You may be wondering whether your dog's allergy symptoms or digestion problems could be a reaction to grains or preservatives in her food -- in which case you're going to need to research grain and preservative free food options. We've compiled some of the most popular brands to help you get started. Always remember: prior to making dietary changes, consult your veterinarian regarding whether the dog has an illness and whether you should make changes to her diet.
California Natural's website describes its products' ingredients as "pure and simple." According to company's published philosophy, the foods are free from preservatives and chemical additives, and are made only from meats, fruits and vegetables. California Natural grain-free varieties are available as dry food for adults in salmon meal and peas formula, kangaroo and red lentils formula, chicken meal formula, lamb meal formula and venison meal formula. California Natural foods include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for skin and coat, as well as the antioxidant Vitamin E.
Nutro Natural Choice makes grain-free, gluten-free kibble, canned adult food and biscuits. Nutro's website indicates its products were developed to address food sensitivities. Nutro uses lamb, fish, turkey and venison in its dry and wet foods, and promises improved digestion, skin and coat. The products use no byproducts or any artificial ingredients, and include fatty acids and vitamins.
Blue Buffalo uses only natural ingredients, plus what it calls "exclusive, cold-formed LifeSource Bits," which the company's website describes as a combination of veterinary-approved vitamins and nutrients that are "cold-formed" and mixed in with the kibble. The kibble itself is made from deboned chicken, lamb or fish, with vegetables and fruits. Animal and or artificial additives do not exist in any Blue Buffalo products. Blue Freedom grain-free foods are available in dry and canned for puppies and adult dogs of small and large breeds.
Nature's Variety makes Instinct grain-free frozen raw food, available in chicken, beef, bison, lamb, venison and rabbit. The company's website specifies that meat, organs and ground bones are the primary ingredients, making up 95 percent of the products. They're mixed with 5 percent vegetables and fruits plus some added healthy oils. Nature's Variety's website says its food contains no additives and that all of the vitamins and minerals come from the food. Options include kibble, canned food, raw frozen food and freeze-dried raw. The Instinct line also features biscuits, treats and a Daily Boost powder supplement.
Dr. Harvey's Canine Health Veg-to-Bowl and Veg-To-Bowl Fine Ground are not kibble or standard bagged dog food. They are sugar-free, sodium free, pre-mixed combinations of nine vegetables and herbs. According to the instructions, simply add water to rehydrate the appropriate serving of vegetables, then add oil and protein in the proper amount for your dog's nutritional needs, and the food is ready to eat. Fine Ground, the granulated version of Veg-To-Bowl, is recommended by Dr. Harvey's for small dogs and seniors.
Darwin's Natural Pet Products are available in two options. Natural Selections Meals are described by the company's website as consisting of free-range meat and organic vegetables, while the ZooLogics Meals contain what is referred to as "human grade" ingredients for pet parents on a budget. The company's website notes that both meals are preservative- and grain-free, and devoid of fillers or steroids. The bagged choices include chicken, duck, turkey or beef. Natural Selections also includes a bison option. Treats are also available in raw marrow bones, green tripe and venison jerky.
Orijen is an award-winning Canadian pet food manufacturer whose products can be ordered in 60 countries, including the United States. Orijen's website notes that the meats are fresh, never frozen, and their foods are natural, low in carbohydrates and high in protein, with a stated ratio of 80 percent meat to 20 percent vegetables and fruits. Orijen foods are available in formulations for puppies, dogs and seniors, and are made with chicken, turkey, eggs, red meats and fish.
Castor & Pollux are the makers of Organix and Natural Ultramix foods. According to the company's website, the manufacturers consulted with Board Certified animal nutritionists and veterinarians to create these foods. The grain-free varieties are available in three types of kibble and eight canned flavors for adult dogs, including small breed. Organix contains organic chicken, peas, flaxseed and probiotics, while Natural Ultramix is made with salmon, fruits and vegetables. All of the organic ingredients are cited by the company as chemical- and preservative-free, with no synthetics or artificial colors.
Evo is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate food that is available in dry and canned formulas. According to the company's website, the dry food protein sources include turkey and chicken, red meat, herring and salmon. A red meat formula is available in small bites for smaller dogs. Seniors can enjoy a turkey and chicken meal formula or a herring and salmon formula with glucosamine and chondroitin. There is also a weight management formula. Canned options include chicken and turkey, beef, salmon and herring, venison and duck. Evo also makes an assortment of grain-free and preservative-free treats.
Nature's Recipe makes a chicken, sweet potato and pumpkin recipe grain-free kibble specifically for small-breed adult dogs. The two varieties of grain-free canned food include chicken and turkey stew with sweet potato and green beans, and a chicken and venison stew with sweet potato and green beans. Nature's Recipe's website explains that they designed these formulas for all dogs in order to help with digestion and satisfy even the most discriminating canine appetites.
By Jennifer Carey
VetInfo.com: Grain Free Dog Food
CaliforniaNaturalPet.com: About Us
Nutro.com: Natural Choice Dog Food
BlueBuffalo.com: Best Dog Food
NaturesVariety.com: Raw Food Diet
DrHarveys.com: Dog Food Products
DarwinsPet.com: Raw Dog Food
Orijen.com: About the Company
CastorPolluxPet.com: Grain Free Products for Dogs
EvoPet.com: Grain Free, Low Carb Diet for Dogs
About the Author
Jennifer Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from an East Coast university. She has written about topics including health, fitness, parenting and pet care since 2005.