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 23 best Canadian made dry dog foods for 2023:

#1: Smack

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

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, 2021, 2022, and 2023 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 our second place recommendation in 2020 and 2021, 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 2023 list of best Canadian-made dog foods.

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
  • 6 formulas: chicken, duck, venison, lamb, goat and fish 
  • Made with superfood organic sprouted seeds
  • Made in: Quebec
  • 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: Oven Baked Tradition

Oven Baked Tradition is rapidly gaining popularity as a slow-baked, nutrient dense line of kibble, canned foods, and treats. Their natural ingredients come from carefully selected, trusted farms that are primarily found locally. Every recipe is made using a slow baking process that is more similar to air drying than to cooking. This results in a nutrient dense kibble that is also loaded with flavour. Their recipes are completely free from artificial  flavourings, antibiotics, or preservatives. Instead of filler grains, such as wheat, corn, or soy, they use home-milled grains like rye, barley, and oats.

Grain-free, low glycemic foods made with exceptional ingredients are at the core of Oven Baked Tradition’s formulas. They have the perfect food for your pooch, no matter their breed, size, and life stage. Plus, they make one of the best quality vegan dogs foods in the world -perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to meat proteins.

Highlights of Oven Baked Tradition dog food:

  • Made in Quebec
  • Meat-rich and plant-based options
  • Great hypoallergenic options for allergy-prone dogs
  • Regular bites and small bites
  • Food type: dry kibble, cans
  • Size options: 5 lb, 12.5 lb, 25 lb
  • Price $$-$$$

#11: Nature’s Hug

This unique line entered the market very recently, and has quickly become one of our top recommendations for dogs on a plant-based diet. All of their formulas use alternative protein, sourced from yeast, that has an almost identical amino acid profile to chicken. However, it’s more sustainable and eco-friendly than meat proteins, while still containing all of the nutrition your pooch needs to live a healthy lifestyle. Their recipes are free from grains and GMOs, too.

Nature’s Hug’s dog food line consists of adult formulas for large and small breeds, as well as recipes designed for senior and junior aged dogs.

Even though their recipes are meat free, they’re scientifically designed to be just as nutrient dense as meat-rich recipes. Every bite is complete and balanced, and loaded with flavour.

Highlights of Nature’s Hug Dog Food:

  • Made in Ontario
  • Completely plant-based; no animal ingredients
  • Great hypoallergenic option for allergy-prone dogs
  • Ingredients sourced from North America, primarily Ontario
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 2.27 KG, 9.07 KG
  • Price $$

#12: Dienon

Dienon is brand new to the Canadian marketplace, and makes premium recipes with a focus on sustainability. They use a unique combination of turkey, black soldier fly larvae, and salmon, for a protein-rich meal that has a lower carbon footprint. Their formulas are designed based on your dog’s size, and are created with expert agronomists and health experts using leading research.

Born from a love for animals, the Dienon brand ensures the highest quality ingredients are used in their formulas. Each batch is free from GMOs, artificial flavours, and dyes. Their ingredients are natural, ethically sourced, and chosen by leading animal nutrition and welfare experts.

Highlights of Dienon Dog Food:

  • Made in Ontario
  • Incorporates Black Soldier Fly Larvae for sustainable protein
  • Lower carbon footprint
  • GMO-free
  • Food type: dry kibble
  • Size options: 2 KG, 6 KG
  • Price $$

#13: 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 $$

#14: 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 $-$$

#15: 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 $$

#16: 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 $-$$

#17: 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 $

#18. 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: $$

#19: v-planet

V-planet dog food has been available in Canada for just over three years, making their debut in November of 2019. 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.

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.

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 $$

#20: Canadian Naturals

Based out of Abbotsford, British Columbia in the beautiful Fraser Valley, Canadian Naturals is a family owned pet food company with more than 50 years of experience in the pet industry. They believe strongly in sourcing many of their high quality meat and produce from local producers. Canadian Naturals’ manufacturing facility, named West Coast Kitchen, uses the most up-to-date small batch cooking methods to produce some of the finest pet foods in today’s competitive marketplace. The West Coast Kitchen is SQF3 and HACCP certified, meaning they follow the most rigorous certifications in the pet industry. Plus, with their full-time quality assurance team, you can feel confident you are purchasing pet foods made to the highest sourcing, manufacturing, and testing standards possible.

Canadian Naturals makes five unique lines of dog food: Value Series, Grain Free Value Series, Turkey & Salmon Recipes, Omega Fresh Diets, and Limited Ingredient Diets.

For dog owners looking for the best bang for their buck without sacrificing quality, the Value Series are very popular options. Flavours in this line include chicken, lamb, and pork. Alternatively, for dogs with dietary restrictions, the Limited Ingredient Diets are ideal for reducing unwanted ingredients. Flavours in this line include potato & duck, pork & squash, salmon & sweet potato, and venison & sweet potato.

Highlights of Canadian Naturals Dog Foods:

  • Made in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
  • Highest manufacturing standards in the industry.
  • Several unique dog food lines
  • Food type: dry kibble.
  • Size options: 5lb, 11lb, 30lb.
  • Price $-$$

 

#21: 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 $

#22: 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 $$-$$$

#23: 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 $

 

 

About Brandon Forder

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

407 Responses

  1. Hi there, have you any thoughts on Nulo brand dog food. My dogs are doing great on the Fish and Sweet Potato. Sadly, I didn’t see it on your list.

    1. Hello, Roz. Thank you for your post. Nulo is a fantastic brand, but it is not made in Canada – this list is Canadian-made brands only. Nulo products are manufactured in USDA, FDA, and AFFCO approved facilities in Kansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

  2. I highly question your putting Orijen and Acana on this list for 2023 without a sidenote.
    So far, there is a reason for that ….
    BUT: Are you not aware that is selling Champion both brands to Mars Pet Care that are responsible for low quality and high filler kibble like Royal Canin and Pedigree.
    Take my words, you can be sure that the – so far – good quality of Orijen and Acana kibble will take a dive with the new owner.
    Very curious already if they will continue to stay on your list 🙂

    1. Hello, Dominique. Thank you for your post.

      The terms of the acquisition of Champion Pet Foods by Mars Petcare have not been disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and expected to close in the first half of 2023.

      All we can do at this point is monitor the situation. For now, there have been no changes to Champion Pet Foods’ products. Until then, Orijen and Acana are still among the best brands in today’s marketplace and are certainly deserving of being on this list.

      We are keeping a close eye on this as it continues to develop.

