12 Best Legume Free Dog Foods For Your Pal

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Whether you’re trying to reduce legumes in your dog’s diet or you just want the best legume-free dog food, it’s essential to know what to look for and what to avoid.

This guide will explain what you should know to keep your pup healthy.

an overhead shot of a dog with a bowl with kibbles

Top 5 Picks for Best Legume Free Dog Food

  Legume Free Dog Food Recipes Our Rating
Best Overall Legume Free Dog Food (Editor’s Choice)  ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Food

  • Contains beef heart, kidney, tripe, liver, lung, and bone
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 96% meat protein
5
Best Budget Legume Free Dog Food Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus

  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 88% meat protein
4.5
Best Legume Free Puppies Food Stella and Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties

  • Contains probiotics
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 95% meat protein
4.5
Best Legume Free Adult Dog Food Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Recipe

  • Made in the USA
  • No corn, soy, or wheat
4.5
Best Legume Free Senior Dog Food Diamond Naturals Senior Formula

  • Made in the USA
  • Contains Omega fatty acids and probiotics
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
4.5

Best Legume Free Dog Food by Life Stage

English Cocker Spaniel eating food
An English Cocker Spaniel dog eating food from ceramic bowl

Legume-free means that food doesn’t contain any plants in the legume family, including peas, lentils, and soybeans.

Some people avoid legumes because their dog is allergic, others because they’re concerned about feeding the healthiest food possible

Best Legume-Free Puppy Food

Shiba Inu dog eating meal on the table
Adorable Shiba Inu dog finishing its meal on the table – Image source

Puppies need food formulated to help them grow big and strong and support their growing bodies. It should have enough calories to give them plenty of energy. Here are our top picks for the best legume-free puppy foods.

1. Stella and Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties

Stella & Chewy's Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef, Salmon With Ground Bone, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe
Type: Freeze-dried

Stella & Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Recipe is formulated to support your growing pup without any legumes. Instead, it includes lots of healthy proteins such as beef, salmon, cranberries, broccoli, and carrots.

Reviewers say that even the pickiest puppies can’t get enough of this tasty formula, and it’s made to ensure that your dog develops a healthy brain, organs, and skeleton.

Pros:

  • Contains probiotics
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 95% meat protein

Cons:

  • More expensive than dry food
  • Strong smell

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Legume-Free Adult Dog Food 

Irish Red Setter sneaking the cheese
An Irish Red Setter dog sneaking the cheese on the table – Image source

Adult dogs need food that will keep them healthy and enjoy eating. Here are the formulas that we like best:

2. Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken & Rice Recipe

Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice, Beef Fat
Type: Dry

Made for high-energy dogs working or active in sports, the Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula Dog Food has a precise balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to support your dog’s active lifestyle.

It doesn’t contain legumes, so you can feel safe feeding this dog food to your pooch.

Pros:

  • Contains DHA, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • No artificial flavors or colors

Cons:

  • Contains corn
  • Corn gluten meal makes up a large bulk of the food

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food (Lamb & Brown Rice)

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb & Brown Rice Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
Type: Dry

The Natural Balance LID Dog Food is packed with premium lamb as the first ingredient added with essential vitamins and minerals formulated to meet the needs of large breed adult dogs.

This grain-inclusive but gluten-free dry dog food doesn’t contain corn, wheat, soy, chicken, and legumes ideals for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Pros:

  • Lamb is the first ingredient
  • Gluten-free
  • Large kibble helps slow down dog’s feeding

Cons:

  • Contains a high amount of rice

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
Type: Dry

With real chicken as the main ingredient added to lamb and salmon meals, the Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dog Food is packed with healthy ingredients without legumes, corn, wheat, and soy.

It also has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints. Sunflower oil helps your pup’s coat stay healthy and shiny.

