Top 10 of the best dog food companies (2023) – Au Nom du Chien

Top 10 des meilleures compagnies de croquettes pour chien (2021) – Au Nom du Chien


Throughout my various articles, I try to teach you how to make better choices for your dog in order to thwart the traps set by the industry. My goal will always remain the same: that your dog live healthier and longer by your side.

I have never hidden that I am in favor of offering fresh food to our dogs but that said, I am above all in favor of QUALITY…and that is in ANY type of product. So this time I wanted to tip my hat to the 10 best kibble companies on the market. 

Kibble remains the most popular mode of animal nutrition today and although it sometimes loses (or uses) feathers, some companies deserve to be mentioned for the innovation they demonstrate, to do their best by surpassing themselves. to optimize food that will always remain processed.

2021 Update:

Originally published in 2018, I updated this article in 2021 as companies bring new products to market and change recipes or prices. I therefore thought it useful to reconsider each brand to offer you a new top-10 that is as realistic as possible including everything that is currently on the market. If I haven’t updated since then, it’s because I consider that the market hasn’t changed and therefore my top 10 would remain unchanged.

Again this time, although I have chosen 10 companies, the order has more or less importance. If you give any product discussed in the article: you are giving an excellent product and if everything is fine with your dog, there is no need to change food! The goal here is to make known lesser known companies that manufacture good products, not to insist on whether such a company should be before or after another!

But how do you find the best kibble? For those who haven’t already, start by reading my article “How to choose a good kibble food”. Then, here are the different points that we will look for from a company to say that it makes a good kibble:

  • High percentage of protein from meat

The dog being carnivorous, we would like in an ideal world to invent a kibble made of 100% meat. This is unfortunately not possible because technically the kibble could not hold together and also because it would be awfully expensive to produce.

We will therefore try to have as much meat as possible in each croquette. That said, since meat is the most expensive ingredient in a kibble, bad companies will use several tricks in order to use as little as possible and thus save money.

We often have the reflex to look at the protein level on the bag to get an idea if the kibble contains a lot of meat. However, this is misleading because a kibble could well contain 30% protein while being made mainly of corn, wheat gluten, broken rice and potatoes, etc…in short, without meat (which would be terrible for the body of the dog)! Moreover, as I often say: you can’t rely on the price of the product either as an assurance of the quantity of meat. Kibbles sold at the vet would be a good example of this situation: sold at a high price, they often contain very little meat (and not the most beautiful parts).

There are two precise values ​​on which we can judge the amount of meat in a kibble:

  1. Inclusion de viande (meat inclusion):

This tells us, before cooking , what weight the ingredients from the meat occupied. For example, a food with a 50% meat inclusion would mean that for a 30 lb bag of kibble, 15 lbs of ingredients (50%) were from the meat before cooking , whether fresh or ground. .

This way of calculating is not ideal for comparing several products because fresh meat is very heavy before cooking (since it contains 70% humidity). A kibble made only with fresh meat could therefore have a very high meat inclusion value except that in the end (after cooking), this kibble would no longer contain as much meat since 70% will have evaporated during cooking. .

On the other hand, a kibble made only with meat meal would have a very low meat inclusion value, since meat meal weighs nothing…but in the end, this kibble could well contain more meat than one that had a lot fresh meat (since the flour is already cooked, it will retain the same weight before and after cooking, therefore more protein). So you see that this value is misleading and that’s the reason why I won’t use it in my comparison.

2. Animal protein level :

This evaluates the finished product ( after cooking ). Let’s say a food is 30% total protein (animal and plant), how much of that 30% comes from animal sources? This is the value I will use to compare the different kibbles. After all, it’s the end product that matters to the dog!

Note: eggs also count as meat in the calculation since they come from an animal.

The best kibbles will contain at least 60% of their protein from meat. The higher the number, the better!

Some companies proudly disclose this percentage (of animal protein) either directly on the bag or on their website…while for others, I had to ask them. Some companies answered me without any problem while others (some even having a lot of reputation) flatly refused to answer me! This obviously puts us on the alert because if a company uses a lot of meat, it will generally be proud to publish its figures. On the other hand, let’s say a company has achieved a certain reputation over the years and they don’t use a lot of it, revealing these (bad) numbers would prove that their products are overpriced for the quality. (amount) they actually have. After all, meat is BY FAR the most expensive ingredient in a kibble!

  • The company makes its own kibble

This point seems obvious, but you will be surprised to learn that many companies on the market do not have a kibble manufacturing plant . This means that the company will have offices, will handle promotion, manage social media, respond to customers, do the graphic design of the bags…but not manufacture the product! Even worse, even when it comes to designing the recipe, it will very often be the subcontractor who will provide their expertise.

This means that in the end, the company will have no choice but to rely on its subcontractor (who manufactures for multiple companies) in order to respect the recipes, the quality and above all the freshness of the ingredients. How do you control the quality of a final product if you are not there during the most crucial stage (manufacturing)? In summary, you could almost say that companies that do not manufacture themselves are just a marketing company!

I’m not saying I’m going to disqualify any company that doesn’t manufacture themselves but obviously I’m going to favor those that do. After all, there is quality even in subcontractors (known as co-packers in the industry), depending on (for example) the number of brands they produce and the number of recalls they may have had over the years.

As I was digging to find which co-packer is made for which company (this info is almost kept secret by the companies), I realized that many of my choices were made in the same places. In the end, without knowing it before finding the info, I already had a favorite co-packer in Canada and another in the United States! You will see who aware of the article…

One of the biggest mistakes we make with our dogs is not giving them variety. No matter how you want to feed your dog, it is imperative for me to offer variety to the dog for several reasons. First of all, no protein is perfect. Some meats are higher in certain vitamins, lower in others, etc. It is therefore the variety that will create balanced canine nutrition. If I ask you how much vitamin D you ate yesterday, you’re probably not able to answer me, yet you’re healthy because you never eat the same thing…well, it’s the same for your dog: variety will create a nutrient balance.