  3. Hello Brandon, would love your recommendations for changing our dogs food. We have two dogs that’s are 11 months apart, that are real half brothers (same mom, different dads) Ranger will be 2 years old Feb 2023 and Maverick will be 1 year old Jan 2023. Ranger is an Australian shepherd/collie x Labrador 77 lbs and Maverick is Australian shepherd/collie mix (both mom and dad) 70 lbs. Both are very high energy and very dependant on each other. Ranger has a very sensitive stomach and we tried several different kibbles and landed on adult purina pro plan sensitive skin and stomach salmon and rice. He eats 1 1/2 cups for breakfast and 2cups for dinner with a scoop of probiotics at dinner. Worried about Ranger getting any of Mavericks kibble, we put Maverick on same one just the puppy formula. He gets 2 cups for breakfast and 2 cups for dinner with a scoop of probiotics. In September and October Maverick has had three seizures (not grand mall) He has been put on anti seizure medication. Now I’m second guessing all the food, probiotics, flea/tick and heart worm meds they are on. After doing a lot of reading, it sounds like Maverick is a bit young to be presenting for epilepsy and wondering if the seizures are being caused by other factors. Not to mention the worry that if it is genetic and handed down from their mom? I’m going to start with a new food for them, but it is so difficult to come up with one that will work for both of them and that is not too expensive, as they are larger breed dogs. We also live in the country and getting it delivered might not be that easy? Any suggestions and advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. These guys are still very young and we want them to be as healthy as possible and live a long happy life. Unfortunately the vet has just pushed the ones they sell that are very expensive and do not offer a option for both our dogs. Sorry for the lengthy message, but I’m hoping the more information you have the better advise you can offer. Thank you in advance, Melanie

  4. Hi Brandon,
    We have two big dogs – Rascal is a GSP and is nearing his third birthday and Stella is a black lab who is about 5 1/2 years.
    Both seem to be insatiable.
    We’ve traditionally been using the Acana Red Original, but it has become increasingly difficult to find (we live in a rural community) so there have been a few changeups within the Acana line.
    They gobble their food as though starving at both their morning and supper-time meals. They also steal anything they can get their paws on throughout the day, including food from cupboards, licks of dishes in the sink and anything our little dog is eating. It’s becoming an issue because they are even eating through heavy plastic containers in the hope of finding food inside.
    Rascal gets 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of food twice a day – he is fit and sleek. He is the main food stealer and Stella just dives on what’s left when Rascal gets caught.
    Stella gets 1 cup of food twice a day and has always been a little on the tubby side.
    I’m open to suggestions on a change that might be more satiating and any tips on food aggression.
    Thank you!

    1. Hello, Shannon. Thank you for your post.

      The first thing I would do is double check the feeding guidelines for your dogs to ensure they are getting the correct amount based on their age, weight, and activity levels. Keep in mind feeding guidelines are suggested amounts, and my require some adjustment depending on the individual dog. Of course, there is a big difference between a dog wanting food and a dog needing food, so it is important to make that distinction; most dogs will want more food than they actually need.

      As far as satisfying foods go, Acana is certainly among the best options on the market, so you don’t necessarily have to make a brand change, you can simply adjust your dog’s portions accordingly. If you are looking to maximize caloric density, then consider Acana’s sister brand, Orijen.

      Another factor to consider is exercise, activity levels, and enrichment. Many dogs will exhibit insatiable behaviours when they are under-stimulated, anxious, frustrated, and more. Too add a greater level of enrichment at meal time, consider using a slow-feed bowl, snuffle mat, or any other means of turning meal time into a longer-lasting activity.

      I hope this information is helpful, Shannon!

  5. Hi Brandon! I wrote a post on here two weeks ago and now I don’t see it. Not sure what happened. I was just wondering if you’ve had a chance to ever review 4 Strong Paws? It appears breeders are really pushing this company and our pom and mini poodle do enjoy it but I want to know that’s it’s a relatively healthy option. Our plan is to introduce Orijens along with it but don’t want to continue with 4SP if it’s not a quality product. Thank you!

    1. Hello, Aaron. Thank you for your post. I do not have any personal or professional experience with 4 Strong Paws. I will have to have a closer look at this brand before I can form a basis of opinion.

    1. Hello, Cody. Thank you for your post. Both Hurraw and Orijen are among the highest quality products on the market. You cannot go wrong with either brand 🙂

  6. I am beyond impressed by your level of care, attention, and detail with your responses!

    It makes me want to be a customer for life.

    We recently lost our dog boy to cancer . He was healthy his entire life, and one day he got very sick.

    He ended up getting pancreatic cancer and died within a couple of weeks of being diagnosed

    A complete blood work just 3 months before showed no indications / signs of anything.

    He was on the Performatrin Ultra Limited Ingredient Diet Sweet Potato & Fish Formula for about 5 years.

    What are your thoughts on that brand?

    We are getting a puppy in 2 months and I want to make sure I’m feeding him/her the best food I can.

    This is the second dog I lose to cancer and it sucks

    I myself have been vegan for almost 20 years, and know that a vegan diet can significantly reduce your chances of getting cancer.

    I was so happy to see a vegan dog food on your list!

    How much research have you done (if any) on vegan dog food?

    I’m wondering if I should give it a try.

    Thanks for your time.

    1. Hello, Karine. Thank you for your post. I am so sorry to hear about your losses. I know how that feels all too well 🙁

      Performatrin is Pet Valu’s exlusive brand, so this is not something I have had much personal experience with. Plant-based dog foods are becoming increasingly popular, however, there is a lack of studies on plant based nutrition for puppies, so I do not recommend most plant-based diets for dogs under 6 months of age, unless specifically expressed by the manufacturer.

      I hope this information is helpful, Karine. Good luck with your pup! 😀

  7. Hello!
    Would love recommendations for my almost 2-year-old Labradoodle. He loves almost any treat but food is a huge challenge – he is so so picky (and sensitive). Almost once a month he ends up throwing up bile since he doesn’t eat enough. Because of this, I have rotated his food a ton but nothing seems to work for him. I have tried gently cooked and raw food too which work for a bit until he ends up refusing them. He has sensitivities to chicken, tripe and coconut oil so I am avoiding those. He is currently eating Carna4 (rotating duck, fish, goat and venison). I love the ingredients but he isn’t super into it and I don’t love the price. Would love to hear any recommendations you have for a cost-effective dry food!

    1. Hello, Heather. Thank you for your post. I am happy to help.

      When it comes to dogs that are not highly food motivated, rotating diets regularly is going to be one of your best strategies. Not only does rotating diets offer health benefits, it should also help keep your dog’s interest piqued – however, the real trick is finding foods he enjoys first. In terms of palatability, dog foods with the highest meat inclusion are generally the most well received. High-meat brands like FirstMate, Orijen, or Go Carnivore are among our most popular brands for fussy pooches. Moreover, you can always add some bone broth (among other things) to bolster flavour at meal time.

      Please give some thought to these brands, and let me know if you have any questions.

  8. Great read but lots to think about. My almost 2 yr old boxer is currently on Actrium Oven Baked Salmon. She was on the chicken based but with her loose stools during the day/afternoon the vet suggested taking out the chicken due to possible allergies (I forgot we had to do the same with our previous boxer). Looking to change her food due to the fact that the Actrium Oven Baked is usually hard to find. We did use to give the other dog LifeTime but don’t see that on your list. She gets roughly 4 cups/day, and is usually mixed with wet Blue Buffalo, oatmeal, cottage cheese, tuna/salmon and/or an egg (not all at the same time). The first feeding is always just dry food, dinner is “spruced up”. What would you suggest would be a good alternative? I like the addition of fruit and veg in the dry food for her. TIA

    1. Hello, Daisy’s Mom. Thank you for your post.

      There are plenty of great chicken-free options on this list for you to consider. Based on the information you provided, my understanding is you are looking for a chicken-free, grain-inclusive dog food with fruits and veg. Please consider the following options:

      Acana Classics Red
      Acana Classics Wild Coast
      Carna4: Goat, Venison, Lamb, Fish, Duck.
      FirstMate Grain-Friendly Lamb, Fish, Duck.

