Top 10 Best Kangaroo Dog Food
Protein is an essential part of any healthy dog’s diet. And while you’re probably used to seeing certain proteins on your dog food ingredient list (like chicken, beef, or lamb), there’s one you might not be so accustomed to—kangaroo.
So what, exactly, is kangaroo dog food? Is it healthy? And could your dog benefit from introducing this alternative protein source into his diet?
We asked Leslie Brooks, DVM and veterinary advisor at Betterpet, an online resource promoting responsible pet ownership, for her insights about this exotic dog food (and included some of our picks for the best options available).
What Is Kangaroo Dog Food? Is It Healthy For Dogs?
Brooks explains that some dogs can develop allergies to common dog food proteins such as chicken or beef, and that a novel, or new, protein introduced into their diet could help.
“When dogs develop food allergies, it is usually due to the protein source—most common being either chicken, beef, or pork,” Brooks says. “So, doing a food trial with a novel protein—a protein source the dog has never been exposed to before—is [a] way to find out if the dog improves on the new food.”
And for most pet moms and dads, kangaroo protein is novel indeed. As Brooks succinctly states: “This food is dog food that has kangaroo meat as its primary source of protein.”
OK, but: Is kangaroo healthy for your dog?
Brooks says kangaroo-based dog food isn’t necessarily more or less healthy for dogs than other sources of protein, such as chicken or pork. “However, when it is recommended for a dog to switch to a kangaroo-based dog food, it is usually because the dog has some underlying food allergy that is trying to be resolved.”
What Dogs Would Benefit Most From a Diet of Kangaroo Dog Food?
Kangaroo dog food isn’t for every dog. The best candidates for this special diet are dogs with known or suspected food allergies. These are dogs “who have food allergies to chicken, beef, or pork and are needing to do a food trial to see if they can tolerate kangaroo as a protein source,” says Brooks.
If your dog doesn’t fall into that category, it’s best to avoid this type of dog food—in part because there’s a chance your dog could fall into the allergy category sometime in the future.
“Generally speaking, dogs don’t necessarily need to be fed kangaroo,” says Brooks. “It’s best to not jump to feeding these exotic meats unless there is a reason, such as food allergy, so as not to decrease the availability of protein sources available to one’s dog in the case they do develop a food allergy.”
It goes without saying that exotic, specialty dog foods can be difficult to find, and are more costly as well.
What Should Consumers Look for When Shopping for Kangaroo Dog Food?
When you’re shopping for any food for your dog, it’s important to make sure you’re buying from reputable brands. (Our article, Decoding Dog Food, has lots of useful information to help guide you through the dog food aisle.)
While it’s important to make sure your kangaroo dog food consists of healthy ingredients, it’s just as important to research the brand behind the dog food—and make sure the company’s formulations are balanced, nutritious, and vet-approved.
“More than inspecting the dog food bag for specific ingredients, [pet owners] should investigate the manufacturer and make sure they have a veterinarian or nutritionist on staff to make sure the food’s minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates are prepared in a balanced way,” says Brooks.
It’s also important to keep up with the current research on dog foods with exotic meats, and this includes kangaroo. The FDA is currently investigating a potential link between grain-free diets with exotic proteins and a kind of canine heart disease. We explored the issue in-depth with veterinarian Dr. Ari Aycock-Williams in our article, Should I Be Worried About Grain-Free Dog Food?
As always when introducing new food to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for their advice about the specific nutritional needs of your pet.
The Best Kangaroo Dog Food
Is your dog allergic to common proteins and you want to give kangaroo a try? Here are some of our picks for the top kangaroo dog foods.
Zignature Kangaroo Canned Dog Food Formula
Does your dog prefer wet food? No problem! The Zignature kangaroo formula also comes in canned dog food form—a pack of 12 13 ounce cans—perfect for allergy-prone pups who prefer wet food over dry kibble.
Addiction Outback Kangaroo Feast Raw Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
Formulated with over 40% wild kangaroo protein, this dog food is gently air-dried to retain its nutritional integrity. This recipe also contains apple pectin to support your dog’s digestive health as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of essential nutrients.
Billy & Margot Kangaroo Casserole With Superfoods
Billy & Margot Kangaroo Casserole is a grain-free, hypoallergenic food for dogs that prefer wet food over dry.
You can treat this as your dog’s primary food, or you can rotate it with a dry dog food. Just be sure that you select a kangaroo-based dry food to avoid triggering your pet’s allergies.
Addiction Wild Kangaroo & Apples Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Does your dog have a bit of a sweet tooth? Then this dry food from Addiction, which balances kangaroo with apple, could be a great option. In addition to kangaroo and apple, this formulation is packed with additional fruits, veggies, and other nutritious ingredients to support your dog’s overall health—and is free from grains, fillers, and artificial colors and flavoring.
Zignature Kangaroo Formula Dog Food
This kangaroo dry food from Zignature comes straight for Australia—and, in addition to kangaroo meat, is packed with a variety of healthy, nutritious ingredients for your pup (including veggies and omega-3 fatty acids). It also is free of corn, wheat, soy, dairy, chicken, chicken eggs, and chicken by-products—making it a solid choice for dogs with allergies.
Walk About Grain-Free Wild Kangaroo Recipe Dog Food
Available in a case of 12 13 ounce cans or 24 six ounce cans, this wet food lists kangaroo as its first ingredient and is grain-free, fortified with Omega-3 and -6, and full of vegetables including green beans, sweet potato, and peas.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Kangaroo Dog Food
Smart owners need to be discerning about what dog food they buy for their four-legged family members – marketing around dog food can be misleading, and you don’t want to just click on the first dog food you see with a picture of a kangaroo on the bag.
Take the time to sort through the leading options, and select the best one for your dog – just as you would with anything else you’d buy for your favorite tail-wagger.
Keep the following considerations in mind when selecting a kangaroo-based dog food:
- Avoid Additional Protein Allergens. Kangaroo-based foods should not contain any proteins that are often associated with allergies, such as chicken, beef, lamb or pork. Including these types of protein sources defeats the purpose of offering your dog kangaroo meat. Most owners looking for kangaroo kibble want a single-protein dog food in order to limit their dog’s exposure to other proteins or ingredients that could potentially cause intolerances or allergies.
- Look at Ingredient Lists. Kangaroo meat should be the first ingredient listed in your kangaroo-based dog food. Ingredients are listed sequentially by content, and your dog wants and needs a protein-rich food. The best products often contain additional forms of kangaroo (such as kangaroo meal), listed as the second or third ingredient.
- Extra Vitamins + Bonus Ingredients. The best kangaroo meat foods are usually fortified with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, to ensure complete nutrition for your pet. Some products also contain chondroitin, glucosamine and other ingredients that may help stave off joint problems and arthritis, further raising their value.
- Hunt Down Good Carbohydrates, Avoid The Bad Stuff. Kangaroo dog foods should use good, healthy carbohydrate sources like potato, millet, sweet potato, or rice – things which rarely cause food allergies in dogs. They should not contain corn, wheat or soy products, as these ingredients may elicit allergic reactions.
- Avoid Dog Food Made In China. As with any other edible product you offer your beloved four-footer, try to stick to products manufactured in countries with high food-quality standards, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand or the countries of Western Europe. Try to avoid products manufactured in Asia.
- Opt Out of Preservatives & Artificial Colors. Because your dog may also allergic to a number of things in her food, try to select products that feature no additives, preservatives or artificial colors. Looking for dog food with limited ingredients is often helpful when conducting a food allergy challenge diet.