Your pup loves the taste of a good sock eye as much as you do!
Salmon dog food is a great choice for owners of dogs with stomach or allergy issues from traditional meats like beef and chicken. It’s also a great food to try when you’re dealing with a picky eater, who may find that he adores that salmon taste.
Today we’re reviewing the best salmon dog food brands and discussing the benefits of a salmon diet for canines!
Quick Picks: 5 Best Salmon Dog Foods
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free With Salmon
- Nutro Max Grain Free Salmon Dog Food
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Dog Food
- Merrick Grain-Free With Salmon Dog Food
- Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini
Why Choose Salmon Dog Food?
Owners opt for salmon dog food due to a number of reasons, including:
- Healthy Protein Source. Salmon is an extremely high-quality protein source, which is why many owners consider it for their beloved canines! Fish boasts a great protein-to-calorie count, making it a favorite protein source for humans and four-legged creatures alike.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acid. Salmon is a natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acid, which is said to be great for skin, coat, and joint health (which is especially handy for arthritis senior dogs).
- Brain Booster. Salmon is also said to promote healthy brain function, so it’s great for developing puppies as well as twilight dogs going a bit senile.
- Amino Acids. Fish, salmon included, has high levels of amino acids. Amino acids can help with everything from building cartilage to regulating hormones.
- High in Vitamins & Minerals. Salmon is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, among others.
- Low Mercury Fish. Salmon is also considered a low mercury fish, so the threat of ingesting unhealthy levels of mercury – something fanatic fish eaters often worry about – is minimized when it comes to salmon.
- Flavorful. Dogs often love the added flavor of salmon in their dog food! It may become your four-legged buddy’s new favorite meal!
If you decide to give your dog salmon solo (not within a manufactured dog food), make sure to cook the salmon all the way, as raw salmon can have parasites that are dangerous for dogs. Also make sure to remove any bones so your pup doesn’t choke!
However, we definitely don’t recommend simply feeding your furry pal fish and nothing else! While owners often are curious about taking their dog’s nutrition into their own hands, it’s important to note that dog food is created with specific formulas, designed to provide your dog with all the nutritional needs they require.
What to Consider When Buying Salmon Dog Food
Just Salmon Or Other Meat Too?
If your dog has allergy issues, you may want to select a salmon dog food that only contains salmon as a protein source.
Some of the dog foods listed here solely rely on salmon as a meat protein, while others have salmon as the primary protein, but also include other meats, like chicken.
This mix of meats is fine if you’re just looking for a quality meat protein source for your pooch. However, for allergy issues, make sure to check out ingredients and avoid any additional meat sources that won’t work well for your dog.
Grain-Free Is Good, But That’s Not All That Matters
All of the salmon dog foods we reviewed in this article are grain-free.
This wasn’t necessary on purpose – grain free isn’t always the best choice for all canines, but it often can be very beneficial for dogs with allergies and can help a ton with digestion issues.
Many of the best dog food brands that offer salmon-based formulas also happen to be grain free, since they pay more careful attention to ingredients than 2nd-tier dog foods.
Remember, simply being grain-free doesn’t make a dog food great. You’ll also want to be wary of dog foods that contain lackluster protein sources – for example, while some plant protein sources are fine, you want your dog to be getting the majority of his protein from meat. Of course, you’ll also want to look for a dog food with little to no fillers.
Additional Ingredients & Bonus Benefits
Many of the salmon dog foods listed here also include bonus ingredients like glucosamine to promote healthy joints, and chicory root or other probiotics for better digestion.
Some also contain added salmon oil for even more omega 3 fatty acids. The importance and value of these added ingredients will depend on your dog’s unique needs and situation.
Look at 1st Ingredient (& 2nd Too)
The first ingredient in your dog food should always be meat – in this case, you’ll want to see salmon or salmon meal listed as #1. The first ingredient listed is the primary ingredient, so seeing salmon listed 1st allows you to rest assured that your dog’s food really is salmon-based.
In addition to the 1st ingredient, take a look at the dog food’s 2nd and 3rd ingredients too. Usually the best, most protein-packed dog foods will list a meat protein as the 2nd ingredient as well.
You’ll see that in many of the dog foods listed here, deboned salmon may be the 1st ingredient, followed by salmon meal or some other meat.
Salmon vs. Salmon Meal: Is One Ingredient Better Than The Other?
You may see salmon meal listed as an ingredient in these dog foods, in addition to or instead of regular salmon. It’s worth noting that meat meal contains much more protein than whole salmon, due to the way the meat is rendered.
Be aware that this is not the same as general “meat meal” – those kinds of mystery meats are to be avoided. However, seeing the ingredient “salmon meal” should not be a turn off – it’s a good thing!
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free With Salmon is a dog food formula designed for large breed dogs. It uses sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes as healthy complex carbohydrates. It also includes blueberries, carrots, and cranberries for antioxidants.
