Best Dog Food For Border Collies: Puppy, Wet, Dry, Fresh & More


Border Collies are highly intelligent, hard-working herding dogs who require a ton of exercise and mental stimulation to keep their bright minds and muscular bodies in tip-top shape. Borders top nearly every list of the most energetic breeds, so they have very different nutritional needs from your average dog or couch potato. These dietary requirements can make finding the ideal food for your furry friend a bit challenging.

Fortunately, we’ve researched hundreds of dog food brands and formulas and have determined The Farmer’s Dog, Orijen, Open Farm, and A Pup Abovve to be among the best dog food options for Border Collies. However, you’ll need to consider other factors such as your pup’s age and any health concerns, so read below to determine which food is best for your dog.

At A Glance: Best Dog Food For Border Collies

All of the dog foods we’ve included in our reviews meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines, are made in the U.S., and contain no fillers, by-products, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.

Nutritional Needs For Border Collies

A border collie dog waiting for food in bowl looking up.

Border Collies are considered medium-sized dogs, with an average weight ranging from 30 to 55 pounds and a height between 18 and 22 inches. These super energetic dogs require top-quality dog food that’s higher in protein to support their massive activity level and muscles.

Fortunately, the Border Collie is a generally healthy breed. The most common medical problem they encounter is hip dysplasia, which can lead to arthritis. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and other joint-friendly ingredients can help reduce the symptoms of these degenerative joint diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important because joint problems are exacerbated in overweight and obese dogs.

It’s extremely important to make sure you’re feeding your Border Collie the right food for her life stage because dogs have different nutritional needs during their lives. These three life stages are puppy, adult, and senior. Borders require puppy food until they’re fully grown, around 15 to 18 months old. At this time, you can slowly transition your pup to adult dog food. Then, once your Border reaches her golden years (around 8 years of age), you should switch her to senior dog food.

Beyond Basic Ingredients

All dog food should include protein, carbs, healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. But many of the most nutritious premium dog foods are fortified with additional ingredients that can benefit your furry friend significantly. Here are a few things you’ll want to look for and how they support your pup’s health. We’ve listed these premium ingredients in our reviews for your convenience.

  • Fruits & vegetables: excellent natural sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune health
  • Fish oil and/or flaxseed (omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including DHA & EPA): brain and eye development, skin and coat health, joint and immune support
  • Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate (often from chicken meal*): maintain healthy joints
  • Prebiotics & probiotics: support digestion and a healthy level of good gut bacteria
  • Taurine (see above): supports cardiovascular, eye, and brain health, immune system function, and benefits many other body functions
  • L-carnitine: an amino acid derivative that helps the metabolism of fats and also may benefit dogs with heart disease (it’s particularly beneficial for older, less active dogs)
  • Organ meats: excellent source of premium quality protein and fat as well as vitamins A, B, D, and E, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
  • Chia seeds: rich in plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus

*A note about meat meal: Quality pet food brands often use meat meal in their recipes, which can be a very healthy source of protein for your pup (as long as the “meat” is named, e.g., chicken meal, lamb meal, etc.). A meal can be made from the meat, tissue, organ meat, bone, stomach, and intestines of the named animal. But meat meal doesn’t include by-products like hair, feathers, beaks, heads, blood, hooves, hide trimmings, etc.

Best Fresh Dog Food For All Life Stages

Fresh dog food is one of the healthiest diets you can feed your canine companion. We love the following companies who personalize your pup’s meals for age, breed, weight, activity level, and other factors and deliver them right to your door.

Formulated by board-certified animal nutritionists, their meals contain the perfect balance of nutrition for your furry friend at every life stage. Because they personalize your pup’s food for her activity level, their meals are among the best food for non-working Border Collies and working Borders alike.

The Farmer’s Dog Review

Dog with a box of The Farmer's Dog

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The Farmer’s Dog, our favorite fresh dog food delivery service, offers high-quality, human-grade meals at extremely competitive pricing, along with fantastic customer service. This brand uses USDA whole-food protein, vegetables, and fruits fortified with vitamins and minerals to meet any breed’s nutritional requirements. They also pre-portion your pup’s meals for convenient feeding.

The Farmer’s Dog offers grain-free beef, chicken, pork, and turkey recipes, which are gently cooked in USDA kitchens and flash-frozen to preserve nutrients and freshness. While The Farmer’s Dog requires a subscription, you can cancel anytime. If you’re wary of grain-free dog food, be sure to check our review of Ollie below, which offers several fresh grain-inclusive recipes.

Each recipe includes different ingredients, but here’s a breakdown of their chicken formula.

