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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This 2022 – Top Picks & Reviews

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food

Caring for a dog requires one’s time, effort, resources, and lots of love. And one way to ensure that your canine companion is getting a complete and balanced diet is by giving him the best vet recommended dog food that he likes.

At the end of the day, food should be palatable and should be approved by your pet; because if not, he won’t eat it, too. So, all the nutrients won’t even stand a chance of gracing your dog’s system.

Whether you are a first-time pet parent, you’ve been adopting rescued dogs for a while, or you have an American Kennel Club-certified pups waiting for you at home, providing your pets with good dog nutrition, a cozy place to snooze, and showering them with much love and affection, is a huge responsibility.

And to help lighten the load you are carrying on your shoulder, we’ve made a list of the best vet-recommended dog foods that you can try today.

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How Can You Say That a Dog Food is Good?

The majority of dog owners feed their pets dry kibble or canned wet food. These processed meals may not appeal to us, but they contain the nutrients dogs need to maintain their health.

Commercially crafted dog foods are strictly regulated and have undergone rigorous testing from veterinarians and veterinarian specialists.

But what is exactly in these foods? Unlike cats, dogs are not strict carnivores. Although meat is most important in a dog's diet, there are still other nutritional sources for your canine buddy such as cereals, fruit, and vegetables.

These non-meat foods are not simply additives or fillers to his diet, but they can be valuable sources of important vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Hence, we can say that the best dog foods contain meats, vegetables, grains, and fruit that are appropriate for your dog's system.

OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR BEST VET-RECOMMENDED DOG FOODS

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 2
  • Features real lamb
  • Boosted with omega fatty acids
  • Made without poultry by-products
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 3
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 4
  • Customizable meals
  • Added Fruits & Veggies
  • 50% off First Order
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 2
  • Diet plan customization
  • Formulated by Vet nutritionists
  • 50% OFF first order
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →

How to Properly Read a Dog Food Label?

One way to differentiate a good dog food from a bad one is by reading the label. But it is not easy as it sounds considering dog food labels can be very difficult to read due to the small size of the text and holding a large bag of pet food in the pet store can be a bit awkward. Also, labels are often misleading, as explained in Merck Veterinary Manual.

Pet food companies are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have dog food labels on their products, to tell dog owners eight key pieces of information:

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  • Product name
  • Net weight of the product
  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • Guaranteed analysis
  • List of ingredients
  • Intended animal species (i.e. dog or cat)
  • Statement of nutritional adequacy
  • Feeding guidelines

Aside from these, individual US states may or may not have additional labeling requirements.

Product Name

Usually, the name tells us what's inside the pack. When you see the term “beef,” it means that beef must be 70% of the food's content.

The terms “beef dinner,” “beef appetizers,” and “beef trays” require that beef constitutes a proportion (at least 10%) of the total product.

If it says “with beef,” the product must contain at least three percent beef. In addition, “beef flavor” simply indicates that beef in a given product will flavor it (under 3%). Similar is true with other names such as chicken.

Ingredients

The ingredients listed on a dog food label will neither tell the quality of the ingredients nor where they came from. And some producers are splitting ingredients for a more balanced distribution.

For a specific corn species (e.g. fried hay corn and fried corn kibbled corn) are listed separately. Doing this lowers corn from the ingredients table, even if there is a high amount of corn present in the particular food. Meats also have some problems.

Whole meat contains high levels of liquid water weight which means that the actual percentage of meat after processing is lower than it appears. On the other hand, despite its negative image to a lot of pet parents, “meat meal” contains more meat than “whole meat” because it doesn't have a water weight to consider.

Again, while the list of ingredients won't tell you the quality of the ingredients, it does tell you what's in the food. This is a good starting point when choosing the right dog food for your pup, especially if your dog has special dietary restrictions or food sensitivities. It is also helpful for pet owners who want to give their dogs specific sources of proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates.

“Complete and Balanced” Dog Foods

It's important to look at food labels the statement saying that “Name of Product” is formulated to meet the nutrient profiles established in AAFCO. This isn't just a mere commercial slogan to lure potential buyers.

AAFCO has strict requirements to ensure that pet food is indeed complete and balanced when consumed as a dog's only food source.

For a dog food to be complete and balanced, it should contain minimum amounts of essential nutrients, which can also be seen in the label's “guaranteed analysis.” The figures give a minimum quantity of raw protein, and fat, along with the maximum quantity of water and crude fiber.

