These are the worst dog food brands that you should avoid!

There’s a huge number of dog foods out there, and it can be difficult to know which ones are good for your dog and which ones aren’t. While there are a number of brands you likely do know are not good for your pup, there are some others that may surprise you! A number of brands marketed as “healthier” may be anything but, and pet parents are often mislead into thinking they are feeding their dog a quality food, when in reality it’s just more crappy food hyped up by marketing teams.

In today’s article we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to actually cover some of the worst food for dogs, and tell you what makes them so bad. Then we’ll offer you some much better alternatives which you can give to your pooch instead. If you’re currently feeding one of these brands to your dog, then the benefits of a new and higher quality food will likely make themselves apparent quickly. Your dog’s coat and skin will look better, if they have previously had an digestion issues they will likely go away, and you may even find he’s more energetic as well.

Old Roy

This one is likely no surprise. Old Roy is routinely the cheapest food available at Walmart, and it’s filled with nothing but garbage. It’s likely the equivalent of feeding your dog junk food with no nutrition for its entire life. The first ingredient, and most subsequent ingredients are low value grains such as corn which provide no nutritional value. There are no high quality whole meat products, only a mysterious “meat and bone meal”, which could be almost anything.

This food is likely difficult for your pup to digest, it’s filled with mostly unhealthy carbohydrates, and it contains many common allergens that pets have a hard time dealing with. I’m not going to bother putting the questionable ingredient in bold, because there’s nothing good for your dog in here at all. While the brand will say that they “meet nutrition standards”, that simply means you dog can survive eating this. Just because you could “survive” by eating corn pops everyday doesn’t mean you should. Old Roy is likely the worst dog food in existence.


what not to feed your dog

While this food is often marketed at grocery stores as a “healthy” alternative to other foods they have, which might be true in comparison, it’s honestly not that great for your dog. While they do have Salmon as the “number one ingredient”, the number two ingredient is corn. Corn is a cheap filler that offers little nutritional value, and pretty much every dog food brand that is actually of a higher quality will not include this item for these reasons. “Whole grain corn” is still corn, and it’s still bad.

Beneful also includes by products, and the majority of the ingredients in the food seem to be grains and not meats. While there are some healthier veggies included in the list of ingredients, they are at the bottom of the list, making them the lowest priority. Here’s some of the choice offenders in bold from the ingredient list of the Salmon flavor. As you can see, it’s mostly full of grains and trash meat cuts that slaughterhouses can’t sell for human consumption. The worst part, is that for the price Beneful charges, you could purchase a food that’s actually good for your dog somewhere else. It’s not even cheap!

Salmon, Whole Grain Corn, Barley, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Oat Meal, Soybean Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Glycerin, Egg And Chicken Flavor, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Soybean Oil, Poultry And Pork Digest, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Dried Green Beans, Dried Carrots.


horrible dog food brands

This food has almost identical ingredients to Old Roy. The first ingredient is a low grade corn meal, quickly followed by a mystery meat and bone meal product consisting of whatever pieces they have laying around to grind up. While the front of the package will show you pictures of tasty chicken and veggies, you’d likely be hard pressed to actually find them in here.

The only chicken in here comes from by products and other unsavory bits, and it’s actually listed pretty low down the ingredient list, meaning there isn’t much of it there anyway. This food is primarily composed of corn bits, assorted pieces that might belong to cows, pigs or who knows and a ton of artificial coloring and flavors. Again, the ingredients are not worth highlighting, because there’s nothing in here worth mentioning.

Royal Canin

worst dog food for dogs

While this brand is often marketed as a premium pet food, the ingredients are anything but. The first ingredient is brewers rice, a left over of cereal creation that offers little nutritional value for your dog. Since it’s listed first, this is the ingredient that the food focuses on. Not really something you’d think a “premium” food would do. The ingredients don’t get better as it goes on either, and in fact many of these things are similar to the cheapest pet food brands.

Below you can see a sample ingredient list, filled with low value corn, wheat and meat by-products that will offer your dog little nutritional value. While many people will recommend this food, you need to verify the ingredients for yourself. Yet again, there’s not really anything good in here that could be recommended to feed to your dog, despite this being a pretty popular product for pet parents looking to feed their dog a “healthier diet”. It seems these consumers have been mislead. While it does have less “artificial” items like colors and flavors, it also doesn’t really have any super great ingredients.

Hills Science Diet

worst food for dogs

While this food is better than the others on our list thus far, they do have some questionable ingredients. It should however be held to a higher standard because it is often marketed as a high quality food for “medical issues”, and it’s often for sale in vets office. Unfortunately, it may not be the healthiest choice for your dog.

