Are you looking for the best dog food in the UK?
You might be ready to ditch the big-name brands that you find in your pet store or supermarket for balanced, complete and high-quality dog food.
Perhaps you’re disheartened by the confusing labels or list of additives and preservatives in your dog’s current food that you buy during your weekly shop.
Some traditional dog food brands use fillers and nasties in their food to cut costs and ensure their food has a long shelf life.
However, British dog owners have a lot of choice if they’re ready to ditch the store-bought food in favour of fresh dog food made from real ingredients.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best dog food options in the UK right now to give British pet parents a new perpsective on pet food.
We’ll highlight what we believe to be the best fresh dog food, raw dog food, air-dried dog food, freeze-dried dog food, customized kibble, complete dry food, plant-based dog food and insect-based dog food.
It’s worth pointing out that I have fed all the dog food brands mentioned in this feature to my dogs for the purposes of this ultimate guide to the best dog food in the UK.
With the introduction over, let’s take a look at why I ditched the “traditional” dog food before we examine the different pet food formats so UK pet parents can get a better understanding of what’s on offer.
Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as veterinary, medical or professional advice. The content of our articles does not constitute veterinary advice. It’s always best to speak with your vet or a certified pet nutritionist before making any changes to your pet's diet or feeding routine.
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Why I Ditched The ‘Traditional’ Dog Food!
If you’ve got picky eaters like my dogs, you’ll be familiar with how stressful and upsetting it can be when your pets won’t eat their food.
My female Alaskan Klee Kai has a sensitive stomach and I found that the majority of big-name dry dog food brands purchased at my local supermarket would upset her tummy.
She wasn’t a particular fan of the taste which is hardly a surprise seeing as the kibble didn’t seem particularly appetising to me and the ingredients weren’t fresh.
My Mini Huskies would sometimes refuse to eat their food which would lead to further tummy problems and I’d inevitably end up making a costly trip to the vet or the emergency vet at the weekend.
A chance meeting with a dog owner at a park resulted in my introduction to fresh dog food – balanced and complete meals, using real ingredients, gently cooked and tailored to meet my dog’s needs.
This opened up a whole new realm of possibilities as I discovered some smaller dog food brands who create recipes with help from vets using human-quality ingredients and cooked with care.
While I prefer to feed my two mini huskies fresh dog meals, I’ve tried raw dog food, air-dried dog food, freeze-dried dog food, tailored kibble, insect-based and plant-based dog food.
My Alaskan Klee Kai showed the most interest in their fresh dog meals and I noticed benefits to their overall health, energy levels and wellbeing so I’ve stuck with this dog food format in the long run.
But let’s take a look at all the different options available to UK dog owners who want to ditch their store-bought food in favour of balanced and complete meals.
Types Of Balanced And Complete Dog Food
In this section, we’ll go into a little more detail about the different dog food formats available to dog owners in the UK right now.
• Fresh dog food – This is my favourite dog food format based upon the success that I’ve experienced with my Klee Kai feeding these type of meals. They’re made using human-grade ingredients in recipes formulated by vets. They cook their meals at low temperatures before their frozen and shipped direct to your door.
• Raw dog food – There’s been a big shift to raw dog food diets over the past decade. Raw dog food companies provide a diet based on raw meat (supplemented by fruit, vegetables, minerals and vitamins) that would perhaps be similar to what their wild ancestors would have eaten. However, this may not be suitable for everyone as there are risks associated with feeding raw dog food. You can learn more about the risks of handling raw pet food here.
• Air-dried dog food – Air-dried dog food is gently cooked a low temperatures so the ingredients aren’t exposed to harsh temperatures. As the name suggests, these dog food brands will use a process of air drying to allow the ingredients to retain all the nutritional goodness.
• Freeze-dried raw dog food – Freeze-dried raw dog food has virtually all the water removed from the food by using a three-step process. There’s a freeze phase, primary drying or sublimation phase followed by the secondary drying or absorption phase. Sounds complicated but feeding it to your dog is simple!
