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The 10 Best Vet Recommended Dry Dog Foods In 2024

As a veterinarian, I spend a lot of time discussing diets. I always recommend the best vet recommended dry dog foods to ensure your furry friend gets the nutrition they need. However, some people have concerns that vets aren't taught enough about nutrition.

You'll be relieved to know that this isn't true. During my time at the university, I received roughly 75 hours of official nutrition instruction. Additionally, I've continued to educate myself on the topic since then.

In this post, BestForPets provides a list of the best dog foods and diets for various health and lifestyle requirements based on dog food reviews. The list includes options for dogs with dietary restrictions, allergies, or weight concerns.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1 Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food, Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food, Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag View on Amazon
2 Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility, Weight + j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 24 lb. Bag Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility, Weight + j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 24 lb. Bag View on Amazon
3 Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 27.5 lb. Bag Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 27.5 lb. Bag View on Amazon
4 Purina Pro Plan High Energy, High Protein Dog Food, SPORT 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula - 33 lb. Bag Purina Pro Plan High Energy, High Protein Dog Food, SPORT 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula - 33 lb. Bag View on Amazon
5 Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 27.5 lb. Bag Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, Veterinary Diet, 27.5 lb. Bag View on Amazon
6 Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag View on Amazon
7 Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe, 15.5 lb. Bag Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe, 15.5 lb. Bag View on Amazon
8 Royal Canin Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 14 lb bag Royal Canin Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 14 lb bag View on Amazon
9 Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Puppy Food with Grains, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Meat (Puppy, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag) Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Puppy Food with Grains, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Meat (Puppy, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag) View on Amazon
10 Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat, Chicken, 30.4 pounds Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat, Chicken, 30.4 pounds View on Amazon

1. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food

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When it comes to choosing a dry dog food diet, it’s important to consider your dog’s unique dietary needs. However, if your mature dog has no dietary restrictions, Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula is an excellent option.

This high-protein formula features real chicken as the first ingredient and is fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for optimal digestive and immune health. Additionally, it contains glucosamine sources to protect your dog’s joints.

If your dog is carrying extra weight, this recipe can help with weight management thanks to its 25% reduction in fat and fiber content that keeps your dog feeling fuller for longer.

As a vet-recommended dry dog food, this formula is a great option for providing your furry friend with high-quality nutrition without breaking the bank. It’s no surprise that Purina Pro Plan’s Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula is a trusted choice for many pet owners.

Pros

Very appealing

Aids in the maintenance of a healthy weight

High protein content

Cons

None


2. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility, Weight + j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

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If you’re looking for a vet-recommended dry dog food that can aid in weight loss and joint care, Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic and Mobility Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food is an ideal option.

Formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians, this food is designed to support your dog’s weight and joint health. It has been clinically proven to promote mobility in as little as 12 days and can reduce weight by 13% in 60 days.

One of the key features of this food is its unique blend of ingredients that works naturally with your dog’s metabolism. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids enhance your dog’s ability to run, walk, and jump, while the fiber blend from fruits and vegetables helps your pet feel full and satisfied between meals.

In addition to its weight management benefits, this food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to improve joint health. This is particularly crucial for dogs with arthritis, as obesity and joint problems often occur together.

I appreciate that Hill’s provides clear feeding recommendations for this diet, as well as information on how to maintain your dog’s ideal weight once achieved. Although the feeding plan may seem complex, it enables you to customize your dog’s food to assist with weight loss.

Pros

Improves metabolism

Contains compounds that help joints

Fiber to keep your dog satisfied

Simple feeding instructions

Cons

Veterinary approval is required


3. Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

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If your dog is prone to urinary crystals and stones, a veterinary prescription diet may be necessary to help dissolve and prevent them from recurring.

Purina Pro Plan’s urinary care prescription diet is an excellent option for this purpose, as it has balanced levels of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, which are all important components of typical crystals.

