Not all “Made in USA” dog foods are actually that, so finding good dog food can be hard. You need to know where food is made and where its ingredients are sourced and where the food is manufactured.
For example, they may manufacture dog food made in the USA in this country, but the ingredients could come from other world regions.
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Due to differences in pet food manufacturing regulations in every country, many pet owners rightly seek brands made in areas with the strictest laws: Europe, Canada, or the USA.
So here’s what you must know about dog food made in the USA, what this term really means, and which dog food brands are actually made in America instead of simply being marketed as such.
Dog Food “Made in USA”
When you read the phrase “made in the USA” on a dog food label, you likely interpret that food is USA sourced (meaning the ingredients that the food is made with come from the USA).
However, that may not necessarily be the case.
Based on Federal Trade Commission’s USA Made standards, AAFCO describes “Made in USA” pet food labeling as such:
“…all or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of US origin. That is, the product should contain no – or negligible – foreign content. So just putting together ingredients in the US is not enough. Additionally, just getting ingredients from a broker within the US is not enough. If ingredients are imported, then it is very difficult to justify the use of the phrase “Made in the USA.”
Therefore, to assume that dog food with a “Made in the USA” label is made with US-origin ingredients is not unreasonable, according to what FTC and AAFCO encourage pet food manufacturers and companies to do.
However, as it happens, the AAFCO has no actual regulatory authority over this.
AAFCO regulations are merely used as a “guideline” for pet food companies to follow to have their products licensed by the state they’re sold. FTC is known for caring very little about pet food manufacturing laws.
This means that dog foods that are labeled as “Made in the USA” are “put together” in the USA, but that the parts that are “put together” aren’t necessarily of US origin.
So how can you be sure that the food you are giving your dog contains only ingredients sourced in the United States?
As many pet owners might have already found out, it takes a lot of legwork to find actual dog food made in USA brands.
The “Dog Food Made in USA” Label
You may be seeing this label on your favorite dog food brands, but what does it really mean?
Because of mislabeling dog food, some pet owners might start to wonder, “where is Purina Pro Plan made really?” To clarify a few things, here are the facts you need to know.
Dog Food Ingredient Sourcing
If you are looking for an “All American” dog food brand, you need to trace the source of the ingredients being used in the food first.
You cannot trust a “Made in America” label because the FTC hasn’t been cracking down hard enough on companies loosely using this term to improve their sales. And this is not exclusive to the pet food industry, either.
Pet food companies understand the value of the “Made in the USA” label and have been taking advantage of it for years.
Since 2015, politicians have been encouraging FTC to allocate more resources to investigate these claims but to no avail.
Thus, pet owners are left to do their own research and investigation when searching for dog food Made in USA brands were not just manufactured but ingredients are sourced in America.
Finding the source of ingredients, however, is far from simple.
Dog food companies that claim “dog food made in the USA” often intentionally mislead customers to think that their ingredients are also sourced in the US.
They do this by slapping the “Made in America” stamp on their bag and adding claims like “No ingredients sourced in China” or “Responsibly sourced ingredients” as a distraction.
These claims are designed to put your mind at ease, yet they tell you nothing about where ingredients were sourced.
If you’re looking for the best grain-free dog food, you’d probably be okay with feeds high in grain content along with that label without ever researching where these grains really came from.
Consumers tired of pet food companies tricking them into buying fake “Made in USA” foods have previously filed lawsuits against well-known brands for fake labels.
Several of these lawsuits include J.M. Smuckers, Nestle Purina Petcare and Merrick Pet Care, Fromm, and Tyson Foods.
Very few companies offer full disclosure of where their ingredients are sourced.
And these companies will go above and beyond to hide the origin of their ingredients.
In fact, as I called around trying to find out ingredient sourcing details, I was regularly told by their customer service: “We’re sorry, that’s proprietary information.”
As it turns out, I’m not the only one who has been met with such evasive answers.
The Association for Truth in Pet Food was grown out of similar frustrations, and they have set out to get all pet food companies to sign a pledge to fully disclose their ingredient sourcing information.
