Dog Food with Salmon
You love your dog (that's obvious), and you want to give them the nutrition they deserve. But when it comes to food, it can be hard to know what is best.
There are so many options with great packaging, claims and ingredients, it can be hard to figure out which dog food with salmon is actually good for you pup.
With my guide, you can easily find the best salmon-based dog food. I've have done extensive research on each of these products with the help of my own two dogs (Atlas and Nitotem) to help you make the best decision for your dog.
I'll review the top 8 salmon dog foods and help you find the perfect one for your pet.
First a quick note: this website is reader-supported. I spend a lot of time personally evaluating, testing and reviewing each product on this list. When you buy through links on our site, I may earn an affiliate commission which helps feed my doggies.
Best With Grains
Best for Joints
Best Wet Food
Best Grain Free
8 Best Dog Foods With Salmon
The best dog foods with salmon are Diamond Naturals, Taste of Wild, Canidae, Natural Balance, Purina Pro, Merrick, Blue Buffalo and nutri bites.
Let's get into the top options.
1. Best Overall: CANIDAE Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato
If you're looking for a high protein salmon based kibble, then this is hands down your best choice. Why? There is 30% protein (highest on the list) to keep your dog supple and strong.
But what I love even more than the protein is the omega 3 fatty acid profile at 1.2%. This is higher than most competitors, and I value omega 3s more than just about any other single nutrient in terms of health and longevity.
Omega 3s help give your pup that shiny coat, is crucial for brain development, skin health and reducing inflammation.
There's also added probiotics and antioxidants for gut health, nutrient absorption and digestibility benefits.
Salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas.
Canidae uses packaging made from recyclable materials, making it an eco friendlier option that other bags.
By choosing CANIDAE Real Salmon Dog Food, you can feel confident that you are not only nourishing their pets but also supporting environmentally-conscious practices.
2. Best With Grains: Purina Pro Sensitive Skin and Stomach
Purina Pro is widely regarded as one of the best dog foods with salmon available on the market. I typically don't pay attention to what is highest ranked because those can be gamed and messed with. That being said, this pet food option from Purina is a great salmon based kibble.
Purina has a great protein and fat ratio at 26% an 16% respectively. I like the higher fat as many pet food brand shy away from it.
Purina is full of added vitamins and minerals with vitamin A, E, calcium and selenium -- all of which are fantastic for a shiny coat.
There's 0.75% omega 3 fats and glucosamine to help with joint health.
Salmon, Rice, Barley, Canola Meal, Oat Meal, Fish Meal, Salmon Meal
I like the simple ingredient list with salmon as the primary protein source and the fact that it is made in the USA.
In terms of carbohydrates, Purina uses rice, barley and oats, which are easily digestible for dogs and provides them with energy to support their daily activities.
To balance out the formula, there are live probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support digestive health in dogs. These probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, promoting proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
With over 15,000 amazon reviews, you can rest assure that your pup will thrive on this one.
3. Best for Joints: Merrick Salmon & Sweet Potato Limited Ingredient
Merrick salmon and sweet potato is a high-quality dry dog food that is specifically formulated to provide advanced nutrition for adult dogs.
I love that they offer both a grain free and a 'with healthy grains' option. The grain free uses sweet potatoes while the grain based one has brown rice, barley and oatmeal and the carb sources.
Deboned salmon is the primary protein source which helps to build and maintain muscles. Speaking of which, there's 21% protein with 1% omega 3 fats.
Here's a breakdown of the grain free version:
- Peas, Faba Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas: Provide fiber and aids in the digestion process.
- Sweet Potatoes: An excellent source of vitamins and minerals that promotes the overall health of your pet.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Supplement to support joint health, particularly beneficial for senior dogs.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, and more to ensure your pet gets all needed nutrients.
Merrick is a great option for adult dogs who are active, senior dogs or may be susceptible to joint issues because of the added glucosamine and chondroitin (400 mg/kg).
4. Best Wet Food: Canidae Canned Salmon & Sweet Potato
If you're looking for a wet food option, Canidae is it, full stop. I scoured the internet trying to find a better option and I could not.
All of the other salmon based wet dog food options have chicken, chicken broth or other byproducts in them.
When my poodle recently got sick with giardia, my wife and I had to get a limited ingredient, salmon based food that is gentle on his tummy.
Finally I found this one and I am glad I did. Atlas ate this and it nursed him back to health over a couple of weeks. He loved it with a bit of rice!
The hard part is getting him off the stuff now that he is all healed up.
This one is also grain free and has nothing nasty in it (flavors, coloring, etc).
