Are you still figuring out what would be the best food for your dog in 2024? If yes, then grain free dog food can be a great choice. People prefer grain-free dog food over other dog foods because it contains more protein and excludes wheat, corn, rice, soy, oatmeal, barley, and rye. 

Now the question arises, what to choose, grain or grain-free food, and what can be the best dog food for your German Shepherd, Goldendoodles, or any other particular breed? It depends on the nutritional requirements of the dog. If your grain-based dog food contains balanced nutrition and supplements, then you should stick with it, as grain food is less expensive. Let’s delve deep into this and look at its other aspects.

Is Grain Free Dog Food Beneficial?

When it comes to the type of dog food, grain-free slightly has an upper hand over grain food. The problem with grain food is the inclusion of wheat causing health issues, weight gain, and itchy skin in dogs. The research of the National Library of Medicine found that most animals are allergic to gluten, a protein content in wheat. Most of the dog breeds are gluten intolerant, resulting in immediate diarrhea and vomiting after consumption. You can consider ingredients for a grain diet like brown rice, barley, and oats.

If the reason to switch from grain to no-grain dog food is because of gluten intolerance and high glycemic index, then I am with you. 

Meat plays a pivotal role in a balanced nutritional diet and should be preferred the most. Grain and grain-free contents like wheat, rice, potato, and corn should be considered secondary.

A balanced meat and grain-free diet would be better, as it will cost less than a meat diet and have a higher nutritional value than a grain diet. 

Also Read: How to Train a German Shepherd? 7+ Ways Beginner to Advanced

13 Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands

We know that going for a Grain-free diet for your dog is more expensive than a grain-based diet, but you can still manage to get it under your budget. 

These are some instructions for choosing dog grain free food.

  • Avoid artificial ingredients like flavors, colors, and sweeteners.
  • Should contain whole proteins like fish, duck, and eggs.
  • Choose a grain-free recipe of healthy vegetables like potatoes, peas, beets, and carrots.
  • Should contain supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are the best grain free dog food brands available today.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Recipe

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free” is a natural food choice, with six different protein sources, designed to help your dog maintain a sleek condition with a nutrition-rich diet. It is made with a combination of roasted venison, lamb, eggs, duck, and ocean fish proteins that you can’t find anywhere. 

Its 32% protein formula provides high energy to remain active, while other vegetable ingredients act as antioxidants to maintain vitality.

Taste of the wild grain-free dog food
  • Price – $58 on Amazon
  • Size –  28-pound
  • Suitable – Adult dogs 
  • Rating – 4.7 out of 5.

Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Formula

Diamond Pet Food is a family-owned company that provides food for dogs and cats. Their grain free senior dog food consists of real chicken, sweet potatoes, and other whole foods for lean nutrition and strong muscles.

In addition, this pet food contains real fruits and vegetables, which provide vitamins and antioxidants for overall health. Moreover, it includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat.

Diamond Naturals Grain Free Dog Food
  • Price – $51.99 on Chewy
  • Size –  28-pound
  • Suitable – For all dogs 
  • Rating – 4.7 out of 5.

American Journey Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Salmon as the primary ingredient in American Journey Grain-Free Formula makes it a little expensive compared to others. Its recipe includes salmon and sweet potatoes, chickpeas along with wholesome fruits and vegetables. With no corn, wheat, or soy, this premium dry food is made to support your dog’s daily adventures without containing any grains. 

American Journey Grain-Free dog food
  • Price –  $59.99 on Chewy
  • Size –  24-pound 
  • Suitable –  For all dogs
  • Rating – 4.3 out of 5.

Wellness Core Grain-Free Kibble

Wellness’s core diets are based on the dogs’ primal ancestry and nutritional philosophy. It is developed to support health and growth from Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in salmon oil and omega fatty acids. 

This grain free dog food promotes whole-body health while maintaining lean body mass and a shiny coat. 

Wellness Core Grain Free dog food for puppies
Wellness Core Grain Free dog food for adults
  • Price $60.79 for puppy-style and $75.95 for adult-style on Amazon
  • Size –  24-pound (puppy-style) and 26-pound (adult-style)
  • Suitable – For all
  • Rating – 4.5 out of 5

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula contains chicken for protein, brown rice, barley, and oatmeal for carbohydrates, and easy digestion.

It is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Blue Buffalo grain-free dog food
  • Price $61.73 on Amazon
  • Size –  30-pound
  • Suitable – For adult age group dogs
  • Rating – 4.7 out of 5

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Food

Merrick grain free puppy dog food is to meet the growing appetite of small pups. Deboned chicken is the primary ingredient in it, including sweet potato specially crafted for small-breed puppies. Your dog will adore the enormous nutrition in a tiny package of grain-free formulas made with actual whole foods for vital vitamins and minerals. 

