6 Best Vet Recommended Dog Food Products

The vet recommended dog food sounds like it would be the best quality, but that’s not always the case. Every vet seems to have very different suggestions for your dog’s diet, which can be confusing. Some vets sell certain brands at their office, so they always recommend those. Others will give you more personalized advice considering your dog’s specific needs. So, how do you know which recommendations are the best to follow?

Why Do Some Vets Recommend Unhealthy Food?

If you’re a long-term dog parent, you might’ve noticed by now that many vets recommend unhealthy dog food. You trust your vet for every other aspect of your dog’s health, so why not blindly follow their dog food recommendations too? The answer is simple: some vets have partnerships with certain dog food brands like Hill’s and Royal Canin, meaning they earn more money when you buy those products. It has been this way since the 1980s, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

So, while your vet might tell you a food is healthy, you can look at the ingredient list to determine whether or not that’s true. Vet-recommended brands often contain cheap fillers and meat by-products. Some don’t even list animal protein as the first ingredient! So, you should always look at a food’s ingredients yourself before following your vet’s suggestions. Many vets care more about your dog’s health than making extra money, but others will promote unhealthy brands to support their business.

Best Vet Recommended Dog Food

Since vets recommend such a wide variety of food, it’s difficult to decide which ones are good for your dog and which ones are not. So, we’ve selected six healthy foods that vets often recommend. We’ve analyzed each one’s features, pros, and cons, especially pertaining to their ingredients.

#1 – Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Some vets are hesitant about brands like Taste of the Wild because they’re grain-free, which was rumored to be related to canine heart disease. However, it has since been discovered that there is no real connection between the two, so it’s now a common vet recommended dog food. Grain-free isn’t always healthier than foods with grain, but many dog parents prefer it because grains are a common dog allergy. Plus, grains can sometimes be difficult to digest, so this food is good for your dog’s digestive system. It also has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system, along with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to benefit your dog’s skin and coat.

This formula is the “High Prairie” option, so it includes proteins like buffalo, lamb, venison, and chicken. The first three ingredients are buffalo, lamb meal, and chicken meal, which are all quality animal sources. Lamb meal and chicken meal might not sound healthy, but they’re meat concentrates that contain up to 300% more protein than fresh meat. In total, this food has 32% protein and 18% fat, which are high for dry dog food. It can be purchased in 5-pound, 14-pound, or 28-pound bags.

Pros:

  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first three ingredients.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It comes in three sizes.

Cons:

  • It could cause reactions if not properly transitioned.
  • It might not be good for dogs with protein allergies.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.

#2 – Zignature Grain-Free Lamb Canned Dog Food

Vets will often recommend Zignature because it’s good for dogs with lots of allergies. All Zignature formulas are made without common allergens like grains, chicken, and potatoes. Instead, they only include the essential ingredients that your dog needs to thrive. This is the lamb-flavored wet food option, which is great for picky dogs because wet food is much more appealing to dogs than dry food. It’s made with key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep your dog’s immune system and digestive tract healthy. It also has essential fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

The first three ingredients in this food are lamb, lamb broth, and lamb liver. In total, it has 9.5% protein and 5.5% fat. Those percentages might not sound like a lot, but it’s important to note that this food is made of 78% moisture, which is nearly the opposite of dry food. So, it’s actually a lot of protein in a small can. This food can only be purchased in a case of 12 13-ounce cans.

Pros:

  • It’s great for dogs with allergies.
  • It’s good for picky eaters.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal proteins as the first three ingredients.
  • It supports healthy digestion.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.

Cons:

  • The cans could arrive damaged.
  • It’s more expensive than dry food.
  • You can’t purchase individual cans.

#3 – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Chicken and Brown Rice

This vet-recommended dog food is a popular brand that many dog parents are familiar with. While the food isn’t as exceptional as some of the other available brands, it still has everything your dog needs while also being affordable and easily accessible. Blue Buffalo has a lot of formulas, and this one happens to be a holistic option with wholesome grains and real chicken. It contains glucosamine to benefit your dog’s hips and joints, calcium and phosphorus to promote bone health, and vitamins and minerals for immune system health.

