Over the past several decades, Canadian pet food manufacturers have been developing high quality, human grade, and innovative pet foods to supply both Canada and the world. We have carefully evaluated more than fifty Canadian pet food brands, closely scrutinizing every aspect of the manufacturer and their recipe. Here are just a few of the things we consider:

  • Quality and source of ingredients, including how fresh the ingredients are, where they’re sourced from, whether they include antibiotics or hormones, if they’re GMO free, organic, and more.
  • Manufacturing practices and transparency. We believe the manufacturers of the foods we feed our beloved pets should be accountable for every step of the manufacturing process.
  • Innovation and sustainability. As we move towards a more eco-friendly world, pet food manufacturers should be focused on developing earth-friendly standards and practices as well.

Here are the top 21 best Canadian made dog foods for 2021:

#1: Smack

Smack is a Canadian company making absolutely outstanding dehydrated superfoods for pets. For the second consecutive year, Smack is our top-ranked dog food for 2021!

Since 2008, Smack Pet Foods have been proudly producing high quality pet products out of their Winnipeg, Manitoba facility. The Smack team are committed to providing pets with the healthiest, and most convenient foods in today’s pet food marketplace. 

All Smack products are backed by food engineering, biochemistry, holistic medicine, and a deep love of animals. These are the tools that allow Smack to develop an innovative, industry-leading approach to pet food manufacturing. Best of all, their foods are dehydrated in their raw form, ensuring maximum nutrient retention.

These are a few of the reasons why Smack Pet Foods has taken the number one spot in our 2020 and 2021 Top Canadian Dog Food Rankings.

Smack’s recipes are made mostly from certified organic ingredients, including the best quality cuts of human-grade meat (like whole, bone-in chicken), and a carefully chosen range of organic produce. 

Because of their high meat content, Smack is highly palatable; perfect for fussy eaters. There are five unique Smack dog formulas to choose from: Prairie Harvest Pork, Caribbean-Salmon Fusion, Rockin’ Rockfish, Chunky Chicken, and Very Berry Chicken. Smack’s recipes are loaded with wholesome, nutritiously-dense superfoods, and don’t require any synthetic supplementation. Read our full review of Smack Pet Foods here.

Highlights of Smack Pet Foods:

  • Synthetic-free
  • 5 formulas: Prairie Harvest Pork, Caribbean-Salmon Fusion, Rockin’ Rockfish, Chunky Chicken, and Very Berry Chicken
  • Made mostly with certified-organic, human-grade ingredients
  • Loaded with superfood ingredients
  • Highly palatable; perfect for finicky dogs
  • Manufactured in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Self-manufactured
  • Food type: dehydrated raw
  • Size options: 250g, 2.5kg bags
  • Price: $$$

#2: Carna4

Carna4 was our top recommendation for 2019, and for good reason; Carna4 is one of the few foods on this list containing absolutely no synthetics of any kind. Carna4 is a unique brand, and this year ranks a close second in our 2020 and 2021 Top Canadian Dog Food Rankings.

Carna4 began in 2010 when a team of nutritionists, food scientists and engineers set out to create a completely synthetic-free dog food. They achieved this goal by harnessing the nutritional power of superfoods. While almost every kibble on the market requires manufactured vitamin premixes, Carna4 does not. Using organic sprouted seeds – one of the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth – combined with 100% fresh, table-grade meats, and whole produce, Carna4 is loaded with nutrition and flavour. Among other things, organic sprouted seeds are an outstanding source of antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics. All Carna4 formulas are free from hormones, antibiotics and GMO’s.

Carna4 offers three dog food recipes: chicken, duck, and fish. These formulas are perfectly suitable for dogs of all sizes, shapes, and life stages. Carna4 sets rigorous testing standards for their products, and every batch is tested for safety by a third-party research and laboratory testing firm. This firm specializes in testing foods and health products for major consumer goods companies in Canada. Carna4 is also a big supporter of sustainable ingredient sourcing and humane farming practices. 

Highlights of Carna4 Pet Food:

  • Synthetic-free
  • 3 formulas: chicken, duck, and fish 
  • Made with superfood organic sprouted seeds
  • Made in: Quebec, Canada
  • Food type: gently-baked kibble
  • Size options 
    • Fish: 1kg, 2kg, 4.54kg
    • Chicken 3lb, 6lb, 13lb, 22lb
    • Duck: 3lb, 6lb, 13lb, 22lb
  • Price: $$$

#3: Zeal

Zeal is relatively new to the market, and has quickly made a big impact on the Canadian pet food industry. This interesting brand of gently air-dried dog food focuses on simple recipes that incorporate human-grade whole organs; nutrient powerhouses that provide your dog with a boost of protein, iron, zinc, and more. Zeal even includes some rather unique ingredients, like whole Canadian hemp seeds and bamboo. 

Every batch of Zeal is carefully air-dried at 80°C, resulting in a consistency similar to beef jerky or artisanal meats. Zeal is proud to use only locally sourced, human-grade ingredients, without the use of any artificial binders, fillers, preservatives, or dyes. Best of all, Zeal is a more affordable option than most dehydrated raw brands.

Zeal comes with a high meat inclusion, making it another excellent option for non-food-motivated dogs. Their formulas are made with 96% pure meat and organs, making it one of the tastiest products on the market today. Zeal offers two lines of dog food: gently air-dried, and gently air-dried with freeze-dried. There are 3 formulas in each line. The gently air-dried line consists of salmon, beef, and turkey, whereas the gently air-dried with freeze-dried recipes include beef with salmon and pumpkin, turkey with salmon and pumpkin, and beef with 3% hemp. 

Highlights of Zeal Dog Food:

  • Made in: British Columbia
  • High-quality dehydrated raw
  • More affordable than other dehydrated raw dog foods
  • Food type: gently air-dried, and freeze-dried raw
  • Size options: 454g, 1kg
  • Price: $$-$$$ 

#4: Gutsy

Gutsy is made by Crump’s Naturals in Caledon, Ontario. Gutsy’s dehydrated raw dog foods are more akin to a beef-jerky than to a kibble, making it exceptionally palatable. Gutsy’s formulas are highly focused on using prebiotics, probiotics, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and easily digestible ingredients to promote and improve gut health.

Gutsy is available in two formulas: chicken dinner, and salmon & trout dinner. In addition to their high-quality meats, Gutsy also includes highly nutritious plant-based ingredients like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, lentils, chia seeds, organic blueberries, organic broccoli, and more.

Since 2014, Crumps’ Naturals has been granted certification by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), which promotes the continuous improvement of food safety to consumers. All ingredients, packaging, and finished products are fully traceable, among other quality-control standards.

Highlights of Gutsy by Crumps:

  • Made in Caledon, Ontario
  • Family owned
  • Self-manufactured
  • Highly palatable, ideal for fussy dogs
  • Low glycemic
  • Two formula options: chicken, salmon & trout
  • Food type: dehydrated raw
  • Size options: 1.5lb, 6.6lb
  • Price $$$

#5: Orijen

In an industry with so many high-quality dog food options, Orijen remains as one of the best Canadian-made brands on the market.

The manufacturer of Orijen (Champion Pet Foods) has earned an international reputation for their food, manufacturing, and sourcing practices. Champion Pet Foods believes firmly in sourcing from fresh, local farms. In fact, virtually all ingredients found in Orijen dog food recipes are sourced within one-hundred kilometres from their manufacturing facility. As a result, Champion Pet Foods have won more awards than any other pet food maker in the world.

Made with some of the highest meat inclusion among all commercial pet foods, Orijen is modeled off of the natural diet of whole prey animals, like wolves. Orijen’s high protein content not only results in an irresistible food choice for fussy dogs, it also packs plenty of nutrient-dense ingredients to give high-energy canines the fuel they need for maximum performance.

There are several unique formulations to choose from; poultry, fish, red meat, and more. Thinking of trying a unique flavour combination for your pooch? Consider Orijen Tundra, with fresh goat, wild boar, venison, arctic char, free-run duck, and more – all in one kibble! Many Orijen formulas are available in freeze-dried raw, too. 

Highlights of Orijen Dog Food:

  • Made in Alberta
  • Self-manufactured
  • Whole-prey, high meat inclusion
  • Grain-free, all-life stage formulas
  • Fresh ingredients sourced from local farms
  • Food type: dry kibble, dehydrated raw
  • Size options:
    • Dry kibble: 2kg, 6kg, 11.4kg
    • Dehydrated raw: 170g, 454g
  • Price: $$$  

#6: CaniSource

CaniSource dog food was founded in 2005 in Quebec, where they still operate. Their foods are made in the CaniSource kitchen, where they aim to replicate the requirements and processes for creating human grade foods in a premium quality dog food. In fact, all of the ingredients that come into their kitchen are certified for human consumption, ensuring your dog is eating the best quality ingredients.

Currently, CaniSource offers two types of formulas; their HomeMade line which comes in a Surf & Turf or a Grain Free Chicken formula, and their Grand Cru line, which comes in beef, fish, turkey, and pork & lamb recipes.

CaniSource HomeMade foods are hand made using a delicate oven-baking process, for a soft and highly palatable texture. The ingredients in these formulas are entirely human-grade, sourced locally and from HACCP-certified food plants.

CaniSource Grand Cru is a lightly dehydrated raw food, also handmade in the CaniSource kitchen. The ingredients in these formulas are entirely human-grade, sourced locally and from HACCP-certified food plants as well. Plus, these formulas are Clean Label Project certified.

Highlights of CaniSource Dog Food:

  • Made in Quebec
  • Self-manufactured, handmade
  • Certified human grade ingredients
  • Grain-free, Grain-friendly, all-life stage formulas
  • Fresh ingredients sourced from local farms
  • Food type: dry kibble, dehydrated raw
  • Size options:
    • Dry kibble: 3kg, 10 kg
    • Dehydrated raw: 2kg, 5kg, 10 kg
  • Price: $$$  

#7: Acana

Acana, the sister brand to Orijen, is also made in Alberta by Champion Pet Foods. Using the same quality ingredients, and the same award-winning manufacturing practices, Acana is among the most popular health-food brands for dogs today. So what is the difference between Acana and Orijen? Simply put, the difference is meat inclusion. Acana’s formulas are made with up to 70% meat, whereas Orijen’s meat content can tip the scales at around 85%.

What really makes Acana stand out is their unmatched selection of formulas. For dogs needing limited-protein options, the Acana Singles line offers single-protein, all-life-stage foods in lamb, duck, pork, and pilchard. There are also several multi-protein formulas in the Acana Regionals line; poultry, fish, and red meat blends.  This is all in addition to the impressive whole fruit and vegetable medleys found in all Acana dog foods.

Considering the multitude of formulas available, it’s no wonder Acana is a popular option for rotation-based diets. There are so many unique flavours to switch between!

Highlights of Acana Dog Food:

  • Made in Alberta
  • Self-manufactured
  • Numerous formulas to choose from; single-protein, and multi-protein options
  • Fresh, whole ingredients sourced from local farms
  • Grain-free and grain-friendly options
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 2kg, 6kg, 11.4kg, 17kg
  • Price: $$

 #8: FirstMate

The history of British Columbia-based FirstMate is a rich and interesting one with its beginnings in commercial fishing. Decades later, FirstMate is still a family owned and operated company, taking great pride in the quality, safety and performance of their products. FirstMate’s Executive Vice President is a Veterinarian and Pet Nutritionist, reinforcing their commitment to quality and nutritional excellence.  

With an impressive lineup of eight grain-free formulas, FirstMate has a recipe suitable for dogs of all life stages. In addition to using only wild-caught fish, FirstMate never uses ingredients with hormones, antibiotics, or GMO’s. FirstMate’s grain-free recipes include: pacific ocean fish large breed, chicken with blueberries, chicken with blueberries small bites, pacific ocean fish weight control, pacific ocean fish puppy, Australian lamb, Australian lamb small bites, pacific ocean fish original, and pacific ocean fish original small bites.

Considering a lower cost, high-quality food for your dog? Go with FirstMate’s grain-inclusive line: chicken, lamb, or fish. These formulas are complemented with whole oats, one of the healthiest grains on the planet. Read our full review of the FirstMate brand here.

Highlights of FirstMate Dog Foods:

  • Made in British Columbia
  • Family owned
  • Self-manufactured
  • Eight grain-free and three grain-friendly options
  • Value-priced, grain-inclusive options
  • Food type: dry kibble, cans
  • Size options: 2.3kg, 6.6kg, 13kg
  • Price $-$$

#9: GO! Solutions

GO! Solutions is one of three brands made by British Columbia-based Petcurean. 

With higher than average meat inclusion, Go! Solutions is a super-palatable option for even the fussiest canines. A higher meat content comes with a slightly higher price tag, but it is well worth it for picky pups. Go! Solutions’ nutrient-dense, grain-free, and potato-free diets are made without hormones, antibiotics, or artificial preservatives. The limited-ingredient nature of Go! Solutions’ formulas make them a wonderful choice for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities.

Go! Solutions’ five lines offer the following recipes:

  • Carnivore: salmon & cod, lamb & wild boar, turkey & duck puppy, turkey & duck adult, turkey & duck senior.
  • Sensitivities: duck, salmon, venison, turkey, pollock, and lamb. 
  • Skin + Coat Care: salmon, lamb, and chicken. 
  • Sensitivity + Shine: duck.

All Go! Solutions formulas are uniquely designed to help pet owners manage their pet’s protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake. With multiple mouth-watering recipes to choose from, Go! Solutions dog foods will satisfy your dog’s inner carnivore.

Petcurean is also an environmentally-progressive company. They are currently in the process of developing 100% recyclable bags. This can be a complicated process, as the plastic interior lining is essential to keeping their products fresh and safe. Many of the other products that Petcurean makes are completely recyclable, too. On staff, Petcurean has the backing of their Senior Nutritionist; a Ph.D. in companion animal nutrition, with a master’s degree in human nutrition. 

Highlights of GO! Dog Foods:

  • Made in Fraser Valley, British Columbia.
  • Self-manufactured.
  • Limited-ingredients.
  • High meat content. 
  • Great choice for fussy dogs.
  • Environmentally-conscious ethics. 
  • Size options: 3.5lb, 12lb, 22lb. 
  • Price $$-$$$

#10: v-planet

V-planet dog food has been available in Canada for just over two years, making their debut in November of 2018. V-planet’s parent company, v-dog, has consistently produced high quality, human-grade dog foods in California since 2005, and is one of the best selling plant-based dog foods in the USA. V-Planet is the only vegan dog food to make our 2021 Top Canadian Dog Foods List.

So what makes the v-planet brand unique? Their foods are entirely plant based, meaning there are no meat, eggs, dairy, or animal products in any of their recipes. Instead, v-Planet is made from highly nutritious plant-based ingredients like peas, whole oats, brown rice, and quinoa. V-planet is the most complete plant-based commercial dog food in Canada. 

Plant-based and vegan dog foods have been a popular choice for dogs suffering from meat-protein allergies, and are often recommended by veterinarians. In addition, recent trends towards cruelty-free, eco-friendly pet ownership have resulted in a surge in demand for plant-based dog foods. v-Planet is meeting that demand with their innovative formula, available in regular-sized kibbles and mini bites. 

V-planet is complete and balanced to meet the unique nutritional needs of adult dogs of all shapes and sizes, and is more affordable than other Canadian-made vegan dog foods. 

Highlights of v-planet dog food:

  • Made in Ontario
  • Completely plant-based; no animal ingredients
  • Great hypoallergenic option for allergy-prone dogs
  • Regular bites, and small bites
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 4.4lb, 15lb
  • Price $$

#11: PetKind

The Canadian kings of tripe for dogs. PetKind has built their brand on the backbone of tripe, and it’s numerous nutritional benefits for our canine friends. Whether it’s their foods or treats, tripe remains a focal point of all PetKind products. The result is an excellent line of dogs foods made with the highest-quality, human-grade ingredients for maximum nutrition. 

From sourcing to production, PetKind is Canadian-minded company. All ingredients are sourced within Canada except the Lamb Tripe (New Zealand), Quinoa (Canada and Peru), and fruits and veggies (USA).

PetKind’s dog food line consists of seven grain-free formulas – all containing tripe: green beef tripe, green tripe & wild salmon, green tripe & bison, and green lamb tripe. 

PetKind also offers three poultry-free formulas to suit the hypoallergenic needs of dogs with allergies: venison tripe, lamb & lamb tripe, and green tripe & read meat. 

Highlights of Petkind Dog Foods:

  • Made in Surrey, British Columbia
  • Made with nutrient-rich tripe
  • 7 grain-free formulas
  • Potato-free
  • Ingredients sourced from Canada, USA, and New Zealand
  • Food type: dry kibble, cans
  • Size options: 6lb, 14lb, 25lb
  • Price $$

#12: Horizon

Authentic. Regional. Affordable. That’s Horizon’s mantra.

Independently owned by two Saskatchewan-based families, Horizon has been producing top-quality pet foods for over a decade. Being experts in agriculture, Horizon strongly believes in being a transparent company. From everything from ingredient sourcing, to manufacturing, to food in your pet’s bowl, Horizon wants you to know they have nothing to hide.

Horizon offers five formulas made with human-grade meats, without the use of GMO’s, hormones, steroids, by-products or artificial preservatives. Many of Horizon’s ingredients are locally sourced, and are processed in their two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. 

Horizon’s five grain-free and grain friendly lines offer the following recipes:

  • Taiga: chicken, and pork – available in grain free or whole grain options
  • Amicus: chicken, salmon, lamb, and tri-protein (turkey, chicken, salmon)
  • Complete: all life stage chicken, large breed adult, large breed puppy, and senior/weight management
  • Legacy: adult chicken and turkey, fish blend, and puppy
  • Pulsar: chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, and pork all in grain free formulas, as well as chicken and pork in whole grain options

Highlights of Horizon Dog Foods:

  • Made in Saskatchewan and family owned
  • Focused on low-glycemic formulas
  • Self-manufactured using low temperature cooking
  • Probiotic and prebiotic coating applied after the cooking process (600 MU per pound)
  • GMO free, growth hormone free, and also steroid free
  • Plenty of recipes to choose from, great for rotation diets
  • Grain-free and grain-friendly options
  • Made with fresh, local ingredients
  • Every batch is quality tested
  • Size Options 4kg, 11.4kg
  • Price $-$$

#13: Now Fresh

Now Fresh is the sister brand to Go! Solutions, made by Petcurean. With thirteen dog food formulas, Now Fresh has one of the largest selections of any super-premium Canadian brand. All Now Fresh formulas are free from grain, gluten, and chicken, and use the highest quality market-fresh ingredients available. 