  • First 5 ingredients: USDA chicken, USDA chicken liver, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts
  • Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-food ingredients, limited ingredients, organ meat, omega-fatty acids (from salmon oil), chia seeds, taurine, and chelated minerals
  • Guaranteed analysis (wet food basis): crude protein 11% (min), crude fat 7.5% (min), crude fiber 1.5% (max)
  • Calories: 295 kcal per 1/2 pound

Price

Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code is needed; just use this link, and the discount will be applied! You can also visit our dedicated The Farmer’s Dog coupons page.

Ollie Fresh Review

Ollie dog food

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Ollie is similar to The Farmer’s Dog in that it uses only human-grade, whole-food ingredients carefully chosen by animal nutritionists for optimal health in all life stages. Unlike The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie offers a variety of grain-inclusive fresh recipes: chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork. Their fresh beef formula is a fantastic grain-free option.

Ollie also gives you the cost-saving options of subscribing to half-fresh meals or a mixed-bowl plan, which includes half-fresh and half-gently baked dry food (available in beef or chicken). They offer a 100% money-back guarantee on your starter box. Although their meals don’t come pre-portioned, they include a measuring scoop and a plastic container to store unused food for later use.

Ingredients vary by recipe, but here’s a breakdown of their grain-inclusive lamb formula.

  • First 5 ingredients: lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, chickpeas, and kale
  • Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-food ingredients, limited ingredients, organ meat, salmon oil, chia seeds, and taurine
  • Guaranteed analysis (wet food basis): crude protein 10% (min), crude fat 7% (min), crude fiber 2% (max)
  • Calories: 1804 kcal ME/kg

Price

Our readers can get 50% off their first order. Use this link to take advantage of this offer (no discount code needed).

Best Puppy Food For Border Collies

For most Border Collies, a regular, high-protein puppy formula will meet their nutritional needs. However, if your Border’s parents exceed 50 pounds, then it’s likely that your puppy may as well once she matures. In this case, you’ll want to consider a puppy food that’s formulated specifically for large breeds.

Large-breed puppy formulas have optimum calcium and phosphorus levels that help control bone growth. Research has shown that too much calcium can make larger dogs grow faster than their bones can keep up with, which results in abnormal skeletal development and orthopedic problems like arthritis. In either case, you’ll want to look for a protein content of at least 26%.

Orijen Amazing Grains Puppy Formula Review

Orijen Amazing Grains Puppy Formula.

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Orijen’s philosophy is that our pets should eat ingredients that reflect the diet nature and evolution intended them to eat. This puppy formula contains 90% premium animal ingredients, including highly nutritious meat, organs, and bones. It’s packed full of protein, calories, and healthy fats to fuel active and growing Border puppies.

Easily digestible grains, such as oat groats and millet, whole vegetables and fruits, and essential vitamins and minerals round out an all-natural, nutritious blend that’s ideal for your puppy’s development. Pet parents say their puppies love the taste. Orijen also carries a fantastic grain-free puppy formula as well as large-breed puppy formulas for Border Collies on the larger side.

  • First 5 ingredients: chicken, turkey, whole mackerel, whole herring, and salmon
  • Formula highlights: organ meats, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA), chia seeds, taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, prebiotics, and probiotics
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min), crude fat 20% (min), crude fiber 4% (max)
  • Calories: 528 kcal/cup

Price

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Puppy Review

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A bit more budget-friendly than our top pick, this high-protein puppy chow is another excellent option for highly active and quickly growing Border puppies. It contains ingredients carefully selected for whole-body health and development. One of the things we like so much about Blue Buffalo formulas is the inclusion of their LifeSource bits. These cold-formed kibble bites provide an added boost of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for immune health.

Entirely chicken-free, this formula features high-quality beef, venison, and lamb, and healthy grains, such as oats, barley, and brown rice. It’s also packed with superfoods, including carrots, blueberries, sweet potatoes, kelp, and more.

  • First 5 ingredients: deboned beef, beef meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, and barley
  • Formula highlights: no chicken products, omega-3 fatty acids (ARA & DHA), taurine, chelated minerals, L-carnitine, turmeric, prebiotics, and probiotics
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 36% (min), crude fat 16% (min), crude fiber 5% (max)
  • Calories: 428 kcal/cup

Price

Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Grain-Free Puppy Review

Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Grain-Free Puppy.

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This grain-free, high-protein puppy formula is specially formulated to help your busy little buddy maintain strong muscles and optimal energy levels. It features a kick of freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble plus freeze-dried raw food that many puppies find irresistible. With real chicken, chicken liver, and salmon, it’s full of high-quality animal protein. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peas provide healthy, complex carbohydrate sources in place of grains. Finally, it’s fortified with all the vitamins and minerals growing puppies need.

