Best UK Dog Food – A Guide & Review

Buying dog food might seem like an easy task, but it’s actually not. A lot of people don’t even know where to start and how to select the right one. The result is that they end up buying the first one they see, or which is most appealing to them.

This can actually be very dangerous for your dog. You might be risking their health by feeding them dog food that doesn’t meet their nutritional requirements.

So we’re here to help you out by laying out the things you need to consider when buying food for your dog. It’s really not that hard if you know how to do it.

Best UK Dog Food

ProductTypeOur Rating
Purina BenefulDry4.4
Taste of the Wild Pacific Salmon StreamDry4.8
Burgess Sensitive HypoallergenicDry4.8
Blue Buffalo Life Protection for AdultsDry4.6
Forthglade Natural Grain Wet Dog FoodWet4.7
Wagg Complete Chicken and VegDry4.8
Royal Canin Maxi PuppyDry4.6
Pooch and MuttWet4.5
Butcher's Super Senior Wet DogWet4.9

Purina Beneful

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • For balanced weight and nutrition
    • Uses all-natural ingredients
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 20%
    • Fat: 10%
    • Fibre: 3%
    • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2%

Beneful is the dog food choice for owners who want a healthier choice for their dogs. It’s the more premium line made by Purina, one of the most well-known names in pet nutrition.

Unlike other lines under the Purina brand, Beneful contains all-natural and named ingredients. For instance, the main protein of this blend is real beef, complemented by vegetables like spinach and carrots to provide fibre and nutrients to the mix.

The added vegetables add a sweet touch to this dog food, which dogs absolutely love. And the great thing about this added sweetness is that it doesn’t come from artificial sources.

Beneful is perfect if you want to control your dog’s weight, as well as his health. The unique formulation carefully balances the caloric content, with a lesser emphasis on fat and more on lean meat. It also has added vitamins and antioxidants to help prevent complications like cancer or disease from setting in.

Nutrition-wise, this is comparable to other Purina One product lines, albeit with more emphasis on the quality source of its ingredients. It’s pricier, but something that most owners who are health conscious will gladly pay for.

Pros

  • Nutritionally balanced formulation
  • Uses only named and natural ingredients
  • Palatable for a dry dog food

Cons

  • Pricier than other Purina lines with similar nutritional content

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0

Taste of the Wild Pacific Salmon Stream

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • High dose of omega fatty acids
    • Probiotics for healthy digestion
    • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 25%
    • Fat: 15%
    • Fibre: 3%
    • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.4%

Taste of the Wild is a dog food brand that emphasizes on what a dog’s diet would be in the wild. To that end, they have focused on wild game and some ‘exotic’ meats like venison. Because of this, the brand also insists on using only animals that are raised or caught responsibly.

This particular feed, the Pacific Stream, uses wild-caught salmon – which is an uncommon but beneficial protein source for dogs. That’s because it is rich in healthy oils like omega fatty acids that contribute to a clean coat. The only minor issue with salmon is that some dogs might find the taste too rich.

We also like the added nutrients with this feed. One is the proprietary K9 Probiotics, which helps with your dog’s digestion enormously. It’s also made specifically for dogs, and is added after the dog food is processed to ensure it’s alive and viable.

Taste of the Wild is a good limited ingredient dog food and is perfect if your pooch has a sensitive stomach. It is grain-free to avoid any potential allergens. It also doesn’t use any eggs or egg products. Chicory root also adds much-needed fibre to further improve your dog’s digestion.

Overall, Taste of the Wild is a fantastic dog food brand that uses only the finest ingredients. The only issue is its price, but if you value your dog’s well-being, the price is well worth it.

Pros

  • Uses sustainably sourced and wild-caught salmon
  • Probiotics and fibre aids in dog’s digestion
  • Free of any potential allergens like eggs and grain

Cons

  • The taste might be too rich for some dogs

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Burgess Sensitive Hypoallergenic

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
    • Helps avoid allergic reactions
    • Good source of omega fatty acids
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 20%
    • Fat: 10%
    • Fibre: 2.2%
    • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.4%

Burgess is a well-known and loved British dog food brand, with a wide variety available for dog owners. One such line is their Sensitive Hypoallergenic category, which is made specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs or with digestive problems.