Salmon, Fish Broth, Vegetable Stock, Sweet Potatoes, Pea Protein, Peas, Sunflower Oil, Salmon Oil
I normally don't do this but I took a quick look at the reviews because there are not as many as many other pet food products. Why was the total review count so low? It must be a new product because they are all positive and there are lots of stories like mine with Atlas.
5. Best Treats: Nutri Bites Freeze Dried Salmon Treats
Looking for dog or cat food treats with salmon? Nutri Bites are simple in that they are made with 100% wild caught salmon, that is it.
My dogs (Atlas and Nitotem) go absolutely bonkers for this stuff. Even in a high stimulation environment like at the beach or in the forest, we train them with these and their recall is fantastic.
Since they are all salmon, these treats are full of omega 3s and protein for coat health, brain development and heart health.
If you have a pet with sensitivities, I can't recommend these enough. If you have a picky dog, feeding time is much easier, with a few of these sprinkled on top.
They are also soft and easy to chew for dogs with issues with harder treats.
6. Best Grain Free: Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream
Taste of the Wild is widely regarded as the best among dog foods with salmon due to its premium ingredients, balanced nutrition and reasonable price point.
I stumbled across it on Amazon while I was looking for a salmon based, limited ingredient dog food for my husky, Nitotem.
The poor guy used to itch himself uncontrollably until he opened tons of hot spots all over his skin. I finally figured out that he thrived on salmon and was sensitive to just about every other protein.
Taste of Wild was a godsend. There is lots of protein (25%) and fat (15%) without a ton of carbs. There are also added probiotics (80 million CFU), omega 3s (0.3%), vitamins and minerals to help with his digestion.
Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, pea flour, lentils, canola oil
I found that it is reasonably priced, and most importantly, Nitotem loved it.
7. Diamond Naturals Potato & Salmon Dog Food
Diamond Naturals stands out from the competition because of its holistic formula, high-quality ingredients and numerous benefits for your dog.
The inclusion of natural caught salmon as the primary protein source (25% protein) ensures that your pup gets a high-quality and nutrient-rich meal. They use potatoes, lentils and peas as the main carbohydrate sources, which are easily digestible and provide stable energy.
But what I really love is the added probiotics, which include a few different strains: Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. This gives a total of 80 million CFU per pound of food.
Probiotics can be great for gut health and digestion, which will also give your dog a shiny coat.
The limited ingredient list, reduces the risk of triggering allergies or sensitivities in dogs. I'll also note that this is a grain-free formula, which can be helpful if your dog has delicate skin and fur, as it helps to alleviate skin issues and promote a healthy coat.
My dogs love it and tons of others do as well because there are over 10,000 Amazon reviews (4.6 star average).
8. Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Salmon Dog Food
Natural Balance is specifically formulated with salmon meal and sweet potato as the main ingredients, offering a grain-free option for dogs with allergies or sensitivities.
Grain free can be a great option if your dog is sensitive to grains. This one has no wheat or soy either!
There's also 24% protein with 10% fat, which is right in what I call the sweet spot for dry kibble.
Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Potatoes, Sunflower Oil
When I switched my husky Nitotem to a salmon based dog food like Natural Balance, he stopped his incessant itching and his skin health skyrocketed.
If you check the reviews for this one, there are tons of customers sharing similar stories of their dogs skin health improving.
This one sells like crazy and I've found it difficult to find the large bags at times. So check now to see if it is in stock.
9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
Blue Buffalo wilderness is their high protein dog food lineup. This one certainly lives up to the brand with 34% protein and 15% fat. This is the highest protein on the whole list!
With its main ingredient being salmon, this dog food offers a protein-rich diet that promotes healthy muscle growth and overall well-being.
The one thing to note is that there is chicken meal on the ingredient list. So if you are looking for chicken free, this is not the option for your pup.
That being said, there is no corn, soy wheat, artificial flavors or preservatives.
Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Brown Rice
Why salmon for dogs?
Salmon is considered a beneficial ingredient in a dog's diet for a few reasons:
- It is high in protein, providing high-quality amino acids that are essential for all body functions. This protein helps support muscle development and repair, as well as providing energy for daily activities.
- It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for heart health, eye development, brain health, skin, coat and joint health. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation, support a healthy coat and promote joint mobility in dogs.
- It has specific amino acids which help maintain hormonal balance and produce cartilage around joints. These help your pup's tissues and cells develop as they age.
- It is full of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12. These nutrients play vital roles in various bodily functions, such as maintaining strong bones, supporting the immune system, and promoting overall health.