Due to it’s modest meat inclusion when compared to Go! Solutions, Now Fresh is a more affordable dog food option, as it is the meat content that largely dictates the price. With a multitude of formulas available, many dog owners choose to rotate among them to get the best of each formula.

Now Fresh is available in the following grain-free recipes: puppy chicken, adult chicken, senior chicken, adult fish, adult red meat, small breed fish, small breed senior, large breed puppy, large breed adult, and large breed senior. 

Highlights of NOW Fresh Dog Foods:

  • Made in Fraser Valley, British Columbia
  • Wide variety of formulas
  • More affordable than other high-meat inclusion dog foods
  • Great choice for rotation diets
  • Self-manufactured
  • Environmentally-conscious ethics
  • Food type: dry kibble, cans
  • Size options: 6lb, 12lb, 25lb 
  • Price $$

#14: Boréal

After more than twenty years of manufacturing high-quality pet foods, Boréal has consistently been among the top dog food brands in Canada. Boréal’s approach to canine health focuses on grain-free formulas with high-quality meats, and using nutritious low-glycemic carbohydrates like peas and beans. Boréal’s recipes are modeled after the diets of ancient canines that lived in the wilds of the Boréal forests in North America. They offer three lines of dog food: Boréal Original, Boréal Vital, and Boréal Proper. 

Boréal Original is available in the following formulations: salmon, turkey, lamb, and small breed duck. Boréal Vital is available in: chicken, whitefish, red meat, and large breed chicken. Boréal Proper proper is available in: chicken, ocean fish, large breed red meat, and large breed chicken. All formulas are potato free, and utilize a limited ingredient philosophy. This is great for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities. 

Highlights of Boreal Dog Foods:

  • Made in Ontario
  • Most ingredients sourced from Canada; Lamb imported from New Zealand
  • Affordable, healthy options for the price-conscious consumer
  • Limited ingredient, potato free
  • Food type: dry kibble, canned
  • Size options: 2kg, 4kg, 11kg
  • Price $-$$

#15: Kasiks

Kasiks is another wonderful brand by family-owned Taplow Ventures, and is the sister brand to FirstMate. Like FirstMate, Kasiks is also manufactured in their production plant in British Columbia. Kasiks products are held to the same high standard of ingredient sourcing and state of the art manufacturing processes.

The Kasiks line consists of three grain-free formulas: free-run chicken, free-range lamb, and wild pacific ocean fish. These recipes are low-glycemic, potato free, gluten free, and use single meat proteins. Kasiks is also very competitively priced, providing great value and high quality nutrition at the same time. Kasiks foods are highly digestible, as they are high in dietary fibre; a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. In addition, all Kasiks formulas contain antioxidant ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries.

Highlights of Kasiks Dog Foods:

  • Family owned
  • Self-manufactured
  • Single meat proteins
  • Low glycemic
  • Very affordable
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 5lb, 25lb
  • Price $

#16. Harlow Blend

Based out of Mississauga, Ontario, Harlow Blend is created by an animal lover, for animal lovers, and has ties in the Canadian pet food industry dating back to 1993.

All ingredients used in Harlow Blend exceed FDA guidelines for human consumption, meaning they are of the highest quality available. Their ingredients are sourced from Canada, USA, and New Zealand. 

Harlow Blend consists of four tasty formulas. There are two grain-free options: Fish Fusion, and Turkey Fusion. Harlow Blend also has wholesome grain-inclusive diets including Chicken, Rice & Vegetable, and Lamb & Rice. Their formulas are slow cooked at low temperatures, are low in magnesium, and help promote balanced urinary ph. 

Highlights of Harlow Blend Dog Foods:

  • Family-owned
  • Ingredients sourced from Canada, USA, and New Zealand 
  • Four formulas to choose from, both grain-free and grain-inclusive.
  • Hypoallergenic options
  • Low magnesium
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 
    • Grain-inclusive: 8lb, 30lb
    • Grain-free: 7lb, 25lb
  • Price: $$

#17: Pronature

Pronature was founded in Quebec in 1969, by PLB International; a family owned business. Pronature has been making high-quality pet foods ever since. All Pronature products are manufactured in their Boucherville, Quebec facility. 

With three main lines, Pronature Original, Pronature Life, and Pronature Holistic, there are a whopping nineteen recipes to choose from. Many of Pronature’s formulas contain nutrient-dense superfood ingredients like chia, kale, cranberries, juniper berries, and more. 

Starting with Pronature Originals, this line of grain-inclusive dog foods uses whole barley and oatmeal as a means of keeping nutrition high and costs low. The Pronature Originals line is a good value for dog owners on a budget. 

Pronature Life is another line of four grain-inclusive formulas, free from corn, wheat, and soy. Kale, spinach, broccoli and other healthy plant-based ingredients compliment a tasty selection of meat proteins; chicken, salmon, and turkey. 

Pronature Holistic includes a healthy selection of ten grain-inclusive formulas. From limited-ingredient options for allergy-prone dogs, to small and mini-bite kibbles, Pronature Holistic has you covered. Meat offerings include chicken, duck, turkey, and fish.

Highlights of Pronature Dog Foods:

  • Made in Boucherville, Quebec
  • Three unique dog food lines to pick from
  • Wide selection, great for rotation-diets
  • Affordable options
  • Family-owned
  • Food type: Dry kibble
  • Size options: 2.27kg, 11.33kg, 18kg.
  • Price $$


#18: 1st Choice

Just like Pronature, 1st Choice is family-owned by PLB International. As an innovative company, 1st Choice was created in 1990, and was the first premium pet food to use fresh chicken in their recipes. Fast forward to today, 1st Choice now manufactures 18 unique recipes for dogs of all ages, breeds, and conditions. 

For dogs with reactive, or hypersensitive skin, consider 1st Choice Derma; it is specially formulated to reduce skin inflammation, itching, and irritation. 1st Choice also makes dental health, performance, hypoallergenic, and grain-free formulations for puppies, adult, and senior dogs. 

1st Choice is a progressive-minded company, committed to reducing their ecological footprint. When it comes to sourcing their ingredients, priority is given to Quebec and Canadian suppliers where available. The fish used in 1st Choice products come from fisheries belonging to Ocean Trust; an organization committed to improving sustainability and environmentally-responsible fishing practices.  

Highlights of 1st Choice Dog Foods:

  • Made in Boucherville, Quebec.
  • Eighteen formulas to choose from.
  • Many specialized formulas: dental health, hypoallergenic, high-energy, etc. 
  • Food type: dry kibble.
  • Size options: 2kg, 12kg.
  • Price $$

#19: Wilder Harrier

This innovative brand debuts at the number 19 spot on our list this year for their industry-leading innovation and sustainability practices. Based in Quebec, they currently offer two unique dog food formulas:

Farmed Insects Recipe: This formula uses black soldier flies as a protein source, rather than traditional livestock. Why? These tiny insects are a premium source of protein and nutrition, with a tiny carbon footprint. Being a unique, novel protein source, farmed insects are also a great option for dogs suffering from multiple allergies and sensitivities.

Sustainable Fish Recipe: This innovative formula uses Asian carp, an invasive species that is destroying eco-systems in our great lakes. Farming Asian carp helps to solve this problem, providing massive benefit to the local environment. Plus, they use recycled shrimp shells in their formula, and source most ingredients locally whenever possible.

Wilder Harrier made a big splash with the eco-conscious community in recent years with the introduction of their dog treats made with highly sustainable cricket powder, as well as their vegan treat formulas using recycled organic materials from a local juicer.

Highlights of Wider Harrier Dog Foods:

  • Made in Quebec
  • Two distinct lines of dog food
  • Made with unique, highly sustainable ingredients
  • Medium priced food
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 2 KG, 5 KG
  • Price $$-$$$

#20: Summit

In addition to Go! Solutions and Now Fresh, Petcurean also manufactures Summit. Summit is made in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, and is made to the same high standards as all Petcurean products. 

All Summit formulas come as a three-meat recipe, containing chicken, lamb, and salmon. Summit has 4 formula options: puppy, adult, large breed, and reduced calorie. In addition to their palatable meat medleys, Summit formulas also include oatmeal, brown rice, barely, flaxseed, egg, and other wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients. 

Aside from the quality, the biggest benefit to Summit is the value. Summit is an excellent option for dog owners looking to feed a high-quality dog food on a budget. 

Highlights of Summit Dog Foods:

  • Made in Fraser Valley, British Columbia
  • Self-manufactured
  • Value priced
  • Multiple-meat formulations
  • Food type: dry kibble 
  • Size options: 28lb
  • Price $

#21 Rollover

Rollover is a small, family-oriented company, and has been in the pet industry for decades. Rollover’s dog foods are made as a semi-soft roll-style product, making it the only product of its kind on the 2021 Top Canadian Dog Food Rankings

Manufactured in their High River, Alberta facility, Rollover strives to only source their raw materials from human-grade, CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) approved suppliers.  Rollover prides themselves on not mass-producing their product, instead focusing on smaller batches with greater attentive care. Rollover dog foods come in three lines: grain-free, premium, and super premium recipes. 

Rollover’s grain-free line consists of beef or salmon. Rollover’s premium line consists of beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey. And finally, Rollover’s super premium line consists of wild pacific salmon, beef, lamb, and turkey. 

Highlights of Rollover Dog Foods:

  • Made in High River, Alberta. 
  • Self-manufactured.
  • 3 unique lines of dog food.
  • Very palatable, great for fussy dogs, or as a food topper.
  • Food type: semi-soft roll.
  • Size options: 454g, 800g, 908g.
  • Price: $$

About Brandon Forder

Brandon holds multiple certifications in pet nutrition, and has more than twenty-five years experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour, and healthy pet lifestyles. He has a passion for helping people become great pet parents. Brandon has written hundreds of informative pet-related articles for newspapers, magazines, web, and radio.

269 Responses

  1. Hi, extremely interesting reviews. I have a question though.. Our 30+Kg black lab girl has always been fed Akana Grassland kibble for her 6 years of life. But now I am becoming aware of taurine deficiency and DCM all at once, and decided to inquire on other brands and their recalls. Needless to say I am close to lost. Reading your comments I was wondering why you don’t mention this in your reviews.
    Thanks for your advice,
    Caterina Lunghis

    1. Hi Caterina, we have an article dedicated to addressing pet-related DCM concerns. You can find that article by clicking here. I hope this helps. I am here if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!

  2. In reading the above 20 brands of dog food, I am slightly baffled that they all seem to come in small bag weights.
    We have a one year old German Shepherd That would finish most of these bags in a couple of meals. Is there a reason for this sizing ?

    1. Hi Alan, thank you for your comment.

      The brands that I assume you are referring to are the dehydrated raw foods. There are a few reasons why these brands do not come in large bags as one would expect in kibble. The primary reason is price. For example, a 5.5lb bag of Smack dehydrated dog food is made from 27lbs of raw ingredients. For Smack to make a 25lb bag of Chicken, it would be very cost prohibitive to consumers as it would sell for in excess of $400.

      All the brands of kibble (not dehydrated foods) on this list come in large bags suitable for big dogs like German Shepherds.

  3. Hello!
    Our breeder recommended «4StrongPaws » made in Ontario. Just curious why it wasn’t reviewed? Thoughts ?

    Thank you !

    1. Hi Isa, thank you for reading. As I’m sure you can imagine, the pet food industry is utterly massive. And while we do our best to learn about as many brands as we can, nobody can know about every single brand out there. This is the case with 4StrongPaws; we have never heard of them until now. After a quick visit to their website, it looks like 4StrongPaws is a good quality product, however I will have to spend some time doing my homework on this company before I can give a balanced opinion. Who knows, 4StrongPaws may very well make our 2021 list!

  4. I am looking into lightly cooked foods for my dog…such as Kabo or TomandSawyer. Do you have an opinion on these types of foods? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Lucy, thanks for reading. I have not had the opportunity to deal with Kabo or TomandSawyer personally. Kabo is an online subscription-based model, wheras TomandSawyer appear to sell direct and through certain pet retailers. Both look like good quality brands from what I can tell from the information provided on their website. One concern I have about TomandSawyer is the inclusion of corn in some of their formulas, which is not a desirable ingredient in pet food.

  5. Hi, I have just come from the vets as my 6 yr old Bichon is experiencing tummy troubles, I have been sent home with Hills digestive care to feed him for the next 4 days then he is to gradually return to his regular diet. I have been researching for a good kibble, but I find vets push Hills or Royal canine, I think there must be better options and better prices. I appreciate your input.

    1. Hi Marie, thank you for your comments!

      Yes it is true that vets will almost always recommend their exclusive products first, and even though these brands do perform mostly as intended, the quality is not up to standard in my opinion; too many fillers, fractions, and non-desirable ingredients for my liking. Check out our article “The Truth about Prescription Pet Foods”; I’m sure you’ll find it an interesting read.

      When we are looking for a gentle food for sensitive dogs, my best recommendations include FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly Chicken, FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly Lamb, or FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly Wild Caught Fish. They are Canadian made, wholesome, and would be the perfect human-grade alternative to Hill’s digestive care. There are plenty of non-veterinary exclusive options out there!

      1. Thanks for your info its appreciated, I am finding that pet food stores in small communities are limited to what they stock, it is so frustrating. Researching on line is putting my head in a spin. I never realized there are so many out there to complicate things. Marie

        1. Thanks for reading, Marie! Finding the right pet food is an overwhelming task for many pet owners; so many brands, so many opinions, right? I am here if you need any help finding the right food(s) for your pooch 🙂

  6. Hi Brandon. I have a 3 yr. old Morkie and he is a fussy eater. After trying so many foods for him, I tried Kabo. He absolutely loves the food and finishes his meals everytime. The problem is the cost. I pay $46. every 2 weeks and it’s too much for me. I also buy him chew sticks and soft chew treats which total around $200. a month all together. Could you recommend another nutritious heathy food that I can afford.

    1. Hi Sabina, thank you for reading! I am happy to help with your questions.

      If you are looking for a completely human-grade dog food at a reasonable price, consider First Mate’s Grain-Friendly line of Chicken, Lamb, and Wild Caught Fish. 25lb bags are $43.49. There are plenty of other options to consider, so have a look at these options and please let me know if I can help with any other questions.

  7. Hello, Brandon!
    Although I very much liked this article, it is not clear if any of the above mentioned
    companies are using NON GMO or even organic ingredients. To me that would be very
    important. I feed a commercially prepared raw diet for my 9 year old poodle and very happy
    with it. Your list do not include raw meat companies, is there a reason for that?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Beata, thank you for reading!

      While this top 20 list contains some dehydrated raw diets, it does not include frozen raw diets – that is another article I am currently working on. I am a big supporter of raw diets in all forms providing the ingredient sourcing and quality are among the best available. Thank you for bringing GMO ingredients to my attention; this was a simple oversight on my part. I will be sure to comb through the brands on my list to determine which ones use non-GMO ingredients. The majority of the brands on this list do not use GMO ingredients, however I will edit the article to reflect this important consideration. Thanks again!

  8. Hi Brandon; thank you for this article. I am now more lost than I was before. I was once hung up on grain-free diets but have recently learned that this is not a healthy option for a dog so I prefer foods with grains in them. I noticed most of these foods only come in small sizes and I have two Golden retrievers. I’d like a food that is mild like lamb and rice. My goldens are on the Royal canin from the vet but I have noticed that several of my dogs suddenly will go through a vomiting spree when eating this food and this gives me red flags. Which one of these diets would work best for two large dogs, grain included? Cost is not an object and I’ve gone through the raw diet but one of them does absolutely terrible on the raw diet so I’m not going there again. It’s just that there are too many and it’s confusing.

  9. Hello Brandon,

    Thank you for this article and for all of your great replies.
    I have a 7-year-old American cocker spaniel who we almost lost a week ago to what we now know as IMHA. The vet is also suspecting possible DCM.
    He has allergies and is prone to skin infections so after many long trials, we finally ended up with PULSAR Pork non-grain food a couple of years ago. In the past, we have tried various protein types through Horizon, Holistic, Go, Blue, and Acana. The vet just emailed me today about DCM and non-grain foods…please help.
    Could you recommend some healthy dog food choices? He seems to be ok with Pork… but I will try anything.

    1. Hi Rebecca, thank you for reading! I am sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis of IMHA. I understand how scary these conditions can be, however I am not a veterinarian and cannot make comments or recommendations on the subject. It is best to follow the advise from your vet on these matters.

      With regards to DCM. After almost two years, the FDA has still not found any conclusive evidence proving grain-free dog foods cause DCM. I would recommend reading my article Everything You Need to Know About DCM. I hope this helps give you a better understanding of the FDA’s ongoing investigation.

      In the meantime, I understand you want to stick with grain-friendly, or grain-inclusive dog foods. No problem there, I am happy to make some recommendations. You have been feeding Pulsar’s grain-friendly pork, which is a great food. Alternatively, you may want to consider other grain-friendly options like Carna4, Acana Classics, FirstMate Grain-Friendly.

      I am here to help if you have any questions 🙂

  10. My 7 year old Chihuahua is being sent to a cardiologist for suspected DCM. He has never eaten anything besides Acana Small Breed Formula and prior to discussing with my vet today, I had no idea that a grain-free diet may be linked. Upon further research, I have also discovered that Acana is high on the list of possible suspects which is disheartening as we have two other chihuahuas who have been raised on the same.

    The trio are very fussy eaters and the small kibble size afforded by the small breed formula up until now was perfect. Where do I turn to now?

    1. Hi Tracy, thank you for reading, and thank you for questions. I am happy to help!

      I understand you are concerned about DCM. After almost two years of investigations, the FDA has still not been able to prove a link between DCM and grain-free dog foods. I suggest reading my article Everything You Need to Know about DCM. Hopefully you find this information helpful. I do not have any concerns about feeding Acana products at this point in time. Until the FDA can show proof of cause, correlation is not causation.