Then, the variety is also recommended to fight boredom in dogs. Have you ever thought how sad it must be for the dog to eat the same food for months, years or often all of its life?

To remedy this problem, more and more companies are marketing what are called rotating diets. To do this, the company will manufacture a few kinds using the same ingredient base EXCEPT the meat protein which it will change (eg: chicken, salmon, lamb, pork, turkey). This will offer a nice variety to the dog to keep him interested in eating but above all, without having to make ANY transition from one bag to another like when changing brands of food where the two recipes are completely different. .

I will always have a preference for Canadian products; for their quality and also because I like to buy local. Here we have a farming system operating under high standards and there is an advantage in making kibble with regional ingredients. Canadian products are recognized worldwide in the field of kibble. For example, in Asia, Canadian brand kibble is seen as the best in the world. For once we are first in something!

The kibbles made in the United States will vary widely in quality, ranging from excellent to terrible. In addition, it is obvious that an American product will be more expensive once here because of the exchange rate and transportation costs.

These are the two countries that produce the croquettes that we find in this top-10. I know that several people read me in Europe but since the brands are so different on the two continents, it was not possible to combine everything in the same article. That said, what you will learn by reading this will certainly help you in the analysis of the brands available to you! In addition, it is possible that I may do the same kind of article for European croquettes. In the meantime, I have put in the comments under the article the French brands that I find interesting.

When evaluating the quality of a product, it is obvious that we must focus on the price. On the other hand, the price does not mean anything if we do not also look at the quantity to be given.

You may have never noticed, but each food has a different caloric index ( kcal/cup ). For example, a food could well be economical but if you have to give twice as much because it is not very nutritious, then you are not getting a good deal! So I took into account the price but also the caloric value in my evaluation.

For comparative purposes, when I talk about prices I will always use the big bags of 25 lbs (11.3 kg) as a point of comparison , unless there are exceptions. 25 lbs is the standard in the kibble industry when it comes to big bags. In addition, you can see the price difference between the big bags much better than when comparing the small bags! When 25 lbs bags are not available, I will specify the bag size related to the price indicated.

For some people (usually from a veterinary background) grain-free is a fad, but for me it’s the healthier option compared to traditional grain-based kibble. Again, there can be good products in both categories and I will take the trouble to specify the companies that make GOOD kibble WITH grains, for those who prefer grain foods.

What’s the deal with the grains? There are two main ones:

  1. Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins (and aflatoxins) are microscopic fungi found in kibble foods made from grains. In December 2005, 76 dogs died after eating food contaminated with aflatoxins, prompting a major product recall by manufacturer Diamond Pet Foods.

A company ( Alltech ) also analyzed 965 samples of grain products. They discovered that:

  • 98% of samples were contaminated with at least one mycotoxin or more
  • 93% of samples were contaminated with at least 2 or more mycotoxins
  • 39% of samples contained more than 5 mycotoxins

A grain-free food will not contain mycotoxins because mycotoxins come from grains.

2. The glycemic index

L’indice glycémique d’un ingrédient décrit la variation que celui-ci produit dans le taux de sucre du chien. Il arrive quoi à un enfant lorsqu’on lui donne du sucre? Et bien la même chose se produit avec un chien lorsqu’il mange ses croquettes: son taux de sucre augmente. Le diabète est un grave problème chez les chiens de nos jours et il serait faux de dire que ça n’a pas de lien avec les ingrédients à fort indice glycémique (maïs, riz, patates) présents dans leur nourriture. D’où l’avantage de choisir une nourriture faite avec des ingrédients dont l’indice glycémique est le plus bas possible. Voici d’ailleurs un tableau des ingrédients de croquettes et l’indice glycémique associé à chacun:

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On peut donc en conclure que dans ma recherche des meilleures croquettes, je favoriserai les compagnies qui utilisent les lentilles rouges, l’orge et les pois.

Maintenant que vous savez sur quels critères j’évalue une croquette lorsque je l’analyse, allons-y donc pour vous faire connaitre mes 10 compagnies de croquettes favorites!

N’oubliez pas, l’ordre (bien qu’il soit basé sur les critères énoncés plus haut) a plus ou moins d’importance! Pour faire une analogie de voitures: on compare des BMW, Mercedes et des Audi! 

10. PetKind

PetKind logo

PetKind est une compagnie familiale canadienne qui fabrique depuis 2001 une croquette unique par l’utilisation de tripe verte dans chacune de ses recettes. Encore mieux, la tripe est TOUJOURS le 1er ingrédient de chaque recette.

But what is tripe? It is actually the stomach of a ruminant, in this case beef, lamb and deer. As the digestion of a ruminant is very long (contrary to the short digestion of a carnivore like the dog), a colony of good bacteria (probiotics) and digestive enzymes is created in its stomach. Dogs love tripe…but in its pure state…it smells really bad! Hence the advantage of adding it to a kibble…because few people have the heart strong enough to add it separately🙂

The benefits of green tripe

Also, PetKind is one of the only companies to use quinoa, which is a fairly expensive ingredient ($8/kg), very low in fat and with a very low glycemic index (53, which is better than oats).

PetKind has two product lines:

This series has 4 flavors: beef, salmon, bison and lamb. In each case, tripe is the first ingredient, always followed by fresh meat. However, there is poultry in each recipe, which is not great for an allergic dog.

PetKind Original

Price: $86 (25 lbs.)

This poultry-free series is geared towards dogs with allergies or intolerance and comes in 3 flavors: venison (venison), lamb and red meats.

PetKind poultry free croquettes

Price: $97 (25 lbs.)

In both cases, the company does not publish the percentage of proteins coming from the meat but I managed to obtain a minimum and maximum.

