Last Updated on January 21, 2023
If you’re in the market for the best dry dog food for adult dogs, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve tried and tested the best adult kibble for dogs available in the United States and given our honest reviews.
Here you’ll find recipes from the top dry dog food brands. This list has it all, from budget and grain-free options to the best food for different sized dogs.
Top 5 picks for best dry dog food for adult dogs in 2021
If you’re in a hurry or know what you’re looking for, this table summarizes the most sought-after dog food recipes for adults.
|Dry Adult Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
Best Overall Dry Dog Food for Adult dogs (All Sizes)
|Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Best Budget Dry Dog Food for Adult dogs
|Iams Proactive Health Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Best Dry Dog Food for Small and Medium-Sized Adult dogs
|Diamond Naturals Small Breed Chicken and Rice
Best Dry Dog Food for Large-Sized Adult dogs
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food
|Best Grain-Free Dry Adult Dog Food||Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Best dry dog food brands for adult dogs by sizes
Different sized dogs have different nutritional requirements. What you feed a Great Dane can differ significantly from what you feed a Pitbull or even a Chihuahua.
But there are also foods specially formulated for all sizes. We’ve included various options, including the best value-for-money dry dog food, the most popular food, and the best overall food for adult dogs.
Best dry dog foods for adult dogs for all sizes
No matter the size of your furry best friend, these foods are great options. Whether you’re looking for grain or grain-free food, here are our top picks for adult dogs of all sizes.
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal
Our overall best dry dog food for adult dogs goes to Taste of the Wild’s Dry Dog Food. This grain-free recipe is great for dogs of all sizes.
It’s high in protein and works well for dogs who have grain sensitivities. It also comes in other flavors like Pacific Stream.
- Packed with K9 strain probiotics to promote gut health.
- Includes antioxidants and novel protein sources
- Doesn’t contain corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Grain-free food may not work for your dog
2. Iams Proactive Health MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
Not only is this food packed with protein, but it also includes beet pulp, vegetables, fruits, and wholesome grains.
It’s suitable for dogs of any age and size, perfect for multi-dog households. It has a savory flavor that will satisfy your pooches taste buds.
There’s a good reason that many dog owners swear by this food and won’t feed their fur babies anything else.
- Has no wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients
- Contains Omega-6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin
- Well-balanced formula enriched with L-carnitine
- Doesn’t work for dogs who need a grain-free recipe
- Some owners think this food lacks substance
3. Wellness Complete Health Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Whitefish, Ground Barley, Peas
This tasty food from Wellness Complete includes high-quality protein and antioxidant-rich ingredients like spinach and blueberries.
The recipe is also formulated with Omega fatty acids, glucosamine, taurine, and probiotics.
- Contains no corn, wheat, or soy
- Not made with any GMOs or meat by-products
- Great for dogs with chicken allergies
- Some dog owners complain that this food causes tummy trouble
4. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal
This recipe contains novel protein sources from beef, lamb, and salmon.
- Made with 35% natural ingredients, minerals, vitamins, produce, and fiber
- Has the ideal combination of healthy fats and protein from animal sources
- Packed with antioxidants
- Kibble may be too small for large breeds
Best Dry Dogs Foods for Small and Medium-Sized Adult Dogs
Some dogs might need food that is more size-specific. If you’ve got a small or medium breed dog, their needs may differ from larger breed dogs. Luckily, these foods are tailored for your pup.
1. Victor Classic HI-Pro Plus Formula
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat
Perfect for highly energetic sporting dogs with high physical demands, this nutrient-dense recipe with a balance of protein and carbs is ideal for dogs of all life stages.
You can feed this to a senior dog, lactating females, and growing puppies.
- Fortified with amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids
- Includes a unique VPRO Blend that promotes immune system function and superior digestibility
- Contains 88% premium-quality meat protein
- Not great for dogs with food sensitivities
2. Iams Proactive Health Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn
This value option is perfect for toy, miniature, and small breeds. But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it isn’t packed full of healthy ingredients.
The first ingredient is real quality, farm-raised chicken. It’s a complete and balanced recipe that contains healthy grains, fruit, and fiber.
- Packed with antioxidants and quality-sourced protein to promote overall nutrition
- Made with Omega-6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
- Crafted from real, wholesome ingredients
- May cause tummy trouble
- Not suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
3. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice
Crafted in Texas and cooked in the United States, this food is a balanced formula with a temptingly meaty taste.
It’s made with essential vitamins and has no potatoes, peas, or lentils. Not only is it made with chondroitin and glucosamine, but it also has high levels of omega fatty acids.
- Contains healthy grains, and added fiber helps with digestion
- First ingredient is real deboned chicken
- High-protein formula that’s free of peas, soy, wheat, and corn
- Won’t work for dogs with grain and chicken allergies
4. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Chicken and Rice
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice
This small dog dry food contains omega fatty acids from chia seed, flaxseed, and coconut, promoting healthy skin and a shiny coat.