      With that said, there is no shortage of high-quality of grain-friendly dog foods on the market. My top Canadian-made recommendations include FirstMate, Acana Classics, and Carna4.

      Have a look at those and let me know what you think 🙂

  11. Thank you for posting this,
    I’m curious on the number of grain-free options you have listed.
    With the controversy surrounding grain-free diets, do you have any foods with whole grains that you would recommend?

    1. Hi Nathan, thank you for reading, and thanks for your question. I am happy to help you you with this.

      Grain-free foods dominate the pet food marketplace, however there is no shortage of high quality grain-inclusive dog foods. Many manufacturers provide both grain-free and grain-friendly options.

      With regards to the controversy surrounding grain-free diets and their possible connection to DCM in dogs, the FDA has yet to find any conclusive evidence to back up these claims. Remember, correlation is not causation. The grain-free/DCM issue is a complicated, multi-layered issue. I recommend reading my article Everything You Need to Know About DCM; hopefully this information helps provide a balanced perspective of the investigation to date. At this point in time, there is no reason to avoid grain-free dog foods until there is proof of cause.

      With that said, my top Canadian grain-friendly dog foods include FirstMate Grain-Friendly, Acana Classics, and Carna4.

      Please have a look at those and let me know if you have any questions, Nathan. I am happy to help!

  12. Hi Brandon, I have a 7 yr old Yorkie that was diagnosed with lymphangiactasia at age two. We have gradually weaned her off all medications and she is doing well on Hill’s precription ID digestive low-fat diet (canned & kibble). Can you recommend a different, high-quality low fat diet?

    1. Hi Lynne, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      I am sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. I am not a veterinarian, so I cannot make any comments with regards to medical conditions like these. However, if you are looking for recommendations for high-quality, low fat dog foods, I would recommend checking out our Diet and Weight Management page. Please check that out and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  13. Hello — So glad that I landed on your page and that you are online often enough, thanks! Our 50lb active dog is ready to switch to adult food. Our previous dog ate Orijen then Acana. I, too, was scared from continuing to feed this to our current dog so I switched him to PPP. At this crossroad, I am deciding between PPP Sport or Canadian :> I see that earlier today you recommended Acana Red…would you advise me to drop PPP and go back to Acana (or Orijen)? Thank you

    1. Hi Sarah, thank you for reading!

      I understand your concern about feeding Acana/Orijen with regards to DCM. However, until the FDA finds conclusive proof linking grain-free diets to dilated cardiomyopathy, there is no reason to avoid these brands. While most of Acana’s formulas are grain-free, they offer three wonderful grain-inclusive options, too. I highly recommend both Orijen and Acana, among other brands mentioned in my top 20 list. With regards to what food to feed going forward for your pooch, consider rotating diets regularly. Rotating diets offers many benefits.

      Ultimately, there is no one best dog food to feed. There are many options, thus rotating diets allows you to experiment with different brands/formulas to determine which ones perform best for your individual dog. I would most certainly suggest to get off PPP and focus on healthier alternatives.

      I am here to help if you have any questions, Sarah! 🙂

  14. Hi Brandon,
    I have a 4.5 yr old male Australian Shepherd who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. He is currently taking prednisone which has increased his appetite. Fearing we were losing him soon, he got whatever he wanted. Now he’s lost his trim waistline but, thankfully, he is still here and seems to be doing well. He currently eats Now Fresh dog food and no complaints. Due to his health and that we’re all staying at home, we are expecting another Aussie puppy in a couple of weeks. Would you recommend any other food for our older Aussie to eat? The freeze-dried dog food seems appealing however, I’m not sure if good for a puppy? What do you recommend for raw food?

    1. Hi Christine, thank you for reading.

      I am sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis, however I am glad to hear that he is doing well. Now Fresh is a wonderful Canadian brand, so from a nutritional perspective there would be no need to change diets. With that said, I am a firm believer in the benefits of rotating diets regularly. Every few bags or so, think about switching up the food; maybe a different formula from Now Fresh, or going to a completely different brand of the same quality. Lots of options to think about.

      With regards to your puppy, you can feed any of the dehydrated raw diets on this list. Just follow the puppy feeding guidelines and you’re all set! If you want to simplify things in the home and feed both dogs the same food, you can certainly do that with any of the all-life-stage formulas on the market. Many of Now Fresh’s formulas are suitable for all life stages, as well as many of the other top brands on the market. Providing you are feeding a wholesome, high-quality all-life-stage food, all you have to do is feed the correct amount for each dog depending on their individual lifestyle requirements. I am happy to help you if you have any questions 🙂

  15. Hi Brandon,
    Another question for you. Is the feeding ratio between freeze-dried and kibble the same or would you reduce the amount for freeze-dried? For example, mu Aussie has 2 scoops of kibble/day (1 cup each). Would I feed the same amount with freeze-dried?

    1. Hi Christine, thank you for your questions.

      Every dog food has different caloric densities, so it really depends on which brands we are comparing. It is best to compare brands by looking at their individual feeding guidelines. I am happy to help you with this if you like!

  16. Hi Brandon,

    Thank you for this extensive reviews. My 12-year old Shetland, female, has a heart murmur, grade 4, hip dysplasia and other health issues. She was on Hill’s Metabolic and Joint, but she hates it now. So I’ve started cooking for her, but find it quite challenging. I see that most compagnies do not have specialty foods and my vet recommends of course a diet low in sodium. From your review, I was thinking of trying Now Fresh Grain Free Small Breed Senior Recipe or Horizon Complete Senior Weight management. What do you think? Any other suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Line

    1. Thank you for your questions, Line. I am happy to help to the best of my ability.

      Most high-quality dog foods will be naturally low in sodium, as they only consist of fresh, whole foods, and do not add additional sodium. Unfortunately, sodium content is not required for pet food labels, so the only way to compare brands is to contact brands of interest directly and request that information. I am happy to help you with this if you like. In terms of quality, both Now Fresh and Horizon are excellent choices. I think you are on the right track!

  17. HI Brandon,
    Thanks for your reviews. I’m still learning a lot as a first time dog owner. Charlie who is a 6 month, mini goldendoodle has been eating Acana and seems to like it very much. I recently started using some GO! freeze dried food toppers… I’ve been using the Salmon blend for Skin + Coat. There are also some powder/spice type blends on the market that you sprinkle on top. Is it ok and recommended to do this? I read that it provides variety to every meal and is also very healthy. Charlie loves the toppers and is excited for every meal…to the point of licking his bowl clean without fail.
    Also, I keep reading a lot about TLC – which is also pushed by a lot of breeders in Canada. Do you have any insight on this brand?

    1. Hi Lara, thank you for your questions.

      With regards to food toppers, there are a lot of options on the market with varying degrees of quality. Providing you are selecting a high-quality food topper (Go! is a great brand), there is indeed significant nutritional value here. I’m not sure what specific brand you are referring to by saying “powder/spice type blends”, however if you are considering a powdered health and wellness supplement, my top recommendation is Flora4.

      With regards to TLC, I do not have any personal experience with this brand as it is not sold in pet retail stores. This is an online-based business that is generally marketed by breeders who may or may not earn a commission on referral sales. If you are given a referral code for someone recommending TLC, odds are they are earning a commission. From what I can learn about them from their website, they seem to produce a quality product.

      Thank you for reading! Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance 🙂

  18. Hey Brandon,

    I was wondering what your top 5 would be for an adult large breed (100 lbs Shepard mix).
    He’s currently on the Acana large breed and loving the food. I like Horizon based on production being family owned, locally sourced, and next door in SK but is 5 spots down the list.

    Greatly appreciated,

    1. Hi Adam, thank you for your message. I am happy to help.

      You don’t necessarily have to focus on a dog food that is large-breed specific. There are a ton of all-life-stage foods that are perfectly suitable for large breed dogs, they simply don’t come with an exclusive large-breed label. All the foods on this list are wonderful considerations for your big Shepherd. With that said, my top large-breed-specific adult dog foods (in no particular order) include: Acana Large Breed Adult, FirstMate Large Breed Pacific Ocean Fish, Boreal Proper Large Breed, Holistic Select Large Breed, and more.

      I hope that answers your questions, Adam. I am at your service!

  19. Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and timely response to my question. I’ve been trying to research but so much information out there to navigate and major brands all seem to under conglomerates making sub-par food with lots of filler ingredit

    1. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help. Thank you for commenting, Adam! 🙂

  20. Hello,
    My Sharpei babies have been on Go- Venison and Zigniture- Venison and Kangaroo. The “Go” has been the best but they are getting bored of it or not enjoying it. I’m aware of the diseases with “Grain-free diets” which scares me. Do you have any suggestions on new food?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jess, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      With regards to your concerns about grain-free dog foods and the possible connection with DCM, please read my article Everything You Need to Know About DCM. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of the situation. The FDA has not found any proof linking grain-free dog foods to dilated cardiomyopathy.

      With that said, if you prefer to stick with grain-inclusive dog foods, there are plenty of wonderful options to consider. I would suggest looking at brands like FirstMate’s grain-friendly line.

      Please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you would like to further discuss this. Thanks, Jess!

  21. Hi I have a 23 pound yorkie ( I am sure she was cross breading) that has been tremendously huge from the time I got her. She had been on a diet most of her adult life and she has allergies like folliculitis and r skin conditions. I need to find the right food for her for weight loss and allergy issues. Please help

    1. Hi Janice, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      Providing your dog does not have a thyroid issue (for example), weight loss is a pretty straight forward approach; your dog needs to be running a calorie deficit, not a surplus. Feeding the correct amount of calories with plenty of consistent exercise, you should be able to safely bring your dog’s weight to a healthy level. You can browse the many healthy diet and weight loss dog foods we carry by clicking here.

      With regards to allergies, that is a little bit of a longer conversation. Please email me [email protected], or call me directly at 905-464-0563, and I will be happy to help you find long-term solutions to your dog’s allergic symptoms.

      Thanks, Janice. I look forward to hearing from you!

  22. I have always had super healthy and happy dogs feeding Norman’s Naturals dog food. I find it a good value for money as well. It is made in Elmira, Ontario for a company in Wellesley Ontario. Have you heard of it before or can you add it to your studies?

    1. Hi Rose, thank you for reading. I am not familiar with Norman’s Naturals. I will look into this brand, thank you!

  23. Hello,

    I’ve been in the search of a good high quality food for my dogs that is fish free (It is more of an environmental concern, as we are currently overfishing the oceans) Adding flax seed oil to dog food is a great substitute and I have found a few in the US, but they don’t ship to Canada. . Do you have any suggestion?


    1. Hi Dan, thank you for your questions. I can certainly help you find a high-quality, fish-free dog food. There are many options to consider; some of the more popular fish-free dog foods include Acana Duck, Acana Lamb, and Acana Pork.

      With regards to flax oils, I am happy to help you find something more readily available. Please email me [email protected]. Thanks, Dan!

  24. Hi,
    Wanted to make a comment on Senior dog formulas. We originally had our mini Schnauzer on Acana as a puppy, switched to First Mate for the adult breed. Great food & did very well on it. Last year his blood results came back with high cholesterol levels (normal for this breed) so we switched to a senior formula ‘NOW’. Loved the food but not the price vs.the size bag. Switched back to First Mate senior formula. Dog had extreme increase in daily water consumption. I looked into the sodium levels in the senior formulas with help from my amazing local pet supply store. As a result of finding out the higher sodium levels we are switching back to the NOW brand & staying with it. He’s a bit more hungry on the senior formula so we may have to increase the serving a wee bit.

  25. Great article!
    I have a 8+ yr old Shiloh Shepherd. I’ve fed him Royal Canin large breed weight control for many years. I have tried Orijen and Acana but find they cause stomach issues…too much protein maybe? Anyway, what would you recommend for a senior? Thank you

    1. Hi Barb, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      Is your dog overweight? For the most part, senior-specific dog foods are low-calorie versions of their adult (or all-life-stage) foods. Many older dogs may not need a senior dog food if they are at a healthy weight. All life stage foods may be the way to go in this case.

      With that said, we carry the best quality senior dog foods on the market. Have a look at that link and let me know your thoughts.

      Thanks again, Barb. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

  26. Hi Brandon, thanks for this extensive review! I have a 4 yo large mixed breed who has doggie IBD. He had terrible diarrhea until we figured it out and put him on Royal Canin hypoallergenic. He does great on it ( only occasional flare-ups, no meds needed yet), but it’s so expensive! I’ve tried to find an alternative to no avail. Do you have any suggestions? (He’ll stay on it if needed, because it really does help). Thank you!

    1. Hello, Lise. Thank you for reading, and thanks for your questions.

      Have you tried any digestive supplements for your dog’s IBD? We have great success with products like Flora4 for optimizing digestive/gut health. Canned pumpkin may also be another consideration. In many cases these supplements can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to digestive health.

      With regards to dog foods that are IBD-friendly, I would recommend brands like FirstMate’s grain-friendly line. The inclusion of healthy whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice can help with stool consistency. FirstMate will also cost about half of what you are currently paying for Royal Canin. I am happy to provide other options for your consideration; feel free to email me at [email protected], or you may contact me directly at 905-464-0563. Thanks, Lise!

  27. Hi! What a great article!

    We are looking for a Canadian made, more natural (less fillers and crap) dog food for our boxer puppy (8 weeks). So many options on here! Do you have a recommendation for the Boxer breed?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you for reading!

      If you are feeding any food on this list, then you are making a good choice for your dog’s long-term health and wellness. There is no bad choice to make here. You may want to rotate and experiment with several of the brands on this list to determine which ones your individual dog performs best on. Whether it’s taste, digestion, allergies, or skin and coat health, every dog is unique.

      You may want to ask yourself what your dog food criteria are: price, quality, raw/kibble/can, etc. I am happy to help you with this process if you would like to email me [email protected], or call me directly 905-464-0563.

  28. Great article. What would be considered good options for a sturdy 16 year old Maltese with itchy skin issues? He’s a total foody and is currently on Canadian Naturals, seniors formula. Thank you.

    1. Hi Darla, thank you for reading!

      There are many great food options to consider for your 16 year old pooch. Providing he’s not overweight, he doesn’t necessarily need a senior-specific diet. To expand your options, you may want to consider looking at all-life-stage foods. I am a big believer in rotating foods regularly, so there isn’t one best food to pick, there are several! What type of food are you looking to feed: kibble, canned, raw (frozen or dehydrated)? I am happy to help you find a new food for your dog, please email me at [email protected]. In the meantime, I would start at the top of this list and work your way down. Thanks, Darla!

  29. Thank you for this amazing review. I am thrilled to find so much detail and to find information on Canadian made dog foods!
    My Tibetan Terrier, who turned 1 years old in April, has suffered from ear infections since she was 4 months old old. We have been to the vet and treatment is always successful, but the ear infections always returns, even clearing up on its own sometimes. The ear has been cultured twice. Once it came back as yeast and another time as MRSA. We tried food trials to see if it was food allergies related, but it did seem to yield definite results. My vet believes it is an environmental allergy and has recommended Hills Derm Defense. I am concerned about the quality of this food as opposed to other foods, such as the ones in this review that appear to have more whole and healthy ingredients. Before I switch her food again I wanted to research the best kind for her. She is presently eating a salmon and sweet potato kibble that has been fine and resulted in a better, but not resolved issue with her ears. (Significantly better than when on a chicken based diet, so may be some allergy there). She is otherwise very healthy, active and doing well. Thank you so much for any information you can provide!

    1. Hi Jacqueline, thank you for reading, and thank you for your questions! I am happy to help solve your dog’s ear problems. This is definitely a conversation we should have over the phone, please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563, or toll free at 1-844-799-PETS(7387).

      Thanks, Jacqueline. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  30. Hi Brandon,

    Thanks for writing this very informative article. I have two Bernese aged 7 and 8 and the vet has suggested I switch over to RC mobility support. They have lived on Canadian Naturals large breed mixed with CN limited ingredient. Can you recommend a good senior / mobility food for my big boys.

    1. Hi Lynn, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      With regards to dog foods helping with joint and mobility, food alone is not going to be the solution. Proper supplementation will make all the difference in the world. Please have a look at my favourite Joint & Mobility Supplements. When you have the proper supplement in place, you won’t need to factor joint and mobility health in your dogs’ food. Dog food, and joint and mobility health should be two separate criteria. Instead, try to focus on wholesome and healthy dog foods, and a separate high-quality joint and mobility supplement like Tri-Acta Maximum Strength.

      I hope that helps, Lynn.

  31. Why are all these bands grain free? I need a salmon or fish recipe that does not contain chicken. I have been advised to add grains back into my dog’s diet due to DCM risks. I also read an article on the New York Times listing many of the above brands in a lawsuit regarding DMC and their limited ingredients in their food. I’m totally at a loss as to what food to give my sweet dog. Help!

    1. Hello, Daniela. Thank you for you questions. I am happy to help you!

      While the majority of the foods on this list are indeed grain-free, there are several grain-friendly options included as well.

      With regards to your concerns about grain-free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), it has been almost 2 years now and the FDA has still not found any proof of cause. Remember, correlation is not causation, and DCM is a multi-layered problem; it is not as simple as saying grain-free diets cause heart disease. I feel you would benefit from reading my article Everything You Need to Know About DCM. Until there is conclusive evidence linking grain-free diets to heart disease, I would not abandon all grain-free diets (they are not all the same). With that said, I am a believer in rotation-based feeding, so perhaps you consider feeding your dog both grain-free and grain-inclusive dog foods over time.

      If you are looking for a fish-based grain-friendly dog food with no chicken, consider FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly Wild Caught Fish.

      Please let me know your thoughts, Daniela. I am here to help if you have any questions!