To date, there are only a small number of pet food companies that have been willing to sign this pledge and disclose where their dog food ingredients are coming from.
Most of them are smaller pet food companies grown out of distrust of the commercial pet food industry and those with nothing to hide.
Most companies are still hiding in the shadows and will remain there until FTC starts cracking down on them.
This is where the pet owners’ “leg work” I referenced above comes in. Which dog foods are made, sourced, and packed in the USA?
After many days of active research (and technically, some years of studying the pet food industry), I’ve managed to compile a list of 12 dog food made in USA brands.
Spoiler: don’t expect to see any of the well-known dog food brand names you remember from commercials.
ALSO READ: Top 10 Dog Foods: Best Dog Food Brands Analysis and Review
Why Choose Dog Food Made in the USA?
Other than patriotism and support for the local economy, there is another reason you should try to buy dog food made in the USA.
This comes down to the quality of the ingredients.
Essentially, the United States has more regulations than many other countries.
The result is that food made in other countries is more likely to cut corners or include potentially harmful ingredients.
Simply put, your dog is safer with American-made dog food.
12 Real Dog Food Made in USA Brands
This dog food brands list includes those that are sourced, manufactured, and packed in the U.S.
As mentioned, dog food that is 100% made in the USA is safer compared to other brands. Hence, you are guaranteed human-grade dog food if you choose any of these dog food made in USA brands.
TruDog is a family-owned pet food company based in the Midwest. TruDog’s founder, Lori R. Taylor, turned to raw feeding to give her dogs better quality food.
Lori soon found the inconvenience of feeding raw to be too much, though, and in her search for something simpler, she developed TruDog.
TruDog is a freeze-dried food that contains all of the nutrition of raw feeding without the mess.
This premium food is made with US sourced meats and contains no grains, no fillers, added salt, no sugars, refined carbohydrates, no by-products, and no chemicals.
So, if you’re looking for the best grain-free dog food made in the USA, you might want to consider the TruDog premium food formulas.
TruDog made in USA dog food formulas:
All ingredients in TruDog’s dog food lineup are sourced and packaged in the US.
All cattle are free-range and grass-fed, all turkey is US-born, raised, and harvested, all bison liver is US-sourced, and they only utilize 100% wild Alaskan salmon.
Pledge: TruDog took the pledge to ensure the quality and disclose the origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
BIOethics specializes in home-cooked dog food that is delivered within the Los Angeles and Orange County area.
Foods are minimally processed, made in small batches, use fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and USDA-certified meat.
You won’t find any artificial preservatives or coloring, by-products or fillers, and no hormone or antibiotic tainted protein.
All ingredients in this dog food made in the USA are regional, fresh, human-grade ingredients locally sourced and minimally cooked.
So, if you’re looking for healthy human-grade dog food, you can trust BIOethics to provide safe and holistic food elements to your pooch.
Each home-cooked meal is cooked and packaged in the USA and hand-delivered to Orange County, CA.
They hope soon to make their food more widely available.
Pledge: BIOEthics took the pledge to ensure the quality and disclose the origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
3. Spring Naturals
Spring Naturals believes in a whole food nutrition approach to feeding pets and incorporates only real meat in their exclusive recipes.
Their foods are also all low glycemic formulas designed to extend pets’ lives without added carbohydrates and starches.
This dog food made in the USA incorporates whole foods, whole grains, whole vegetables, eggs, real mats, whole chickpeas, and green peas.
They currently offer a line of whole-grain, grain-free, and organic wet and dry food and treat options. With this said, Spring Naturals is considered the best grain-free dog food you can get for your pooch.
All of their food choices are free from beef/chicken/turkey/lamb/fish meals.
All ingredients in Spring Naturals dinner and treat products are domestically sourced, and each product is made in the US.
Pledge: Spring Naturals have not yet taken the pledge to attest to their ingredients’ quality and origin.
4. Small Batch
Small Batch is a family-owned company based out of the California Bay region.