- It is low in mercury. According to the FDA, salmon is among the five most often consumed fish that are low in mercury. This is important because long-term mercury exposure can be harmful to a dog's general health. Using salmon instead of other fish can reduce the risk of mercury overexposure in your dog.
- It is considered a low allergen food, especially compared to more common protein sources like chicken.
If you're looking for extra hydration, read my article on electrolytes for dogs.
What to consider when choosing a dog food with salmon
Some crucial things you must take into account before you choose a salmon based fog food are: what is the first ingredient, price, presence of allergens, customer reviews, grain vs grain free, protein content, omega 3 fat content and whether it is wild caught.
1. What is the first ingredient?
The single most important aspects to pay attention to is the first ingredient listed on the packaging. The first ingredient in crucial because it indicates the primary ingredient in the recipe and gives an idea of the overall quality of the product.
Having real salmon listed as the first ingredient is what you are looking for. This means that the product actually has lots of salmon and that your pup is getting the unique health benefits of the protein and omega 3s.
After the first ingredients, you also want to scan the rest of them to see what you are looking for. Sometimes, brands use other proteins (ex: chicken meal) right after the first ingredient. But if you are reading this, then your dog may be sensitive to these other proteins.
In general, most dogs do better on a limited ingredient formula that uses a minimal number of key ingredients, all of which are easy to recognize. This ensures that the food is free from unnecessary fillers, grains, and artificial additives that may be detrimental to your dog's health.
2. Sourcing Quality and Ethics
I like to check the country of origin of the ingredients and where the product is made. One of the tricks that I see large brands play is saying something like "made in the USA with the world's finest ingredients."
Let me translate that for you. "We manufacture in the USA, but source from all over the world, including Vietnam and China." The big, dirty secrete with pet food brands is that they source most of the grains and added vitamins and minerals from Asia.
There is not necessarily anything wrong with this, but why are they going great lengths to hide it? These countries do not have the strict quality guidelines that the USDA has, so it is difficult to place trust in them.
So what are you left to do? I would look for something made and sourced in the USA or Canada. For salmon, look for wild-caught if possible.
3. Customer Reviews
Customer reviews play a crucial role in your decision-making process, but there are a few things you need to watch for. Below I will break down a few filters to look for on Amazon specifically. Many of these can be applied to other marketplaces and stores as well.
- Overall Rating: Something above 4.5 stars is a good place to start.
- Number of Reviews: Not the end all, be all, but it helps determine if a product has been around for a while or is relatively new. For established products and brands, I like to see over 1000 reviews.
- Individual reviews: Here is what I like to do. Filter individual reviews by the most recent and remove and 1 or 2 star reviews (these are just angry, unreasonable people). Look for reviews that are more than one sentence long and tell a story about their dog(s). This reduces the risk of it being a fake review. This also tells you the quality of the most recent batches of product. Brands have issues with quality, so sometimes bad reviews come in bunches.
- Price and Value: Some customer reviews may also mention the price and value of the product. This can be helpful in determining whether the dog food with salmon is worth the investment.
- Check the Q and A Section: This is where I look for unanswered questions like: where the ingredients are sourced from.
4. Allergy concerns
Some dog food brands offer specific formulations designed for dogs with allergies. Look for labels that indicate "No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy," "Grain-Free," or "Chicken-Free" to ensure that the food does not contain common allergens. These formulations are specially crafted to minimize the risk of allergic reactions and are suitable for dogs with sensitivities.
You can also look for 'limited ingredients,' which is further helpful.
5. Grain vs Grain Free
Grains, such as wheat, oats, barley and rice, are commonly used as a source of carbohydrates in dog foods. On the other hand, grain-free dog foods use alternative ingredients to provide the necessary carbohydrates and fiber.
Understanding the pros and cons of each option can help make an informed decision about what is best for your dog's diet.
Grain-based dog foods can offer several benefits to a dog's digestive system. Grains are a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes healthy bowel movements.
They also contain essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that contribute to overall canine health. The big thing to note is that grains are likely a more cost effective option.
Don't get bullied into thinking grain free in better, especially if your dog tolerates grains well.
That being said, your dog may have allergies or sensitivities to certain grains. For these dogs, consuming grains can lead to adverse reactions like skin irritations, digestive issues or even food intolerances. In such cases, a grain-free diet becomes necessary to alleviate these health concerns.
By eliminating grains, these foods also remove potential sources of gluten and other inflammatory starches that may contribute to chronic health ailments in some dogs. These formulas use carb sources like sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc, which can still provide necessary energy while being easier to digest for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
However, it is important to consider that grain-free dog foods may have some drawbacks as well. One potential concern is the potential lack of essential nutrients that are naturally found in grains.
