Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs

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Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs

There are a variety of dog breeds that make excellent hunting dogs. The Labrador Retriever, Mountain Cur, Vizsla, and even the short Beagle, are a few examples of the perfect hunting companion. Although these dogs look completely different in color, size, and structure, they share the same instinctual nature—hunting. A hunting dog needs to have boundless energy to complete the tasks set by their owners. They need good muscle strength and strong bones to catch or retrieve game and walk long distances.

A hunting dog’s diet is vital for them to excel in their abilities and must include plenty of good nutrition. Always take your dog’s energy level, age, sensitivities, and weight into consideration when buying food.

We’ve listed a few great hunting dog food options below complete with in-depth reviews to help you in your search—but remember that due to their high protein and fat content, they’ll lead to weight gain if fed to an inactive dog. You may want to switch your dog’s food when out of hunting season.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Hunting Dogs

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food — Best Value

Rachael Ray Nutrish 1858030015

This formula by Rachael Ray Nutrish is the best dog food for hunting dogs for the money because it offers balanced nutrition at an affordable price. The primary ingredient in this recipe is turkey and turkey meal, with a crude protein content of 26% and fat content of 8% minimum. The calorie content is 269 kcal/cup of food, which is adequate to maintain your hunting dog’s weight during the offseason when they aren’t as active or a good choice for your less-active senior hunting dog.

The formula has prebiotics to support digestion, cranberries for the immune system, and amino acids to support a healthy weight and metabolism. What this doesn’t include is fillers, by-product meal, wheat or wheat gluten, and artificial flavors and preservatives. It does not sit in our number-one spot because this formula is not as high in protein and fat as other formulas.

  • Lower in fat and protein
  • Prebiotics
  • Antioxidants
  • Amino acids
  • Affordable
  • Balanced nutrition
  • High protein
  • No fillers or by-products

The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food — Best Overall

The Farmer's Dog Fresh Chicken Recipe

The Farmer’s Dog is disrupting the dog food industry by bringing fresh ingredients to your dog’s food bowl. Their mission, inspired by the founders’ own dog, Jada, is to hold the pet food industry to a higher standard and create nutritionally balanced meals for dogs.

We love The Farmer’s Dog for its health benefits, convenient delivery service, and how easy it is to serve to your dog. It can help dogs with digestive problems and give them a higher quality of life and performance, which makes it perfect for hunting dogs.

Their meals are formulated with the expert advice of veterinary nutritionists and made with ingredients that even a human could eat. To get started with The Farmer’s Dog, you’ll go through a questionnaire to build the best plan for your dog—just like you would with any meal delivery service designed for humans!

The Farmer’s Dog performs its own research and combines science and love to make the best meal possible for your pup. It’s definitely the best overall food for hunting dogs on the market today!

  • Slightly more expensive than store-bought kibble
  • Delivered right to your door
  • Comes ready-to-serve
  • Backed by science and formulated with guidance from veterinary nutritionists
  • Fresh ingredients that aren’t processed
  • Safe for all dogs, including those with digestive troubles

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

First three ingredients Deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal
Caloric Content 3,698 kcal/kg or 417 kcal/cup
Crude Protein 34%
Crude Fat 16%
Weight 26-lb

Even though the Wellness Core Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food is pricey, it’s highly worth it and acts as one of the best foods you can get for your hunting dog.

Since it’s made from human ingredients, it’s packed with nutritious value. Most dogs love this food and tend to get upset if you switch from it.

Overall, it’s good for your dog’s coat and gives them a strong muscle tone. If you have the budget for food of this quality, we highly suggest that you do.

  • Made with whole food ingredients
  • Extremely nutritious
  • Excellent for your hunting dog’s overall health
  • Expensive

Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food

Purina 38100170484 Pro Plan Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport is ideal for performance dogs such as hunting dogs. It is suitable for all life stages and includes chicken as the main high-quality protein, followed by dried egg. The formula is 30% protein and 20% fat to fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle. It also has omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine to support joint health and mobility, as well as antioxidants to nourish the immune system and defend against free radicals.

It contains 30% crude protein, 20% crude fat, and 541 kcal/cup of food; these numbers show that it is perfect for performance dogs who need the extra energy. This formula is also grain-free for those dogs who can’t tolerate grains, and there are no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

On the downside, the Purina Pro Plan is a pricier product, which is why it sits at number three on our reviews list. However, it is made in the U.S.A., and Purina offers a money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely happy with this dog food.