The first two ingredients in this food are deboned chicken and chicken meal. It doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products in it, which are items that are commonly found in unhealthy dog foods. In total, this food has 24% protein and 14% fat, which are about average for dry dog food. One thing to be aware of is that this brand has many recalled several times before, so if you serve it to your dog, you should stay up to date with current dog food recalls. It can be purchased in five different sizes: 3 pounds, 6 pounds, 15 pounds, 24 pounds, and 30 pounds.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It promotes bone health.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It supports a healthy immune system.
  • It comes in five sizes.

Cons:

  • The brand has been recalled several times.
  • It might not be good for dogs with allergies.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.

#4 – Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Turkey and Oatmeal

Wellness is another popular brand that’s easy to find like Blue Buffalo. For that reason, vets will often recommend it. This particular formula is made to benefit small dogs and toy breeds by including all the health benefits they require. It has quality protein in it like turkey, chicken, and salmon, along with wholesome grains. It’s made with smaller kibble pieces to make it easier for small pups to chew and digest. Additionally, it has omega fatty acids for skin and coat, chondroitin sulfate for joints, and vitamins A and C for immune system health.

The first three ingredients in this dog food are deboned turkey, chicken meal, and salmon meal. In total, it has 28% protein and 15% fat, which are a little higher than the average dry dog food. Since this food has a wide variety of proteins and other ingredients though, it might not be suitable for dogs with lots of allergies. It only comes in two different sizes: 4 pounds and 12 pounds.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first three ingredients.
  • It’s easy to digest.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It comes in two sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s only for small breeds.
  • It might not be good for picky dogs.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.
  • The brand has been recalled before.

#5 – Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Orijen might be more expensive than other dry dog food brands, but it’s a vet recommend food because it closely resembles a dog’s ancestral diet. It’s much higher in protein than other kibble brands, and it only includes what your dog needs and none of what they don’t. This means only fresh, regional ingredients with no grains. It contains 85% quality animal ingredients, which includes a variety of fresh and raw protein sources like meat, organs, cartilage, and bones. This is the Original formula, but there are also other healthy recipes available, including Six Fish and Regional Red.

The first fifteen ingredients are all forms of quality animal protein that will help your dog thrive. Some of these items include deboned chicken, deboned turkey, flounder, eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel, and chicken liver. It has a total of 38% protein and 18% fat, which are much higher than your average dry dog food. It comes in three different sizes: 4.5 pounds, 13 pounds, and 25 pounds. It also has a 12-ounce trial size available.

Pros:

  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first fifteen ingredients.
  • It contains 85% quality animal ingredients.
  • It closely resembles your dog’s ancestral diet.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It comes in three sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • Your dog could have reactions if not transitioned properly.
  • If ordered online, the quality could vary.

#6 – Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

Stella & Chewy’s is far from your traditional dog food, but it’s often vet recommended due to its healthy properties. These are raw, freeze-dried patties that are always made with 95% cage-free turkey. All the fruits and vegetables in it are also 100% organic. This food benefits a lot of health aspects for your dog, including digestion, allergies, skin and coat, teeth and gums, and immune systems. You can serve the patties as is or you can add warm or cool water to them. Adding water is recommended to keep your dog properly hydrated.

The first three ingredients in this food are turkey with ground bone, turkey liver, and turkey gizzard. Those are followed by other wholesome ingredients like pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and spinach. In total, it has 40% protein and 36% fat, which are much, much higher than dry dog food brands. It can be purchased in 5.5-ounce, 14-ounce, or 25-ounce bags. Keep in mind that the weight of the food greatly increases when water is added to it though.

Pros:

  • It’s very high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first three ingredients.
  • It’s good for picky eaters.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It supports a healthy immune system.
  • It provides allergy relief.
  • It comes in three sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • The quality could vary.
  • It could make dogs sick if not transitioned properly.

Whose Recommendations Should You Follow?

Vets, dog rescues, fellow dog parents, and informational websites will likely all give you different recommendations when it comes to dog food. This can make it difficult to decide which food to choose. Vet recommended dog food might seem like your best bet, but now you might be second guessing yourself.

Therefore, the best recommendations you can follow are your own. You know your dog better than anyone, and you’re perfectly capable of glancing at an ingredient list for help. Look for food that’s high in real animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and full of healthy nutrients that support your dog’s skin, coat, joints, heart, and more. When in doubt, do your research online to see how websites like DogFoodAdvisor rate the food. With enough time and consideration, any person can zero in on the perfect food for their pup.

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