      Please give these some consideration and let me know your thoughts.

  9. Great blog! Very helpful, thank you. I was wondering your opinion on a high quality food for a chihuahua(9yrs) and a Corgi (10 months)? Based on their breed health needs. They are both on Royal Canin and we need a change, both reluctantly eat. Which type of protein would be best to start with? Real food toppers you would suggest for them?
    Thanks! This is fantastic! 🙂
    Take care,
    Jen (George and Stella)

    1. Hello, Jen. Thank you for your post.

      In terms of providing optimal nutrition for your dogs, every brand on this list will certainly do that. You may want to consider rotating diets regularly, as this is something I highly recommend for a number of reasons.

      If you are looking for some small breed-specific options, please consider the following:

      Acana Small Breed Adult
      Orijen Small Breed
      Carna4 Easy Chew Vension, Lamb, Goat, or Fish.

      Please give these some thought and let me know if you have any questions.

  10. Hi Brandon,

    I am looking to switch my Great Dane puppy’s food. He is 9 months and is currently on Purina Essentialcare large breed puppy food. We tried to transition to Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe but he had explosive diarrhea for about 2 days and would walk away from the food (which is rare – he is extremely food motivated). I am thinking he is not doing well with chicken meal, lamb meal etc. We have given him boiled chicken breast (when his stomach was upset) and noticed he was good with it. That’s why I think his body is having hard time adjusting to kibble that has many byproducts. I was looking at Orijen since it does not have byproducts but it is grain free. I am looking for something that is grain inclusive for him and also calcium and phosphorus is close to 1:1. Do you have any suggestions on something that may work better for him?

    Thank you for your help!! Really appreciate it 🙂

    1. Hello, Rumneet. Thank you for reaching out. I am happy to help.

      To get a better understanding of my highest rated large breed puppy foods, please check out my Top 10 Large Breed Puppy 2022 Rankings.

      Just a correction to your post. Chicken meal and lamb meal are not byproducts. These are concentrated, dehydrated meats. Where the confusion happens is when byproducts are listed in meal form. Byproduct is one term, meal is another term. Many of the highest quality dog foods on the market use “meal” ingredients. “Meal” does not refer to any specific quality, it simply refers to an ingredient that has been dehydrated prior to processing.

      Please have a look at let me know if you have any questions.

  11. Hello,
    I have two German Shepherd puppies, six months old. I started feeding them Royal Canin German Shepherd puppy food and recently changed to a cheaper brand. As the change over was complete, my young male started eating his faeces. I can only assume he is missing something in his diet. I did some research and it mentioned a possible lack of, probiotics and probiotics in cheaper food might be the issue.
    I would like your opinion on which food would be the best for them at this stage and as adults?

    1. Hello, Heidi. Thank you for your post.

      There can be many reasons as to why a dog may consume their own feces; imbalanced gut health is certainly one of them. While all the dog foods on this list are among the best quality brands on the market today, some dogs may still need help via supplementation.

      Some of my most popular digestive health supplements include:

      Flora4
      NaturVet Advanced Probiotics and Enzymes Soft Chew
      Baci+ Solutions Probio Pre & Probiotics for Dogs

      Please let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  12. Hello Brandon … I just stumbled across your blog by accident today, boy am I glad I did! I am grappling with the new food question at this very moment. I have a very unique situation to ask about.
    I have a 28 week old “standard” Aussiedoodle. Mom – purebred standard poodle (48 lbs) dad purebred standard Australian Sheppard (54 lbs) she comes from a litter of 12. Most pups were born weighting between 2.5 -3.5 pounds… mine was only 1/2 lb. We brought her home at 8 weeks, the second day home we rushed her to the emergency vet and she was finally diagnosed with Giardia. It took the next 8 weeks for her to get fully cleared results. Given her small birth size and 2 months of illness she seemed to have gotten off to a very late start on her growth and she was not very interested in food. During most of that time she was eating Hills Science prescription diet I/D. Her growth weights have been as follows:
    2.31 kg at 8 weeks
    4 kg at 12 weeks
    6.8 kg at 16 weeks
    9.77 At 20 weeks
    11.33 kg at 23 weeks
    11.80 kg at 25 weeks
    12.7 kg at 28 weeks (weighted today at vet)
    It appears her growth is beginning to slow and I want to move her to a great food she will be on for a month or two, then rotate to a second recommended food.

    Unfortunately we now have a pup that doesn’t like very many dry foods and I really hope not to be a bound to wet food (yuck). She LOVES liver treats, beef tender sticks and the chicken jerky from Caledon Farms – manufactured in Canada by The Crump Group in Brampton Ontario)

    For the past 6-8 weeks she has been on a blend of I/D and Performatrin Ultra Lamb and rice blend (she only picks at this food and I have moved to breaking it up and softening it with hot water – she is clearly not a fan!

    I’m getting way too many biased suggestions from the vet, Breeder, RENs, PetValue etc. I don’t want to try all of these if there is a straight answer to my question. I was leaning towards either Preformatrin Ultra Ancient Grain or Ancana puppy formula with chicken. Then I came across your article . (She seems to like food with fish in it)

    Now I’m completely unsure. In the comments I see messages about Performatrin causing health issues, others causing weight gain, some foods apparently have high phosphorus that affect renal failure etc.

    I’m looking for a dry food that is healthy, that feeds her tummy and her brain/organs/joints without causing longer term harm.

    I really need you to “cut through all the sales hype, store branded products and and so on. It needs to be an excellent product for this cherished member of our family that will support her continued growth. Like every dog “Parent” we want our pup happy, rambunctious, curious and of course healthy – Beginning from the inside.
    (BTW – I don’t believe a food needs to be human grade although if it is and is the right food I’m thumbs up)

    1. Thank you for your post. I am happy to help!

      When it comes to selecting the right food for your dog, there are going to be many excellent options worth consideration. Naturally, finding the right foods may take some experimentation. Rotating diets regularly is a very healthy thing to do for your pooch, and will help to keep her interest piqued without having to enhance the bowl with extra goodies.

      With that said, fussy dogs typically show greater interest in foods with a high meat content. Brands like Orijen, FirstMate, and Go Carnivore have the highest meat inclusion in dry kibble form.

      If you are looking for a high quality, complete and balanced dog food that will provide your pooch with all the nutrition she needs to thrive, then I am confident that every brand on this list will do that. Of course, the higher up the list we go, the higher the overall quality. Consider experimenting with these brands to determine which ones your pooch performs best on. They are all 100% guaranteed, so in the event something doesn’t work out, it can be returned for a refund or exchange.