  • Rotating Diet:  Yes (Original: 4 choices, Limited Ingredients: 3 choices)
  • Make Themselves:  No (made by OmniPET Nutrition)
  • Made in: Canada (British Columbia)
  • Percentage of protein from meat: 60 to 80% depending on the recipe (that of red meat being the highest).
  • Other interesting facts:  family company: three brothers and their two parents

I like: The innovation in the use of tripe and quinoa.

I like less: That there is poultry in each of the original recipes. It doesn’t make sense to me that a beef or salmon food contains turkey AND chicken. It’s confusing and borderline dangerous for someone whose dog is allergic and who takes for granted that their beef food shouldn’t contain poultry.

9. Pronature

pronature logo

Pronature est une marque canadienne fabriquée avec fierté à Boucherville. Elle est propriétaire de l’usine (PLB International), qui produit aussi la marque 1st Choice en plus de fabriquer pour d’autres compagnies. Ils n’ont jamais eu de rappel pour leurs produits et ce depuis 1969!

La compagnie a été très transparente avec moi (bien qu’ils savaient qui j’étais) et ont su répondre à mes questions avec énormément de détails utiles. Je salue le fait que l’entreprise s’approvisionne auprès de producteurs locaux et/ou qui sont dotés de techniques de pêche et d’agriculture durables. Investir dans les ingrédients de base aura toujours des bénéfices dans le produit final et Pronature l’a bien compris.

L’entreprise fabrique trois lignes de produits:

Série de base contenant des grains et qui ne serait pas si mal si ce n’était de l’utilisation du maïs et du gluten de maïs, qui selon moi n’a plus sa place dans le marché des animaux de compagnie lorsqu’on tente de fabriquer un produit de qualité. Le reste des ingrédients est très bien et en ferait une bonne ligne d’entrée de gamme s’ils pouvaient éliminer le maïs. 62 à 80% des protéines sont issues de la viande selon la recette, ce qui est très bien pour ce prix. Mais avec du maïs, je passe mon tour…

Prix: 40-48$ (25 lbs.)

Cette série faite avec de bons grains (avoine et orge) et légumineuses comporte 4 saveurs toutes à base de farine de poulet mais où d’autres ingrédients sont ajoutés pour créer trois produits distincts: Activ (chiens actifs), Green (légumes verts), Berries (baies) et Chill/Harmony (calme). Je suis heureux de voir l’utilisation d’ingrédients novateurs tels que la moule verte, le chou frisé, les graines de chia, la citrouille, le gingembre et le varech. En espérant que d’autres compagnies vont commencer à utiliser ces supers ingrédients dans les prochaines années! Dans cette série, 63 à 69% des protéines proviennent de sources animales, ce qui en fait une excellente valeur qualité/prix pour quelqu’un qui souhaite bien nourrir avec un budget serré!

Prix: 56$ (25 lbs)

La série Holistic est selon moi la plus intéressante de la compagnie. Deux saveurs (Nordiko et Méditerranéa) sont sans grain et à ingrédients limités en plus de se faire en grosses ou petites bouchées. Ils ont aussi une saveur avec grains (Canard à l’orange) et une pour chiots. 82 à 85% des protéines sont issues de la viande, ce qui est excellent.

Prix: 92$ (26.4 lbs.)

  • Diète rotative: oui (Original: 2 saveurs, Life: 4 saveurs, Holistic: 3 saveurs + chiot)
  • Fabriquent eux-mêmes: oui (PLB International)
  • Fait au: Canada (Québec)
  • Pourcentage des protéines provenant de la viande: Original: 62-80%, Life: 63-69%, Holistic: 82-85%
  • Other interesting facts:  the company sources from local producers as much as possible

I like:  that it is made in Quebec, the quality/price ratio in general in their three product lines

Dislikes:   the presence of corn in the Original series , the use of generic terms such as “poultry” in certain formulas (less expensive ingredient than a specific food such as chicken or turkey) and the fact of making a “duck” recipe à l’orange” and to find chicken (dangerous for an allergic dog if the customer does not read the list of ingredients)!

8. Open Farm

openfarm logo

Open Farm is a Canadian company that has its products manufactured in the United States by an (excellent) subcontractor.

What makes this company unique is the importance it places on animal welfare. The company sources its supplies only from farms and producers holding Certified Humane certification , which means that they respect a long list of criteria ensuring the well-being of the animals they raise. Environment without cages, quality food, fish caught at sea, breeding without hormones and antibiotics, access to the outside and place to rest. These farms and producers must make corrections to their facilities before applying, pay to obtain certification, are inspected annually and are responsible for paying the inspections ($700-800 depending on whether they are farmers or producers) .

certified humane logo

To give you an example of program requirements: For poultry farming, the US government requires non-Humane certified producers that the animals get at least one hour of sleep a day (during which nothing will disturb them). In Canada: there is no such minimum…but for a farm to be certified under the Certified Humane program , poultry must be allowed 6 consecutive hours of sleep.

continuous sleep

In addition, a batch number on each bag allows traceability of ALL the ingredients: from the meat to the added vitamins. This is to my knowledge something never seen. Visit this page to see an example of the results available. Finally, each production batch is tested by an external laboratory for salmonella, E. coli and listeria. The report is available on their website, as in this example.

Open Farm manufactures two series of croquettes:

All grain-free and available in 7 flavors, this series uses unique ingredients like pumpkin (great carb) and coconut oil (great fat). Plus, 90% of its protein comes from animal sources, which is truly amazing.

open farm dog food line

Price: $95-100 (24 lbs.)

Made with good grains like quinoa, millet and oats and available in 6 flavors, this series also contains 90% of its protein which comes from animal sources. For a price starting at $80, it’s an excellent value.

Price: $80-95 (22 lbs.)

  • Rotary diet: yes (without grains: 7 flavors, with grains: 6 flavors)
  • Make Themselves:  No (made by Barrett Petfood Innovation)
  • Made in:  USA
  • Percentage of protein from meat: 90%
  • Other interesting facts: Great attention to animal welfare and a wide range of other types of products produced: broth, cooked food, freeze-dried, stews, treats, etc…

I like: The company’s transparency about where its ingredients come from, the quality control, and the importance placed on animal welfare in their sourcing. 