Their primary goal is focused on providing high-quality nutrition to pets while utilizing local and sustainable ingredients.
They are an earth-conscious company that uses only humanely raised and harvested meats and only certified organic and pure ingredients.
Small Batch foods are made using organic vegetables and herbs, antibiotic-free and hormone-free meats, and use only organic supplements.
Their current foods include frozen raw and freeze-dried raw options, which are available across the US.
Small Batch made in USA dog food formulas:
Small Batch is only made with locally sourced ingredients and prepared locally.
Currently, Small Batch foods are sourced and manufactured in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Foods manufactured in California use only Californian ingredients.
Foods manufactured in Oregon use only Oregon-sourced ingredients.
Pledge: Small Batch has not yet taken the pledge to attest to its ingredients’ quality and origin.
5. Northwest Naturals
Northwest Naturals is dedicated to the highest quality ingredients and manufacturing processes.
Based out of Oregon, the company specializes in raw and freeze-dried pet foods produced in a USDA/Oregon Tilth/Global Food Safety Initiative Certified facility.
Their foods are minimally processed and distributed to independent retailers to avoid extended storage periods by big-name stores.
Northwest Naturals utilize antibiotic-free and hormone-free poultry, lamb, bison, and beef, as well as wild-caught Alaskan salmon in their foods.
The beef, bison, and lamb are all grass-fed. Their foods are also free from preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, grains, and gluten.
Northwest Naturals made in USA dog food formulas:
The ingredients in this dog food made in the USA are sourced in the US, and all of their foods are manufactured in their family-owned facility in Portland, Oregon.
Northwest Naturals are so concerned with their ingredient sourcing that they provide customers with a complete list on their website of the farms they utilize for their protein sources.
One thing to note is that Northwest Naturals sources their lamb from New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
Pledge: This company has not yet taken the pledge to attest to its ingredients’ quality and origin.
6. Tender & True – Organic Chicken and Liver Recipe
Tender & True is dedicated to creating premium dog food made with dogs with food intolerances in mind.
Tender & True dog foods are made using real whole foods and chelated minerals for optimal absorption.
If you’re looking best grain-free dog food for your pooch, this kibble should be the first on your list. They were the first company to source USDA-grade grain-free meal options.
Tender & True dog foods contain no hormones, no potatoes, no corn, no soy, no artificial colors, no additives, no fillers, no by-products and are made with pesticide, steroid, and antibiotic-free ingredients.
Most of their foods are also made with a single protein source to provide for dogs with protein intolerance concerns.
Tender & True made in USA dog food formulas:
All ingredients used in Tender & True pet foods are sourced in the US, and they are a company that strives to provide 100% traceability of their ingredients.
Pledge: Tender & True has not yet taken the pledge to attest to their ingredients’ quality and origin.
7. Portland Pet Food
Portland Pet Food Company is based in Portland, Oregon.
They are a company dedicated to changing the world of pet nutrition as well as animal shelters.
Their individual pouch meals are all cooked from scratch, and their biscuits are rolled out by hand!
Plus, 5% of all net profits from this dog food made in the USA are donated to animal shelters and programs dedicated to animal welfare.
All foods made by the Portland Pet Food Company are made out of USDA-approved commercial facilities.
To eliminate the unnecessary filler, every food pouch also contains less than ten ingredients per meal.
Portland Pet Food made in USA dog food formulas:
No products found.
Portland Pet Food Company never uses preservatives, by-products, or proteins exposed to hormones.
They use all-natural local meats, vegetables, and grains in their foods and only human-grade US sourced ingredients that are USDA approved.
The packaging used in each pet food pouch is always BPA-free and Earth-friendly.
It’s important to note that Portland Pet Food Company foods are only advised for supplemental feeding since they do not contain additives required by the AAFCO to be considered complete and balanced.
Pledge: Portland Pet Food Company has not yet taken the pledge to attest to their ingredients’ quality and origin.
