When salmon comes out of the oven our two dogs go crazy. Cooked or smoked salmon is something they would be willing to eat more than their body weight. You would too. Check the photo on the cover I took just after I loaded my plate. Salmon dog food is not always as tempting but it is full of nutrients and a healthy option for your dog.
Brands have flooded the mainstream pet food market with dog foods ranging in flavor and dietary needs. Options like grain-free salmon dog food to whole grain, high protein, and even vegetarian are available. With so many choices, pet parents can get swept away, and sometimes finding the best pet food for their dog can be more difficult than it should be. On some pet websites, like Chewy, there are over 168 results for salmon dog food and related products.
Let’s figure out what you need for your dog.
What is the best salmon dog food?
Foods that are packed with supplements and multivitamins are better for your furry friend’s health. However, if your dog is allergic or has arthritis, you should prefer foods with no grains or nightshade vegetables like white potatoes. You should consult your vet before selecting the best dog food for your buddy. Here, I will show you the best salmon dog foods for your furry friend.
Taste of the Wild – Pacific Stream is our top pick. It contains smoked salmon beneficial for the maintenance and healthy development of muscles. Its protein-rich recipe helps your dog maintain its weight. It does have grains but does not contain high inflammatory grains such as wheat and corn. Lots of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, high fiber, and probiotics for better health and wellbeing make it our top pick.
List of best salmon dog food brands
For this review, we’ve analyzed different salmon dog food brands and selected the best options. Here you can find an overview of each food product with pros and cons. If you have made your choice about the best salmon dog food, click directly to go to products.
- Taste of the Wild – Pacific Stream
- Diamond Naturals Skin and Coat – Salmon and Potato Formula
- Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Salmon and Rice Formula
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness – Salmon Flavored Dog Food
- Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free – Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin
- Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Salmon and Tuna Dog Food
- Canidae Pure Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe
- Merrick Grain-Free Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Salmon and Potato Recipe
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pea Recipe
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Salmon and Sweet Potato Formula
- Purina Beyond Natural Superfoods Blend – Salmon, Egg, and Pumpkin Recipe
This flavor of fish dog food formula is increasingly popular. Many manufacturers are starting to look at alternate sources of protein. The novelty of salmon and venison is often enough to entice buyers with something new. As omega-3 fatty acids are important for dog joints and overall health, salmon, which is rich in omega-3s, has become one of the most popular protein sources. If your dog may have joint problems, consider getting a really comfortable indoor dog house to help your dog relax.
Salmon-based dog food typically consists of salmon, salmon meal, and salmon oil, or any combination of the three. They also use other ingredients like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and other root vegetables in hopes of creating a balanced and nutritious diet. On the surface, these foods can appear healthy, but as salmon is also high in mercury, some pet parents doubt their safety.
In a study done at the University of California, researchers found that only 3 of the 24 foods that were tested showed detectable levels of mercury. This is a promising number. It has led the researchers to conclude that the levels of mercury in commercial salmon-based foods are not concerning and don’t pose any health threats.
Best Salmon Dog Foods
As with any flavor of dog food, the best foods will start with simple ingredients based on the protein source. Naturally, the best salmon dog foods will list fresh salmon as their first ingredient. Salmon meal is often another source. However, fish meal refers to discarded parts of salmon that are ground up and are highly processed before becoming part of the kibble. Salmon as the first ingredient is always preferable.
The fish-based dog food with simple and fewer ingredients are often best as well. With fewer ingredients, it means that dogs are less likely to have a negative reaction to the foods. For dogs that are allergic or have arthritis, consider choosing food that omits grains and nightshade vegetables, like white potatoes. In some cases, protein-rich dog foods may also help with snoring dogs. To give your dog more energy check out the high-calorie dog food options.
Foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals can also be beneficial to a dog’s overall health. In our post about Yorkie dog food, we mentioned that salmon-based food has a lot of healthy Omega-3 and 6. Budget is also an important consideration for high quality dog food with salmon. Typically, the higher the price, the better the overall ingredients are.
While you are shopping check out the indoor dog tent options for your pet.
This smoked salmon meal recipe from Taste of the Wild promotes the maintenance of healthy and lean muscle with its protein-rich formula. Though this salmon dog food does use whole grains like quinoa and millet as a secondary source of protein, it doesn’t use highly inflammatory grains such as wheat, corn, and soy. Meeting FDA requirements and formulated by a team with veterinary medicine expertise, this high quality dog food uses wholesome ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources from all over the world. In addition, Taste of the Wild is a family-owned company based, and its products are made and produced in the USA.
