NutriSource Blogs

How to choose the best food for your dog: Balancing health, nutrients, price point and variety

December 01, 2023

Dogs — we don’t deserve them. That’s why they’re deserving of the very best nutrition we can provide.

So what should you look for when choosing the best food for your dog?

Choose a brand that’s focused on gut health. That’s where all health originates. Healthy bacteria in the microbiome helps the body regulate hormones, produce immune cells and metabolize nutrients.

That’s precisely why all entrees across the NutriSource line are gut-health focused. But we go beyond that. We take the guesswork out of feeding your dog a healthy diet by offering:

  • Options that meet a variety of budgets.
  • Lines and entrees that address your dog’s nutritional needs for their entire life.
  • Nutrition that builds healthy canine GI systems, making it easy to switch entrees and practice Full Circle Feeding.
  • Nutrient-dense servings that deliver cost-efficient nutrition.

Caring woman setting a kibble bowl down in the kitchen so her cute little dog can eat.

What to consider when selecting a dog food

Before you can choose the best food for your dog, consider the unique needs of your pet, including size, life stage and how their body responds to their current diet.

1. Does your dog have allergies or intolerances?

Is your dog showing signs of stomach upset after his dinner? If gastrointestinal distress is a regular post-meal event, your pooch may have an intolerance resulting from overexposure to common ingredients, like chicken and beef.

[For a deep dive, read: Is It Food Allergies or Intolerance? Decoding Your Dog’s Sensitive Stomach]

2. Dog’s size and age

  • Best food for small dogs: The reduced-sized kibble found in small bites diets makes mealtime more comfortable for smaller dogs — particularly toy breeds weighing less than 15 pounds.
  • Best food for large breeds: Jumbo-sized kibble encourages big pets to chew — not inhale — their dinner.
  • Best food for puppies: Puppy diets are calibrated to support the growth and health of your new pet with the right balance of calories, carbs, fats and proteins.
  • Best food for seniors: Senior dog food diets take the guesswork out of balanced nutrition with lower calorie counts that accommodate their downshift in activity. Keep reading about how to feed a senior dog.

What to look for in a healthy dog food

As you peruse the information on the bag and the brand’s website, here are key markers of a high-quality dog food that will support your dog’s health — and deliver the best value from your investment.

1. Quality ingredients

  • Meat: Dogs both crave and require animal protein to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, build and repair muscle and tissue, and keep their body systems functioning properly. Make sure meat is listed as the first ingredient.
  • Fuel for body and brain: Look for whole, unprocessed grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and oats, legumes like peas and lentils, and healthy starches like sweet potatoes.

2. Bioavailability

This percentage tells you how much food is digested and absorbed by the body. Higher bioavailability means less waste — less poop to pick up in the yard, and better value for your money.

3. Probiotics and prebiotics

Supports a healthy gut environment, while clearing out harmful pathogens and bacteria that cause gassiness and diarrhea.

4. Nutritional supplements

The supplements included in your dog’s food says a lot about its quality and how much the brand cares for the health of your pets.

Choosing the best food for your dog: The NutriSource lineup

NutriSource offers a full line of gut-focused nutrition for happy, healthy dogs at every life stage.


  • Choice by NutriSource is our most affordable line. Animal protein takes center stage, where chicken, turkey or whitefish are listed first on the list of ingredients. Good nutrition is the foundation to gut health.
  • Our nutrient-dense kibble takes up less space in the bowl, so you can scoop less with every meal and feed longer with every bag. High-quality canine nutrition has never been this easy on the wallet!

Tip: Are you switching to Choice from another brand? Add extra hydration or probiotics to make the transition even easier on your dog’s system. Come-pooch-a, our line of toppers made of probiotic fortified bone broth, will do the trick.


  • This is our flagship line that launched the gut-health revolution! We have entrees to meet the nutritional needs of any dog and lifestyle: puppy or senior, large breed or small breed, active or weight management.
  • Entrees come in a wide selection of animal proteins in grain-inclusive and grain-free. All this variety makes it super simple to rotate and provide your beloved pet a full profile of nutrients.

Tip: Optimize your dog’s health with Full Circle Feeding and take our online quiz to get a custom meal plan.

Element Series

  • Our premium line is packed with high animal protein, geared for dogs with an active lifestyle. Element uses premium sourced meat to entice canine appetites.
  • We perfect nature’s intention with cutting-edge nutrition concepts, designed to help your dog get more nutrients from this high-protein diet.


  • Our line of limited-ingredient entrees, each featuring a single protein source.
  • Perfect selection for dogs with sensitive stomachs, food allergies or ingredient intolerances. Whether your pup is recovering from illness, or suffers from ongoing tummy troubles, switching to PureVita can be part of the relief plan.

Tip: Feed your dog PureVita to conduct an elimination diet, so you can confirm which ingredient is irritating your dog’s system.

Ready to get started with the best dog food?

Want to help your dog access gut-focused nutrition? Take our quiz. You’ll score a Full Circle Feeding plan that’s tailored for the needs of your pet.

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