Pros:

  • Formulated with lean proteins
  • Includes amino acids
  • No artificial colors or flavors

Cons:

  • Contains a high amount of rice
  • With dried beet pulp and tomato pomace

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh Dog Food (Chicken and White Rice)

JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh Dog Food Fresh Ready to Serve Adult & Puppy Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Lamb hearts, brown rice, cauliflower, carrots
Type: Wet

This isn’t your usual canned dog food. While JustFoodForDogs is made using fresh ingredients like whole fruits and veggies and real lamb hearts, it isn’t canned with a bunch of preservatives.

Instead, it’s stored in Tetra Pack packaging, so the fresh ingredients stay fresh on the shelf. This is excellent for dogs who need to be on a whole food diet. It’s also cooked in a USDA-certified kitchen.

Pros:

  • No preservatives
  • No growth hormones
  • Human-grade ingredients

Cons:

  • More expensive than dry food

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food (Beef)

Ziwi Peak Beef Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Lung
Type: Dry

Ziwi Peak formulates its food with no cheap fillers or artificial ingredients.

The first eight ingredients are animal-based protein, including beef, mussels, and beef parts, followed by healthy additions like kelp, chicory, parsley, and vitamins.

Reviewers say that their dogs love the test, and the air-dried formula stays stable on the shelf and eliminates bacteria that could harm your pet.

Pros:

  • Contains beef heart, kidney, tripe, liver, lung, and bone
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 96% meat protein

Cons:

  • More expensive than other foods

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal
Type: Dry

Victor manufactures this food to be nutrient-dense, so your pup doesn’t bulk up on ingredients that don’t provide a lot of what your dog needs to be healthy.

It contains 88% meat protein and is ideal for high-energy dogs or lactating females.

Pros:

  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • 88% meat protein

Cons:

  • Contains a high level of meat meals
  • High balance of millet, alfalfa, and sorghum
  • Contains tomato pomace

CHECK PRICE HERE

8. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat
Type: Dry

Rachael Ray Nutrish LID Dog Food is made for those dogs who suffer from food allergies or sensitivities because it contains just six ingredients, including rice, lamb, beets, and chicken fat.

There is no corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and artificial things like preservatives.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA 
  • Real lamb is the first ingredient
  • Made with limited ingredients

Cons:

  • Contains a high ratio of rice to protein
  • Contains dried beet pulp

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Recipe (Salmon & Sweet Potato)

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

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Potatoes
Type: Dry

There are no legumes in this food, only fish like salmon and easily digestible carbs like sweet potatoes.

It’s made in the USA using ingredients sourced worldwide and is formulated to ensure that your dog gets all the protein your dog needs to be healthy and happy.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • No corn, soy, or wheat

Cons:

  • Contains cassava flour, which is low in nutrients
  • A high level of potatoes to animal protein

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Legume-Free Senior Dog Food 

A senior Cocker Spaniel with a bowl with dog pellets
A hungry senior Cocker Spaniel dog eating in a dog bowl

Older dogs need special nutrition that gives them the right balance of energy and support for their aging bodies.

10. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula (Chicken, Egg, and Oatmeal) 

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice
Type: Dry

Made in the USA using ingredients from around the globe, the Diamond Naturals Senior Formula features cage-free chicken as well as things like glucosamine and chondroitin to support your pup as he enters his golden years.

It also contains lower fat so that your dog doesn’t get too chunky as they age. Along with probiotics, chia seed, kale, and flaxseed, it’s made to ensure that your best friend is as healthy as possible.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Contains omega fatty acids and probiotics
  • No artificial colors or preservatives

Cons:

  • Contains a high ratio of rice and oatmeal

CHECK PRICE HERE

11. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
Type: Dry

The Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food is packed with all kinds of tasty veggies and fruits to make your aging pal happy.

While it isn’t entirely legume-free because it contains a small amount of pea protein, it’s a good option for people who want to ensure that their dog isn’t getting too much legume in their meals.

