Searching for the best dog food brands in India?
We can help you with that.
In this article, we will compare some of the most popular dog food brands and their recipes, preparation, the technology used, and nutritional value.
In 2019 India had already made $388m (approximately INR 2756.43 Crores). Mordor Intelligence predicts that the dog food industry still has a lot of potential to grow in India. 2020 has just begun. We are sure the dog food industry will rise to new heights this year.
So, it’s clear that dog parents are willing to go that extra mile to provide their dogs with the best nutrition, but, how do we know we are picking the right product?
Also read: How To Choose A High Quality Dog Food
Over the years of developing dog food, we learned about various products that are not as great as they propose to be. Some dog food brands in India are above average, while others are excellent. The question is why settle for above average when you can buy the best?
We also want to teach you how to read dog food labels so that you can differentiate between the good and the bad on your own.
By the time you reach the end, you may consider yourself well versed with the dog food industry. So, hop on, and make sure you have a warm cup of tea; this is going to be a long and informative journey in the world of dog food companies in India.
Types of Dog Foods in India 2020
To make life a little more convenient, dog food companies have made more than one type of dog food. Most of us feed our dogs, kibble, with the occasional inclusion of wet dog food.
Some of us like to cook for our dogs. For those who want to make home-cooked dog food, but lack the time, have many options too. There are a few companies that provide cooked dog food to make life easier for pet parents.
There are also other varieties like the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet for dogs (BARF diet), that recently stepped into the Indian market. We will look into all these varieties in greater detail in the next section.
1. Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is perhaps the most popular dog food purchased in India. India is among the top leading pet industries in the world. Though there is a small market for wet dog food, it is dominated mainly by dry dog food products.
Dry food has around 6% – 10% moisture. Kibble and dry treats like meat jerky and oral chew sticks fall into this category.
2. Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food is the complete opposite of the dry variety. It contains around 60% – 90% moisture. Before we developed dry dog food, wet dog food was the most popular alternative available to dog parents.
During the early 1900s, wet dog food started to become mainstream in the European market. Since they were moist, they didn’t have an extended expiration date, and it was quite reasonable to throw dog food because it reached its expiration date. Hence there was way more wastage.
Now, wet food is more of an occasional meal. We don’t depend on it as much as we used to.
3. Grain Free Dog Food
As the name suggests, grain free dog food (either wet or dry) is one that does not include any grains in their recipes. It includes both simple and complex grains from white rice to red rice – you will find none of it in grain free dog food.
Dogs evolved from wolves. Though your current walk-loving, bowl-licking, pillow-tearing pupper seems to have nothing in common with wolves, they still share the same digestive system. Dogs evolved a lot; they can even digest grains, unlike their wolf counterparts. But that does not mean grains are right for them.
During the second world war, the concept of package kibble came into practice. But, most of the products were made of table scraps, scanty meat, corn, and rice hulls to lower the final price of the product.
With recent studies in place, we are starting to understand how unhealthy these recipes were. So, animal enthusiasts introduced grain free recipes in the market.
These recipes replace grains with high fibre fruits and vegetables making it similar to their ancestral diet. Dogs are less likely to have stomach upsets, leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, and obesity if they have a grain free diet.
4. Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet (Barf Diet)
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet/ Bones and Raw Food for dogs or the BARF diet is another type of dog food. It can be considered a subcategory of the grain free diet.
The only difference between grain free pellets and the BARF diet is that, while we prepare grain free pellets with minimal cooking, there is no cooking involved in BARF diets.
Barf meals are nutritious if prepared well. There were cases in the past where dogs got sick from the diet; it’s usually because of poor preservation techniques rather than the meat itself.
Since all the ingredients are fresh and should not include common preservations like salt, sugar, and oil, manufacturers must take extra care to ensure that the food is vacuum-sealed and preserved correctly.
5. Home Cooked Dog Food
This is the final variety of dog food and the complete opposite of the BARF diet. There is very little information available about home cooked dog food and why it is suitable for your dogs.
That doesn’t stop it from being the most popular dog diet in India. While the west started developing products like wet dog food and kibble, we fed our dogs’ home cooked food in India.
