The Best Salmon Dog Food (8 Most Delicious in 2021)

Edited by: Mike Powell
Reviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Quick Picks

  • Best Salmon Dog Food OverallCanidae PURE Grain Free Dry Dog Food
    “This salmon recipe is nutritionally packed and ideal for dogs of all life stages. It comes with added probiotics, vitamins, and essential minerals to give your dog’s immune system the boost it needs.”
  • Best Value for the MoneyTaste of the Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food
    “This affordable salmon recipe boasts a rich mixture of ancient whole grains, proprietary probiotics, and other essential nutrients. Its smoked salmon flavor will entice any picky eater while supporting healthy digestion.”
  • Best High Protein FoodMerrick Grain Free Salmon Dog Food
    “This high-protein dog food features salmon and salmon meal as its first two ingredients. It provides a concentrated blend of amino acids that support muscle development and help maintain healthy skin and coat.”

Salmon-based diets are hypoallergenic and rich in essential nutrients that keep your dog’s coat and joints in excellent condition. They also cater well to dogs with delicate stomachs. However, no two salmon dog food formulas are identical. Some are grain-free while others might include varying protein and fat levels. 

If you’re struggling to select the best recipe, this guide will take you through the benefits of a salmon-forward formula, the top salmon dog food products available on the market, and how to select the right one for your pooch.

Product Name
Best Overall Salmon Dog Food
Best High-Protein Option
Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Sweet Potato, 24lbs
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Smoked Salmon
Merrick 38573 Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe - 22 Lb Bag
Grade
Our Rating 96/100
Our Rating 95/100
Our Rating 94/100
Feature 1
Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids
Real salmon inclusions feature 32% protein to support bones, joints, and lean muscles
Wholesome formula features 74% protein directly from animal sources
Feature 2
Sweet potatoes, lentils, and chickpeas are easy to digest
Contains canine-specific proprietary probiotics to support healthy digestion
Real, deboned salmon is the first ingredient
Best Overall Salmon Dog Food
Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Sweet Potato, 24lbs
Grade
Our Rating 96/100
Feature 1
Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids
Feature 2
Sweet potatoes, lentils, and chickpeas are easy to digest
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Smoked Salmon
Grade
Our Rating 95/100
Feature 1
Real salmon inclusions feature 32% protein to support bones, joints, and lean muscles
Feature 2
Contains canine-specific proprietary probiotics to support healthy digestion
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best High-Protein Option
Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick 38573 Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe - 22 Lb Bag
Grade
Our Rating 94/100
Feature 1
Wholesome formula features 74% protein directly from animal sources
Feature 2
Real, deboned salmon is the first ingredient
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Sources researched
9
Sources researched
Customer reviews
13,755
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
11
Hours spent testing
Products tested
8
Products tested

Key Nutrients Found in Salmon

There are plenty of reasons pet owners prefer salmon dog food to its other meat counterparts. They are rich in essential nutrients that play a critical role in enhancing your dog’s overall health. Below are some of the key ingredients you’ll find in salmon dog food. 

Protein

Salmon is a highly dependable source of protein that allows your dog to experience steady bursts of energy throughout the day. In fact, salmon alone contains as much as 70% of the protein your dog requires in its daily diet!

Omega Fatty Acids

Salmon oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that keep your dog’s long and luscious coat looking its best. Omega fatty acids also support optimal joint and cardiovascular health, which is particularly helpful in older dogs.  

DHA is another component of omega fatty acids that aid in proper eye and brain development. If your older dog is suffering from cognitive failure, DHA can help restore regular function. 

Amino Acids

Amino acids provide support for vital processes that include protein building, collagen production, muscle repair, and overall healthy immune function. Salmon contains numerous essential amino acids that dogs cannot always produce naturally. Thus, salmon dog food is an excellent choice for dogs with immunodeficiencies.  

Vitamins and Minerals

Unlike other meats, salmon is exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals that help your dog combat disease and regulate energy. Other benefits of vitamins and minerals found in salmon include metabolism and hormone regulation, immune response, and nervous system function.  

