The 13 Best Dog Foods with Grains in 2023

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

This updated guide lists all of the Best grain-inclusive dog foods this year.

Amidst the grain-free debate, choosing the right diet for your dog is crucial. Grain-rich diets can be beneficial unless your dog has allergies. Quality matters; avoid low-grade fillers. For a wholesome choice, here are top-notch, grain-inclusive dog foods you both will cherish.

We chose these products based on our 40-point inspection to help you make the right choice.

Let’s explore.

The Best Dog Foods with Grains

Top PicksRatingMain Ingredients
#1. Wellness Complete Health Adult Chicken & Oatmeal Dog Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas
#2. Purina ONE Natural, High Protein + Plus Healthy Puppy Dog Food4.8Chicken, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Corn
#3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken Dog Food4.8Chicken, Brewers Rice, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Oats
#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food4.7Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
#5. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food4.7Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice, Dried Yeast, Egg Product
#6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Dog Food4.7Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Flaxseed
#7. Holistic Select Adult Health Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Dog Food4.7Anchovy and Sardine Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Rice, Salmon Meal
#8. Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food4.6Beef Meal, Ground White Rice, Egg Product, Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp

The Best Wet Dog Foods Reviewed

#1. Wellness Complete Health Adult Chicken & Oatmeal Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Ground Barley, 5. Peas 

The Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal recipe is a nutrient-dense formula that perfectly combines supreme-quality protein and healthy, wholesome grains for highly active dogs. It contains omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, antioxidants for immune system support, and glucosamine to keep your dog’s bones and joints in good working order.

This food is manufactured in the USA from globally sourced ingredients and contains no GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives.

#2. Purina ONE Natural, High Protein +Plus Healthy Puppy Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Soybean Meal

This Purina ONE Natural Puppy Formula promotes stable growth and long-term health in puppies. This recipe contains chicken, beef fat, carrots, and micronutrient supplements to fulfill your dog’s nutritional needs.

Harnessing the goodness of wholesome grains such as whole corn, rice flour, and oatmeal, this formula boasts rich fiber and calorie content, fostering gastrointestinal vitality and elevating energy levels. DHA nurtures your puppy’s visual and cognitive growth, while omega fatty acids and antioxidants contribute to a lustrous coat and fortified immune resilience as they transition into adulthood.

#3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Yellow Peas, 4. Cracked Pearled Barley, 5. Whole Grain Oats

As dogs age, their digestive systems begin to become more sensitive. But with Hill’s Science Diet Senior Vitality Formula, your senior dog can get its needed energy and fiber while retaining optimal digestive efficiency.

Crafted from the finest chicken meat, this recipe highlights L-carnitine to encourage a sleek, muscular physique. Comprising rice, barley, oats, and corn, the grains imbue abundant fiber and carbohydrates, sustaining your dog’s vitality while curbing unnecessary calories.

Enriched with immune-boosting Vitamin E and C, and fortified with omega fatty acids, this formula furnishes essential oils for optimal coat and skin wellness.

#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Chicken Liver, 4. Carrots, 5. Peas

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner Canned Food includes the best proteins, veggies, and wholesome grains in this recipe. This puppy food uses boneless chicken meat and liver for optimal muscle maintenance. Grains include brown rice, barley, and oatmeal, which are easy on the stomach and packed with carbohydrates to keep your dog active.

Additionally, this recipe includes vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas to provide minerals and vitamins to promote bone health and a strong immune system. Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle recipe also contains 451 calories per cup to fuel your growing puppy’s active growth.

#5. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Whole Grain Brown Rice, 3. Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Whole Grain Oatmeal, 5. Chicken Fat

Ideal for large and giant breed dogs, Nutro Natural Choice stands out as an excellent choice. Packed with essential nutrients tailored to their needs, this formula boasts deboned chicken, healthy fats, nourishing pumpkin, and an array of vital vitamins and minerals.

This recipe provides grains in the form of brown rice, which is easy on the stomach and an ideal dog fuel. Besides brown rice, the food also contains whole-grain sorghum, oatmeal, and barley to supply even more carbohydrates. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also present to provide the joint support needed by dogs of all shapes and sizes.

#6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Whole Grain Wheat, 4. Cracked Pearled Barley, 5. Flaxseed

Small breed dogs often have high energy requirements, and grains and extra carbs can be beneficial to meet those demands. Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Formula is an excellent choice for these little ones. With protein sourced from chicken and ample calcium, it supports strong bones and joints, ensuring your dog’s overall well-being.