Currently, there are a few Indian as well as western companies that provide packaged cooked dog food online, and there are many dog food recipes online. But, homemade dog food most often doesn’t contain all the vitamins and minerals needed for your dog.
You may have to supplement their meals with vitamins and minerals or conduct routine check-ups to make sure they are healthy.
Dry Dog Food vs. Wet Dog Food
The types of dog food we looked at earlier fall into two categories – dry dog food and wet dog food. For instance, kibble is dry, and home cooked dog food is moist. Other diets like grain free dog food can be both dry or wet.
The significant difference between these two varieties is their moisture content. Dry dog food has around 8 – 10% moisture, whereas wet dog food has 60 – 90% moisture.
The market has shifted in favour of dry recipes because of the sheer convenience of it all. You can store kibble on the shelf without any hassle, whereas with wet food, you must refrigerate it as soon as it’s open.
Which One Should You Choose?
Though dry dog food is the most convenient for working pet parents, you should look closely at your lifestyle to pick the ideal dog food.
If you look for good quality dog food, wet varieties will be more expensive for you. Due to the high moisture content, you will have to buy smaller packets and you will have to refill your stock often.
Instead of buying a single 10kg bag, you’ll have to buy 10x1kg bags in the long run.
Each time you buy a pack of wet food, you pay for the packaging and store them carefully to avoid spoilage. In the long run, wet dog food becomes much more expensive than dry dog food.
2. Moisture Content
Every dog is different, and sometimes the food we choose depends on their hydration levels. Some dogs don’t drink any water at all and continuously push their body towards dehydration.
In that regard, wet dog food has adequate moisture and is enough to hydrate your dog. Dry dog food, on the other hand, isn’t much of a hassle either. Add water to the kibble before giving it to your dog and they will love it!
3. Oral Hygiene and Age
Ideally, you should give your dog, hard and fibrous food as soft food may lead to plaque, tartar, and tooth decay. However, if your dog is old and is missing a few teeth, you should give them wet dog food.
It is also ideal for dogs who have problems with their jaw alignment or had any jaw surgery.
So, in short, dry dog food is perfect for oral hygiene but, if your dog already has weak teeth and gums, kibble would aggravate the condition, in which case wet food is better for them.
Kibble became very popular because we can store it with ease.
Moisture lowers the shelf life of the product. To overcome this problem, wet food manufacturers either add a lot of chemicals and preservatives that may not be good for your dog, or they use expensive preservation techniques. But, even after all that preservation, wet dog food should be consumed within 2-3 days of opening the product.
Once it’s open, you should store it in the fridge. Hence, dry dog food is the most convenient for pet parents who are always on the go.
How To Choose The Best Dog Food In India?
Every dog food company will tell you they are good, but how can you know for sure? We will provide you with a few simple ranking factors so that you can figure it out all by yourself. Firstly, if you want to give your dog good food, you must learn how to read the label. The fine prints give away a lot about the food.
1. Read The First Five Ingredients
Food companies must always name the ingredients according to their quantity in descending order. So, the maximum component should come first in the label followed by the second most abundant ingredient, third most abundant and so on.
The first five ingredients make up for 65 – 70% of the entire dog food! It’s enough to establish how good or how bad a recipe is. A product will contain the highest amount of premium quality meat. It may also include a combination of more than one meat in the top ingredients list.
A bad dog food formula does not clearly name the meat. It may even list a ‘by-product’ in the top five ingredients list. Secondly, it may contain fillers like rice hulls or corn as their first ingredients.
2. Check Meat Content
A good dog food formula would mention how much meat their recipe contains. They usually indicate the meat percentage right next to the name of the meat used. Bear in mind that the meat percentage is not the same as the protein percentage.
Good dog foods use high-quality meat as their primary source of protein. The product should have a minimum of 30% high-quality dehydrated meat or 50 – 85% fresh meat in the recipe. A high protein diet is advisable only if you have a high agility working dog (i.e., a dog that performs strenuous activities for more than 2 hours every day).
3. Check For Toxic Ingredients
Dog food companies must use certain preservatives for their products to have a longer shelf life. But the difference between a good and a bad dog food is that, while an ethical company will use natural preservatives, a cheap dog food will contain synthetic chemicals that have many harmful side effects.
