December 9, 2022

Pets

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What’s the best dog food (in Australia)? (2022)

12 min read

If you’re a dog lover like me, and I’m sure you are, you’ll want what’s best for your dog. That’s not easy when every packet of dog food tells us it’s the best, the most nutritious, or the one your dog will love!

Read the labelling on your current dog food – what does it tell you? What do the ingredients really say?

You wouldn’t believe how cunning pet food marketing departments are. More on that later – but stick around and I’ll tell you the #1 misconception about dog food!

I’ve researched dog foods for many years, worked with vets, pet food companies, and thousands of consumers like you. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and hope to share that with these reviews.

What's the best dog food (in Australia)?

My aim with Pet Food Reviews is to help you guys choose a better food for your dogs, or to word it better – a better diet.

When it comes to the best dog food in Australia it’s important to note there is no best, no perfect, dog food.

It totally depends on your situation, number of pets, where you live, shop, etc.

Some of the best-rated dog foods on this website are “expensive”. Perhaps fine as part of a diet, but too costly for many.

For those on a tighter budget (like most of us, right?) – here’s some of the best affordable dog foods (with tips on boosting nutrition!)

If you’re getting impatient and want to see the list of best dog foods in Australia then that comes next, but if you want to learn more about dog food (particularly in Australia), then keep reading!

What’s the best dog food in Australia?

I aim to keep this list short as the last thing I want you to do is stay up til 3am pulling your hair out trying to decide.

I change this list regularly, and recommend you come back whenever you need to stock up – my personal recommendation is to switch it up, add variety, and in time you’ll probably start taking advantage of whichever dog food happens to be on sale at the time.

Bookmark this page with CTRL + D on Windows (or whichever corresponding alien keys on a Mac) ✔

Right then, the current list of best dog food in Australia, in no particular order:

Click here for all dog food reviews.

Some of these brands are available direct from the manufacturer. You should find many of them in good pet stores on independent pet shops. I know Pet Circle are very proactive in stocking decent dog foods, as are My Pet Warehouse – both competitive on price.

Are dog foods really that different?

The difference in quality between some dog foods and others in Australia is astounding. Some dog foods tell you exactly what they’re made from, usually because they’re made from ingredients which are good for your dog.

But…

*Most* dog foods sold in Australia do their best not to tell you the truth.

I have a copy of the Australian standards for Manufacturing and marketing of pet food (AS 5812:20127) which is available here, but you’ll have to pay $118.76 AUD for the privilege. How’s that for transparency?

The standards, if you do read them, will give you the impression they were written by the pet food industry, for the pet food industry.

On in other words, not for the benefit of you or me as the consumer.

Seasoned Australian vet Dr Tom Lonsdale, author of Raw Meaty Bones and Work Wonders, refers to it as “the junk pet food industry”, having witnessed first hand the harm caused to our dogs from commercial pet food, for decades.

Dr Lonsdale, unlike most vets, records data on what dog foods were fed to the sick dogs and cats who go through his veterinary practice daily. He attributes most conditions, such as itchy skin, rotting teeth and gums, and other serious illnesses to commercial pet foods.

Needless to say, he has a great deal of credibility on the subject, and those two books are eye-opening.

I’ve found the marketing of many brands of dog food so skewed it’s amazing it’s legal. I find highly questionable brands benefit from 5 star ratings on various websites, simply because the owner thinks it’s good because their dog eats it.

Many of those people will readily say it’s the best dog food in Australia to any social media group who’ll listen or ask for recommendations!

How often do people recommend Supercoat as the best dog food, ever? Lot’s of cereal by-products, wheat, corn, sorghum, or barley in that food for essentially meat-eating dogs.

Just saying.

Your dog will eat a Big Mac – they’ll probably love it – but is that good for your dog? Should Big Macs be rated 5 stars as a dog food?

Alternatively, would you rate broccoli 1 star because your baby refuses to eat it?

Nope.


Hopefully my experience with dog food over many years, combined with gathering so much information and feedback from other dog owners, will help you make a better decision when choosing a dog food in Australia.

Lastly, before I get to some interesting misconceptions about dog food, I want you to take part in helping other dog lovers learn.

We’re in this together.

What dog food do you feed? What experiences have you had? What have you learned from others?

Every review has a comments section, and it’s totally free to use!

Misconceptions about dog food which will change your mind forever!