By reducing these levels, the formula can help prevent the formation of crystals in your dog’s urinary system.

Additionally, Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food is enriched with antioxidants, potassium citrate, and omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s overall urinary health.

These ingredients work together to promote a healthy urinary tract and prevent the formation of new crystals. While some may consider this food to be unappetizing, dogs typically enjoy it and tolerate it well.

However, extremely small dogs may have difficulty with the kibble size. It’s important to note that this food requires veterinary approval before feeding it to your dog, as it has potent effects on their urinary health.

Therefore, you should not feed this diet to your dog without consulting with your veterinarian.

Pros

Magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus deficiencies

Low in fat

Long-term usage is safe

Cons

Expensive

Veterinary approval is required


4. Purina Pro Plan High Energy, High Protein Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan High Energy, High Protein Dog Food

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If you have a working dog or athlete with high energy demands, or if you’re looking to help your dog gain weight, Purina Pro Plan's High Energy, High Protein Dog Food SPORT 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula is an excellent choice.

This formula packs a high calorie count of 496 kcal/cup, making it ideal for dogs with high energy needs. With a high protein and fat content, it can help build muscle and strength while providing necessary calories.

Purina Pro Plan has fortified this formula with additional vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids to ensure your dog stays fit and healthy.

It’s important to note, however, that the reason for your dog’s weight loss is crucial, and this diet may not be appropriate for all dogs that are losing weight.

Therefore, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine whether this formula is the best option for your dog.

For working dogs or athletes, Purina Pro Plan High Energy, High Protein Dog Food SPORT 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula is a great choice.

It’s designed to optimize oxygen metabolism (VO2 MAX) for increased endurance and is made with real salmon as the first ingredient.

Moreover, this formula is fortified with guaranteed live probiotics to support digestive and immune health.

It’s no wonder that Purina Pro Plan’s High Energy, High Protein Dog Food SPORT 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula is a trusted choice for many pet owners.

Whether you’re looking to help your dog gain weight or provide them with the fuel they need to perform at their best, this formula is an excellent option.

Pros

Calorie-dense foods for weight growth

20% fat, 30% protein

Appropriate for developing pups

Cons

Diarrhea may result from a high fat content

Not recommended for dogs with renal disorders


5. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

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When it comes to dry diets for dogs with sensitive stomachs, Purina Pro Plan once again takes the top spot.

Both veterinarians and pet owners highly recommend this food, as it contains easily digestible components that improve stool quality and nutrient absorption.

Purina Pro Plan’s formula is enriched with fiber to feed beneficial gut bacteria, reduce food passage through the digestive tract, absorb excess water, and enhance stool quality.

They’ve also added more B vitamins to the formula to aid with absorption, which is especially important for dogs with diarrhea.

Although Hill's Prescription Diet i/d may be somewhat more expensive than comparable options from other manufacturers, it has been clinically proven to help ease digestive upset in as little as three days.

This formula is appropriate for adult dogs of all ages and is specially formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog’s digestive health.

The only potential drawback with this food is that it requires veterinarian approval before purchasing it for your pet.

However, this is a straightforward process, and most veterinarians would not hesitate to recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d if your dog has a sensitive stomach.

Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Dry Dog Food is a highly digestible, low-fat formula that is clinically proven to calm and soothe the digestive tract, improve digestion, and ensure easy nutrient absorption.

Prebiotic fiber is also included in the formula to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Pros

Enhances stool quality

Ingredients that are easily digested

Puppies may use it

Clinically established

 

Cons

Price

Veterinary approval is required


6. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food

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When it comes to choosing a puppy food, Purina Pro Plan is a highly recommended brand. Their puppy food has been developed by veterinary nutritionists and tested in feeding studies, all while remaining reasonably priced.

Growing puppies require more protein and calcium than adult dogs, but not excessive amounts. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, is critical for proper brain and eye development in puppies.