6. Omega 3 fats
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining your dog's overall health and well-being. Salmon is the single best source of omega 3s for your pup and you want to find a food with at least 0.5% omega 3s. Many brands place this information on the back with the 'guaranteed analysis' section.
Including Omega-3 fats in dog food with salmon can have significant benefits for dogs, ranging from improved skin and coat health to reduced inflammation and enhanced cognitive function.
Here are a few heath benefits of omega 3s:
- Improved skin and coat health: Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, are known for their ability to promote healthy skin and a vibrant, shiny coat in dogs. These fats help to reduce itching, dryness, and flakiness, resulting in a healthier and shinier coat. They can also help alleviate certain skin conditions, such as allergies and dermatitis.
- Reduced inflammation: Omega-3 fats have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which is great if your dog has arthritis or joint pain. By reducing inflammation, these fats can help help with discomfort and improve mobility in dogs, promoting overall joint health.
- Enhanced cognitive function: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and cognitive function in dogs. The inclusion of omega-3s in dog food with salmon can support brain development, improve learning abilities and enhance memory retention in dogs. These fats play a vital role in maintaining cognitive function throughout a dog's life, making them especially important for senior dogs.
- Specific types of Omega-3 fats in salmon: Salmon is high in the most beneficial types of omega-3 fats, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that have been extensively studied for their health benefits. EPA helps to reduce inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, and boosts the immune system. DHA is essential for brain development and function, promoting optimal cognitive abilities. It is impotant to note that you can only get EPA and DHA from fish or meat sources. Vegan omega 3s from nuts of seeds to not have EPA or DHA and do not give you the same benefits.
7. Protein Content
It is important to consider the protein content to ensure that your furry friend receives the necessary nutrients for their growth, muscle development and immune system function.
There are two things that I look for:
- Crude Protein Percentage: The crude protein percentage indicates the amount of protein present in the dog food. In general, you can look for a minimum crude protein content of 22% or higher, unless you have been instructed to look for something different by your veterinarian.
- For example, I always thought that high protein was better, but for my poodle Atlas, a behavioral specialist advised us that lower protein was better for him because of his severe anxiety.
- Source of Protein: The source of protein is equally important. Since you're reading this, you are most likely using a salmon based food. But the second or third ingredients may include other protein sources.
Speaking of protein, a great way to get more in their diet is from a high protein bone broth, Bluebird Provisions makes the only grass fed beef bone broth for dogs that is the perfect meal topper.
My two dogs go crazy for the stuff.
We'd all love to buy the absolute best dog food for our dogs, but price makes this difficult. In general, Amazon has the lowest prices in my experience. But you can shop around in store and online for sales.
Buying in bulk or signing up for recurring orders often gives you an additional 10% off.
9. AAFCO Guidelines
You want to to a quick check on the back of the package to make sure that the pet food meets AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) requirements for adult dogs. AAFCO sets nutritional standards for pet foods, ensuring that they provide the necessary nutrients for dogs at different life stages.
By choosing a dog food that meets AAFCO requirements, you can have confidence that your dog is receiving a balanced and complete diet.
What is salmon meal?
Salmon meal is a high-protein ingredient used in pet foods, specifically dog food. It's a dry powder created by grinding up the entirety of a salmon fish, including its bones and organs.
As it includes the whole fish, salmon meal is rich in essential nutrients that are beneficial to your pet. It's often responsible for the distinctive fishy odor typical of many dog foods. Beyond just protein, it provides support for muscle development and energy in dogs.
You'll often see salmon meal listed among the ingredients of dog foods, sometimes in combination with actual salmon meat.
If you want to know more about bone broth, read my ranking of the best bone broth for dogs.
What are the benefits of feeding salmon to dogs?
The benefits of salmon for dogs are that it is a high quality protein that is full of omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12 and it low in allergens.
This makes it the perfect pet food protein for puppies to adult and senior dogs. It is especially great for skin and coat health, joint health and mobility, heart health, brain development and reducing inflammation.
Also, salmon is a great source of amino acids, which help maintain hormonal balance and construct cartilage.
What ingredients are in salmon dog food?
Common ingredients that you'll find in salmon based dog food are salmon, salmon meal, carbohydrate sources like sweet potatoes, rice, oats, barley and peas.
The carbohydrate sources depend on whether the formula is grain based, grain free or limited ingredient. If it is grain free then you will see things like lentils, peas and sweet potatoes.
If the formula is grain based then you will find carb sources like rice, barley and oats.
Most dog foods will also contain added vitamins and minerals to ensure that you dog is getting all of the nutrients they need.
