The Best Beef Dog Food – Reviews and Ratings of the Best Wet and Dry Brands for Real Meat Based Diets in 2021

Choosing the perfect dog food for your pooch is more complicated than it might appear. On top of choosing a food that fits within your budget and one that contains all the essential nutrients your dog needs, you also have to keep in mind what the primary meat source is.

While all meat is high in protein and often fat, that is about where the similarities end. The meat your canine eats is essential to their wellbeing.

One of the most common meats found in dog food is beef. Beef is relatively cheap and easily accessible, which is why it ends up in so many dog food formulas.

Beef can be an excellent choice for some canine. However, it is also one of the more common allergens due to its prevalence. If your dog isn’t allergic to beef, though, there are several reasons why you should feed beef to your canine.

Reviews of the Best Beef Dog Foods

Our Pick

Nom Nom Now Beef Dog Food

  • Fresh, human-grade ingredients
  • Near-perfect macronutrients
  • Convenient delivery

Doggypedia rating: 5/5

Calorie Content: 1239 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Ground beef, russet potatoes, eggs, carrots, peas.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 37.04% Protein
  • 18.52% Fat
  • 14.81% Carbohydrates

Best Ground Beef Dog Food

If you have the expendable cash, this fresh dog food by Nom Nom Now is your best option. It is made with fresh, whole ingredients and shipped right to your door in pre-portioned bags. When it arrives at your door, it is already cooked and ready to go. All you have to do is open each individually-packaged portion and put it in your pet’s bowl.

This company has four different formulas available in all, including a beef option. They also have a variety pack available for those who want to rotate their dog’s food – a great option to ensure your dog gets a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins.

The first ingredient in this food is human-grade, ground beef. This is one of the highest-quality meats you can get, which is one of the reasons we ranked this food so high. The rest of the ingredients are excellent quality as well. Eggs are included, which are a nutrient-dense option and great for nearly any canine.

The macronutrient content of this food is excellent. It is high in protein and moderately high in fat as well. Carbohydrates are the lowest nutrient listed, matching what dogs would eat in the wild. We highly recommend.

Recall Info: None

Best Beef Dry Dog Foods

Great Dry Food

Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Great Plains Red Recipe

  • Includes freeze-dried meat bits
  • Deboned beef as the first ingredient
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin to support hip and joint function

Doggypedia rating: 4.5/5

Calorie Content: 3704 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 42.7% Protein
  • 19.1% Fat
  • 29.21% Carbohydrates

A Meat Based Dog Food

The macronutrient content of this adult dog kibble is excellent. Protein is over 40%, which is higher than almost any other dog food on the market. The fat content is also decently high at just under 20%. It could be a bit higher, but we aren’t complaining. Carbohydrates are a bit high. However, with how high the protein content is, we didn’t feel the need to mark this dog food down for it.

We loved this food’s ingredient list as well. Meat takes up the first three ingredients with deboned beef being the first. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are the only non-meat items in the first five ingredients. These aren’t the absolute best option for dog food, but they are a decent choice.

This dog food has not been recalled all their much, especially compared to some other brands. It has not been recalled nearly enough for us to feel untrusting of the brand.

Another reason we liked this food is that it includes a variety of meats. On top of beef, it also includes quite a bit of lamb and salmon. Diversifying your pet’s diet by choosing a food with various meats ensures they’re getting all their nutrients and vitamins, as well as preventing possible food allergies from forming. We recommend diversifying your pet’s food whenever possible.

Our only complaint about this food is that it is quite a bit expensive. However, it is one of the best options on the market, so you’re paying for what you get.

Recall Info: Some

Runner Up

Solid Gold Barking At The Moon

  • Variety of meats included
  • Probiotics and prebiotics included for gut health
  • Made in the USA

Doggypedia rating: 4/5

Calorie Content: 3825 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, ocean fish meal, pea protein, potatoes, dried egg.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 45.56 Protein
  • 20% Fat
  • 25.56% Carbohydrates

Beef Dog Food with Probiotics

While this dog food is a bit more expensive than other brands, it is one of the best options on the market. It contains over 45% protein – one of the highest percentages we’ve ever seen. The fat content is also quite high at over 20%, with the carbohydrates hovering at a safe 25%.