Natural preservatives include herbs like rosemary extract, green tea extract and supplements like vitamin E and tocopherols.
Cheap dog foods use synthetic chemicals for two reasons:
- To increase the shelf life of the product
- To reduce production cost
Since their primary ingredients are not appealing to dogs, they add artificial flavours to enhance the product. Pet parents prefer to buy food that is cheaper and has a long shelf life. Companies match the needs of consumers by using a lot of synthetic preservatives that are cheap and increases shelf life.
4. Check the Amount and Type of Grains
Dogs are omnivorous, and they can digest grains, but that does not make grains right for them. Many dog food companies add grains to reduce the cost of production. Studies show that in the long run, grainy diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
Now, we want to clarify that carbohydrates and grains are not the same things. Dogs require small amounts of carbohydrates in their diet. But, those carbs shouldn’t come from grains.
Healthy sources of carbs include apples, beatroot, sweet potatoes etc. They provide enough fibre and carbohydrates to promote digestion and bowel movement.
Grains absorb a lot of moisture to complete digestion. If you ever feed your dog a grain diet, you will notice that within 6 – 8 weeks their skin will become rough and brittle. Since grains take up a lot of time and energy to digest, your dog will feel sluggish and lack energy.
Try switching to a meat-based diet; you will immediately notice a change in their coat and their energy levels.
5. Check the Type Of Meat
There is nothing wrong with one or more meat sources in a single recipe. The main question here is whether the company mentions the name of the meat. Something like ‘meat by-products’ raises clear suspicions. By-products are usually parts of the meat that is thrown away like bones, under-developed eggs, claws, feathers and sometimes even faecal matter.
If the product mentions “meat”, it’s vague. Meat can be anything from lamb ribs to chicken nails. If the company uses ‘meat by-product,’ it is the worst combination for your dog.
6. Keep An Eye Out For Hidden Ingredients
We’ll tell you a secret. If a product is not that great for your dog, manufacturers will try their best to hide that information. For instance, we all know that salt and sugar isn’t good for dogs, but they are also cheap preservatives. So less expensive dog food does contain salt and sugar.
But, to hide it from the public eye, they use the chemical name for the salt or sugar.
‘Malt,’ ‘syrup,’ ‘starch’ or most chemical names that end with ‘ose’ is a sugar, like glucose, fructose, galactose, etc. One the other hand, salt is somewhere in the middle of the ingredient list, and we tend to miss out on it.
Alternate names for salt is ‘sodium’ or any other chemical that mostly ends with ‘ate,’ like ‘sodium bicarbonate’ or ‘sodium nitrate.’
Cheap dog food will be full of complicated ingredients that you cannot pronounce. If most of the ingredients are chemical compositions, it is a good idea to leave that product in the shopping aisle and move on.
Which Foods Should You Avoid Giving Your Dog?
Dog Food Quality Calculator - Try It!
With so many shops online, most pet parents prefer to buy their dog’s food online. There are a few resources that help you identify if a product is suitable for your dog. All About Dog Food – a dog food advice platform, for instance, has an instant review generator.
To evaluate a dry dog food recipe, go to ‘type of dog food’, and select ‘dry extruded.’ Copy and paste the dog food ingredients in the section below and click ‘go.’ The product rating will be right in front of you.
Best Dog Food Brands in India 2020
Many companies sell dog food in India but which one is ideal for your dog. Here is a list of dog food brands ranging from the worst to best in India. Have a look at all of them and find out why we ranked them in this particular order.
10. Royal Canin
Royal Canin is one of the most popular dog food brands in India. It’s cheap and readily available, making it ideal for many middle-class Indian families. However, the brand is below average and does not provide your dog with the nutrition they deserve.
Highlights of Royal Canin:
- Inexpensive and readily available
- The meat, usually chicken, is the second or third ingredient in their recipes
- The primary ingredient is often rice or any other form of grain like corn
- They even list ‘gluten meal’ as an ingredient in some of their recipes
- Their recipes contain a lot of synthetic and unhealthy preservatives
There is very little to appreciate about Fidéle. Some of their products contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids; which is good. However, Fidéle is a grain based dog food. Their products don’t disclose the percentage of meat they contain.
