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Salmon Dog Food: 10 Flavorful Fish Formulas to Try

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Chicken, beef, and turkey are all common protein sources used in dog food, but salmon dog food has been gaining popularity in recent years. Research has found that around 23 percent of dry dog foods contain salmon meal and 13 percent contain salmon oil, and it’s easy to see why once you understand the benefits of salmon for dogs.

“Feeding your dog a salmon-based diet comes with lots of benefits,” explains Dr. Amber Karwacki, partner doctor at Heart + Paw Callowhill. “It is an excellent source of protein and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. The omega fatty acids help improve brain function and concentration as well as reduce inflammation which in turn increases mobility. Dogs who eat a salmon-based diet typically have healthier skin and shinier coats.” 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of salmon dog food, as well as our recommendations for the best salmon dog food for your pup.

Best Salmon Dog Food: 10 Top Picks

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Here are 10 of the best salmon dog foods, broken down into categories.

Best Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Easy to Digest Dry Dog Food with Real Meat, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin

This top-rated grain-free dry dog food is made with all natural ingredients, including real salmon. It also contains sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and there’s no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s formulated for all breeds and life stages, and the small kibble size is easy for smaller dogs and puppies to chew. The salmon-based dog food is easy for dogs to digest, and pet owners say their dogs absolutely love the flavor. 

Highlights:

  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for all life stages.
  • Small kibble size is easy to chew.
  • No artificial colors or preservatives.

What to Consider:

  • Chicken meal is the second ingredient.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dry Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dry Dog Food with Real Meat, Grain Free

This grain-free dry dog food has salmon as the first ingredient, and the kibble is cooked right here in the USA. The formula contains wholesome ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas, tapioca, and beet pulp, and it’s free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. While it does contain other protein meals, such as chicken and turkey, it’s designed to support digestive and joint health, as well as promote your dog’s skin and coat. 

Highlights:

  • Real salmon is the first ingredient.
  • Cooked in the USA.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for all life stages.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

What to Consider:

  • Formula contains other protein meals. 
  • Not suitable for large-breed puppies.

Best Wet Salmon Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Wet Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or just prefers wet food, this formula is highly digestible and gentle on the stomach. It comes in 12 packs of 12.8-ounce cans, and the grain-free formula is made with natural ingredients and nutrients to promote skin and coat health. The brand manufactures its foods in U.S. facilities, and the product is free from any protein meals, which are common in dry dog food. 

Highlights:

  • Digestible formula is good for sensitive stomachs.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.
  • Vet-recommended formula.
  • No protein meals. 

What to Consider:

  • Expensive.
  • Thick consistency can be hard to get out of the can.

Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Wet Dog Food – Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Wet Dog Food - Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Many salmon dog foods contain a secondary meat (often chicken) as an additional protein source, but this wet food doesn’t, making it ideal for dogs with an allergy to chicken or other proteins. It’s made using real nutrient-rich salmon, and the food also contains linoleic acid, an omega fatty acid, to promote healthy skin and fur. The wet formula has prebiotic fiber that makes it easy to digest and ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and there’s no wheat, soy, or artificial colors or flavors in the food. 

Highlights:

  • Salmon is the only meat.
  • Contains prebiotic fiber for digestive health
  • No wheat, soy, or artificial colors or flavors.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.

What to Consider:

  • High price per can.

Best Grain-Free 

Taste of the Wild Smoked Salmon Dried Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Smoked Salmon High Protein Real Fish Recipes Premium Dry Dog Food with Real Salmon

This dry dog food is made with real fish as the main ingredient, and the grain-free formula has a high protein level to support lean, strong muscles. It’s made in the USA using ingredients from sustainable sources, and the kibble doesn’t contain grain, corn, wheat, or artificial colors or flavors. Every serving has a blend of probiotics for digestive and immune health, and supplemental fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants for your dog.

Highlights:

  • Free from chicken-based ingredients.
  • No grain, corn, wheat, or artificial colors or flavors.
  • Probiotics for digestive health.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.
  • Made in the USA. 

What to Consider:

  • Some owners say their dogs have smelly breath after eating this kibble.

Merrick Grain Free Salmon + Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free with Real Meat + Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

This grain-free dog food is another option that’s made without any poultry ingredients—instead, it contains salmon, salmon meal, and whitefish. There’s no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten in the kibble, and the food offers high levels of omega fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health. Merrick dog food is manufactured in the brand’s Texas-based kitchen, and the facilities uphold FDA standards. 

Highlights:

  • Poultry-free formula. 
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.
  • Made in the USA.

What to Consider:

  • Very expensive. 

Best Limited Ingredient Salmon Dog Food

Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food has a “limited ingredient” formula, which means that it uses less than 10 key ingredients, all of which are easy to recognize. Its first three ingredients are real salmon, salmon meal, and menhaden fish meal, followed by other wholesome ingredients such as lentils, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and peas. There are no grains or fillers in the food, but it does contain a blend of antioxidants and probiotics that support a healthy digestive and immune system. 

Highlights:

  • Real salmon is the first ingredient. 
  • Less than 10 key ingredients.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.
  • Made in the USA.

What to Consider:

  • Very expensive. 