You shouldn’t let the high protein content fool you, however. While meat does appear as the first two ingredients in this dog food, pea protein is a close third. This pea protein is incomplete, which means it doesn’t contain all the necessary amino acids. But it does bulk up the overall protein content of the food.

Just because this food is high in protein does not mean it contains more meat than other options. Instead, a lot of the protein is likely coming from the peas.

The other ingredients in this dog food are pretty good choices. Dried eggs appear as the fifth ingredient, and are a solid choice for any canine. They’re nutrient-dense and high in protein and fat.

We appreciated that this food included probiotics and prebiotics. This can be helpful for dogs with digestion problems and is a massive plus for this dog food. This dog food contains nearly 90 million probiotics per pound, which is higher than most other dry dog foods currently available.

With ocean fish as the second ingredient, this food likely contains quite a bit of omega fatty acids as well, which are great for your dog’s immune system, coat, and skin.

This brand does make other dog foods, but they are all much lower in protein. We recommend this formula in particular.

Recall Info: Yes

Runner Up

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Recipe With Real Beef

  • Real beef as the first ingredient
  • Freeze-dried, raw pieces
  • Tailored nutrition with calcium, phosphorous, glucosamine, and chondroitin

Doggypedia rating: 4/5

Calorie Content: 4287 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, herring meal, peas, turkey meal, chicken fat.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 37.22% Protein
  • 23.89% Fat
  • 30% Carbohydrates

Beef Kibble Dog Food

This dry food contains tons of different meats. Whole beef is the first ingredient, while herring, turkey, and chicken are also included pretty high in the ingredient list. Having such a wide range of meats in your pet’s food increases the food’s nutritional value and lowers the chance that they’ll develop a food allergy. We highly recommend feeding your dog a varied diet, either by switching up their food or choosing a formula with lots of different meats included.

The other ingredients in this kibble are pretty decent as well. Peas are listed as the third ingredient. These contain quite a bit of protein, but it is not a complete protein. You have to keep this in mind when looking at the protein content of the food – not all of it comes from meat.

The macronutrient content of this food is quite good. Fat is higher than we usually see at 23.89%, but carbohydrates are pretty high as well at 30%. We would have liked to see carbohydrates a bit lower, but with the high-fat content, we can’t complain too much. Protein is also quite high, but remember that not all of this protein is complete. It is somewhat misleading.

There are quite a few pluses to this food besides its ingredients and macronutrient content. It includes live, natural probiotics, as well as natural omegas and antioxidants. These help support your dog’s overall health, including their digestion and immune system.

This food also contains quite a bit of calcium and phosphorous, which help support your bones and teeth. Furthermore, quite a bit of naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin is included as well.

Recall Info: Yes

Best Beef Wet Dog Foods

Our Pick

Purina Beyond Beef, Potatoes, & Green Bean Recipe

  • Inexpensive
  • No grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Made in the USA

Doggypedia rating: 5/5

Calorie Content: 1176 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, chicken, beef broth, liver, potatoes.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 36.36% Protein
  • 27.27% Fat
  • 22.73% Carbohydrates

Best Budget Beef Dog Food

This food is inexpensive and a good option for your canine. It contains beef as the first ingredient, followed by chicken. If your pet is allergic to either of these two types of meat, then obviously this is not the food for them. However, otherwise, these two types of meat together are a great combo.

Beef broth is used instead of water, which ups the nutritional content of this food by quite a bit. Liver is also included, which is a very high-quality nutritional source. Both of these ingredients help ensure that your dog is getting a complete meal from this formula and help make the food extra-palatable as well – making it a perfect choice for picky dogs.

We also liked the nutritional content of this food as well. It included over 35% protein. Much of this protein likely comes from the meat sources and is complete. Fat is also high at over 27% and acts as one of the primary energy sources of this food. Most of this fat is likely from the high meat content as well. Finally, carbohydrates are decently low at 22%.

One of the big reasons we chose this food is because it is inexpensive and meets many of our criteria. If you’re on a budget, this is excellent dog food for you to try.

