The Most Expensive Dog Foods That Worth Its Money

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Dog food prices can vary significantly. And while any good pet owner should stay away from cheap dog food with dodgy filler ingredients and chemical additives, it can be difficult to know what food is right for our pet. 

While we all have budgets to consider, we also want to give our pets the best. But are those expensive pet foods worth the money? And which ones are the best of the best?

a smiling Bernese Mountain dog laying down

Let’s take a closer look at some expensive dog food recipes that are worth the price tag.

Quick Top Picks: Best Expensive Dog Food Review

Before we delve into the pros and cons of each of our top 12 most expensive dog foods, here’s a quick look at some of our favorites:

  Dog Food Recipes Our Rating The Price for Feeding a 15-lb adult dog per day
Best Overall: Best Expensive + Premium Quality ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 4.8 $1.22
Runner-up Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused 4.6 $2.19
Most Expensive Dog Food Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food  4.6 $5 to $6.5

For those owners looking for a great quality commercial dog food that provides the absolute best nutrition for your pet while still being readily available, ORIJEN is our top pick.

While Merrick’s Backcountry Raw Infused doesn’t quite offer the same value for money, this premium dog food is still up there with the best.

Finally, for pet owners who really aren’t limited by budget and want to give their dog fresh food daily, Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food offers unbeatable quality and an unrivaled product.

12 Best Dog Foods for Pet Owners with No Budget Constraints

The below selection of expensive dog foods are worth their higher price tag for pet owners that don’t have any budget constraints:

1. Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food

Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Ground turkey, eggs, brown rice
Type: Fresh dog food
Producer: Nom Nom
Daily Feeding Cost: $5 to $6.50 per day
Best for: All adult dogs

Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food is human-grade fresh dog food that includes fresh, subscription-based food made from premium ingredients.

It comes delivered to your door in insulated packages and pre-portioned bags so you don’t have to worry about a thing. For a daily feeding cost of $5 to $6.50, you will be giving your pup the best of the best.

Advantages:

  • Unlike most commercial dog food, Nom Nom is made fresh
  • The recipe features a variety of premium ingredients and is packed full of vitamins and minerals
  • Each order is customized to suit your dog based on a questionnaire you must complete

Disadvantages:

  • This is one of the most expensive options on our list
  • A subscription-based dog food might not work for pet owners that are always on the go

CHECK PRICE HERE

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food.

2. ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Food

 Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Our rating: 4.2
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe
Type: Air-dried dog food
Producer: ZiwiPeak
Daily Feeding Cost: $4.59 per day
Carolic Content: 5,600 kcal/kg, 318 kcal/level scoop
Best for: All adult dogs

ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Food is a brand of air-dried dog food made in New Zealand. This protein-packed, nutrient-rich recipe contains a staggering 35% protein, 33% fat, and 2% fiber.

For a cost of $4.59 per day, you get food packed with delicious ingredients whose nutrition is locked in through the gentle air-drying process.

Advantages:

  • All the meat products featured in ZiwiPeak’s recipes are sourced from green, free-range farms
  • No corn, wheat, or soy is used in this food and it is also free from artificial additives

Disadvantages:

  • Some pet owners complained that this food had a very strong smell

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Food.

3. Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Red Meat Formula

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Red Meat Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Our rating: 4.6
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Pork Meal, Goat Meal
Type: Grain-Free
Producer: Canidae
Daily Feeding Cost: $1.50 per day
Caloric content: 3,350 kcal/kg, 1,520 kcal/lb, 429 kcal/cup
Best for: All adult dogs

The Canidae Grain-Free Pure Ancestral dog food is packed full of wild-caught, regionally sourced protein, with seven different meat sources.

$1.50 per day gives you food that comprises of at least 70% meat with a 28% protein content, 13.5% fat, and 5% fiber. 

For pet owners that aren’t afraid to pay for quality, this is a great protein-rich option that most dogs love. 

Advantages:

  • Each kibble has a freeze-dried coating for extra flavor 
  • This recipe includes a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements as well as five different probiotic strains to aid with digestion

Disadvantages:

  • This is a grain-free option which isn’t recommended by some vets due to the link between grain-free diets and heart disease

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Canidae Grain-Free Pure Ancestral Review.

4. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Great Plains Red Recipe

Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Great Plains Red Recipe with Beef, Lamb & Rabbit

Our rating: 4.6
Top Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal
Type: Kibble with freeze-dried pieces
Producer: Merrick
Daily Feeding Cost: $2.19 per day
Caloric content: 3,704 kcal/kg, 392 kcal/cup
Best for: Large breed dogs

Merrick’s Backcountry Raw Infused is grain-free and poultry free making it a good choice for pups with allergies. This food is comprised of 38% protein, 17% fat, and 3.5% fiber.

For $2.19 per day, you get a quality kibble that has been manufactured in the USA and features real beef as the first ingredient alongside several other premium animal proteins.

There are also real, freeze-dried meat pieces mixed in with the kibble.

Advantages:

  • The recipe is rich in omega-3 fatty acids for supporting your dog’s skin and coat
  • Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peas provide digestible carbs
  • This food has been fortified with vitamins, minerals, and four different probiotic strains

Disadvantages:

  • Some pet owners complained that the promised raw pieces were few and far between

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Review.

5. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.8
Top Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, Atlantic flounder
Type: Dry dog Food
Producer: Orijen
Daily Feeding Cost: $1.22 per day
Caloric content: 3,940 kcal/kg, 473 kcal/cup
Best for: All adult dogs

Orijen Original dog food features an impressive ingredient list that features various protein sources. In fact, 85% of the ingredients are protein sources and the first five ingredients are all nutrient-rich fresh or raw animal sources. 

For a cost of $1.22 per day, you get a recipe full of impressive ingredients including highly digestible carbs like lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. 

Advantages:

  • The recipe contains three probiotic strains to aid in digestion
  • This grain-free recipe includes several fruits and veggies that supply your pet with plenty of vitamins and minerals

Disadvantages:

  • Some pet owners said their dog had difficulty digesting this food

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Orijen Review.

6. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Pet Food

The Farmer's Dog Fresh Pet Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: USDA Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Carrot, USDA Beef Liver
Type: Fresh food
Producer: Farmer’s Dog
Best for: All adult dogs

The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Pet Food manufacturers fresh food that is delivered to your door. The simple recipes are guided by science using advice from top veterinary nutritionists.

With this dog food option, your pup is guaranteed a fresh wholesome meal with a single protein source and plenty of nutritional fruits and veggies.

Advantages:

  • Also available in a pork and sweet potato and turkey and parsnip recipe
  • The brand uses your dog’s profile to craft food that has been specifically balanced for your pet
  • This food all comes in eco-friendly packaging

Disadvantages:

  • Unfortunately, the bags provided aren’t resealable and the food can only be kept in a container in the fridge for a day or two

CHECK PRICE HERE

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Pet Food Review.

7. Lotus Oven-Baked Lamb & Turkey Liver Recipe

Lotus Oven-Baked Grain-Free Lamb & Turkey Liver Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Chickpeas, Peas
Type: Baked dog food
Producer: Lotus
Daily Feeding Cost: $3.21 per day
Caloric content: 3,426 kcal/kg, 385 kcal/cup
Best for: All adult dogs

Lotus Oven-Baked Lamb & Turkey Liver Recipe is a holistic dog food that features 23% protein, 14% fat, and 6.5% fiber.

This baked pet food is made using only the best ingredients, such as lamb which features as the main ingredient in this recipe. For $3.21 per day, this food gives a natural flavor your dog will love.

Advantages:

  • The nutritional value of the ingredients is preserved through a gentle baking process
  • The recipe is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for an immune system boost and a healthy skin and coat

Disadvantages:

  • Some dogs had an upset stomach on this diet

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Lotus Oven-Baked Lamb & Turkey Liver Recipe Review.

8. EVO Red Meat Dog Food

EVO Red Meat Dog Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Beef, Lamb Meal, Potatoes, Sunflower Oil
Type: Grain-free
Producer: EVO
Best for: Large breed dogs

EVO Red Meat Dog Food is made from 78% animal ingredients like beef, lamb, pork, and venison and 22% fruits and vegetables.

With this grain-free dog food, you’re guaranteed ⅓ of a pound of animal protein per serving. The recipe is designed to mimic homemade, raw food diets but in a convenient dry kibble format.

Advantages:

  • This food is free from any grains, glutens, and starchy carbs
  • All the ingredients featured in this food are sourced locally from human-grade producers and wild sources

Disadvantages:

  • This food can be hard to find, both online and instore

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive EVO Red Meat Dog Food Review.

9. Annamaet Grain-Free Manitok Red Meat Formula

Annamaet Grain-Free Manitok Red Meat Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Lentils
Type: Dry dog food
Producer: Annameat
Daily Feeding Cost: $2.40 per day
Caloric content: 3912 kcal/kg, 422 kcal/cup
Best for: All adult dogs

Annamaet Grain-Free Manitok Red Meat Formula is made from high-quality proteins and healthy whole grains.

The formula, which offers your dog 30% protein, 16% fat, and 3.5% fiber, comes from a family-owned and operated business based in the USA. For $2.40 per day, you get a quality product with excellent nutritional value.

Advantages:

  • The recipe features optimal levels of healthy fats including essential fatty acids to support your dog’s coat and immune system
  • Chelated minerals are included to ensure maximum nutrient absorption
  • The recipe is free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as low-quality fillers and by-products

Disadvantages:

  • Some pet owners complained this food smelled like fish

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Annamaet Grain-Free Manitok Red Meat Formula Review.

10. Ollie Fresh Pet Food

Ollie Fresh Pet Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Turkey Breast, Turkey Liver, Kale
Type: Fresh food
Producer: Ollie
Daily Feeding Cost: $3.50 per day
Best for: All adult dogs

Ollie Fresh Pet Food is a relatively new brand offering fresh, human-grade dog food delivered to your door. Each healthy recipe is based on your pup’s individual profile, ensuring quality nutrition for the individual needs of your pet. 

Advantages:

  • The recipes have been crafted together with veterinary nutritionists to supply your pet with optimum nutrition
  • This dog food is made according to a limited ingredient formula to cater to dogs with allergies and intolerances
  • Fish oil is included for fatty acid benefits while the recipe also includes plenty of vitamins and minerals

Disadvantages:

  • This food needs to be frozen or refrigerated and used within a few days

CHECK PRICE HERE

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Ollie Fresh Pet Food Review.

11. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Lamb & Chickpeas Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Lamb & Chickpeas Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal
Type: Dry dog food
Producer: Nulo
Daily Feeding Cost: $1.46 per day
Caloric content: 3,608 kcal/kg, 426 kcal/cup
Best for: Small adult dogs

Nulo Freestyle Dry Dog Food is a premium grain-free formula features salmon, turkey meal, and lamb as the first three ingredients with a protein content of 31%, a fat content of 17%, and fiber of 4.5%.

For a cost of $1.46 per day, you have wholesome, quality food manufactured in the USA. 

Advantages:

  • The recipe is formulated for dogs with sensitivities without any unnecessary additives
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes, blueberries, apples, tomatoes, carrots, and chickpeas supply your pet with plenty of vitamins and minerals

Disadvantages:

  • As Nulo features a relatively small kibble, the pieces of this dog food may be too little for big breeds

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Nulo Freestyle Review.

12. Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.4
Top Ingredients: Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas
Type: Dry dog Food
Producer: Earthborn
Daily Feeding Cost: $1.09 per day
Caloric content: 3,800 kcal/kg, 400 kcal/cup
Best for: All adult dogs

Made in the USA, Earthborn Holistics Primitive Natural is an eco-friendly kibble that features 32% protein, 18% fat, and 3.5% fiber. It’s made using three different types of meat meals with a grain and gluten-free recipe. 

For a cost of $1.09 per day, you get great nutrition for your pet and can rest assured you are supporting a business that follows environmentally friendly practices. 

Advantages:

  • The recipe contains various antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies such as blueberries, carrots, spinach, apples, and cranberries
  • To support your dog’s digestive health three different probiotics are included

Disadvantages:

  • Unfortunately, this recipe does not feature any whole proteins but it does include three meat meals and dried eggs

CHECK PRICE ON CHEWY

Check out the best dog food recipes from this brand. Read our comprehensive Earthborn Holistics Primitive Natural Review.

Is Expensive Dog Food Better than Low-Priced Dog Food?

Beagle dog looking for more food
A Beagle dog looking for other food aside from kibble – Image source

Higher-priced dog food is not a guarantee of better quality food. You need to be careful of the marketing trick whereby average manufacturers price their products at a higher amount to make it look like they’re selling a good quality product.

This creates a perceived value that the product must be better.

That said, premium dog foods made from the best ingredients are of course going to be more expensive than cheap, budget pet foods.

The above list will help you to distinguish between expensive dog foods worth the money and the imposters that have just wielded clever marketing tricks.

Also, some dogs, for instance, those with health issues, or that are pregnant, need top-quality food that meets their specific needs. It is these types of veterinary formulated foods that are often quite expensive.

What Do You Get by Paying More for Dog Food?

Alongside having a higher protein content than other dog foods, which we will discuss in more detail below, there are a few things you should expect with expensive dog food brands. This includes:

1. Real Meat

High-quality dog foods are typically made from real meat sources, rather than meat meals.

While properly identified meat meals still provide your dog with good nutrition, a whole protein topping the ingredients list is always an indication of better quality food.

2. Better Grains

Wheat and corn are common allergens for dogs that supply little nutrition and just act as inexpensive fillers in cheaper foods.

High-quality grains like whole brown rice or oatmeal are normally included in premium dog foods, while some more expensive brands even go grain-free, opting instead for highly digestible carbs like sweet potato.

3. Higher Quality Ingredients

Premium dog foods contain better quality ingredients than cheaper ones. This includes a range of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and even premium flavors like cheese. 

Also, some ingredients in premium dog foods, such as fish oil and salmon oil, normally are high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

These essential fatty acids keep your dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling good and help to boost the immune system.

4. Helpful Supplements

More expensive dog foods are normally loaded with supplements that help support your pet’s full-body health. 

These can include Glucosamine and Chondroitin which help protect your dog’s joints and improve mobility, as well as Probiotics which are beneficial bacteria, and Prebiotics that are living organisms that aid in healthy digestion.

5. Fewer Additivities

Chemical additives like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can cause allergies in your pet. Expensive dog foods typically contain fewer of these unnecessary additives. 

What Should You Look for in Expensive Dog Food?

Poodle dog waiting for food on the table
Meet Kiki, an adorable black Poodle dog waiting for food on the table – Image source

When picking any food for your pet, you need to look for a formula that suits your specific dog’s needs. You should also consult with your vet when making these decisions.

Of course, not all dog foods are created equal so there are some things you should look for when picking the perfect food for your pup. This includes:

1. Whole proteins: A whole protein should top the ingredients list. This is the main ingredient in your dog’s food and a whole protein is a good sign of premium food.

Foods with whole proteins are also often tastier so this is especially important for picky eaters.

2. Whole grains: Unless your dog has a grain allergy or intolerance, most vets recommend including grains in your dog’s diet due to the link between grain-free foods and heart disease the FDA’s investigation into the potential link between certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy. 

High-quality grains that have not been processed or refined are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

3. No artificial chemicals: If you want the best food for your dog, pick an option that doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Premium dog foods use natural preservatives in their formulas to make their food last. 

4. Manufactured in the USA: Dog food manufactured in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, has to meet strict nutritional requirements. 

Do Expensive Dog Foods Have More Protein?

German Shepherd dog having a raw meat meal
A white German Shepherd dog has a bowl of raw meat food – Image source

Yes, premium dog foods typically include more protein. As protein is typically the most expensive ingredient included in your dog’s food, it stands to reason that foods with more protein content will be more expensive.

As your dog needs protein to build strong, lean muscle mass, food with a higher protein content is beneficial for your pet.

Different proteins will also influence the cost of your dog’s food. The cheapest protein and thus the most commonly used is chicken however this is also a very common allergen in pets.

Mid-priced proteins include turkey, pork, and beef, while high-end options include the likes of salmon, duck, and seafood. 

Very rare, and thus very expensive protein options, which are typically found in hypoallergenic dog food diets include rabbit, venison, bison, kangaroo, emu, and quail

So Which of our Most Expensive Dog Foods Will You Choose?

We all want to give our furry friends the best nutrition we can afford. And if the price isn’t a factor to you then some great premium dog food brands offer your pet the diet of kings.

That said, price isn’t the only factor to consider when picking premium food for your dog.

You don’t want to spend money on clever marketing gimmicks, but instead want to look for foods packed full of protein, and high-quality ingredients that support your canine’s full-body health.

The above article has detailed a few of our favorite pet foods that sit at the more expensive end of the scale, and are well worth the money spent!

Have you found a pricey food for your pup that both you and your dog love? Is it one of the above options or is there another premium pet food we may have missed?

We’d love to know all about your top choice of dog foods in the comments below.

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