Best Vet Recommended Dog Foods

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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 7
Nom Nom
  • Customizable meals
  • Added Fruits & Veggies
  • 50% off First Order
Check Price Here!
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 8
The Farmer's Dog
  • Diet plan customization
  • Formulated by Vet nutritionists
  • 50% OFF first order
Check Price Here!
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 9
Ollie
  • Created by canine nutritionist
  • Made from fresh, natural ingredients
  • 60% off first order
Check Price Here!
Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 10
Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  • Crafted with natural ingredients
  • Slow-cooked with a tasty turkey flavor
  • Designed to support your dog’s sensitive stomach
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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 11
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small
  • Meets high energy needs
  • An exclusive kibble design
  • Specifically made for small dogs
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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 12
Purina Pro Plan High Protein Shredded Blend
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics
  • Hard kibble combined with tender, shredded pieces
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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 13
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
  • Crafted without corn, wheat or soy
  • Features real, nutrient-rich salmon
  • Fortified with live probiotics and prebiotic fiber
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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 14
Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Ground Healthy Puppy
  • Features real lamb
  • Boosted with omega fatty acids
  • Made without poultry by-products
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Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 15
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eyes
  • No corn, wheat, soy or chicken (or poultry) by-product meals
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  1. Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food
  2. The Farmer's Dog Fresh Pet Food
  3. Ollie Fresh Pet Food
  4. Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
  5. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small
  6. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Shredded Blend
  7. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
  8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Ground Healthy Puppy
  9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy
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1. Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food

Rating: 5/5

First 5 ingredients: Depends on the recipe you choose

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 16

Nom Nom is a fresh pet food delivery service that creates and delivers custom meal plans based on your dog’s breed, age, weight, activity level, dietary restrictions, and other special needs.

All of their recipes are made by their board certified veterinary nutritionists, so, you can breathe well knowing that your dog is getting a complete and balanced diet each meal.

Nom Nom is the one you are waiting for if you’ve been wanting to serve fresh food to your pet, but you are hesitant to do it on your own, or you are a bit loaded with your work. As of writing, they are offering four tasty recipes your pup will surely love: Beef Mash, Chicken Cuisine, Pork Potluck, and Turkey Fare.

What’s more, all of these recipes are made using high quality ingredients that are sourced from trusted and reliable U.S. growers and suppliers.

Each recipe is also crafted to the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles. Plus, they prep all of their meals at their facilities in Nashville and California.

Pros:

  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • Customized meal plans based on life stages, weight, dietary restrictions, and other special needs
  • All recipes are crafted by board-certified veterinary nutritionists
  • Comes in convenient, single-serve recyclable packaging
  • Made in the USA
  • 50% off on your first order
  • Variety Pack available if you want to try each recipe first

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited recipes, which can be a problem for picky eaters
  • Needs to be refrigerated

2. The Farmer's Dog

Rating: 4.8/5

First 5 ingredients: Depends on the recipe you choose

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 17

The Farmer’s Dog is a great option for pet parents who want less expensive fresh dog food for their canine companions. But of course, this is still more expensive than kibbles.

For commercial dry dog food from a decent mass-market dog food company, you will spend around $1 per day for a 25-pound dog. On the other hand, for The Farmer’s Dog, you will spend $4 to $5 per day for the same 25-pound dog.

But again, remember that you are feeding your pup fresh dog food if you go with this brand. Just like Ollie and Nom Nom, The Farmer’s Dog is a subscription-based company that delivers ready-to-serve meals that come in biodegradable packs.

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What’s more, all of their meals are crafted by a veterinary nutritionist using human-grade ingredients and are gently steamed to retain the food’s nutritional value.

Each of their four tasty and nutritious recipes – turkey, beef, pork, and chicken – are also packed with a healthy blend of fiber from fresh, whole vegetables.

And that’s not all, to ensure that your pup gets a complete and balanced meal, each recipe is also incorporated with supplemental nutrients such as fish oil.

All of their meals are also prepared in small batches in their USDA-approved cooking units to ensure your pup’s safety and optimal nutrition.

Pros:

  • Customized, pre-portioned meals
  • More affordable than other fresh dog food brands
  • Vet-crafted recipes and made in USDA-inspected kitchens
  • Recipes exceed the industry standard for dog food (AAFCO)
  • 50% off your first purchase
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Ships to 48 states
  • Offers a flexible trial option

Cons:

  • Requires subscription
  • You need to portion out each meal from the pouch
  • Needs refrigerator space

3. Ollie

Rating: 5/5

First 5 ingredients: Depends on the recipe you choose

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 18

Ollie believes that your dog’s happiness and longevity start with what he eats – and meals that are made using premium human-grade ingredients and healthy cooking techniques lead to the best dog nutrition.

