Best Dog Food without Peas, Legumes or Potatoes

By Evelyn Gray | Updated November 16, 2019

Our Top Picks at a Glance

In a hurry? Here's a list of all our top picks with product links to save you time.

We independently research and recommend the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the links below.

Best Overall: Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Dog Food at Amazon
"This formula gives a nutrient-dense formula that comes packed with pork, chicken, beef, and fish meals. It's a solid choice for dogs who need a high-protein diet without peas."

Best Affordable: Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain Free Recipe Dog Food at Amazon
"95-percent of the protein in the food comes from chicken instead of animal meals or vegetables for a healthier recipe. "

Best Wet Food: Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food at Amazon
"There are no artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, grains, or potatoes in this food to make it acceptable for animals with sensitivities."

Best for Seniors: NUTRO Ultra Grain Free Wet Dog Food at Amazon
"This senior food comes in six different formula options with one specially reserved for senior dogs to help support a healthy body and joints."

Best Limited Ingredient: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe at Amazon
"The entire formula comes as something that is very easy on your dog's digestive system, and it helps to prevent upset stomach or gas."

Reviews of the Top 5 Dog Foods without Peas, Legumes, or Potatoes

1. Best Overall: Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Dog Food

Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food

This dog food comes in four different sizes ranging from 5 pounds up to 50 pounds, and you get a nutrient-dense formula that comes packed with pork, chicken, beef, and fish meals. It's a solid choice for dogs who need a high-protein diet like nursing or pregnant females or growing puppies.

The food's formula comes designed to be easily digestible, and this is good for dogs who have problems with sensitivities. It also means that your dog will be able to eat less and still retain the same amount of nutrients that they'd get if they ate more of a lower quality food.

Your dog will get a gluten and grain-free formula that is easy on their systems, and it's also made in the United States to very strict quality control standards. Your dog will get a full serving of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and prebiotics in each serving of this food.

What Customers Have to Say About This Product...

Dog parents who bought this grain-free dog food liked that it came with a higher protein content that helped to support growing puppies as well as nursing and pregnant females. Dog parents did mention that this dog food could cause mild digestive upset in more sensitive dogs.

Pros

  • Has a higher protein content
  • No peas or grains in the formula
  • Comes with probiotics and prebiotics

Cons

  • Could cause mild digestive upset
  • May be too bland for some dogs
  • Kibble pieces tend to crumble

2. Best Affordable: Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain Free Natural Dog Food

Instinct Ultimate Protein Small Breed Chicken

This dog food contains up to three times the standard amount of chicken that you get in other brands. Also, 95-percent of the protein in the food comes from chicken instead of animal meals or vegetables for a healthier recipe.

Your dog will get a healthy level of calcium, phosphorous, and fatty acids that help to support strong teeth, healthy growth, and healthy bone development. There are also probiotics in this food that help to ensure that your dog's digestive system stays healthy and regular.

The glucosamine in this dog food work to ensure that your dog has healthy joints throughout their lives, and it also supports skin health, coat health, and eye health. Each piece of kibble goes through a freeze-drying process to lock the nutrients in while making it suitable for a longer shelf life.

What Customers Have to Say About This Product...

Dog parents who bought Instinct Ultimate's formula were happy that it came with no potatoes, grain, corn, soy, by-product meal, wheat, or artificial colors. Dog parents who bought Instinct Ultimate's food were not happy that the kibble was too large for smaller dogs to eat.

Pros

  • Very affordable for what you get
  • Contains probiotics for digestive health
  • Supports joint health

Cons

  • Has a higher sodium content
  • Only suitable for smaller breeds
  • Can take a while to transition over to it

3. Best Wet Food: Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food

This grain-free dog food comes with four different protein options including duck, chicken, beef, and a combination of buffalo, lamb, and beef to keep your dog interested. The first ingredient on the label is real meat, and this food has a higher protein content.

You can add this food as a topper to dry kibble to help switch up your dog's traditional meals, or you can feed this wet food as a standalone meal. The pate comes from trusted sources, and it's cooked in kitchens in the United States to strict guidelines that help to ensure quality.

There are no artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, grains, or potatoes in this food to make it acceptable for animals with sensitivities. This food comes packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help to support healthy growth throughout your dog's life.

What Customers Have to Say About This Product...

Dog parents who bought this wet food for their dog liked that they got the choice of several different protein sources that ensured that they could keep their dog interested. Dog parents didn't like that this wet food came with a stronger smell that seemed to linger after mealtime.

Pros

  • Available with four different protein sources
  • Ingredients sourced from trusted places in the US
  • Designed as a standalone meal or a kibble topper

Cons

  • Can have a strong smell
  • Doesn't last long once you open it
  • Have to store opened cans in the refrigerator

4. Best for Seniors: NUTRO Ultra Grain Free Wet Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Grain Free Wet Dog Food

This senior food comes in six different formula options with one specially reserved for senior dogs to help support a healthy body and joints. It contains chicken, lamb, and salmon as the trio of protein that are the first few ingredients.

All of the ingredients in this formula are non-GMO, and this makes them a healthier choice for you to feed your dog on a daily basis. The softer pate is easy for dogs that have missing teeth or poor dental health to eat, and the portions are perfect for helping keep a healthy weight.

You can serve this to your senior dog by mixing it with dry kibble to help soften the kibble and make it easier to eat, or you can feed this to your dog by itself for a healthy and balanced meal. There is no corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meals in this food's formula.

What Customers Have to Say About This Product...

Senior dog owners who bought this food liked that it came with a trio of healthy protein sources to promote lean muscle growth, joint health, coat health, and digestive health. Senior dog owners did say that they had to feed a few of these to their dog if they were larger.