  • Pricey
  • A high amount of calories
  • Grain free
  • Glucosamine for joint health
  • Antioxidants included
  • Ideal for high-performance dogs
  • 30% protein
  • 20% fat
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Money-back guarantee

Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food

Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food

First three ingredients Chicken meal, chicken fat, and herring meal
Caloric Content 4,125 kcal/kg, 578 kcal/cup
Crude Protein 30%
Crude Fat 25%
Weight 33-lb

Specifically designed for hunting dogs is the Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food. Due to its 30% protein and 25% fat your dog will receive the high nutrition and high energy necessary for a high-performance lifestyle. It’s also packed with prebiotics and omega-3 fatty acids to keep your dog healthy and their coat flourishing, along with aiding in good joints for their activities.

This kibble is nutrient-dense and contains 578 kcal/cup, which means that you can give your dog everything they need in a smaller serving of food, which ultimately saves you money. Inukshuk is a family-owned business that cares about dogs, and they give you the option to buy straight from them too.

  • Nutrient-dense kibble
  • Option to buy the food directly from the company
  • High protein and fat content
  • Suitable for all dog ages
  •  Inactive dogs will get fat on this kibble

Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Meal

Nature's Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

First three ingredients Duck meal, millet, and turkey meal
Caloric Content 416.99 kcal/cup
Crude Protein 38%
Crude Fat 15%
Weight 25-lb

Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Meal is dog food for puppies and adults that are active in hunting, working, and sporting. It has one of the highest crude protein levels on this list at 38% and contains ingredients such as duck meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal.

This recipe is natural, right down to the packaging that was produced with renewable electricity. There are a couple of kibble options to choose from, allowing you to change your dog’s food up a bit, never giving them the chance to get bored. The price has increased a lot recently, though, which has left a few consistent customers unhappy.

  • Suitable for puppies and active adult dogs
  • High level of protein
  • Natural recipe
  • Made with renewable electricity
  • Different flavors to choose from
  • Expensive

CRAVE Grain-Free Dry Adult Dog Food

CRAVE 10164802 Grain-Free Dry Adult Dog Food

Crave is another grain-free choice that has a high amount of protein and fat to suit your hunting dog. The protein is derived from lamb and venison and equals 34%, with a fat content of 17%. If that isn’t enough, the metabolizable energy is 472 kcal/cup, which is plenty for active dogs to maintain their stamina.

There are plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as chickpeas, split peas, and dried potatoes. There is no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat or soy protein, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The combination of animal and plant proteins is highly digestible, and your dog will love the flavor provided from the combination of lamb, chicken, and venison.

There are plenty of vitamins and minerals in this recipe to provide complete and balanced nutrition. On the downside, this food is not ideal for times of low activity because it has a high number of calories, protein, and fat. It is more suitable for training or during hunting season, when your dog is the most active and needs the extra energy in the form of calories and fat.

  • Not ideal for low-energy times
  • Great flavor profile
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Grain free
  • High in protein and fat
  • Quality meat and plant protein
  • Highly digestible
  • Ideal for high-energy times

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic 22953 Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select is a natural dog food formulated to support digestive health. It contains prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, natural fibers, and botanicals to provide a complete and balanced diet for your adult dog. The main ingredient is lamb meal, followed by oatmeal, peas, rice, and chicken fat.

It has plenty of protein and fat to provide energy for your active hunting dog, including 454 kcal/cup of food. There are plenty of fruits and veggies to provide the needed vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system and antioxidant-rich superfoods to support cellular health. We like that there are no fillers, meat by-products, or artificial flavors present in this formula. It is made in the U.S.A. and backed by the Holistic Select Guarantee, which offers your money back if you aren’t satisfied with the product.

On the downside, the kibbles are small and tend to break easily, causing there to be wasted food at the bottom of the bag.

  • Kibble is small and breaks easily
  • High in protein and fat
  • Fruits and veggies included
  • Supports digestive health
  • Complete and balanced diet
  • No fillers or meat by-products

VICTOR 2381 Hero Canine Dry Dog Food

VICTOR 2381 Hero Canine Dry Dog Food

Victor provides a formula that is ideal for adult dogs with allergies or sensitivities to grain, while remaining high in protein and fat to fuel their bodies for their active lifestyle. The crude protein equals 33% and crude fat 16%, with the primary sources being beef meal, chicken fat, and fish and blood meal. It offers 383 kcal/per cup of food.

Victor includes four core ingredients for a well-balanced diet. These include selenium yeast for a strong immune system, mineral complexes for healthy coat and skin, and prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health.

The food is made in Texas at a Victor-owned facility, and it meets all nutritional levels for an adult dog. The kibble is easy to chew and small in size so your hunting dog will enjoy the texture and the taste. On the downside, Victor Hero Canine is a pricier food, and there are few vegetables and no fruits used in this recipe.

  • Pricey
  • No fruits and minimal vegetables
  • Supports the immune system
  • Mineral complexes
  • Prebiotics and probiotics
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Grain free
  • High in protein and fat
  • Tasty and easy to chew

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue 800517 Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

This recipe by Blue Buffalo Wilderness using real bison as the main protein ingredient. It also has fish and beef meals with dried egg to increase the flavor and the amount of protein. It is ideal for dogs who have sensitivities to poultry and grain because it is free from both. The formula is appropriate for highly active adults because it has 30% crude protein and 15% crude fat at 386 kcal/per cup.