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

  13. Hello! I am looking to switch to a clean ingredient dog food for my dog with IBD. He is on forza10 colon and doing well with the very low % in protein. But I’m not a fan of some of the ingredients. Wondering what you’d recommend?

  14. Hi Brandon, I can’t believe you’ve replied to all of these comments! Unreal. Thanks for your tips. My pup is so skinny, not food driven. I think she is perhaps also getting hot spots, possible yeast and might have some food sensitivities. She’s golden retriever/lab, 6 months. She been on Acana Puppy, but doesn’t love the kibble. Chicken & Rice First Mate for canned. Both are chicken based. I think I need to move her to another food on this list that is good for sensitivities and allergies. I don’t really know where to target, it’s a big list. Food needs to be very tasty to interest her. Ideas?

    1. Hello, Lyndsay. Thank you for posting.

      There is lots to cover here. In order for me to give you the best possible advice, please email me [email protected], and I am happy to help.

      I look forward to hearing from you!

  15. Hi, just noticed that Valens is not on the top of the list, was wondering why? I have Boxer and a blue tic hound. Just started them on this brand, and they really seem to love it, also noticed that their coats are really shiny now but also noticed that they poop a lot more and it is very much like little balls like a rabbit but much bigger lol. Just want the best for my dogs am l doing them wrong going on this food?
    Thanks, appreciate any advice
    Suzanne Luckasavitch

    1. Hello, Suzanne. Thank you for your post.

      At the time of compiling our top 22 Canadian-made dog foods list, we had not had much experience with Valens. However, since then that has changed. Valens is an excellent food and is certainly deserving of being on this list, and will be added to my 2023 rankings.

  16. Hi Brandon, my toy poodle is 3.5 month old and he weighs 2.5 lbs. he’s eating Open Farm Ancient Grain puppy recipes. I find he drinks quite a lot of water recently, about 100-150g daily and pee pretty frequently. Do you think he drink too much? I am not sure if it’s because of the food. I only feed him this kibble and 2-3 small dried sardines every day. Any suggestions? I am looking for a puppy food that can help his water consumption, healthy hair, healthy joint, tear stains and less smelly poop. His poop is pretty smelly now . Thank you

    1. Hello, Angela. Thank you for your post.

      Open Farm is among the highest quality pet food manufacturers. I do not see any reason why this food would cause more thirst compared to any equivalent product on the market.

      With regards to water consumption, every dog is different; more active dogs will naturally need more water to stay hydrated. Generally, a dog should drink approximately 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So your 2.5lb pooch should drink 2.5 fluid ounces per day. This is just an estimate and can vary based on the age, breed, lifestyle, diet, etc. 100-150g of water is equivalent to 3.5oz to 5.2oz.

      If you are concerned about your dog’s water intake, it is best to speak withy our veterinarian to rule out any possible underlying health issues.

      In terms of quality, the top brands on this list will provide maximum nutrition, however I cannot say which one(s) may help reduce water consumption.

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

  17. Hi Brandon I have a 8 month old puppy Rottweiler we started him on performatri ultra puppy lamb formul, but notice he was constantly having lose stool. So we switched him to Orijen larg puppy formula it’s definitely made a improvement, but still a bit of a issue. Not sure if I should look at a different formula or keep him on this as I knownits great food and he loves it. Thanks

    1. Hello, Scott. Thank you for posting.

      The first thing I would do is make sure you are not overfeeding, as loose stools are one of the most common reasons for this problem. Double check the feeding guide on the dog food bag, and also take into consideration other consumables like cookies/treats, people food, etc. Oftentimes, making a simple correction to your dog’s portions results in immediate improvements in stool consistency.

      Start with that and let me know how your dog does. I am always here to help if you need anything!

  18. Hi Brandon,
    We have a 10 week old mini Aussie who is currently eating Kirkland Puppy food. We would ideally like to switch him to something healthier. What would you recommend?

    1. Hello, Courtney. Thank you for your post. Congrats on your new pup!

      I am confident every brand on this list will provide complete and balanced nutrition for your dog. If you are looking for the absolute highest quality, then my suggestion is to start at the top of the list and work your way down. If you have any specific criteria, please let me know and I will gladly help narrow down the list for you.

      Also, rotating diets regularly is something I highly recommend as it offers significant long term health benefits. Something to consider!

      Please let me know if you have any further questions, Courtney. I am at your service.

    1. Hello, Samuel. This list is for Canadian-made dog foods only. Nutro is made in Henderson, North Carolina, and Victorville, California.

  19. What can you tell me about Ripley’s Ranch out of Vancouver,B.C.? It is suppose to be all natural but I don’ see it in your top 22.

    1. Hello, Robert. Thank you for your post.

      Thank you for bringing this brand to my attention. I have not had any personal experience with Ripley’s Ranch, however based on the information provided on their website, it seems they take pet nutrition seriously. I will have a closer look at this brand to determine where it may rank on our list.

  20. Hi Brandon
    I really enjoy reading your blogs. You have valuable and informative information and I appreciate you sharing.
    I have a 1 year old boxer/mastiff mix and she is not a big eater. We have changed her food from science diet to acana – hoping to gain more of an appetite- but she still is perfectly fine eating 1 full meal (2 cups) and 1 half a meal a day. Ideally we would like her to eat 3 times a day (as recommended) but I’m not sure what to do to to increase her appetite. Maybe she’s just really picky, but in this situation what would you recommend? Would you suggest trying multiple foods until finding something that works for her?

    1. Hello, Leslie. Thank you for reaching out! I am happy to help.

      Based on the information you provided, there are a few things to consider.

      Firstly, you may just have a dog that does not overconsume; many dogs will simply stop eating when they are satiated. Providing your pooch is at her ideal body weight, there is nothing to be concerned about; that is just how some dogs are.

      Secondly, for less food motivated dogs, rotating diets regularly is an excellent way to keep interest piqued at meal time. To maximize flavour, I would focus on dog foods with high meat inclusion, as this is what drives taste for most dogs. The dry dog food brands with the highest meat inclusion include Orijen, and Go!, and FirstMate.

      Thirdly, you can always use food toppers to add an extra boost of flavour in the bowl. This is only limited to your imagination. Some of our most popular food toppers include Shades of Gray Toppers (beaver, rabbit, or bison), or dehydrated raw food/treats, among others.

      There are many things you can do to help increase your dog’s interest at mealtime, however some dogs are less likely to consume past their individual threshold regardless of what you put in their bowl.

      I am happy to help if you have any questions.

  21. You recommended First Mate to me on your reply which I will be my number one choice. I will have to have it brought in as it is not available in our small city. Could you also give a recommendation on the following three formulas of Performatrin Utra : Stream, Meadow, and Woodland. They have the ancient grains in them but are only 4% fibre which I can supplement. I can purchase this locally. Thank You.

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

      With regards to the tree Performatrin Ultra formulas you mention in your post, there is no universal benefit to picking one over the other. You can consider rotating between them. Rotating diets regularly is something I highly recommend as it offers numerous benefits for your pooch.

      I hope this helps! I am always here if you have any further questions.