Pros:

  • Contains coconut, chia seeds, spinach, pumpkin, and kale
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

Cons:

  • Contains beet pulp and tomato pomace, which are considered fillers
  • A high ratio of rice to protein

CHECK PRICE HERE

12. Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Chicken, Lamb & Whitefish Pate (Wet Dog Food)

Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Chicken, Lamb & Whitefish Pate Wet Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Spinach, Tomatoes, Carrots
Type: Wet

Positively packed with chicken, spinach, eggs, lamb, fish, apples, blueberries, yams, and coconuts, the Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Wet Dog Food is sure to please picky eaters.

While it might not be an affordable option for large dogs, it’s ideal for petite pooches who are getting older.

Pros:

  • No GMOs, by-product meals, or grains
  • Pate style food is highly digestible
  • Formulated with yams, apples, and chia seeds

Cons:

  • More expensive than dry foods
  • Contains xanthan and guar gum

CHECK PRICE HERE

What Exactly Are Legumes?

So what are legumes in dog food, exactly? Legumes are vegetables in the Fabaceae plant family and include peas, chickpeas, peanuts (which aren’t nuts), lima beans, lentils, and soybeans. They can be dried or fresh.

Different kinds of legumes
Different kinds of legumes separated by group

They are packed with protein and carbohydrates and just a little bit of fat, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. They can be an excellent source of nutrients for both dogs and humans. 

That said, they are sometimes used as cheap fillers in dog food, or they are used to replace grains in grain-free food. Additionally, some dogs are allergic. 

Finally, the FDA is researching whether or not legumes can contribute to a heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. So while dogs can eat legumes, it might not always be a good idea.

Are Legumes Bad in Dog Food?

So far as we know at this point, legumes aren’t necessarily bad for dogs. But the jury is still out, and if you want to be extra safe, you might want to avoid them.

Talk to your vet to better understand what you should and shouldn’t feed your dog.

Dog waiting the chickpea salad
A dog patiently waiting for the chickpea salad with a maple tahini dressing – Image source

What makes legumes bad for dogs? 

So let’s dive deeper into whether or not dogs should be eating legumes. Some dogs are simply allergic, so you may notice their bowel movements when eating kibble-containing legumes.

Or they might have dry, flaky skin or itchy eyes and ears. 

You should always avoid any ingredient if you learn that your dog is allergic to it. If you aren’t sure, try eliminating the ingredient for a while to see if your dog’s symptoms improve. 

Then there is the dreaded link to DCM. DCM is a heart condition that eventually leads to heart failure. It’s more common in older dogs and giant breeds, but it can impact any dog.

There are reports that DCM might be linked to a diet that is high in protein and lacks grains. Or it could be related to diets that contain unusual ingredients, and researchers still just aren’t sure. 

The FDA says that it appears that while legumes have been a part of the diets of dogs for years, they appear in increased numbers lately as people try to move away from grains.

It could also be linked to taurine deficiency along with a grain-free diet high in legumes or potatoes.

It isn’t clear if removing legumes helps or if there is more going on than just too many legumes in the diets of dogs impacted by DCM. 

Regardless of whether you feed your dog legumes or not, there are a few times that you should completely avoid them.

These are when the legumes outweigh the animal protein in a recipe. You should also never feed raw legumes or overly-processed legumes.

Why Choose Legume-Free Food For Your Dog?

If your dog has legume sensitivity, you should opt for a food that leaves it out. If you’re concerned about legumes being used as cheap fillers, you can look for a food that leaves them out or only uses them in a minimal amount.

Poodle dog choosing between raw meat or kibbles as meal
A Poodle dog choosing between nutritious and delicious raw meat or kibbles as a meal

Deciding whether to go legume-free or not

There is no evidence that puppies or seniors should avoid legumes unless they are allergic. In other words, it’s up to you and your vet to decide whether you think legumes are a healthy addition to your best friend’s diet.

Together, consider your dog’s overall health, size and breed, and weight.

Best Legume-Free Dog Food Buyer’s Guide

Choosing dog food can be a challenge. You don’t necessarily have to go with a big-name brand, but many of them have more money for research and sourcing.

That said, some of them also tend to use fillers that you might want to avoid. 

However, even mom-and-pop operations can use crappy ingredients, which is why it’s so important to read the label on your dog’s food. 