The focus is on avoiding hypoallergenic foods. These are common ingredients that have the potential to cause food intolerances when dogs are exposed to them for a long time. These include most grains, beef, and dairy.

So Burgess Sensitive Hypoallergenic focuses on less common ingredients like salmon and rice. Apart from causing fewer health problems, they’re also better sources of nutrients for your dog.

This particular variant, Scottish Salmon and Rice, is a relatively low-fat, high protein blend with lots of benefits. Aside from a healthy coat from the high omega fatty acid content of fish, it also has taurine to help with heart health. Probiotics and fibre from the rice also aid improved digestion for your dog. Plus the high protein content helps develop muscle better.

The blend also has yucca and beets added, which helps in the formation of odour-free stools, which is a great benefit for you if your dog’s droppings are particularly horrendous! In fact, it’s one of the first things you’ll notice when you switch to this brand.

You can expect to have a good experience with this product, especially if your dog is a very picky eater or has problems with his skin. We think that you will find that after trying a few brands, you will finally warm to Burgess, and will continue to use it.

If you have a particularly sensitive and picky dog, give the Burgess Sensitive Hypoallergenic blend a try, with its good balance of calories and nutrients to help promote your dog’s overall health.

Pros

  • A hypoallergenic formulation for sensitive dogs
  • Good balance of nutrients
  • Uses only high-quality ingredients

Cons

  • On the expensive side

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Blue Buffalo Life Protection for Adults

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • Develops lean muscle
    • Reduced calories from fat
    • Supports joint function
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 22%
    • Fat: 12%
    • Fibre: 6%
    • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.25%

Blue Buffalo is a premium brand dog food that focuses on using natural named meat and quality ingredients in their formulations. Their Life Protection line is specially made for the overall health and well-being of older dogs.

One look at the ingredients list and you’ll see that it reads like something a human would eat, which is a good thing! Real meat like deboned chicken is front and centre here, with fruits and vegetables playing a secondary role. It also helps the development of bones for larger adult breeds with the addition of glucosamine.

Blue Buffalo also has its Lifesource Bits technology in this feed. This is a proprietary mix of vitamins and antioxidants that provide a host of long-term health benefits, the most important of which is to help avoid disease.

Nutrition-wise, protein is the number one component here. Owners of large breeds have reported their pets having better health and energy from this feed.

Pros

  • Uses only named natural ingredients
  • Lifesource Bits for added vitamins and antioxidants
  • Glucosamine for bone and joint health

Cons

  • Uses rice, which might trigger allergies in some dogs

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

Forthglade Natural Grain Wet Dog Food

  • Type: Wet
  • Key Benefits:
    • Great for giving your dog a variety
    • Uses natural and wholesome ingredients
    • Suitable for a wide variety of breeds and sizes
  • Guaranteed Analysis (Turkey)
    • Protein: 11%
    • Fat: 7.5%
    • Fiber: 0.7%
  • Guaranteed Analysis (Lamb)
    • Protein: 10.5%
    • Fat: 8%
    • Fiber: 0.7%
  • Guaranteed Analysis (Duck)
    • Protein: 10.5%
    • Fat: 9.5%
    • Fiber: 0.7%

Forthglade is a brand that focuses on all-natural wet dog food with high meat content. This variety pack is a great way to let your dog try a wide range of meats, and see which one they favour.

The recipes themselves are simple and straightforward and are designed to be nutritionally complete. It is predominantly protein-based, with 75% of the composition coming from protein like turkey, duck, and lamb. The rest is wholesome carbs like root vegetables, which also provide a little fibre.

The brand focuses on wholesome ingredients and they don’t use any added sugars or preservatives of any kind. Aside from the meat, every nutrient comes from natural sources, such as vegetables and herbs. In fact, reading the ingredient label was like looking at a food product made for human consumption.

This is also a grain-free dog food free of any additives, so there’s less risk for pets with sensitive stomachs.

We like the value this pack gives. For a reasonable price, you get a selection that you can switch up every few days or so. If your dog is a picky eater or has allergic reactions, you can gauge how they fare after each meal.