Ollie’s healthy, all-natural human grade dog food is perfectly pre-portioned depending on your dog’s caloric requirements and dietary restrictions.

Doing so ensures that your pup gets the essential nutrients that they need, and you can see the visible results for yourself – like a shinier coat, improved energy and stamina, and better digestion.

Ollie’s fresh foods are safe enough for humans to consume, and each tasty meal is vet-crafted without the use of fillers, and artificial flavors.

And each recipe is gently cooked to preserve the nutrients of each premium ingredient. So, each bite from their four tasty and nutritious recipes (Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb) is not only exploding with flavors, but also of beneficial nutrients.

Pros:

  • Vet-crafted pre-portioned custom meals using human-grade ingredients
  • Minimally-processed
  • Prepared in the USA
  • All recipes arrive ready to serve
  • The starter box includes a feeding guide, scoop, and storage container
  • Customized depending on a dog’s nutritional requirements, and unique needs
  • 60% for your first order
  • Money-back guarantee for your first order
  • Can be fed as a topper, treats, or as a complete and balanced diet
  • Flexible delivery dates

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • Needs refrigerator space
  • You have to measure out each meal, which is not as convenient as other fresh foods that come in single-serve packaging

4. Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Tender Turkey & Rice Stew

Rating: 4.7/5

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Turkey, Carrots, Pork Liver, Rice

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 19

Nourish your pup’s health inside out with Hill’s Science Diet Tender Turkey & Rice Stew. Made by the consistent vet-recommended brand, this canned food is slow-cooked to preserve its nutritional value. It is prepared in the USA and made with easily digestible ingredients like turkey, chicken, and rice.

It is specially formulated to promote healthy digestion among dogs with sensitive stomachs. Plus, it’s also packed with a healthy amount of vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin.

What’s more, this recipe is also crafted with healthy ingredients to support heart health. You can serve it on its own, or add it as toppings on your dog’s favorite dry food.

Pros:

  • Slow-cooked in the USA
  • With easily digestible ingredient
  • Packed with vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Crafted with ingredients to support heart health
  • Great taste

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like it
  • Too much water

5. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small

Rating: 4.8/5

Top 5 Ingredients: Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 20

Nourish your adorable little canine companion with Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition, a diet that is specially formulated for his petit stature.

This recipe features adapted kibble with size and shape that are designed to fit flawlessly inside your dog’s small jaws for effortless chewing.

Each flavorful bite of this tasty dry food is packed with precise nutrition for small dogs 10 months to 8 years old weighing 9-22 pounds.

This delicious recipe is also fortified with EPA and DHA for healthier skin and coat, and to support your dog’s central nervous system and retinal health.

What’s more, it also contains L-carnitine to promote healthy weight, and it has enhanced palatability, which can please the taste of even the pickiest eaters. You can also add variety to this complete and balanced meal by mixing it with your pup’s favorite wet food.

Pros:

  • Meets the high energy needs of small breed dogs
  • Supports skin and coat health
  • Packed with EPA and DHA
  • Adapted kibble shape and design for miniature jaws
  • Enhanced palatability

Cons:

  • Expensive than most dry dog foods
  • Corn is the first ingredient

6. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula

Rating: 4.7/5

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 21

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Poultry By-product Meal, Soybean Meal

Fuel your large breed dog with Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials, a nourishing diet that could help him thrive each day.

This specific formula is made with chicken as the first ingredient for lean muscle development and to help your healthy adult dog keep up with his active lifestyle.

This chicken and rice formula features hard kibbles combined with shredded pieces that are exploding with tasty flavors in every bite. What’s more, it is also fortified with guaranteed live probiotics to support your dog’s digestive and immune health.

And it is also packed with vitamin A, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat that will make him stand out even more with his lustrous and majestic coat.

Pros:

  • High protein formula; made with real chicken
  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics
  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Hard kibbles combined with shredded chicken pieces
  • Vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your pup’s skin and coat
  • Contains glucosamine for joint health

Cons:

  • Picky dogs may not eat it
  • It may be problematic for dogs with sensitive stomachs

7. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula

Rating: 4.7/5

Top 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Barley, Rice, Oat Meal, Canola Meal

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 22

Caring for dogs with sensitive skin and stomach may be challenging, but thanks to special diets that are formulated with gentle nutrition – now, they can thrive each day not having to worry about skin breakouts and acute bouts of stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach is made with such dogs in mind, and its highly digestible formula starts with salmon, a high-protein source that is less likely to cause issues with most dogs.