  32. Hi, I just adopted a 3 yr old rough collie (rescue) who lost his older owner. I am having a heck of a time getting him to eat. I was given no information on past history. The owners family provided a bag of food (low quality) that he wasn’t eating. I tried buying the costco brand dog food, he didn’t want that. I have since tried several other brands to see if any peak his curiosity. I am aware that rescues can go through a rough time in a new home, but to not eat at all and to have zero interest concerned me. The brand I am currently trying him with is Nutrience Sub Zero. It came highly recommended at the independent pet food store I was at. They were telling me that the first 10 to 14 ingredients is meat and all the rest of the ingredients were of high quality as well. Have you ever reviewed this brand? If so, I would like to hear your opinion please. I am actually wondering if my new family member was on a raw diet as he didn’t seem to know what a dog biscuit was either and he seems to be very gentle in chewing. Is there such a thing as a softer kibble?

    1. Hi Robin, thank you for your questions.

      As you indicated, stress and anxiety due to re-homing can affect many things, especially appetite. All dogs adjust at different rates, so just continue to be patient, loving, and supportive and he should hopefully come around.

      It is a frustrating ordeal as the owner of a new rescue dog that will not eat. When it comes to taste appeal, meat content is commonly the motivator. To maximize flavour, it doesn’t get any better than dehydrated/freeze-dried foods. Products like Smack, Zeal, and Orijen Freeze-Dried are among the most popular foods for pets needing extra motivation in their bowl. In terms of kibble, the most popular high-meat-inclusion dog foods include Orijen, Go!, and Essence.

      Nutrience is not a brand we carry, so I have limited first-hand experience with this brand. However, from the information provided on their website, the Sub Zero line appears to be a good quality combination of dry kibble and freeze-dried nuggets.

      You may have to experiment with several foods before you find one your dog will willingly accept. We guarantee our products 100%. His fussy behaviour may remedy itself as he settles into his new life, it may not be due unappealing food options. I am happy to discuss this at your convenience [email protected].

      Thank you, Robin!

  33. Hi I have 2 young Cavaliers and I have been feeding them Royal Canine dental. We have to cut it in 2 because they swallow it instead of crunching it. I am looking for another brand for them. But I am training them to be therapy dogs so they can’t eat raw. Any suggestions for dogs that tend to have heart problems?

    1. Hi Monique, thank you for your email. I am happy to help you with your questions.

      A great alternative to Royal Canin Dental would be FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly Chicken formula. While Royal Canin uses chicken by-products, FirstMate uses whole, human-grade chicken. FirstMate is Canadian made, family owned, and makers of some of the healthiest pet foods in Canada. Best of all, FirstMate will cost significantly less than Royal Canin.

      With regards to heart problems, I am not a veterinarian, so I cannot comment on medical conditions like these.

      There are many wonderful, wholesome pet foods on the market today, so I am happy to provide other options if you are interested. Please let me know.

  34. Hello,

    I was looking for some recommendations on some new food. I have an aussie and he will be 5 next week. He has been on RAW food for 4 years now. I was looking to possibly be switching him back to kibble or even freeze dried and was wondering what would be the best kind. He is a bit overweight so I have been trying to cut him back but I think he might actually have a Thyroid issue which the vet had mentioned yesterday. He does have an allergy to chicken so I would need something that does not have chicken as part of a base.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Hailie, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help you find a new food for your pooch.

      The first thing to do here is confirm with your vet whether or not your dog has a thyroid issue.

      Next, we look at food. I understand you have been feeding raw (I assume you mean frozen raw). Raw doesn’t always have to be frozen. Dehydrated raw foods are among the most popular products on the market today. There are plenty of high-quality options on the market like Smack, Zeal, Orijen Freeze Dried, and more. If you prefer to continue feeding raw, these would be among your best options in Canada. Alternatively, consider a kibble like Carna4; it is one of the only synthetic-free dry foods on the market.

      Have a look at those options and please let me know if you have any further questions. I hope that helps, Hailie!

      1. Hi Brandon,

        Thank you for replying. Yes, they said to keep an eye on him for now to see if he does lose weight and if not within the month then to go get him tested. Yes, he was on frozen raw food that I would get from a local shop.
        I have never actually realized that there are dehydrated raw foods, would those just be kept on a shelf or in a fridge? I would like to possibly keep him on raw because he does the best with that. I am just a little concerned with excepting a baby and having the possible chance of salmonella so I am currently trying to figure out the best options.

        Thank you!

        1. Dehydrated raw dog foods do not require any freezing or refrigeration. They are intended to be stable at room temperature. With a new baby on the way, it is understandable you are concerned about the health hazards that come with frozen raw foods. Dehydrated foods would be a much safer option in this situation. Dehydrated raw foods offer all the health benefits of frozen raw, without the hassle!

          1. Hi Brandon,

            Thank you for the reply.I like the without the hassle because it for sure is a hassle with the raw food we get and having to portion it and bag it all, it is a messy job lol. Do you also roughly know costs for dehydrated raw food and where you can usually buy it from?

            Thank you

          2. We sell many options for dehydrated raw dog food. Here, you will be able to find product information, including pricing. We ship Canada-wide.

            Check that out and let me know your thoughts. I am happy to help if you have any questions.

            Thanks, Hailie!

  35. Hi Brandon,
    This list is great – but I’m still lost. My 2 mini bernedoodles are now 11 weeks old and I’m looking to switch their food. They were fed Blue Buffalo when I picked them up at 8 weeks old. Just wondering what you would recommend? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Nicci, thank you for reading! I am happy to help with your questions.

      For your mini bernedoodles, there are plenty of excellent food choices to consider, it simply depends on what your individual criteria are. As reflected in this Top 20 list, I am a big fan of dehydrated raw diets for pets, however these foods can be cost prohibitive. However, you can always use dehydrated raw foods as a topper to compliment a high quality, lower cost kibble. This seems to be a popular choice for many pet owners. If you can provide me some information with regards to what your dog food criteria are, I will be delighted to help you find some product options.

  36. Hey Brandon,
    This was super insightful – as I’ve been doing a lot of research on what foods may be best to feed my two dogs (Goldendoodle- 4 yrs & Sheepadoodle -1 yr). I had my Goldendoodle on Acana/ Orijen – but she seemed to not be extremely interested in it after a while & I found there may have been too much protein as she would have really runny poops.. It took a long time to get her re-interested in eating it. I then switched her to GO – but I have found that her beard (lol) is discoloured – and her teeth are starting to plaque more (with daily brushing). I wondered if you recommended a different food for this – or a rotation of GO foods – as she is mainly on the lamb formula.

    I was thinking of switching to raw – but I have no idea on where to start or if this is better than dry food… I also don’t know what cost is like and how I would maintain a healthy raw diet. Also – is there a difference between raw and dehydrated raw? Is one better?
    I like GO, but I want to do what is most healthy for them…

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Brittany, thanks for reading! I am happy to help answer your questions.

      With regards to Go!, it is odd that you have noticed discolouration in your dog’s beard, along with plaque build up. I do not believe that diet alone is a remedy for dental health, so in addition to brushing, you may want to consider adding a dental supplement like Plaque Off. No matter what food you are feeding, I recommend rotating healthy diets regularly.

      With regards to raw. Nutritionally, there is no fundamental difference between frozen raw and dehydrated raw; one product simply has the water removed whereas the other has not. Dehydrated raw certainly has the edge in terms of convenience and portability, but it does come at a higher cost compared to frozen raw. Many of my clients feed both frozen and dehydrated raw, others feed kibble and use dehydrated raw as a food topper. There are many applications to consider.

      As far as kibbles go, Go! is among the best brands in the market today, so you are certainly in good nutritional hands with this brand. Of course, there are gobs of alternative brands to consider if you are looking for something different.

      I hope this helps answer your questions. Please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563 if you would like to have a conversation about your pets’ health and well being. Thanks, Brittany! 🙂

  37. Hi,
    What are your thoughts on Performatrim Ultra Grain Free?
    It is Canadian made. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Erin, thank you for your question.

      Performatrin is made exclusively for PetValu, so I do not have any personal experience with this brand as Canadian Pet Connection is an independent. Aside from the odd controversial ingredient (like tomato pomace) the ingredients in Performatrin Ultra seem comparable to many high quality brands on the market today. One of the downsides of an exclusive brands like this is the consumer can only purchase it from one place, so those who wish to support independent pet supply retailers (like us) may want to consider another brand.

      I am happy to help if you would like to explore your options! Thanks, Erin 🙂

  38. Hi Brandon,

    Thank you for an insightful list of dog food brands. It is difficult to see what brands are good because there are so many variations of them. I just needed some guidance for my 6 year old miniature pinscher, he has not officially been diagnosed but his IDEEX SDMA shows 15 in his last blood test last week and everything else is within the normal range. My vet stated he is prone to kidney disease and need to obtain low protein, phosphorous, and sodium diet. My vet highly recommended the prescription food even though he said it not necessary yet. Unfortunately, they unable to help me further than that because other commercial dog food is not veterinary formulated so they cannot say much on other food brands. Do you know what would be a suitable dog diet at this stage (specifically the dog formula or even brand to explore)? I am planning to mix his kibble with homemade food as well because he is a picky eater. I was looking at the Now Fresh Senior dog recipe as well as Endless Valley Gather (organic vegan recipe) just because were planning to mix homemade boil chicken, rice, and veggies. But I am not 100% I am on the right track or not. I apologize this might be a sensitive topic to respond on because you do not know the dog’s full history but I just do not know who to go.

    Kind regards,

    Kirishnan S

    1. Hi Kirishnan, thank you for reading, and thanks for your questions.

      Dealing with kidney issues are a complicated matter as there are many factors that need to be considered. I am happy to help you to the best of my ability, however I am not a veterinarian. I suggest following your veterinarian’s advice with regards to developing a long-term plan for optimal kidney health. With that said, the biggest concern with regards to kidney issues and diet is controlling phosphorous and sodium content and increasing water content and omega fatty acids (among other things).

      The Now Fresh Senior dog formula and Gather Endless Valley are both excellent choices for high-quality, non-prescription diets that are low in phosphorous at 0.4%. Anything under 0.6% is considered ideal. FirstMate Pacific Ocean Fish Senior is another great option at 0.5% phosphorous.

      I hope this helps answer your questions, Kirishnan. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I am happy to help!

  39. Hello, I have really been struggling looking for a great quality kibble for my 7 month old MAS. I prefer grain friendly and without peas. After much debate I have chosen Open Farms Ancient Grains Puppy recipe. Prior to that she was on Farmina grain friendly (very high protein and rich). As I live in B.C. I have a lot of choice. I am wondering why Open Farms didn’t make your list? It appears to be an extremely high quality food!!
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Deb, thank you for reading!

      I am a big fan of Open Farm. While their head office is located in Toronto, their products are manufactured in Minnesota. This list pertains exclusively to Canadian-made dog foods.

      If you are curious about Canadian-made grain-friendly dog foods without peas, please consider FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly line.

      I hope that helps, Deb! I am happy to help if you have any further questions 🙂

  40. Hi Brandon. Thank you for an excellent article. We will be welcoming an 8 week old small breed puppy to our family next week and we want to start him out on a high quality grain-inclusive puppy food (next stop is your DCM article as this is my concern with feeding a grain-free formula to small breeds). Many of the brands on your list are for all sizes, all life stages. What would be your best recommendation for our very young, small breed pup (he will likely be in the 15lb range fully grown).

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for reading.

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Getting a new puppy is such an exciting time. I understand you are looking for a high quality grain-friendly diet suitable for your little pup. One of my top recommendations is FirstMate’s grain-friendly line; it is suitable for all life stages, which certainly includes puppies. Another wonderful option is the Acana Classics line.

      I am always happy to help if you have any questions going forward. Thanks, Lisa! 🙂

  41. Hi Brandon,
    My vet recommended to switch off from grain free (DCM scare?) so we did. We have 3 small dogs 16, 14, and about to be 3 year old the 16 and 14 year old lived the majority of their lives on Riplees Ranch grain inclusive food switched to earth Options by pets first grain free superfood, since the vet recommendation, all 3 of the dogs have now experienced yeast problems. I read an article (can’t remember where you know surfing you can drift far from your original start) that suggested that food with grains may be causing the yeast infections my 14 year old suffers from, the latest bout has lasted 7 weeks even though she has had several prescribed medications, this article also taked about feet chewing…. well the connection for me hit like a brick. I am wondering if in fact I’m correct in thinking all 3 dogs that are frantic at chewing their feet and the 14 yr old with the ear infection which now includes both eyes to have infections, are or could be related to the grains in their food. Chicken meal, oatmeal, whole brown rice, barley, these grains seemed safer to me. Thanks for any opinion and or recommendations you may have.

    1. Hi Cheryl, thank you for reading. I am happy to help answer your questions.

      With regards to yeast problems in the ears, chewing the feet, etc, those symptoms could very well by the result of a food allergy or intolerance. There are many factors to consider here. It is important to simplify the diet in an effort to eliminate whatever foods may be causing these symptoms. Limited ingredient diets are very popular for this purpose.

      In order to figure out a plan for your dogs, it would be best to speak over the phone as there is much to discuss. Please feel free to call my direct line at 905-464-0563, or our Pet Health & Wellness Centre at 1-844-799-PETS(7387).

      Thank you, Cheryl. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

  42. Hi. It’s my understanding that “My Healthy Pet” has been bought by a Chinese company. I’ve been feeding their chicken blend to my doodle for 4 years and now I’m looking for something truly Canadian that is similar.
    Can you suggest a new food for me that would be comparable?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you for your question. I am happy to help.

      With regards to finding a comparable alternative, consider looking at brands like FirstMate, Acana, Boreal, and more.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

  43. In one of your responses you recommend First Mate Fish for a dog that cannot have chicken, but it does have chicken fat listed as one of the ingredients.

    1. Hi Julie, great observation! This is a question I get often. Here is the exact wordage from FirstMate’s website regarding chicken fat and chicken allergies:

      “Our bodies and our pet’s bodies react differently with proteins and fats. An allergy is caused by the bodies reaction with the protein of what we’ve come in contact with. Our chicken fat is free of chicken protein and will therefore not cause a reaction for those animals with a chicken allergy.”

      I hope this helps with your concerns. Please let me know if I can help with anything else 🙂

  44. I have a 5 year old rescue dog, a Chihuahua/Terrier mix to the best of our knowledge. He has become quite overweight in the 3.5 years he has been with us. What would you recommend for weight control. He generally eats can food, and is not terribly interested in dry food.

    1. Hi Dawne, thank you for reaching out! I am happy to help you.

      With regards to weight loss, it is all about running a caloric defect regardless of the food you are feeding. While there are certain low calorie canned foods on the market, the majority of canned dog foods are made for all life stages. This is largely due to the high water content in canned foods; you will find many more low calorie options in dry kibble than wet canned. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a specific brand for the purpose of weight loss , rather, I would advise to simply adjust the amount of (high quality) food you are feeding him as it is conducive to his lifestyle. It’s as simple as that (providing there are no underlying health issues, like hypo thyroid for example). More exercise, fewer calories. Be consistent and his weight will come down, I promise. If you need any help figuring out the correct amount of food to feed your pooch, I am happy to help you with that.

      Thank you, Dawne 🙂

  45. Hi Brandon,
    I have a 13 week labradoodle on raw food. I’d like to switch her to kibble just for convenience as we go camping a lot. I’m deciding between Orijen and Acana. I realize Orijen is the better product but is it so much better to warrant the extra cost?

    1. Hi Tara, thank you for reading!

      Orijen is not necessarily a better product than Acana, however it does have a higher meat inclusion, which is why it is more expensive than Acana. If you are looking for a dry food that is closest to a raw diet in terms of meat content, then Orijen would be the better choice. Nutritionally, both Acana and Orijen are equivalent, and I am confident your dog will do very well on either brand. Consider rotating between these brands and see which formulas your dog performs best on. I hope that helps!

  46. Hi Brandon,
    I happened across your article and it was very informative reading. We are very interested in providing our mini Goldendoodle with a raw diet. After speaking with our local pet store that sells raw, he recommended Red Dog Deli with gradually moving to IrRawsistable. Milo is currently eating TLC kibble which his breeder recommended. I learned that there is also partially cooked and frozen raw kibble that can be used in conjunction with the raw diet. Is there any chance that you can let us know when you are publishing your article on raw food as I am very interested in learning more. Thanks!

    1. Hi Candace, thank you for reading! My team are working on many projects at the moment, and our top raw foods in Canada is one of them. It is in the works, but is not finished yet.

      In the meantime, I am happy to help you with any questions you have regarding raw foods for pets. Feel free to email me at your convenience ([email protected]). I am at your service!

  47. Hi Brandon, excellent reviews. I have a 9 yr old Bichon, who has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis, and she also needs a low protein food. And to top it off she has an allergy to chicken. She is currently eating Royal Canin Gastrointestinal low fat wet food, but we want to switch her. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Diane, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help you.

      Having a dog with a chicken allergy automatically limits your low protein options; the vast majority of low protein commercial dog foods are chicken based, including Royal Canin’s gastrointestinal low fat diets. However, you can consider something like Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison formula; it has the same protein content as the Royal Canin Gastro Dry (20%).

      I am happy to help you find other options if you need. Please feel free to email me [email protected], or call me directly 905-464-0563, or toll free 1-844-799-PETS(7387). Thank you, Diane!

  48. Hi Brandon
    I have an 11 month old standard poodle who is healthy and active who I have been feeding Costco lamb based kibble as that was what the breeder said she feeds her dogs. I’m not sure if Costco food is as nutritious as I would like and I am struggling to find a good quality Canadian made food. I would prefer kibble but I am also looking at home
    cooking dog food as well. Would it be ok to feed kibble as well as home
    cooked? Do you have any recommendations on home cooked recipes?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Shelley, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help you.

      I would recommend upgrading from the Costco brand in lieu of something higher quality. With regards to feeding a home cooked diet with dry kibble, yes, you can certainly do that, providing you are conscious of proper portion control. I currently do not have any articles with DIY recipes for home cooking, however there are many great recipes to be found online. Just be careful you are getting a recipe from a qualified, trusted source.

      Going forward, I am at your service if you have any questions. Thanks, Shelley!