This dog food also contain chicory root, which aids in digestion due to prebiotics. It also includes chelated minerals, which make protein easier to absorb for dogs.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness also contains dried yeast, which is somewhat controversial – some believe that yeast can keep away fleas and can support a dog’s immune system. Others believe yeast can be linked to allergies (although this really is not an issue if your dog is not allergic to yeast). A small minority also claim that yeast can contribute to bloat, but there’s no evidence to support this claim.
Blue Buffalo Wildness earns a 4.5 star rating from Dog Food Advisor, with 36% protein content. This isn’t as high as some other salmon dog foods, but it certainly is not a low number by any means – it’s quite good!
It’s important to note that this dog food does not contain only salmon as its meat protein source – it also includes chicken meal, so if your dog has allergy issues involving chicken, you may want to steer clear!
This dog food is specifically designed for large breed dogs, but there is also a standard adult version of this dog food available.
- Contains real salmon, which is listed as #1 ingredient
- No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
- Includes Blue Buffalo’s “LifeSource Bits,” which is a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin to promote joint health
- Includes Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin
- Available in 24 lb bag
Nutro Max Grain Free Salmon Dog Food contains salmon as one of its meat protein sources. However, that’s not the only meat in this dog food – it also contains chicken and lamb.
In the ingredients, chicken and lamb are actually listed before the salmon, so while the salmon is a nice bonus, it’s not the primary protein in this dog food.
- Includes real salmon + legumes and pumpkins as healthy alternative to grains
- No corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Available in 4lb or 24lb bag
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Made in the USA
In Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Dog Food, the first ingredients are salmon and salmon meal, so you are definitely getting the salmon value that you pay for – no scams here!
Nature’s Variety Instinct is also one of the highest rated dog foods on Dog Food Advisor, with 5 stars. It has a protein content of 39% – a very impressive number compared to most dog foods! It also uses tapioca as a startch, which helps limit any allergy issues.
Nature’s Variety also features a fairly small kibble size, so it should be quite easy for smaller dogs to eat.
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Grain-free dog food with no corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or fillers
- All natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals (specifically, chelated minerals, which are easier to absorb and are usually only found in quality dog foods) for softer, shinier coat. Also contains antioxidants to boost immune health.
- Contains chicory root, which provides probiotics for heathy digestion (great for dogs with sensitive stomachs)
- Freeze dried raw coating to boost nutrition and improve taste
- Zip lock pack for easy storage
Merrick Grain-Free With Salmon Dog Food is a high-quality dog food with plenty of delicious fish!
Real salmon is listed as the #1 ingredient, followed by salmon meal. This shows that Merrick’s dog food really is packed with authentic meat protein – not fillers.
In addition to salmon, other whitefish is also included in the ingredient list, making it a super seafood meal for your pup.
This salmon dog food also contains salmon oil (providing more omega 3 fatty acid) as well as chelated minerals, which aid in digestion and makes protein easier to absorb. Merrick’s food also features a small kibble size, making it easy for smaller dogs to eat.
Merrick’s food is earns a 5 star rating from Dog Food Advisor, due to its high protein content of 39%.
There is some controversy surrounding Merrick, as the company was recently bought by Purina. However, owners have verified (by calling Merrick) that even despite being bought by Purina, they are still not sourcing any ingredients from China.
- Features deboned salmon as the #1 ingredient
- Fresh produce + easy-to-digest carbohydrates like sweet potato
- Locally sourced, cooked in the USA, no ingredients from China
- Contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
- Contains glucosamine to promote healthy joints
- No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten.
- Available in 4 lb / 12 lb / 24 lb bags
Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Salmon Tunalini seeks to provide your pup with a true Mediterranean diet – this grain-free formula composed of wild-caught salmon, tuna, eggplant, spinach, zucchini, and olive oil!
Salmon and salmon meal are the 1st and 2nd ingredients, meaning this dog food is an authentic choice for salmon-packed protein. However, it also contains chicken liver and chicken cartilage, would could be an issue for allergies.
This dog food is full of prebiotics and probiotics for better doggie digestion. It contains chicory root (for digestion), chelated minerals (for protein absorption), as well as flaxseed and salmon oil (adding more omega 3 fatty acids).
Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals earns 4.5 stars from Dog Food Advisor, with a 32% protein content.
- No grains, corn, wheat, or soy
- Contains Yucca Schidigera extract, which reduces the smell of your dog’s stool
- Includes chicken cartilage for joint health, chicory root for digestion aid and reduced risk of worms, and taurine to help with developing heart and eyes.
- Made with USDA-inspected ingredients + made in the USA
- Available in 4 lb / 12 lb / 26 lb bags
Do you feed your pup salmon dog food? How does your dog like it and why did you choose it? Share your experience in the comments below!