Finally, some will have important added nutrients like omega 3s (fish oil), glucosamine and chondroitin.
Is salmon dog food good for all breeds of dogs?
Salmon dog food is generally suitable for all breeds of dogs because it is low in common allergens, high in protein and dogs absolutely love it.
It is full of omega 3s and amino acids that help maintain hormonal balance and construct cartilage. Also, in terms of other fish sources, salmon is low in mercury, making it a safe option for long-term consumption.
Looking for other types of dog food? Read my guide to find the best freeze dried dog food.
What vitamins and minerals does salmon dog food provide?
Salmon dog food provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the health and well-being of dogs. These include the following:
- Protein: Salmon is a rich source of high-quality protein that is essential for all body functions.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon is full of in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for the general health of the skin and joints in dogs. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation, improve coat and skin health and support brain function.
- Collagen Building Amino Acids: Salmon has lots of glycine and proline, which are the two main amino acids found in collagen. Collagen helps build a shiny skin and coat and helps with digestion.
- Vitamins: Salmon dog food is rich in vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin E. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, promoting strong bones and teeth. Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that supports immune function and helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Minerals: Salmon dog food contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Magnesium is important for proper muscle function and nerve transmission. Potassium helps maintain healthy heart function and fluid balance in the body. Zinc plays a role in immune function, wound healing, and cell division.
What are the cons of salmon dog food?
While salmon is generally a great protein source for dog food, there are some cons like the possibility that your dog may be allergic to fish, the possibility of contaminants, sustainability concerns, farmed fish sources and bad breath.
Let's go through each of these below.
- Allergies and Sensitivities: Some dogs may be allergic or sensitive to salmon. It's important to monitor your dog for any adverse reactions, such as itching, digestive upset, or skin issues and consult with a veterinarian if necessary.
- Contaminants: It's crucial to choose high-quality salmon dog food brands to avoid potential contaminants, such as heavy metals or toxins. The brands on the list above are very high quality as I have test them myself.
- Sustainability Concerns: Wild caught salmon always faces the concern of sustainability. Look for brands that support sustainable fishing practises so that your pups relatives can also enjoy salmon for generations to come.
- Farmed Salmon Issues: Farmed salmon are exposed to GMO feed and they can contaminate wild salmon ecosystems. Look for wild caught if possible.
- Potential for Bad Breath and Gas: Some dogs may experience bad breath or excess gas when consuming salmon dog food. This is something you can usually deal with, but some people can't stand it. My poodle, Atlas, has awful breath but my husky, Nitotem's breath is fine. They both eat the same diet, so it depends on the bread.
What is the best salmon dog food for puppies?
The best salmon dog food for puppies is the Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach salmon based kibble. It has all the added vitamins and minerals for a puppy to grow and thrive. It is also full of omega 3s, vitamin D and protein to ensure your puppies joints, coat and muscles develop properly.
Is salmon a good source of omega fatty acids?
Salmon is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids because it is naturally rich in them, so there is no need to add extra fish oil or other sources. Also, it has the highest concentration of EPA and DHA compared to any other protein in dog food.
Most salmon based foods have between 0.25% to 2% omega 3 fatty acids.
How much salmon dog food should I feed my dog?
It is important to ensure that you are providing your dog with the right portion size to meet their nutritional needs while also taking into consideration factors such as their weight, age, activity level, and any specific dietary requirements they may have.
You need to take into account your dogs weight, their age, activity level and also look at the feeding guidelines available on the packaging of the food you are using. Puppies and active dogs often need a bit more than the recommended guidelines, but senior dogs may need a bit less.
You also want to monitor your dog and adjust the portions as you see fit. If you notice your dog looks to be gaining too much weight, you can feed them a bit less. And if you are ever not sure, check with your veterinarian for specific advise.
Salmon based dog food is a fantastic option for many dogs. My two dogs absolutely love the stuff and it helps clear up allergies in both of them.
All of the salmon based dog foods I reviewed above would be a great option for your pup. If you are looking for the best of the best, I recommend the CANIDAE Salmon and Sweet Potato wet or dry.
This food has high quality ingredients, is made in the USA, and was the favorite of both of my dogs.
And if you are looking to get more protein in their diet, I recommend the beef bone broth from Bluebird Provisions. You can find it online or on Amazon Prime.
Have you tried any on the list? Or do you have questions about these products or other brands? Leave a comment I will get back to you asap.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to treat or supplement any pet's diet. Consult your veterinarian or animal health specialist if you have questions about anything related to their food, consumption or health. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, USDA or CFIA.