Best Dog Food at Walmart – Reviews & Buying Guide

Wal-Mart has a huge selection of dog food – and at great prices, too! But is that food healthy for your dog?

Absolutely! You can find great deals on natural, nutritious dog food from brands often only associated with high-end pet stores.

Not sure what food to choose? Here’s a look at the best dog food available at Wal-Mart right now, plus a guide on how to select the healthiest option for your four-legged friend:

Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Food

Dogs don’t exactly have discerning appetites. But that doesn’t mean you can feed them just anything. Choosing the right food for your pet helps them lead long, healthy lives. Here’s a rundown:

What Do I Look for on the Dog Food Bag?

Ignore marketing buzzwords on the front of the package. Instead, check out two separate sections on the back:

  •       Ingredients
  •       Guaranteed Analysis

The ingredients panel lists each ingredient in descending order, so the first one listed is the most plentiful and so on.

The guaranteed analysis panel shows nutritional info such as:

  •       Vitamins
  •       Minerals
  •       Fatty Acids
  •       Water Content
  •       Protein
  •       Fat
  •       Fiber

What Ingredients Should Be in the Food?

Dogs are facilitative carnivores. Their diet must consist mainly of meat. To put it simply, dogs need meat to live.

The first ingredient in dog food should be a whole protein. Chicken and beef are probably the most popular, but you can also find lamb, venison and more – even kangaroo!

Make sure the ingredient is listed by name alone and isn’t a by-product. For example, you want “chicken” instead of “chicken by-product.” A by-product is made from bones, organs and other non-muscle parts. They’re not necessarily harmful, but they don’t provide the same nutritional benefits as protein.   

Dog food contains more than meat. Fruits, vegetables, and grains will likely be in there, too. They provide supplement nutrition.

The food also needs fats and carbohydrates. They help your dog stay energetic all day long. However, food with high fat content is hard to digest. Fat content should be around 15% or less.

Finally, most dog foods contain fiber to aid with digestion. Dried beets and grains are two common fiber sources. Pumpkin is another source of fiber, although you’ll usually have to buy a can and mix it into the food yourself.  

What are the Types of Dog Food?

You have five types to choose from:

Dry Dog Food (Kibble)

When in doubt, choose dry dog food. The shape and consistency of the kibble allow for easy absorption into the dog’s gastrointestinal system. Plus, almost all dogs will eat dry dog food without an issue.

Dog owners often love dry food, too. It’s the best value by far. It’s also easy to store, requiring no refrigeration while also lasting a long time.  

Wet Dog Food

Many dogs love wet dog food. However, you want to be careful with wet food. It’s more expensive than dry – sometimes significantly so – and the nutritional benefits could be worse.

Food with lots of water fills your dog’s stomach but doesn’t always provide needed nutrients. Plus, wet food often contains indigestible proteins. They’ll pass through the dog’s GI tract too quickly to be absorbed properly.

Certain types of wet food are healthy for dogs. Look for foods with a water content under 75% which contain digestible proteins.

Semi-Moist Dog Food

These are foods shaped like hamburger patties, pork chops and other treats from the butcher shop. They’re novelty treats. Never use them in place of a meal. Most semi-moist food doesn’t have much nutritional value and should only be given to dogs occasionally.

Home Cooked

You can make your own dog food at home with chicken, vegetables and other ingredients available at your local grocery store. Home cooking allows you to have complete control over ingredient quality.

But meals which are healthy for people aren’t always healthy for dogs. You need a thorough understanding of canine nutrition in order to make your own dog food. Otherwise, your dog’s diet will lack vital nutrients.

Raw

Raw diets consist of raw meat along with some uncooked bones and organs. The diet is supposed to simulate what dogs would naturally eat in the wild. Dogs have short intestinal tracts and strong stomach acids which allow them to digest raw food.

Raw food diets are controversial. Some say they’re ideal for dogs while others say they don’t provide enough nutrients to sustain good health. Always consult with your vet before putting your dog on a raw food diet.

How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

Daily serving size depends on the dog’s age and weight. Generally, puppies are fed three to four times a day. Adult dogs are typically fed twice a day. Here’s a general rundown of serving sizes based on weight:

  •       One cup of kibble for dogs weighing under 10 pounds
  •       Two cups for dogs between 10 and 25 pounds
  •       Three cups for dogs between 25 and 50 pounds
  •       Four cups for dogs between 50 and 75 pounds
  •       Five cups for dogs weight over 75 pounds

These are only general guidelines. Consult your vet to develop a feeding plan specific for your dog.

Most experts recommend feeding your dog at specific meal times rather than allowing free range eating. Dogs tend to overeat when they have unlimited access to food.

Consistency is key. Feed your dogs at the same times each day. Most people feed their pups in the morning and evening.

Dry food contains little moisture, so be sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Rinse and fill the bowl each morning. Otherwise, food particles in the water will likely attract bugs.

Should I Add Supplements to My Dog’s Food?

You can find a wide variety of supplements meant to be mixed into your dog’s food. They’re made to treat a variety of issues such a joint pain, digestive problems and more.

Generally, supplements aren’t needed. Choosing a dog food with appropriate ingredients is the simpler and more effective way to treat health issues. Only use supplements recommended by your veterinarian.

Does Dog Food Have Any Potential Problems?

Keep an eye out for food allergies. Dogs can develop an allergic reaction to a food they’ve eaten for years. Food allergy symptoms include:

  •       Diarrhea
  •       Vomiting
  •       Excess gas
  •       Frequent scratching
  •       Hair loss

Many dogs develop an allergy to a specific protein. If your dog displays symptoms of an allergy, switch his food to one with a different protein. You want to find a food with a protein your dog has never eaten before. Options include duck, lamb, venison and more.