Dislikes: Using brown rice in grain recipes

7. I will nurse


Nutram is a Canadian (Ontario) company with their own factory in Elmira, where they also manufacture for other companies (like GO! and Petcurean’s Now Fresh). They were the first to innovate by using functional ingredients like green mussel, turmeric, chia seeds and pumpkin in their kibble recipes. This is an example that several other companies subsequently followed. When you get copied, you’re doing something good! Plus, all the meat they use is hormone and antibiotic free. They manufacture 3 series of products:

C’est leur série de base faite de farine de viande, de viande fraîche, légumineuses et de grains. Ils ont deux saveurs (poulet et agneau) si on ne compte pas les formules chiots, petites/grandes races et sénior. 55% à 70% des protéines proviennent de la viande, ce qui est excellent pour une produit de ce prix.

nutram chien grande race S8-1000x500

Prix: 60-65$

Cette série contient seulement 2 produits avec grains visant des problèmes de santé spécifiques: une formule de contrôle de poids et une peau, pelage et estomac. Je comprends qu’ils ont voulu avoir une série spéciale pour des nourritures visant des problèmes de santé particuliers, mais j’aimerais voir au moins 3 produits dans une série de ce type. D’ailleurs ce serait ma principale critique de leur mise en marché: les trois séries se ressemblent beaucoup trop et sont difficiles à différencier visuellement. La série Ideal est par contre celle qui contient le plus de protéines animales avec 70% à 80% de protéines animales, selon la formule.

Prix: 64-72$

Total est la série sans grains. Elle contient de 50% à 75% de protéines issues de sources animales. Il y a 3 saveurs à alterner pour les petites races (petites croquettes) et les mêmes 3 saveurs sont disponibles en plus grosses croquettes.

Prix: 77-87$

  • Diète rotative: oui (Sound: 2, Ideal: 2, Total: 3)
  • Fabriquent eux-mêmes: oui
  • Fait au: Canada (Ontario)
  • Pourcentage des protéines provenant de la viande: Sound: 55-70, Ideal: 70-80%, Total: 50-75%
  • Autres faits intéressants: l’utilisation de combinaisons d’ingrédients fonctionnels (ex: moule verte + graines de lin pour la santé articulaire).

J’aime: l’utilisation d’ingrédients novateurs tels que la moule verte, le curcuma, les graines de chia/lin et la citrouille dans leurs recettes.

J’aime moins: la confusion dans la présentation visuelle des produits; on s’y perd facilement.

6. Boréal

Boreal logo

Boréal a été fondé en Ontario par deux frères (Dan et Hugh), dont un est vétérinaire. Fatigués de voir que l’industrie de la croquette se contentait de passer des ingrédients bas de gamme à nos animaux, ils ont misé sur l’utilisation des meilleurs ingrédients possibles dans leurs croquettes.

Produites en Ontario et au Québec, leurs recettes visent l’obtention de l’indice glycémique le plus bas possible et l’utilisation d’une grande quantité de viande. La compagnie ne vend ses produits que chez des détaillants indépendants, car elle croit que c’est dans ces boutiques spécialisées que le client obtiendra les meilleurs conseils en nutrition animale. Finalement, chaque produit reçoit un supplément de zinc appelé Zinpet.

Ils ont trois lignes de produits:

Voici une bonne nourriture avec grains. Par l’utilisation de l’avoine et l’orge en plus des pois canadiens, on s’assure d’une croquette qui aura un indice glycémique très bas. Disponible en deux saveurs pour chiens réguliers et deux pour les grandes races. Excellente valeur qualité/prix avec 66% à 70% de protéines animales.

Boreal Proper croquettes

Prix: 48-63$

Cette série sans grain allie viande fraîche et farine de viande pour obtenir un maximum de protéines animales (60-75%). Disponible en trois saveurs régulières et une pour chiens grandes races. Une nourriture sans grain parmi les plus économiques sur le marché.

Boreal Vital croquettes

Prix: 58-69$

Cette série utilise uniquement de la viande fraîche et réussi tout de même à obtenir 79-83% de ses protéines issues de la viande. Disponible en trois saveurs et une pour petites races.

Boreal Original croquettes

Prix: 90-93$

  • Diète rotative: oui (Proper: 2 choix, Vital: 3 choix, Original: 3 choix)
  • Fabriquent eux-mêmes: non (Proper et Vital: Spectrum Feeds (ON), Original: PLB (QC))
  • Fait au: Canada (Ontario et Québec)
  • Pourcentage des protéines provenant de la viande: Proper: 66-70%, Vital: 60-75%, Original: 79-83% (sauf la formule petites races qui est à 60%)
  • Autres faits intéressants: ajout de Zinc pour plusieurs bénéfices mais principalement l’amélioration du poil

J’aime: La quantité de viande pour le prix, le fait qu’un des deux partenaires de l’entreprise soit vétérinaire et le support des boutiques indépendantes.

J’aime moins: Le fait qu’ils ne fabriquent pas eux-mêmes.

5. First Mate

FirstMate est une compagnie que j’ai découvert récemment. Tout d’abord impressionné par les recettes, je l’ai été encore plus une fois que j’ai regardé le prix demandé pour leurs produits, ce qui en fait une super valeur qualité/prix. De plus, ils détiennent deux usines de fabrication en Colombie-Britannique (Canada), une pour les croquettes et une pour les conserves, où ils opèrent depuis 1989.

Ils utilisent également une technique spéciale d’infusion du gras dans les croquettes. Alors que les autres compagnies vaporisent le gras sur les croquettes après cuisson, FirstMate infuse le gras directement dans la croquette dans une chambre sous pression (qui retire l’air) dans le but d’avoir un taux de gras uniforme dans chaque croquette. Je suis heureux de voir cette technique utilisée comparativement à la vaporisation traditionnelle.