Though their first product is a named meat, their second and third product are grains.
Highlights of Fidéle:
- It’s moderately priced and readily available
- Most of their meat comes from poor sources
- Contains a high amount of grains which can make your dog feel sick and bulky
8. Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science is a relatively old company. We tend to trust more established companies; however, with Hills, we are afraid we don’t have many good things to say.
The best thing about Hill’s Science Diet is that the primary ingredient for most of their recipes, is a named meat, usually chicken. But that’s where all the pros stop.
Highlights of Hill's Science Diet:
- Hill’s is readily available at a lower price
- The labels are not clear. They do not mention the percentage of individual ingredients
- All their recipes contain a lot of grains. Some even list a grain, like rice, as their primary ingredient. This is not healthy for your pet.
7. Arden Grange
Arden Grange is readily available. They have a range of recipes from dry to wet dog food. But, we weren’t able to rank the brand any higher because some of their ingredients are not good for your dog.
Highlights of Arden Grange:
- Moderately priced and readily available
- Contains less meat
- Contains a high amount of grains, which is not suitable for your dog. Some of their products enlist ‘maize’ as a primary ingredient
- Arden Grange does not mention if their products have any chemicals or natural preservatives
6. Wag & Love
They provide both wet and dry dog food to provide pet parents with more options. If you check the ingredients list for any of their recipes, you’ll find the first five ingredients listed separately, followed by all the other ingredients.
Wag & Love does not use any artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Highlights of Wag & Love:
- All their products are grain free
- Has approximately 40% meat in all their recipes which is okay
- They have little variety – the primary ingredient is chicken for most recipes and a few recipes have salmon
5. Farmina N&D
Farmina’s Natural and Delicious or N&D is a popular dog food in India. It’s readily available and lower priced. Not all Farmina products are grain free, and the ones that don’t have any grains are much more expensive than the popular N&D recipes.
Highlights of Farmina N&D:
- N&D is usually cheap and readily available in India
- Most recipes use chicken as the primary meat source
- Most recipes contain yeast extract which is a highly controversial ingredient in the dog food industry
4. Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild is a popular grain free dog food originating from the U.S A.. They produce premium quality dog food with a range of wet and dry dog food recipes.
The meat options are unique and hard to find in India.
Taste of the wild is known for their healthy organic options but recently they were involved in a lawsuit. It turns out that the Southwest Canyon Canine recipe was very high in bisphenol (BPA), often used to make plastic.
Highlights of Taste Of The Wild:
- Perhaps one of the most popular grain free dog food brand from the U.S.A.
- Uses a unique range of meat sources
- Very expensive. Some of their recipes are so expensive, they are sold on EMI in India
- Though they list all the ingredients used to make each recipe, they do not mention the percentage of every produce
- Recently involved in a lawsuit
Next on our list is Acana. Acana is Orijen’s sister company; they both originated from Champion Petfoods Pvt. Ltd. But while Orijen focuses on high protein, meaty recipes, Acana has more options for family dogs (one who doesn’t work out for more than 2 hours a day).
Their products have an average of 50 – 60 % meat. They also have quite a few different recipes for big and small breeds, adults, puppies, etc.
Acana also uses natural preservatives, just like Goodness and Orijen.
Highlights of Acana:
- Not all their products are grain free
- Some recipes contain 50 – 60% meat on average
- Contains grains like oats
Orijen is a good dog food company. They originate from Canada and make an ancestral diet like no other. All their products are grain free. The primary ingredient, in their recipes, is always a named meat like chicken, fish, egg, etc.
Orijen maintains an 85:15 percent ratio. 85% of all their recipes contain a premium quality meat, and 15% comprises a range of vegetables. The protein percentage is quite high for all their recipes and may not be suited for all dogs.
Highlights of Orijen:
- Uses natural preservatives
- 85% of their recipes contain more than one premium quality meat
- The protein percentage is higher than the required range (35 – 40%). Too much protein can cause kidney problems in the long run
- Ideal for dogs who perform rigorous activities but is not as great for dogs that live a healthy lifestyle with average mobility
- The labels do not indicate if they are weighed before or after they were dehydrated, making it confusing for the buyer
- It is expensive and not readily available in India
1. Goodness Dog Food
Goodness is a reasonably new dog food brand in India. It is yet to have the name and popularity as other brands. We ranked Goodness as the best in India because they produce premium dog food recipes at affordable prices.