Recall Info: Yes

Also Great

Taste Of The Wild Southwest Canyon Dog Food

  • Omega fatty acids added for a healthy coat and skin
  • No grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Healthy Organ Meat

Doggypedia rating: 5/5

Calorie Content: 978 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, vegetable broth, beef liver, dried egg product.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 50% Protein
  • 22.22% Fat
  • 11.11% Carbohydrates

Great Beef Wet Dog Food

This is another excellent beef dog food. It contains beef as the first ingredient and beef broth as the second. It also contains vegetable broth. This ingredient isn’t necessarily as good as vegetable broth, but it is better than water. Beef liver is included as the fourth ingredient, which is very nutritionally-dense. Finally, dried eggs are the fifth ingredient. Eggs are typically a pretty good choice for most dogs since they are high in protein and nutritionally dense.

This food contains 50% carbohydrates – one of the highest protein concentrations on the market. If your dog is high-energy and gets a lot of exercise, this high amount of protein can keep them healthy. Even if your dog doesn’t move a lot, though, this high protein level is still an excellent choice for most canines.

The fat level of this food is also quite high. Carbohydrates as very low at just over 11%. This is one of the lowest carbohydrate contents we’ve seen.

This food will likely be useful for dogs who struggle with obesity. The high protein content will keep your dog healthy, while the low amount of carbohydrates will prevent unnecessary weight gain.

We particularly liked that this food included a lot of omega fatty acids. These help your dog’s skin and coat stay healthy and may be a particularly good option for those with sensitive skin. This formula is also made in the USA under strict quality standards.

Recall Info: Yes

Also Great

Merrick Chunky Grain-Free Big Texas Steak-Tips Dinner

  • USDA-inspected deboned beef
  • Made with gravy
  • Does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Doggypedia rating: 4.5/5

Calorie Content: 978 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned beef, beef broth, vegetable broth, beef liver, dried peas.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 44.44% Protein
  • 16.67% Fat
  • 22.22% Carbohydrates

Featuring high-quality beef as the first ingredient, this dog food is extremely high quality and an excellent choice for many dogs. It includes beef broth and vegetable broth instead of water, which ups the nutritional content by a bit. It also adds some protein back into the food.

Beef liver is also included and is a great choice. This ingredient is high in protein, and many of the nutrients your dog needs to survive.

However, the fifth ingredient of this dog food is peas. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, peas are high in incomplete protein. They do drive up the protein content of the food without providing the same nutrition as meat. This is important to remember when judging the protein content of dog food.

Speaking of the protein content, this food has quite a bit of protein. Of course, not all of this protein is from the meat ingredients. However, even when taking the inclusion of peas into account, this food still contains more protein than most other formulas on the market. Fat is depressingly low at 16.67%, but this may be a good option for dogs who struggle with obesity.

The carbohydrate content is pretty low, though it is still higher than the fat. It could be a bit lower, in our opinion, but it isn’t high enough for us to mark this food down.

Our only major problem with this food is its cost. It is quite expensive and doesn’t have any clear benefits for its increased price. You could purchase the Purina Beyond formula for almost half the price and get a similar product. Because of that, we marked this food down.

Recall Info: Some

Best Beef Puppy Food

Our Pick

Solid Gold Love At First Bark

  • Contains extra DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids
  • Easy on the digestive system
  • No fillers, corn, wheat, soy, grain, gluten, carrageenan, or artificial preservatives

Doggypedia rating: 5/5

Calorie Content: 865 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Water, beef, beef liver, potatoes, dried egg whites.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 50% Protein
  • 16.67% Fat
  • 16.67% Carbohydrates

Grain Free and Gluten Free Beef Puppy Food

This food is perfect for puppies. It contains tons of protein at 50% and is low in both carbohydrates and fat. We would like to see the fat content a bit higher, but the protein content is plenty high to make up for it.

Water is the first ingredient of this dog food. This is common for wet dog foods, which tend to have very high moisture content. This ingredient has minimal impact on the overall nutritional value of the food.

Beef and beef liver make up ingredients two and three. This is a high-quality protein, especially the nutrient-packed beef liver. Potatoes are the fourth ingredient. While this isn’t the best ingredient for dog food, it isn’t exactly bad either. Dried egg whites are included as the fifth ingredient. We would have much rather the yolk be included since that is where most of the nutrients are. However, egg whites are still a decent option.

Recall Info: Yes

Also Great

Diamond Naturals Beef Dinner Puppy Canned Dog Food

  • Contains Healthy Prebiotics
  • No fillers, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Has Healthy Organ Meat

Doggypedia rating: 4.5/5

Calorie Content: 1163 kcal/kg

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, beef liver, rice flour, carrots.