Merrick grain free puppy dog food
  • Price $49.98 on Amazon
  • Size –  12-pound
  • Suitable – For Puppies
  • Rating – 4.5 out of 5

Victor Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 

This Victor grain free dog food is made up of quality beef, pork, and fish and is suitable for dogs with grain sensitivity. This high-protein, high-nutrient recipe was created for dogs with dietary sensitivities to specific grains or proteins. Additionally, this diet is supplemented with essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, protein, and amino acids.  

Victor grain free dog food
  • Price $66.99 on Chewy
  • Size –  30-pound
  • Suitable – For all dogs
  • Rating – 4.2 out of 5

Jinx Salmon, Sweet Potato & Carrot ALS Kibble Dog Dry Food

This recipe of Thinkjinx is specially for allergy-sensitive dogs. Its vitamins A, E, and C help to immunize the digestive system and provide a better fur coat. Its main ingredients are Sweet Potato, Carrots, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Salmon, and Turkey Meal.

Jinx grain free dog food
  • Price –  $47.34 on Chewy
  • Size –  23.5 pounds
  • Suitable – For all dogs
  • Rating – 5 out of 5

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Lamb, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

This Nature’s recipe grain free dog is one of the best dog foods to maintain optimal muscle strength. Its omega-3 and -6 fatty acids from chicken fat and lamb help promote skin and coat health.

Nature’s recipe grain free dog food
  • Price $49.98 on Chewy
  • Size – 24-pound pack
  • Suitable – For all dogs
  • Rating – 4.8 out of 5

True Acre Foods Grain-Free Beef & Vegetable Dry Dog Food

The recipe of true acre grain free dog food is made with beef and vegetables like carrots and peas for lean muscle mass and fibers respectively.

The presence of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids helps in a healthy and shiny skin coat.

True Acre grain free dog food
  • Price –  $53.86 on Chewy
  • Size –  40 pounds
  • Suitable – For adult dogs
  • Rating – 4 out of 5

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Salmon being the primary ingredient makes Natural Balance a little expensive compared to others. Its main ingredients are salmon, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch, and potatoes.

Nature Balance grain free dog food
  • Price $72.98 on Chewy
  • Size – 24-pound pack
  • Suitable – For adult dogs
  • Rating – 4.6 out of 5

ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

This Orijen puppy dog food is specially made for puppies for their overall growth and development. Its protein is taken out from high-quality sources like fish and chicken for muscle growth.

Orijen puppy grain free dog food
  • Price –  $105.99 on Chewy
  • Size –  23.5 pounds
  • Suitable – For puppies
  • Rating – 4.6 out of 5

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

This recipe of Wureva includes boneless chicken, potato, and sunflower seeds, making it one of the best gravy foods for your dog. The formula is designed for body maintenance of adult dogs and should be fed, based on age, size, and activity.

Weruva grain free dog food
  • Price – $40.45 on Chewy
  • Size –  12 cans each of 12 ounces
  • Suitable – For adults
  • Rating – 4.9 out of 5

Also Read: What’s the Best Dog Food for Labrador Retrievers? Insights into Diet, Feeding, and Risks!

Why Should You Choose Grain Free Dog Food?

Grain-free dog food for energy

Grain-free food is beneficial for dogs in numerous ways like providing better digestion, increasing energy levels, prohibiting allergic reactions, and many more. Instead of increasing your dog’s food volume with nutrition-empty content to make him bulkier, go for a grain-free diet.

Increases Energy Levels

Most dog grain food contains stripped-off outer layer grains to improve the texture, color, and taste. These low-quality carbohydrates get consumed very quickly by the body, resulting in a sudden rise and fall in blood sugar levels. Therefore, you will not notice your dog being energetic with grain-based food as compared to grain-free food.

Protein is the major source of energy in Grain-free Dog Food, ensuring high levels of energy.  Moreover, dog grain free food contains fewer carbohydrates, developing consistent blood sugar levels.

Better Nutritional Balance

Dog grain free food is superior to grain-based food as it has a better combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, components of food that the body needs for energy and to maintain the body’s structure and systems. 

Manufacturers produce grain food from cheap quality grains to bulk up the product at minimum cost. Whereas Grain-free foods are produced considering the health of the dogs.

Beneficial for Skin and Coat

A grain-based diet causes irritation, inflammation, dryness, and flakiness of skin, very common dog issues in many dog breeds that can lead to infection and fur loss. 

A grain-free diet can help your dog retain the prime skin and fur condition with the inclusion of more nutritionally complex contents. A healthy skin and shiny coat are true signs of a healthy dog.