FirstMate manufactures 3 series of kibbles:

The most economical series at $49 for a 25 lb bag, this product still contains 70% to 83% protein from animal sources, which is really extraordinary at this price. For someone on a tight budget and whose dog tolerates grain well, you have a great product here!

Prix: 49$

This series is an affordable grain free. It contains 62% to 65% meat protein for $63. Again, excellent value for money.

Prix: 63$

Their high-end product with 70-87% animal protein for $84 for a 28.6 lb bag, which is 3.6 lbs more than most other manufacturers! 

Price: $84 (28.6 lbs)

  • Rotary diet: yes (With grains: 5 flavors, Kasiks: 3 flavors, Without grains: 6 flavors)
  • Make themselves: yes
  • Made in: Canada (British Columbia)
  • Percentage of protein from meat: With grains: 70-83%, Kasiks: 62-65%, Without grains: 70-87%
  • Other Interesting Facts: Pressurized Fat Infusion System

I like: the excellent quality/price ratio between the three product lines means that no matter your budget, they have a product for your dog that will be difficult to beat by the more well-known companies.

I like less: the visuals of the bags (except Kasiks which I adore).

4. Farmina

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Farmina is an Italian company and one of the most famous kibble manufacturers in the world. Their products are exported to more than 60 countries. They have three factories located in Italy, Serbia and Brazil. The company employs more than 20 full-time veterinarians and is involved in several animal science research projects.

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They use three noteworthy technologies:

  1. Twin screw extrusion: allows better gelatinization of starches and 25% better digestibility than single screw extrusion.
  2. Cold vacuum infusion: temperature-sensitive ingredients (like fat) are infused into the kibble in a vacuum chamber after the kibble has cooled. It’s the same technology that I explained earlier and that FirstMate also uses.
  3. Nitrogen Protection: Nitrogen is injected into the kibble bag during final packaging, where it will take the place of oxygen to prevent oxidation once the bag is sealed. Farmina is to my knowledge the only company to use this method when packaging, which I find really extraordinary. 

Farmina is available in Canada under 4 product lines:

  • N&D – Ancestral Grains

It is their series that contains the least animal protein…with 90%! As the name suggests, this series is made with heirloom grains like spelled and oats. Available in two flavors: chicken+pomegranate and lamb+blueberries.

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Price: $85-100 (26.4 lbs)

This series targets specific health issues such as: weight loss, digestion and skin+coat. It contains a total of 6 flavors including 4 under skin + coat which allows a good rotation of the special proteins which are: herring, quail, venison and duck. The series uses good amounts of unique ingredients like coconut (not just its oil), turmeric, fennel, and artichoke. 92-94% of the protein is from animal sources…but the price is expensive given the exotic protein as you only get 15.4 lbs for $94-98. 

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Price: $94-98 (15.4 lbs)

This series uses pumpkin as its main carbohydrate source. This ingredient is too little known and I would like to see more companies using it. It is also one of the croquettes that I recommended in my article on Allergies in dogs. There are 3 flavors: chicken+pomegranate, lamb+blueberries and wild boar+apples. In this series, 96% of the proteins are from animal sources for a very honest price. Great product!

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Price: $90-106 (26.4 lbs)

This series, you guessed it, uses fish as a source of protein. Herring and cod are in the spotlight, with different versions with or without grains that contain pumpkin, oranges, spelled and oats. Finally, here we have the world record for animal protein content: 98%! 

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Price: $108 (26.4 lbs)

  • Rotating diet: yes (Ancestral Grains: 2 flavors, Quinoa: 6 flavors, Pumpkin: 3 flavors, Ocean: 3 flavors)
  • Make themselves: yes 
  • Made in: Italy, Serbia or Brazil
  • Percentage of protein from meat: Heirloom Grains: 90%, Quinoa: 92-94%, Pumpkin: 96%, Ocean: 98%
  • Other interesting facts: use of nitrogen to replace oxygen in the bag.

I like: the high percentage of animal protein, the company’s involvement in research and their worldwide reputation.

Dislikes: the high price of the quinoa series although that’s to be expected with the meats used. I would also have preferred the Pumpkin series to not contain peas in any way in case I suspect a pea allergy.

3. Valens

Valens logo

Valens is a Canadian family business that has its recipes made in British Columbia according to high standards. The company believes that the dog must be fed with a product that respects its (short) digestive system, ie a food high in meat.

To do this, the company has developed what they call VITA CUBE, which are meat-only (air-dried) cubes added after cooking to the bag with the kibble. As for the kibble itself, it is cooked at the lowest temperature allowed, 194 degrees Fahrenheit still there in order to preserve the maximum of nutrients.

Ingredients also play a key role at Valens. The fish used are certified by the Marine Stewartship Council as being sustainable and causing minimal environmental impact. The meat (of human consumption quality and obtained from local farmers) is delivered fresh daily in refrigerated trucks. The production plant is also certified (one of the few in North America) by the European Union both in terms of ingredient supply and production. Finally, Valens is also certified by the Safe Quality Food Institute .level 3 (the highest possible) for food safety. Recently, the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) mentioned that any company manufacturing animal feed should aspire to obtain this certification, which is already done for Valens.

Valens also has strict quality control. Each production batch is held in the factory while an external laboratory ( Maxxam Analytics ) analyzes the samples taken. It is only once everything is confirmed as being compliant that the products are sent to the stores.

The company manufactures a single product line, without grains, in 4 different flavors and where 85-90% of the proteins come from meat :

  • Fisher : mix of fish
  • Farmer : chicken and turkey
  • Pasture : lamb, beef, bison and wild boar
  • Small breed : turkey and salmon for small breeds

Valens croquettes line

Prix: 89$

  • Rotating diet:  yes (3 choices + 1 small breed formula)
  • Make Themselves: No (made by OmniPET Nutrition)
  • Made in: Canada (British Columbia)
  • Percentage of protein from meat: 85-90%
  • Other interesting facts:  low temperature cooking

I like: the VITA CUBE concept, the high level of meat, the simplicity of the product line and the fact that it was the founder (and owner) of Valens who replied to my original email in 2018.