All Goodness recipes are grain free, and the percentage of each ingredient is listed on the respective product pages.
Highlights of Goodness Dog Food:
- Goodness provides a range of dog food recipes for puppies, adults and all stages of life
- Manufactured in the U.K.
- Recipes made using Freshtrusion technology
- Provides a range of meat options at a reasonable cost
- Variety of single and multi-meat recipes
- Reasonable when compared with other premium dog food brands in India
- Around 60 – 80% of each recipe contains meat
Best Dog Food in India 2020
In this section, we are going to look at individual recipes from the companies we listed earlier and mention their best product. We hope this list helps you make a better choice as per your budget.
We will start with the 10th best product and progress to the overall best dog food. Stay tuned till the end!
10. Royal Canin - Small Weight Care Dry Dog Food
The Small Weight Care Dry Dog Food Recipe is the only Royal Canin product that does not use a by-product as the first ingredient. The first ingredient in this recipe is ‘chicken meal,’ which isn’t the best first ingredient, but it’s the best among all other Royal Canin recipes.
In stores, Online pet shops
✅ Reasons to Buy
- It is readily available
- Contains added omega fatty acids
- The first ingredient is a named meat
- The first meat choice could be better
- Contains corn gluten which is unhealthy for dogs
- Contains a high amount of carbohydrates and starch
- Contains salt and other artificial preservatives
9. Fidéle - Lamb and Rice Puppy
This recipe is made for dogs from 2 months to 2 years old. Since it covers a broad age group, it becomes a very versatile product. The first ingredient in this recipe is dehydrated lamb, which is great for muscle growth and development. It also means that the lamb was weighed after it was dehydrated and it remained the highest ingredient in the recipe.
The second ingredient is brown rice. Though it is not as healthy for your dogs, it is better than white rice.
In stores, Online pet shops (currently unavailable)
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Easily available
- Contains dehydrated lamb as the primary ingredient
- Includes a lot of grains and flour which is not healthy for your dog
- Contains artificial preservatives
- Contains 26% protein which is relatively low for a puppy
8. Hill’s Science Diet - Puppy Healthy Development
If we were to pick one recipe from Hill’s and Science diet, it would be the Puppy Healthy Development Recipe. The recipe uses two kinds of meat – chicken, and pork. Since they use chicken and pork ‘meal’ we don’t know which parts of the meat makes it to the dog food.
It can be a mix of organ meat and leftover meat pieces like claws, hooves, and intestines as well.
In stores, Amazon, Pet Product Websites
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Primary ingredient is a named meat – ‘chicken meal.’
- Moderately priced
- Poor labelling – does not tell us the percentage of ingredients
- Does not disclose the part of the meat used in the recipe
- Contains artificial flavours (like chicken liver flavour) and different types of salt
- Wheat, corn, and gluten are the primary ingredients in this recipe.
7. Arden Grange - Adult: Rich in Fresh Pork & Rice
This recipe contains 42% pork. It’s the only recipe with 42% meat. However, that’s where the pros end. This particular recipe is not readily available in India (currently out of stock) in online stores.
If you specially order it, you’ll have to pay for shipping, which will be expensive.
Pet product websites (currently out of stock)
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Contains a healthy meat source as their primary ingredient
- Contains moderate amount of meat
- Contains a high amount of grains like rice
- Not readily available in India
- High in gluten
- Does not mention ingredients and percentages on website
6. Wag & Love
Wag & Love does not have many recipes to choose from – of the three varieties, the recipe Puppy Bloom is perhaps their best recipe. It contains 55% meat of which 20% is fresh deboned chicken.
Amazon, Flipkart, Online Pet Stores
✅ Reasons to Buy
- 55% of the product is meat
- Does not indicate any artificial colours and flavours
- Readily available
- It’s very expensive
- Does not contain a variety of meat
5. N&D - Cod, Pumpkin & Orange Adult Mini
The Cod Pumpkin and Orange Adult Mini is the only Farmina N&D recipe that clearly labels the names and amount of meat present. 50% of this recipe is meat, which is good.