It’s also full of antioxidants and phytonutrients to ensure overall health and immunity. Plus, the added fruit and veggies give your dog natural minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Made with superfoods and high-quality ingredients, including real chicken as the first ingredient
- Provides beneficial bacteria from K9 strain probiotics for digestive health
- Contains no wheat, soy, or corn
- May not appeal to picky eaters
- Not great for dogs with grain or chicken allergies
Best Dry Dog Foods for Large-Sized Adult Dogs
Searching for the best dry dog food for large breeds? Omega fatty acids, probiotics, and glucosamine are a few of the ingredients we looked for.
Here are a few of the best grain and grain-free dry food recipes for large adult dogs like Saint Bernard.
1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Rice, and Corn Gluten Meal
This highly digestible pet food for large and giant breeds contains Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
It’s also a highly digestible formula that aids in maintaining the ideal muscle and body condition.
- A weight control dog food that has glucosamine and EPA to support mobility and joint health
- Contains probiotics and prebiotics to help with digestion
- High-protein formula designed for dogs that weigh 50 pounds (23 kg) and up
- Contains corn
- Not suitable for dogs who are allergic to grain
2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal
This dry dog food is designed to promote lean body mass and muscle building, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthier coat and skin.
You’ll also find antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals in this tasty recipe.
- Grain- and gluten-free kibbles that are also high-protein
- Doesn’t include by-products, fillers, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
- Formulated with nutrient-rich superfoods and premium proteins
- Not suitable for dogs allergic to poultry
- It may not work for picky eaters
3. Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Ground Brown Rice
This dry dog food contains the ideal amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to help large breed dogs keep a healthy weight.
It’s made with two animal proteins to help provide lean muscle mass, as well as antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and glucosamine to promote a strong immune system, healthy skin, and joint health.
- Contains no corn, wheat, or meat by-products
- Includes calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bones
- Has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
- Not a grain-free option
- One pet parent complained that the food smelled like Play-Doh
4. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Formula
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal
Packed full of protein, this holistic recipe is ideal for active large breed adult dogs.
The food includes cage-free chicken, chicken meal, and egg product, and it’s a nutrient-rich formula with Omega-3 fatty acids.
- No corn, wheat, artificial colors, or preservatives
- Offers guaranteed levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to help support joint health
- Formulated with K9 strain probiotics to help those pets with a sensitive stomach
- Won’t work for dogs with chicken or grain allergies
- Could cause tummy trouble
Best dry dog food buying guide
One of the dog food options included in this list should work for your pooch.
If you’re interested in knowing more about what to look for in dog food, you can also check if it meets the AAFCO nutrient standards.
And if you’re curious about what goes into dog food, check out this video:
And if none of these foods on this list appeal to you, you might like these other dry dog food brands and recipes:
- Orijen Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry (With Grain)
- Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food (With Grain)
- Hills Dry Dog Food
- Natural Balance Limited-Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Formula
Nutrition 101: What’s a ‘balanced food’ for adult dogs?
If you’re wondering about the specific nutritional needs of adult dogs, you’ll want to look at a couple of factors, such as:
- Protein sources
- Carbs like brewers rice
- Vitamins and minerals
- Grain contents
- Omega fatty acids
- Additions like glucosamine and chondroitin
The amount of each that you’ll need will depend on your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.
Physically active dogs will need a lot more energy from their dog food than a breed that spends the day sleeping.
Dogs require higher amounts of proteins and fats than humans to help with tissue and organ development and better reflect their ancestral diet.
Protein can come from a variety of sources, the most common of which is meat. Most dog foods feature fish, chicken, beef, pork, or even venison.
The best protein source is from high-quality sources like real meat rather than meat by-products.
As mentioned above, fat is a crucial element in your dog’s diet. It provides them with the energy they need to both run and play.
Fiber is a vital addition to any canine diet. It helps with digestion and gut health.
You should check the fiber content of your dog food before you introduce it as a staple. Fiber comes from fruit, vegetables, and even chickpeas.
Things to look for when selecting an adult dry dog food: What should adult dogs eat?
Most dog foods contain everything your dog will need.
The ratios included in the food will differ slightly, as will the ingredients. Some dog food will even have human-grade ingredients.
Some foods contain eggs, an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, but they have many calories that can lead to weight gain, so we recommend feeding eggs in moderation.
Dogs can eat wheat, but their diet doesn’t require it. But once again, you should only feed wheat in moderation.
Some dogs, however, are sensitive to wheat and may suffer from digestive trouble from it.
Good dry dog food should be rich in vitamins and minerals. These come from a variety of fruits and vegetables.
But if you’re looking to feed your pooch some extra, we suggest apples, oranges, carrots, broccoli, and watermelon.
When you’re looking for dog food, make sure that you avoid food containing:
- Artificial additives, colors, preservatives, and flavoring
- Unnecessary fillers
Additionally, there are certain foods to avoid feeding your dog. Fruit and veggies like raisins, grapes, garlic, onion, and foods with pits can be toxic for dogs.
Is dry dog food really the best option for my adult dog?
Dry dog food isn’t the only option for quality dog food. You could also introduce your dog to raw or wet dog food.