  22. Hi Brandon, I am going to pick up my 8 week tiny toy poodle soon. Which brand of food would you recommend? The breeder is feeding him Royal Canin.
    Thank you

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

      What are you looking for in a food for your pup? Every brand on this list has a suitable puppy option, so if you want to know what my top recommendations are, start at #1 and go from there. I am happy to help narrow down your search if you can provide me with some sort of criteria. Also, give some consideration to rotating diets from time to time, as this can provide many health benefits.

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  23. Hi Brandon
    We have a wonderful new addition to our family.
    She is a three month old Cava-doodle puppy.
    We were advised that Royal Canin Professional would be the best food for her and thats what she has been fed since birth…. but I’ve been looking around a little and now I’m not so sure. It was suggested that we look at Carna4 and First Mate…

    Your thoughts?
    Thanks

    1. Hello, Randall. Thank you for posting.

      Carna4 and FirstMate would be ideal ultra-premium brands to consider.

      I am happy to go into as much detail as you like. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

      Thank you!

  24. Thank you for the info regarding the First Mate line of grain friendly dog food. I had looked at this line .

    I was also wondering about the Performatrin Ultra Ancient Grains food. It comes in three recipes: Woodlands, Meadow and Stream and is a 4% fibre. I can get it locally but would have to order the First Mate which I can do as well.

    I was just wondering your opinion re the Costco brands of dog food as you did not recommend it. Just curious as our friend’s dog is on it.
    Thank You.

    1. Hello, Darlene. Thank you for your post.

      My personal experience with the Performatrin brand is limited as it is exclusive to a competing retailer, however the overall quality of the Ultra Ancient Grains line is very good.

      With regards to Costco brands (assuming you mean Kirkland), I do not recommend any these brands as we do not know the quality of the meats used in their products; human-grade vs feed grate, etc. To offer a product as affordable as this, corners have to be cut, and in many cases this is done by offering lower quality meats. I cannot say this is the case with Kirkland specifically, it is something to keep in mind when researching pet foods – quality of meat ingredients do not have to be disclosed.

  25. I have an nine month old border collie pup that will be transitioning to an adult food in a few months. He had anal gland issues last December so I increased the fibre in his food and is on a food that has 5% fibre. That has done the trick.
    What adult Canadian dog food can you recommend that is at least 5% fibre and is of excellent quality? It also has to have grain in it.

    Thank You

    1. Hello, Darlene. Thank you for your post.

      Based on the information you provided, one of my highest recommendations is FirstMate’s Grain-Friendly line. At 7% fibre, this super-premium Canadian-made brand is among our most popular dog food lines. Also, consider the Acana Classics line at 5% fibre.

      I hope this is helpful, Darlene. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  26. I was feeding Royal Canin but my Siberian Husky pure bred started having having allergies didn’t want to eat her food, my Australian Shepherd ,pure bred was having skin problems would bring up her meal or some of it after. So went to a holistic food on Go right now for about six months. But a friend said her vet said Go was not good for them need grains. So was thinking about Smack as it is processed differently and organic as well. I’m confused want my fur kids to have good and long life.

    1. Hello, Betty.

      I can assure you that Go! is among the highest quality brands in the pet industry. Dogs do not need grains, however, certain whole grains do offer valuable nutrition. Many vets do not recommend grain-free diets due to the FDA’s investigation into the possible connection between grain-free dog foods and canine heart disease. However, there has been no conclusive scientific evidence proving this. It is important we understand that correlation is not necessarily causation. To get a better understanding of the ongoing situation, please refer to my article Everything You Need To Know About Dilated Cardiomyopathy And Grain Free Dog Foods.

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

  27. Hi Brandon! I stumbled upon this and can’t believe how great it is. I’m still finding it overwhelming to make a choice. We have a 4 month old golden retriever and we are currently using TLC Puppy food out of Ontario as that’s what our breeder suggested we use. I notice it didn’t make your list. Have you looked at this food at all? We live in Alberta and we’ve talked about switching foods to something we could maybe purchase at a local store instead of relying on shipments. Any suggestions on what we’d be best to switch her to or if TLC is still fine.

    Thanks!

    1. Hello, Carrie. Thank you for posting!

      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.

      I am happy to help if you have any further questions.

  28. Hi

    I have a 6 month Lagotto. The breeder used TLC kibble and highly recommends it. My pup seems to really enjoy it. Any thoughts or comments on this brand.

    Thanks

    Doug

    1. Hello, Doug. Thank you for posting.

      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.

      I am at your service if you have any further questions!

  29. Hello,

    I notice you don’t have Acana brands on your list this year.

    I feed my 80 pound labrador Acana large breed Healthy Grains which is a new blend for this company.

    Have you had a chance to review this specific product? Curious as to your thoughts, thanks.

  30. Hi there!
    I have an 18 month old Standard Poodle who was just diagnosed with Atypical Addison’s Disease. He was eating Farmina N/D seafood flavour but now hates it. I think he associates his kibble with being so sick.

    What are your recommendations for kibble that may be enticing to a fussy pup who is recovering from an Addison’s crisis?

    1. Hello, Jessi. Thank you for posting. I am happy to help.

      For a dog that has lost food motivation, rotating diets regularly may be something to consider going forward. This will help keep a dog’s food motivation piqued better than feeding one food for a prolonged period of time. With overexposure can come loss of interest. From my experience, dogs that have lost their food motivation do best long term when their diet is rotated among high quality, palatable dog foods.

      Give that some thought and let me know if you have any questions, Jessi. I am at your service if you need anything!

  31. Hello, I was wondering if FROMM ever made it close? I thought a few years ago it made a few lists of recommendations and got all my dogs on it. Is it time for me to revaluate? Drop in quality?

    1. Hello, Alice. Thank you for your post.

      We love Fromm! It is a great brand; very high quality. However, Fromm is made in the USA, therefore does not qualify for this list of Canadian-made brands. I hope that helps!

  32. Good morning,
    We have an 8 year old Welsh Terrier with allergies to salmon and chicken (found by LONG elimination process). She has been doing fairly well on Holistic Select lamb. It has lots of pro and prebiotics that seem to help her yeastiness and itchy skin. She also gets Cytopoint shots- which have helped immensely. It is hard to find a high quality food without both fish and chicken. What do you recommend? We have also added a (now 4month old) Boston Terrier to the mix and we would like him to eat the same food eventually.

    1. Hello, Pam. Thank you for posting. I am happy to help.

      There are plenty of high quality fish and chicken-free dog foods to choose from! Consider a few of the following options:

      Go! Sensitivities Venison
      Go! Sensitives Turkey
      Go! Sensitivities Lamb
      Go! Sensitivities Duck
      FirstMate Duck & Oats
      FirstMate Lamb & Oats

      These are just a few of the many options available. There are plenty of limited ingredient dog foods that are made specifically for those needing a simplified diet for their pets.

      Please have a look at my recommendations and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

      PS: If you see “chicken fat” as as an ingredient in a dog food, do not worry about your dog having an allergic reaction. Chicken fat does not contain any protein, and it is the protein that triggers the allergic reaction by the immune system. Chicken fat is a safe, hypoallergenic ingredient even for dogs with a chicken allergy.