I like less: The graphic design of the bags (purely personal opinion).

2. Wholesome Blend

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Wholesome Blend is a Canadian product made in Ontario for over 35 years by the same company that also makes two other brands, Lifetime and Naturally Fresh.

Wholesome Blend is a grain-free product, high in animal protein (90%) and sold at the most honest price, between $70-90. Their croquettes are divided into two series:

The grain-free series features 4 flavors where 90% of the protein comes from animal sources. It is this high percentage combined with the price varying between $70-85 that makes the company earn 2nd place on my list. 

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Totally unique in the kibble market, Wholesome Blend has recently released a series without grains AND without peas or legumes. I confess that I had been looking for a product like this for years. Many allergic dogs cannot eat grains and sometimes legumes and peas are not suitable for them as well. In these cases, there was no choice left for the customer because ALL grain-free products contain peas. This is now a thing of the past!

Moreover, they even managed to maintain the animal protein level at 90% and an honest price ($90). Available in two flavors: cod and pumpkin or turkey and pumpkin. Interesting fact: part of the protein also comes from meal from black soldier fly larvae. Although I wouldn’t make a whole kibble on this protein, I find it innovative to include it. Add to that Eco-One biodegradable packaging that allows the plastic to break down.

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Prix: 90$

  • Rotating Diet: Yes (Grain Free: 4 choices, Pea Free: 2 choices)
  • Make themselves: yes
  • Made in: Canada (Ontario)
  • Percentage of protein from meat: 90%
  • Other interesting facts: Use of protein from black soldier fly larvae in the pealess series.

I like: the high level of animal protein, the decomposable plastic packaging and the excellent quality/price ratio of all the products.

I like less: that I find nothing to reproach them with…

1. Horizon

Horizon croquettes logo

In first position in my top-10 of the best kibble companies , Horizon is a small company but which greatly deserves to be better known. It is a Canadian family business with 45 employees, located in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Their location in the Canadian prairies gives them the advantage of being right in the center of the agricultural environment, which allows them to obtain 70% of their ingredients within a radius of 170 km around the factory. When you save on transportation you can work miracles and miracles, they have been doing it for over 15 years now!

Additionally, Horizon was the first company to use red lentils, which is the starchy (carbohydrate) with the lowest glycemic index. At the time, several companies laughed at them for using this little-known ingredient. Fifteen years later, the majority of companies use this same ingredient but what puts Horizon at the forefront is the fact that they were the pioneers. Doing like the others is easy, once they have found a good recipe for success, but innovating and taking risks is not. Thanks to companies like Horizon, dogs eat well and are healthier every day.

Here is an overview of the different product lines offered by the company:

Taiga was launched a few years ago to compete with big box (ex: Costco) and supermarket foods. At $60 for 35 lbs of food made in Canada with local ingredients, it is without a doubt one of the best value for money on the market. Additionally, 50% of Taiga’s protein comes from meat, which is unheard of at this price point. My opinion: if you only have one dog: pay the difference to give him Pulsar but if you have multiple dogs or are really on a shoestring budget, Taiga is great value!

Available in two flavors: chicken and pork; with or without grain.

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Price: $60 (35 lbs.)

Pulsar accounts for the bulk of the company’s sales, and for good reason. 5 choices of protein (all between $54 and $65 for 25 lbs) for a varied rotating diet and with 66% protein from meat. This is the very definition of quality/price. In addition, Pulsar is very easy to digest and the palatability is among the highest I have seen in the store. For all dogs eating low-end (but often high-priced) food, Pulsar is in most cases my first recommendation. Feeding better while saving…how could we refuse that?

5 grain-free flavors: chicken, salmon, lamb, turkey and pork.

2 flavors with grains: chicken and pork

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Prix: 54-65$

Complete is the definition of a good grain food. By using whole grains, they retain the grain’s natural husk, to maximize its nutritional properties. Then as I said, not all grains are equal. By using barley, rye and oats, the glycemic index is kept as low as possible. Finally, to have a kibble with grains where 71% of protein comes from meat for such a low price is almost a miracle.

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Prix: 55$

Amicus is specially formulated for small breed dogs. The kibble is smaller, less tough and contains a lot of meat, with 76% of the protein coming from meat! Three unique proteins: chicken, lamb and salmon for a rotating diet, plus a 4th tri-protein recipe combining chicken, turkey and salmon in the same kibble. In my opinion, this is the best kibble on the market for a small dog!

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Price: $25-27 (5.5 lbs.)

The concept behind Legacy is to have the kibble with as much meat as possible; we get there with 81% which is very rare on the market for this price. Available in puppy and adult version (mixture of chicken, turkey and salmon in the same kibble) or in fish version (valid for all life stages).

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Prix: 70-80$

  • Rotating diet: yes (Taiga: 4 choices, Pulsar: 7 choices, Amicus: 3 choices, Legacy: 2 choices + puppy)
  • Make themselves: yes
  • Made in: Canada (Saskatchewan)
  • Percentage of protein from meat: Taiga: 50%, Pulsar: 66%, Complete: 71%, Amicus: 76%, Legacy: 81%
  • Other cool facts: Low temperature cooking (210 degrees F) and adding pre and probiotics AFTER cooking

I like: The values ​​of the company, the fact that they don’t put any money into marketing, the use of local ingredients and the accountability of all stages of production. In addition, part of the profits are donated each year for the protection of our forests.

I don’t like: The new Pulsar visual that I find too dark and the fact that they don’t use freeze-dried in any product.

That completes my 10 favorite kibble companies!

Are these the only good croquettes on the market? Of course not…but according to my criteria you have the 10 best companies there.

