Table of Contents
You look into your pooch’s beautiful brown eyes and think about how lucky you are to have this perfect angel in your life.
This means you can’t help but feel a little guilty when subsequently you reach into her dog food bag, scoop out the cheapest kibble you can afford, and place it unceremoniously into her dog bowl.
You’ve heard people talk about natural dog food and its many benefits, but you still can’t help but wonder, will it really improve her health? And if so, how are you supposed to go about choosing the best natural dog food for her needs?
If your head is spinning, don’t worry. We’re going to discuss the benefits of natural dog food below. We’ve also put together a top 10 Canadian Natural dog foods list, including evaluation criteria, to help you pick the right food for your pup.
Let’s dig in!
Why to Consider to Canadian Natural Dog Food
For pet parents to ensure they’re feeding their dog safe, healthy, and nutritious food, they often have to take matters into their own hands. That’s because there isn’t one entity in the Canadian Government that strictly enforces pet food regulations. However, don’t let that scare you — there are still plenty of good reasons to use Canadian natural dog food.
Fortunately, natural dog foods use real ingredients. That is, the ingredients aren’t manufactured or sourced from a chemical or synthetic process. These foods often come from one protein source and are free from artificial flavours, additives, and preservatives.
The result is that you can actually pronounce many of the ingredients included in natural dog food, making it easier to determine if it will be good for your pup or not. No wonder there’s such an abundance of Canadian natural dog food popping up on the market!
Benefits of Natural Dog Food
Natural dog food brands come with some pretty great benefits (aside from the fact that they can also make your dog’s life a little less ho-hum by introducing some variety to her meals!).
In particular, all natural dog food can maintain and even improve your dog’s health. This is due to the high-quality ingredients that natural dog food manufacturers use. The limited ingredients also mean that there is less filler. Every bite your dog takes of her Canadian all natural dog food kibble is full of nutrients—with no preservatives or artificial flavours. With all these benefits, hopefully, you can reduce trips to the dog-ter as well!
It’s important to remember that there are a wide variety of different types of natural dog food, including dry kibble, wet food (in cans) and natural raw dog food, which is usually sold frozen in the pet store. All of these offer similar general health benefits for your dog, but a specific type of natural dog food may be highlighted in a section below when necessary. For instance, wet food is usually soft and easy to chew, and has high moisture content. This makes it a good choice for old dogs or dogs with conditions like kidney disease that can benefit from the extra moisture.
Let’s dive more into how natural dog food can benefit your dog’s overall health.
Skin & Coat
Most natural dog food—whether it’s dry kibble or wet food—is great for your dog’s skin and coat. This is thanks to the inclusion of natural fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) from fish oil, whole fish like salmon, and flaxseed. . These types of oils help keep your dog’s skin moist while also contributing to a thicker and more lustrous coat.
With raw natural dog food varieties, you may have to add a supplement like fish oil to the food before serving. Be sure to read the ingredients on the raw food package carefully and consult your veterinarian if you feel your dog is missing essential fatty acids in their raw food diet.
Your dog’s immune system can also benefit from the naturally-sourced ingredients in most natural dog food types and brands. Most Canadian natural dog food will include antioxidants like blueberries, cranberries, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, kale, and green beans. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals (destructive molecules that can cause harm to your dog’s cells) from affecting your dog’s immune system’s ability to keep them healthy.
The good news is that most natural dog food, including wet food and kibble, tends to be lower in filler ingredients, which add calories to your dog’s food without providing nutritional value. The package of dry kibble or wet food will tell you how many calories each serving of food contains. Speak with your vet to find out what the optimal calorie intake should be for your individual dog.
Raw natural dog food is usually the best for calorie control, as you can easily add or remove components that are high or low in calories. For example, there are less calories in turkey and chicken compared to beef, so you may consider switching out the beef in your pup’s raw diet for one of these poultry sources.
By feeding your pooch natural dog food with limited ingredients, you’ll have an easier time managing and maintaining your dog’s weight. This means you may even be able to avoid putting him on diet dog food.
By feeding your pooch a natural dog food diet, you can potentially increase his lifespan by up to three years!