  49. Hello Brandon….your reviews are so interesting, but I wish a price was beside those dollar
    I favour the Smack Brand for my so far problem free 7 yr. old black Lab, but I’m wondering how I measure her food to be an adequate meal….Smack comes in such a small quantity it seems to be more of a ‘treat’ than an actual food! Would I weigh or measure wet or dry?
    Also, when they say the whole chicken is used are the feathers included? I also am using Costco kibble (Chicken and Vegetable) but have been ‘boosting’ it with fresh food. To my horror I’ve just noticed that all meats are ‘meal’…don’t know how I missed that after a lot of label reading. My son’s ‘Blue Heeler’ lived to 17yrs. on it so can’t be all that bad. It also has taurine added if lack of, turns out to be the cause of DCM. I lost my last Lab to it so I worry. I would like to get away from all the additives so am on the hunt for better food, but so hard to choose!

    1. Hi Joan, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help you!

      With regards to Smack’s feeding guidelines, you can find their chart here. Measurements are based on the dry food itself with no water added. For example, an average 70lb active lab would require approximately 2½ cups of dry product per day. Feathers will not be found in any Smack formulas.

      With regards to “meal” ingredients in other pet foods, not all “meals” are created equal. The term “meal” refers to one or more ingredients that have been cooked to a highly concentrated protein powder. “Meal” does not infer any kind of quality, it simply refers to the processing of the ingredient itself. The negative association with “meal” comes from the fact that many brands use low-quality non-specific meats in meal form: meat meal, meat byproduct meal, chicken byproduct meal, etc. Unfortunately, none of these terms reflect the quality of the ingredient itself. There are high quality forms of meal, and there are low quality forms of meal.

      This list represents the best quality Canadian brands on the market today. If you are thinking of upgrading your dry food, then look no further than the many wonderful brands on this list. If you need help narrowing down your search, I am happy to assist.

      I hope this helps answer your questions, Joan. I am at your service if you need anything else 🙂

  50. Hi Brandon
    Wow! Your article is amazingly informative and now I am completely confused. We have a 4yr. old rottweiler male who is 120lbs. He has become a service dog for me. Who would have guessed? He likes to graze as he wants all day long. What do you recommend for my big boy?

    1. Hi Marilyn, thank you for your kind words!

      If you are looking for the best quality diet for your pooch, then my advise is to start at the top of this list and work your way down. However, if you have any specific purchasing criteria (formula, bag size, price, etc), please let me know and I will be happy to help you find the perfect food for your Rottweiler. I look forward to hearing from you!

  51. Hey Brandon, My dog is an elderly, but agile and active, Husky/Shepherd. I recently switched his food due to location and availability and ended up going with the Taiga brand Pork 35lb bag. I’d never seen it before but it seemed healthy and was a decent price. It’s only been a few days but he seems to enjoy it but eats more than he ever has, he will stand at his bowl, which he has never done before.

    Any thoughts on that brand or articles I could read? I find it hard to understand what is decent food at a pet store vs something that’s put in a fancy bag, has a happy dog on the front, and called something ridiculous like “Pack Leader of the Wild Land” etc..

    Any pointers would be great. Thanks!

    1. Hi Saul, thank you for your comments and questions. I am happy to help.

      While I don’t have any articles specifically pertaining to Taiga, I can personally attest to the quality of Horizon pet foods. Not only are they family owned, they are among the most accountable and transparent pet food manufacturers in Canada. Horizon does not use any third party contractors; they source, produce, package, and ship all in house. When it comes to ingredient sourcing, Horizon is well known for supporting local growers. Canadian Pet Connection has proudly sold Horizon pet foods for well over a decade, with overwhelming success.

      I hope this gives you confidence in the Horizon brand, Saul. I am here to help if you have any further questions. Have a great day!

  52. Great article, we have a shepherd cross and it seems like we have tried every brand and protien out there but cant seem to find away to control her yeast issues and was wondering if you recommend a certain brand or other options out there, currently we are looking into the vet diets but we have never really agreed with their ingredients. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated thank you

    1. Hi David, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      When it comes to solving yeast issues in dogs, the conversation would be best held over the phone as I will need some information about your dog and his diet history. Please feel free to call my direct line at your convenience 905-464-0563. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

  53. Hi Brandon

    We’ve just moved to Canada from overseas where we have been using ZiwiPeaks air dried chicken recipe. What would be the best, most comparable option in Alberta/Canada to this brand as it appears very costly to purchase here.


    1. Hi Danielle, welcome to Canada! If you are looking for a Canadian equivalent to Ziwi Peak, look no further than Zeal. It is one of our most popular dehydrated raw foods.

      Please look at that and let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you!

  54. Hi Brandon, thank you for this great article. Could you comment on Canisource Grand Cru? This is a high quality dehydrated food for pets produced in Quebec. The owner of the animal food store in Magog highly recommended that product. I have a new puppy and after reading many articles about pet food, I decided it was best to move away from Royal Canin since it contains too much filler (low value ingredients). Thank you for your feedback.

    1. Hi Sylvain, thank you for your comments.

      Canisource Grand Cru is an exceptionally high quality product. Grand Cru is minimally processed, meaning the majority of original nutrients are preserved, which means no synthetic nutrients needed! Great choice, Sylvain.

  55. Hi thanks for the article. I am feeding my pomerian/keeshond a US food, Victor Senior Healthy Weight. It is grain friendly and includes taurine. She does well on it. However due to the pandenic I doubt that I will be going to Florida this winter and I need to source a Canadian available food for her. I have looked at the ingredient lists of some of the grain friendly weight management foods and no where do I see taurine. To be safe even though there has been no conclusive evidence of the cause of DCM I would like to have a grain friendly food which includes taurine. What do you recommend? Thanks

    1. Hi Ben, great questions! I can certainly help you find what you’re looking for.

      With regards to finding a high quality, grain-inclusive dog food with added taurine, I would suggest looking at Pure Vita Duck & Oatmeal, and several products made by The Honest Kitchen like Chicken Tasty Whole Food Clusters, and Beef Tasty Whole Food Clusters (among others).

      I hope this helps you find what you’re looking for. I am at your service if you need any help!

  56. Thanks for this great list. Wondering if there is/or perhaps in the works, a list for The Top 20 Cat Foods in Canada for 2020? I would love to know about Canadian sustainable, healthy, organic options for cats.

    1. Hi Ainsley, thank you for posting. We are currently working on a Top 20 Canadian Cat Foods list for 2021, so stay tuned!

  57. Hi Brandon, wow such a great article thank you. And even after publishing months ago it is great to see that you continue to reply to the comments too. I recently adopted a beautiful 1 year old female short haired pointer/chocolate lab mix and we are coming to the end of the Canadian Natural dry food that the fosters gave us. So I am looking to invest in a food good for her breed – she is very active by nature so needs all of the right nutrients and healthy ingredients to keep her sprinting after that ball during Fetch lol.
    If you have any recommendations for her breed, I would love to hear from you 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Louise, thank you for taking the time to comment on this article!

      With regards to a new food for your pooch, I can certainly help you find some options providing you can help me with some basic criteria. If you are looking for best overall quality, then my advice is to start at the top of this list and work your way down. Alternatively, if you are looking for the best balance between quality and affordability, you may want to consider products like FirstMate’s grain-friendly line. Any information you can give me is helpful.

      I look forward to hearing from you, Louise.

  58. Hi Brandon we have a 13-year-old miniature schnauzer who is prone to bladder stones.She has been on royal Canin weight control wet and dry since her first operation.
    After watching videos we realize that royal Canin is mostly filler we would like to switch her to a better diet however apprehensive about a raw diet and after reading your article we are also concerned about grain-free.

    Do you have a better option for us.

    1. Hi Kathleen, thank you for your comments and questions.

      In order for me to help you to the best of my ability, this is a conversation best held over the phone. Please feel free to contact me directly at your convenience 905-464-0563.

      I look forward to hearing from you!


  59. Very informative article, thank you! I have been trying to decide which food to try for our dog. She seems to have a sensitive stomach and often has loose stool, and sometimes diarrhea. I’m wondering if you can clarify something for me- I’ve read that dogs with sensitive stomachs tend to do best with a single protein source, limited ingredients, grain-free etc. but I see that you’ve recommended the First Mate grain-friendly dog foods to several people in the comments. Is it just specific grains that are problematic or why am I seeing mixed messages on grains for dogs with tummy issues? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Laura, great questions! Thank you for taking the time to post.

      When it comes to digestive issues, the solution is largely dependent on the individual. There is no one-step solution for solving digestive issues in every dog, which may explain why you have come across multiple opinions during your research. There are many things that can cause stomach problems in dogs, so in order to find a healthy long-term remedy, it is important to first identify the cause.

      As a general rule, it is wise to simplify a dog’s diet to reduce the burden on the digestive system. This would include feeding a single protein, or a limited ingredient diet. In order to correct digestive issues (providing there are no underlying health problems), you need to address the problem at it’s source by providing the body what it needs for optimal digestive health, specifically dietary fibre, pre and probiotics, and digestive enzymes.

      To overwhelming success, I recommend FirstMate’s grain-friendly line of dog food for dogs with digestive issues because of it’s simplicity, and the inclusion of whole oats, however this may not be a solution for every dog. Another consideration to help improve digestive health is Flora4 supplement. This simple supplement is made from organic sprouted seeds and provides the body with everything it needs for optimal gut health, among other things.

      I am happy to help you find solutions to your dog’s digestive issues. Please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563 if you would like to speak over the phone.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Laura.


  60. Hi! I am so thankful to find this article! I literally read every single word including the comments and replies. I am expecting a Aussidoodle and golden doodle before end of year and looking into what to feed these puppies best. First time pet owner so really nervous.

    I am hoping to work with a wet food mix with dehydrated raw food diet. Is this something that is good for the puppies? I am considering first mate with smack or zeal. Alternative, I read a few people mixing GO! Kibbles with dehydrated raw food as toppers – is this better than wet food? I was under the assumption wet food is easier for digestion over kibbles. With the mix breed dogs, I hope to provide the best food to avoid adult life illness in advance. Also for dogs, is chicken always the healthier choice as I notice more popluar and advised flavor are always chicken… I thought dogs should eat fish more for omega -3.

    Would you also have articles on supplements for dogs at all stages of life?
    Thank you very much!!!!!

    1. Hi Rita, thank you for reading! I appreciate you taking time time to comment. Let’s dive right into your questions, shall we?

      With regards to combining wet food with dehydrated raw, that is a very good combination, and brands like Zeal and Smack will provide your pups with excellent nutrition.

      When it comes to comparing wet food or dehydrated raw food as a topper, raw may have the edge as they are less processed foods, however, if you like certain wet foods, why not consider rotating and offering the best of both?

      With regards to wet food being more easily digestible than kibble, this is true and is largely due to the high moisture content in wet foods.

      With regards to chicken being a healthier choice for dogs, that is not universally true. Just like humans, dogs are all unique individuals and may do better on certain foods than others. Chicken is by far the most common protein found in pet foods because it is less expensive compared to all other meat sources. I would recommend rotating among various meat proteins to determine which one(s) work best for your pups.

      With regards to supplements for dogs, there are many wonderful options depending on what your goals are. If you are looking for an overall health and wellness supplement, my best recommendation is Flora4.

      I hope this helps answer your questions, Rita. I am at your service if you need anything else 🙂

  61. What would you recommand for a labrador pup? we will be getting him at 8 weeks of age.
    we currently have a 2 year old mix dog eating purina pro plan.
    Wondering if this is a good dog food or not…



    1. Hi Michael, congrats on your new puppy! Such an exciting time.

      I do not recommend any products made by Purina. I can certainly help find you an alternative food providing you can give me some basic purchasing criteria (quality, affordability, flavour, etc), otherwise I would start at the top of this list and work your way down – that’s what this list is for! 🙂

      I am at your service if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day, Michael.

      1. Hello Brandon,

        Indeed, your help would be appreciated.

        We went to different stores and many suggested Grand Cru or Hurraw (ends up being the same company from what I understand). It’s some raw dehydrated food. The company is in Quebec, we like the idea of buying local in this pandemic period. It can be in other Canadian provinces as well, but we would like to keep it within Canada.

        I live in Quebec, and we want to give some good food to our dogs. The price for the Hurraw runs around 150$ (tx included) for a 10kg. This would last a little over 2 months for our current dog according to it’s weight (38 lbs). This price range is ok for us, it’s a step up from our current food source, but we want better for our dogs.

        Have you heard of this company? Is raw dehydrated food a good choice for dogs? We get different answers from vets, pet stores and online searches.

        What brands do you recommand, and what types of food would you suggest considering our dogs spend a lot of time outside with us (family with 4 kids) going to the lake and taking walks in the woods. We are active, but not trail runners like some 😉



        1. Hi Michael, thank you for your comments and questions. I am happy to help!

          Grand Cru and Hurraw are different manufacturers. While I haven’t had any personal experience with Hurraw, it seems to be a very high quality product. Grand Cru is a brand we have carried for a while now, and it is a popular product.

          Dehydrated raw diets are among the absolute best dog foods on the market, which explains why many of the top products on this list are dehydrated. One of the biggest benefits with dehydrated raw diets is the minimal amount of processing compared to commercial kibbles, which are highly processed, and resultantly, need to be fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Generally, just like with our own diets, the less processed our foods are, the better.

          All of the brands on this list are recommended brands, which is why they are on this list – they are the best of the best! If you are looking to start with the healthiest options, my advice is to start at the top of the list and work your way down. If you would like more specific recommendations, I am happy to help.

          Thank you, Michael. I look forward to hearing from you.

  62. Hello Brandon,
    We have two Golden Retrievers, a 6 yr old male and a 14 yr old female who is experiencing some stiffness in her hips. (We have started a high concentration CBD regimen and have seen very noticeable improvement with it). We had been feeding them big box store kibble, first Nutro Feed Clean and then Nutrience because we wanted a Canadian manufacturer. However we’ve been doing some research and have become aware of the disadvantages of foods with grains, filler, preservatives and meat meals. We’d like to switch to a better grade of Canadian made dog food but with two Goldens it can get very expensive. Could you recommend a reasonably priced good quality Canadian dog food that could work for both of our dogs?

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      One of my top recommendations for an affordable, Canadian-made dog food are the FirstMate Grain Friendly Chicken, Lamb, or Ocean Fish. Grains are perfectly fine for dogs, providing they are whole, high-quality grains. Please have a look at my suggestion and let me know your thoughts. I am happy to provide other options for your consideration as well.

  63. Hello Brandon.

    Thank you for an interesting article. Nice to have something for Canadian pet owners! I have a rescued mill stud Wheaten, 4.5 yrs old. He is extremely anxious and afraid of just about everything. After two months, I am making some progress, but his stomach is still very sensitive. He often vomits after meals and suffers from gulpies. He was prescribed RC RX food, but had the same issue.

    Any suggestions for a food to try? FirstMate looks appealing, and I have two others to feed as well, so it is handy if everyone can eat the same, so budget friendly is a plus!


    1. Hi Sue, thank you for taking the time to comment.

      If your dog is vomiting after meals, it sounds like the issue is more of a rate-of-consumption problem. When a dog consumes their food too quickly, they often swallow kibble whole and air at the same time. This is recipe that often leads to regurgitation of undigested food.

      While certain dog foods may be better suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs than others, from the information you provided I don’t think changing the food is the solution. Instead, I would recommend using a slow-feed bowl to slow down your dog’s rate of consumption, or feed smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. To further back up my assumption, it makes sense that your dog is consuming food too quickly because you are having the same vomiting issues on different foods – even foods made for sensitive dogs.

      I am confident that providing your dog has no underlying health issues, the vomiting will be easily remedied by slowing down meal time.

      With regards to food, FirstMate is definitely a great choice for an affordable high-quality food.

      I am happy to help you if you have any further questions, please keep me posted!

  64. I currently feed my 14 year old Border Collie Acana Senior formula. She was recently diagnosed with Mitral Valve disease which my vet says isn’t related to her diet. The vet suggested however switching her to Royal Canin Mature Consult. I looked up the ingredients and I’m not impressed. First ingredient is corn. I don’t know if I should be changing her diet and if so, to what? Should I change to something with less animal protein? Maybe grain-friendly? Any advice is appreciated.

    1. I am not a veterinarian, so I cannot comment on Mitral Valve disease as it is not my area of expertise. With that said, from my understanding, there are no proven dietary interventions that will slow or delay the progression of Mitral Valve disease. Some of the research I have done suggests that limiting sodium intake and increasing omega fatty acids may be beneficial, but it is uncertain to what degree. Again, this is not my area of expertise.

      With regards to diet and Mitral Valve disease, I do not believe Royal Canin Mature Consult offers any significant benefits over a product like Acana Senior. Acana is certainly the higher quality brand.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Diane. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

  65. I will be picking up my new puppy, a toy poodle] on Oct. 21st. He was born a singleton and is very overweight. What food would you suggest for him? Do I need to be concerned about tying to help him loose weight? I live in B.C. Thank you.

    1. Hi Anna, thank you for posting. I am happy to help answer your questions.

      First of all, congratulations on your new puppy!

      How old is your puppy?

      Dealing with an overweight dog is not so much about the quality food itself (although that is important!), but rather feeding the correct amount of food in combination with exercise. All of the brands on this list come with feeding guidelines for puppies, so you simply follow the chart, and you should be good to go. Just be careful to not overdue it on treats, people food, etc. Controlling weight is about controlling total calories.

      If you have any other questions, I am at your service!

  66. Hi Brandon, this is great information, thank you for sharing it. We just brought home our french bulldog puppy a couple of days ago and would like your expert opinion on what to feed him now as a puppy and later on as an adult? He is currently on Royal Canine puppy kibble for French bulldogs, but I do not feel that this is the best quality food for him. Your advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Susie, thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to help.

      I would most definitely suggest an alternate food to Royal Canin as it does not meet my criteria for a super-premium pet food. The majority of the foods on the list are suitable for all life stages, so they are ideal for puppies and adult dogs alike. When it comes to finding the best quality food options for your pooch, I advise starting at the top of this list and working your way down. These brands are among the absolute best dog foods on the market today, so you really cannot go wrong with any of them.

      If you have any sort of criteria for a new dog food, please let me know and I will be happy to make some recommendations. Thank you!