If you’ve got this far, thank you – it’s clear you really want to know what’s best for your dog!

Here’s not one, but two misconceptions about dog food in the world today! In fact, they’ve been misconceptions for decades.

When searching for the best food for your dog, always keep these misconceptions in mind. They’ll guide you towards the right decision.

#1 misconception about dog food

You’ll be forgiven if this surprises you. We fall victim to clever marketing, and pet food marketers are up there with magicians – they know how to trick us.

Most commercial dog foods are grain-based, not meat-based.

Walk down the dog food aisle in any supermarket across the world, and spend time looking at every packet of dog food. What pictures are on the front? What claims do they make?

Ask yourself – how many say “Rich in Wheat!”, “Grain is the first ingredient!”, “Packed with rice your dog will love!”, or “Made with real corn!”.

Any of them?

Now turn those bags around and read the ingredients. Most commercial dog foods are made from grains!

Don’t be fooled by grain-free slogans either. They usually swap grains for potatoes, tapioca, or other starchy high-carbohydrate ingredients. They’ll still market it as meaty.

When you read my reviews you’ll find that’s not the only trickery they use to make a dog food appear like the best dog food in the aisle.

Even claims like “meat first ingredient” doesn’t mean there’s much of it in the product, so don’t be fooled by that one either.

#2 misconception about dog food

If you’ve read the first misconception about dog food, then this second misconception might not come as a shock.

But sit down, and take a deep breath.

Most commercial dog food is, quite likely, unhealthy.

This may sound like a crazy thing to say, and I hope you don’t think I’m crazy for saying it.

People have said to me, many times, “If it wasn’t healthy, they wouldn’t sell it”.

Personally I think that’s crazy, especially given the amount of junk food you can buy.

In 2021, a leaked document from Nestlé claimed the majority of it’s portfolio is unhealthy.

The document, meant for internal use only, was a presentation acknowledging more than 60% of products did not meet ‘recognised definition of health’ – cited from an FT article here.

Did you know Purina is a brand of Nestlé? They’re one of the biggest sellers of pet food in Australia!

Nestlé brands in Australia 👉 Supercoat, Purina One, Felix, Fancy Feast, Pro Plan, Friskies, Lucky Dog, Bonnie, Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Dentalife!

In fact, according to Statista, Nestlé made an incredible US $15,422,000,000 with their Purina range of pet foods in 2021.

That’s around 30% of all pet food sold worldwide.

Nestlé aren’t the biggest pet food manufacturer either. The biggest player, making a whopping US $18,085,000,000 in 2021, was Mars.

How many dog foods have you seen with “Mars” in big letters on the packaging, like you get with the Mars bar?

None?

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Yet most of the dog foods in the supermarket aisles are brands by Nestlé or Mars.

Go to your local vets and look at the dog foods they recommend. Read the ingredients. Do you think they’re much better?

Most of those brands are also Mars, or Colgate-Palmolive.

When you read my reviews for many of these brands, and others, you can decide for yourself if you’re feeding the best dog food.

What's the best dog food (in Australia)?

Oh, and before you turn to an Australian brand instead of one of those big American brands, just keep in mind Australia’s regulations for pet food are worse, with even less guarantees of honesty, quality, or even safety.

Why choosing the right dog food is vital for the health of your dog

You’ve probably got the gist of it already, but what we feed our dogs is vital for their health.

Let me give you some examples…

I’ve spoken to hundreds of dog owners over the years who didn’t realise their dog’s itchy skin or rashes were related to diet. It’s actually very common, but not really considered.

Most of the time those dogs will be taken to the vet and prescribed some form of medication or expensive “prescription diet” – usually Hills Science Diet, Hills Prescription Diet, or Royal Canin.

Those prescription diets work because they don’t contain common allergens – namely wheat or cereals. If you don’t believe me, compare the ingredients between a dermocare formula and another formula of the same brand.

Those medications merely cover up the issues without addressing the real problem.

In most of those cases any grain free dog food would do the trick, and these are often cheaper.

There are many diet-related illnesses our dogs suffer, and it’s rarely considered cheap dog foods are the culprit.

Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, IBS, allergies, dermatitis, ear infections, urinary crystals, pancreatitis

All of these can be attributed to diet, which is why choosing a decent dog food is vital for the long term health of our dogs.

There’s some great information about those illnesses on the Frontier Pets website here, which is well worth keeping in mind.