  • First 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and turkey meal
  • Formula highlights: grain-free, organ meat, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA), salmon oil, flaxseed, taurine, glucosamine, and chondroitin
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 30% (min), crude fat 14% (min), crude fiber 3.5% (max)
  • Calories: 397 kcal/cup

Price

Best Dry Food For Border Collies (Adults)

Between 15 and 18 months of age, you should slowly transition your pup to an adult formula. An average non-working adult Border Collie requires around 1,000 calories each day. However, a working Border or one that participates in dog sports regularly will likely need 1,400 calories.

Your vet is your best resource to know how many calories your pup requires. Borders have a high metabolism, so they do best with at least two meals per day. Just be sure to stick to daily caloric guidelines so as not to over or under-feed.

Spot & Tango Unkibble Review

Spot and tango unkibble Cod

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A healthier alternative to standard kibble and much less expensive than fresh dog food, Spot & Tango’s Unkibble is a minimally processed dehydrated dog food made with human-grade, whole-food ingredients and plenty of superfoods. It’s a convenient, shelf-stable favorite of many pup parents. A huge plus, Spot & Tango customizes your pup’s meals for her weight, breed, and activity level. So, you can ensure you’re giving your active Border the calories she needs.

Unkibble comes in three recipes: beef & barley, chicken & brown rice, and cod & salmon, which is grain-free. Spot & Tango also offers fresh-frozen meals. While this company requires a subscription, you can cancel anytime. And you can try it out with their two-week trial that offers a full money-back guarantee. The following details are for the Unkibble grain-inclusive beef & barley recipe.

  • First 5 ingredients: beef, barley, flaxseeds, carrots, and green beans 
  • Formula highlights: human-grade, no chicken products, organ meats, omega fatty acids (from fish oil & flaxseed), and chelated minerals
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 27% (min); crude fat 22% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
  • Calories: 4,426 kcal/kg

Price

Looking for a Spot & Tango promo code? Visit our dedicated Spot & Tango coupon page to check out the latest offer and save.

Open Farm RawMix Review

Open Farm RawMix Wild Ocean Ancient Grains

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Open Farm is one of our top-choice brands due to its superior ethical and sustainable practices (on top of quality food ingredients). This brand offers a huge assortment of dog food, but for Border Collies, we recommend their high-protein RawMix formulas. They feature kibble coated with bone broth and freeze-dried meat or fish mixed with freeze-dried meat or fish chunks for a major protein and flavor boost.

Open Farm offers three grain-inclusive and three grain-free RawMix formulas. All include a wealth of superfood fruits and veggies (blueberries, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, etc.), salmon oil, and many other ingredients to support your pup’s immune and whole-body health.

All of Open Farm’s pet food is formulated by a team of animal nutrition experts and made in a facility that’s regularly audited by the USDA, the FDA, and AIB International to ensure strict food safety practices. And every batch of their food is tested by an independent third-party lab. While their puppy and dog food is pricey, we think their many formulas are among your best choices for commercial kibble.

Below is a breakdown of their RawMix Wild Ocean with Ancient Grains formula, which is a fantastic option if your pup has allergies or a sensitive stomach.

  • First 5 ingredients: ocean whitefish, menhaden fish meal, barley, brown rice, and herring meal
  • Formula highlights: no chicken products, omega fatty acids & DHA (from real fish, salmon oil & flaxseed), glucosamine, and taurine, and natural prebiotic (dried chicory root)
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 31% (min), crude fat 14% (min), crude fiber 4.5% (max)
  • Calories: 380 kcal/cup

Price

You can save 5% off every order if you sign up for auto-shipping with Open Farm.

  • Starting at: $26.99 (3.5-lb bag)

Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Review

Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula.

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Formulated specifically for sporting/working dogs and those with high-energy demands, this Victor Classic recipe for adults features 88% meat protein with premium-quality beef, chicken, and pork meals. It’s packed with optimal levels of protein, carbs, and fats, to provide sustained energy for high-performance Border Collies.

It also includes gluten-free grains, such as sorghum and millet, carrot powder, organic dried seaweed meal, and a special blend of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids for immune, skin, coat, and joint health. Note: Although this formula is marketed for all life stages, we only recommend it for adult dogs. Ideally, puppies should eat a puppy-specific formula.