This is because natural dog food brands typically contain less fillers, additives, and potentially harmful preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which has been determined to be a potential carcinogenic, and nitrites (which are considered fine at normal levels, but too many nitrites can cause nitrite poisioning in dogs). While preservatives mean that the food lasts longer in your cuboard, avoiding them is the best for your pup’s health. Natural preservatives like vitamin C, vitamin E, and rosemary oil are able to slow down the rate in which the fats in dog food goes rancid, so some natural dog foods may contain these (much safer) alternatives.
Some dogs have more sensitive tummies. If your pup falls into this category, natural dog food might just be the trick to help ease dog gut health.
Natural dog food usually contains just one protein, such as fish, chicken, lamb, beef, and pork, making it easier for your dog to digest. This also helps you narrow down if your pup may be sensitive to a particular protein, so you can avoid it in the future. Additionally, because there are fewer filler ingredients in natural dry kibble and wet food that could cause an upset tummy, your pup may have an easier time keeping his dinner down.
Raw natural dog food may be also be a good solution for your dog’s digestive health if they have severe issues, since you can control the ingredients that you include with each meal. Be sure to discuss feeding raw food with your vet so that you can ensure that your dog gets the nutrition he needs.
Natural ingredients can also help your dog’s energy levels increase. A couple of the different ingredients that are specifically great for this include:
Many natural dog food brands contain these ingredients and more, which can specifically help keep your pup’s energy high.
Fewer Trips To The Vet
When you give your dog Canadian natural dog food with ingredients you can pronounce, whether it’s kibble, wet food or raw, the result can be fewer trips to the vet because your dog will be healthier overall. This is not only great for your dog, but great for your wallet as well.
There are a number of natural ingredients that can help your dog’s eyes, which are often found in natural dog food. A few of these ingredients include:
- Cold water fish
Thanks to those ingredients, your dog’s vision can improve, helping him see better and avoid nasty issues like cataracts later down the line.
No one likes it when their pup’s breath stinks! Thankfully, Canadian natural dog food can help improve your dog’s breath. Raw natural dog food that contains meaty bones (the bones are great for cleaning your dog’s teeth as they chew) and little starches and sugars is especially great for your dog’s dental health. Pre-ground raw meat also doesn’t stick to teeth and gums like kibble or wet food, menaing less plaque and tartar build-up.
Natural kibble or wet food also contains less additives, fillers, and preservatives, which can have a negative effect on your dog’s dental health. You can also supplement your dog’s diet with carrot, apple slices, and pumpkin to help keep their teeth in tip-top shape.
Natural, Organic, or Vegan?
Because vegan and organic foods fall under the wider umbrella of natural foods, we will focus on natural foods broadly throughout this post.
As a recap, all of these types of dog foods can come in dry, raw, or wet varieties. In this section, we’ll focus on the wording itself and how it applies to each of these different types of food in a more general sense.
When a dog food says it is natural, that generally means that it contains naturally-sourced ingredients that you’ll be able to pronounce, rather than synthetic ingredients which usually includes fillers, additives, and preservatives. These natural ingredients are typically fish, poultry, beef, pork, fruits, and vegetables. Sometimes, natural dog food purchased at a store will contain vitamin C, E, or rosemary oil as a natural preservative, but this is less likely with raw food and more likely with dry kibble or wet food cans.
Pros of Natural Dog Food
Cons of Natural Dog Food
Organic dog food is, you guessed it, made from organic ingredients. The term “organic” can mean different things depending on the ingredients in the dog food—organic meat usually means that the animal was raised in living conditions that mimic its natural environment, and wasn’t fed antibiotics or hormones. For plants (including fruits and veggies) organic means they were not treated with pesticides or fertilizers.
Pros of Organic Dog Food
Cons of Organic Dog Food
Vegan dog food is made without the use of any animal products, so it’s usually dry kibble or wet food, as feeding raw would be nearly impossible to provide the nutrients your dog needs. It’s usually not recommended to feed your dog a vegan diet, as it’s very easy for them to become nutrient-deficient on an all-vegan diet. If you must feed your pup a vegan diet, be sure to choose foods that have passed feeding trials, and consult with your vet with your food choice to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients they need.
Pros of Vegan Dog Food
Cons of Vegan Dog Food
Evaluation Criteria / How We Evaluated
Before we share our top 10 Canadian natural dog food list, let’s talk more about the criteria we used to evaluate these products.
1. Product Benefits
If you’re making the switch from standard kibble to Canadian natural dog food,you’re going to want to make sure there are some pretty clear benefits to doing so.