Rice, whole wheat, sorghum, and barley are the grains used to fuel your dog’s daily adventures, while omega fatty acids provide for a healthy coat and skin. Finally, vitamins C and E and added antioxidants strengthen immunity—helping your dog become better resistant to disease.

#7. Holistic Select Adult Health Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Anchovy and Sardine Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Rice, 5. Salmon Meal

Infused with antioxidant-rich superfoods, the Holistic Select Adult Health is a unique recipe that elevates your dog’s cellular well-being. With its nutrient-dense composition, it serves as a holistic option for dogs with sensitive digestion.

The inclusion of wholesome grains enhances the utilization and absorption of essential nutrients. Abounding in premium ingredients, this recipe offers a delectable flavor your dog will undoubtedly relish.

#8. Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef Meal, 2. Ground White Rice, 3. Egg Product, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds, this Diamond Natural formula is rich in protein derived from fish and beef. The list of ingredients also includes various whole foods for lean nutrition and wholesome grains for maximum energy.

A preferred pick among pet parents seeking a comprehensive meal, this recipe combines potent antioxidants and supplementary vitamins to enhance the health and vitality of their cherished companions. To top it off, essential omega fatty acids ensure your dog’s coat retains its luster and radiance!

#9. Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Meal All Life Stages Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Duck Meal, 2. Millet, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Salmon Meal

A premier choice, this top-tier, grain-inclusive recipe earns its place with a remarkable nutrient blend. A robust 38% protein is sourced from duck meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal, offering a delectable taste your beloved dog will relish. Nutritional harmony is achieved through a balanced mix of wholesome ingredients, enriched with concentrated goodness from fruits and vegetables.

Enhanced with digestive enzymes, easily digested kibble. Wholesome grains, no fillers or synthetics, for guaranteed dog health benefits.

#10. Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Pursuit Formula Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Whole Oat Groats, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

Designed for athletic and active dogs, Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Pursuit Formula uses ingredients like premium-grade protein and wholesome grains that keep your dog lean and satisfied. This formula uses chicken meal, brown rice, animal-based oils, and beet pulp to provide a balanced and fulfilling diet.

Another great feature of the formula is that it contains BC30 probiotics and fibers, which improve nutrient absorption and keeps your dog fueled throughout the day. Finally, this food is enriched with omega fatty acids to make your dog’s coat softer and shinier. 

#11. Nutro Ultra Adult Weight Management Chicken, Lamb & Salmon Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Grain Brown Rice, 4. Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Whole Grain Barley

Optimal for weight loss, Nutro Ultra Adult Weight Management Dog Food is our top grain-inclusive choice. Packed with energy-rich whole sorghum, brown rice, barley, and oats, it curbs calories while ensuring satisfaction.

Chicken, salmon, and lamb proteins foster lean muscle. Apples, blueberries, and pumpkins enhance taste and micronutrients. Plus, it’s free from allergens and artificial additives, promoting well-being and digestion.

#12. Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food


Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Barley, 4. Pork Meal, 5. Canola Meal

Whole Earth Farms’ delectable kibble boasts real chicken, chicken meal, and pork meal for wholesome protein. Digestible barley adds fiber for digestion, while the Wholesome Harvest Blend in all recipes provides antioxidants, Omega-3, and 6 Fatty acids for immunity and skin.

Void of fillers and artificial additives, this recipe champions overall well-being. Crafted by vets and nutritionists, it’s a complete, trusted meal for your cherished canine.

#13. Kinetic Performance Power 30K Formula Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Ground Sorghum

Designed for super active and performance dogs, this formula lives up to its name. Sourced for sustainable energy, it’s tailor-made for your hyper tail-waggers. Packed with nutrient-rich ingredients and devoid of artificial flavors or fillers, it’s a top-notch choice.

Elevate your hound’s performance with this nutrient-packed recipe. Featuring wholesome grains like sorghum and brown rice, Kinetic’s performance power formula ensures optimal nourishment for your dog.

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick


Best Dog Foods with Grains: A Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to understanding the dietary requirement of grains in dogs, there’s a never-ending debate. And while there’s no potent evidence to suggest that dogs must eat a grain-inclusive diet, grains aren’t considered harmful for your dogs either. In fact, the more pet nutritionists research, the more benefits they can see.

As dog owners, it’s vital to recognize that dogs aren’t exclusively carnivores. While we often aim to mirror their ancestral diet, their digestion has adapted to encompass a range of foods, including vegetables, fruits, and grains that we consume.

The belief that grains are harmful to dogs stems from our inclination to equate their diet with that of wolves. However, domesticated dogs can benefit from a wider range of nutrients, unlike their wild counterparts.

So Are Grains Bad for Dogs?