8. Lucky Dog Cuisine
Lucky Dog Cuisine is a family-run business born out of the 2008 tainted dog food recalls.
Lucky Dog owners had been home cooking their dog food for years, but when the mass recalls began, they knew they had to share their recipes.
Their foods are built on common sense whole food nutrition, and they hope to eliminate kibble feeding someday.
Lucky Dog Cuisine hand cooks their foods in their own kitchens and currently offers seven pre-cooked dog food recipes.
These recipes are nutritionally balanced and feature grain-free and gluten-free options. So, you can definitely add this brand to your list of the best grain-free dog food.
This best dog food made in the USA is made without “pet grade” ingredients.
Lucky Dog Cuisine made in USA dog food formulas:
All ingredients in Lucky Dog Cuisine are sourced in the US (except for olive oil), and every meal is made with human-grade ingredients.
Proteins include only humanely raised grass-fed beef and pork, chemical-free fish, hormone-free turkey, GMO-free fruits and vegetables, and cooking is even done in filtered water!
So, if you’re looking for quality human-grade dog food, Lucky Dog Cuisine is the ideal choice for you!
This company does use olive oil sourced from Italy.
Pledge: Lucky Dog Cuisine took the pledge to the quality and origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
9. Frenchie’s Kitchen Pet Food
Frenchie’s Kitchen specializes in home-cooked frozen entrees for dogs.
Their complete balanced recipes are designed to provide all-natural nutrition for dogs and food that dog parents can trust.
Frenchie’s Kitchen dog foods are made using human-grade ingredients with non-GMO vegetables, whole food nutrition, and cooked in a USDA human food facility.
Each of the recipes of this dog food made in the USA was born out of holistic medicine, and every ingredient provides health benefits.
All ingredients in Frenchie’s dog food recipes are sourced in the US.
Meals are made using USDA inspected meats, and depending on which recipe you choose, they offer gluten-free, grain-free, and no processed grain options.
Being part of our dog food brands list, you can guarantee that Frenchie’s Kitchen is human-grade dog food and considered one of the best grain-free dog food.
Pledge: Frenchie’s Kitchen took the pledge to ensure the quality and disclose the origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
10. Pet Tao
Pet Tao combines Western veterinary medicine with Eastern food medicine to better balance pets’ healthier lives.
By choosing food ingredients that work with the body and that optimize how the body functions, Pet Tao is a holistic food solution that meets every dog’s needs.
Pet Tao offers two lines of wet food only, one designed to treat specific health concerns and maintain a healthy balance.
These foods are made without additives, preservatives, or fillers, and the Solution Zing formula is made with all-natural human-grade ingredients.
Aside from being quality human-grade dog food, all ingredients in this dog food made in the USA are sourced in the US as well.
Pledge: Pet Tao took the pledge to ensure the quality and disclose the origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
11. Vital Essentials
Vital Essentials is a family-owned raw and freeze-dried pet food company based out of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Dedicated to top-quality nutrition, VE produces their foods in a USDA inspected and certified facility which undergoes FDA audits bi-annually. VE is also a member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition.
This dog food made in the USA never contains grains, fillers, rendered by-products, or artificial preservatives. VE foods are also gluten-free and have no artificial flavors or colors.
Vital Essentials made in USA dog food formulas:
All ingredients in Vital Essentials are sourced from the US and include wild-caught fish and USDA-certified and inspected animal proteins.
VE uses single-source proteins and incorporates whole meat, organs, and bones into their recipes.
Their food ingredients are lot traceable and contain no synthetic vitamins or minerals.
Pledge: Vital Essentials took the pledge to the quality and origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
12. Steve’s Real Food
Steve’s Real Food is a raw pet food company based in Oregon that has been making raw and freeze-dried dog foods since 1998.
Focused on nutrition through bioavailability, this dog food made in the USA is an eco-conscious company that abides by an 80/20 ratio of meat to fruits, vegetables, and minerals.
Steve’s Real Food is a convenient raw food solution that does not use high-pressure processing or irradiation on its foods.