• Dehydrated raw dog food – Dehydrated raw dog food companies will slowly air-dry raw ingredients at 40ºC or below without using artificial minerals or vitamins. They cook their food in this way to ensure the nutrients in your dog’s food stay intact.
• Complete dry dog food – This is a pet food format that most British dog owners will recognise. It’s kibble but made with high-quality, natural ingredients in recipes that have been approved by vets, with supplements added to promote a happy and healthy life for your dog.
• Cold-pressed dry dog food – Cold-pressed dog food is a cooking method whereby the raw ingredients such meat, offal and other ingredients are produced at lower temperatures, usually between 45ºC and 80ºC rather than 150ºC or more like a lot of big-name dry food.
• Complete wet food – While you’ll find some unpleasant-smelling wet food at your pet store or supermarket, if your dog loves wet food but you want a healthier option then there are some brands who’ve created wet food that is balanced and complete.
• Insect-based dog food – As we try to make a shift to being more sustainable and environmentally-conscious dog owners, you may want to give insect-based dog food a try. As the name suggests, these dog food companies use insect-based protein alongside fresh ingredients to create their dog food.
• Plant-based dog food – If you’re vegan or you try to avoid meat a couple of times a week, you may like to get your dog involved in your meat-free Mondays or meat-free days. There are a number of dog food companies who provide plant-based meals for dogs, although it’s not recommended to feed your pup an entirely plant-based diet.
Best Dog Food UK 2022
Now that we’ve touched upon 10 different pet food formats, let’s take a look at our ultimate guide to the best dog food in the UK right now.
Best Fresh Dog Food: Butternut Box
Butternut Box offer British dog owners the chance to adopt a fresh approach to their dog’s nutrition. They only use human-quality ingredients (60% meat and 40% vegetables, lentils and minerals) that are cooked at low temperatures to retain their nutritional goodness. Once they’re prepared and portioned to meet your dog’s requirements based upon your answers in their sign-up questionnaire, they’ll freeze their meals before shipping your balanced, complete and fresh dog meals to your door. It’s really simple! Butternut Box are a subscription service but you can cancel or pause at any time. Butternut Box has been a massive hit in my house and my Alaskan Klee Kai love their recipes. I really appreciate their range of 10 recipes so I can mix up their meals so they can enjoy an array of flavours. They’ve fed over 170,000 dogs in the UK.
We have an exclusive offer for helloBARK! readers who are thinking about signing up to Butternut Box. You can get 50% off your first Butternut Box order and 50% off your second Butternut Box order by clicking here.
Best Raw Dog Food: Bella & Duke
While I personally don’t feed raw dog food to my dogs because I’ve got a young child in my home, I did try Bella & Duke for a while and I can see the potential benefits. Bella & Duke are a dog food company that like to stay at the cutting edge of pet nutrition but they’ve also got a great family feel to what they do. Their customer service is excellent, which I feel is important because feeding raw dog food can be a tricky business. Bella & Duke only use high-quality British-sourced ingredients in their food and they’ve got a good range of recipes – too.
Best Air-Dried Dog Food: Pure
If you fancy giving air-dried dog food a try, Pure Pet Food would be my pick. They use high-quality ingredients that are prepared in their dedicated kitchen in Yorkshire. Pure write on their website that a lot of their recipes are hypoallergenic so they could be a good fit for dogs with sensitive tummies. I appreciated that Pure can be stored in your cupboard rather than taking up fridge or freezer space. While it was a little more hassle having to combine their air-dried dog food with water to make my Klee Kai’s meals, my dogs did seem to enjoy it.
Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food: ZENOO
ZENOO piqued my interest after I learned that they use advanced technology which is also employed by NASA to remove water, make the food lighter but still retain its nutritional goodness to promote a happy and healthy lifestyle for your pup. They’re a good alternative to raw dog food and you won’t have to handle raw meat so it’s removes that potential headache. You’re provided with a scooper and feeding guidelines to follow. My Klee Kai did like their freeze-dried raw food and it was convenient to feed before storing in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard.