Our top 10 list includes dog food brands that clearly discuss the benefits of their food. In fact, many of these dog foods add specific ingredients to promote health benefits.
For example, some of the foods on our list use fish as the main protein source. This means the food will be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for promoting skin and coat health.
2. List of Ingredients
Reading about the ingredients of natural dog food is the most important way to determine whether or not a product is going to be healthy for your dog.
The ingredient list can help you determine whether your Canadian natural dog food is free from:
- Artificial flavouring
- Artificial colours
And it can also help you assess whether the food as a whole will be good for your dog. The great thing about Canadian natural dog food is that they have fewer ingredients than traditional dog food, making it easier for you to assess its benefits.
3. Manufacturing and Sustainability
One huge benefit of natural dog food is that many Canadian natural dog food companies are very transparent about their manufacturing and sustainability practices.
And this is particularly important when it comes to sourcing certain ingredients, like fish since overfishing can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems.
As a result, we included companies that openly discuss their sustainability and manufacturing process, including ethical ingredient sourcing.
4. Customer Service
What if you try some new food and your dog… hates it?
Well, a good Canadian natural dog food company will also have excellent customer service so you can initiate a return or ask for advice.
As a result, we chose companies that:
- Have positive reviews
- Provide contact information in an obvious place on their website
And we avoided the companies that clearly didn’t want to talk to their customers. Because you and your dog deserve better.
5. Side Effects
The last thing you want is to replace your dog’s current food with something that’s going to result in unpleasant side effects.
We can’t always predict what will give our dogs a bad reaction. But we can learn to read product labels and avoid those ingredients that are going to have negative side effects, whether due to allergies or intolerance.
Fortunately, natural dog food often uses only a few ingredients, making it much easier to quickly assess whether certain ingredients are going to be bad for your dog.
6. How/Where to Purchase
There are benefits and drawbacks to both online and in-person shopping. It all comes down to your personal preference.
As such, we evaluated dog foods based on how clear their purchasing information is on their website. If they clearly state where to buy their dog food (whether in-store or online), they got a plus in our book.
Last, but certainly not least, is the price. We know it’s on everybody’s mind: how much is this natural dog food going to cost me? And can I really afford it?
We included dog foods at a variety of price points since everyone comes to the table with different budgets. When evaluating dog foods based on price, be sure to consider that spending
a few extra dollars on natural dog food may significantly improve your dog’s health. There’s no way you can put a price tag on the health of your beloved pet!
Top 10 Canadian Natural Dog Food
At long last, you’ve made it to the Top 10 list! Read on to learn about the best Canadian Natural Dog Food around.
1. Big Country Raw Dog Food Turkey Dinner Carton
First up on our list is Big Country Raw Dog Food Turkey Dinner Carton. Big Country is an Ontario-based company that’s been around since 2012.
This natural dog food is as basic as it gets when it comes to ingredients. Their Dog Food Turkey Dinner Carton features only raw, natural ingredients, including free-range turkey, cranberries, apples, carrots, and beef liver. This makes it a great food for active breeds due to its high protein levels. It also makes it one of the most natural dog food brands out there!
And Big Country demonstrates a clear commitment to sustainability, with many of their foods coming in eco-friendly packaging (recyclable cardboard). While the product is a bit pricey, you get what you pay for when it comes to this natural dog food. Check out some of their excellent reviews below.
$20.99 CDN for a 4lb tub. Price as of June 2023.
2. GO! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Turkey Recipe with Grains
Next up is Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Turkey Recipe with Grains. This Go! Natural dog food is packed with omega fatty acids to promote skin health, so it’s a great natural raw dog food, especially for pups who struggle with dry skin. And it also contains fruits and vegetables (like apples, cranberries, and carrots) for added fiber and vitamins. It even contains prebiotics to support digestive health!
This product got high marks from us due to the company’s sustainability commitment, including using cage-free turkey. The food is also free from artificial preservatives. So, if you’re after some of the best Canadian natural dog food, this may be it.
Additionally, it’s easy to find out where to buy this product. Go! Solutions even have a customer service helpline, so if you’re uncertain which of their products will work best for your dog, they’re happy to discuss your specific needs.
$15.74 CDN for a 3.5lb bag, or $83.99 CDN for a 25lb bag. Price as of June 2023.