Not only does this salmon dog food list salmon as the first ingredient, but ocean fish meal, salmon meal, and smoked salmon are all in the ingredients list as well. Additionally, there is the added protein of lentils and peas, which gives this food a crude protein of 25%, making it a high protein dog food. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are also included as well as standout ingredients like raspberries for their added antioxidants.
This food is also rich in nutrients as it adds vitamin A and E supplements, which can improve vision and heart health as well as improve the dog’s immune system. Acidopholis is also included, which can support a dog’s digestive health.
- Salmon as first ingredient
- High protein
- Sustainable and trusted ingredient sources
- High levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
- Good source of antioxidants
- High in fiber and probiotics for additional digestive support
- High-protein diets may cause heart issues for certain breeds
- Quality might vary between batches
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream dry food maintains a 4.7-star rating. Poor reviews state that their dog became sick from the food, with many reporting that everything was fine until there was a weird batch. This suggests that batches may vary in quality. While there are some negative reviews, many pet owners report the reduction in skin issues and allergies, and they have had zero issues with Taste of the Wild.
Reasons for our top pick
- This formula does not contain grains like wheat, corn, and soy, as some dogs are allergic. However, it does contain whole grain like quinoa and millet that does not have inflammatory effects on dogs.
- This formula is FDA approved; it contains wholesome, sustainable, and trusted ingredients meeting the FDA requirements and formulated by veterinarians.
- This food is also rich in supplements and multivitamins like vitamin A to improve vision, health, and wellbeing.
- This formula is a good source of antioxidants, fibers, and probiotics. High fibers help improve the intestinal motility and digestion process. In addition, probiotics are responsible for an increase in the number of beneficial gut bacteria. Furthermore, probiotics also give a boost to the immune system.
- Antioxidants present in this food keep your dog healthier. Antioxidants chase free radicals in the body and prevent them from causing damage by oxidation.
However, there are some cons to consider. High protein contents in this formula may cause heart issues in certain breeds. Therefore, you should consult with your vet before letting your dog eat.
Other ingredients include ground rice, barley, canola meal, oat meal, and fish meal, which is used as a source of glucosamine to help with joint function and health. Fish oil, as well as several vitamin supplements, are included. Sunflower oil is also used to add omega-6 fatty acids for skin health. In addition, added antioxidants are geared to improve immune system function.This salmon and rice formula from Purina is part of their Pro Plan dog foods. This dog food is meant for animals with sensitive stomachs and skin, and it doesn’t include wheat, corn, or soy to reduce allergies. In addition to having a salmon meal as the first ingredient, it also contains prebiotic fiber to aid in digestive health.
- Salmon is the first listed ingredient
- Contains glucosamine and other vitamins for joint health
- Corn, wheat, and soy free
- Rich in omega-6 and antioxidants
- High protein
- Less omega-6 than other brands
- More expensive than other brands
This dry food maintains a star rating of 4.7, Purina’s salmon dog food does have some negative reviews. These negative comments focus on the quality of the product itself, with many reporting that there are bugs or larvae in the kibble. This suggests that storage or where the customers bought the product may have had something to do with the quality. Higher reviews report that their dog’s skin cleared of issues and that their veterinarians approved of the product.
Made from high-quality, wild caught salmon, this dog food by Diamond Naturals has zero grains and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Their company also says that their dog food contains probiotics, which are meant to aid in digestive health. In addition, this product is made in the USA, but this company uses sustainable and trusted sources from all over the world for their ingredients.
The first five ingredients for this product are salmon, fish meal, lentils, peas, and potatoes. Like salmon meal, lentils and peas are also common sources of protein. The crude protein level in the guaranteed analysis is a minimum of 25%, which makes this food high in protein. Other notable ingredients are spinach and papaya, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A and vitamin E supplement are also included.
- Salmon as the first ingredient
- Elevated levels of omega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids
- High protein
- Grain free dog food for minimal inflammation
- Sustainable ingredients
- Potatoes could be inflammatory for some dogs
- High protein could lead to heart issues
- Probiotics may cause digestive issues
This salmon and potato dog food maintains a 4.6 star rating, with nearly 5,000 global ratings. Low star ratings say that high protein diets cause heart health issues and digestive problems. Others didn’t like the smell, or said that their pet didn’t like the product. In addition, this dog food does have elevated levels of omega-6, which can maintain skin and coat health, but it can also be inflammatory.
