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5 Dry Dog Food Alternatives to Grain-Free

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning of possible link between grain-free dog food and a common type of canine heart disease. The condition is dilated cardiomyopathy, or D.C.M., in which the heart weakens and becomes enlarged. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty breathing, coughing and fainting. Some dogs can abruptly go into heart failure. The common factor was a diet heavy in peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes — carbohydrates typically intended to replace grains.

The health of our dogs is extremely important to us and we know that diet can make a big difference in a dog’s overall health and well-being. As a result, Red Desert Doodles is committed to feeding our dogs a high quality, nutritious diet. Until recently, we have fed our dogs a high quality grain-free dry dog food. However, in light of the recent FDA warning about the potential link between grain free dog food and a common heart disease in dogs, we have made the decision to switch our dogs from a grain-free dog food to a grain inclusive dry dog food.

Finding a dry dog food alternative to grain-free is a daunting task as the vast majority of dog foods available on the market now are grain-free formulas. We spent a significant amount of time over several days in search of the perfect dry dog food that was not grain-free. Our efforts included visiting a large local boutique pet store, Petsmart, Petco, Tractor Supply, and a significant amount of research online.

During our research, we discovered some pretty amazing dog food formulas and we tried several of these formulas with our dogs. Below is a list of five dog foods that we found that appeared to be a good alternative to the grain-free options:

Life’s Abundance All Life Stages

Life’s Abundance premium health food is made with select ingredients, including high-quality chicken and whitefish meals, whole grains, nutritious vegetables and fruits, omega fatty acids and much more. Life's Abundance dry dog food is made regularly in small batches, so it not only tastes better, it retains its full nutritional potency when it arrives at your door! Life’s Abundance All Life Stages is sold in 8, 20, and 40 pound bags. The 40 pound bag sells for around $73.92 ($1.85 per pound). The All Life Stage formula receives a 4 star rating from Life’s Abundance is sold online through distributors. To purchase Life’s Abundance dog food, click here. For a FREE SAMPLE BAG of the Life's Abundance All Life Stages dog food, click here.

Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe (only this formula)

Whole Earth Farms is made by Merrick, a leading producer of natural and organic pet foods. Whole Earth Farms kibble recipes are cooked in the USA with high quality, natural ingredients that deliver complete and balanced nutrition. Whole Earth Farms Adult formula is available at Petco and online at It comes in a 25 pound bag for around $39.98 ($1.60 per pound). This formula receives a 4 star rating from

Nutro Ultra (The Superfood Plate) - Nutro Ultra Superfood is available in the following formulas: Puppy, Large Breed Puppy, Adult, Large Breed Adult, Small Breed Adult, Toy Breed Adult, Senior, and Weight Management. Nutro Ultra The Superfood Plate recipe is made made using quality ingredients that start with real chicken as the #1 ingredient and features a trio of high-quality protein from chicken, lamb, and salmon and a blend of 15 vibrant superfoods like coconut, chia, kale, and blueberries.

The Adult formula is sold in a 30 pound bag for around $53.99 ($1.80 per pound) and is available at Petco, PetSmart, and online at

Instinct Be Natural - The Instinct Be Natural product line includes 4 dry dog foods: Real Beef and Barley, Real Chicken and Brown Rice, Real Lamb and Oatmeal, and Real Salmon and Brown Rice. This food is available in 4.5 lb, 12 lb and 25 lb bags. Instinct Be Natural receives 4 out of 5 stars from The 25 pound bag sells for around $49.99 ($1.99 per pound) and is available at Petco, PetSmart, and online at

Simply Nourish - Simply Nourish is a line of dog food sold exclusively by PetSmart. It is available in a variety of formulas. Simply nourish makes the claim that they provide healthy, nutritious dog food with only real, authentic ingredients, and they seem to live up to those standards quite well.

Simply Nourish dog food earns 4 out of 5 stars from

The price for a 30 pound bag is $44.29 ($1.47 per pound).

After trying several of the dry dog food formulas mentioned above and allowing our dogs to taste test the various formulas, we decided on Life’s Abundance All Life Stages and Nutro Ultra (The Superfood Plate). Our dogs preferred both of these brands over the other brands mentioned. We alternate feeding these two formulas to our dogs. Both of these foods are high quality grain inclusive formulas that our dogs seemed to really like.

You can do what you’d like with this information, Share it, ignore it, or do your own research. I am definitely not in any position to advise you or tell you that you MUST feed a grain-free alternative. However, as breeders, we definitely took notice of the FDA warning about the potential link of dilated cardiomyopathy to feeding grain-free dog food.

We were concerned enough about the potential health impact on our dogs, that we made a switch from grain-free to grain inclusive dog food. As a result of our research, we wanted to offer information about alternatives to grain-free dog food to other dog owners and breeders.

Just a reminder that when you are transitioning a dog from one dog food to another, gradually mix in the new food with the old food over a 5-7 day period, increasing the amount of new food each day.


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