Purina Pro Plan’s puppy food comes in a variety of flavors, all of which contain additional DHA for brain and eye development, as well as balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus to support proper bone growth.

The formula is also high in protein to promote muscle development, with carefully selected high-quality protein sources, and the kibble size is ideal for small mouths.

One excellent choice for puppies is Purina Pro Plan's High Protein Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and Rice Formula .

This formula contains DHA from omega-rich fish oil to nourish brain and vision development, with chicken as the first ingredient to provide high-quality protein for lean muscle development.

It also includes antioxidants to support a puppy’s developing immune system and is highly digestible for optimal nutrient delivery.

With Purina Pro Plan’s High Protein Dry Puppy Food, you can rest assured that your pup is getting the proper nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.

Pros

Calcium and phosphorus balance

DHA supplementation

High protein content

Miniature kibble

Cons

None


7. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe, 15.5 lb. Bag

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The Hill's Science Diet Chicken & Barley Dry Puppy food is an excellent choice for pet owners looking for a premium dry food for their developing puppies.

This formula supports robust immune systems and overall growth in puppies, making it ideal for this stage of life.

One of the primary ingredients in this formula is DHA from fish oil. This component promotes the development of a puppy’s brain and eyes.

The food also contains high-quality protein to promote lean muscle growth, along with a balanced set of minerals to support healthy bones and teeth.

This formula is made with natural ingredients and is manufactured in the United States using reliable global ingredients.

The Hill’s Science Diet brand is highly respected by veterinarians, and this formula is no exception. Veterinarians recommend it, and it has received high ratings from pet owners who have used it.

This formula is specifically designed to address various health issues in developing puppies. It promotes joint health, helps maintain a healthy weight, and supports digestive health.

These features make it an excellent option for owners of pets seeking a comprehensive nutritional solution for their puppies.

Pros

Contains DHA from fish oil to promote brain and eye development in puppies

High-quality protein promotes lean muscle growth

Balanced minerals support healthy bones and teeth

Made with natural ingredients and manufactured in the United States

Veterinarian recommended and highly rated by pet owners

Specifically designed to address various health issues in developing puppies

Cons

Some puppies may not like the taste

May be more expensive than other options

Contains grains, which may not be suitable for puppies with grain sensitivities


8. Royal Canin Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 14 lb bag

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Royal Canin Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is an excellent choice for small dogs weighing between 9 and 22 pounds and between 10 months and 8 years old.

They design this formula specifically to meet the unique nutritional requirements of small dogs, with a focus on managing their weight, maintaining the health of their skin and coat, and meeting their high energy needs.

The formula contains L-carnitine, which helps to maintain a healthy weight while meeting the high energy demands of small dog breeds.

Additionally, Royal Canin Adult Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds contains optimal levels of EPA and DHA, which promote healthy skin and coat.

They specially design the kibble size of their formula to meet the needs of small dogs, with an exclusive shape adapted to their miniature jaws. This makes eating and digesting food easier for small dogs.

One of the best features of this recipe is its appeal to picky eaters. The improved palatability of the dog food satisfies the preferences of small dogs, making this formula an excellent choice for pet owners who struggle to find a food that their dog will eat.

Overall, this formula is excellent for meeting the specific nutritional needs of small dogs by focusing on weight management, maintaining skin and coat health, and meeting their high energy demands.

Pros

Specifically designed for small dogs to meet their unique nutritional needs

Contains L-carnitine to help with weight management and high energy demands

Optimal levels of EPA and DHA promote healthy skin and coat

Kibble size and shape are perfect for small dogs

Improved palatability appeals to picky eaters

Cons

May not be suitable for small dogs with grain sensitivities

More expensive than some other small breed dog food options

Only suitable for dogs weighing between 9 and 22 pounds and between 10 months and 8 years old


9. Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Puppy Food with Grains

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Puppy Food with Grains, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Meat

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Wellness Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food is a nutritious and high-quality option for pet owners seeking to promote the overall health of their puppies.