Many reviewers claim that this dog food helped reduce allergies and allergic reactions. Some also say that the addition of probiotics has regulated their dog’s digestive system. As this food is meant to help dogs’ skin and coat health, many buyers claimed their dog’s coat looked shinier and healthier. Lastly, the price is more affordable than some other brands.
This grain-free salmon dog food from Blue Buffalo is part of their Wilderness dog food line. Featuring ingredients such as real salmon meal, sweet potatoes, and peas, this dog food is high in quality protein. It is enhanced by Lifesource Bits, which are small pieces of kibble that focus on improving a dog’s intake of antioxidants, minerals, and other vitamins. Despite being protein-rich, Blue Buffalo dog food also balances its foods with carbohydrates to prevent heart health issues.
In addition to salmon being the first ingredient, other ingredients include chicken meal, which is a source of glucosamine, and sweet potatoes for healthy fiber. Pea protein and peas are added for more protein while balancing carbohydrates. Berries and vitamin supplements, like vitamin A and E, are also included for a healthy boost. With crude protein at 43%, this is one of the best salmon dog food and very high in protein.
- Salmon is the first ingredient
- High in protein
- Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
- Gluten and grain-free
- More expensive than other brands
- Doesn’t include probiotics like other brands
Blue Buffalo Wilderness has a star rating of 4.7. While some negative reviews say that the food made their dog sick or gave them digestive issues, many negative complaints are about customer experience with shipping of the food not the product. Positive experiences have been from seeing dog allergies and sensitivities improve.
This salmon dog food with sweet potato and pumpkin recipe from Nature’s Recipe is formulated to be nutrient-dense and easy on digestion. While salmon is a source of good protein, sweet potato and pumpkin help with digestion, making this food balanced when it comes to protein and fiber. This grain-free recipe doesn’t include wheat or corn.
Garbanzo beans, peas, menhaden fish meal, and pea starch are also primary ingredients in this salmon dog food. In addition to vitamin A and B12 supplements, this dog food also includes rosemary extract, which can be a powerful antioxidant and reduce inflammation.
- Salmon is first ingredient
- Sweet potato and pumpkin make for easy digestion
- No wheat or corn in this salmon dry dog food
- Rich is antioxidants like rosemary extract
- Vitamin E supplement
- Includes tomato, which can be inflammatory
While Nature’s Recipe maintains a 4.7 rating, many negative reviews question the quality of the food since the company was bought by a corporation. Other comments say that they found wooden splinters in the food. Positive reviews say that the quality ingredients such as pumpkin and sweet potato help alleviate food sensitivity issues and allergies.
Like other brands, this salmon dog food formula from Purina One SmartBlend is high in protein as it features both salmon meal and tuna as ingredients. Not only does this food have high amounts of protein, but it also meant to be a balance of nutrition with carbohydrates such as whole grain wheat and whole grain corn.
Though this food is not grain-free, it does also have vitamin supplements added for overall nutrition. Fish oil has also been added to increase the amount of omega-3s, which can reduce inflammation. Other ingredients include soy flakes, rice flour, and oat meal.
- High protein sourced from salmon and tuna
- Added omega-3s to reduce inflammation
- Added vitamin supplements
- Artificial colorings such as caramel color
- Not grain-free
- May cause inflammation and allergies
Purina One has an overall rating of 4.7 stars. Many negative reviews mention the poor quality of food and bugs being found in the kibble. High reviews suggest that the quality of the food is good and has improved their dog’s health. It is also praised as being an affordable option for the best salmon dog food.
This salmon and sweet potato dog food from Canidae focuses on a limited ingredient diet to reduce inflammation and sensitivities. With eight ingredients, Canidae’s priority is on clean proteins and efficient nutrition. Also featuring salmon as a first ingredient, this food promotes healthy immune systems by providing antioxidants and healthy skin and coats through omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
In the list of ingredients, pet owners can also find sweet potatoes, potatoes, canola oil, and both salmon and menhaden fish meals. Sweet potatoes offer good fiber, while canola oil and both fish meals provide fatty acids to support nutrition. In addition, this salmon dog food has probiotics to help with digestion.