The first ingredient in this food is whole chicken, which is good, but after that things get dicey. Pretty much every other ingredient is a grain. There’s wheat, barley, sorghum, corn, and corn gluten in large quantities. This items are often responsible for many pet’s allergy responses, and after swapping to a non-grain based diet my pet’s health dramatically improved. His coat is nicer, he doesn’t throw up now, and he has no more digestion issues like he did before. For the price you’ll be charged for this food, I would defintely pick up something with more high quality meat ingredients and less grains, though I prefer to have none in my pet food. While there are some healthier veggies in here, they are last on the list, so they might as well not be here at all. Here’s the baddies in bold for you.

Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Oat Fiber, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Purina Dog Chow

The packaging for this food is slightly misleading. While the bag will tell you that it is made with a high quality whole meat ingredient like lamb or chicken, the reality is that this ingredient is too far down the list to matter. Manufacturers are required to list their ingredients in order of prominence, and if we take a look at the ingredients list we’ll see that “real meat” is not really a priority for Purina.

Ingredient number one is again, whole grain corn, which is no better than regular old corn. It’s still a useless filler with almost no nutritional value for your dog. Next up is wheat, another filler. Closely followed by the mystery meat and bone meal which could be almost anything. Another corn meal, followed by soy meal, and then we finally get to the “main” ingredient, at number 7 on the list. That’s not very promising, but they’re banking on customers not knowing how the ingredient list works.

Whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, beef fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, lamb, egg and chicken flavor, glycerin, ground rice, sugar, poultry and pork digest, salt, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, MINERALS [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], VITAMINS [Vitamin E supplement, niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (Vitamin K), folic acid (Vitamin B-9), biotin (Vitamin B-7)], Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, garlic oil.

What foods are good to feed your dog then?

To wrap up this review were going to recommend some great dog foods that you can switch to if you don’t want to feed your dog these garbage food brands anymore. All of these foods include whole meat ingredients, nothing artificial, and if your dog has allergies or digestion issues, then any of these should be able to make him a healthier and happier pooch.


If you’re serious about giving your dog the best nutrition possible, then NomNomNow is the cream of the crop. This company creates diets formulated by a veterinarian, and they deliver them to your house! These are fresh meals that feature only real, human grade food ingredients. The recipes are limited in their number of ingredients as well, making them an excellent fit for dogs who are sensitive to many foods.

fresh food for puppies

While it’s certainly more expensive than dry kibble, it is the most nutritious diet you can offer your dog. Everything is proportioned so it’s easy to feed them the right amount, and it’s also much more convenient than trying to cook fresh meals for your dog yourself. Everything is made in the USA.

Below you can see a sample recipe that lays out all of the ingredients for you, and they even give a complete nutritional breakdown for each recipe. The Heartland Beef Mash has only five ingredients, ground beef, potatoes, carrots, peas and eggs, plus a few necessary nutrients.

fresh puppy food

If you’re interested in seeing what NomNomNow can do for your pet, then you can visit their website to learn more about the company and see more about the process they use to make their foods.

Go to NomNomNow

Halo Dog Food

If you can’t quite afford to feed your dog fresh meals everyday, then there are some suitable kibble varieties as well. Halo is an excellent dog food brand that uses only human grade, whole meat ingredients in their recipes. Their recipes have superior digestibility, and if you can’t afford the NomNomNow for a sensitive pup, then this is likely a close second. They’ve actually even done studies to prove the digestibility of their foods, and you’ll likely see an immediate improvement in animals with upset stomachs or problems with diarrhea.

best dog food for small breed puppies

They have several different flavors and varieties available for small dogs, large breed dogs, puppies, and even specialty diets like weight control. They offer grain free diets, and they don’t use any by-products, meat meals or other heavily processed items to make any of their foods. This food brand is made entirely in the United States.

Buy Halo on Amazon

Orijen dog food

This Canadian dog food brand is heavily focused on healthy proteins. Their foods are grain free, and they offer excellent human grade ingredients. This food might actually even be slightly better than Halo, but it is also more expensive, and most of the recipes use multiple protein sources. This can actually making it tougher for sensitive dogs to digest. If your pup has issues with vomiting, allergies or diarrhea, then it’s probably best for you to get the Halo food instead.

best food for large breed puppies

However, they use high quality whole meats and freeze dried meats which preserve much of the nutrients for your dog. They don’t use anything artificial, and they feature high quality proteins like turkey, flounder, liver and eggs. They actually include “whole prey” style ingredients which can be quite beneficial to your dogs overall health, including not only the meat but also organs to give them more complete nutrition.

Buy Orijen on Amazon

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Michelle Rei

Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.

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