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Wonderful variety of uncommon meats
  • Uses natural vegetables and herbs

Cons

  • Prone to spoiling and mould growth

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0

Wagg Complete Chicken and Veg

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • Lots of added nutritional benefits
    • Great value for money
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 22%
    • Fat: 8%
    • Fibre: 3.5%

Wagg Complete Chicken and Veg is a brand that’s known for being affordable yet full of value. This Kennel line is suitable for working dogs or those that are very active throughout the day.

Wagg is one of those instances where cheaper doesn’t mean the quality is lower. This dog food uses real meat and vegetables in its formulation. It doesn’t add any artificial sources of sugar, colour or flavour.

This dog food variant is made to be nutritionally complete, which makes it perfect as the go-to feed for most breeds and sizes. It helps with everything from digestive health (with its prebiotic content) to strong teeth and gums (via antioxidants and vitamin C). There’s also a good amount of zinc and healthy oils to promote a nice sheen on your dog’s coat.

Apart from this, there’s not much to say about this except that it’s worth giving it a try. The low cost of this feed makes experimenting with it for your dog not too draining on your wallet. The value is excellent, as one bag can last you around a month for a normal-sized dog.

So if you’re looking for a complete and safe feed for your dog but don’t want to splurge on premium brands, Wagg is a good middle ground.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Nutritionally complete
  • No artificial additives and sweeteners

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Royal Canin Maxi Puppy

  • Type: Dry
  • Key Benefits:
    • Safe growth for puppies up to 15 months
    • Builds up the immune system
    • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 30%
    • Fat: 16%
    • Fibre: 2.4%

Royal Canin is a dog food brand that’s known for focusing on a precise balance of nutrients to suit specific breeds or dogs at different life stages. Each feed is formulated by veterinary and animal experts, and this Maxi Puppy dog food is no different.

This is a dog food that’s designed to safely boost the growth of your puppy up to 15 months of age, due to the particularly higher protein content of the Maxi Puppy. It also has vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to promote healthy growth of bones and joints. Probiotics ensure that your puppy’s digestive health is on track.

The only drawback as to why some pet owners are adverse to Royal Canin is in the ingredients it uses. It doesn’t put as much emphasis on where its sourced, or if it’s natural or artificial. That’s why you’ll often see complicated-sounding components when you read through any Royal Canin ingredient list. And it’s not cheap, either.

But with years of scientific research, one thing we can tell you is that Royal Canin works as advertised. For puppies who need all the help they can get during their growing up years, precise nutrition is essential. That’s why puppy owners begin using this Royal Canin Maxi Puppy, then switch up later on to a more natural dog food brand once they reach adulthood.

Pros

  • Backed by veterinarians
  • Precise formulation to help maximize puppy growth
  • Promotes digestive, bone, and immune system health

Cons

  • Uses meal by-products and other potentially artificial ingredients

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

Pooch and Mutt

  • Type: Wet
  • Key Benefits:
    • Suitable for all breeds and sizes
    • Grain and gluten-free
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 11%
    • Fat: 4%
    • Fiber: 0.2%

For the environmentally friendly pet owner, Pooch and Mutt is a good solid choice. This wet dog food eschews the traditional can and replaces it with 100% recyclable packaging. Not only is it ecologically sound, but it’s much lighter, too, and is easier to store because of it’s slimmer size, and is quick to open and serve to your dog.

As for the dog food itself, it still continues with the healthy and green theme of its packaging. It only uses real and natural meat from chicken and fish, plus fresh vegetables as the source of carbohydrates and fibre. There are no added additives or preservatives, perfect for maintaining your dog’s health. Their ingredient label is pretty transparent about this, and there’s nothing confusing in there, which is much appreciated.

This dog food is also grain and gluten-free, which is a positive if your dog has allergens or intolerances. It has a low-fat content, and a moderate amount of protein compared to similar wet dog food.

Overall, if you like something that satisfies your dog and the planet’s well-being at the same time, Pooch and Mutt is a good choice.

Pros

  • Recyclable packaging makes disposal easy
  • Grain and gluten-free
  • No preservatives and additives

Cons

  • Chicken can be a source of allergens for some dogs

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Butcher's Super Senior Wet Dog

  • Type: Wet
  • Key Benefits:
    • Aids digestion
    • Nutritionally complete for senior dogs
    • No preservatives or additives
  • Guaranteed Analysis:
    • Protein: 9%
    • Fat: 5%
    • Fiber: 0.2%

Butcher’s is a British dog food company that specializes in all-natural, wet dog food. It comes in convenient disposable trays, which make them perfect for feeding wet food on the go. Not to mention it makes cleanup easier.