Grains are another common source of food allergy. Avoid any food with grains listed as the primary ingredient. Choose foods where Brewer’s rice or oatmeal are listed as the second or third ingredient.    

Finding the right dog food helps your four-legged friend live a long, happy and healthy life.

Here’s a look at our top six favorite food picks:

ImageProduct NameRatingPrice
DJI Mavic Pro1. Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry FoodCheck Price
DJI Mavic Pro2. Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection Formula4.5Check Price
DJI Mavic Pro3. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Dog Food4.7Check Price
DJI Mavic Pro4. Nutro Wholesome Essentials4.8Check Price
DJI Mavic Pro5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials4.8Check Price

1. Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry Food

If you haven’t heard of Canidae, then you are missing out on one of the best brands of dog food out there. The main ingredients are chicken, turkey, lamb and brown rice.

The nice thing about the All Life Stages type of food is that you can use it for dogs of all sizes and ages. From older puppies to healthy seniors.

One of the other reasons Candae is on top of our list is their pet food recall track record… it is one of the cleanest records of any brand you will find at Walmart so you can rest assured that the food is safe for your dog to eat.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Pros
  • The main ingredient is chicken
  • No fillers
  • Very healthy

Cons

Cons
  • More expensive than other options

2. Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection Formula

Have a new dog and not sure what to feed him? BLUE Life Protection Formula is a healthy dry food almost all dogs love. The main ingredients are chicken and brown rice.

It also contains LifeSource Bits. They’re small, dark bits of kibble packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

It’s a healthy, affordable choice suitable for all breeds and sizes of dogs. However, it should only be fed to small dogs on occasions (not as a main source of food).

Pros & Cons

Pros

Pros
  • The main ingredient is chicken
  • Includes unique LifeSource kibbles
  • Affordable and healthy

Cons

Cons
  • Not suitable as a long-term diet for small dogs

3. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Choose this food if your dog has a sensitive stomach and potential food allergy. It’s specially formulated for easy digestibility by a team of 220 veterinarians and pet nutritionists.

The main ingredient is brewer’s rice and chicken meal. Normally, meat should be the first ingredient, but not when feeding a dog with a sensitive stomach. Rice is easy to digest while still providing valuable nutrients. Typically, food with rice as the primary ingredient is used temporarily while diagnosing a food allergy.

Other ingredients include Vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids. Regular use promotes healthy skin and coat.

  • Pros & Cons

    Pros

    Pros
    • Formulated to treat sensitive stomachs
    • Created by a team of veterinary experts
    • Helps maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat

    Cons

    Cons
    • The first ingredient isn’t a protein

4. Nutro Wholesome Essentials

Nutro dog food contains a unique blend of natural, wholesome ingredients designed to benefit dogs inside and out. Fiber and antioxidants promote healthy digestive function while Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids add shine to coats and softness to the skin.

Farm-raised chicken is the number one ingredient. It also contains brown rice and sweet potato. You’ll find no grains, artificial flavors, by-products or other unwanted gunk. It’s just pure, natural chicken and rice your dog is sure to love.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Pros
  • The main ingredient is farm-raised chicken
  • Packed with fiber for digestive health
  • Contains no grains or by-products

Cons

Cons
  • May contain trace amounts of GMO

5. Gentle Giants Chicken Dry Dog Food

Holy health dog food, Batman! Gentle Giants was founded by Burt Ward, famously known as Robin from the 1960’s Batman TV show.

This food will turn your pup into a superhero. The main ingredient is farm-raised chicken, which is supplemented by three fruits, 12 vegetables, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.

It’s suitable for dogs at all stages of life from puppies to seniors. Prebiotics and probiotics help maintain healthy digestive functions while glucosamine helps prevent joint problems.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Pros
  • The main ingredient is farm-raised chicken
  • Designed for all stages of life
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Promotes healthy joint function

Cons

Cons
  • Puppies and seniors typically need a more specialized food

6. Purina ONE SmartBlend

Packed with nutrients, this unique blend from Purina improves health while also protecting against illness. A blend of zinc, selenium, vitamin A and E boost immune system function.

The main ingredient is real lamb. It’s a healthy protein which provides the nutrition dogs need. Other ingredients include rice flour, whole grain corn, and whole grain wheat.

You’ll likely notice benefits to your dog’s skin and coat, too. Omega 6 fatty acids and other nutrients increase coat shine. Additionally, glucosamine supports joint function.

The kibble has a meaty taste, and smell dogs find irresistible. Plus, the unique shape helps remove plaque buildup. Each crunch helps prevent dental decay.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Pros
  • The first ingredient is lamb
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Improves coat shine
  • Helps maintain healthy joint function
  • Boosts the immune system

Cons

Cons
  • Contains corn and wheat (as second and third ingredients)

Our Favorite Product

In our opinion, the best dog food at Wal-Mart is the Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry Food. If you wind up with a dog and aren’t sure what to feed him, grab this food. It’s safe, healthy and almost all dogs will eat it without a problem.

The main ingredient is chicken, which provides the protein dogs need to stay healthy. Plus, the food even includes fruits like papaya and pineapple. They’re packed with extra vitamins and nutrients to help maintain joint, heart and skin health.

We also like the kibble’s shape and texture. It’s chewable and easy to eat but also tough enough to remove plaque and build-up. As part of a regular diet, it helps protects against cavities and gum disease.  

Other foods on our list are better for specific types of dogs such as puppies, seniors, and dogs with sensitive stomachs. However, we found that Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry Food is the best all-around option for most adult dogs. It’s tasty, affordable and healthy.