  33. Hi there! I’m wondering how Open Farm didn’t make the list? I would definitely put it as one of the top dry foods made in Canada!

    1. Hey Carly, great question! Open Farm is an exceptional quality food, and a Canadian-owned brand, too. Unfortunately, their formulas are actually made in the USA, which is why they did not make the list.

    1. Hello, Tammy.

      While I do not have any personal experience with Inukshuk 26/16 dog food, overall it does seem like a good quality diet. Looking at the ingredients, it does seem to be very grain heavy, especially corn and wheat which are two of the most common allergy-inducing ingredients in pet food today. It has good caloric density, and many of their ingredients are whole.

  34. Hello. I was wondering, my pug/beagle mix is going to be 14 next month and he is overweight, doesn’t like walks very much(never has). And has sore back legs. 2 years ago he had TPLO surgery on one of them. Since I can’t exercise him very much, what food can I give him that will keep him from gaining weight? For years he ate Hills metabolic kibble then recently he refused to eat it. Now he’s eating performatrin naturals. I would like to give him the healthiest option possible for his issues. Thank you for your help.

    Cam

    1. Hello, Cameron. Thank you for your post. I am happy to help.

      You can find my highest rated low fat dog foods here: The Top 10 Low Fat Dog Foods in Canada. Providing you are feeding portions conducive to your dog’s lifestyle requirements, I have confidence every food on this list will help you pooch drop those unwanted pounds.

      I hope that helps!

  35. Hi Brandon,

    What would you recommend for a 4-month old European Doberman puppy? Ideally I would like to feed him Victor High-Pro Plus, but unfortunately this is only available in the US. What brand would you say is comparable to that?

  36. Hey Brandon. I’m so pumped I have someone I can maybe ask for some direction from. I have very specific diet needs ( grain free, beef no more than 24% protein adult food) but I have a lot of large dogs and I am having trouble finding something consistently stocked and cost effective. I

  37. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  38. Hurrah! At last I got a weblog from where I can genuinely obtain helpful facts and knowledge pertaining to pet wellness. Thank you.

  39. This is my favourite dog food resource on the internet, and has been for years now. When will you be doing a 2022 list?

  40. Hi Brandon

    Acana Classics contain 23% oats according to their ingredients list…but still has peas/lentils…where would this fall as a grain free food as far as DCM is concerned ?

    1. Hello, Andre. Thank you for your question.

      There is no scientific proof that grain-free dog foods cause dilated cardiomyopathy. I recommend reading my article Everything You Need To Know About DCM. Hopefully you find this helpful in developing a better understanding of the FDA’s investigation into DCM. Remember, correlation is not causation. I have no concerns regarding Acana Classics in this regard. Acana also has a great page covering this subject, definitely worth a read.

      I am happy to help if you have any questions on this matter.

  41. Hello Brandon!

    Quick question, for a 2 month old German shepherd what would you suggest ?

    I see that royal canine has a specific puppy GSD formula and also an Adult GSD formula. What are your thoughts ?

    I’m trying to do all my research and find a good formula for them. Even thinking of doing a raw mixed/dry kibble solution.

    I’ve also heard of Costco’s Kirkland puppy food.

    Also someone also told me German shepherds should stay away from chicken because of their sensitive stomachs?!?!

    Please help!

    1. Hello, Emonie. Thank you for posting!

      For your 2 month old GSD, I recommend checking out my Top 10 Large Breed Puppy Foods list. These are the highest quality large breed puppy foods on the market.

      Royal Canin and Kirkland are not among my recommended brands.

      Unless you know your dog does not do well with chicken specifically, there is no reason to avoid it. Chicken is a perfectly suitable protein for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Additionally, not all German Shepherds have sensitive stomachs. Providing you are feeding a high quality diet in the right portions, your pup should do very well.

      I am always happy to help if you have any questions going forward!

  42. My cairn terrier male has been vomiting for past week first thing in morning. He had a clean bill of health including blood work this past Friday as we were concerned. Again this morning he vomited. He has also had few bouts of reverse sneezing. He is on a Acana light and lively. I’m thinking it’s his food. Should we go back to GO brand?

    1. Hello, Susan. Thank you for your post.

      Firstly, if you are concerned your dog needs medical attention, please contact your veterinarian.

      Based on the information provided, here is my advice:

      When your dog vomits in the morning, what is he throwing up? Many dogs will vomit bile (yellow, foamy liquid) if they have an empty stomach. If your pooch has not eaten any food throughout the night, an empty stomach may be the cause. To remedy this, give your dog something to eat during the night and see if the vomiting improves.

      To go into more depth on this matter, I will need more information. Please feel free to email me [email protected]. I am happy to speak at your convenience.

    1. Hello, Sharron.

      The Zoë brand was originally a Walmart exclusive brand, and is now a mass-market brand found in numerous big box stores. I would classify Zoë as an entry-level health food brand for pets. While they use many natural ingredients, their wet diets contain less protein, carbohydrates, and fat compared to super-premium alternatives. I do not know if their ingredients are human grade, where they are sourced, and what sustainability policies are in place.

      In my opinion, there are better alternatives to consider.

  43. Hello Brandon,
    I have a 7 year old 10 lbs Pomchie who was on Royal Canine for the first 5 years of his life. We switched him to the Kirkland brand from Costco because of smaller kibble size and budget issues. We’ve noticed the last few months that every 2 to 3 days, he wakes up lethargic and doesn’t want to eat or walk. He also seems to experience stomach cramps with gurgling sounds. He’s better for another few days and then it happens again. He’s a healthy dog and has had a clean bill of health from the vet, so I’m suspecting it’s the food that we need to change. Perhaps he has a sensitive stomach, I often feed him cooked chicken and brown rice to vary his diet and he loves it. I want to switch him to a better quality food, but want to find the right one (grain free?) for his breed and size. Could you kindly give me some suggestions.
    Thank you!

    1. Hello, Karen. Thank you for your post. I am happy to help you.

      Providing your dog does not have an underlying issue, it seems like your pooch may very well benefit from a food change. Cramping and gurgling sounds are common symptoms of indigestion, therefore I would recommend a diet with plenty of dietary fibre, digestive enzymes, and pre/probiotics for optimal digestive health.

      Two of our most popular foods for this purpose are FirstMate’s grain friendly line, and Acana Classics. Both are grain-inclusive, highly digestible, and offer excellent nutrition.

      Please have a look at my recommendations and let me know if you have any questions. I am at your service! 🙂

  44. I really appreciate this website that presents good information on Canadian sourced and manufactured dog foods in an easy to understand fashion. Realizing you can’t cover every brand but I wonder if you can help me with the following Question that I can’t seem to find anywhere online:
    Where is TLC dog food sourced and manufactured”
    The reason I need to know this is because it is being recommended by a breeder in Ontario for the Bernadoodle she is buying. Thanks in advance for even reading this and fingers crossed that you will be able to enlighten me.

    1. Hello, Patricia. Thanks for reaching out.

      TLC is made in Canada, however I am unsure about where they source their ingredients. It would be best to speak to the manufacturer to get the information you are looking for.

      I hope this helps!

