Is your dog allergic to poultry or a picky eater? Or perhaps you just want to provide your dog with the best possible food available that will make his coat and skin beautiful? Then salmon dog food can be a great choice.
Providing a myriad of health benefits for your pet, salmon-based dog foods aren’t only delicious; they are nutritious too.
Here are some of our favorite salmon-based dog foods:
Top 5 Picks for Best Salmon Dog Food in 2021
|Salmon Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
|Best Overall Salmon Dog Food||Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Premium Dog Food (Smoked Salmon)
|Best Budget Salmon Dog Food||Purina ONE SmartBlend Adult Dog Food (Real Salmon and Tuna)
|Best Salmon Dog Food for All Life Stages||Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Best Salmon Puppy Food||Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Health Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe
|Best Salmon Adult Dog Food||Merrick Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food
Best Salmon Dog Food (by Life Stage)
You’ll want to choose a dog food that caters to the current needs of your pet, providing him with sufficient energy and everything he needs for development.
Some foods have been specifically designed for the growing needs of puppies, while others are better for adult nutrition.
Best Salmon Dog Food for All Life Stages
Certain dog foods are made for canines of all life stages. This means you can start your dog on these foods as a puppy and keep the same diet their entire adult life.
1. Instinct Grain-Free Salmon Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Salmon, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Pea
A high-quality kibble that is coated in raw freeze-dried ingredients. The formula comprises of 72% real animal ingredients with salmon and whitefish as the first two ingredients.
Tapioca replaces any grains when it comes to the carb content to limit any allergies.
- The protein content of this food is 38%, one of the highest on the market
- It contains chicory root, a natural probiotic that aids in digestion
- The zip lock bag is effortless to store, keeping your pet’s food fresh for longer
- This food comes in quite a small kibble size, so it may be better suited to small breeds
- A bit expensive
2. AvoDerm Natural All Life Stages Dry Dog Food (Salmon & Vegetables Formula)
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Herring Meal, Peas
A hypoallergenic dog food packed full of fishy goodness with lots of delicious vegetables included in the recipe.
The recipe also features an essential blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for supporting your pup’s overall health.
- The inclusion of avocado supplies your dog with essential fats for building healthy skin and coat
- This food is free from preservatives, artificial colors, soy, wheat, and corn
- Contains Alfalfa meal
3. Diamond Naturals Salmon & Potato Recipe
Our rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes
A holistic, natural diet for your dog with food sensitivities.
This hypoallergenic kibble features wild-caught salmon as the primary ingredient, with the rest of the recipe loaded with whole foods like lentils, potatoes, peas, pumpkin, papaya, and blueberries.
- The formula includes guaranteed probiotics to assist with your pup’s gut health
- This food is made in the USA by a family-run company
- Contains potatoes and tomato pomace, which are controversial ingredients
4. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Garbanzo Beans, Peas
Featuring a new formula, this dog food from Nature’s Recipe features wild-caught and farm-raised salmon as the main ingredient, alongside a wholesome selection of fruits and vegetables, including sweet potato and pumpkin.
- This recipe includes easy to digest carbohydrate sources that provide your dog with plenty of energy
- The formula doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or artificial colors and flavors
- Contains pea starch
Best Salmon Puppy Food
Salmon is packed full of essential nutrients that nurture the growing needs of young puppies.
5. Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Health Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Anchovy, and Sardine Meal
Made from salmon, anchovies, and sardines, this food is packed full of fishy goodness while leaving out any allergen ingredients that could cause a bad reaction with your pet’s GI system.
The formula also includes a healthy combination of antioxidants, fiber, and probiotics.
- The fish rich recipe is full of omega-3 fatty acids for maintaining healthy skin and coat
- Includes glucosamine and taurine for healthy joints, bones, and heart
- The primary source of fat is canola oil
Best Salmon Adult Dog Food
Adult dogs need food that can sustain their energy levels while keeping their muscles, bones, and joints strong and their coat looking and feeling great.
6. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Premium Dog Food (Smoked Salmon)
Our rating: 4.8
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes
A premium, grain-free kibble providing a great source of proteins and amino acids to build strong and healthy muscles in adult dogs.
A variety of fresh veggies and fruits supply your pet with plenty of antioxidants for keeping the immune system strong.
- It contains essential probiotics to keep the digestive system functioning optimally
- Made in the USA with no fillers, additives, or preservatives
- Some picky eaters just simply refused to eat this food
7. Canidae Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food (Salmon and Sweet Potato)
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal
A simple salmon and sweet potato recipe explicitly made for pups with sensitive stomachs in all life stages.
Made in the USA, the limited ingredient diet includes just ten essential items, without any common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy.
Instead, the nutrition in this wholesome food comes from healthy, easy-to-digest foods like chickpeas, lentils, and sweet potatoes.
- This food is full of probiotics, vitamins, and essential minerals
- The grain-free recipe contains no hormones, antibiotics, grain, or gluten
- Some pet owners complained of the strong smell of this food
- The main source of fat is canola oil
8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Adult Dog Food (Real Salmon and Tuna)
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Chicken Meal, Soy Flour
A dry dog food for adults, this nutrient-dense blend includes real salmon and tuna. Four different sources also supply your pet with antioxidants and omega-three fatty acids for building a healthy immune system.
With a high protein content of 30%, this food is also ideal for building strong muscles.
- Free of fillers, making it easy to digest
- A cost-effective salmon-based dog food
- This food does include some common allergens like chicken and soy
9. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food (Real Salmon & Sweet Potato)
Our rating: 47
Top Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Whitefish Meal
Offering high-quality protein, 55% of this dog food is made from real deboned salmon, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes.
Suitable for small and large breeds, this food is made in the USA from locally sourced ingredients supplied by trusted farmers.
- It contains glucosamine and chondroitin for building strong joints and bones
- The recipe is free from any poultry, corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or artificial preservatives
- Some pet owners complained that the size of the kibble was too small for their dogs
10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Dry Dog Food (Salmon Recipe)
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Whitefish Meal
High-protein grain-free formula from a well-respected brand. This food features deboned salmon as the main ingredient, while plenty of fruits and veggies are also included to provide your pet with well-rounded nutrition.
Pea protein and peas are also included for added protein.
- Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for building healthy skin and coat
- This dog food is processed at low temperatures to retain as many nutrients as possible
- Contains a low amount of probiotics which can make it hard to digest
- Kibble bits are hard to chew
11. Wellness Simple Natural Ingredient Dry Dog Food (Salmon & Potato)
Our rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Potatoes
Designed for dogs with food sensitivities and allergies, this limited ingredient dog food formula includes a blend of salmon and easy-to-digest carbohydrates.
The salmon provides your pet with plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for supporting a lustrous coat.
- The recipe is free from any additives and fillers, and meat by-products
- Probiotics and prebiotics have been added to aid with digestion
- Some dogs got the runs on this food
12. Nutro Limited Ingredient Salmon & Lentils Recipe
Our rating: 4.7
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Potatoes
A grain-free quality dog food features salmon and salmon meal as the first two ingredients. Ideal for dogs with allergies, this formula packs a protein punch, with salmon being the exclusive protein source.
In addition, legumes and pumpkins are included as healthy alternatives to grains.
- Includes no corn, wheat, soy, dairy protein, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- This food is locally made in the USA
- This dog food is on the pricey side, so it may not be suitable for all budgets
Why should you get Salmon Dog Food?
A diet rich in salmon provides a hypoallergenic alternative for pups with sensitive digestive systems or allergic to traditional dog foods containing beef and chicken.
Some picky eaters also really love the taste and smell of salmon.
Senior dogs or those with arthritis can also benefit from a salmon-rich diet due to the omega-three fatty acid content in these foods.
Benefits of Salmon Dog Food
There are many benefits to feeding your dog a diet rich in salmon. Here are just a few:
- Healthy protein source: Salmon is a high-quality source of protein, containing essential amino acids for the building of strong muscles. Amino acids are also necessary for building cartilage and maintaining hormone balance.
- Nutrient-rich: Salmon contains an abundance of essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Salmon is also a natural source of Omega-three fatty acids, which are great for joint health and lustrous skin and coat.
- Flavorful: For many dogs, the stinkier the food, the better and the tastier. This is also the case with fishy diets like salmon!
- Easy to digest: Fish like salmon has a high protein to calorie count, making it a heart-healthy choice while being easy to digest.
- Brain booster: Salmon helps boost brain function, so it’s great for older, senior dogs and the minds of developing puppies.
Salmon vs. Salmon meal: Which is better?
Some dog foods list salmon meal rather than fresh deboned salmon in their ingredient list. Meat meal is much higher in protein than fresh salmon and so is a good thing.
However, stay away from products that just list meat meal rather than a salmon meal, as you won’t know what actual ingredients are included in this mystery meat.
Why Salmon might be a better choice over beef or chicken
Many dogs suffer from poultry allergies and thus can’t eat kibble, which contains chicken. Salmon thus provides a delicious alternative source of protein for these pets.
This high-quality protein source is easy to digest and jam-packed with nutrients and amino acids which will help your pet in developing a healthy immune system.
Salmon is packed full of healthy omega fatty acids, which are great for developing the brain.
Salmon Vs. Other Fish
Alongside salmon, most fish are a great source of omega-three fatty acids, which will help your dog to have healthy skin and a beautiful, shiny coat.
However, unlike some other fishes like tuna, which are high in mercury content, salmon is low in mercury. So you can be assured that you aren’t likely to overexpose your dog to mercury with a salmon-rich diet.
Best Salmon Dog Food Buyer’s Guide
While many dogs are allergic to meat, Salmon provides a hypoallergenic choice for many pet owners. However, there are still some things you need to bear in mind when choosing a salmon-rich diet for your dog.
Tips on Choosing the Right Salmon Dog Food
Always look for manufacturers that are transparent with what is included in their pet food. Here are some things to ask:
1. Confirm that Salmon Dog Food is What You Need
If your dog has skin allergies or a sensitive stomach, ensure that they aren’t also allergic to salmon.
While fish allergies are much less common than allergies to other animal proteins, like chicken or beef, it isn’t impossible that your pet could also be allergic to salmon.
Symptoms of food allergies include skin rashes, itchiness, vomiting, diarrhea, and irritability.
2. Where Is the Salmon Coming From?
Don’t be afraid to ask where the salmon is sourced. Is it wild-caught in the USA or Canada or farmed in fish farms elsewhere? Ensure that you are supporting sustainable sources that are preferably local.
3. Look at the first five ingredients
The first five ingredients will paint a good picture of the makeup of dog food, with the main ingredient being the primary food included in the formula.
For example, if the dog food says salmon on the bag, it should be listed as the first ingredient.
Take a look at the second to fifth ingredients. Preferably they should all be high-quality proteins.
What to consider when buying Salmon Dog Food
Picking the right food for your pet can be challenging. Here are some things to look at when buying dog food:
1. Real Salmon
Always check that the dog food is made from real salmon and is not just salmon flavored. Artificial flavoring will have none of the health benefits offered by real salmon.
You also want to stay away from meat-by products as you won’t know what is included in these, and they could be harmful to your pet.
2. Complete Nutrition
Your chosen dog food should provide complete and balanced nutrition to your pet to support their whole body health.
The AAFCO has guidelines for nutritional adequacy, and your dog food should match or better these nutritional values.
