Just like people who exercise and move around more frequently need a different diet than those who spend most of their time sitting, active dogs need different kinds of food. They need their muscles and other systems to be supported.
If dogs are not fed a proper diet that complements their daily activity, this has long-term effects. dog food should support healthy joints, strong immunity, continued muscle strength, and a healthy coat and skin.
Reading: Food for active dogs
Check out our reviews of the 11 best current dog foods for active dogs. check out the pros and cons for a quicker overview, or read the buyer’s guide to learn what to look out for in your pup’s food.
a quick comparison of our favorites in 2022
top 11 dog foods for active dogs
1. Farmer’s Fresh Dog Chicken Dog Food – Best Overall
Active dogs need a lot of fuel, and that’s where fresh food subscriptions really shine. We found Farmer’s Chicken Dog Recipe to be the best food for active dogs due to its nutritious, protein-rich diet. the main ingredients of this food are chicken, brussels sprouts, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and broccoli, with fish oil and added nutrients. This balanced mix gives your pup a whopping 49% protein on a dry matter basis. Although this is too much for some dogs, if your dog is very active, a high-protein diet is the way to go.
Farmer’s Dog is an easy-to-use subscription service – it only takes a few minutes to enter your dog’s information and then it can help you calculate the best food for your pet and deliver meals right to your door.
Because it’s subscription-only, it can be a little more complicated to shop around and compare plans, but you can click above to get 50% off your first order to try it out and cancel at any time. It’s a bit more expensive than standard pet food, but the quality of the food definitely speaks for itself.
To conclude, we think this is the best overall dog food for active dogs available this year.
2. dry dog food american journey active life formula: the best value for money
This dog food gives them the kind of affordable energy to do just that. Each of the American Journey recipes, including the one featured here, provides them with a balanced diet. the first ingredient is a high-quality protein, in this case, boneless salmon.
Nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits complement the recipe. every bite on your plate is meant to give you strength, strengthen your immune system, and contribute to your overall health and wellness. bags come in various sizes, but none are big enough for more than a couple of dogs.
Omega fatty acids balance the oils needed for a dog’s skin and coat. carbohydrates and fibers come from brown rice and barley. there is no wheat, corn, soy or artificial ingredients in the recipe. no fillers means higher strength. is the best dog food for active dogs for the money.
3. dr tim’s search dog active formula dry dog food
This food is created specifically for active and working dogs. The formula is packed with affordable protein to keep a dog healthy no matter what their days are full of. it is not meant to be a filler that only lasts for short periods of time. instead, this food is meant to fill your dog’s dietary needs in a couple of meals a day.
The food is slow cooked and completely natural. Premium ingredients metabolically balance any active pup. It’s packed with 86% animal protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and proprietary BC30 probiotics. however, premium ingredients mean a premium price.
4. purina pro plan puppy large breed dog food best for puppies
Help your pup grow up healthy with this large breed chicken and rice formula. It is supplemented with probiotics to make it easier for your dog to digest. This dog food is designed not only for puppies, but also for large breed dogs that will weigh over 50 pounds once fully mature.
DHA is an essential ingredient in puppy food. it is commonly found in its mother’s milk. DHA supports proper brain and vision development as you age. unfortunately, the other additives are somewhat controversial. these include corn gluten meal and poultry by-product meal.
5. Wild High Prairie Grain Free Dry Dog Food Flavor
high prairie grain free dry dog food is formulated with novel proteins including buffalo, bison and venison. these are rare, and some dogs love them while others find them unfamiliar. It is a grain-free recipe, which means that it does not use corn or wheat as a source of carbohydrates. instead, include sweet potatoes and peas.
Fat source is clearly listed as chicken, a healthy source and available in large quantities in foods. real fruits and vegetables have plenty of vitamins and nutrients to balance it all out. dried chicory root is added as a prebiotic support to aid digestion.
6. victor professional formula dry dog food
Although the recipe is not grain-free, it does not contain gluten. the grains used include alfalfa meal, among others. alfalfa is a questionable ingredient for some people, so keep that in mind if your dog begins to suffer from gas or nausea. the combination of accessible protein and grains that are more digestible for dogs makes it a well-balanced meal for a sporty pup.
This victor food is not marketed for puppies, but since it contains a large amount of protein, it can be fed at all stages of life. that includes puppies and pregnant or lactating females.
7. purina pro plan sport dry dog food performance all life stages
They not only combine proteins and fats, but also amino acids, antioxidants and minerals. The food includes healthy amounts of glucosamine to support the development of healthy joints. Since it can also be given to puppies, it contains the necessary DHA supplements.
8. rachael ray nutrish natural dry dog food
brown rice is another of the main ingredients, keeping the recipe free of controversial wheat and corn additives. venison is high in protein and affordable. It also adds a delicious flavor to food that most dogs won’t want to stop eating. sometimes, though, its uniqueness makes it more off-putting to dogs who prefer to stick with flavors they recognize.
Fruits like blueberries are used in the mix, giving it the antioxidant boost to strengthen your fur baby’s immune system. the entire recipe is enhanced with l-carnitine. This supplement helps balance weight and control metabolism. even on a busy day, his food gives your dog a helping paw.
rachael ray food does not include poultry by-product meal, fillers, wheat or wheat gluten products. however, it does contain corn.
This high-performance food is specifically designed for adult dogs with a more sporty lifestyle. is intended to provide 100% of your daily nutritional needs, without excessive fillers.