  67. Hi Brandon
    I have a Labrador puppy who is 14 weeks old, he is on now fresh diet and is doing ok…but now that I read about grain free kibbles it worries me. Plz suggest an alternate option, cost is not a concern but he down not do good with lamb or other heavy protein
    Thank you

    1. Hi Nikita, thank you for your post. I am happy to help answer your questions.

      Firstly, I would not have any concerns about feeding a grain-free diet. I assume your concerns about grain-free diets pertain to the FDA’s ongoing investigation into the possible connection between grain-free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy. The FDA has not found any conclusive evidence in this regard. In order to better understand the situation, I kindly refer you to the following articles:

      Everything You Need To Know About Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) And Grain Free Dog Food
      The Pet Expert: Yet Another Study Finds No Link Between Grain-Free Diets & Canine Heart Disease

      I am here to help answer any questions you may have regarding grain-free diets and canine heart disease.

      Now, if you are still considering a switch to a wholesome, grain-friendly food for your puppy, I would recommend brands like Carna4, Acana Classics, and FirstMate Grain Friendly.

      Please review this information and let me know if you have any questions. I am at your service! Thank you, Nikita.

  68. I have been feeding my 10 year old cockapoo Royal Canin Vegetarian for many years due to numerous allergies but would love to be able to find a alternative to this brand because it is very inconvenient to buy. I also have a 1 year old golden doodle that is on the skinny side so would like a recommendation on what I should be feeding him.

  69. Dear Brandon,
    I will join the other readers in thanking You for the great and informative article. I have a 4 year old Cavalier King Charles spaniel with some pancreas problems, but no alergies that I know of. I am looking for appropriate food for her on the market. Could You advise me on that? We have just arrived in Canada and we are still looking around. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You, Krzysztof

    1. Hi Krzysztof, thank you for posting.

      I am sorry to hear your pooch has pancreatic problems. Unfortunately, Cavaliers do have a genetic predisposition for pancreatitis and other pancreatic-related health conditions.

      I am not a veterinarian, so I cannot give any advice on managing your dog’s pancreatic health. As far as pancreatic-friendly diets go, the key here is to feed a diet low in fat. While we sell several low fat dog foods, I cannot make any recommendations as I am not qualified to diagnose or treat health problems like these.

      Thank you for your understanding, and good luck, Krzysztof.

  70. Hi Brandon,
    Thank you for this very informative article on Canadian food brands. I have a question for you; my shiba inu is 6 years old and had a few UTI over the summer. Our vet made us change her food to Hills c/d urinary care dry food. Personally I don’t like the smell of it and the ingredients seems questionable. Could you tell me if Hills c/d urinary care food is good? Also if there’s some other Canadian brands that could be a better choice for her? P.s. she loves fish. Thank you

    1. Hi Kathleen, thank you for your questions. I am happy to help!

      I am sorry to hear your pooch has had a history of urinary tract infections. I am not a veterinarian, so I advise you to follow your vet’s advice with regards to treating your dog’s UTI issues.

      With regards to Hills Prescription c/d Urinary Care, this product is made for a specific therapeutic purpose, so it is difficult to compare it to commercial dog foods made for otherwise healthy dogs. However, if we are to look at the ingredients, Hills c/d is made mostly from corn and soy; both ingredients are considered low quality and undesirable by healthy pet food manufacturers.

  71. Hi Brandon,
    First thank you for this informative article. We have an Australian Labradoodle, who will turning 6 months on November 28th. His mature weight should range between 40 and 45 pounds. He was on TLC dog food. Then mid-August, he started to scratch a lot so I’m transitioning on First Mate Free Range Lamb & Oats Formula. Hopefully this will work out.

    My question is about feeding guides. I’m totally at lost. Our breeder said not to follow the guidance on the bags not matter the brand. Her feeding guideline goes like this: 3 months 3 cups/day, 4 month 4 cups/day. By 5 months the feeding would be around 4 to 5 cups/day and would stay like this until around one year of age. Then it would come down around 3 cups/day depending on activity level.

    And what makes a food more dense than another one? When I compare with other brands, TLC dog food is a good quality food.

    What is your experience regarding the feeding guidelines.

    thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Sophie, thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to help you!

      Manufacturer feeding guidelines are very important to follow. Since every dog food has a different caloric density, feeding guidelines are different as well. I can appreciate that your breeder is trying to help, however I would not follow this advice. For example, if we were to follow your breeder’s recommendation of a 5 month old puppy eating 5 cups of First Mate Free Range Lamb & Oats, that would be the recommended amount for a 140lb dog. I assume your puppy at 5 months of age is not 140lbs. This is simply way too much food and can cause a whole slew of problems.

      If I were to guess, a 5 month old Australian Labradoodle would weigh between 30-50lbs, and according to FirstMate’s feeding guide would require maximum 2 cups per day.

      What makes one food more dense than another? It’s all about caloric-dense ingredients. Lower quality foods use fractions, fillers, and low quality ingredients. This means you have to feed more in order for your dog to meet his nutritional requirements. High quality dog foods do not use fractions or fillers, instead they use wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients. It’s all about quality vs quantity. Higher quality foods have lower feeding guidelines because they use more nutritious ingredients.

      I hope that helps answer your questions, Sophie. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

  72. Hello I am looking for either raw, raw freeze dried, freeze dried food for a Pomeranian. She is going to bacterial overgrowth in her gut. As well as suspected IBS and allergies. She also needs to lose weight. What would you suggest?

    1. Hello, Jolene. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to help you.

      We carry a wide variety of dehydrated raw foods for dogs. All of these foods are suitable for a Pomeranian. If you look at my top-ranked foods on this list, you will notice many of them are dehydrated raw foods. I would suggest starting at the top and working your way down! Feel free to rotate among these options to determine which individual formulas work best for your pooch.

      I am happy to help if you have any further questions. Thank you, Jolene!

  73. Hi there,
    I have had my dog on NRG dehydrated food for 13 yrs… she is now 14, still very perky & healthy! NRG is an amazing dehydrated raw AND they also have lightly cooked version. I have spoken w/ the owner – in Armstrong, BC as well as Dr. Meg Smart, the woman who formulated the recipes. She is a vet who has a PHD in Nutrition & founded the nutrition dep’t at the UofS. VERY highly respected ! (No added Vit, min. Etc .. all whole food)
    My challenge is that the owner in Armstrong, BC has shut down the biz due to an apparent nasty divorce :/ & at this point in my dogs life, I need to feed her a cooked food (due to past health issues w/ pancreatitis – all good now, keep it that way) I want to continue w/ the dehydrated, lightly cooked food but none of these CDN. Brands offer cooked, only raw. I see Hinest a kitchen in the U.S. has what I’m looking for, however wanted to stay in Canada if possible … any options that you know of ?

    1. Hello, Stephanie. Thanks for posting your questions, I appreciate it!

      As an alternative to NRG, have a look at CaniSource. Plenty of formulas to choose from. Have a look at that and let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thank you so much.

  74. Hi Brandon,
    We have an 8 month old Bernese Mountain Dog mix with Border Collie. She has a sensitive stomach and she’s fussy too! Trying to find a large breed puppy food that does not have chicken has been an ordeal. I’ve bought her the higher end fish kibble but she much prefers Purina. I’ve just purchased a tester bag of the Canadian Naturals Red Meat which she seems to like. Wondering if there is a Canadian chicken free large breed puppy food you would recommend looking into? Thanks for shedding some light on the world of dog foods.

    1. Hello, Monique. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to help you.

      While most large breed puppy foods contain chicken, there are several chicken free options to consider, including:

      Boreal Proper Large Breed Red Meat Dog
      NutriSource Large Breed Lamb Meal Formula
      Nutri Source® Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula
      FirstMate Pacific Ocean Fish Large Breed Dog Food

      Please have a look at my suggestions and let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thanks again for reading!

  75. Hi Brandon

    We have a 1 1/2 year old pure German Shepherd that has been on Royal Canin Puppy and Adult since we got her. She constantly is itching and chewing on herself. We have changed up her treats to see if she was allergic to them, but nothing changed. What food do you recommend we switch to for a 75 lbs German Shepherd?

    1. Hello, John. Thank you for your questions. I am happy to help.

      Food allergies can be a frustrating situation, however with the right advice, significant improvements can be made with regards to your dog’s symptoms.

      For starters, you will want to simplify the diet. Consider looking at a limited ingredient dog food. Many of my clients have success putting their dogs on a plant-based diet, so that is also another consideration.

      I am happy to help you with this problem, however it is best to speak over the phone as I have a few questions. Please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563.

      Thank you, John. I hope to hear from you.

  76. Hi Brandon. Thank you for the great resource. I’m getting a 9 week old Cobberdog in a couple of weeks. We plan to feed him a high quality kibble, as our previous dogs have done well with that.
    I like the idea of freeze dried topper. Are any of the ones you’ve ranked in your article better than the others, to be used as a topper?

    1. Hello, Wendy. Congratulations on your new puppy!

      All of the dehydrated raw foods on this list are of the same quality, and there is no measurable nutritional difference between them. Feel free to experiment with these products to determine which ones your pup enjoys most.

      I am happy to help if you have any further questions. Thanks, Wendy!

  77. Brandon,
    We have a 14 year old Shih Tzu/Pekingese cross that is very healthy with no digestive issues.
    All senior small breed dry dog food that we have found is very small in size and my dog swallows it whole without chewing and sometimes with throw it all back up.
    We have a slow feeder bowl which helps in the time it takes to eat the food but not for chewing.
    Is there a suitable option that would be ok for him in a larger size kibble that he would have to chew and not just be able to swallow whole?

    1. Hello, Marty. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to assist.

      With regards to your 14 year old Shih Tzu/Pekinese, is he overweight, or less active? If he is at his ideal weight he may not require a senior-specific food, regardless of his age. Essentially, senior diets are low-calorie adult foods.

      Instead, consider going with an all life stage food. There are many on this list. The kibbles will be larger than a small breed-specific diet, and that may help reduce your dog’s regurgitation issue. Slow feed bowls are wonderful, so keep using that. You may also want to consider softening the kibble with some warm water ahead of time; this may help with digestion and further reduce the chances of your dog bringing it back up. Some of our most popular kibbles include FirstMate, Carna4, and Acana.

      Have a look at those recommendations and let me know your thoughts. Thank you, Marty!

  78. Hello Brandon,
    We just got a 9 weeks old toy puddle he is eating right now royal canin food since the breeder and vet suggested but I’m looking to switch it to a high quality Canadian made food. He is about 2 pound can you please suggest what kind food it will be best for him. Thank you!

    1. Hello Sandra, congratulations on your new puppy!

      Do you have any sort of purchasing criteria for your puppy? If you are looking for the best quality options for your pup, then please start at the top of this list and work your way down. Otherwise, please let me know what you are looking for and I will be pleased to help you.

      Thank you, Sandra. Good luck with your pup!

  79. Do you know if any of the foods on your list contain ethoxyquin? It’s hard to determine if dog food contains it. It’s my understanding it may be added to the meat source prior to the company processing the dog food therefore, it won’t be listed in the ingredient section.

    1. Hi, Lori. Excellent question! I can assure you none of the brands on this list use ethoxyquin. All of the ingredients used in these products meet CFIA and USDA standards for human consumption. Ethoxyquin is not permitted in the human food supply, so rest assured these products are safe in this regard.

  80. Hello Brandon! We are new time puppy parents to a 12 week old cockapoo. He is almost 10lbs. We have been feeding him Purina Puppy Chow complete as that is what he had been eating from his breeder but we would like to switch him to something higher quality. He seems to be scratching and biting his back legs etc, and we have read this could be allergies or/and sensitivities, so we want to be aware of this when choosing his food. Cost is somewhat of a consideration so we have read adding toppers to kibble is also a something we should consider. How much food should we be feeding him in a day? There are so many choices it can be overwhelming to choose the right food, so any suggestions you have for cockapoos would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

    1. Hello, Linda. Congratulations on your new cockapoo puppy!

      If you suspect your pooch may have some food allergies, I am certainly happy to help you. Before I make a recommendation, it would be best to speak with you over the phone, as I have a few questions. Please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563 at your convenience.

      I look forward to hearing from you, Linda.

  81. I really want a food for my dogs that is made in Canada but has to be lower in protein as my one dog has seizures If she gets to much protein so she is on a food from the vets. I am sure they are getting tired of the same food but have not been able to find a low protein food for her, any suggestions? On 14% protein right now. Oh yah my other dog is allergic to flax seed so I am going crazy trying to find a food they can both eat?

    They also get Stella and Chewys raw at night, just kibble in the morning

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Hello, Tammy. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions.

      Unfortunately, I am not aware of any high quality, Canadian made dry dog foods containing 14% protein. While Veterinary prescription diets may not be the highest quality products on the market, they are unique in this regard.

      What is a safe amount of protein for your dog? The reason I ask pertains to the Stella and Chewy’s raw food you are feeding; you may be feeding your dog more protein than you realize. For example, their raw chicken lists minimum protein content as 15.5%. You may be surprised to learn that this formula actually contains 55% protein on a dry matter basis. This level of protein is by design and is beneficial to dogs without pre-existing conditions warranting lower levels of protein.

      From raw, to canned, to kibble, moisture content varies in all pet foods, so the best way to compare/evaluate protein levels is to use what’s called a Dry Matter Basis.

      If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me directly at 905-464-0563. I am happy to help to the best of my ability. Thank you, Tammy.

  82. Hi Brandon, I’m from Chile, I want to know if Oven Baked Tradition is a good option for food ? I have two adults Dachshund and i cant find any review from Canada for this food, but here is sells like super premium food, if you can help me with some info I will be so glad

    thanks a lot and gretting from Chile

    1. Hello, Giselle. Thank you for taking the time to post.

      While my experience with Oven Baked Tradition is limited, it is certainly considered a super-premium pet food brand. Product quality is very high, and is similar in quality to many brands on this list. Your dogs should be in good health with this brand.

  83. I have a 1 year old mini aussie that just one day decided she isn’t going to eat her food. We have been feeding her the Fromm Adult Gold for the last year. I am trying to do research on this subject matter but as some of the indivuals on here mentioned it is quite overwhelming. Do you have any recommendations and any tips on how to not have her be bored of it after 1 year. Really appreciate your help!

    1. Hello, Arthur. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions. I am happy to help!

      For any dog losing their interest in their food, the best recommendation I can give is to rotate diets more frequently. By rotating foods, you can ensure your dog’s level of interest stays piqued.

      If you are trying to figure out which diets are tastiest, then I would suggest looking at brands with the highest meat inclusion; more meat, better taste! Dehydrated raw diets, like Smack, Zeal, and Gutsy are great options. With regards to kibble, Orijen, and Go! Solutions have the highest meat inclusion.

      I hope this information helps, Arthur. I am at your service if you have any other questions.

  84. Hi Brandon,
    Great article. We switched our Akita to Now Large breed adult. After a week he experienced diarrhea that lasted almost 8 weeks. Under veterinarian care, he was placed on Rayne’s Rabbit food. He’s done well on this food and it’s an excellent high quality kibble. Very high grade ingredients but at $130/ 20 pound bag and a dog that’s 105 lbs. and is still growing (he’ll likely fill out to approx 110 pounds at full maturity) it’s an expensive dog food. This is our fourth Akita and all have suffered food issues whenever they eat food with multiple proteins. Raw is out of the question as he always suffers from issues when I do feed him raw, despite the fact that I love the idea of feeing him raw.
    What other alternatives are there for single protein dog foods?

    1. Hello, Caron. Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and questions. I am happy to help!

      Here are a list of some of our most popular single-protein diets:

      Acana Singles: includes Duck, Pork, Lamb, and Pilchard.
      Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Diets. Options include Pollock, Lamb, Duck, Salmon, Turkey, and Venison.

      Please have a look at my recommendations and let me know if you have any questions. Thank you, Caron!

  85. Hi Brandon thanks for putting up the list. I currently have two puppies, toy poodle and Maltese and they have been on royal canine puppy food for the first two weeks. They both started to have excess tearing. I have then moved on to Acana small breed puppy food and it has been roughly 6 weeks. They still appear to have tearing however better then royal canine puppy food. Unfortunately both of them have started scratching immensely since Acana food has been introduced. My maltese pup now have ear infection which I can also see my poodle to starting to developed. I’ve read that they may have an intolerance for Acana food as it may be too rich for them. Both of these puppies are developing same conditions of ear infections and crazy scratching. I would like to switch them something else maybe not as rich as they are small breeds. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Hello, Angela. Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and questions. I am happy to help you, however this would be a conversation best held over the phone (I have a few questions). Please give me a call at your convenience @ 905-464-0563. Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

  86. Hi Brandon
    I have an 8 1/2 year old German shepherd who has a strong allergy to chicken. He also has very itchy, dander-filled skin and is prone to many sebaceous cysts. He also suffers from environmental allergies from spring through fall with weepy eyes and a dry peeling nose.
    As you can imagine we have tried many different limited ingredient foods to help his symptoms. As well as goat milk, probiotic and even prednisone therapy at the vet. The last kibble he was on was the GO Solutions LIMITED INGREDIENT Grain Free Duck and he loved the taste and did well on it.
    We finally decided when we weened him off the prednisone in October to try a protein only raw diet to see if it made a difference with his skin issues and other allergies.
    It has been just over 3 months now and the pros are as follows: small solid and less frequent poops, softer and shinier coat, more energy. The cons are: no change to allergies, no change to skin conditions, expensive – mostly due to not being able to have chicken in his diet.
    In the last 2 weeks he has been vomiting up the small pieces of bone that are mixed within the bricks of meat blends which then was followed by several days of diarrhea.
    At this point I am seriously considering going back to kibble. I am interested to know what you would suggest. Is 3 months long enough to see the full benefits of a raw diet?

    1. Hello, Julie. Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and questions. That information is very helpful.

      I am happy to help discuss your dog’s allergy issues, however this is a conversation best held over the phone (I will need a little more information). Please feel free to contact me at your convenience 905-464-0563. I look forward to hearing from you!

