.
8. Health Extension Grain-Free Whitefish Recipe Dry Dog Food
Health Extension Grain-Free Whitefish Recipe Dry Dog Food is an interesting mix of buffalo and whitefish. It has a respectable 25% protein. Despite the lean meat sources, the fat content comes in at 15%, making it a bit rich for some pets. It has a lot of filler ingredients that left us scratching our heads, such as apple cider vinegar and dried seaweed.
Together, the mix provides 405 calories per cup, which is typically what we’ve seen for these types of dog food. The omega-6 fatty acid content is decent, too. It includes glucosamine for joint support, which we like to see in products for large breeds. On the downside, there are also a few problematic additions like chickpeas and lentils.
9. Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Adult Dry Dog Food
There is a lot of fluff in the description and labeling of the Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Adult Dry Dog Food. However, the ingredient list is one of the clearest we’ve seen with many of these products. Salmon, whitefish, and eggs provide 25% protein. The fat content tips the scales at 15% with the inclusion of chicken fat as another source.
The food also contains several problematic ingredients that are high on the list. It is expensive, although it comes in 4, 14, and 21-pound bags. While it has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids covered, it does not contain glucosamine for joint support even though it is for breeds of all sizes.
10. Zignature Whitefish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Zignature Whitefish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food starts well with listing its sources of whitefish. We appreciated the transparency in its labeling. Indeed, whitefish is the first ingredient. However, legumes come next, which is a red flag. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has the second highest number of heart disease cases associated with it, as identified by the FDA.
There are a limited number of additives. However, glucosamine is not on the list. On the positive side, the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content are decent. It also has a high protein percentage at 29%. The flavor of this food is primarily whitefish without a lot of other things to entice a finicky pet. It’s also expensive.
Most of the dog foods you’ll find on the market contain beef or poultry as their primary protein sources. They are relatively inexpensive and are easily digestible for most pups. However, one drawback is that they are sometimes too fatty, making them too rich for some pets. That’s where the value of a food with whitefish lies. Unlike salmon or tuna, it is lean. Also, some of the leading fisheries are USA-based.
Whenever you buy seafood, it’s essential to consider its impact on the environment and the fish’s population. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, whitefish is one of the better choices you can make. That’s especially true if it comes from the Great Lakes in either the United States or Canada. You may not always think about this aspect of buying dog food, but it’s important.
The other factors to consider are more practical issues involving the nutritional value of the product. Fortunately, there is an excellent resource to help you navigate the pet food aisle with the nutritional profiles of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). They are the gold standard for determining the quality of one commercial dog food over another.
These documents provide minimum and maximum values for the macronutrients like protein and fat, as well as recommendations for vitamins and minerals. You’ll find figures for both puppies and adult dogs because their nutritional needs will vary, depending on their life stage. Let’s delve into what you need to know to make an informed choice. The things we’ll cover include:
The AAFCO provides minimum values for protein and fat for both puppies and adult dogs. It further breaks them down by amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein. Dogs—and people—can produce some of the 20 compounds in their bodies. Canines require their diet to provide 10 of them. Meats are complete because they contain them all. However, you may see plant sources, too.
The nutritional profiles list percentages per kilogram of food. Puppies should get 22% protein and 8% fat. For adults, it is 18% and 5%, respectively. Often, manufacturers will exceed these figures. The justification for protein is that the pet will stay fuller longer so that you can feed them less. However, dogs still need an energy source, which fat provides. It is easy for your pet to digest and use.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Nutrients
The AAFCO gives ranges for the vitamins and minerals. The measurement varies with the nutrient. Some are listed in milligrams per kilogram, whereas others have IU or international units per kilogram. As with people, more isn’t necessarily better. Vitamins, for example, are either water or fat-soluble. The terms refer to the body’s ability to store them. The difference also speaks to the daily requirements.
Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. Dogs, and people can store these nutrients in our fat tissue. There is a risk if too much builds up in the body because it can become toxic. Vitamin A is a classic example. The nutritional adequacy statement on the label of the product provides this information. Look for food that implicitly states that they meet the requirements of the AAFCO.
Many products, especially boutique foods of this type, often contain other nutrients that may provide some additional health value. Glucosamine and flaxseed are popular additions. They are good for your pet’s skin, fur, and joint health. Other ingredients, such as green tree oil or other extracts, don’t add a lot to the quality of these products.
Wet vs. Dry
The question of wet versus dry dog food is a matter of preference. The latter is the overwhelming favorite of over 90 percent of new pet owners. It’s convenient and affordable. It’s also more environmentally friendly than canned products. However, these foods are quite palatable, making wet food an excellent choice for finicky pets.
Whichever type you buy, we suggest teaching your dog to eat promptly at mealtimes. Take up his food after 30 minutes. That’s especially important for canned foods, which can spoil quickly. We don’t endorse feeding your pet raw diets because of the risk of foodborne illnesses for both you and your pet. It is also the recommendation of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Pet foods must list all the ingredients on the label from most to least by weight. Of course, if you’re buying food specifically because it contains whitefish, it should appear close to the beginning. Don’t be put off by things like organ meats or by-products. Both are nutrient-rich sources. Likewise, many manufacturers add vitamins and minerals, often with their scientific name.
Many products also contain a variety of so-called people foods. It’s a natural segue from the humanization of the pet industry. However, it isn’t necessarily an indication of better quality. Instead, it’s marketing to sell you on a particular product. We’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on a disturbing occurrence that may have a connection to some canine diets.
Recently, the veterinary community has noticed a significant uptick in cases of a potentially life-threatening form of heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The condition causes the heart to weaken so that it can’t pump blood adequately. Veterinarians have noted a possible link between grain-free diets and cases in pets not genetically predisposed to it.
These findings have prompted the FDA to investigate the cause of DCM. There is also concern that ingredients that replace grains like legumes like peas may play a role. We recommend that if you have a dog with a greater propensity for this condition, such as a Doberman Pinscher that you discuss your pet’s diet with your vet.
Based on all our reviews, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food was the leader of the pack for the best product with whitefish. It’s the best choice we found for a product that is appropriate for pups with food allergies. Comparable ones have whitefish on the label but also contain other protein sources.
On the value side of the coin, Diamond Naturals Whitefish & Sweet Potato Dog Food stood head and shoulders above the rest. The product stood out as a leaner diet, while still providing adequate nutritional support. The cost savings are welcome, too. We also liked the fact that it is a family-run business.
Featured Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Whitefish Dog Foods – Reviews 2020
- 1. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food
- 2. Diamond Naturals Whitefish & Sweet Potato Dog Food – Best Value
- 3. Whole Earth Farms Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
- 4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PW Canned Dog Food
- 5. Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals Grilled Ocean Whitefish Entree
- 6. Purina Beyond Ocean Whitefish Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
- 7. Blackwood Whitefish Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
- 8. Health Extension Grain-Free Whitefish Recipe Dry Dog Food
- 9. Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Adult Dry Dog Food
- 10. Zignature Whitefish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide