The 7 Best Dry Dog Foods for Your Dog

As pet owners, we want nothing but the best for our furry companions, and one crucial aspect of their well-being is their diet. With a myriad of dry dog food options available on the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

To help you navigate through this sea of choices and make an informed decision, we have curated a list of the top picks for the best dry dog foods that will not only keep your pup happy but also support their overall health and vitality.

From premium ingredients to tailored formulations, these recommended products are designed to provide your canine companion with the essential nutrients they need to thrive. Join us as we explore the world of high-quality dry dog foods and discover the perfect option to keep your beloved pup healthy and content.

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How to Choose the Best Dry Dog Food

Choosing the best dry dog food for your dog involves considering numerous factors including your dog’s age, breed, weight, activity level, and any special health concerns. Additionally, you’ll want to take a close look at the ingredients, the company’s reputation, and the nutritional adequacy of the food. Here’s an in-depth guide to help you make the most informed choice for your canine companion.


Understand Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs:

Life Stage: Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs have different nutritional requirements. For example, puppies need more calories and specific nutrients for growth, while senior dogs may need fewer calories to prevent obesity as their metabolism slows.

Activity Level: Active dogs and working breeds require more calories and higher levels of certain nutrients compared to sedentary pets.

Size and Breed: Larger breeds might benefit from large-breed formulas that have specific calcium and phosphorus ratios to ensure proper bone development and maintenance, while smaller breeds may require smaller kibble size and higher energy content.

Health Issues: Dogs with health problems such as allergies, diabetes, or kidney disease may need special diets formulated to address these issues.


Evaluate the Ingredients:

Protein Source: Look for a high-quality animal protein (e.g., chicken, lamb, beef, fish) as the first ingredient. The food should contain enough protein to meet your dog’s needs (usually around 18-25% for adult dogs).

Whole Foods and Grains: Whole ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some dogs do better with grain-free diets, especially if they have allergies or sensitivities.

Avoid Fillers and By-Products: Low-quality fillers like corn and soy provide little nutritional value and can be hard for dogs to digest. Meat by-products can vary in quality, so named by-products like chicken by-product meal are preferable to generic meat by-products.

Fats: Dogs need healthy fats for energy and essential fatty acids. Sources like fish oil can provide omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat.


Nutritional Adequacy:

Look for foods that have undergone feeding trials or that meet the nutritional profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The statement on the packaging should indicate that the food is complete and balanced for your dog’s specific life stage.


Company Reputation and Quality Control:

Research the brand to ensure they have high standards of quality control. The best companies will be transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Familiarize yourself with any past recalls and how the company handled them.


Read Labels and Understand Regulations:

Ingredients are listed in order of weight. The first few ingredients are crucial as they make up the bulk of the diet. The term natural is not strictly regulated, so research what the company means when it uses it.


Monitor Your Dog:

After switching to a new food, observe your dog’s health and behavior. Good signs include a shiny coat, healthy weight, good energy levels, and firm stools.


Check for Certifications:

Some pet foods are certified by organizations that add another layer of quality control. Examples include Non-GMO Project Verified or Certified Organic.


Be Cautious with Special Diets:

Grain-free and boutique diets have been the subject of research and FDA warnings concerning a potential link to heart disease (specifically, dilated cardiomyopathy). Always consult a veterinary professional before choosing a diet that’s markedly different from standard formulations.


What are the Benefits of buying dry dog food?

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, offers multiple benefits: it’s cost-effective, convenient for storage and serving, and has a longer shelf life than wet food. The crunchy texture helps maintain dental health by reducing tartar buildup.

Dry food is energy-dense, requiring smaller serving sizes, and can be used in puzzle feeders for mental stimulation. It’s easily transportable for travel. Moreover, kibble is often formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs of various life stages, sizes, and dietary needs, ensuring a well-rounded diet with every meal.

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The Best Dry Dog Foods NZ


1. Black Hawk Original Dry Dog Food

Black Hawk Original Adult Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food offers premium nutrition for your canine companion. The high-quality lamb meal serves as a rich protein source while the brown rice supports easy digestibility.

With the inclusion of Omega fatty acids from emu oil, this food is not just satisfying to your dog’s taste buds but also promotes a shiny, healthy coat.

This formula is an optimal blend of taste and health, carefully crafted to cater to your dog’s well-being with every meal.


2. Addiction Grain-Free Mega Multi Protein

Multi Protein

Addiction Grain-Free Mega Multi Protein Dry Dog Food is designed to complement a robust and lively lifestyle for dogs.

This food is meticulously balanced with protein, fat, and carbohydrates, catering to the nutritional needs of active canines. It also comes fortified with glucosamine, enhancing muscle and joint function, vital for long-term mobility.

Employing rapid air drying technology at lower temperatures, the food’s preparation ensures safety from harmful pathogens while locking in vital nutrients, offering your pet a wholesome and beneficial meal.


3. Royal Canin Maxi

Royal Canin

Royal Canin Maxi Adult Dry Dog Food is specifically formulated to meet the unique needs of large breed dogs.

It is crafted with ingredients that support the health of a large dog’s skin and skeletal structure, which often bear the brunt of their substantial weight. The inclusion of Omega 3 fatty acids aims to nourish the skin, ensuring it remains healthy.

Feeding your large breed dog this food translates to a diet focused on maintaining their overall robustness, particularly where it matters most – in their bones and skin.


4. Orijen Original 

Orijen Original

Orijen Original Dry Dog Food stands out with its incorporation of top-tier meat ingredients, making it a powerhouse of nourishment for dogs.

By drying these select meats at a precise 90 degrees Celsius, the food becomes a condensed source of high-quality protein, vital for your pet’s health and vitality. This meticulous process ensures the retention of essential nutrients.

At an impressive 38% protein content, Orijen Original not only provides substantial protein to your dog’s diet but also does so in a highly digestible form, contributing to both their joy and well-being.


5. Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food caters specifically to the needs of Labrador Retrievers, considering their common health concerns.

Enriched with omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, it not only aids in keeping your pet’s weight in check with an appropriate calorie count but also nourishes their joints through the addition of glucosamine, potentially warding off arthritis. This proactive approach extends to the maintenance of a glossy skin and coat.

The food’s uniquely crafted kibble shape is engineered to slow down your Labrador’s eating pace, ensuring more mindful digestion and absorption of nutrients.


6. Hill’s Science Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog FoodHill's Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food is expertly designed for dogs with digestive and skin sensitivities.

Packed with prebiotic fiber, this diet nourishes and supports a healthy gut microbiome, which is crucial for overall intestinal health. The formulation prioritizes high digestibility, ensuring that dogs can efficiently absorb the nutrients required for their well-being.

Made from natural ingredients, this food not only caters to your dog’s digestive comfort but also promotes optimal nutrient uptake, making it an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive systems.


7. Ziwi Chicken Air-Dried Dog Food

Ziwi Chicken

Ziwi Chicken Air-Dried Dog Food is a nutrient-rich option that closely mirrors a raw diet, suitable for dogs with specific dietary preferences or sensitivities.

Featuring a high meat content, including organs and bone, as well as New Zealand green-lipped mussels, it delivers a full suite of essential vitamins and minerals. This composition is especially beneficial for dogs with an intolerance to red meats.

The gentle air-drying process employed maintains the integrity of this 96% meat blend, protecting the proteins and sensitive nutrients, which can alleviate allergy symptoms. Natural carbohydrates from sources like chicory, kelp, and parsley round out this balanced diet, providing your dog with a wholesome, nourishing meal.



What are the key ingredients to look for in dry dog food?

Key ingredients include high-quality protein (chicken, beef, lamb), wholesome carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes), healthy fats (like fish oil), and essential vitamins and minerals. Probiotics and prebiotic fibers are also beneficial for digestive health.


What are the common fillers in dry dog food?

Common fillers are ingredients with lower nutritional value used to add bulk, such as corn, wheat, and soy. Some brands may also use meat by-products, cellulose, or cereal by-products as fillers.


How to transition a dog to a new food?

Transition your dog gradually over 7-10 days, mixing increasing amounts of the new food with the old. Start with 25% new food, and increase the ratio gradually to 50%, 75%, and finally 100% to avoid digestive upset.


What are the best dry dog food brands for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Brands like Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina Pro Plan, and Blue Buffalo offer specialised formulas for sensitive stomachs that include easily digestible ingredients, prebiotics, and a balance of fibers. Always consult a vet before making dietary changes.