Butcher’s wet dog food comes in several variants, which fit a particular dog’s health condition. For example, some are designed to promote a healthy coat and fur.

For this review, however, we’ll be focusing on the Super Senior line. This is specially formulated for the exact nutritional needs of older dogs, and as any owner can tell you, it often involves digestion. That’s why the food itself is easy for dogs to eat and digest, plus it contains chicory root fibre to further aid in digestion.

The nutritional content is also balanced for old age, with moderate amounts of both protein and fat. Our neighbours report that their ageing Shih Tzu loves these perfectly sized trays. They also had a good experience with their dog’s stool, which were better formed and had a better odour than with their previous feed.

Butcher’s also uses only all-natural meat, vegetables, and grains sourced from UK farms. There are no preservatives or additives.

Overall, this is one of the best wet dog foods you can buy for your dog. They’re all-natural, packed with health benefits, and have variants that will surely fit your dog’s special needs.

Pros

  • Recyclable packaging makes disposal easy
  • Grain and gluten-free
  • No preservatives or additives

Cons

  • Trays can be smaller for bigger breeds

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0

Things to Consider When Buying Dog Food

Dog food is one of those things where everyone has their own opinion and favourites. Hence, if you ask people for advice on what to buy, you’ll get varying answers.

However, we suggest that instead of asking “what’s the best dog food?”, the better question to pose is “what does my dog actually need?” That’s because dog food is highly personalized to your specific pet.

Here are some of the considerations we believe you need to look at when buying dog food:

Your dog’s life stage

Your dog’s life stage is a crucial factor on what type of dog food to get, so much that most of what you can buy in the market is clearly labelled whether it’s for puppies or adult dogs.

The reason for this is that puppies will have drastically different nutritional needs compared to a fully grown dog and one entering its senior years. The former needs all the calories and protein they can get to support their growing bodies. Adult and senior dogs will have nutritional needs and complications that their feed needs to address.

Pregnant or nursing dogs are a special case. They need added calories for the growing life in their belly, plus a healthy dose of calcium. Puppy dog food is great for this, so slowly transition them during this time.

Wet vs Dry

There are two major categories of dog food: wet or dry. Each has its own pros and cons, and pet owners who swear by them.

Dry is the common form of dog food, and the one most dog owners prefer. That’s because they’re so convenient to prepare – simply take it out of the bag and into your dog’s dish. They also have a longer shelf life and have more nutrients packed in, so they’re very cost-efficient. It’s also great if you want to buy in bulk.

The downside is that not all dogs like them, because they can be unpalatable. A lot of dry dog food also contains preservatives and extenders, so you should be extra careful when buying them.

Wet dog food is usually canned and is in the form of a stew. The good thing about it is that it most closely resembles what dogs would eat in nature. It’s made of fresh ingredients, so a lot of dogs will find it more appealing. It also provides much-needed water.

The drawback is that wet dog food will have fewer nutrients per serving than dry (it’s 80% water and just 20% nutrients). Thus, you might need to feed more to reach your pet’s nutritional goal, which can result in higher costs. Not to mention they’re messier for your dogs to eat and have a shorter shelf life.

In the end, no one is better than the other. It all comes down to preference. If you like the convenience and cost, go for dry. Otherwise, if your dog wants to eat something fresher, go with wet.

Nutritional balance

Every dog has its own specific nutritional needs, and this should factor into what dog food you should buy. And like humans, these are the big three macronutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates. A dog’s macro needs, however differ much more than ours.

When buying dog food, the first thing you should do is check the label and look for its guaranteed analysis. This is the minimum amount of each macronutrient that the manufacturer guarantees is in the dog food.

If you’re not sure, here are some of the macronutrients and what they do to a dog.

Protein is the number one macronutrient in dogs, and as such will constitute the biggest component of most dog food. It contributes to the dog’s growth and overall health. Plus, it’s one of the major sources of energy for a dog, as they can break protein down into glucose.