Best Salmon Dog Food for Allergies 

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach, High Protein Dry Dog Food

If your dog has allergies that make their skin itchy, this salmon dog food is specifically formulated to promote skin and digestive health. Salmon is the main ingredient, and it also includes natural prebiotic fiber that supports intestinal bacteria, as well as omega fatty acids for their skin and coat. The large, crunchy kibble contains oat meal, which is easy for sensitive stomachs to digest, and the food is fortified with live probiotics for digestive and immune health. There is no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry byproduct in this food, nor are there any artificial colors or flavors. 

Highlights:

  • Salmon is the first ingredient. 
  • Contains easy-to-digest grains.
  • Includes live probiotics for digestive health.
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors or flavors.
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for adult dogs.

What to Consider:

  • Kibble size may be too big for smaller dogs.
  • Food has a strong fishy odor. 

Best Salmon Puppy Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon

For puppies with sensitive stomachs, this limited-ingredient formula is easy to digest yet still meets their nutritional needs. It contains salmon, menhaden fish meal, whole-grain brown rice, and all the essential vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth. There are no legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy, and the dry puppy food has a small kibble size that’s ideal for puppies of all sizes. 

Highlights:

  • Limited ingredient formula. 
  • Small kibble size. 
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for all life stages, including large-breed puppies.
  • No added legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Made in the USA.

What to Consider:

  • Some pet owners say their dogs don’t like the taste of this food.

Wellness Complete Health Just for Puppy Canned Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food Puppy Chicken & Salmon

For puppies that prefer wet food, this formula contains both chicken and salmon as sources of protein. It comes in 12.5-ounce cans, and your puppy is sure to love the rich, meaty texture of the pate-style food. The formula doesn’t contain any meat byproducts, fillers, or artificial preservatives, and its nutrient-rich ingredients will help your puppy to develop a strong immune system, digestive health, and a healthy coat and skin. 

Highlights:

  • Contains both chicken and salmon.
  • Meaty pate texture. 
  • No meat byproducts, fillers, or artificial preservatives
  • Meets AAFCO requirements for all life stages, including large-breed puppies.

What to Consider:

  • Many buyers report that the cans can easily be damaged during shipping.

Salmon Dog Food FAQs

Dog eating from dog food bowl

Can Dogs Have Salmon?

Commercially produced salmon dog food is a healthy and nutritious choice for your pet because it’s been safely processed. Raw salmon, on the other hand, can be harmful to your pet, leading to a condition called “salmon poisoning,” which is an infection caused by blood-borne bacteria. You can feed your dog cooked salmon, but it should be an occasional treat in addition to a balanced dog food. 

Is Salmon Good For Dogs With Allergies?

If your dog has a food allergy to chicken, beef, or another commonly used dog food protein, switching to a salmon dog food can help to relieve their symptoms. “Few dogs are allergic to fish, making salmon-based foods highly recommended by veterinarians,” says Dr. Karwacki. “Dogs tend to have allergic reactions when it comes to proteins such as chicken, beef, and turkey, so a fish alternative is a safer bet if your dog is prone to food allergies.”

Additionally, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in salmon, can help relieve itching caused by seasonal allergies in dogs. 

What is Salmon Meal in Dog Food?

As you compare different salmon dog foods, you’ll likely see both salmon and salmon meal listed in the ingredients. The former refers to actual salmon meat, while salmon meal is a dry powder that’s made from grinding up the whole fish, including its bones and “offal,” a term for the inner organs and entrails. Salmon meal is often what gives dog food its distinct fishy odor, and it contains a large amount of protein and beneficial nutrients for your pet. 

Does Salmon Dog Food Make Dogs Smell?

“Salmon food can make a dog’s breath smell fishy after it eats, but your dog itself will not smell fishy,” explains Dr. Karwacki. “If your dog does smell fishy, there could be another underlying reason.” If your dog strongly smells like fish, it may be signs of a medical condition, such as periodontal disease or an anal gland issue. 

Salmon Dog Food Buying Guide

Dog eating food from bowl

When shopping for salmon dog food, there are several factors you’ll want to take into account to ensure you get the best product for your pup. 

  • AAFCO Guidelines: When shopping for any dog food, it’s important to look for its AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement. This statement should read that the food is a “complete and balanced” source of nutrition, and it will specify what life stages the food is designed for. Some dog foods are appropriate for all life stages, while others are specifically tailored to puppies or adult dogs only.  
  • Food Type: Salmon dog food comes in a variety of formulas, including both traditional dry kibble and canned wet food. You may also be able to find freeze-dried or raw salmon dog food. Most people prefer kibble because it is shelf-stable and easy to serve, but older dogs or picky eaters may prefer the soft texture of a wet food. 
  • Ingredients: It’s always a good idea to look at the ingredient list of your dog’s food, but it’s especially important if your dog has food allergies or sensitivities. Some salmon dog foods contain a secondary source of protein—commonly another fish, chicken, or turkey—which may rule out the formula if you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients. “For a salmon-based dog food, you want to make sure there are natural antioxidants to prevent the food from spoiling,” recommends Dr. Karwacki. “If you find artificial additives on the label, opt for another brand with natural preservatives instead.”

Cost: We all want the best dog food for our pets, but it’s important to take your budget into account as you shop. Certain salmon dog foods are extremely expensive, costing as much as $70 for a 20-pound bag, so it’s key to select an option that you can comfortably afford.

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