3. Canadian Naturals Sweet Potato & Salmon
Canadian Naturals Sweet Potato & Salmon is a great natural dog food option produced by a family-owned Canadian company and is some of the best natural raw dog food out there. Canadian Naturals uses regional, non-GMO ingredients to produce food that’s great for dogs with sensitivities.
This Canadian Natural dog food makes our list due to its limited ingredients, including a single meat protein (salmon) and fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Canadian Naturals tests all of its raw ingredients for quality control.
$23.99 – $79.49 CDN. Pricing as of June 2023.
4. First Mate Cage-Free Chicken Meal & Oats Formula
First Mate Cage-Free Chicken Meal & Oats Formula is another single meat protein, natural dog food option. Similar to other dog foods on our list, this product is good for dogs with food sensitivities.
FirstMate uses humanely-raised chicken in this product, and sustainably-fished seafood in its other products, making it a great choice from an environmental and ethical perspective. When it comes to natural raw dog food, having that ethical consideration gives it a few extra points in our book!
And while the food has a longer list of ingredients than some of the other foods on our list, don’t let that alarm you. The additional ingredients are vitamins and minerals, and FirstMate provides an excellent tool that allows you to learn about the benefits of each individual ingredient.
Starts at $20.99 CDN for a 5lb bag, $58.99 for a 25lb bag. Pricing as of June 2023.
5. Crumps Naturals Gutsy Dehydrated Chicken Dinner
Crumps Naturals Gutsy Dehydrated Chicken Dinner is an all-natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free dog food. This is another single-protein food that can help maintain your dog’s gut and digestive health.
All of the ingredients in this product are sourced from North America and manufactured in an Ontario-based facility. Crumps is very transparent about its manufacturing process. It has a USDA and CFIA-approved manufacturing facility and conducts third-party ingredient testing.
The only downside is this company’s limited selection of dog foods, as Crumps specializes in dog treats. So, if you’re wanting the best holistic dog food Canada can get you, you may find that your selection here keeps you pretty limited.
$29.99 – $100.09 CDN. Pricing as of June 2023.
6. Acana Limited Ingredient Lamb & Apple Recipe
Next up is Acana Limited Ingredient Lamb & Apple Recipe, which is produced by a Canadian company based in Alberta, Canada, and Kentucky, United States.
This food uses lamb as its single protein source and includes sweet potatoes to aid in gut health, making it a good option for pups who need some extra digestive support. And like other products on our top 10 list, this food doesn’t include any artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.
The company is committed to thoughtfully sourcing its ingredients and has excellent reviews. Finally, it’s easy to find the company’s “contact us” page if you need customer service support.
Starts at $32.99 for a 4lb bag. Pricing as of June 2023.
7. V-Planet Regular Dog Kibble
If you’re in the market for vegan dog food, V-Planet Regular Dog Kibble is an excellent choice. This balanced formula uses non-GMO ingredients and provides protein through peas, oats, and potato protein. The product is manufactured in Canada but is technically based in the United States.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit more difficult to find out where to buy this product in brick-and-mortar stores. It is available for purchase online, though. That makes it some of the best vegan dog food you can purchase if you’re in Canada and don’t mind online shopping!
Another great vegan dog food option is also headquartered in the United States: Natural Balance Vegan Dog Food. Like V-Planet Regular Dog Kibble, Natural Balance Vegan Dog Food ships to Canada.
$77.99 CDN. Pricing as of June 2023.
8. Nutrience Air Dried Dog Food: The Farmer
Next up is a grain-free option, Nutrience Air Dried Dog Food: The Farmer. This product is unique in that it’s air-dried at low temperatures to help preserve nutrients. This has the added benefit of reducing how much the ingredients must be processed.
This is an affordable Canadian natural dog food made from local ingredients. In particular, Nutrience uses only hormone- and antibiotic-free proteins. You can buy this product using both online and in-person store locators.
Starts at $30.98 for a 1lb (454g) bag. Pricing as of June 2023.
9. Carna4 Dog Food Chicken
Carna4 Dog Food Chicken is yet another great Canadian natural dog food. This product doesn’t use meat or vegetable meal as an ingredient, only the real stuff. This specific formula includes fresh chicken, chicken liver, and eggs. It also contains sprouted seeds to provide a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
This was a no-brainer to add to our list due to straightforward ingredients, including eggs, salmon, apples, kelp, sweet potatoes, and carrots. There aren’t any added vitamins or minerals: it’s all in the ingredients. This makes it a natural choice for dog food.