Healthier Digestion

One of the major issues with grain-based dog food is the difficulty of digestion. Due to the lack of amylase, an enzyme mainly responsible for breaking down certain proteins and carbohydrates, resulting in contributing nothing. 

Grain-based dog food can also cause frequent poops and inconsistency in their stools. The reason for this is the need for more nutrition and digestible ingredients. Grain-based food contains large amounts of wheat and corn fibers, making it hard to digest. Therefore, going for a grain-free diet is better.

Fewer Risks of Allergic Reaction

As we have already discussed above, grain allergies are most common in dogs, especially gluten intolerance. Changing the diet and removing the grains from your dog’s diet can be beneficial for reducing the chances of adverse reactions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

It’s not like dogs are non-allergic to no-grain food, but due to the exclusion of major allergic ingredients like gluten and grains, it becomes a better choice. 

Bad Breath

One of the major causes of dog stink is associated with their breath. Did you know that bad breath is mostly a result of their diet? Grain food leaves dental plaque on the teeth of dogs, leading to the buildup of bacteria causing breath to stink. 

The same condition is with humans, but we get rid of it by brushing our teeth daily. Grain free dog food doesn’t leave any plaque behind, reducing the smell.

Better for Pregnant Dogs

During the dog’s pregnancy phase, their body requires high energy levels to mobilize and stay active. Pregnancy places a lot of stress on the dog’s body, and they need to maintain their health as well as the health of the puppies. 

Therefore, grain free dog food should be the first choice for dogs as they provide higher nutrients and energy levels. 

Does Your Dog Have Grain Sensitivity? 

Grain free dog food has been in trend for a while. It’s been found in many dog foods and treats. Dogs can get allergic to grain due to constant consumption over time. The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs are the following.

  • Upset Stomach
  • Hair loss
  • Dry, itchy, and flaky skin
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Inflamed and red paws
  • Bumps and rashes on the skin

Witnessing any of these symptoms, you should consider consulting your veterinarian, starting the medication, and providing hypoallergenic food to your dog.

Also Read: Debunking Myths & Facts About Goldendoodle Hypoallergenic!

Dog Species that Should Avoid Grain-Free Food 

There are specific breeds that are at high risk from grain-free dog food due to a heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). The ingredients to concern are legume seeds like potatoes, peas, and lentils. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started the investigation on the potential link between certain diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy after receiving reports of DCM in dogs that had not been eating a no-grain diet for a while.

The FDA received the reports of 524 DCM between January 2014 and April 2019.


The species at most risk of DCM are Royal Canin, Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernard’s, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels.

If your dog is vulnerable to any health condition like DCM, consider consulting your veterinarian. This may result in a more suitable composition of meat, grain, and grain-free food for your dog.

Things to Consider Before Switching to a Grain Free Dog Food

Dogs struggle to accept change when switching from a grain-based to a grain-free diet. You can start by gradually including grain-free food in the diet proportionally like 5-10 % new food.

Once your dog starts accepting the changes, slowly increase the proportion till it’s only no-grain food, and make sure the dog is accepting the changes by keeping an eye on the stools.

Always consult your veterinarian before making any changes in the diet and check the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) verified nutritional value on the label of dog food. 

Pros and Cons of Grain Free Dog Food

Grain-free or grain-based dog food is a debated topic among all dog owners. Let’s shed light and summarize all the pros and cons of grain free dog food. 


  • Beneficial for small and energetic dogs to maintain their energy levels.
  • Better combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Helps to retain and maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • Does not contain allergy-triggering ingredients like gluten and grains.
  • Doesn’t leave dental plaque that causes bad breath.
  • Helps to maintain energy levels during the pregnancy of the dog.


  • Changing diet to a grain-free diet is expensive.
  • Promote the chances of Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a heart disease.
  • Not suitable for older and less active dogs.

To sum up, there is no reason not to feed your dog grain-based food instead of grain-free dog food if they do not have any grain allergies or sensitivities. A variety of both could always be fed. Just be careful not to give your dog more grains or grain-free ingredients than meat. 

Read Next: 11 Best Treadmills for Dogs in 2024: Price, Features, and Dimensions


Ans: Most vets are not recommending grain free dog food due to the recent cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Ans: Grains that dog owners should avoid for kibble are corn, wheat, and soy.

Ans: Eggs are very nutritious. If your dog does not already have a medical issue, such as acute pancreatitis or diabetes, you can feed it eggs.

Ans: Grain free dog food is made of ingredients excluding grains like Wheat, Corn, Rice, Soy, Oats, Barley, and Rye. It contains alternative carbohydrate sources like fish, chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, and vegetables.

Ans: Before buying grain free dog food, always check the ingredient label. It should contain high-quality animal protein, nutrient-dense carbs, and healthy fats. Chicken, fish, and lamb are some of the best sources of protein.


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