Macronutrients (Dry-Matter Basis):

  • 52.78% Protein
  • 22.22% Fat
  • 8.33% Carbohydrates

For growing puppies, this is the best beef dog food to get. It contains an astonishingly high amount of protein at 52.78%. This is far higher than most other options on the market, so we highly recommend this dog food. Fat is also pretty high, at 22.22%. This could be higher, but we are not complaining at all due to the high protein content.

Carbohydrates are extremely low as well, at just over 8%.

The ingredient list of this dog food is also pretty good. It includes beef as the first ingredient, followed by beef broth and beef liver. Both of these ingredients are also high quality and add plenty of nutrients to your dog’s food.

With that said, this food does contain rice flour as the first ingredient. We are not mainly against having grain in dog food. However, we prefer whole grains. Rice flour has very few nutrients in it and is just a filler. Because of that, we decided to make this food down half a point. It is still a decent choice for your puppy but is not one of the best foods we’ve looked at.

The other ingredients in this food are decent and are mostly just a variety of veggies.

Recall Info: Some

Why Should You Feed Your Dog Beef and Meat-Based Food?

Our dogs were bred to eat meat. Studies have found that when given control over their diet, dogs will eat a diet consisting of approximately 7% carbohydrates, 63% fat, and 30% protein. In the real world, that translates to a diet high in meat and animal fat.

Because of this, it is often the best option to feed your canine a diet that is high in meat protein. Most commercial diets are very high in carbohydrates – not at all what your pooch needs to eat. It is essential to take the time to choose food that matches your dog’s natural diet.

The type of meat your dog eats is also necessary. Different meats contain different amounts of nutrients and macronutrients. While there isn’t a bad meat out there, some dogs are going to thrive more on some meat sources than others.

Beef is excellent meat for most dogs. It is very high in protein and contains many of the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs. It contains about 58% fat and 42% protein, to be specific.

Most dogs will thrive on this high level of fat since fat is the primary macronutrient dogs use for energy. However, some dogs may have conditions that are made worse by a high-fat diet. These dogs should avoid beef because of the high-fat content.

Beef is also a complete protein. This means it contains all the different amino acids your canine needs to survive. Without these amino acids, your dog can develop health problems.

The FDA recently linked grain-free dog foods containing peas, legumes, and similar veggies to specific heart problems. While they are still researching the possible link, it may be because these veggies are incomplete proteins and commonly used to raise the protein content of food artificially. It isn’t uncommon to see “pea protein” as an ingredient in popular dog foods.

It is almost always better for your canine to get their protein from meat like beef than from a vegetable or grain.

Of course, just because beef is suitable for your dog in dog food doesn’t mean you should feed your dog the beef you cook. Many of the seasonings put on meat for human consumption can be potentially dangerous for our dogs.

How We Chose the Best Beef Dog Foods

Not all beef dog foods are made equal. It can be understandably difficult to choose the best food for your canine, so we were cautious when ranking each dog food we reviewed. Your dog deserves on the best of the best, and we’re here to help you figure out precisely what that is.

The very first thing we looked at when reviewing each food was the macronutrient content. Our dogs thrive best on diets high in protein and fat, so we only included dog food that met those guidelines.

The ingredient list was also vital in our decision-making process. We sought foods that included lots of high-quality beef. If other meats were included, we checked their quality as well.

We also considered what other ingredients were in each food. We preferred foods with a few high-quality veggies and fruits. Grains were not necessarily an automatic disqualifier as long as they were whole-grains. We avoided foods that relied on vegetables for their protein content.

By-products aren’t necessarily bad as long as their source is listed.

We also considered the cost of each food. While most pet owners would love to feed their dog’s the best food available without considering the price, this is not always practical. We understand that you are likely on a budget and don’t have hundreds of dollars to feed your dog each month.

When foods were a bit more expensive than usual, we ensured that the extra cost was worth it. If you could get cheaper food with the same benefits, we included that food instead.

We also considered the brand that produces each formula. Some brands like Blue Buffalo have recalls more often than other brands, which means they’re more likely to have a recall in the future. We prefer brands that have very few recalls to ensure your pet’s safety. 

The life stage is also important. You should feed your adult dog food designed for an adult dog and your puppy should eat food designed for a puppy. 

Read More Dog Food Reviews: Best Venison Dog Food or Best Rottweiler Dog Food

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