  45. I have two dogs; a 3 year old Doberman, and an 8 year old Havanese. To make my life easier, I would really like to feed them the same food. Because my dogs are different breeds, do I need to feed them two different foods?

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hello, Lydia. Thank you for posting.

      You can absolutely feed your dogs the same food! Most high quality dog foods on the market are “all life stage” diets, meaning they are suitable for all ages, shapes, and sizes. I am confident every brand on this list will provide both of your dogs with complete and balanced nutrition.

  46. Hello, Brandon. I see you are very diligent in responding to all the comments in this thread, and I applaud you for taking the time to do that. From my experience in owning dogs all my life, it is rare to find this level of service in the online pet industry, let alone in person.

    Question for you.

    Should I keep my Schorkie (Schnauzer Yorkie cross) on the same food forever, or should I be switching it up? If so, what do you recommend?

    1. Hello, Marcus. Thank you for your post.

      While there is nothing wrong with keeping your pooch on the same (high quality) food for life, there are many advantages of rotating diets regularly. There is no universal recommendation for how often to rotate, however; some switch their pet’s food every bag, whereas others may rotate every 5+ bags. The pet industry is full of unique and exciting products, so try experimenting a bit!

      I hope that helps answer your question.

  47. Super informative. Do you have one for cats? I have a persian and maine coon, and want to make sure I am feeding them the best possible food.

  48. Brandon, you provide an invaluable service to pet owners like myself. Your articles are intelligent, well-written, and insightful. Thank you for this!

  49. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Educational, informative, and concise. I have learned more about pet nutrition from reading your blog posts than from anywhere else.

    Thanks for sharing, and keep up the great work.

  50. So much great information here! Question for you, Brandon: should I feed my dog the same food indefinitely, or should I be switching it up from time to time? A neighbour of mine suggested to switch foods, so I was just curious. Thanks for your expertise!

    1. Hello, Jacqueline. Thank you for your question.

      While it is perfectly fine to feed the same high quality food indefinitely, I am more in favour of rotating diets from time to time. There are so many wonderful pet foods out there, it is a shame to limit your dog to only one food forever. Meal time should be exciting, and rotating diets from time to time is the perfect way to keep appetite piqued.

      I hope this is helpful.

  51. This article has been super helpful. It is difficult to know what to feed my dog; I always have doubts he is not getting the best nutrition. After reading this list (and the comments) I feel more confident knowing I am making good choices for my boy Murphy.

    I am happy to support a business like this that takes the time to help educate their customers.

  52. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. This is my go-to source for pet advice.

  53. I find it odd that veterinarians know nothing about these brands. These foods are the highest quality in the industry, however vets still push their garbage prescription diets, full of fillers. And to top it off, why is it so damned expensive?

    The vets can keep their over processed cereals. I have fed Carna4, Acana, Go Solutions. As your #1 overall rated food, Smack certainly has my interest piqued. Is Smack suitable for my 4 year old Portuguese Water Dog? Do I need to give any supplements with Smack, or is it a complete and balanced diet?

    Thanks for your help, and keep up the great work. I love this site!

    1. Hello, Pamela. Thank you for your post.

      Smack is complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages. Supplementation is not necessary.

      I hope this helps!

  54. After months of struggling to find the best food for my dog, I finally find this top dog foods in Canada list. This has been so incredibly helpful. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. You have a new customer for life!

  55. This is exactly what I was looking for! Excellent article. Finally, a well-written honest review!

  56. Thanks – the symptoms started within the last few months. Sneezing, coughing (she now has a heart murmur (not serious enough to be put on meds), licking, scratching and now redness around her mouth and red tear stains, which she has never had in her 12 yrs. I have her on RC Gastro/Low Fat can food and Nutro Beef can (i alternate between the 2).
    I don’t know if it’s food or outside. I try and keep her out of long grass and weeds.

  57. Hi, just wondering if you have the same type of literature for cats. I have a dog (collie) plus 2 cats. All are on Vet recommended food, cats particular for teeth. I would like to find not vet food for all my pets. Particularly the cats, I can find nothing in the same caliber as you have done for dog. Thanks

    1. Hello, Sharron. Nice to hear from you again. I hope you are well!

      Symptoms of dietary allergies and environmental allergies can oftentimes look very similar (itchiness, skin problems, hair loss, ear problems/infections, etc.), making it difficult (at first) to determine what the catalyst is. Environmental allergies can be seasonal, where symptoms come and go with change in season, or they can be a reaction to particulates in the environment, like dust, for example.

      Since we have more control over diet, I generally suggest doing a food trial first to determine how much improvement can be made through dietary changes.

      I am happy to help you with this process if you like.

  58. Hi, I have a 3 month old cocker spaniel/king charles spaniel mix who I started on Acana small breed puppy food. I obtained samples of Norman’s Naturals from a local feed store and he prefers this over the Acana. He should only get to be about 20-25lbs. I’m wondering if you have looked into the Norman’s Naturals food yet or have another recommendation? Thank you!

    1. Hello, Dianne. Thank you for your questions.

      While I do not have any personal experience with Norman’s Naturals, after reading up on their website, it does seem like a decent pet food offered at a good price point.

      With regards to your dog now liking the Acana as much as NN, consider that Acana makes over one dozen formulations, so maybe consider trying a new flavour. In fact, rotating diets regularly is something I highly recommend. Alternatively, the most palatable foods on the market are those with the highest meat inclusion, so based on that, consider high meat inclusion brands like Orijen, and Go!.

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

  59. Hi Brandon,
    Have you reviewed President’s Choice Nutrition First and Profike dog food.
    Our 2 year old lab is on Profile weight loss, our 8month old Blue Heeler is on PC Nutrition First puppy food, she is high energy and slim. Both these are canadian made and would love to know how they fit in with the other Canadian brands.
    Also, when weight managing a Lab, what do you suggest for protein, fat, Fibre percentage. As well as joint management and overall well being

    1. Hello, Karen. Thank you for your post.

      The PC Nutrition First dog food line is an average to above-average health food brand using moderate amounts of protein.

      With regards to controlling weight for any dog, it simply boils down to two main things: calories consumed and activity level. From brand to brand, formula to formula, there are wide variances of protein, fat, fibre, etc. Providing you are feeding a wholesome, high quality diet, it is simply a matter of feeding the correct amount conducive with your dog’s ideal weight.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Karen. I am happy to help if you have any further questions!

  60. Hi Brandon, I have a 4 year old havanese who has crystals in his urine and needs a diet that is low in purines. Which dog food would you recommend for him please.

    1. Hello, Laura. Thank you for your post.

      When searching for a canine diet low in purines, it is best to avoid high purine ingredients like sardines, herring, turkey, venison, and certain organ meats like liver. Peas, beans, and oatmeal are also considered high purine ingredients. Instead, try to focus on low purine ingredients like eggs, peanuts, chicken, beef, lamb, or pork.

      Here are a few low purine foods to consider:

      Smack Very Berry Chicken
      Smack Chunky Chicken
      Smack Prairie Harvest Pork
      FirstMate Chicken & Oats
      FirstMate Lamb & Oats

      There are plenty of others to consider, as well.

