A large and pretty comprehensive study was recently undertaken to cull through the hundreds of dog foods currently on the market, and the resulting information may be of interest to those moms and dads who want to give their furbabies the best. The study used a disciplined elimination process that I personally appreciate. Their criteria included, broadly: origin of the food, primary ingredients, and recall issues, and they give a clear explanation of the process and the reasoning behind it. I won't repeat it all here, as you can hop on over to their page to read more about it. I will, however, summarize a couple of things.
Here are the top ten brands they chose (and I couldn't see that these were in any particular order):
Stella & Chewy's
I took the process two steps further, in a totally unscientific fashion: I went directly to Amazon, which has the largest cross-section of customer feedback on the planet. Of these ten brands, Eagle Pack and Stella & Chewy's garner the highest number of stars over hundreds, or even thousands, of reviews, often averaging 4.5 stars among their varieties.
Although the study did not consider cost as a criteria, they did us the courtesy of listing well over 100 varieties that their favorite brands offered, along with cost per pound. Of these, I next pulled out a selection of the cheapest dry and canned foods. So below you have the best options for quality, along with the cheapest prices. In some cases, they are no more expensive than your typical grocery store picks, but are far better, in terms of ingredients and quality. Not bad, huh?
Note: AvoDerm and NutriSource were not included in the top 10, but were included in the longer list of favorite varieties from the study.
AvoDerm Chicken Meal & Brown Rice, Adult $1.54, and Puppy $1.60
Eagle Pack, Large Breed $1.23, Chicken & Pork Meal regular $1.04, Small Breed, $1.19, and Reduced Fat $1.19
Fromm Weight Management $1.48, Small Breed $1.74, Chicken a la Veg $1.67
Hi-Tek Naturals Grain-free Lamb/Potato, Grain-free Alaskan Fish, both $1.45
AvoDerm Original $2.82, Chicken & Rice Adult ($2.51) Puppy ($2.85)
Eagle Pack Beef $2.52, Lamb $2.52, Turkey $2.50, and Chicken $2.47
Nature's Logic Chicken Feast $2.81, Sardine Feast $3.14
NutriSource Chicken & Rice; Chicken, Lamb, & Ocean Fish, both $2.08
Pinnacle Grain-free Salmon & Potato $3.07
So when some of the best foods in the study, such as Stella & Chewy's, run $36/lb. for freeze-dried, it's great to know that you can still get high-quality food for your best friend at an affordable price, if cost is a consideration for you. You can see above that Eagle Pack stands at the intersection of highest marks and, hands down, cheapest prices of the top ten foods. So my limited analysis suggests that this would be the brand to look at first if you want highest quality at the lowest price. I plan to try some myself!
UPDATE: I did, indeed buy both dry and canned food from Eagle Pack, and I couldn't be happier. I bought the small dog variety, and the kibble pieces are about the size of cooked lentils--very small, easy to get down and digest for our Schnauzers Mango and Oliver. The canned food is very meaty and finely ground, almost like pate in consistency. I'm able to take a tablespoon of that and mix it thoroughly with the kibble to make the kibble look far more appealing to a finicky terrier. Because of its texture, I can use much less of this canned food to coat the kibble than the others I have used, which makes the $2 cost per can about as cost-effective in the end as the typical can I pull off the shelf at the grocery store. So two big paws-up from us!
Now if I can just find a way to carry this brand on the site! Fingers crossed.