This formula contains chicken and salmon, as well as other protein-rich ingredients, to provide balanced nutrition for developing dogs.

Formulated by nutritionists, veterinarians, and animal lovers, this recipe offers a balanced blend of nature’s finest ingredients.

They carefully select the ingredients for Wellness Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food to nourish and maintain your dog’s health without adding any artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers.

Their specially formulated recipe supports mental development and coat health. Guaranteed levels of DHA in salmon oil promote brain development, while antioxidants strengthen the immune system.

Balanced nutrients support optimal growth and development, and omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat.

This formula is free from maize, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, wheat gluten, and other fillers that can be harmful to dogs. This ensures that your puppy is receiving only the best quality nutrition.

Wellness produces Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food in the USA using globally sourced premium ingredients to meet high quality standards.

Pros

Contains protein-rich ingredients for balanced nutrition

Free from artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers

Specially formulated to support mental development and coat health

Guaranteed levels of DHA and antioxidants promote brain development and immune system health

Free from harmful fillers

Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients

Cons

More expensive than some other puppy food options

Some puppies may not like the taste

Large kibble size may not be suitable for small breed puppies


10. Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat

Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat, Chicken, 30.4 pounds

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Merrick Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe is an excellent option for dog owners seeking a premium dry food for their large breed canines.

This recipe contains a healthy balance of high-quality protein, real produce, and whole grains, including ancient grains. The large kibble chunks make it easy for dogs to eat.

Real deboned chicken is a vital ingredient in this recipe because it provides an excellent source of protein for large breed canines.

Additionally, this formula contains L-carnitine, which promotes a healthy metabolism in large breed canines.

This formula also supports the digestive, joint, weight management, and coat health of large breed canines.

It’s a fantastic all-in-one solution for pet owners who want to ensure their dog receives all the essential nutrients for overall health and wellness.

Furthermore, Merrick Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe is free from artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and incorporates natural, whole ingredients.

The company manufactures it in the United States, using only the highest quality ingredients from reputable suppliers.

Pros

Contains high-quality protein, real produce, and whole grains, including ancient grains

L-carnitine promotes a healthy metabolism in large breed canines

Supports digestion, joint health, weight management, and coat health

Made with natural, whole ingredients and no artificial additives

Manufactured in the USA using high-quality ingredients

Cons

More expensive than some other large breed dog food options

May not be suitable for dogs with grain sensitivities

Some dogs may not enjoy the taste

It is not a one-size-fits-all decision to select the best vet recommended dry dog food for your pet. Depending on their breed, size, age, and health conditions, dogs may require varying amounts and types of nutrients.

Before choosing a dry dog food, consult your veterinarian for feeding guidelines based on your dog’s specific nutritional requirements.

However, you can also conduct your own research to learn how to select the best vet recommended dry dog food for your pet. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Size of the breed

Different breeds may require varying amounts and types of nutrients based on their energy levels, growth rates, and health hazards.

For example, large breeds may need more protein and calcium to maintain healthy bones and muscles, but they may also be more prone to joint problems and bloat.

Small breeds may require more calories per pound than large breeds, but they may also be more susceptible to dental disease and obesity.

Choose a vet recommended dry dog food that is specially formulated for your dog’s breed size and provides the proper nutritional balance.

2. Life stage

Puppies, adults, and older dogs have different nutritional requirements for growth, maintenance, and aging.

For instance, dogs may need more protein and fat to support their accelerated growth and development, but less calcium and phosphorus to prevent skeletal issues.

Adults may require fewer calories and more fiber to maintain their weight and digestion, but they may also require more antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to prevent inflammation and the onset of aging.

Older dogs may require less protein and fat to alleviate the strain on their kidneys and liver, but they may require more glucosamine and chondroitin to support their joints and cartilage.

