The 25 Worst Dog Foods Revealed

worst dog foods

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Choosing the right dog food is no walk in the park, and our furballs deserve the best. But what if the kibble we thought was top-notch is secretly detrimental? Join us on a revealing journey through the murky world of commercial dog nutrition as we expose the 25 worst dog foods. From shady ingredients to misleading marketing, we’re here to empower you with insights to safeguard your pup’s health. Let’s cut through the confusion, uncover the hidden risks, and ensure our canine companions thrive on quality nutrition.

purina dog chow

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Purina Dog Chow

Purina Dog Chow has faced criticism for its use of lower-quality ingredients, including meat by-products and fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. Some argue that these ingredients contribute to a lower nutritional density, potentially impacting a dog’s overall health. Critics also question the proportion of meat in these lower-priced dog foods, suggesting that they may not meet the dietary needs of dogs as obligate carnivores. However, it’s essential to consider individual variability, as some dogs may do well on this diet, while others may experience digestive issues or allergies.

kibbles n bits

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Kibbles ‘N Bits

Kibbles ‘N Bits has been criticized for its use of lower-quality ingredients and fillers, such as corn, soy, and wheat, which some argue contribute to a less nutritious diet for dogs. The inclusion of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives has also raised concerns among pet owners. Critics contend that these additives may have potential health implications for dogs. Additionally, the proportion of meat in Kibbles ‘N Bits has been questioned, as some believe it may not meet the dietary needs of dogs as carnivores. As with any dog food, individual dogs may react differently, and consulting with a veterinarian is crucial.



In June of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised concerns about Merrick dog food, linking it to a minimum of 10 reported cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a grave and potentially life-threatening heart ailment in dogs. This marked a significant turning point in the scrutiny of pet food safety and prompted a closer examination of the potential health risks associated with certain formulations. Notably, Merrick found itself under the FDA’s scrutiny again in 2019 when the agency identified it as one of the 16 pet food brands that could be connected to heart disease in both dogs and cats.

ol roy

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Ol’ Roy

Ol’ Roy, a lower-cost dog food brand, has faced criticism primarily for its use of lower-quality ingredients and fillers. Common ingredients include meat by-products and grains like soy and corn, which some argue may not provide optimal nutrition for dogs. The use of food coloring, flavors, and preservatives in certain formulations has also raised concerns among pet owners. Critics contend that these additives may have potential health implications for dogs. Furthermore, the proportion of meat in Ol’ Roy has been questioned, as some believe it may not meet the dietary needs of dogs as obligate carnivores.


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Some dog owners may perceive Orijen as less suitable due to its relatively higher cost compared to other brands. Additionally, the high protein content may not be suitable for dogs with certain health conditions or specific dietary requirements. It’s crucial to note that individual opinions on dog food can vary, and what may be suitable for one dog might not be the best choice for another. Consulting with a veterinarian to assess a dog’s specific needs is essential for making informed decisions about their diet.

gravy train

Gravy Train

Gravy Train dog is considered subpar due to several reasons. Firstly, its ingredient list often includes low-quality and filler ingredients such as corn, soy, and wheat, which lack essential nutrients and can be challenging for dogs to digest. Additionally,  preservatives raise concerns about the overall nutritional value and potential health risks for dogs. Gravy Train has faced recalls in the past, further diminishing confidence in its quality control measures. The brand’s reliance on processed and less wholesome ingredients has led pet owners and experts alike to question its ability to provide a well-balanced and nourishing diet for dogs.

Earthborn Holistic

Earthborn Holistic

In March of 2021, a joint effort by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in a recall of Earthborn Holistic pet food, citing concerns over potential salmonella contamination. This collaborative action underscored the gravity of the situation, as salmonella poses significant health risks to both pets and their human caregivers. The recall was initiated following the discovery that samples of Earthborn Holistic pet food had tested positive for salmonella in March 2021.



A recent study has identified Fromm as one of the sixteen dog food brands that may be associated with the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition characterized by the enlargement of the heart chambers, leading to weakened cardiac muscles and potential heart failure. The findings of this study have raised concerns within the pet owner community, as DCM poses significant health risks to dogs, impacting their overall well-being.


Blackwood 1000

Blackwood 1000 dog food has faced criticism for various reasons that question its quality and suitability for dogs. One major concern is the inclusion of corn as a primary ingredient, which is a common allergen for dogs and lacks the nutritional value of higher-quality protein sources. Plus, meat by-products in the formula raise doubts about the overall protein content and source quality. Some critics argue that the ingredient list lacks transparency and specificity, making it difficult for pet owners to fully understand what their dogs are consuming.



One major concern about Pedigree is the use of corn, soy, and wheat as primary ingredients, which are known fillers with limited nutritional value and can trigger allergies in some dogs. The inclusion of meat by-products as a protein source is another contentious point, as these can be less digestible and of lower quality compared to whole meat. On top of that, the presence of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives raises questions about the overall health impact of the food. Pedigree has also been involved in various recalls, eroding confidence in its quality control measures.


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Purina Beneful

Purina Beneful has encountered criticism, prompting skepticism about its quality as a dog food option. A key concern revolves around the prominent use of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat, ingredients that lack essential nutrients and may be problematic for dogs with allergies. Another point of contention is the inclusion of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, raising doubts about the overall health impact of the food. Detractors argue that Beneful’s reliance on potentially lower-quality sources may not fulfill the diverse dietary needs of dogs.