Meat Meal

Contrary to popular belief, meat meals can effectively meet higher protein requirements. This is due to the way the meat is rendered and compressed. If a particular dog food specifies “salmon meal” in its list of ingredients, you need not worry about any harmful additives.  


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Salmon Dog Food 

No two salmon dog foods are created equal. Thus, knowing what to look for is vital to selecting the right one. Below are the main factors to consider. 

Ingredients List

Naturally, you’ll want to prioritize salmon as the first ingredient in any dry dog food. Beware of dog foods labeled “salmon flavoring” as this ingredient typically contains artificial additives. 

Additionally, while a mix of proteins won’t typically compromise any salmon dry dog food, you won’t want to purchase one with more than two meat sources. Doing so increases the risk of your dog experiencing an allergic reaction.   

Nutritional Values

Salmon alone isn’t enough to provide your dog with the nutritional basics it requires. You want to make sure your salmon dog food is wholesome and complete with a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fats. 

Some dog food brands contain beneficial nutritional additives such as omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat and probiotics to aid in digestion.  

Grain-Free Formulas

Grain-free diets aren’t always beneficial for your pet, especially if it suffers from specific ailments such as heart disease. However, it can benefit dogs with severe food allergies. If your dog has trouble digesting its food, grain-free dog food or these brands for stomach sensitivities will suffice. 

What to Avoid

Knowing what not to look for is just as important as seeking the highest-quality ingredients. Ingredients you don’t want to see in dog food with salmon are:

  • Artificial additives and preservatives
  • Fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy
  • Preservatives such as BHT and BHA
  • Animal by-products
  • Chicken meal

Your Dog’s Specific Needs

Puppies, adults, and seniors have varying nutritional needs. When shopping for the best salmon dog food, consider your dog’s age, size, weight, and special needs. 

For instance, if your pet suffers from stomach sensitivities, you may want to opt for dog food without grains. If they require extra care for their skin and coat, they will benefit from a salmon dog food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

What is the Best Salmon Dog Food?

  1. Best Salmon Dog Food Overall: Canidae PURE Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  2. Best Value for Money: Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  3. Best High-Protein Food: Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Coat Care: Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food
  5. Best Immune System Boost: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food
  6. Best for Food Allergies: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
  7. Best for Digestive Problems: NUTRO Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
  8. Best Freeze-Dried Option: Instinct Original Grain Free Dry Dog Food

1. Canidae PURE Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Overall Salmon Dog Food: Grain free recipe formulated with wholesome ingredients to provide optimal nutrition and aid digestion

Canidae PURE Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Sweet Potato, 24lbs
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Key Features

  • Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Recipe doesn’t contain corn, wheat, soy, and artificial fillers
  • Sweet potatoes, lentils, and chickpeas are easy to digest

Formulated with only eight wholesome ingredients, this salmon dry dog food is perfect for picky eaters and dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also contains salmon meal and menhaden fish meal, which provide supplemental proteins for high-energy canines. 

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This grain-free formula also contains healthy carbohydrates like sweet potato to maximize gut health. Added chelated minerals and vitamins from whole vegetables provide extra nutritional support. 

Probiotics and antioxidants promote healthy gut bacteria and neutralize the effects of chronic inflammation. They also keep stubborn free radicals at bay. 

Canola oil acts as its main source of plant-based fat, keeping your dog at a healthy weight. It is free of corn, wheat, soy, and other poor-quality or artificial ingredients.

2. Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Value for Money: Biologically appropriate and affordable formula with real salmon and protein-packed ocean fish meal

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Smoked Salmon
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Key Features

  • Real salmon inclusions feature 32% protein to support bones, joints, and lean muscles
  • Crafted with superfoods that are rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Contains canine-specific proprietary probiotics to support healthy digestion

If you’re on the market for salmon dog food brands that don’t break the bank, Taste of the Wild offers a protein-rich formula for cost-effective prices. Crafted with vitamins and minerals from real fruits and vegetables, this salmon dog food recipe helps dogs fight disease and ward off free radicals.

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It also features K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics, a popular signature digestive formula featured in many Taste of the Wild products. Ingredients such as chicory root are a natural source of fiber that promotes healthy bacteria in the gut. 