As far as grains are concerned, it isn’t really the ingredients that cause the issue. It is a fact that we don’t pay enough attention to the quality of grains we are choosing for our dogs and the content of carbohydrates present in a grain-inclusive composition. One thing needs to be clear despite the kind of food you choose, carbs should never surpass the protein and fat content in a blend. Your dog’s ideal diet should be high in protein, contain moderate fat levels, and be low in carbs.

Now, let’s delve into this debate further to understand why grain-inclusive diets have their merits. It’s worth considering that an unwarranted shift to a grain-free diet might inadvertently rob your dog of a valuable spectrum of nutrients.

Why Are Grains Considered Bad for Dogs?

As mentioned earlier, grains typically pose no harm unless your dog has an allergy. This viewpoint is also supported by veterinarians and veterinary medicine, as they refute the misconception surrounding grain consumption for dogs. Food allergies are relatively rare among canines, and grains are seldom the culprits. In reality, whole grains offer a nutritious wellspring of essential elements, contributing to various health advantages.

Some people are just more comfortable feeding a grain-free diet option to their dog, even if there are no allergy symptoms present. While this is a personal choice for every dog owner, I would still advise that you take all things into account before making this decision.

Good Grains vs. Bad Grains

When opting for grain-inclusive dog foods, prioritize whole grains for their optimal nutritional content and digestibility. Here are some excellent examples:

• Rice
• Oats
• Barley
• Quinoa
• Wheat
• Millet

Conversely, steer clear of residual grain by-products, often ending in ‘mill’ or ‘hull,’ which offer mere empty calories. Here are a few illustrations:

• Peanut Hulls
• Wheat mill runs
• Soybean hulls
• Corn Cobs

Is Grain-Free Diet Potentially Dangerous?

The popularity of grain-free diets is rooted in perceived benefits, but labeling it entirely dangerous is unwarranted. Whole grains have been a staple, but the sudden shift to alternatives can be risky due to unfamiliar components in some grain-free foods. Allergies aside, many pet parents embrace grain-free diets influenced by human health trends, unaware of differing nutritional needs.

Choosing grain-free might inadvertently deprive your furry friend of vital nutrients. Grain-free is truly beneficial for allergic dogs, but not a universal choice. Exceptions arise when allergies are present or specific health needs dictate.

The only two reasons why it is okay for pooches to pass up a grain-inclusive diet are:

  • Allergies – While most dogs handle grains well, allergies can occur. It’s noteworthy that protein allergies are more prevalent than grain allergies in dogs. Vigilance is crucial to spot symptoms accurately.
  • Digestion and Gas
  • Beyond allergies, dogs with sensitive digestion might struggle with grain-inclusive diets. Gas and tummy discomfort can surface. If your dog becomes unusually gassy, exploring a grain-free diet could offer relief.

Why Feeding a Grain-Inclusive Diet is a Good Idea

While dogs can produce glucose from fat and protein, grains hold value in their diet. Here’s why they’re beneficial:

  • Your pooch’s digestive system requires fiber for regulation, as it eliminates toxins from the body.
  • There’s a whole myriad of vitamins and minerals your dogs get from whole grains.
  • Grains, such as oats, also contain soluble fiber to help control cholesterol, stabilize blood glucose levels and enhance the absorption of nutrients.
  • Unlike protein sources, grain can reduce the calorie content of a diet without compromising on the satiation it offers.
  • Energy extracted from healthy carbs also helps dogs with certain medical conditions like liver or kidney disease, intestinal bowel disease, and pancreatitis.
  • A grain-inclusive meal also works perfectly with dogs who require a low-fat or protein-reduced diet.

What Kind of Grain-Inclusive Food Is Best?

Navigating the array of grain-inclusive dog foods can be overwhelming. Begin by scrutinizing labels. Assess the grains used – avoid GMOs, processed grains, or grain by-products. Make informed choices for your furry friend’s well-being.

With all this information in hand, you will be able to identify the good grains and avoid the bad ones. In addition to this, also check out the following:

  • Formulated as complete and balanced – Grain or no-grain, the recipe should offer the recommended nutrient profile, including protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The balanced concentration and appropriate ratios indicate the quality of the formulation.
  • Lifestyle and life stage – It is crucial to serve your dog according to the varying nutritional needs as they grow from a puppy to an adult dog and then to a senior dog.
  • Special needs – Especially if you are planning to stick to a grain-inclusive diet, make sure you are completely aware of the special needs of your dog and know about their allergies, if any.