  • First 5 ingredients: beef meal, grain sorghum, chicken fat, pork meal, and chicken meal
  • Formula highlights: omega-3 fatty acids (DHA), taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 30% (min), crude fat 20% (min), crude fiber 3.8% (max)
  • Calories: 406 kcal/cup

Price

ACANA Wild Atlantic Review (Grain-Free)

ACANA Wild Atlantic (Grain-Free)

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If you’re looking for a grain-free kibble that’s also entirely chicken-free, ACANA’s Wild Atlantic freeze-dried coated formula is a fantastic nutrient-dense option crafted for sensitive stomachs or allergies. This protein-packed food boasts real fish as the first five ingredients and includes healthy complex carbs such as chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, and peas. It’s also full of nutritious, high-fiber fresh veggies and fruits, including whole pumpkin, collard greens, carrots, butternut squash, apples, and pears.

  • First 5 ingredients: whole mackerel, whole herring, whole redfish, silver hake, and mackerel meal
  • Formula highlights: no chicken products, omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from real fish and fish oil), glucosamine, prebiotics, and probiotics
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 33% (min); crude fat 17% (min); crude fiber 6% (max)
  • Calories: 392 kcal/cup

Price

Best Wet Food For Border Collies (Adults)

Wet and canned food can be an excellent alternative to kibble for Border Collies. You can mix it in with their kibble or serve it as a stand-alone meal. Just make sure the wet food you choose has plenty of protein for your energetic workhorse.

A Pup Above Fresh Review

A Pup Above fresh frozen four flavors.

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A Pup Above stands out for super high-protein meals and top-notch cooking methods. This premium brand offers four human-grade fresh recipes for adult dogs that include premium animal proteins (beef, chicken, pork, or turkey), non-GMO veggies, fruits, bone broth, and all the essential vitamins and minerals your pup needs. They also offer four air-dried formulas featuring many of the same ingredients.

All recipes are formulated by vet nutritionists and food scientists. A Pup Above prepares all meals in a USDA human-grade facility using the sous vide cooking method. This method slowly cooks all fresh ingredients in a vacuum-sealed, BPA-free bag in a 180° water bath, which helps to preserve nutrients. You can look up the source of every ingredient and quality testing results for your food’s lot number on their website.

Each recipe includes different ingredients, but here’s a breakdown of their fresh beef formula.

  • First 5 ingredients: beef, beef liver, russet potatoes, tomatoes, and beef bone broth
  • Formula highlights: human-grade, whole-food and limited ingredients, organ meat, bone broth, taurine, chelated minerals, and turmeric
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 13.8% (min), crude fat 6.9% (min), crude fiber 2% (max)
  • Calories: 41 kcal/oz or

Price

A Pup Above gives you the option of making a one-time purchase, or you can subscribe for auto-shipping and save 10% off the following pricing. With auto-shipping, you can sign up for delivery every 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks. They have a sample pack you can try out first to see which recipes your dog prefers. 

  • Fresh food starts at (3 lbs): $79.98
  • Air-dried food starts at (2-lb box): $106.98

Get $50 off your first order with the code TRYNOW using this link.

Orijen Regional Red Stew Review

Orijen Regional Red Stew jpg

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Orijen’s Regional Red Stew wet dog food gets amazing reviews from pet parents. This high-protein canned food boasts an impressive 95% premium animal ingredients, including organ meats, to give your Border Collie plenty of fuel for her energy level and to maintain her lean muscle mass.

Grain and gluten-free, this shredded stew contains real beef, lamb, duck, sardines, and superfoods, including blueberries, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, and more. Many pup owners pair it with Orijen’s Regional Red Amazing Grains dry dog food.

  • First 5 ingredients: beef, beef bone broth, lamb bone broth, duck, and beef kidney
  • Formula highlights: chicken-free, organ meats, bone broth, omega-3s (from whole sardine and salmon oil), prebiotics, turmeric, chelated minerals
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 11% (min); crude fat 5.5% (min); crude fiber 1.5% (max)
  • Calories: 359 kcal/can 

Price

Wellness Turkey Stew Review

Wellness Turkey Stew.

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Looking for grain-inclusive canned wet food? It’s often difficult to find a high-protein canned dog food that contains grains but look no further than this Wellness Turkey Stew formula. This recipe features tender cuts of premium turkey, barley, and nutrient-rich carrots and celery, all slow-cooked in a tasty gravy. To provide your pup with even more nutrients and energy, you may want to consider pairing this wet food with the Wellness Complete Health dry dog food formula, which contains additional fortified nutrients.

