The 6 Worst Dog Food Brands To Avoid + Alternatives To Check Out (2023 Updated)

Getting the best food for your dog is essential for its growth, health, vitality, and overall life quality. And we all want the best for our furry little friend. However, sometimes the food we buy for them doesn’t provide the nutrition dogs need, even though the label claims otherwise. Some dog food companies put out low-quality products, with really bad ingredients, that can just make our dog feel sick. Overall, you can trust that every product you buy for your dog is truly good.

That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at the current dog food market and see which dog food companies put out truly bad, below-average wet food, treats, and dry foods. So, if you’re on the hunt for the best food for your dog, this is the best place to start at; once you get familiar with the terrible brands, it will be easier for you to find the good ones and make an easier purchasing decision.

Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about the worst dog food brands, as well as the best alternatives you can currently find on the market. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

6 Worst Dog Food Brands To Avoid Like The Plague

Gravy Train – Probably The Worst Dog Food

Now, you might have come across Gravy Train dog food, and maybe you’ve even given it to your dog. But, there’s one thing you should know; it would be better for your dog to eat literally anything else than the food made by Gravy Train. Why you may ask.

Well, the Gravy Train food is completely made out of animal by-products. When we say ‘by-products’ we mean all the nasty stuff that remains once the meat is taken away from the animal; bones, skin, tissue, blood, etc.

There are also cornstarch, soy, preservatives, and artificial coloring to make this food even worse for your dog. Overall, Gravy Train dog food completely lacks nutrition and proper ingredients for a dog to grow healthy and stay so.

So, what would be a good alternative for the Gravy Train dog food? We’d recommend you check out the Royal Canin wet and dry dog food.

This brand is known for providing high-quality pet food, that follows veterinary dog diet recommendations. This food is made out of real meat and contains vitamins and minerals every dog needs to grow strong and healthy.

For a balanced diet, it is recommended to feed your dog both, the wet and dry Royal Canin food, especially if your dog isn’t much of a water drinker. We also have to point out that Royal Canin makes specialized dog and cat food to fit every dog and cat breed’s need.

Pedigree – Generally Unhealthy Dog Food

Now, Pedigree is a big name in the dog food market, especially in Europe and the U.S. It is marketed as the best dog food out there, thanks to its highly nutritional formula that is excellent for all dogs; from puppies to fully grown dogs.

However, Pedigree is in actuality pretty average dog food. The ingredients the company uses to make dog food aren’t nearly as close to being nutritional. Why? Well, the main ingredient in Pedigree dog products seems to be corn, which not only lacks nutrition but also acts as a common food allergen for dogs. Alongside corn, the food is generally filled with preservatives, carbs, and artificial flavors. No wonder it is one of the most affordable dog food brands out there.

So, what would be a good, budget-friendly dog food alternative for Pedigree? We recommend you check out the Blue Buffalo, natural, healthy, and affordable pet food for dogs and cats.

Now, this brand ensures to provide the best formula for dog dry and wet food without going crazy with the price. This makes it easy for you to provide the best nutrition for your dog while staying on budget. The food is suitable for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and age, and is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and protein from real meat. Highly affordable dog food has never been this good, so make sure to check it out!

Cesar – The Worst Wet Dog Food

Know for selling ‘gourmet meals’ for dogs, Cesar has quickly become the must-have for all dog owners. Unfortunately, because of the poor ingredients and incredibly low amounts of actual meat in their products, Cesar also lost its crown even more quickly.

Some dog owners don’t understand the importance of their dog eating actual real-meat wet food. Without this kind of food, the dog doesn’t have a source of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, and other components necessary for their growth and health.

Unfortunately, Cesar dog food lacks on all these fronts. It is made from animal by-products and crammed with additives, colorants, and salt, which makes a Cesar meal a high-sodium one, which is far from healthy for your dog.

So, what would be a good alternative for the Cesar wet dog food? We recommend you check out the Canidae All Life Stages wet dog food.

This is the kind of food every dog should eat. It is filled with actual meat and protein from the chicken, chicken liver, broth, brown rice, and dried eggs. The food contains 41% of protein which makes it an excellent choice for all dog breeds, sizes, and age.

Overall, Canidae provides a superior wet dog food formula that is completely free of corn, soy, and other food allergens. Make sure to check out the whole Canidae dog food line for better insight, because all of their products are simply great.