Fat is the next consideration and is the number one component that contributes to a healthy coat and sheen. It’s also a preferred energy source since they are easier to digest than protein and carbs. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are the prime sources of fat you should consider.

Carbohydrates are a good addition, but you’d be surprised to know that dogs don’t actually need them. As mentioned, they derive their energy from protein and fats. The exception is fibre, which is useful for dogs with digestive problems.

Apart from these three, there are also vitamins and antioxidants to consider. These can have benefits from delaying ageing to promoting healthy bones in your dog. The formulation is specific to dog food, so it’s best to match the product to the one that your dog needs.

Finally, make sure the dog food is nutritionally balanced based on the guidelines of the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF).

When in doubt, we highly suggest you seek the advice of a veterinarian.

Protein Source

If you’re particular about the quality of the protein in your dog food, you need to consider its source.

The reason for this is that in the pet food industry, ‘meat’ can mean a lot of things, but mostly it means meat by-products or waste from food facilities or even restaurants. The problem is that you’re not guaranteed what exactly goes into this ‘meat’ in your dog food.

If you can, look for a named protein source. A big giveaway is to check the ingredients list. If it just says ‘meat’, then it’s a telltale sign that it’s a meat by-product and not the high-quality stuff.

Most premium dog food will often use named meat and write the specific one used in the ingredient list. Common ones are chicken, beef, turkey, and salmon.

Allergens

Allergens are a sensitive (forgive the pun) consideration among pet owners. A lot of them don’t even know what their dogs are allergic to, and it can be hard to pinpoint which one is causing the problem in dog foods that contain lots of ingredients.

The solution is to buy a limited ingredient dog food, which is dog food that is restricted only to 2 or 3 key ingredients. They also avoid the common allergens in dogs, which include grains like corn, rice, and wheat. Hence, you’ll often find these dog foods are grain-free.

The benefit of limited ingredient dog food is that you can easily determine which type of food your dog is allergic to. You can try feeding them one with beef as the prime ingredient, for example, and see if how they react. If they develop allergies, then you can be fairly certain beef is the culprit and avoid that in the future.

These types of dog food also tend to feature much higher quality ingredients, so that’s a plus.

Preservatives

Like human food, preservatives in dog food should be avoided like the plague. And just like our food, it can be a challenge reading through an ingredient list to figure out exactly which are the harmful elements. Educating yourself is key!

Personally, I try to avoid anything that has things in the ingredient list with a complicated spelling. In particular, you need to avoid two common carcinogens found in dog food – Ethoxyquin and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA). Both are banned for human consumption and yet are found in some dog food.

Will your dog like it?

At the end of the day, the best dog food for your canine friend is the one that they will actually like. After all, nutrition is useless if the dog can’t take advantage of it. Plus, it’s next to impossible to force a dog to eat something they don’t like.

Unfortunately, finding out what your dog likes is a matter of trial and error. You can make educated guesses based on what flavours, ingredients, or even brands your dog liked before. But do note that this isn’t a guarantee, as they might reject even different variants from the same brand.

Your dog’s pre-existing health conditions

Like humans, dogs can develop several diseases and disorders. Some common ones include a fatty heart or liver, diarrhoea, and arthritis. A lot of these are affected by the food your dog eats, so you need to be extra careful with your choices if that’s the case.

For example, if your pet has high blood pressure or heart problems, it might be wise to avoid high-fat dog food. Likewise, picking dog food rich in antioxidants can help delay ageing and even some cancers.

Switching Dog Food Brands

It’s highly likely that you’ll be switching between dog food brands numerous times throughout the lifespan of your pooch. It is, therefore, useful to know how to do this properly.

The most important rule is not to do it too abruptly. Immediately switching to the new brand might upset your dog’s stomach, or he or she might just refuse to eat it. Like us, they need time to adapt and get used to new things.

This is especially important to do when transitioning life stages, i.e. from a puppy to an adult dog.

The most effective method is to mix a small portion of the new dog food with the old one for the first 2 days. This way, you can monitor how your dog’s body reacts to it. Check the quality of their stools and the overall health of your dog.

Then gradually increase the ratio of old dog food to new, aiming for 50/50 at the 3rd or 4th day. You should be looking at a full transition to the new dog food by day 7. If your dog likes it and there are no health problems, voila, you’ve successfully switched dog food brands.