To support immune health for your hunting dog, this food has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients included in every bit, and the kibble is cold-formed to preserve potency. Glucosamine is present for healthy joints, while the precise blend of calcium, phosphorus, and other essential vitamins promotes strong bones and teeth.

Also included in this formula are peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, which are healthy complex carbohydrates that provide extra energy. There are also carrots, blueberries, and cranberries that deliver antioxidants for a healthy immune system. On the downside, some dogs don’t like the smaller vitamin and mineral kibble dispersed with the larger kibble.

  • Not all dogs like the small kibble
  • Supports the immune system
  • Includes glucosamine
  • Kibble is cold-formed
  • Real bison
  • High in protein and fat
  • Complex carbohydrates for energy

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food for Hunting Dogs

When you are looking for the best food for hunting dogs, it can seem like a daunting task. There are many things to consider before making your final decision, and that’s what this buyer’s guide is about. It’s good to learn about what constitutes great dog food for your performance dog so you can provide them with the nutrition to stay healthy and vibrant throughout their life.


Each stage of life requires different levels of nutrients. Some formulas are suitable for all life stages, meaning that you can feed it from puppy to senior. Puppies grow fast and require plenty of nutritious food, while adult dogs still require the same nutrition but in smaller amounts. At the senior stage, most dogs aren’t as active and can develop food sensitivities, but they still need a nutritious diet to maintain overall health.


Like any human athlete, some dogs need a formula that is ideal for their food sensitivities. For instance, dogs can be sensitive to grains, poultry, poultry products, and other ingredients. It is good to know your dog and be aware of certain ingredients that can be troublesome.

Not all dogs have sensitivities or allergens to food, and this is one area where getting your veterinarian involved is ideal so they can guide you on the best ingredients for your dog or help you figure out if they have food sensitivities — or if it is something non-food related.

Activity level

How much energy is consumed will depend upon more than one factor. Knowing your dog’s weight and activity level is a good starting point. A dog relaxing for most of the day won’t require as many calories as one out hunting in the cold weather. The colder the weather, the more calories will be needed.

Keep in mind that your hunting dog will require a different feeding schedule when they aren’t hunting in order to maintain their physique and keep them ready for the next hunt.

Important Hunting Dog Food Nutrients

  • Protein: We all know proteins are the building blocks of muscle. High-quality animal and plant proteins can both play a part in providing optimal quantities of nutrients. Proteins provide a high number of calories, which a working dog needs to maintain energy levels. If your dog doesn’t receive enough protein, their body will use protein stores, which can decrease overall muscle mass.
  • Fat: Dogs use fat as an aerobic fuel source when the duration of exercise increases. Thus, fat consumption affects how well your hunting dog will perform. Fat is more energy dense and easier to digest than protein and carbohydrates. A low-fat diet for a hunting dog is not ideal, and you will find that your dog has more energy with a high-fat diet. Plus, fat helps your dog’s coat become thicker and provides more warmth when it is especially cold outside.
  • Other sources of fat that provide omega-3 fatty acids are ideal to protect cell walls, nourish skin, and protect the immune system. Common ingredients that contain fatty acids are flaxseed, fish, fish oil, and canola oil.
  • Glucosamine: Active dogs need supplements to protect their joints, bones, and tissues. Common supplements are glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin sulfate. You can start providing it at any age for protection, but these supplements also have an anti-inflammatory effect to help reduce pain, and glucosamine will help form and repair body tissues such as cartilage.
  • Carbohydrates: These are also a source of energy, but you want to provide complex carbohydrates for the best results. Sources from vegetables and whole grains are the best to feed to your hunting buddy. Complex carbs are a great source of fiber that is readily digestible and can help control blood sugar levels.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins A, B, D, K, and E, calcium, and phosphorus are essential to maintain a healthy body, so you want a dog food that contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. Some brands add fruits and vegetables to get these nutrients in the food, while others rely on adding supplements.

Ingredients to Avoid

Try to stay away from fillers, artificial colors and preservatives, and meat by-products. These ingredients don’t provide any valuable nutrients to your dog’s diet, and some can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, or other illnesses.

Tips for Feeding Your Hunting Dog

  • If your dog will be experiencing an intense workout, it is recommended to feed them approximately 24 hours before the hunt so their bodies have time to digest the food.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration. During hunting periods, you can mix water with bone broth to entice them to drink more.
  • Forego feeding your dog the morning of a hunt, or provide a light meal as early as possible.
  • Don’t feed a big meal during the day because this can cause bloating or an upset stomach.
  • Provide food at the end of the day, at least 30 minutes to one hour after the hunt.
  • Mix water with the dry kibble to increase fluid intake. This also encourages your dog to eat slower, which in turn, prevents bloating after a hard day’s work.
  • If you continue with the performance food after hunting season, you will need to decrease the number of calories fed; otherwise, your dog will gain too much weight. Others recommend switching to a food with less overall protein and fat until it is time to start training again.