Picking Up The Best Dog Food with Grain

Choosing optimal dog food extends beyond grain selection. Factor in these key elements when buying for your furry companion:

1. Macronutrient balance: A balanced diet consisting of lots of protein, moderate amounts of fats, and a few carbs is crucial for your dog’s good health. Always check the guaranteed analysis to determine whether the food fulfills AAFCO’s criteria and will be sufficient for your dog.

2. Type of protein: Although dogs are omnivores, they derive most of their nutrition from protein. Ensure that your shortlisted products contain easily digestible proteins and that your dog isn’t allergic to any of the sources.

3. Other ingredients: Ingredients can reveal a lot about the quality of dog food. Try to pick one mostly containing whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and meat sources instead of artificial ingredients.

Utilize the insights shared in this article to make a well-founded choice. These options are curated considering these factors, ensuring a nutritionally comprehensive and balanced diet.

Unless your dog displays signs of grain intolerance, a properly portioned whole-grain diet can indeed promote your pup’s well-being.

Here’s an informative video to give you better insights on the topic. Check it out!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are grains considered bad for dogs?

The response hinges on the specific grains in your dog’s diet. If your dog isn’t allergic to grains, they generally pose no harm. In fact, in their natural, unprocessed state, grains offer valuable nutrients and are deemed a wholesome source.

Is a grain-inclusive diet really a healthy option for my dog?

Determining what’s nutritionally suitable for your dog is crucial. Regarding grains, they indeed provide essential nutrients vital for dogs. The pivotal aspect is selecting the proper grain source, ensuring your canine companions receive the requisite nutrition and vitality. This context underscores the healthiness of a grain-inclusive diet for dogs.

How do I find out if my dog is allergic to grains?

Food allergies in dogs often manifest similar symptoms to those experienced by humans. Signs such as itchy skin, various gastrointestinal disturbances, lethargy, and ear infections can indicate an allergy. Should these symptoms endure or intensify, seeking guidance from your veterinarian is paramount.

How are whole grains better than processed grains for my dog’s food?

Since whole grains are unprocessed, they contain fiber and nutrients that could offer health benefits to your dog when included in their diet. Refined grains, on the other hand, are processed and tend to lose minerals, fiber, and vitamins during the process. Whole grains are usually a healthier option for your dog’s diet.

Are there any benefits of feeding whole grains to my dog?

Grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They provide healthy carbohydrates and offer your dog the energy they need to stay active and thrive.

Should I consider taking my vet’s advice before starting a grain-inclusive diet for my dog?

Prior to embarking on a specific diet, particularly a grain-inclusive one, consulting a veterinarian or pet nutritionist is highly advisable. When introducing such a diet for the first time, consider offering a small portion of grain-inclusive kibble. Monitoring for potential allergy symptoms is prudent before seeking expert guidance.

Are there dangers associated with feeding your dog a grain-free diet?

Grain-free diets are recommended for canines with grain-related allergies. Usually, these options are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. However, grain-free diets are known for aggravating the levels of taurine. This could lead to cardiomyopathy, which is a fatal heart condition for both canines and felines.

What are the best varieties of whole grains that I can feed my dog?

You have many options when it comes to healthy whole grains that you can feed your dog. These include wheat, rice, oats, barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and oatmeal. Usually, grain-inclusive diets have one or more of these as primary ingredients in the blend.

What varieties of grains are harmful to my dog’s diet?

Opt for whole grains in your dog’s diet, avoiding refined options. Be cautious of grain by-products like corn cobs, almond shells, and more. These are debris, not beneficial grains, and may harm your pet’s health.

Can whole grains cause weight gain in my dog?

If you stick to the recommended portion size for your dog’s diet, whole grains shouldn’t contribute to their weight gain. In fact, if you compare whole grains to alternative carbohydrate sources such as peas and potatoes, the latter can lead to an unintentional spike in weight.

Do grains have a positive impact on the digestive system of my dog?

Whole grains offer a wealth of minerals, vitamins, and digestion-aiding fiber. A grain-inclusive diet can benefit dogs without allergies, promoting a robust digestive system.

Whole grains help with healthy stools – is this correct?

As mentioned earlier, the fiber content present in grains can help your dog pass stool regularly and keep the digestive system running smoothly.

Can my dog easily digest grains?

Grains are easily digestible by dogs that are not sensitive to the ingredients. Additionally, fiber helps maintain a healthier digestive system in dogs.

Does a grain-inclusive diet impact the nutrient profile of dog food?

A diet that includes grains has an overall positive impact on the nutrient profile. The carbs are now extracted from whole grains, which are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber, instead of alternative varieties like pumpkin, peas, potatoes, etc. The overall nutrients are adjusted accordingly to ensure the diet is balanced and complete.