Here are two more that deserve to be known, as a bonus:


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Zignature doesn’t rank in my top 10 when looking at price but that’s easily explained when you realize the unique proteins that go into their recipes. In fact, the company started in 2012 with the aim of offering products to dogs with food allergies and intolerances. The company manufactures two series:

This series features 13 flavors, all with limited ingredients and with such unique meats as: catfish, duck, goat, guinea fowl, kangaroo, lamb, pork, salmon, trout/salmon, turkey, venison and white fish. 57% to 70% of protein comes from meat. 

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Price: $71-116 (except venison: $179)

Select Cuts (grains anciens)

This series is made with oats, millet and quinoa and contains 3 flavors: lamb, trout/salmon and turkey. 64-69% of protein comes from animal sources.

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Prix: 79-90$

  • Rotating Diet: Yes (Grain Free: 13 choices, Select Cuts: 3 choices)
  • Make Themselves: No (made by Barrett Petfood Innovation)
  • Made in: USA
  • Percentage of Protein from Meat: Grain Free: 57-70%, Select Cuts: 64-69%.
  • Other Cool Facts: Unique Proteins for Allergic Dogs

I like: the fact that their entire product line is made for allergic or intolerant dogs and that they use exotic meats (kangaroo, guinea fowl, catfish and goat). Also, for each croquette, there is the same canned product (meat).

I like less: the high price of the product, but understandable with such rare meats.

Nature’s Logic

Nature's Logic logo

Nature’s Logic’s concept is bold: to develop a kibble where all the vitamins and minerals will come from the ingredients so that you don’t have to use synthetic vitamins.

You may have never noticed, but virtually all kibbles on the market contain added synthetic vitamins. They are easy to recognize: they are the incomprehensible names which are at the end of a list of ingredients. Without these vitamins, foods would not pass the necessary tests to obtain the nutritional minimums. The problem, however, is that these vitamins often come from China, where the quality is more than questionable. In addition, the body (human or canine) always absorbs natural vitamins better than synthetic ones. Maybe you’ve taken a cheap multivitamin…only to realize that its main purpose was to color your urine. It was your body not absorbing the synthetic!

In 2005, Scott Freeman (founder of Nature’s Logic) achieved this feat: creating a product made from whole foods and without any synthetic vitamins that passed the AAFCO tests with flying colors.

Nature’s Logic makes frozen raw, canned, natural treats (tracheas, tendons, bones, lungs, etc.) and of course kibble. Several points make it an excellent kibble:

  • Nature’s Logic is one of the only companies to use millet as a binding agent. Millet is a grain that does not contain gluten and is low in natural sugars. In their recipe, 25% of the proteins come from millet, 10% from fruits/vegetables and 65% from meat.
  • The key ingredient that allows Nature’s Logic to use no synthetic vitamins is porcine plasma (blood). Although it may surprise you because you don’t often see it in a kibble, plasma is very rich in vitamins, minerals and provides more than 18 amino acids.
  • The company also adds probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes, all of which have been dehydrated and added AFTER cooking. In this way, they will be stable in the bag and will only become active once ingested by the dog and reconstituted thanks to the humidity of its digestive system.

Nature’s Logic manufactures two series of products:

Contains 9 flavors: beef, chicken, duck and salmon, lamb, pork, rabbit, sardines, turkey and finally venison (venison). There are also 3 additional grain-free flavors. In any case, 65% of protein comes from meat.

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Price: $90-136 (26.4 lbs.)

This new series contains much more meat (95% animal protein) and does not contain legumes. There are 4 flavors with millet and 3 flavors without grains.

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Price: $114-131 (24 lbs)

  • Rotating diet: yes (Original: 9 choices + 3 grain-free, Distinction: 4 choices + 3 grain-free)
  • Make Themselves:  No (made by CJ Foods)
  • Made in: USA
  • Percentage of protein from meat: Original: 65%, Distinction: 95%
  • Other cool facts:  Added probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes AFTER cooking.

I like: The success of making a kibble without any synthetic vitamins, the use of plasma, the wide variety of proteins available and the fact that they also make raw; sign that they know the real needs of the dog.

I don’t like: That they don’t make them themselves and the slightly too high price of the Original series for a food that contains only 65% ​​protein from meat.

Le Club des EX(clus):

Here are (before you wrote to me) a few brands you might have expected to see on my list but didn’t make it…and my reasons for excluding them:

Acana/Orijen:Often revered (especially in Europe), I consider this product to survive on its reputation and fame. However, when we analyze the data, we are far from the best kibble in the world, as the company would have us believe. In Acana, there is no series higher than 70% animal protein for a price of 72-93$. In Orijen: 85% animal protein for $88-135…too expensive. Sorry but they’re out of touch. The only consolation: they just changed the Singles series (again) back up to a low 60% after being put at an (awkward) 50% for several years. It is this same series that was at 75% when it was initially released. I really hate when a company cuts on the amount of meat once customers are used to a product because let’s face it, people buy out of habit and don’t check the bag to see if the wording has changed. Going from 75% to 50% to 60% with the same product is playing with people. On the other hand, I salute the fact that they have just come out of the freeze-dried…but that has nothing to do with their croquettes.

Bravery: You may see advertisements for these new kibbles. At first glance it seems interesting and they give themselves a high-end kibble look but after talking with the company, their product only contains 40-50% protein from animal sources for a price between 97-107$ for 26.5 lbs. In short, WAY too expensive for a product with so little meat. Pass…

Canidae: Excellent product, especially the PURE series but hard to find in stores. On the other hand, I love the company’s philosophy, which has its own factory and even a farm where they grow fruits and vegetables that they use in their products!