Can my hunting dog survive on homemade food?

Homemade food lacks essential nutrients that your dog needs for healthy living. Always buy high-quality commercial dog food to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Does my hunting dog need supplements?

Hunting dogs have high nutritional requirements. And it’s a good idea to supplement their diet with vitamins, probiotics, amino acids, and other essential nutrients.

Is raw food good for hunting dogs?

The Raw Food Diet is a great option for hunting dogs. Large breeds can benefit from this ancestral dog diet. Just make sure you get quality commercial raw dog food.

Which food can help my hunting dog gain weight?

If your hunting dog isn’t gaining weight, try feeding raw organ meat such as the liver. Vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams can also help them gain weight. If your hunting dog is having problems maintaining his or her weight, consult your veterinarian.

Is free-feeding good for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs are foodies, and they may gain weight easily. Free feeding isn’t a great idea as your dog might overeat. If your hunting dog isn’t active enough, it might also lead to obesity.

How do I determine if my hunting dog has food allergies?

Common symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence are possible indicators of food allergies. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, itchy skin, coughing, sneezing, and repeated ear infections. Consult with your vet if you suspect your hunting dog has food allergies.

Which vegetables are great for feeding hunting dogs?

The best vegetables for your hunting dog include potatoes, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, cauliflowers, sweet potatoes, and peas.

How much protein does my hunting dog need?

Dog food with 22-26 percent protein and 12-16 percent fat is ideal for most hunting dogs. You can reduce the protein quantity for inactive and senior dogs.

What kind of foods are bad for hunting dogs?

Some foods are potentially dangerous for your hunting dog. These include milk, chocolate, raw eggs, raisins, nuts, and grains.

Why are hunting dogs hungry all the time?

Some hunting dogs might start overeating if they aren’t getting the right nutrients from their regular diet. They might also show hunger signs if they’re stressed, have separation anxiety, or are sick. Try to determine the cause so that your hunting dog doesn’t become obese.

How long can hunting dogs go without food?

Hunting dogs can survive around 3-5 days without food. It’s best to feed them regularly so they can stay healthy and active.

What kind of raw meat is good for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs need raw animal meats like chicken, lamb, beef, and fish. You need to make sure that the meat is fresh as spoiled meat may contain harmful pathogens.

Are eggs safe for hunting dogs?

You can feed your hunting dog cooked eggs as they contain proteins and amino acids essential for muscle nourishment. Boiled eggs make great treats for hunting dogs, but try not to over-feed your dog.

What are the best natural ingredients for hunting dogs?

Hunting dogs need fats, carbs, and vitamins for optimal health. Some excellent sources of fats and omega fats include fish oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, and canola oil. Carbs from vegetables like potatoes are more suitable for hunting dogs. Also, fruits like blueberries contain plenty of essential nutrients for hunting dogs.

Can I feed my dog before hunting?

No. It’s a bad idea to feed your dog before hunting. As recommended earlier, you should feed your dog after the hunt to avoid potential health problems.

What can I feed my hunting dog?

The best food for hunting dogs has high protein and fat content and is grain-free. They should also contain carbohydrates to support your dog’s energy needs. Give your adult dog meaty meals with added fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition.

When can I feed my hunting dog?

Research suggests that dogs perform better on an empty stomach. That means you can feed your hunting dog at the end of the training or hunting session.

Do hunting dogs need a grain-free diet?

Grain-free dog food can keep your hunting dog healthy and active. Grains can cause adverse allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset. If you want the best for your hunting dog, choose grain-free dog food.

Why are high-quality proteins important for hunting dogs?

High-quality proteins help nourish your dog’s health and support their active lifestyle. It’s important to find premium protein sources to support lean muscle mass. You may want to choose digestible protein sources like venison, chicken, lamb, and fish.

Final Thoughts

Hunting dogs put in many long hours during a hunt, and their bodies need the fuel to sustain them throughout the day. A good-quality dog food will help keep your dog performing its best.

Our top pick is The Farmer’s Dog because it is a human-grade fresh dog food that contains high amounts of protein and fat yet remains highly digestible for active dogs. The best value is Rachael Ray Nutrish dog food which is offered at an affordable price while providing balanced nutrition for your hunting dog.

We hope that our reviews list helps you find the best dog food for your hunting companion so you can both enjoy the day, and you can rest assured knowing your dog has the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy and vibrant throughout the hunting season.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.