Chelated minerals and amino acids help dogs optimize nutrient absorption to achieve maximum benefits. Dogs with specific needs for optimal joint health will benefit from this grain-free dry recipe’s omega fatty acid inclusions.

3. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best High-Protein Option: Real salmon and sweet potato recipe that is protein-rich and features highly concentrated healthy fats

Merrick 38573 Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe - 22 Lb Bag
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Key Features

  • Wholesome formula features 74% protein directly from animal sources
  • Real, deboned salmon is the first ingredient
  • Formulated with 40% produce, fiber, vitamins, and minerals

Highly active dogs will get an energy boost from this dog food formula that features 60% protein from deboned salmon. The remaining 40% contains natural ingredients that provide your pet with a well-rounded and balanced diet. 

This gluten-free salmon-based dog food bodes well with picky eaters who have problems with digestion. High levels of omega acids promote healthy skin while glucosamine and chondroitin inclusions enhance joint health.

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You can rest assured your dog won’t experience any adverse reactions to this dog food formula as it is free of soy, gluten, wheat, corn, and artificial preservatives. 

Instead, fresh fruits and vegetables provide healthy nutrients that keep your dog’s immune system in tip-top shape. Some of these delectable ingredients include apples and blueberries for added taste.

4. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

Best for Coat Care: Holistic formula packed with omega-6 fatty acids that keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny throughout each life stage

Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 30lb
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Key Features

  • Wild-caught salmon formula supplies optimal amino acids for strong muscles
  • Essential hypoallergenic ingredients enhance the skin and coat
  • Nutrient-rich, species-specific formula supports the GI tract

Dogs with food-related skin allergies will benefit from this hypoallergenic recipe with real salmon protein. This high-quality dog food contains whole-food fruits and vegetables such as lentils, pumpkin, peas, and blueberries to keep them slim and energetic. 

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Guaranteed probiotics ensure healthy digestion while omega ingredients keep your dog’s coat looking salon-ready all year. It doesn’t contain any grains, which prevent inflammation in the joints and muscles. 

It is also free of preservatives, artificial flavors, and fillers. Instead, species-specific probiotics promote a healthy GI tract and digestive health. 

This scientifically advanced dry food has added taste for enticing picky eaters and dogs who need to put on weight. It is also suitable for older dogs as its smaller, softer bites are easy to chew and digest.

5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food

Best Immune System Boost: Grain free formula that is rich in antioxidants giving your dog a much-needed immune system boost

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 24-lb
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Key Features

  • Grain-free recipe helps build strong and lean muscle mass
  • Features sweet potato as its primary carbohydrate for easy digestion
  • Includes LifeSource Bits with a precise blend of probiotics and antioxidants

This easy-to-digest grain-free dog food features deboned salmon as its primary protein source. Its high protein content enables athletic dogs to build healthy muscle mass and improve immune system function.

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This dog food also features sweet potatoes to fuel your pet’s active lifestyle and promote a healthy digestive system. LifeSource Bits enriched with probiotics, antioxidants, and vitamins are handpicked by holistic veterinary professionals and promote whole-body health. 

If your dog suffers from food and skin allergies, this food is 100% free of chicken and chicken meals. Omega ingredients also help restore hair loss. This Blue Buffalo formula contains calcium and phosphorus to support healthy teeth and bones. 

Vitamin supplements keep physical conditions from worsening and prevent free radicals from entering the system.

6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best for Food Allergies: Salmon and sweet potato formula contains limited ingredients to prevent digestive problems and food allergies

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato & Fish Formula, 26 Pounds, Grain Free
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Key Features

  • Real, deboned salmon provides essential amino acids
  • Sweet potato is a gluten-free source of fiber to enhance digestive health
  • Does not contain added pea protein, lentils, legumes, wheat, corn, or soy

This limited-ingredient salmon-based dog food incorporates natural fibers to promote healthy digestion. Its unique formula is free of grains and thoroughly curated by clinical veterinarians, research scientists, and design engineers to provide whole-body nutrition. 

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Because it focuses on a single high-quality protein source, dogs with food allergies won’t experience any digestive issues. However, you should note that this dry food includes trace amounts of additional fish meal. 