Pros

  • Has three lean protein sources
  • Soft pate is easy for senior dogs to eat
  • Has a lot of vital vitamins and nutrients

Cons

  • May not be wet enough for some dogs
  • Can be messy to feed
  • May have to feed a few trays per meal

5. Best Limited Ingredient: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dog Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dog Food

This limited ingredient dog food by Instinct comes in a wet or dry formula with four different protein sources and five different sizes. This extremely limited formula contains one vegetable and one protein source for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

There are no eggs, dairy, grains, fish, chicken, beef, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, soy, wheat, chickpeas, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives for a healthy and filling formula. The entire formula comes as something that is very easy on your dog's digestive system, and it helps to prevent upset stomach or gas.

Every piece of kibble in this formula comes with a freeze-dried coating that helps to lock in the nutrient and vitamin value of the ingredients. It comes made with whole food ingredients that are nutritionally healthier and leaner to help support healthy growth and help maintain a healthy weight.

What Customers Have to Say About This Product...

People who purchased Instinct's limited ingredient food for their dog were happy that it came in both a wet and dry formula with four different protein sources. Dog parents who purchased this food were not happy that it was larger kibble pieces that could be difficult for some dogs to eat.

Pros

  • Contains a single vegetable and a single protein
  • Designed to be easy on your dog's digestive system
  • Available in a wet formula and a dry formula

Cons

  • Kibble pieces are larger
  • Can cause diarrhea
  • Contains meat meals

Pea, Legume, and Potato Free Dog Food Buying Guide

dog food without peas and legumes

Pet food manufacturers are shifting away from adding grains to their food, but they're substituting potatoes, and some dogs have difficulty digesting these dense carbohydrates. Additionally, you should find a dog food without peas and legumes because these fillers don't contain anything beneficial for your dog.

Before we get to our picks for the best potato free dog food, we're going to talk about why you want to avoid these ingredients, what you should look for in your dog's food, and more. This information will give you a good idea of why we made the choices we did, and you'll be able to have confidence when you shop with your dog.

Why Avoid Dog Food With Potatoes

Since dog owners are starting to pay attention that traditional grains may not be the best thing for their dogs to eat, dog food companies started to switch off their formulas and push sweet potatoes and potatoes as a superior alternative. While potatoes aren't completely devoid of nutrition, they can be difficult for your dog to digest.

Potatoes do have a decent amount of vitamin B6, minerals, and potassium, but these things don't do much for your dog except help to fulfill their carbohydrate limit every day. However, potato proteins and potato starches are very low quality, and they do nothing but bulk up the dog food formula without adding any nutritional value.

Sweet potatoes are one type of potato that is widely praised as being better for dogs that traditional potatoes, and you see it in a lot of quality dog foods. Sweet potatoes do have a higher level of dietary fiber, calcium, and Vitamins A and C.

However, they're still a starchy carbohydrate, and they can be hard on your dog's digestive system because your dog isn't equipped to break down these complex carbohydrates. If it's possible, you want a dog food that doesn't have potatoes and offers alternate carbohydrates.

Why Avoid Dog Food With Peas and Legumes

When foods are free of grains, they need an alternative source of dietary fiber and energy. Many dog food companies turn to peas and legumes because they're filling, have a low carbohydrate content, and they provide your dog energy.

Additionally, it's essential that your dog food doesn't contain pea and legume by-products or powder because this is an extremely processed form of these vegetables. Again, these things provide very few nutrients for your dog. Instead, they act as filler agents that bulk up the dog food formula.

The Link Between Potatoes, Peas, Legumes, and Heart Disease

In mid-2018, the Food and Drug Administration release reports stating that there are possible links between a type of heart disease in dogs called Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (CDC) and foods that contained high amounts of potatoes, peas, and legumes. This condition causes an enlarged and weak heart that led to eventual heart failure and death in dog breeds including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzus, Miniature Schnauzers, and Whippets.

Other reports show concern for these fillers interfering with the level of Taurine in your dog's system. Your dog's body makes Taurine by itself, provided that it gets all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs from the food your dog eats. However, Taurine only comes from meat sources, and foods that have higher plant protein sources have a lower Taurine content.

This means that dog food that has a higher pea, legume, and potato content could potentially lead to a Taurine deficiency, and this can lead to an increased risk for developing Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy and eventual heart failure.

Alternative Ingredients to Peas, Legumes, and Potatoes

If you're worried about the links between dog foods with peas, legumes, and potatoes and heart disease, there are alternatives you can look for to balance your dog's food. These things include:

  • Chickpeas - Chickpeas have a higher protein content, and they also contain high levels of dietary fiber, copper, iron, vitamin B9, and Manganese. These are legumes though, so you may want to avoid them if you're very concerned about your dog's heart health.
  • Squash Like Pumpkin - Pumpkins and other squash are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and minerals. Look for a dog food that contains either pumpkin, Butternut squash, or Acorn squash in place of potatoes.
  • Tapioca - It may not be common in the United States, but Tapioca is extremely popular in South America. This is a vegetable root that has a high amount of nutrients and complex carbohydrates. Just make sure that you have Tapioca and not Tapioca by-products.
  • Whole Grains - Although many people prefer to feed their dog completely grain-free dog foods, whole grains are healthier than processed grains if you don't have any other choice. Look for a dog food with whole oats, millet, or brown rice.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best dog food without peas is Victor Classic - Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food because it comes formulated with a premium list of ingredients that help to support your dog's healthy growth. It also comes designed to be easy on your dog's digestive system, and it also features a full serving of vitamins and minerals in every serving.

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