The first five ingredients of this product are fresh codfish, dried codfish, pea starch, fish oil (from herring), dried pumpkin, and pea fibre. All these ingredients are safe and natural for your dog.
Pet product websites
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Majority of the ingredients are healthy
- It is made with codfish which is rich in vitamins and minerals
- Expensive and not readily available in India – while cheaper N&D recipes are available in India
- Contains preservatives like yeast extract and dried brewer’s yeast.
- The recipe also contains salt hidden in the labels as ‘sodium chloride.’
4. Taste of the Wild - Sierra Mountain Canine Recipe
The Sierra Mountain Canine recipe is the only Taste of the Wild product that contains meat as its first, second, fourth and eleventh ingredient. It uses more than one animal product and has relatively low protein, so it’s ideal for older dogs or those with kidney problems.
This recipe is naturally enriched with vitamins and minerals and does not have added synthetic preservatives.
Amazon, Pet product websites
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Has a higher meat content and moderate protein percentage
- Ideal for senior dogs or those with kidney problems
- Contains natural flavours and preservatives
- Completely grain free
- Multiple meat sources
- Not readily available in India
- Does not provide us with clear labels, so it’s hard to count the percentage of individual ingredients
3. Acana - Grass-Fed Lamb
Acana’s Grass Fed Lamb recipe is a good organic recipe for family dogs. The primary ingredient in this meal is fresh grass fed lamb (18%). The recipe also has a good helping of organ meat like lamb liver and kidneys.
They mostly mention the exact part of the meat used to make the product – like cartilage, tripe, etc.
Pet product websites
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Raw grass fed lamb is their primary ingredient
- Contains essential health supplements and natural ingredients
- Made for all dog breeds at different life stages, hence very convenient
- Contains salt
- Contains 50% meat, which is moderate
2. Orijen - Puppy Large
Orijen puppy large contains chicken, turkey, eggs, and salmon. Just like Goodness, it provides your growing puppy with a variety of meat ranges. The product is high in protein; hence, it is ideal for large energetic puppies.
Salmon caters to their developing minds. The product also contains zinc, which helps them build a healthy immune system and promotes smooth thyroxine secretions.
Pet product websites
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Recipe contains all-natural ingredients
- Ethically raised livestock
- Includes Zinc supplements
- High quality meats
- Each batch is lab tested
- Contains healthy amounts of natural vitamins & minerals
- Not readily available
- Protein percentage is very high. If your dog has kidney problems, consider switching to a low protein recipe.
1. Goodness - Salmon, Trout With Sweet Potato and Asparagus Grain Free Dog Food
This particular recipe is made for adult dogs. It is made of lean fish meat like trout and salmon. It has 50% meat and 26% protein which is ideal for an adult dog with moderate activity.
Salmon and trout add Omega 3 and Omega 6 to this meal, making it suitable for the skin, eyes, and brain development. Adult dogs are at the peak of their life.
They need food that helps them sustain their muscular health and bone density and the Salmon, Trout with Sweet Potato and Asparagus recipe provides them with the perfect amount of nutrition they need.
✅ Reasons to Buy
- Ideal for adult dogs with moderate activity and ideal weight range (if you have an overweight adult dog, you can try the Goodness weight control formula)
- Suitable for all life stages
- Multiple sources of meat
- Completely grain free
- 100% natural. No Additives at all.
- Ideal for physical and mental growth
- Good for the skin, eyes, and brains
It has a moderate protein content which is ideal for dogs with average daily activity. Adult dogs performing high agility sports, require an extra amount of protein.
We hope this article helps you pick the best dog food. We want to add that with dry dog food; you should provide your pet with clean water 24 hours a day. Dry food only contains 10% moisture and does not give them all the moisture they need.
A clean supply of water and premium quality dog food is all they need for an optimum lifestyle.
We provided you with as many resources possible to help you make your own decision. Do let us know what your favorite dog food is and why.
Don’t forget to check the recipes online, if that’s where you do all your pet shopping. All the best!
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