Purina Dog Chow – Worst Dry Dog Food

Purina is a well-known dog and cat food producer. However, in the past few years, the Purina brand has received a lot of negative criticism for its low-quality, below-average food, and ingredients used to make it.

For example, the Purina Dog Chow dry food is made from whole grain corn, which we’ve mentioned to be a common food allergen for dogs. There are also corn gluten meal, bone meal, soybean meal, animal by-products, and other unhealthy ingredients and food allergens.

All of these ingredients can cause issues with a dog’s gut health, and even result in constipation and digestive problems. Needless to say that such food is far from being properly nutritional for dogs. Moreover, it can lead to serious health issues, which is probably the main reason why you should stay away from Dog Chow dry food.

So, what would be a good alternative for the Purina Dog Chow dry food? Yet again, we’d recommend you go for the Instinct brands and their Original Grain-Free dry food for dogs.

This dry food would be an excellent choice for your dog. It is made from actual meat, like beef, chicken, white fish meal, and chicken fat. There are also ingredients like duck, rabbit, and salmon in other variations of the Instinct dry food.

Moreover, there is 40% of protein in this dry food, which is a great amount for a dog to grow strong and stay healthy. The overall formula of the food is excellent, and it is even suitable for picky dogs. With the Instinct dry food, your dog won’t have a digestive issue since the ingredients promote healthy gut flora.

Ol’ Roy – The Worst Dog Treats Brand

When it comes to dog treats, we had a hard time choosing the worst brand to be perfectly honest. So many dogs treats out there are incredibly low-quality and overall unhealthy for your dog. However, considering all the ingredients and overall quality, we’ve narrowed down the search to Ol’ Roy Basted Biscuits dog treats.

Generally speaking, these treats are made out of wheat and cooked/dried animal bones. From the get-go, this is not a good ingredient list. There is no indication which animals bones were used for this product, which means that basically, any animal bones could end up in the Ol’ Roy treats. Alongside the ambiguous bone content, there are also ingredients like salt, artificial flavors, and colors, animal by-products, etc.

So, what would be a good alternative for the Ol’ Roy dog treats? We’d surely recommend you check out the Instinct Raw Boost Mixers dog treats.

Now, these treats are the best of the best. They come in a variety of flavors, from chicken and lamb to cranberry and pumpkin; there’s something for every dog. The ingredients are high-quality, and the treats are made from real meat and are rich in protein. Generally, the ingredients found in these treats are pumpkin seeds, sweet potato, dried pumpkin, rosemary extract, and so much more.

The treats are kibble-size and can even be mixed with regular dry or wet dog food. We recommend these treats if you want to keep your dog healthy, boost its immune system and ensure its gut health stays well.

IAMS Proactive Health – Overall Bad Dog Food

IAMS is a known producer of dog and cat food, often praised for high-quality ingredients and good food formula. However, when you take a closer look at the ingredient list, you’ll quickly find out that IAMS is far from providing high-quality dog food.

For example, the Proactive Health food contains primarily chicken. Now, this wouldn’t generally be an issue hadn’t we taken into the consideration the low amounts of actual chicken in the food. The label doesn’t show how much chicken is in there.

Moreover, the second ingredient on the list is cornmeal, which is just ground corn. As we mentioned, corn is a no-go for dogs since it acts as a food-allergen. Moreover, it has no nutritional value for the dog and it can cause digestive issues.

And of course, we have to mention that this food also contains chicken by-product meal. Now, this means that all of the chicken waste (including feet, beak, feathers, skin, even underdeveloped eggs), are used to make this ‘high-quality’ dog food. So, you can see why we’ve included IAMS on this list.

So, what would be a good alternative for IAMS dog food? Well, since we’re talking about food that claims to actually boost and promote the dog’s health, we’d gladly recommend you check out the American Journey Grain-Free dog food.

Now, this dog food is filled with actually nutritious ingredients that will boost your dog’s immune system on a daily basis. The formula features real, deboned meat and protein, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

For example, the Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free dry dog food from this company contains ingredients like actual salmon meat, carrots, sweet potato, dried kelp, and blueberries. This food does not contain corn, soy, or animal by-products that could upset your dog’s stomach and lower its immune system. So, if you want what’s best for your dog, then make sure to check out Animal Journey.

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