Another way eukanuba supplements this sporting dog food is by increasing the total amount of protein. is 28% higher than in their adult maintenance food, going beyond what couch potatoes need. the fat content is the same at 18% of the total formula.
finally, the 3d dentadefense system reduces the amount of tartar that accumulates on the teeth.
10. avoderm natural triple protein formula dry dog food
meatmeal provides them with rich sources of protein that are easy to use. is further supplemented with high-quality fats and oils, providing a balance of omega-3s and -6s that your pup will appreciate.
avoderm promotes the maintenance of a healthier coat and skin by including avocado with its oil in the recipe. A somewhat controversial ingredient is alfalfa meal, which is intended to give dogs a different carbohydrate source than wheat, but is being widely questioned.
11. sports dog food elite series grain-free dry dog food for working dogs
Not only is this dog food made especially for dogs that experience a more active lifestyle, but it’s also for puppies with food sensitivities. This formula contains no artificial flavors or preservatives, fillers or by-products. has exclusively organic products of American origin.
Sports food for dogs has excluded cereals that are difficult to digest, as well as flaxseed, white potatoes and legumes. trace minerals help promote absorption, so your dog gets the most out of every dish. Currently, they only offer one size of bag at a premium price.
buyer’s guide: how to find the best high energy dog food
Buying food for an active dog can fill in some gray areas. for example, what is an active dog? You can’t just look at breed information, as it has more to do with your dog’s daily routines and activities. Once you know your dog would benefit from a food like this, what should you look for?
the difference between active and not so active dogs
Determining whether or not your dog is an active breed can be difficult. some breeds tend to be more energetic than others, although this is not the only factor.
Consider the difference between an English bulldog and a German shepherd. they’re obviously built quite differently, but their general attitude and movement are also opposite. An English Bulldog is stubbornly lazy and prefers to sit with you as long as possible. a German shepherd would quickly get bored with a lifestyle like this and go off to find something new to do.
However, that doesn’t mean all German Shepherds are active. if they are forced to live in an apartment or kennel without much time to roam, they should not eat active dog food.
The time of year does not affect all dogs in the same way, but it is important for most. dogs tend to be more active during the spring and summer months. as they feel winter approaching, they may start to wind down.
Dogs that have jobs to do in the winter will be more active during cold seasons. think of a Siberian husky. they’ll hardly want to move in the summer, but they’ll be jumping happily in the winter.
Try to consider placement both on a large scale and on a small scale. puppies that live in urban areas or apartments tend to be less active than those that roam farms and ranches.
On a large scale, if you live in an area that is nice and warm for most of the year, some breeds of dogs prefer it and others would rather be playing in the snow. location, combined with race, changes how and how much they will be active.
Have you got a dog for a cuddle buddy, one that would like to cuddle up at your feet or in your lap on lazy afternoons? Or do you have a show dog that participates in dog sports? if you live and work on a farm, they may help you with the work.
Whatever the case, its purpose in your life partly determines its activity. Just because your pup goes for a walk a few times a day to get them out of the house doesn’t mean he’s active enough to get high-fat, high-protein foods. feeding them can cause a decreased appetite and even a fight against obesity.
Perhaps your co-worker was once an alert and active dog. however, as a dog ages, they become more docile and less excited to move. even if he has fed them active dog food up to this point, it is often better to switch to senior dog food. helps control their weight and provides additional joint support.
If a dog is active most of the day, running around the farm, climbing mountains, herding, agility training, or training for a sports dog show, then chances are they need an extra oomph in their food.
Ideals to consider when feeding an active dog
The food for active dogs must be a high quality food, preferably with natural ingredients and highly available at the rate of consumption. As an example, animal proteins are easier for dogs’ systems to digest and use than plant proteins.
The basic minimum requirements for an average dog include:
- for adults, a minimum of 18% crude protein; for puppies, at least 22%
- for adults, at least 5% crude fat; for puppies, minimum 8%
- low amounts of complex carbohydrates
- maximum 5% dietary fiber
If this is the bare minimum, then active dogs need a lot more. look for foods that provide them with higher levels of protein and fat. however, these should maintain a balance of fiber and carbohydrates.
Quantity vs. Quality
When a dog is more active, it doesn’t necessarily mean he should start eating more. instead, feed them a premium food that has larger amounts of what they need. Simply eating more of their previous meal gives them as much carbs and fillers as protein in each bite, and that can lead to lethargy or weight problems.
The price of high-quality dog food can be a tough pill for some to swallow. however, in the end, it often balances out. if they get a food that supports them and better meets their dietary needs, then they can eat less to benefit. In theory, buying higher quality food should mean smaller meals because you don’t want to overload your pet.
While trying to figure out the best meal size, consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s attitude and weight.
Doing what’s best for your pet is what finding the perfect food means. If your dog works hard for you, then he’ll appreciate the extra care you take in feeding him a quality diet.
Number one on our list, Farmer’s Chicken Recipe Dog Food stands out from the crowd. the brand goes to great lengths to formulate truly delicious and absolutely rewarding formulas for highly active dogs, and their food is human-grade and vet-formulated.
If you need to focus on budget, consider American Journey Active Life Formula dry dog food. At the best price on the list, you won’t miss out on premium protein and a well-balanced recipe.
From farm to show stall, active dogs need a wholesome diet. give them what they need and they will surely return it for years to come.
featured image credit: ann tyurina, shutterstock
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