Canidae logo

Fromm : I originally intended to give him a place in my top-10. After all, they’ve been making kibble for nearly 70 years and never had a single recall (of kibble). The products work well and are popular…It’s all true, so including them in my list was pretty much a given. This was before getting the answer from the brand manager in Canada in 2018 when I asked to get the animal protein numbers. He replied to me:

1) “ not knowing the percentage of protein from meat” and

2) “ that the important thing was not the quantity of meat but the quality and that I was on the wrong track in my research by asking the wrong question” .

Knowing that a bag of Fromm now sells for $105 (4-star series), the only thing that could justify such a high price (except for the exchange rate since it is an American product) would be the use a large quantity of meat (before or after cooking). Since the company did not know how to answer me with transparency like all the others did, I therefore chose to exclude it from my top-10. I asked the question back to the parent company in 2021 and got the exact same answer. Really, they haven’t learned anything about transparency towards customers!

Hurraw and Grand Cru (Canisource) : These products are not kibble because they are dehydrated. They will be the subject of a future article and have not been evaluated in this list, but in summary, I find them far too expensive for what they provide. At this price, pay yourself raw…you will save!

Merrick : Their products are (still) great, but the company is now owned by Purina . The past has shown us that too often, quality eventually goes downhill when a giant takes over ownership. For the moment, however, I have no fear in recommending their products. The grain-free and limited-ingredient series are the best value for money.

Naturally Fresh: Made by the same company as Wholesome Blend. The concept is to use only fresh meat in the formulas. This results in a product with 62-71% animal protein for $70-80 for 28 lbs, which is great value!

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Nature’s Domain  and Kirkland (Costco): This food looks good on paper (nice ingredients), it’s true, except it’s made by Diamond Pet Foods which I think is the worst manufacturer ( co-packer ) in the US . This company is chaining recalls after recalls over the years, which demonstrates a serious quality control problem. In addition, this food is very low in calories, which means that in the end you will have to give MUCH more than another quality brand. The savings made on the bag do not add up if every day you have to give 1.5 cups more to a 50 lbs dog!

Natural Balance : Also made by Diamond Pet Foods.

Now Fresh and GO! (Petcurean): two other good foods, made in the same factory as Nutram (Elmira, ON). They responded to my email (to find out the amount of meat in their formulas) but were unable to give me any numbers except for the GO! Carnivorous which varies between 73-87% animal protein for a cost between 72-81$ for 22 lbs. So I have no problem recommending this series as excellent value for money.

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Nutrience:I salute the innovation of this company in recent years for having marketed raw food (it’s rare for a kibble manufacturer to come out of the raw; bravo!) and even more recently air-dried food. That said, when talking only about croquettes, I must say that they disappointed me. Their best product line called SubZero was 80-85% animal protein when my article originally appeared (2018)…3 years later it has now gone to 50-70% (depending on the formula), which I find it very unfortunate. The company seems to have taken the route of Acana (with the Singles series) which is to decrease the quantities of meat once customers are accustomed to a new product. I deplore these misleading practices. In short, they don’t make a bad product, but it’s not what it used to be. On a more positive note, however, they recently released the CARE line of kibbles, to compete with veterinary kibbles to target health issues such as: 1) dental care, 2) sensitive skin and stomach, 3) calm and comfort and 4) weight control. Unfortunately, this is the only product line that the company wouldn’t tell me the percentage of animal protein. Despite everything, it will surely be no worse than a veterinary kibble…and with much better ingredients! this is the only line of products that the company would not tell me the percentage of animal protein. Despite everything, it will surely be no worse than a veterinary kibble…and with much better ingredients! this is the only line of products that the company would not tell me the percentage of animal protein. Despite everything, it will surely be no worse than a veterinary kibble…and with much better ingredients!

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Oven-Baked Traditions : Made here in Quebec (St-Hyacinthe), this company stands out for baking its croquettes (which retains more nutritional value). The factory is immaculate (I was able to visit it when they consulted me for the design of a new recipe) and people with good hearts work there. As proof, they sponsor Les Chiens Togo, an organization that transforms abandoned dogs into psychological assistance dogs. They failed to carve out a place in my top 10, but that doesn’t mean they’re making a bad product, far from it. Their grain-free series is 60-77% animal protein for $78-95 and the grain-free series is 64-77% animal protein for $74-75.

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Stella & Chewy’s: Although this company is probably my favorite in the field of pet food (especially for their freeze-dried), I must admit that for kibbles, their price is too expensive. 65-70% animal protein for $100-120 for a 22 lb bag, it’s not competitive with the other brands recommended here. Their new Stella’s Essential series (55-60% animal protein for $89) is more reasonable but again, lacks meat for this price. On the other hand, you should know that the cooking is done in the oven, as for Oven-Baked Traditions. Good product but lacks a bit of meat and too expensive.

Taste of the Wild : Also made by Diamond Pet Foods.

Vetdiet : Basically, I’m not a fan of house brands (it’s Mondou’s) available from a single retailer. The purpose of this article was basically to let you know better products than those that we already see selling a lot in Quebec!

Weruva : Another brand that I would have liked to include…but it seems no one has their kibble in stock in Quebec. They do, however, make an excellent product despite being best known for their (excellent) canned food.

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It’s not easy to choose only 10 companies…but I sincerely believe I made the best possible list by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each company. 

J’ai aussi beaucoup apprécié d’avoir l’occasion de tester le service à la clientèle de toutes ces compagnies. Je crois que c’est lorsque nous avons des questions comme client qu’on peut réellement apprécier le travail et le sérieux d’une entreprise. Fabriquer un produit est une chose mais répondre aux questions de la clientèle est aussi (sinon encore plus) important! J’aime que mon argent aille à une compagnie qui répond à ses clients. Pour moi, c’est la base d’une relation client-entreprise.

En espérant que cet article vous ait permis de découvrir des compagnies qui se battent jour après jour contre des géants de cette industrie avec le seul but de nourrir mieux votre chien. Je vous encourage fortement à essayer leurs produits et ainsi trouver le produit parfait pour votre chien.

Au Nom de votre Chien, je vous en remercie!

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