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Best Soy Free Dog Foods : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2020

Soy is a common additive in many foods, let along in dog foods. However, there are some concerns in the canine world about using soy. If you would rather not take any chances, you will find yourself checking ingredient labels for soy and soy products. Is the trouble worth it? It can be.

In this article, we will examine why soy is used in dog food, how it can be dangerous and what to look for on the label. We will also give you the best soy free dog foods as options for your search. Read on to find out what brands are soy free.

Top Foods: Quick Look

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The food for the various stages of your dog’s life should be the best you can find, and we have the top picks for you here.

Is Soy Bad for Dogs?

Soy and soy products have long been used by cultures for food and other sources. It stands to reasons that if it is good for us, it is good for our pets. But is this true? The short answer is that soy can be okay for dogs. It does, however, go deeper than that.

For the most part, soy isn’t a bad thing. It is a cheaper alternative to meat and vegetable proteins and has some essential vitamins that can promote health and growth in the canine world. There are a couple of risk factors that you should be aware of that might cause you to turn away from soy products in your dog's food.

Weight Gain

Most dog breeds (though not all) tend to overeat if possible. Add in extra meals, treats and less activity and your pup can quickly become overweight. Proper nutrition is crucial for weight management, and you may find that soy in their diet is a contributing factor.

Soy has a high concentration of calories and can easily be attributed to weight gain. When soy is used in the place of meat proteins dogs, don’t get everything they need in their diet. This can lead to lethargy, storing calories for energy use and other processes that cause them to become ill or not able to fight off infection.

Dog’s bodies are designed to process and use meat proteins as their main fuel source and illness fighting. When this is replaced with soy, the calories aren’t burned correctly, which can quickly lead to obesity.


One of the leading attributes of wanting to avoid soy is that it is a common allergen for dogs. While not every dog will have allergies, those that do are more affected by soy than anything else. Soy products, soy milk, and soy proteins can upset these allergens can cause your pup to have an allergic reaction.

If you are unsure if your dog is allergic to soy you can have them tested. However, it is easier just to avoid using soy in their diets. This can be easier said than done though, as the cost of soy being low promotes more of its use in dog food manufacturing.

Identifying Soy on the Label

Soy can come in many forms and can be difficult to find on some ingredient lists and labels. In most cases the label will just say “soy,” however there are a few nuances you should also be on the lookout for:

  • Soy milk
  • TSF (Textured Soy Flour)
  • TSP (Textured Soy Protein)
  • Edamame (soybean pods)
  • Tofu
  • Bean Curd
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Yuba

If you see any of these on the label, it means soy is used in the processing, and there is soy or soy protein contained in the food. Make sure you read all labels of new foods carefully when trying to avoid soy. This is a lot harder than it sounds, but once you get in the practice, you will recognize the soy-based products relatively quickly.

Best Soy Free Dog Foods

Each life stage has requirements for diet and nutrition. Following are the best soy free dog food options for all life stages.

Adult – Best Overall – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Soy Free Dog Foods : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2020 1Blue Buffalo brings a soy free formula to the high-quality food market. Their recipes are chocked full of meat proteins, vegetables and added nutrients like vitamins and minerals. The wilderness chicken recipe has one of the highest crude protein levels available (34% crude proteins maximum) and a generous crude fat level (only 15%) to provide energy, nutrients and immune health support for all adult dogs.

Along with the proteins, you will also find fruits, vegetables, and berries. All naturally sourced and selected from specific regions around the country. The first five ingredients are:

What Customers Like

  • Flavors that all dog breeds enjoy.
  • High, natural meat proteins for energy and metabolism.
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals to promote healthy growth.

Common Complaints

  • Kibble can be too large for smaller breeds to enjoy fully.
  • Can easily add to weight gain if not portioned correctly.

Adult – Best Value – American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Soy Free Dog Foods : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2020 2American Journey packs a lot of power into a small ingredient list. You still get all the vitamins and minerals of the other premium brands but without the additional ingredient lists. Meat protein is the primary protein source, and there is no soy in the mix anywhere. Your dog will get enough crude proteins and crude fats to provide proper nutrition for growth and bone health.

The flavors vary in this category, and you will be able to keep your dog's diet varied and lively. None of the American Journey flavors add or use soy or soy byproducts so you can rest assured you are getting the best dog food without the risks of soy.