How the list of best dog food in Australia is chosen

All the dog food reviews are written firstly as an overview of the ingredients and analysis, but there are many other factors taken into account. Many brands of Australian dog foods actually come from the same manufacturer. There are many Australian brands of dog food, yet only a handful of manufacturers.

I monitor trends with each manufacturer, so if you find your dog has a reaction to a dog food, or you have any issues, then make sure you say so in the comments.

Australian Pet Owners Group (APOG) have an issue log for most brands of dog and cat food sold in Australia, and it’s well worth researching any pet food you feed on their website.

With some leading Australian manufacturers I’ve gathered many reports of sickness or diarrhoea. For other pet food manufacturers, hardly any at all.

What's the best dog food (in Australia)?

The dog foods on the “Best Dog Food in Australia” list will change over time, either as formulas change, or feedback and other factors change.

Dog foods I have rated highly in the past have at times been bought up or switched manufacturers and shown drastic changes in quality – very sad considering the consumer loyalty which has been built up.

If you’ve had a positive or negative experience on a dog food in Australia then let me know, add a comment, or through the Facebook page.

Varying your dog’s diet is something I see as a good thing, so keep that in mind as well.

Your dog doesn’t need to be fed a single brand of dry dog food any more than we would eat a single brand of breakfast cereal for every meal day after day.

In fact, my guide on how to feed a dog (or cat) may offer some guidance!

What about the worst dog food brands?

Some of the worst dog food brands in Australia are actually the most well known. What ads have you seen recently on TV featuring a cute dog apparently “loving” some brand of dog food?

The reason for this is the big players in dog food make the some of the worst foods. It’s why they make so much profit – selling a cheap formula with impeccable marketing is a business strategy which works.

Those companies have huge budgets for marketing their products, and not just for ads either – by influencing breeder communities, dog shows, University sponsorships and endorsements.

If you’re feeding one of those best-selling dog food brands, then read the review on this website, or at the very least look at the ingredients – what does it really say about the product?

Don’t stick to dry dog food

There’s such a belief a dog should eat the same food from the day he’s weened until the day he dies.

Why?

Imagine if we were told to eat a commercial dry biscuit for the rest of our lives?

Always keep in mind dry dog food is a processed product. Yes, it’s designed to meet the insanely complex nutritional needs of our dogs as one complete package, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

Rotate, add variety, and mix in some wet, BARF, or fresh ingredients. These reviews are mostly dry dog foods, but if you want the best wet dog food in Australia then many of the top rated dry foods have a corresponding wet food.

There isn’t a best supermarket dry dog food page on this website, but there’s a list of more affordable dog foods which is a balance of price and quality.

Nutrition analysis of the best dog foods

All the foods on the best dog food in Australia list must meet my stringent criteria.

In a nutshell, here are a few:

  • Must have sufficient protein and fat.
  • Must have sufficient meat ingredients.
  • Must not contain any nasty or ambiguous ingredients.
  • Must avoid allergenic or problematic ingredients.
  • Must have a long standing reputation and good consumer feedback.
  • Must conform to AAFCO standards to offer a complete & balanced diet (only applicable to dry/wet dog foods, not applicable to raw dog foods/patties).

I care what you think!

It’s taken me a great deal of time, and huge amounts of research to put these reviews together. I’ve spent a great deal of time finding research studies, picking through them, and doing my best to ensure they’re not biased, not influenced, and provide valuable facts.

Pet Food Reviews takes up more of my life than I care to admit, but the ultimate goal is for us to have happier, healthier pets, who have the best chance of living a long life.

I can’t do that alone. I encourage you to be involved, to add comments, discuss, get in touch, and share the knowledge you’ve learned with friends, family, and social media groups.

If your dog’s allergies clear up, they become more buoyant, more active, or show a new lease of life based on the information on these reviews, then let me know!

And let others know!

The “Best dog food in Australia” list depends on your ongoing feedback.

The links on the reviews to pet food retailers are also affiliate links, so any time you click and buy a dog food a small percentage will help keep Pet Food Reviews up, running, and up to date – thank you!

what is the best dog food in australia
In memory of my best friend Archie, who I lost to the horrible disease lymphoma (a cancer linked to weed killer glyphosate sprayed on Australian parks).

“What is the Best Dog Food in Australia?”, updated 2022.