  • First 5 ingredients: turkey, turkey broth, (water sufficient for processing), turkey liver, carrots, and barley 
  • Formula highlights: chicken-free, organ meat, and omega-3 fatty acids (from salmon oil)
  • Guaranteed analysis (wet food basis): crude protein 8% (min), crude fat 4% (min); crude fiber 1% (max)
  • Calories: 305 kcal/can 

Price

Best Dog Food For Senior Border Collies

When your pup reaches around 7 to 8 years old, you’ll want to slowly transition your pup to a senior formula. Even in their golden years, Border Collies require high protein to support their activity level and keep muscles healthy. However, to avoid weight gain, senior Borders need lower fat content than you’ll find in adult dog food. Senior Aussies who are not highly active need around 700 calories daily.

Nulo Freestyle Senior Review (Grain-Free)

nulo senior dog food

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Nulo Freestyle’s Senior formula is lower in fat than many regular adult dog foods, but it’s still high in animal protein to support your Border’s energy and muscle mass, particularly if she’s still fairly active. This grain-free recipe, featuring deboned trout as the first ingredient, is an excellent option if your pup has developed a sensitive stomach in her golden years.

It’s chock full of easy-to-digest legumes, fruits, and vegetables, including lentils, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, and apples. This formula also provides special ingredients that aging pups need for immune, metabolic, digestive, and joint health.

  • First 5 ingredients: deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow peas, and sweet potato
  • Formula highlights: omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and L-carnitine
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 30% (min); crude fat 12% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
  • Calories: 396 kcal/cup

Price

Open Farm Senior Review

Open Farm Senior Dog Food

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Another excellent formula by Open Farm, this high-protein kibble is made specifically for aging dogs. This is a nutrient-dense, grain-free kibble, free of antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. The recipe features added glucosamine, chondroitin, and New England green-lipped mussels to support aching joints. It also contains plenty of immune-boosting superfoods, such as carrots, pumpkin, apples, cranberries, and more. Recipes use 100% traceable ingredients from certified family farms.

First 5 ingredients: 100% certified humane turkey, chicken, sweet potatoes, ocean whitefish meal, and peas

  • Formula highlights: omega-3 fatty acids (DHA), flaxseed, salmon oil, taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, New Zealand green-lipped mussels, turmeric, and prebiotics
  • Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 31% (min), crude fat 12.5% (min), crude fiber 4.5%
  • Calories: 436 kcal me/cup

Price

Frequently Asked Questions About Border Collie Nutrition

Here are some questions our readers ask most often about Border Collie diet needs. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.

What’s The Best Food For Non-Working Border Collies?

All of the formulas we review here are excellent options for non-working Border Collies, and most are also fantastic for working Borders as well. The major difference between feeding non-working vs working dogs involves daily caloric requirements. Your vet is your best resource to determine what your pup needs.

How Much Food Should A Border Collie Eat?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your dog’s age, activity level, health status, and other factors. One crucial thing to keep in mind is that how much to feed your dog depends on the caloric content of your chosen food. Therefore, we encourage you to follow the advice of your veterinarian and the feeding guidelines on your pup’s food label.

Should I Consider A Hip & Joint Supplement?

Because Border Collies are at a higher risk for developing hip dysplasia and arthritis, you may want to consider adding a daily joint supplement to your furry friend’s diet. The best joint supplements for dogs help maintain joints in healthy dogs, and for dogs with joint problems, they help improve joint health and relieve inflammation, stiffness, and pain. As with all supplements, you should get your vet’s approval to double-check that it’s safe for your pup.

Our Methodology

We analyze hundreds of dog food brands and individual formulas to provide our recommendations for the best nutrition. Each of the following elements helps us determine the best dog food for any dietary need. Our in-depth research includes:

  • Scrutinizing all ingredients included in every formula
  • Having firsthand experience with our dogs for many of the foods we recommend
  • Assessing the guaranteed analysis for every formula, including protein, fat, fiber, and caloric content
  • Investigating the latest scientific studies on dogs’ nutritional needs and benefits of ingredients
  • Researching the specific dietary needs for breed sizes and health conditions
  • Reading hundreds of customer reviews
  • Staying informed on every dog food recall
  • Diving into every pet food brand’s history and reputation
  • Keeping on top of pet food trends

Unlike many other review sites, we give unbiased reviews based on countless hours of research. Our goal is to provide our readers with the healthiest options for their pups.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sally has researched and reviewed hundreds of different dog food brands and specific formulas. She’s an expert at analyzing dog food ingredients based on current nutritional guidelines and scientific studies for the healthiest food for our pups. She’s part of a team of dog specialists at Canine Journal who have over a decade of experience in researching, testing, and writing about everything you need to know to keep your pup healthy and happy.

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