Choose the best vet recommended dry dog foods that meets the AAFCO’s nutritional standards for your dog’s life stage.

3. Health conditions

Dogs with medical conditions that affect their digestion, metabolism, or appetite may require specific diets that are low or high in certain nutrients.

For instance, dogs with allergies may need a hypoallergenic diet that excludes common allergens such as poultry, beef, wheat, soy, etc.

Diabetic dogs may require a low-glycemic diet that regulates their blood sugar levels through the consumption of complex carbohydrates such as barley, oats, quinoa, etc.

Dogs with kidney disease may require a low-protein diet that reduces the waste products in their blood, which can be achieved by using high-quality protein sources such as egg whites and fish meal.

Choose the best vet recommended dry dog foods formulated for your dog’s specific health condition and consult with your veterinarian regarding the proper feeding amount and frequency.

For expert recommendations on the best dry dog foods for specific health conditions, check out our Dog Food Reviews 2023 and ensure your furry friend receives the proper nutrition they need to thrive.

4. Taste

Dogs may have preferences for particular tastes or textures that can affect their willingness to eat the food you offer and their enjoyment of their meals.

Factors such as the freshness of the food, its aroma, the size and shape of the kibble, the moisture content of the food, and the presence of flavor enhancers such as animal lipids or natural fluids can influence taste.

Choose a dry dog food that stimulates your dog’s senses and makes them eagerly anticipate meals.

By considering these factors when choosing the best vet recommended dry dog foods, you can provide your dog with optimal nutrition to support their health and well-being.

However, remember to provide your dog with the right amount of food at the right time and fresh water at all times to ensure they enjoy a long, healthy life with you.

FAQs

1. What is the #1 vet recommended dog food?

The top dog food recommended by veterinarians may vary depending on the individual needs of each dog. Popular brands of the best vet recommended dry dog foods include Hill's Science Diet , Royal Canin , and Purina Pro Plan .

2. Is Royal Canin actually good?

According to consumer evaluations, many pet owners are satisfied with Royal Canin dog food. The brand is widely available in pet stores and veterinary facilities.

3. What is the healthiest food to feed your dog?

A high-quality commercial dog food that meets all of your dog’s nutritional requirements is the healthiest option. While some human foods can be safe and beneficial for dogs in moderation, they should not replace a balanced diet.

4. Do vets recommend Purina One?

Purina One is recommended by veterinarians due to its high-quality ingredients and balanced nutritional profile. This provides pet owners with confidence when selecting a pet food brand.

5. Why do vets only recommend Royal Canin?

Many veterinarians recommend Royal Canin because it is a high-quality dry dog food that meets all of a dog’s nutritional needs at an average price.

6. Is Royal Canin made in China?

Royal Canin has a production facility in Shanghai, China, which was completed at the end of 2009.

7. Should you buy dog food from the vet?

If your dog requires a prescription diet, it is recommended to purchase it from your veterinarian’s office. If your dog does not require a special diet, consult your veterinarian for dog food recommendations.

Conclusion

As pet owners, we all want the best for our furry companions, especially when it comes to their nutrition. That’s why it’s important to consider the recommendations of veterinary professionals when choosing a dry dog food.

After consulting with several veterinarians and conducting extensive research, BestForPets has compiled a list of the best vet recommended dry dog foods. These include Hill's Science Diet , Royal Canin , Purina Pro Plan , etc., as listed above.

Each of these brands offers a range of options for different life stages and health needs, ensuring that your dog receives the proper nutrition to support their overall wellbeing. Plus, with their wide availability, you can easily find these brands at most pet stores and vet clinics.

Remember, always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your individual dog. By choosing a high-quality dry dog food recommended by vets, you can help promote a happy and healthy life for your beloved pup.

Author Image

Dr. Ramona Terrell

Dr. Terrell has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, in addition to her professional affiliations. She is the Veterinarian Director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Exotic Animal Health Program.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Ramona Terrell

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