It should have a balanced blend of protein, fats, and carbohydrates with additional nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Preservative and Filler-Free
You want to avoid any dog food containing fillers, poor-quality grains, preservatives, and artificial colors. Tocopherol and ascorbate are natural preservatives that can be included in your dog’s food.
Ensure that no BHT, BHA, or ethoxyquin is included, and these can be toxic for your dog.
To grain or not to grain: Do dogs need grain-free food?
Many salmon dog foods are also grain-free. Grain-free dog food can be beneficial to pets with allergies and can help to negate any digestive issues.
However, grain-free diets are often more expensive with wholesome ingredients included throughout and no fillers.
However, a grain-free diet isn’t always the best option. Grain-free diets have been linked to the development of cardiomyopathy in dogs, and the FDA is currently investigating this link.
For this reason, many vets instead recommend you feed your dog a diet that contains whole grains, such as brown rice or barley.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you still have some questions regarding feeding your dog salmon? Let’s try and answer those below:
What is the healthiest salmon dog food?
Always look for salmon dog food made from high-quality ingredients.
Many salmon dog foods also include additional elements that help your dog’s health, such as glucosamine which promotes healthy joints, and probiotics, like chicory root, which aid in digestion.
The addition of salmon oil or canola oil will further boost the omega-three content.
Is salmon dog food suitable for dogs with allergies?
Salmon is sometimes mixed with other protein sources in dog food. However, if your pet has allergies, you’ll want to look for food that only contains salmon and not any other meats, like chicken.
How often can you feed your dog salmon?
While it is acceptable to feed your dog a salmon diet every day, it’s not recommended to feed them fish and nothing else.
Your dog needs a well-balanced diet with specific formulas designed to provide them with all the nutrition their body needs to grow and function optimally.
How much does Salmon cost?
Salmon is often one of the pricier ingredients to buy at your grocery store. However, dog food is usually made from the less visually appealing or damaged cuts of salmon.
Without the focus on aesthetics, the cost of the salmon included in dog food is less than what you would buy it off the self for.
That said, salmon dog food will always be more expensive than formulas that include more readily available ingredients like chicken.
Some cheaper foods will use ocean fish meal that is a lower cost alternative than fresh wild-caught salmon while still providing a wealth of nutritional benefits.
Can you give homemade Salmon food to your dog?
You can always give your dog salmon by itself or cooked into a delicious homemade recipe. However, cook the salmon properly and not feed it raw, as raw fish can have dangerous parasites for dogs.
Also, be sure to debone the salmon thoroughly so that your dog doesn’t choke.
Here is a great recipe you can try at home:
- 7 ounces cooked salmon
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup broccoli
- 5 teaspoons of Azestfor Vitamins
- Cook the salmon until it is opaque throughout
- Once cooked, gently flake the salmon away from the skin, taking care to remove all bones
- Rinse and boil the quinoa
- Steam the broccoli and then chop into very fine pieces
- Combine all the ingredients and the Azestfor vitamin-mineral powder to ensure your homemade dog food is nutritionally complete
- Cool and serve
Here’s another easy salmon recipe you can give your pooch:
Choosing the Best Salmon Dog Food for Your Pooch
Feeding your pet salmon dog food often means providing them with one that is natural and healthy. These diets are ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, digestive issues, and allergies.
In addition, salmon offers a host of benefits for your dog, helping to support the immune system, the coat, skin, digestive system, joints, and heart.
We strongly recommend Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Premium Dog Food.
Made with high-quality ingredients, it provides complete nutrition for your dog and has a high amount of antioxidants that come from real fruits and vegetables.
And as always, talk to your vet before choosing any new food for your dog.
Do you feed your pet a salmon-based dog diet? We’d love to hear which dog food brand is your favorite. Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Further Reading: Protein-rich diets for your dog
- Best Lamb and Rice Dog Food
- Best Venison Dog Food
- Best Kangaroo Dog Food
- Best Chicken Free Dog Food
- Best Rabbit Dog Food