The biggest downside when it comes to raw food (according to the FDA) is that there’s a risk of contamination with bacteria, like salmonella.
These can then get transferred to you when you handle the meat, or your pooch gives you a lick after eating.
To determine how long your dry dog food will last and remain fresh, we’d recommend looking at the best before date.
Once you open the pack, this best before date won’t be as accurate because the food is exposed to the elements.
You should make sure you keep your dog food in a cool, dry place and preferably reseal the bag or decant it into an airtight container.
For more information on proper storage, you should look at the back of the dog food packet.
If you’re looking to soften dry dog food, all you need to do is add a little warm water to the dry food until they soften.
You can even add some beef or chicken broth while other owners mix it with wet food.
To grain or not to grain: Do adult dogs need dry grain-free food?
Choosing between grain and grain-free dog food will depend on your dog. Most dogs need healthy grains in their diet, but some develop allergic reactions to them. This is a question best posed to your vet.
Grains are not a bad addition to your dog’s diet, but grain-free and limited-ingredient diets are better if they do have food sensitivities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much dry food should you feed your adult dog?
The amount of food you feed your adult dog will depend on their age, body weight, and metabolism. There’s no way to predict the perfect serving size.
The best way to decide on the amount is by looking at the feeding instructions on the bag.
When and how often should you feed your adult dog?
Most adult dogs do well with at least two meals a day. Most dog owners fill their dog’s bowl in the morning and then again in the evening.
But you could also divide your pet’s daily consumption into three, so he can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Does the size of kibble matter?
Younger dogs and canines with tiny teeth may have trouble chewing on big kibbles. Large dogs, on the other hand, will happily eat any size of the kibble.
Do I need to feed my dog a varied diet?
A varied diet can be advantageous for picky eaters.
But there isn’t any scientific evidence proving that this kind of diet is healthier or better for your pooch. Drastic changes may also give your dog the runs.
Is it dangerous to feed the wrong diet to my pet?
Feeding your dog the wrong pet food can be dangerous, so ensure that their diet is formulated based on their life stage and breed. It’s best to stick to a formula that’s suitable for your pet.
What’s the best dry dog food for overweight dogs?
Besides practicing portion control, exercise, and limiting treats, a weight control food can also be a good idea. Still, a simple 30-minute walk can help reach or maintain the ideal weight.
What’s the best dry dog food for working dogs?
If you’ve got a working dog breed in your household, we recommend purchasing food that will provide your dog with enough energy to keep them active the whole day.
You should also check those that are packed with nutrients.
What’s the tastiest dry dog food for picky eaters?
Picky eaters can make purchasing dog food a real challenge.
There’s nothing worse than buying an entire packet of high-quality dry dog food only to find that your picky pooch turns her nose up at it.
If you’ve got a fussy eater, make sure you don’t buy the big bag right off the bat.
Go for the smallest packaging and select flavors your dog is familiar with. If their previous food is chicken flavored, then pick one that has the same flavor.
What’s the safest way to switch my dog to a new dry food?
Switching dog food abruptly has been known to cause sickness in some dogs. Ideally, you should transition to a new dry dog food gradually.
The best way to do this is to mix a quarter of new food and three-quarters of the old food. Then slowly increase the ratio until you’re up to 100% new food in the bowl.
When should I switch my dog to senior dry dog food?
As your dog ages, their needs will differ from younger dogs. You can switch to dry senior dog food when they are around 7 years of age.
If you have a large breed dog, you can make the switch at around 5 to 6 years of age. But if you’re using balanced all-ages dog food, it may not be necessary to make any changes.
Are raw food diets safe for my pet?
As mentioned previously, raw food diets can be dangerous for humans.
If the food doesn’t meet proper nutritional standards like those from the AAFCO, these can cause imbalances, deficiencies, and even infectious diseases.
But raw foods like specific fruits and veggies won’t cause this problem.
Can you give dry homemade dog food for your adult dog?
Giving your food dry homemade dog food can be a nice addition to your dog’s diet.
There are plenty of dog food recipes available online but make sure you stick to all the dos and don’ts of homemade food.
We found this dog food recipe online for you to try:
- 6 cups cooked organic brown rice (3 cups uncooked rice)
- 3 tablespoons of olive or safflower oil
- 2 pounds ground lean beef, cooked through, fat drained
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced small
- 1/4 cup minced curly parsley
- 3 medium-sized shredded or thinly sliced carrots
- Combine all the ingredients in a large container
- Stir to combine the ingredients completely
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge between meals
Talk to your vet using your pick for the best dry dog food for adult dogs
Before introducing your new furry family member to a new food, we recommend checking with your vet.
Whether you’re looking for healthy grain or grain-free food, there are some excellent options available.
If you’re searching for the best dry dog food containing wholesome grains, the budget-friendly Iams Proactive Health Dry Dog Food is the right choice.
For the best grain-free dog food for your sensitive pup, you should try Taste of the Wild’s dry dog food.
Does your four-legged best friend love any of these dry dog food options? Leave a comment and let us know all about it.