      I also recommend rotating diets regularly, so please keep that in mind. Rotating diets regularly, increasing water consumption, and proper urinary health supplementation can make a world of difference.

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

      Please note: I am not a veterinarian, and this advice should not be taken as a substitution for proper veterinary care. When in doubt, please consult your veterinarian.

  61. Hi there,
    Firstly, thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise about pet nutrition.
    I have a 143 lb female Rottie who just turned 3 years old on June 15. She is spayed and is a bit on the lazy side( doesn’t exercise much). Last year at her annual check up she weighed in at 135 lbs. Her vet recommended we put her on a calorie reduced diet and suggested we feed her Hills Science Diet Perfect Weight. We have been feeding her this since September of 2020. This year when we took her in for her heart worm test, she weighed in at 143 lbs!!! So clearly the food isn’t working. She has gained weight not lost. (She is bigger than a normal female Rottie would be. Her mother was also very large too. She is the height of a tall male Rottie, 27 inches at the withers). She is consuming 4 cups a day. I’m concerned for her health and well being as Rotties are known to get lots of health issues. She is otherwise a healthy girl as shown by her bloodwork.
    I would like to change her food as I have been reading ongoing articles about Hills Science Diet being a danger to pets and all the lawsuits filed against them because of people’s pet dying as a result of their food.
    Your article here is very informative but I don’t know which to choose. I would like to give her a grain inclusive food that is low in calories. Could you please direct me in the right direction to find a healthy food for my sweet big Rottie.
    Thank you so much I appreciate your response.

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

      Thank you for providing that helpful information.

      When it comes to weight loss, it is a matter of maintaining a caloric deficit. If your pooch is gaining weight on her current food, then she is consuming more calories than she needs. To get a better understanding of my highest rated low fat dog foods, please click here.

      Even though your dog is not very active, I am confident she can still reach her ideal weight providing you are consistent with feeding portions conducive to her weight loss goals. Oftentimes, it is not the dog food that piles on the calories, it is the extras; people food, table scraps, cookies, etc. This is something to be cognizant of.

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

  62. I noticed a few other people mentioned Canadian naturals.
    We’ve had several dogs with sensitive guts and medium working breed dogs all of which seemed to do exceptional on Canadian Naturals.
    Bang for our buck we continued to get this over the years.
    What I also noticed is you haven’t exactly voiced an opinion on Canadian Naturals.
    Since the mentioning from others do you have an opinion about this brand?
    I’ve been trying to stay up to date on professional opinions with dog food safety as well as food versatility.
    Most of our dogs are entering their senior years if not already.
    What numbers should we be focusing more on? We don’t need weight management currently. Would keeping the same food and working in supplements be more beneficial vs changing out to a senior blend?

    We have terriers, hunters, and pitty type breeds (the latter having the sensitive stomach issues).

    Tyvm

    1. Hello, M. Thank you for your post. I am happy to answer your questions.

      For the price, Canadian Naturals does indeed offer great bang for the buck. I am glad to hear your dogs have done well with it.

      With regards to your senior-aged dogs, there are many things you can do to improve overall quality of life – it simply depends on your dogs’ individual needs. Do your dogs have any areas of concern with your dogs? I am certainly happy to help make recommendations.

      Joint and mobility health becomes more of a concern as our pets age, so a supplement to preventatively help strengthen and support joints is a worthwhile consideration. While your dogs have done well on their current diet, you may also want to consider upgrading to a super-premium product; health and wellness begins with diet, and little changes can make a world of difference. Immune support, dental health, and digestive health are all common areas of concern among people with older dogs.

      Generally, senior-specific dog foods are lower in fat, protein, and calories compared to an all-life-stage dog food. If your dogs are not overweight, and do not have any health problems requiring low fat and protein, then they do not necessarily need a senior-specific diet.

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

  63. Hi Brandon,
    Very late reply – great list of Canadian made dog food – thank you. My puppy is almost 11 months and is a VERY picky eater. And not at all food motivated. I would like to keep him on kibble – as he is a grazer right now (hoping that changes) – and I would like the kibble to be as natural as possible and it must include grains. He loves chicken breast. I want something he cannot resist. He is a 20lb Australian Labradoodle. Suggestion?
    Thank you,
    Jennifer

    1. Hello, Jennifer. Thank you for posting!

      When it comes to keeping a dog’s interest piqued, the best long term solution is to regularly rotate foods. Generally, the higher the meat inclusion, the more palatable the food, so that is also another important consideration when selecting a new food.

      Based on your criteria, I would recommend brands like Acana Classics, FirstMate Grain-Friendly, and Carna4.

      Please review my recommendations and let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!

  64. 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.

  65. 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

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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!

  71. 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 🙂

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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!

  77. 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!

  78. 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!

  79. 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.

  80. 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!

  81. 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?
    Thanks,
    Wendy

    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.

  82. 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.

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

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

  83. 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.

  84. 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
    Deona

    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 email me [email protected]; I am happy to help. I look forward to hearing from you!

  85. 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.

  86. 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!

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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!

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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! 🙂

  96. 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!

  97. 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 at [email protected].

      Thank you, Jane!

  98. 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.

  99. 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.
    Help!!

    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]. Thanks, Val!

  100. 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!

  101. 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 email me [email protected]; I am happy to help. I look forward to hearing from you!

  102. 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!

  103. 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!

  104. 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.

  105. 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.

  106. 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 email me [email protected]; I am happy to help. Thank you, Tammy.

  107. 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. Please email me [email protected]; I am happy to help.

      I look forward to hearing from you, Linda.

  108. 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.

  109. 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!

  110. 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!

  111. 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?
    Wendy

    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!

  112. 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.

      Please email me [email protected]; I am happy to help.

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

  113. 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!

  114. 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.

  115. 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!

  116. 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.

  117. 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
    Kathleen

    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.

  118. 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.

  119. 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.

  120. 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.

  121. 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!

  122. 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!

  123. 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.

  124. 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!

    Thanks!

    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!

  125. 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.

  126. 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…

    Thanks.

    Michael

    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 😉

        Thanks.

        Michael

        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.

  127. 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 🙂

  128. 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.

      Please email me [email protected]; I am happy to help.

      I hope you find this information helpful, Laura.

      Brandon

  129. 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, please email me [email protected]; I am happy to help.

      I look forward to hearing from you!

      Brandon

  130. 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.

  131. 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.
    Thanks!

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

  132. 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!

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

    Thanks

    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!

  135. 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

  136. 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!

  137. 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!

  138. Hello Brandon….your reviews are so interesting, but I wish a price was beside those dollar
    signs!
    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 🙂

  139. 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!

  140. 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]. Thank you, Diane!

  141. 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!

  142. 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!

  143. 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 🙂

  144. 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 🙂

  145. 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! 🙂

  146. 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.

      Please email me [email protected]; I am happy to help.

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

  147. 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! 🙂

  148. 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 🙂

  149. 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!

  150. 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 🙂

  151. 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 email me [email protected]; I am happy to help. Thanks, Brittany! 🙂

  152. 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!