Sportmix dog food has garnered a negative reputation primarily due to its association with several recalls linked to aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are toxic substances produced by molds commonly found in grains, such as corn, which is often used in pet foods. High levels of aflatoxins can pose serious health risks to dogs, including liver damage and other potentially fatal complications. The recalls of Sportmix products raised concerns about the brand’s quality control and sourcing practices.

twin pet

Twin Pet

Twin Pet dog food has found itself in the crosshairs of criticism, largely stemming from issues surrounding ingredient quality and product recalls. The brand’s reputation took a hit due to recalls tied to possible contamination and elevated levels of certain nutrients, prompting skepticism about the effectiveness of the company’s quality control protocols and the sourcing of their ingredients. Furthermore, Twin Pet’s inclusion of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat has raised eyebrows among discerning pet owners who question the nutritional value of such ingredients.


Kal Kan Complete Adult

Kal Kan Adult dog food has faced scrutiny for reasons that cast doubt on its suitability for canine nutrition. One noteworthy issue is its reliance on meat by-products as a primary protein source, a choice that raises questions about the quality and nutritional completeness compared to whole meat alternatives. In addition, the inclusion of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat has sparked concerns, as these ingredients are often considered less nutrient-dense and may contribute to digestive discomfort or allergic reactions in some dogs.


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On October 16, 2018, a notable development unfolded in the form of a proposed class action lawsuit filed in a New York federal court. The lawsuit targeted Champion Petfoods, asserting that their Acana pet food, despite being marketed as suitable for human consumption, was allegedly found to contain elevated levels of heavy metals. This revelation presented a serious legal challenge for the pet food manufacturer, raising concerns about the potential health risks posed not only to animals but also to humans who might consume these products.

nutro natural

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Nutro Natural Choice

Nutro Natural Choice dog food has gained popularity among pet owners, but it has also garnered criticism due to certain aspects of its formulation. One notable concern is the inclusion of ingredients like corn, soy, and wheat, which are considered by some as fillers and may not offer the same nutritional quality as alternative sources. The presence of meat by-products in certain formulations has also raised eyebrows, as some pet owners prefer dog foods that prioritize whole meat as the primary protein source.


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The petite serving sizes characteristic of Cesar dog food not only raise concerns about meeting the nutritional demands of larger dog breeds but also question the adequacy of the portions for highly active or working dogs. Larger breeds typically require more substantial meals to support their energy levels, muscle development, and overall health. The gourmet appeal of Cesar, often marketed as a premium choice, may captivate pet owners seeking to pamper their furry companions. However, the focus on aesthetics and flavor can sometimes overshadow more critical considerations, such as ingredient quality.


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The reservations surrounding Alpo dog food stem from several noteworthy considerations. Chief among these is the utilization of less-preferred ingredients, including meat by-products and fillers such as corn, soy, and wheat. The perceived inferiority of these ingredients, akin to B-list choices, raises concerns about the nutritional adequacy they offer to canine companions. Compounding these concerns are reports from pet owners indicating instances of adverse reactions in their dogs, such as digestive issues and allergies, subsequent to the consumption of Alpo.


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IAMS Minichunks

The perception that Iams Minichunks may not be an optimal choice for dog food arises from several factors. One primary concern is the inclusion of corn and other fillers in the ingredient list. While these ingredients contribute to the volume of the food, they may lack the nutritional density and digestibility found in higher-quality alternatives. Plus, Iams Minichunks has faced criticism for utilizing meat by-products, which may not meet the standards of pet owners seeking whole and high-quality protein sources for their dogs.


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Crave dog food stands out as a poignant illustration of a trend observed in prominent pet food companies, wherein nutritious ingredients traditionally associated with established brands are systematically substituted with more economical but less healthful alternatives. A comprehensive review of Crave dog food reveals a significant discrepancy between its advertised and actual nutritional content. According to the review, while Crave dog food claims to contain 34% chicken, a closer examination indicates that merely 13% of that chicken is categorized as fresh.

rachel ray

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Rachel Ray Nutrish

While the brand promotes natural ingredients, it has come under scrutiny for incorporating artificial additives, including colors, flavors, and preservatives—elements some pet owners seek to avoid due to potential health implications. Compounding these issues, Rachel Ray Nutrish has experienced recalls, diminishing confidence in the brand’s quality control measures. This combination of factors has led some pet owners and experts to question the suitability of Rachel Ray Nutrish for providing dogs with well-rounded, high-quality nutrition.



Diamond Pet Foods has faced a series of challenges, marked by recalls and legal actions, starting as far back as 1999. These incidents have significantly impacted the reputation of the company within the pet food industry. Recalls, in particular, raise concerns about the safety and quality of the products, as they often result from the identification of potential health risks associated with the consumption of the pet food. The reasons for these recalls have varied, ranging from potential contamination with harmful bacteria such as Salmonella to issues related to inadequate nutrient levels in certain formulations.

science diet

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Hill’s Science Diet

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been alerted to incidents involving vitamin D toxicity in dogs linked to the consumption of specific canned dog foods produced by Hill’s Pet Nutrition and sold under the Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet brands. The gravity of this situation is underscored by the potential health risks associated with excessive vitamin D intake in dogs. Vitamin D toxicity can lead to serious health complications, including kidney dysfunction and other related issues.

blue buffalo

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Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo’s grain-free formulations prominently feature an abundance of pea-based components. There exists a potential association between grain-free diets, such as those found in certain Blue Buffalo products, and the emergence of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. This serious cardiac condition can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure, posing a significant concern for the well-being of dogs consuming these particular formulations. The inclusion of substantial amounts of pea-based ingredients in Blue Buffalo’s grain-free recipes has raised concerns within the veterinary community.


Taste of the Wild

The consumption of Taste of the Wild dog food has garnered significant attention due to its strong correlation with a serious and challenging-to-diagnose cardiac ailment known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This life-threatening heart condition has been increasingly linked to dogs that have been fed Taste of the Wild dog food, raising concerns among pet owners and the veterinary community alike. The association between Taste of the Wild dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy has become a focal point of discussions within the realm of pet nutrition and health.


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