  87. Thank you for this article. While it’s given me a great start, the more I research the more confused and overwhelmed I feel so I hope you can provide some additional guidance. Here’s what I think I want for my 5 month old mini Berne doodle who is likely to end up at about 35-40 lbs
    1. puppy food until she is old enough to transition to adult
    2. grain inclusive
    3. pea, lentil, legume free (I know the results aren’t in but I do feel the need to err on the side of caution and I’m concerned that possible ingredient splitting doesn’t allow me to fully understand how much of these ingredients are in the food)
    – Canadian company preferred

    I had Orijen and Acana at the top of the list but they don’t meet 2 (orijen), 3 (both) and I question how much is sourced in Canada vs their Kentucky location.

    I thought Carna4 might be a good (albeit pricey) option but I didn’t find a puppy specific formula.

    Am I searching for a unicorn?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, Michelle. Thank you for your questions and comments. I am happy to help.

      I have read over your purchasing criteria. While you may not have many options with puppy-specific formulations, you do have options to meet all those criteria in an all-life-stage diet. These foods are perfectly suitable for puppies, so no need to worry about that. In fact, many of today’s top pet food manufacturers are moving towards more all-life-stage-centric formulations versus the traditional life-stage-specific diets.

      I would give consideration to products like FirstMate Cage Free Duck & Pumpkin, FirstMate Duck & Oats, FirstMate Cage Free Chicken, FirstMate Wild Caught Fish, and FirstMate Free Range Lamb.

      With regards to Champion Pet Foods (Acana and Orijen), their Canadian products are made exclusively from Canadian-sourced ingredients. The formulas manufactured in their Kentucky plant uses different sourcing.

      Carna4 is one of the highest quality pet foods in the world. This is an example of a company that only makes all-life-stage formulas. They do not make a puppy-specific diet, however all their formulas are perfectly suitable for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

      I hope that information helps point you in the right direction, Michelle. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

      Thank you again for reading!

  88. Hi Brandon,
    Thank you for the article which is full of great information. I have been so confused with choosing a dog food for our puppy. She is a 17 wk old cockapoo. Came home from breeder on Royal Canin. She loves the food but she does seem itchy all the time. Scoots, ear infections… I have been so confused so made a rash decision and slowly switching her to Kirkland puppy food to get her away from the corn. She seems to love the food again but she seems even more itchy and her eyes seem really runny and stained. Her energy level has also dropped. I also feel guilt because I know it’s not a good quality food either but I got frustrated looking for a quality Canadian made food with no corn, peas and fillers. We do see the vet soon and hope to discuss some options but I know she will push Royal Canin and I want to stay away from it.

    1. Hello, Val. Thank you for your comments and questions.

      I understand you are looking for a quality Canadian made dog food without corn, peas, and fillers. Fortunately, there are many options for your consideration. If you include all-life-stage dog foods in your criteria (versus just puppy-specific diets) then your options expand greatly. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dry kibble, one of my top recommendations is Carna4.

      Let’s start with that recommendation for now, and if you have any further questions feel free to email me [email protected] or call 905-464-0563. Thanks, Val!

  89. What a great find! Such great information. Not sure if you can answer this question but do all commercially prepared raw food (frozen or freeze dried) have 100% complete and balanced nutrition or do I have to buy supplements and other things I’m not aware of? Any help/advice is appreciated.

    1. Hello, Julie. Thank you for your questions and comments. I am happy to help!

      Raw pet foods are not regulated, so I cannot confidently say that all commercially prepared raw foods are complete and balanced. Not all raw diets are the same, so doing your due diligence is imperative when selecting a diet that meets your criteria.

      With that said, if you have any concerns your dog’s diet may be missing important nutrition, that can easily be remedied by adding a simple supplement like Flora4. This is one of the best overall pet health and wellness supplements on the market, and will ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met regardless of the diet you choose.

      I hope you find this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  90. Hi Brandon,
    Thank you for the excellent review of top Canadian dog foods! I’ve read through everything posted here and done a fair amount of research to try to find the right food for my 4 1/2 year old cockapoo. His issues are skin related- biting at his skin and scratching ++ and anal gland issues- he’s frequently licking at his back end, so much that he’ll be breathing hard when I find him off in another room licking. The anal gland issue has become apparent in the last 6 months.The skin issues have been over the past 1 1/2 – 2 years with several food changes, the last couple moving from Acana (which caused GI upset and vomiting) to a grain free Kirkland. As with other comments above, our vet recommended against a grain free diet and being aware of current knowledge of DCM I’d like to be cautious and switch to grain friendly. There are lots of options in your list however which would have enough fiber to help alleviate his anal gland issue? Should I be looking toward 6 to 10 % fiber? I just want my Cooper boy to feel better. Thanks for any guidance you can provide.

    1. Hello, Jane. Thank you for taking the time to post your questions and comments.

      I am happy to make some grain-friendly food recommendations for your dog. With regards to fibre, I would advise adding a digestive supplement to help in this regard, rather than relying on the fibre in the dog food itself. One of the best fibre supplements on the market is Flora4. This product contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential oils, pre/probiotics, digestive enzymes, dietary fibre, and more. This is one (if not the) best overall health and wellness supplement for pets.

      Since allergies cause immune system reactions, you may be able to help reduce your dog’s symptoms by supporting strong immune system functionality. This can also be achieved through a product like Flora4. Another supplement to consider is Biologic Vet’s Skin & Coat. Please give those recommendations some strong consideration as these supplements can do a lot of the heavy lifting in ways many kibbles cannot.

      Ok, so now to pet food recommendations. One of the best grain-inclusive, limited ingredient, Canadian-made dog food lines is the Go! Skin and Coat. Protein options include chicken, turkey, duck, salmon, and lamb. I would also recommend FirstMate’s grain-friendly line that includes chicken, lamb, and ocean fish.

      Helping a dog with a combination of allergies, skin and coat problems, and anal gland issues can feel overwhelming. I am happy to help to the best of my ability, so please review my recommendations and please let me know your thoughts. You are welcome to contact me direct at [email protected], or 905-464-0563.

      Thank you, Jane!

  91. Hi Brandon. Great article! Do you have an opinion on Adored Beast Apothecary products…in particular Love Bugs? It was suggested to me. Does this compare to the Flora4 product? I haven’t added any supplement/pre or probiotics to my pups diet but my 7 month old Bernedoodle has been itchy/scratching since the day we brought him home at 8 weeks. Vet ruled out fleas, parasites, ticks etc and feels it’s allergy related. He’s now on his 4th kibble with no signs of relief. Currently on FirstMate Limited Ingredient Fish Based Grain Free. Also, how much consideration should be given to a “Large Breed Puppy” food? Ugh…Help!

    1. Hello, Tracy. Thank you for posting your questions and comments.

      I have not had any personal experience with Adored Beast products, however based on the information provided on their website, it certainly looks like they make some good quality products. I would be confident in saying Flora4 would be as good or better than the Love Bugs supplement. Flora4 is among the absolute highest quality health and wellness supplements on the market, and will provide an abundance of pre/probiotics for optimal gut health, among other things.

      With regards to your dog’s possible food allergies: since you have not seen much improvement in your dog’s symptoms after trying 4 different foods, it starts to become more likely your dog may be reacting to something in the environment. Allergies and immune system health go hand in hand, so my focus would be on boosting immune function through diet and supplementation. Flora4 would be a great supplement for this purpose, however you can also consider other products like Biologic Vet BIO Skin & Coat; this product contains natural antihistamines to help combat airborne allergens.

      With regards to how much consideration should be given to large breed puppy foods, they certainly have their place, but are not as unique as one may think. Feeding a high quality all-life stage dog food would provide equivalent nutrition and would not negatively affect a large breed puppy’s growth. Large breed puppies and all-life stage foods are actually quite similar, however flavour options are limited with any puppy food as the majority of these formulas are chicken based. If you wanted to rotate diets and switch proteins, then all-life stage foods may be a better option. Overall, providing you are feeding high quality products, there is no universal benefit to large breed puppy diets versus all-life stage diets.

      I hope you find this information helpful. I’m here if you have any questions!

  92. Hi Brandon,

    I am about to bring home our Bernese Mountain Dog puppy (our 3rd). We lost our first Berner at age 7, the second at age 8, and hoping this little guy surpasses them both!

    I had thought in the past I was feeding them healthy food (Fromm) and realized it wasn’t the best option. When my last Berner developed zinc-responsive dermatosis, the specialist highly recommended Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin Formula. I was shocked at the mere mention of the “P” word, however, her opinion was that they have been in the business longer than most, and that the Pro Plan line is excellent. I researched it thoroughly and we ended up feeding him that food until we lost him. He seemed to do well on it, and I’ve been considering it for this guy, but to be honest, I’m just not sure.

    I would like a high quality, grain-friendly food (affordable would be preferred) and I’m interested in your top 3 picks. Thank you.

    1. Hello, Audrey. Thank you for your questions and comments. Congratulations on your new pup!

      My top recommendations for affordable, high-quality grain-inclusive Canadian dog foods include:

      FirstMate’s grain-friendly chicken, lamb, or fish.
      Acana Classics Prairie Poultry, Classic Red, and Wild Coast.

      Please review my recommendations and let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

  93. Thanks for your quick response Brandon – much appreciated. I have another question 🙂

    I noticed that the FirstMate foods use meat meal as opposed to the whole fish/meat, and Acana uses a mix of both. I have always thought that meal isn’t as nutritious/healthy as whole. What’s your opinion?

    1. The term “meal” comes with stigmas as it is often associated with lower quality ingredients like meat mean, and chicken by-product meal. The term “meal” does not reflect any level of quality, but rather refers to the consistency of the ingredient itself – mainly water content. “Meal” ingredients are concentrated dry powders, whereas “chicken” would be a wet ingredient. Neither “meal” or “chicken” refer to any level of quality, so there can be low quality “meals” and very high quality “meals”. Many companies source both dry and wet ingredients for their formulations, which explains why you will see combinations of both “meal” and meat ingredients listed.

      I hope that helps answer your questions.

  94. HI!
    I would like to switch my 4 month old French bulldog off of Royal Canon from the breeder to a healthy Canadian option. I want to avoid chicken and I would like wholesome grains. I have local go, now, acanna, Obrien, and merrick ( though I know the latter is American. Can you make a suggestion? Also, can you make a secondary recommendation in general on what you would recommend foe a frenchie? I have just started digging in to research and quickly realized I was not happy with the Royal. Thank you!

    1. Hello, Amanda. Thank you for your comments and questions. I am happy to help!

      The brands you have already mentioned (Go, Now, Acana, Orijen, and Merrick) are all excellent brands. Since you are looking for a chicken free food containing wholesome grains, we will have to remove Orijen as all their products are grain-free. Acana Classics Red, and Acana Classics Wild Coast are among our most popular grain-friendly chicken-free dog foods.

      Another brand to consider is FirstMate’s grain-friendly line. You can choose between two chicken-free formulations: FirstMate Free Range Lamb & Oats, and FirstMate Wild Caught Fish & Oats.

      Please have a look at my recommendations and let me know your thoughts. I am happy to help if you have any questions.

  95. Hello,
    I have a 5 month old Yorkie. I currently feed him Royal Canin for puppies (1/3 ) and (2/3 Hills for puppies. it has been approximately one month he no longer seems to like the Hills. He picks at his food and eats the Royal canin, and only when there is nothing left does he eat the Hills. In the past he would finish his bowl everyday, recently he always leaves food in his bowl at he end of the day. My Vet suggested I juts give him the Royal Canin.
    I wonder if there is a better brand then the Royal Canin , since these are the only two brands my vet sells.
    Is Royal canin for Yorkies, a good brand??
    Thank you

    1. Hello, Anna. Thank you for your comments and questions. I am happy to help with your fussy Yorkie!

      Royal Canin and Hills are not brands we recommend. There are plenty of higher quality, more affordable options to consider; namely the products on this list!

      For fussy dogs, the best approach is to rotate diets regularly. Your pup may show initial interest in a new food, however over time, his interest may begin to subside. Rotating regularly ensures his interest remains piqued.

      Consider rotating among high quality brands – specifically the brands on this list as they are the best of the best. You may need to experiment a bit to determine which products your pooch prefers more, so consider keeping a record of the products you purchase to take note of his favourites. I’m sure you will see significant improvements in his appetite by taking this approach.

      If you need more help finding some food options, please let me know. I am at your service if you need any help! Thank you, Anna.

  96. Hi Brandon. My pup is going to be 115-135 lbs. Is puppy food as opposed to large breed puppy food acceptable? Will she miss out on nutrition for bigger bones etc.? Price is also a concern.

    1. Hello, Jim. Thank you for commenting.

      I would not recommend a traditional puppy food for your giant breed puppy. Traditional puppy foods may contain too much fat, and as a result may cause your pup to develop too quickly. Accelerated growth can lead to a number of joint and mobility problems later in life, among other things. This is where large breed puppy foods and all-life-stage foods come in. These products contain modest levels of fat with high levels of protein, and are perfectly suitable for large breed puppies.

      I am happy to help you find a suitable food for you pooch. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  97. I currently have my silky terrier on canned GF turkey and chicken.amd gobbles it all up.
    Recently been diagnosed with pancreatitis and requires a low fat diet.
    I can see the fat in the can but would first mate be considered low fat? Could anything else be recommended?

    1. Hello, Shannon. Thank you for commenting.

      Due to the high amount of water in canned foods, most are relatively low in fat. However, certain health problems require a specific amount of fat in the diet.

      If you are looking for the best low fat dog foods on the market, please check out my Top 10 Low Fat Dog Foods rankings.

  98. Hi – here is my dilemma, i have a 12 yr old yorkie/chihuahua. she is a picky eater. she has IBS, allergic to grains. I had her on Orijen for a few days, helped a lot with the allergies, except it made her excessively thirsty. would have to get up at least 2 times during the night so she could have water. switched her yesterday to Grand Cru Turkey (grain free), seems to be back to normal, slept through the night, the Orijen has 0.55% salt, perhaps that is too much for her. Acana does the same thing, makes her very thirsty.

    1. Hello, Sharron. Thank you for posting.

      When it comes to sodium in commercial dog foods, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommend dry foods contain a minimum of 0.3% sodium. Salt is important for maintaining cellular functions like nerve signal transmission, among other things.

      Grand Cru is relatively low in sodium at 0.11% (using their grain-free chicken and duck formula as the example), so that may explain why your pooch seems less thirsty when compared to Orijen. While Orijen is among the highest quality foods on the market, it does contain safe and healthy levels of sodium. However, this doesn’t make it easy for you when you have to get up twice in the night for puppy bathroom breaks.

      If you find Grand Cru performs better for your pooch, then it may be the better option going forward. I am happy to help if you have any further questions.

      Thank you, Sharron!

  99. Hi again, and thanks for your reply. sorry i have another question. I always have thought that grain-free dog food was made for dogs that have sensitivities, or a true allergy to grains. Why is it has it become so popular with owners that have dogs without these issues?

    1. Hi Sharron, great to hear from you again!

      This is a great question. Grain-free dog foods serve many purposes, however the rise in popularity can be attributed to a few things:

      1. Grain-free dog foods generally have a higher meat inclusion than grain-inclusive foods. As a result, grain-free diets are considered to be more palatable, especially for fussy dogs.

      2. The high meat inclusion is also popular among consumers wanting to feed a kibble that closely resembles a raw diet; raw diets are grain-free and contain a large amount of meat.

      3. With the prevalence of high risk grain-based allergens like corn, wheat, and soy, many pet owners choose to feed a grain free diet as a means of avoiding certain grain-based ingredients.

      I hope that helps answer your questions, Sharron.

  100. Hi Brandon – just found out that Champion Foods has come out with Acana Freeze Dried.
    Would you suggest feeding this to a 12 yr old yorkie/chihuahua that isn’t active, goes for 3/15 min walks a day (can’t go longer due to arthritis in her left front leg), also has IBS. My concern is her gaining excess weight. Thanks

    1. Hi Sharron, I would absolutely recommend Acana’s freeze dried foods. It is among the highest quality pet foods in the industry. Providing you are feeding the correct amount, I have no concerns about this product causing unwanted weight gain.

  101. Hi Brandon! Wondering if you could make a recommendation for me. I have 2 golden retrievers. One had alot of skin and belly issues until we switched to Purina pro plan salmon. I’d prefer to do a grain inclusive food. Just wondering if you have a recommendation for them. Also to help with shedding and their coats.

    1. Hello, Kylie. Thank you for reading this article.

      When we aren’t sure exactly what is causing the skin and coat issues with your dog, the best approach is to simplify the diet with a limited ingredient food.

      Since you are looking for a grain inclusive food, I would recommend brands like:
      FirstMate’s grain-friendly line of chicken, lamb, or fish.
      Go! Skin & Coat Care’s line of chicken, turkey, duck, salmon, and lamb.

      Please have a look at my recommendations and let me know your thoughts. Thank you, Kylie!

  102. Hi Brandon: Are you familiar with the website Dog Food Advisor?, if so, what is your opinion on it?

    1. Hi, Sharron. I have visited that site on more than one occasion, however I do not know the people behind the site. I’m afraid I do not have much information to base an opinion at this time.

  103. Hi I have a 1 year old 8 pound maltese , I have been feeding him grain free Merrick lil plates individual soft food for small breed dogs mixed with the Merrick real chicken lil plates small breed grain free kibble
    He has been shaking his head like his ears are bothering him and scratching.
    His stomach also constantly makes a lot of noise.
    I also give him bites from my own human food like chicken steak broccilli sweet potatoes eggs carrots Blueberries.
    Recently he is getting some wd dental bites for a snack from hills prescription diet since his vet said a maltese need more dental care.
    He was shaking his head and scratching before I gave this to him though but im not sure if this is good for him since he was on a grain free diet before this.
    I figured since all the talk on grain free diets not being the best adding this in would help his teeth and add grains.
    Do you think the Merrick soft food and kibble mix is a good food , I know the kibble has a lot of ingredients and maybe something is causing an allergy
    I was also looking at blue Buffalo for a change.
    I live in Canada .
    Merrick individual soft foods are expensive also I wouldn’t want to spend more then this on his food.
    I’m looking for a change for him.
    Thank you

    1. Hello, Deona. Thank you for taking the time to post.

      It seems like there are several layers to unfold here. It would be best to speak about this over the phone as I will need more information to better understand the situation. Please feel free to call me directly at 905-464-0563 at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you!