Best Dehydrated Raw Dog Food: Rocketo
Rocketo are one of the few dog food companies in the UK who are providing dehydrated raw dog food. They’ve got four recipes on offer: beef, chicken, fish and insect. Rocketo claim on their website that they’re the only commercial pet food company in Europe that slowly air-dries fresh raw ingredients 40ºC or below without using artificial minerals or vitamins.
Best Complete Dry Dog Food: Pooch & Mutt
While I prefer fresh dog meals for my dogs, if I was to continue feeding dry food to my Klee Kai, I’d consider Pooch & Mutt. They’ve got a grain-free, hypoallergenic dry food that is made with natural ingredients. Their vet-recommended dry food ranges cater to specific needs and life stages, to ensure dogs get everything they need to live their best life. For example, they’ve got Calm & Relaxed, Health & Digestion, Joint Care and Slim & Slender. These recipes include probiotics and prebiotics, with high meat content from a single functional protein source.
Best Cold-Pressed Dry Dog Food: Forthglade
Forthglade are a versatile dog food company who have a wide range of different dog food types. For the purposes of this article, we’re highlighting their cold-pressed dry dog food. Forthglade explain on their website that their cold-pressed dry dog food is created by taking lots of delicious ingredients and doing as little to them as possible before they reach your dog’s bowl. So all the flavour and nutritional goodness remains despite the cooking process.
Best Complete Wet Food: Tails
Tails are an experienced dog food company that offer tailored dry and wet food. We’re looking at their wet food range for this particular article. They’ve got a great range of wet food options which they create using high-quality ingredients. Unlike wet dog food that you find at your local supermarket, there’s no unpleasant smell and the wet food contains real ingredients.
Our readers can get 75% off their first order of Tails when they click this link.
Best Insect-Based Dog Food: Yora
If you’re interested in seeing how your dog enjoys insect-based protein, Yora is one of the leading insect-protein powered dog food brands in the UK. I was pleasantly surprised by how much my dogs enjoyed this particular pet food format. While I didn’t use Yora for their daily meals, I found their insect-based kibble made excellent dog treats.
Best Plant-Based Dog Food: Barking Heads
Barking Heads believe vegetables are an awesome source of power and nutrients for both humans and dogs. So they’ve created a plant-based dog food range for British pups. Their recipe is aptly named Plant-Powered Pooches. Vegans who own dogs or pet parents who try to have a couple of meat-free days each week now have the chance to add vegetarian power to their dog’s regular meals. However, it’s not recommended to switch your dog to a purely plant-based diet.
Anything Else To Consider?
If you’re thinking about making the switch to one of the dog food brands listed in this article, you should speak to your vet to learn more and get their input.
They may be able to suggest a particular dog food format that will better suit your canine companion or steer you away from a pet food format that they believe might not be a fit.
Your vet can also offer advice on how to make the transition to a new dog food so to avoid upsetting your pet, especially if they’ve got a history of having a sensitive tummy.
Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as veterinary, medical or professional advice. Our articles and the products featured in them are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems for you and/or your pet. It's always best to consult your vet regarding any health issues your pet may have.
Wrapping Up – Our Final Thoughts
We’ve reached the end of our ultimate guide to the best dog food in the UK at the moment.
As I said at the start of this article, I’ve tried and tested all the dog food brands in this feature with my two Alaskan Klee Kai.
While all the dog food brands proved popular with my two mini huskies, I’ve found that fresh dog meals are the best suited to my two dogs.
They love the range of recipes, high meat content, and overall taste – but that’s just my dogs and every dog will be different.
Hopefully, any British dog owner reading this article will be able to find a pet food format that works for their dog and provide peace of mind their furry friend is eating a healthy diet.