Dogs are omnivorous animals, meaning they can eat both meat and plant-based dog food diets.

Meanwhile this is true, not all types of food are good to feed the dog with. Like all the animals, they have their own nutrient needs and some foods may satisfy it better than others.

By saying so, we will explore different types of food that your dog can eat – starting with your dog’s diet requirements.

Golden Retriever puppies eating from a bowl

Exploring the dog’s diet

Every dog needs its basic nutrients to keep its body functional. Those are water, proteins, minerals, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates. Such nutrients should be present in a dog’s daily diet.

Dog’s calorie intake

Besides, dogs have their own number of calories that should help them maintain their weight.

To calculate how many calories your dog needs daily, use the following formula:

30 x weight in kg + 70 = daily caloric needs

If my dog weighs 20 kilograms (20 kg x 2.2 = 44 pounds), to count its caloric needs I would use:

30 x 20 + 70 = 670

Number 20 being the weight of my dog in kilograms and number 670 being suggested daily calorie intake for my dog. This is the healthy value of calories you should consider to feed your dog.

Nutrient intake

There are countless recipes of dog food that promise to cover all of the dog’s daily needed nutrients. It’s not true most of the time and this even applies to many veterinarian’s recipes.

Dog's minimal nutrient requirements

The values of both puppies and adult dogs’ of daily nutrients in their food is listed in the table above.

This can help you choose and combine different dog foods or even mix your own.

However, this may not be needed to know as there really are dog foods on the market that cover daily nutrient needs. The best handpicked ones are listed below, by the end of this article.

Yet, mixing your own recipe for dog food is always an option – a good one.

How much to feed the dog?

If you are feeding your dog with the food that satisfies its daily nutrient needs, make sure you do not exceed the dog’s daily calorie intake with it.

By exceeding your dog’s daily calorie intake, it may become obese over time. Otherwise, if you feed the dog a lower amount of its needed calories daily, it will get skinnier.

You can see the number of calories per 100 grams on almost every dog food packaging available. This is useful in order to see how much food is enough for your dog daily, then split it by 2 or 3 meals a day.

Let’s say 100g of dog food has 100 calories and your dog requires 600 calories a day. You should feed the dog 600g of food in total to satisfy its daily calorie intake amount. You can split this into two 300g meals a day, or three 200g meals a day.

People usually feed their dogs with dry food that’s often packed in bags, commonly consisting of dry kibbles or wet, gel-coated kibbles or meat.

Dog laying next to a food bowl

Dry food

This type of food is most commonly picked by pet owners as it’s easy to serve and very economical. They are usually not completely dry and have a small amount of moisture inside, which may be there to create an attractive smell for dogs.

Other benefits of dry dog food are its far expiration date and the fact that it does not have to be refrigerated. It’s also good for dog’s teeth as its crunchiness cleans them – aiding dental hygiene.

Unfortunately, everything comes with a cost. because dry food is so popular, most of it on the market is not healthy for the dogs at all.

Wet food

Dogs usually prefer canned wet dog food because of its scent, which resembles meat. This is true, but is wet food better than dry food?

The answer is – yes and no. Both dry and wet dog food are great and both of their quality depends on the manufacturer.

Wet food is easier to chew on because of its jelly structure. Therefore it’s recommended for dogs whose gums are in pain or jaws are weak.

Canned food is also higher in water, which can help dogs take more water throughout the day.

Note that some canned food contains too much water, therefore containing fewer nutrients.

Good dog food

The healthiness of the food you’re choosing for your dogs is more important, rather than if it’s wet or dry.

Better dog food is also more expensive. If you plan to buy it, higher quantities of it would be a better deal.

Taste of the Wild Wet

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Canned wet dog food, this popular choice is surely a good pick for your dog.

  • Ingredients: Beef, lamb broth, vegetable broth, lamb liver, dried egg product
  • Texture: Chunks in gravy
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Best for: Adults + all puppies

Taste of the Wild High Prairie derives the majority of its meat protein from beef. Analysis reveals the recipe contains 44% protein, 22% fat, and 25% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%. A superior all life stages recipe. Highly recommended.

The price is around $26 for ~370 grams of canned food.

Wellness Complete Health Dry

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

This one comes in bags, usually around ~13 kg.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken without bones, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oatmeal, barley, brown rice)

The price is around $55 online.

Merrick Classic Canned

Merrick Classic Canned Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef without bones, beef broth, chicken broth, beef liver, peas
  • Texture: Chunks in gravy
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Best for: Adults + all puppies

Cowboy Cookout takes the lion’s share of its animal protein from fresh beef. Analysis reveals the recipe contains 47% protein, 16% fat, and 29% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 33%. A portion of healthy, grain-free food for adults or puppies. Highly recommended.

The price is around $32 for a can of ~360 grams of dog food.

Instinct Original Grain - Free Dry

Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, chicken meal, white fish meal, peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Other recipes: Small breed, chicken, duck, rabbit, salmon and more

This Instinct example derives the majority of its animal protein from beef and chicken meal. Analysis reveals the recipe contains 40% protein, 23% fat, and 29% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%. With multiple “flavor” options, Instinct makes an ideal choice for feeding picky eaters. Highly recommended.

The price is around $57 for ~10 kg online.

Halo Wet

Halo Wet Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, chicken broth, beef liver, barley, carrots
  • Texture: Multiple options (pate or stew)
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, rolled oats)
  • Life stage: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adults only (not for puppies)

Halo Lamb Recipe derives the majority of its animal protein from lamb and beef liver. Analysis reveals the recipe contains 50% protein, 28% fat, and 14% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%. An exceptional, grain-inclusive option for adult dogs.

The price is around $22 online for ~350 grams of dog food.

Source of recommended dog foods: Dog Food Advisor

Small dog smiling with tongue out


A happy dog is healthy dog. Easy is not always the best.

Dog’s health is very important and its immune system and bodily functions are a lot stronger when the body is absorbing enough healthy nutrients.

There are many cheap and healthy alternatives to previously listed dog food.

Expensive may not always be the best either.

If you are not already, make sure your dog is always having clean and fresh water to drink. You may refill its bowl few times a day.

Mixing your own dog food recipe is also a great and cheaper alternative.

Supplements in the form of pills or powders may also be needed in order to fully fulfill the dog’s nutrient needs.

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