Plus, this high-quality mix of salmon and sweet potatoes provide ample sources for omega-3 fatty acids that keep coats lustrous and thick. It also contains inflammation-reducing ingredients such as rosemary and green tea extracts. 

This salmon dry dog food is most ideal for adult dogs that require special digestive care. It isn’t suitable for puppies or seniors.

7. NUTRO Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best for Digestive Problems: Whole-grain carbohydrates such as rice and sorghum provide a healthy source of fiber and aids in digestion

NUTRO Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Dry Dog Food Salmon & Lentils Dog Kibble, 4 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features fresh salmon as its number one quality protein source
  • Contains digestible whole-grain carbs 
  • Dried fruits and vegetables provide a rich source of vitamins and chelated minerals

This dry dog food features salmon as its exclusive high-quality protein source. Supplemental protein sources include salmon meal, chicken meal, and lamb meal to help provide your dog with a kick of energy. 

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Rice, sorghum, legumes, and pumpkin provide your dog with a reliable source of healthy carbohydrates that are easy to digest. These grain alternatives have high levels of fiber that support a stubborn digestive tract and helps the colon recover from injury. 

This pet food is also rich in dried fruits and vegetables, which help your dog battle disease and provide a healthier alternative to filler-stuffed calories. 

Rich in natural flavor, this high-quality dog food can do wonders for a dog’s diminished appetite. Keep in mind that it lacks probiotic supplements but provides satisfactory digestive support.

8. Instinct Original Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Freeze-Dried Option: Freeze-dried formula mimics raw food diets and limits any allergy issues in dogs with stomach sensitivities

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Salmon Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 20 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features 72% animal ingredients and added nutrients 
  • First ingredients are salmon and salmon meal to provide maximum value
  • Contains live, natural probiotics as a digestive aid

If you’ve been struggling to keep your dog on a raw food diet, this is the best salmon dog food for the job. Rich with wholesome foods, whole vegetables, and guaranteed levels of probiotics, this salmon dry dog food will unlock your dog’s ability to thrive. 

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Enriched with salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, natural omegas, and antioxidants, this dry dog food provides multiple benefits that keep your dog in excellent health. A few weeks on this dog food will improve your pet’s coat, energy levels, and digestive health. 

Sweet potatoes and chicory roots provide additional digestive benefits and keep your dog’s stool firm. Its freeze-dried raw coating allows for long-term storage without compromising its nutritional value. 

This dry food doesn’t contain grain, corn, soy, wheat, by-product meals, and artificial additives.


Questions & Answers

Q: What is the difference between salmon vs. salmon meal?

A: While both are necessary protein sources that ensure optimal nutrition for your dog, salmon meal is rendered differently from fresh salmon. Because of how it is manufactured, salmon meal has higher, more concentrated protein levels. Thus, your dog can achieve a higher protein intake without eating too much food.  

Q: Is salmon better than beef and chicken?

A: Yes—especially if your dog suffers from a poultry allergy. While red meat is rich in vitamins, protein, and zinc, too much of it can contribute to the risk of colorectal cancer. Not only does salmon remove this risk, but it also provides other, more essential nutrients like omega fatty acids.

Q: How often should I feed my dog salmon?

A: That depends. If you are feeding processed salmon through dog food, you can serve this to your pet daily. However, if you are feeding deboned salmon as a standalone ingredient, consider a frequency of once a week. Never serve undercooked salmon to avoid food poisoning and bacterial infections.

Q: Does salmon put my dog at risk of mercury poisoning?

A: No. Compared to other fish species, salmon is relatively low in mercury. Too much mercury can cause digestive problems and even affect your dog’s kidneys and brain. Salmon instead replaced this toxic component with essential nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, and chelated minerals.

Q: Is salmon wet food better than dry dog food?

A: If your dog requires additional hydration, incorporating salmon into their wet food can provide the added moisture they need. However, salmon in dry dog food is easier to store, more nutritionally-packed, and reduces the risk of diarrhea. You can opt to feed wet salmon meals as a topper or appetizer. 

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.