The first five ingredients are deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and sweet potatoes.

What Customers Like

  • Variety of flavors without soy additives.
  • The easily digested formula for sensitive digestive tracts.
  • Mixes well with water or wet food as a topper.

Common Complaints

  • Kibble can be too hard for smaller teeth, such as toy breeds.
  • Picky eaters may not enjoy all the flavors.

Adult – Best Super Premium – Ollie Hearty Beef Eats

Best Soy Free Dog Foods : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2020 3Ollie is a company that makes human-grade dog food using only the finest available ingredients. Each recipe is handcrafted and uses the bare minimum of ingredients to ensure proper nutrition.  When you place your order, it is made then, not before, sitting around waiting for you to make the order.

The orders arrive fresh and sealed in easy to portion containers. You can store them but buying in bulk can lead to spoil and waste. The most purchased recipe is the Hearty Beef Eats, and it has the first five ingredients listed as beef, beef heart, beef kidney, sweet potato, and beef liver.

What Customers Like

  • Easy to order, simple recipes for all dog breeds and life stages.
  • Portions are simple to control to prevent overeating.
  • Limited ingredients with no additives.

Common Complaints

  • Storage can be an issue, especially for smaller dogs who don’t eat a full package per day.
  • Some ingredients are not liked and eaten around, creating waste.

Puppy – Best Dry Food – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Puppies need a lot of protein from meat in their diet to grow correctly and healthy. Blue Buffalo Wilderness provides one of the highest proteins in dry food without using corn, soy or wheat. Along with the high meat protein levels, you will also get vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and berries.

The first five ingredients are deboned beef, chicken meal, pea protein, peas, and tapioca starch.

What Customers Like

  • Easy to chew kibble for all mouth and teeth sizes.
  • Mixes with water for gravy or wet food as a topper.
  • Give energy and alertness to puppies of all breeds.

Common Complaints

  • Some flavors aren’t enjoyed by all dogs.
  • Has a moderate crude fat level that can cause obesity if not portioned well.

Puppy – Best Wet Food – Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Plate Recipe Canned Dog Food

Merrick is a premium puppy food that provides a soy free protein from real meat sources. The single-serve cans are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your puppies need to grow happy, healthy and strong. The crude protein is lower in the Merrick formula than you may find in other brands, though their limited ingredients and high vitamin content ensure your pup gets exactly what they need.

The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken broth, turkey, turkey broth, and duck.

What Customers Like

  • Easily digested for sensitive puppy tummies.
  • Can be mixed with dry food for added proteins.
  • Easy to portion and store leftovers for the next feeding.

Common Complaints

  • Larger breeds and highly active puppies may need more meals per day.
  • Picky eaters may not like the tastes.

Senior – Best Dry Food – Nutro Ultra Senior

Nutro Ultra Senior specializes in adequate nutrition for older dogs. As the dogs age their requirements change, requiring more vitamins aimed at bones and joints than puppies or adult dogs do. Nutro recognized these needs and created a recipe full of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins aging dogs need in their daily diet.

You won’t need to supplement with wet food unless you want to (or it is recommended by your veterinarian). The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, and rice bran.

What Customers Like

  • Easily chewed and digested kibble for older teeth and weaker digestive systems.
  • Proper protein and crude fat ratios to help eliminate overeating and obesity.
  • Even picky eaters in their older age enjoy the flavors.

Common Complaints

  • Doesn’t mix well with water for gravy.
  • Grains can cause issues in some breeds.

Senior – Best Wet Food – Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Senior Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient formula is specifically designed for senior dogs with dietary requirements. The proteins are from carefully selected sources and contain no additives, soy, or wheat. The wet food is higher in crude fat while maintaining a lower crude protein to allow older dogs to process the vitamins and minerals on a slower metabolism.

The first five ingredients are turkey, turkey broth, potatoes, flaxseed, and pea protein.

What Customers Like

  • Easily mixes with dry food if more protein is needed.
  • Flavors and textures all dogs love.
  • Slower digestion for more mineral absorption.

Common Complaints

  • Can cause late age obesity if portions aren’t controlled.
  • May, not shelf as long after opening as other brands.


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