  104. Hi Brandon! After reading your recommendations on this page and many other sites I feel a bit overwhelmed. I’m getting a new puppy this weekend. She’ll be 8 weeks old. She’s a small breed (havanese). We’d like to feed her high quality dry food (we’re not interested in kibble tho) that’s high in protein and fat to support her growth. Right now she’s being fed nutrience subzero for puppies and from what I’ve read, this is not a great puppy food. I’ve looked at smack, zeal and a bunch of other Canadian foods, but I can’t seem to find a good puppy food amongst all these great brands. My budget is moderate, but ultimately all I care about is feeding her the best food my money can buy, so I wouldn’t mind going a bit over budget. Could you give me some suggestions?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hello, Mariana. Thank you for your questions and comments. I am happy to help.

      With regards to finding a new puppy food for your pooch, I would absolutely recommend brands like Smack, Zeal, and others on this list. Smack, for example, is an all-life-stage food, meaning it is perfectly suitable for puppies as well. You simply follow the puppy feeding guidelines. Brands like Smack provide phenomenal nutrition for dogs of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Any of the dehydrated raw foods on this list would be excellent options for your pup.

      Alternatively, the highest quality dry (kibble) we sell is Carna4. It is one of the only kibbles on the market containing no synthetics whatsoever. That is also another excellent all-life-stage consideration.

      I hope you find this information helpful. Mariana. I am at your service if you have any further questions.

    1. Hi, Sharron. Nice to hear from you again!

      I am a big fan of The Honest Kitchen. They make outstanding products!

  105. Thanks. I alternate every week between the HK Whole Clusters Beef and the Grand Cru Turkey. I mix in the HK Butcher Block Pate. So far it’s big hit. Thanks for your help.

  106. Hi Brandon.
    I contacted you in November before we got our pup and asked about a topper for kibble. We now have him and he’s on 4StrongPaws, as recommended by our breeder. He is coping well with it but he doesn’t eat much, unless he’s really hungry. We have topped it with a TB of Royal Canin wet puppy food or little Parmesan cheese or a few bits of Rollover. He’s more likely to eat if there’s a topper. We are concerned if we keep using the toppers, he will always expect them.
    We are considering seeing if we can find a kibble he likes better. Maybe Acana or Firstmate? Is Firstmate available in any stores or only by delivery?
    He’s a mini Cobberdog, due to be about 20-30lbs.
    Any advice?

    1. Hello, Wendy. Nice to hear from you again.

      You hit the nail on the head! Your dog is very likely to develop high expectations for food toppers. While adding toppers to food does have it’s place, it can devalue the food itself, making it more difficult to maintain your dog’s interest. One solution here is to rotate diets regularly. This is not only a very healthy thing to do, it is also an excellent way to keep your dog’s interest piqued without the need for toppers. Most of today’s foods are highly interchangeable, so feel free to experiment to determine which products your dog is most interested in.

      When it comes to taste, dehydrated raw diets are the kings of the castle. When it comes to kibble, the brands with the highest meat content are widely regarded as the most palatable. This includes brands like Orijen, and Go!, however I would not limit your options to just those two brands. FirstMate and Acana are also excellent choices.

      FirstMate is available in pet specialty retail stores, however we do ship Canada wide. FirstMate is one of our most popular brands.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Wendy. I am here if you need any further support.

  107. I, too, am interested in learning more about the best foods for large/giant breed dogs, especially in the first year.
    i live on a farm and have a new pup, lgd, who is likely to be over 100 lbs when she is an adult. i purchased Horizon Legacy puppy food because in large print it says “provides complete and balanced nutrition during a puppy’s growth stage.” today i noticed, in much smaller print and lower on the bag, it says “formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for growth EXCEPT (emphasis mine) for growth of large size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult.)”
    furthermore, she doesn’t really like it. she does like the Canadian Naturals Large Breed Turkey and Salmon triple joint care that i feed my adult dog.
    the difference in the protein and fat content between the puppy food (36 & 16% respectively) and the adult food (27 & 14%) is significant.
    is the adult food adequate for the pup? or should i try to find a large breed specific puppy food? what do you suggest?

    1. Hello, Karen. Thank you for posting your questions and comments. I am happy to help.

      In order to find the right food for your pup, my recommendation is to check out my Top 10 Large Breed Puppy Foods list. These are the highest quality large breed puppy foods in Canada.

      I hope this information is helpful!

  108. Hi Brandon, i have another question for you. I bought a trial size bag of the Acana Small Breed yesterday, Lexee really likes it but it is giving her a lot of gas. She does have IBS and i am wondering if her digestive system can’t handle it. Should i continue feeding her this food hoping that her body will adjust to it. Thanks

    1. Hello, Sharron. Good to hear from you again.

      Did you mix the Acana with Lexee’s other food? If so, what was the ratio?

      Acana is a highly digestible brand, so I am confident the gas should correct itself once your pooch adjusts to the new food. In the meantime, consider adding a little bit of pure pumpkin to her dish; that will help her digestion.

  109. Hi Brandon, thanks for your response. i have tried mixing new with the old food. I have found that if Lexee finds the new food tastier she will pick out the old put it on the floor and eat the new. Doesn’t matter how little of the new food i mix in, she just eats that. And with the pumpkin, she doesn’t like it.

    1. Thank you for providing that information, Sharron. It is not always easy to switch a dog from one food to another, especially if they show preference to the new food and pick it out. Your dog’s digestive system will self correct, it just may take a day or two. If she doesn’t like pumpkin, perhaps she would eat some plain white rice.

      All in all, I wouldn’t fret about her digestion. I am confident everything will correct itself over the next day or so. Of course, I’m always here if you need any assistance!

  110. Thanks Brandon – I have discussed this with my vet when she was diagnosed with digestive problems. Was told to feed her vet prescribed food which Lexee WON”T eat.
    Again, thank you so much for your help and i hope i am not being a bother to you. I sometimes don’t know where to turn for help when i need it. Asking a pet store employee doesn’t help, they don’t know anymore than i do. Asking a vet at the clinic, there is more than one vet, i get different opinions.

    1. It is my pleasure to help, and you are certainly not bothering me – that’s what I am here for!

  111. Hi there,

    Just found your website and must say it’s great! I have a 16 month old male Rottie who eats and eats and eats. I am looking for a decently priced dog food for him, that will help him to stay lean and trim…the vet tells me he could become overweight very easily, given how much Rotties love to eat (anything!!).
    What would you recommend?

    1. Hello, Helen. Thank you for posting!

      A dog can lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight on any food, it is simply a matter of proper portion control to achieve your desired result. Which ever food(s) you choose to feed your dog, be sure to follow the individual feeding guidelines closely.

      Among our most popular decently-priced dog foods include FirstMate’s Grain Friendly line, Acana Classics, and Boreal Proper.

      Please review my recommendations and let me know if you have any questions. I am always here to help!

  112. Hi Brandon,

    I have a 13 year old Chihuahua who had all her teeth removed last year. She is a fussy eater and does not like soft food. She tried to eat dry dog food, but I find she is not finishing her food anymore. I really need help to find a soft kibble for her. She likes Chicken and Beef flavour she has never ate any Fish flavours. I have tried putting broth on her food and water, but she picks at the food. I am at a lost and she is losing weight. I don’t want to lose her. Can you suggest any dry soft kibble that is good for her. She has been to the vet and is being monitored, but he doesn’t try to help finding any other food. He just keeps reminding me how old she is and how long she has to live. Please help.

    1. Hello, Darline. Thank you for posting. As an owner of a very fussy 3lb Pomeranian, I understand how it feels to struggle to sustain a fussy dog’s food motivation.

      With that said, the best approach is to focus on the “highest value” foods, specifically dehydrated raw. These foods are by far the most popular diets for fussy dogs. With that said, rotating diets is also a very important thing to consider, as this will help keep your dog’s interest piqued.

      Brands like Smack, Orijen & Acana Freeze Dried, and Zeal are all excellent options to consider.

      Please review my suggestions and let me know if you have any questions.

  113. How does Tollden Farms, Raw Beginnings fit in with the other names mentioned? I live for 4 months in the US and from what I’ve read you see no issues in changing food. Tollden obviously is not sold in the states. Is there a food you would recommend that is sold in both countries?

    1. Hello, Martha. Thank you for posting.

      This list is for dehydrated raw and dry kibble only. While I don’t have any personal experience with Tollden Farms, from their website information it appears they only manufacture frozen raw diets for dogs.

      Are you looking for a frozen raw dog food that is readily available in both Canada and the USA? Instinct would be one of my top recommendations.

  114. Hi Brandon…I need some advice on what to feed my 6 month old golden doodle. Since she came to our home, we started her on the Carna 4 fish formula. At first she gobbled it up, then started turning her nose at it even when we added water to soften it up. We then switched her to the chicken formula hoping this flavor would keep her interested. However, she’s now doing the same with the chicken formula. We’d really like to stay with one of the top 21 Canadian dog food producers on this list. Is there another brand you could recommend for this fussy puppy, one preferably with some grain as advised by our vetenarian. Or is there a topper we could use that would work well with Carna 4 without upsetting her digestive system. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hello, Helene. Thank you for your comments and questions. I am happy to help.

      I would recommend rotating diets regularly with your pooch. Rotating will allow you to feed a wide variety of flavours, and keep your dog’s interest piqued. Generally speaking, the most palatable foods are those with the highest meat content; one of the reasons why dehydrated raw foods are so popular among fussy dogs. As far as kibbles go, brands like Orijen and Go! contain the highest meat content, so those would be worth consideration.

      As far as your vet’s recommendation to feed a grain-inclusive diet, there are plenty of wholesome offerings from brands on this list. FirstMate Grain-Friendly, Acana Classics, and Acana Healthy Grain are wonderful options.

      Consider rotating among grain-free and grain-inclusive diets, as that will give your pooch access to the best of both worlds.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Helene. I am happy to help if you have any other questions.

  115. Hello, I am looking to try a new dog food for my two dogs.

    They are both adults, one is almost 4 and one is at least 7 (she was a rescue so going based on the age the humane society gave us she’s 7 at least). They are both Chihuahua mixes of some kind, and are about 10-14 pounds.

    The younger one is fairly energetic, and generally not that picky about food, but she does have a sensitive stomach and takes a while to get used to new foods. The older one is very lazy, she probably sleeps around 20 hours a day, and likes to keep to herself.

    I currently feed them Performatrin Ultra Foothills Recipe. It seems decent, but I’m just not so sure about this grain-free stuff anymore.

    Why I’m asking for help is for a major issue with finding food–we’ve been instructed by our former vet to avoid feeding our older dog with any sort of poultry or poultry byproduct, due to an allergy she developed. That’s partly why I feed them what I do now, it’s one of the few kinds of food I could find that they both liked and didn’t have any poultry or egg products.

    Oh, just in case it matters, I also need something I can soak in water or broth before feeding. The older one has had most of her teeth extracted already, and she’s going in for more extractions tomorrow morning. She seems to not mind gumming her food a bit and then swallowing it down anyway which is a little worrying… or maybe it’s just weird.

    They both went through a stressful change in environment recently and they weren’t eating well. I’ve gotten them to eat more recently by topping their dry food with some dog friendly roast beef I made (I didn’t use any spices or salt, I made it with plenty of veggies, and used a fairly lean roast) and I’ve started giving them some fish oil for some dry skin I was noticing. But I would rather keep it more straightforward and keep their diet simpler.

    As for price I’m open to spending a moderate bump up in price from Performatrin Ultra Foothills Recipe, for reference the 26kg bag goes for $97+tax and that will last for about 2 months (I keep it in an airtight container), but I probably can’t afford something too much more expensive than that.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hello, Jason. Thank you for posting and providing that helpful information. I am happy to help.

      With regards to quality, there is no denying dehydrated dog foods are the kings of the castle. Not only do these product contain the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth, they are also among the most palatable due to their high meat inclusion. I would give these diets serious consideration. They can easily be rehydrated with warm water, can be fed as a standalone diet, or as an excellent food topper.

      You can add warm water to any kibble, and given enough time, they all should soften to the point where your dogs could consume them with minimal effort. Consider rotating among high quality diets to keep your dog’s interest piqued.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Jason. I am here to help if you have any other questions.

  116. Hi Brandon – found a new food yesterday that i am trying out. It’s called Naturo, made in the U.K., Ireland to be exact. So far it’s a real hit with Lexee. It’s not a dry food, more like a semi-moist food. So far there’s been no scratching or licking.

    1. Thank you for the update, Sharron! I will look into this Naturo brand to learn more about it 🙂

  117. Thanks for your reply. Unless I am missing something, I don’t think I could afford to feed my dogs dehydrated food if foods like Zeal are any indication. 2.2LBs for over $100 does not seem feasible or me. I want to be able to give my dogs the best quality food I can, but I do have to keep within my means.

    As well, I find it particularly difficult to find foods that don’t have the allergens our vet suggested we avoid, which are poultry and egg products of any kind. I was looking at the Acana Healthy Grains Red Meat Recipe, that doesn’t have poultry or eggs, so I was wondering if you could put me to some others so I could take a look.

    1. Hello, Jay. Thank you for posting.

      I understand your concerns regarding the cost of dehydrated raw dog foods. If you are looking for the best balance between quality and affordability, then dry kibbles such as FirstMate Grain-Friendly, or Acana Classics would be worth consideration. You can also use dehydrated raw as a supplemental food topper to provide an extra boost of nutrition and flavour.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Jay!

  118. Hi Brandon – Well in regards to the Naturo, Lexee ate it no problem on Wednesday, then had it for breakfast on Thursday, since then she won’t touch it, hardly eats anything. I thought at first if perhaps she was being picky, but i am wondering if the food has upset her digestive system. She’s not vomiting or having the runs.

    1. Hi Sharron, did you mix the Naturo with Lexee’s old food? How did you do the transition? It is difficult for me to speculate on this as I have limited information.

  119. Hi – sorry that’s all the info i have to give you. No i didn’t transition, that doesn’t work with her. She just eats the new food and leaves the old behind. She’s not sick where i have to take her to the vet.

  120. Hi Brandon. Have you heard of a dog being allergic to dehydrated beef liver treats? the reason i ask is because this morning i fed Lexee her breakfast, The Natruo Turkey, then after she ate that i gave a couple of the beef liver treats. This was early morning around 5:30. Went back to bed about a hour later and she started chewing, scratching, she couldn’t lay still, she was all over the bed as though she was trying to get away from what wad attacking her. So now i don’t know if it’s the treats or the food she reacted to.

    1. Hello, Sharron.

      A dog can develop an allergy to any protein source, and beef liver is no exception. If you notice Lexee is more symptomatic after eating beef liver treats, I would suggest finding an alternative for the time being.

  121. Hi Brandon. Thanks for all the info and narrowing it all down, but I am still left with a few questions that I am hoping you could help me with. I have a 10-week old Yorkie, weighing 2lbs that is currently eating a PetSmart Brand wet and kibble. I want to switch her over to something soon, but my problem is she really likes her wet food, much more than her dry. Which brand would you recommend for her that I could add a wet too, and which wet would you add. My vet is recommending Purina or Royal Canine.

    1. Hi, Nancy.

      Feeding canned/wet food is perfectly fine, providing the quality is there. I do not recommend either Purina or Royal Canin products, however there are plenty of great alternatives to consider!

      Some of our most popular Canadian-made canned foods include FirstMate, and Canada Fresh. I would suggest rotating among a variety of flavours to keep your dog’s interest piqued, as well.

      I hope you find this helpful, Nancy. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  122. Good Evening Brandon!

    I read your Top 21 Dogg Foods in Canada for 2021 and quite enjoyed it! I’m feeling like I’ve been dumped into the deep end of the ocean and I’m feeling pretty lost food wise.
    I’ve got a question in regards to supplementing glucosamine and chondroitin.
    We will be getting our first Greater Swiss Mountain puppy. Our breeder mentioned that she supplements her dogs with glucosamine and chondroitin. I do know that with a large breed (bordering giant breed due to weight (110-140LBS)) joint care is incredibly important especially while they’re rapidly growing puppies.
    Can you offer me any advise as to if this is an advisable thing to do? If so, what dose and which supplements brand would you suggest?
    Also any advise or suggestions on a puppy/dog kibble that would meet all the above needs as well as with all the other dietary needs our Swissy will need to grow and flourish. It’d be great if I could avoid putting a supplement all together as I really don’t feel confident in that area.

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    Thank you!!

    1. Hello, Amanda. Thank you for your message. Congrats on your new puppy! That is very exciting, and what a great breed, too!

      With regards to joint and mobility supplementation, giant breed dogs are certainly at significantly higher risk of developing issues in these areas at some point in time. Supplementation to support the joints is certainly an important consideration, however I would not be in too much of a rush to start with a brand new puppy. You can begin supplementing at any time, however many pet owners begin supplementation between 12-18 months when dogs are fully developed. It is important to be preventative versus reactive when it comes to joint health.

      You can learn more about my top rated joint and mobility supplements here.

      With regards to a kibble for you pooch, there are several large breed-specific diets to consider (Acana Large Breed Puppy, Orijen Large Breed Puppy, FirstMate Large Breed Puppy, etc).

      Alternatively, you can consider any high quality all-life-stage diet. All-life-stage diets are perfectly suitable for large/giant breed dogs as they provide modest fat with modest-high protein. In terms of overall quality, Carna4 would be my highest rated kibble on the market, however every brand on this list will provide excellent nutrition.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Amanda. I am always happy to help if you have any questions

  123. Hi
    Very interesting article. So much information to take in. We are relocating from the UK to Vancouver next month and I am researching the best food for our 45kg flat coated retriever and came across your article. He has a sensitive stomach and is on Akela 80/20 here in the UK so we are looking for a suitable dry food alternative when we move. Would you have any recommendations on which ones to look at for a large breed?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello, Vicky. Thank you for taking the time to post, and welcome (in advance) to Canada!

      A great Canadian-made alternative to Akela 80/20 would be Orijen. Both brands have high meat inclusion, are grain free, and made with wholesome ingredients.

      I hope this information is helpful, Vicky. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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