The recipe is also crafted without corn, wheat, or soy. And it is fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for immune and digestive health.

This dry dog food also contains omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to support skin, coat health, and promote cognitive health. It is also packed with glucosamine to support healthy joints and mobility and features natural prebiotic fiber for added digestive support.

Pros:

  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • High-protein recipe; made with salmon as the first ingredient
  • Made with easily digestible ingredients such as rice and oatmeal
  • Includes omega fatty acids for skin, coat, and brain health
  • Contains glucosamine for joint support and mobility
  • Fortified with live probiotics and prebiotic fiber for digestive and immune health

Con:

  • Picky dogs may not eat it

8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Ground Healthy Puppy Lamb & Long Grain Rice Entrée

Rating: 4.7/5

Top 5 Ingredients: Lamb and Chicken Broth, Lamb, Chicken, Liver, Pork Lungs

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 23

Satisfy your pup’s cravings for tasty, juicy, and meaty goodness with Purina One Smartblend Classic Ground Lamb & Long Grain Puppy Food.

This intelligent recipe exceeds all AAFCO standards for canned puppy food, which makes it a safe and dependable diet in building a healthy foundation for your little canine buddy.

This formula is made without fillers or meat by-products, and it is fortified with important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It’s also boosted with omega fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health.

And it is packed with high quality protein in every serving to build stronger muscles to help your pup pursue his playful activities every day.

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Pros:

  • Made with real lamb
  • A natural diet with added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • With omega fatty acids to support your pup’s skin and coat health
  • No fillers or meat by-products
  • Packed with high-quality protein to promote healthy weight and support lean muscle development

Cons:

  • Strong smell
  • Some puppies experienced awful breath, and an upset stomach after eating this recipe

9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 

Rating: 4.6/5

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 24

As with all Blue Buffalo pet foods, this chicken and brown rice recipe features real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, followed by whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit.

Plus, it contains BLUE’s exclusive blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune health, life stage requirements, and healthy oxidative balance.

And since puppies need a strong and healthy foundation, this recipe is also fortified with DHA and ARA for healthy eye and brain development, as well as high-quality protein for healthy lean muscle development.

What’s more, it’s also packed with important nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins that help support strong teeth and bones. Its special puppy-size kibble is also crafted for your pup’s tiny jaws, and to help with tartar removal.

Pros:

  • Made with real chicken as the number one ingredient
  • Contains calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins for stronger teeth and bones
  • Fortified with omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Contains DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eye development
  • No corn, wheat, soy, and chicken by-products
  • Antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits

Cons:

  • It may be problematic for pups with sensitive stomachs
  • Taste can be an issue for some puppies

Buyer’s Guide: Choose the Best Vet-Recommended Dog Food for Your Pup

The choice of the best dry dog food (or wet) for your pup ultimately depends on you. As your dog's pet parent, you are the one who sees him regularly.

Generally, your dog's diet is working just fine if it causes your pup to have a solid, and healthy stool, and makes him healthy and active each day.

You can also rely on your veterinarian regarding this task. They have better knowledge of animal nutrition than most owners and are also able to find information on the nutrition in animals that most owners lack.

Your veterinarian may assist in narrowing your choices and will have an excellent answer to your pet's food needs. And of course, they also know the health status of your dog, so they can recommend an appropriate diet that could be beneficial for him.

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands to Try This [year] – Top Picks & Reviews 25

Conclusion

Choosing the right and healthy dog food for your pup can be challenging, but you can simplify it by careful observation of your dog’s condition and preferences. As a pet parent, it also helps to know how to read the label and identify some red flags.

Depending on your dog’s condition, a high-protein diet that features real meat as the first ingredient is a good start. However, know that there are special diets that don’t start with meat, and are packed with ingredients that are not usually found in premium dog foods for generally healthy dogs.

Also, with your dog’s nutrition and satisfaction – variety is the spice of life. So, don’t hesitate to mix your pup’s kibble with moisture-rich and tasty wet food.

And if you can, we recommend that you feed your dog fresh foods with an occasional serving of crunchy kibbles. If your dog has certain medical needs, know that there are prescription diets that could help him get through his condition and help him live a healthy and happy life each day.

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