- First ingredient is salmon
- High protein
- Rich is omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
- Probiotics to support digestion
- Uses potatoes, which may cause inflammation
- More expensive than other brands
Canidae’s salmon and sweet potato recipe has a rating of 4.5 stars. While this is lower than some other foods, many complaints focus on the product delivery. Buyers revealed bad batches as well as mold in the product. When they bought in local pet stores, the food seemed fine. Higher ratings that focus on Canidae itself show that the food helps with stool consistency and is good for sensitive stomachs.
Merrick’s Grain Free salmon and sweet potato dog food is very high in protein and relatively high in fats. Using real, deboned salmon, this food also provides fiber through sweet potatoes and healthy fats through fish oil. Like other similar options, this food from Merrick is grain and gluten free, which is beneficial for dogs with arthritis and inflammation.
Other ingredients after the salmon include a salmon meal, whitefish meal, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and peas for extra plant protein and fibers. Like other brands, Merrick adds vitamin supplements and other vitamins and minerals including glucosamine and chondroitin, which also supports joint health.
Pros of this fish-based dog food:
- Deboned Salmon is the first ingredient
- Contains multiple protein sources, like white fish meal, making it high in protein
- Added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
- Deboned salmon dry dog food
- Very expensive compared to other brands
- High protein may cause heart health issues in certain breeds
With a 4.7 star rating, Merrick is praised for its quality ingredients. Negative reviews suggest that animals may become sick, that the product is too expensive, and the packaging has changed. Positive reviewers believe the high price is worth the quality ingredients.
Blue Buffalo Basics products focus on providing dogs with nutrition through limited ingredients, and this salmon and potato recipe is no different. Limited ingredient foods are meant to provide healthy food to dogs that have food sensitivities, allergies, and sensitive stomachs. With Blue Buffalo salmon and potato dog food, the first ingredient is salmon, followed by clean ingredients.
Blue Buffalo Basics is grain free, avoiding ingredients such as chicken, corn, wheat, and dairy. In addition to being high protein, this food is balanced by healthy vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, and berries that aid in digestion and provide many vitamins and nutrients. This food is also rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Salmon is first ingredient
- Grain and gluten free salmon dry dog food
- Pumpkin and potatoes provide good fiber for digestion
- Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat health
- Healthy food for dogs with food sensitivities
- A more expensive brand
- High protein could cause heart health issues
- Potatoes can cause inflammation
Blue Buffalo Basics has received a 4.7 star rating. Many negative reviews suggest that the product made their dog or puppy ill after trying the food and even caused some skin allergies. However, other high reviews say that their pet’s allergic reactions were reduced after switching to this salmon dog food.
Rachael Ray’s Nutrish products are grain free and made with real meat. In the salmon, sweet potato, and pea recipe, real salmon is used as well as peas for a balanced protein source. In addition, sweet potatoes offer good digestive fiber. This food is cooked with quality ingredients in the USA.
Other ingredients include chicken meal, menhaden fish meal, white potatoes, and beet pulp. Both meals add additional protein, while the beet pulp and white potatoes offer additional fiber. This food also adds vitamin supplements to support nutrition.
- The first ingredient is salmon
- High protein
- Root vegetables for added fiber and digestive health
- Affordably priced salmon dry dog food
- High protein might cause health issues in some breeds
- White potatoes may cause inflammation
- Misleading packaging
Rachael Ray Nutrish has an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Many low reviews mention a lawsuit in 2018 as well as the product making their dogs sick. The packaging says the product is free of poultry meal, yet the second ingredient is chicken meal, which has left some reviewers with questions. High-star reviews reveal that their dog’s allergies have improved and their overall health has gotten better.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredients pet food focuses on one source of animal protein. For their sweet potato and fish formula, the first ingredient is salmon with the remaining protein coming from menhaden fish meal. Sweet potatoes also offer a good source of digestive fiber.
Other ingredients include cassava flour, potatoes, and sunflower oil, which is used to add extra omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, this salmon dog food is packed with vitamin supplements and inflammation-reducing ingredients like rosemary extract and green tea extract.
- First ingredient is salmon
- Only focused on one protein source
- Added fish oil and sunflower oil for omega fatty acids
- Inflammation fighting rosemary and green tea extracts
- High protein might cause heart health issues in some dogs
- Potatoes can be inflammatory
Old reviews from 2018 share that a change in this dog food’s formula made their dog ill. Others reveal that the product was either moldy or had bugs. Despite negative reviews, Natural Balance salmon and potato dog food maintains a rating of 4.6. Higher and more recent reviews show that there were decreases in food allergies as well as an increase in overall health.