Starts at $27.99 for a 3lb (1.36kg) bag Pricing as of June 2023.
10. Canada Fresh PetKind Green Beef Tripe Formula
If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, look no further than Canada Fresh PetKind Green Beef Tripe Formula. Made in Canada, this product uses Green Tripe (the stomach lining of animals like bison, deer, and lamb) as its main protein source.
All of its ingredients are sourced from Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. And it doesn’t have any artificial preservatives or byproducts, making it a great natural dog food option. You can purchase the product directly from their website, or use their store locator page to buy in person.
Starts at $30.49 for a 6lb (2.72kg) bag. Pricing as of June 2023.
How Dog Supplements Help Maximize Benefits
Supplements can help complement the benefits that your natural dog food provides. Read on to learn about a few types of dog supplements you may want to consider adding to your dog’s diet to make him a happier dog.
Joint supplements are a great addition to a natural food diet, especially to help with conditions like dog arthritis. That’s because certain active ingredients help maintain and improve the health of your dog’s joints:
- Glucosamine - repairs cartilage
- Chondroitin - prevents cartilage deterioration
- MSM - reduces pain and inflammation
- Hyaluronic Acid - lubricates joints
If you’re in the market for a joint supplement, you’ll want to make sure whatever supplement you choose includes these ingredients. And since you already know that fillers like artificial flavouring and colouring don’t do anything to promote your dog’s health, you already know to avoid supplements that include them.
- They’re filler-free.
- They contain key active ingredients to promote joint health.
- They undergo quality control through third-party testing.
TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets
Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.
Skin and Coat Supplements
Pet owners who opt for a natural food diet may also want to add a skin and coat supplement to their dog’s food. These supplements often contain additional omega-3 fatty acids to promote skin and coat health. They have the added bonus of promoting the health of your dog’s brain.
A skin and coat supplement will be particularly helpful if you choose a natural dog food that isn’t sourced from fish, which are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’ve opted to try a natural food diet to reduce unpleasant gastrointestinal issues, a probiotic supplement may provide additional support.
That’s because probiotics are the “good bacteria” you hear about. They help promote digestive system health. In particular, you should look for a few specific species of bacteria if you decide to purchase a probiotic supplement for your pup:
Additionally, probiotics can be a great way to support your dog’s digestive system while you’re introducing her to new food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is grain-free dog food good for dogs?
There’s still some uncertainty in the scientific and veterinary community about whether or not grain-free dog food is good or bad for dogs. In 2018, the FDA identified a possible association between grain-free diets and a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
However, a 2020 study published in the Journal of Animal Science says that further research is needed to determine whether grain-free diets increase the risk of a dog developing DCM.
What dog food is the healthiest?
The healthiest dog food will depend on your dog’s particular nutritional needs. Generally, you should aim to find food that is as free from fillers, such as artificial flavours and colours, as possible. A balanced diet should contain all your dog's nutrients to thrive, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and water.
What dog food is made from Canadian ingredients?
ACANA, First Mate, and Orijen are a couple of Canadian dog food brands that boast of using Canadian ingredients. However, many Canadian dog food companies will still produce great products even if they’re using ingredients from other countries.
Is it healthy to feed dogs homemade dog food?
Cooking homemade dog food can be incredibly healthy for your pup as it uses raw, whole ingredients. It can also be a bonding experience and a way to appease picky eaters. However, you have to ensure you don’t accidentally include any toxic ingredients that could do more harm than good to your pooch.
Which dog food is made in Alberta, Canada?
ACANA and Orijen are two dog food brands that are produced in Alberta, Canada. They are both award-winning dog foods, so either one is a great pick if you want to purchase from a Canadian-owned business.
Natural dog food is a great way to support your dog’s health. And now, you have an excellent selection of great Canadian natural dog food options.
And should you be looking for even more insights about maintaining dog health, don’t hesitate to check out our blog.
TRI-ACTA H.A. for Pets
Our maximum strength formula is optimally designed to accelerate the formation of cartilage, minimize inflammation, expedite the healing process, and improve joint conditions.
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and exclusive offers.
Proactive & Therapeutic Joint Supplements
When given daily, Integricare joint supplements recover bone and joint injuries faster and help prevent mobility injuries from happening in the first place.