Girl buying dry dog food at petshop
A young girl buying dry dog food at petshop

What are the important features to consider when choosing legume-free dog food?

Avoid foods that contain fillers like potato pomace, cassava, white potatoes, tapioca, or beet pulp.

You might also want to avoid a high level of carbs like rice or oats because you’re paying for ingredients that aren’t providing much nutrition to your dog. Beet pulp, for instance, acts like sugar in the body. 

Look for formulas made by or in cooperation with veterinarians and nutritionists. Be sure to read the nutrient analysis and determine if the food provides a complete and balanced diet.

All the dietary information should be laid out on the label.

So what ingredients should dog owners look for? Complex carbohydrates are great, as are high-quality animal proteins from buffalo, real chicken, lamb, fish, turkey, and other high-quality animal sources.

Proteins from a good protein source should always come first and should be the main ingredients. Dog food brands label food by pre-dried weight, so keep that in mind.

The protein content is another factor to consider, depending on your dog’s age and activity level.

Then, look for healthy grains and all those good essential vitamins and minerals. Superfoods like blueberries are great, and some of the best dog foods without peas use healthy options like brown rice or oatmeal to replace legumes.

Brands such as Taste of the Wild, Merrick Grain Free, Farmina, Victor, and others have developed a good reputation for making pet food part of a holistic, healthy diet that is good for your dog’s digestive system.

What are some healthy alternatives to legumes?

Mini Doodle dog biting a little pumpkin
Adorable Mini Doodle dog biting a little pumpkin – Image source

If you decide to go pea-free, what can you choose to replace those missing legumes in your dog food formula? Healthy carbs like pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, whole grains, spelt, and some starches are a good place to start.

A small amount of fruit like cranberries, blueberries, apples, and zucchini are good options and can improve your dog’s health, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Havanese dog got a bread and sliced orange meal
A Havanese dog waiting the bread and sliced orange meal at the table – Image source

Is wet legume-free food suitable for dogs? 

Whether you choose wet food (also known as canned food) is primarily a personal decision. Wet food costs more because you’re getting a lot of water in that can. As always, look at the ingredients list.

Does it contain food ingredients that are beneficial for your dog’s immune system, skeletal system, and digestive system? Are your dog’s teeth generally healthy?

Choose wet food if the budget is not your concern. Many dogs prefer the taste.

To grain or not to grain: Do dogs need grain-free legume-free food?

Dog’s don’t need grain-free, legume-free food unless they have an allergy or a specific health concern. However, there have been studies mentioned above about whether grain-free can cause heart problems in dogs.

Grain-free food isn’t necessarily healthier unless you have specific needs. Talk to your vet to get the best advice. Check out our guide to the best grain-free dog foods.

There are some options out there that are both grain-free and legume-free, and these are usually heavy in meat proteins and light on carbs.

Can you give homemade legume-free food to your dog?

Feel free to feed your dog a homemade legume-free recipe if none of these foods jump out at you.

A simple mixture of a pound of cooked ground beef, a cup of peas and carrots, and a cup of cooked brown rice mixed with some yogurt is an excellent recipe.

This video provides another great recipe:

Will dog food without legumes cause any deficiency?

Dog’s don’t need legumes as long as they’re getting all the nutrients they need from other food sources. The overall nutrient content of the food is what matters most.

Go Legume-Free to Keep Your Pup Happy

There are many reasons to avoid legumes, from allergies to concerns about health issues. That’s why many people decide to leave them out of their dog’s diet. 

Fluffy Alaskan Malamute puppy sitting happily with a dog bowl
A large size Alaskan Malamute puppy with a bowl filled with dog food

Check out ZIWI Peak’s Air Dried dog food for the best overall food. The air-drying process retains the flavor and health profile of the ingredients, all without legumes.

Victor’s Classic Hi-Pro Plus is another good option if you’re on a budget. 

As always, if you have any questions about feeding legume-free, hit us up in the comments.

Further reading: Other Best Dog Food with Restricted Diet

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