The wild-caught salmon, egg, and pumpkin recipe from Purina Beyond Natural puts emphasis on quality protein while balancing the protein with grains and other nourishing ingredients. While this food includes grains, it stays clear of highly inflammatory corn, soy, and wheat. Purina focuses on antioxidants to support immune systems as well as omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coats.
In addition to salmon, egg, and pumpkin, this food also contains rice, barley, and chicken meal to help balance nutrition. While salmon, chicken meal, and egg provide healthy proteins, pumpkin supplies fiber that makes digestion easier and calms sensitive stomachs. Vitamin supplements and fish oil are also included for additional support.
- Wild-caught salmon is the first ingredient
- Egg and chicken meal provide additional protein
- No inflammatory grains, like corn, wheat, and soy
- Added omega fatty acids for coat and skin health
- Very affordable salmon dry dog food
- Eggs can cause allergies for some dogs
Purina Beyond Naturals salmon dog food maintains a rating of 4.6. Low reviews show that some dogs won’t like the smell or the taste. It has also made some animals sick or caused allergic reactions. High reviews suggest that allergies were reduced and overall coat and skin health improved.
Is salmon dog food good for dogs?
Salmon is rich in nutrients, and everyone is aware of that. However, salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids along with other saturated, unsaturated, and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the metabolism of different fatty acids. Hence, their presence can boost the beneficial effects of fatty acids for your furry friend.
Omega-3 fatty acids support the immune system, improve collagen production, relieve skin disease, especially allergy and inflammations. Hence, they have a wide range of healthcare benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are often prescribed for bone diseases. They help in maintaining joint mobility and bone health and are beneficial for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Their primary benefit is reducing inflammation; salmon food decreases many inflammation-related problems like inflammatory bowel disease.
Furthermore, it improves heart health by reducing blood pressure and controlling hyperlipidemia. In adult dogs, it improves joint health by reducing inflammation and the incidence of osteoarthritis. By managing the lipid metabolism, salmon food helps in the healthy weight loss of your furry friend. Salmon food also helps in improving cognitive learning abilities, mainly in older dogs.
Is salmon better than chicken for dogs?
Undoubtedly, dogs need protein for various body functions, and they can get proteins from multiple sources. The typical protein sources for dogs are chicken, beef, and fish. All these sources have different values for protein content and other nutrients. When we compare protein sources in terms of protein content and other supplement nutrients, we see that fish, like salmon, have more protein than chicken. They contain some nutrient supplements that dog also needs for better health.
Salmon is better than chicken as it contains more amino acids than chicken and, in addition, contains fewer fats and more oils. More importantly, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have essential functions in the body.
What is the healthiest dog food for dogs?
Well! It is a tricky question. Dogs are carnivores, and they prefer animal source nutrients to plant source nutrients. Their body is more adapted to digest and absorb animal source nutrients. Therefore, the healthiest dog food should be animal source food. Among animal source foods, fish is the food that contains more protein contents than other meat sources. In addition, fish meat, especially salmon, contains omega fatty acids to regulate body metabolism.
However, other sources of proteins like chicken and beef are also beneficial. Still, comparatively, salmon fish is more nutritious and beneficial than chicken and beef. Salmon foods have many other advantages than having omega fatty acids. It contains lots of vitamins and other supplements, and a few dogs are allergic to it. Therefore, it is the healthiest source of food for dogs.
Choosing the Right Salmon Dog Food
Dogs are carnivores, and therefore their significant diet portion must be from an animal source. Their body is more adapted to utilize animal-origin foods, and therefore, they should eat animal-based food. Fish is the best source of food for proteins and other nutrients. Few dogs are allergic to salmon, so you should prefer salmon dog food for your pup to other dog foods.
Now you have seen some of the best salmon dog food brands on the market. While there are many products on the market, not all will be right for your dog. As many of these foods are high in protein, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to see if that kind of diet is right for them. Fortunately, many grain-free dog food companies do carry options with grains included, if that is best for your dog.
Overall, when looking for the best salmon dog food, choose a dog food that is high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, has a probiotic to support digestion, and is easy on sensitive stomachs in order to prevent issues.
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