They use no byproducts or fillers, no grains, and no synthetic vitamins or minerals.
Steve’s Real Food made in USA dog food formulas:
All ingredients in Steve’s Real Food are sourced in the US, except for their flaxseed. All farms that work with Steve’s are USDA-approved and only sell human-grade meats.
Steve’s also utilizes pesticide-free raw fruits and vegetables, 100% hormone- and antibiotic-free raw meat from humanely raised free-range animals. This company does source their flaxseed from Canada.
Pledge: Steve’s Real Food took the pledge to ensure the quality and disclose the origin of their ingredients. You can view that pledge here.
Other Dog Foods of Note (Semi-Made in the USA)
Some other pet food manufacturers and companies source ingredients inside and outside the US but have taken the pet food transparency pledge to ensure quality and report the ingredients’ origin.
This means that they are willing to be fully transparent about the ingredients that go into their dog food made in USA recipes. Here are all of them:
- Addiction Pet Food
- provide Pet Food
- Answers Pet Food
- Beau’s To Go Pet Food
- Bobcat Raw Pet Food
- Carna4 Pet Food
- Care Pet Food
- Darwin’s Pet Food
- Harvey’s Pet Food
- Evermore Pet Food
- Farmina Pet Food
- Fresh is Best Pet Food
- The Honest Kitchen Pet Foods
- Just Food for Dogs
- K9 Natural Pet Food
- Maxota Raw Pet Food
- Mountain Dog Food
- Mulligan Stew Pet Food
- My Perfect Pet Food
- Nature’s Logic Pet Food
- Nuggets Healthy Eats
- Open Farm Pet Food
- Primal Pet Food
- Rams Dog Food
- Souly Raw Pet Food
- Verus Pet Food
Note: Although all of the above mentions are dog food made in the USA or pet food brands that have taken the transparency pledge, neither myself nor Top Dog Tips explicitly endorse anyone’s dog food product over another. There are several reasons when food not made in the USA can be just as good, if not better, than dog food made in the USA. As a responsible pet parent, always research the brand fully before feeding it to your dog.
ALSO READ: 15 Top Dog Food Brands (2021)
Dog Foods to Keep an Eye On
The following companies are just a few that use the “Made in the USA” label on their food but source their ingredients outside the US.
Unlike the companies listed above that make dog food in the USA, these companies have not taken the pet food pledge to full transparency of their ingredient source and quality.
This means that these foods could literally contain anything from anywhere, even though this may not always be so.
Either way, here are the companies you should always investigate further:
- Fromm Family Kibble
- Merrick Pet Care
- Castor & Pollux
- Eagle Pack dog food
- Holistic Select
- Milo’s Kitchen grain-free dog food
- Kibbles N’ Bits
As a final note, I’d like to add that while some pet food manufacturers and companies may not source all of their ingredients in the United States, that does not ultimately make their formulas bad or harmful to dogs.
Several top dog food brands cannot 100% claim the “dog food made in the USA” label but have a great nutrient profile, no dog food recalls, perfect reviews from pet owners, and an outstanding reputation.
I recommend researching each brand separately and judge them on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Healthiest Dog Food Made in the USA?
If you’re already considering a few of the options in the dog food brands list above, then you are one step towards getting healthy dog food for your pooch.
After all, the healthiest dog food made in the USA are those made without “pet grade” ingredients and have fully complied with the standard pet food regulations.
Where Is Nutro Dog Food Made?
You may have heard about Nutro dog food in commercials or in social media. You’ve probably asked yourself, “where is Nutro dog food made?”
Is Nutro dog food made in the USA? This dog food brand is manufactured in North Carolina and California.
They also have manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Arkansas, Columbus, Fort Smith, and North Sioux City. However, their ingredients are sourced in different parts of the world to guarantee its said quality.
Where is Purina Pro Plan Made?
As one of the leading dog food in the market, it’s inevitable to wonder, “where is Purina Pro Plan made”? Is it dog food made in USA?
According to Purina, about 99% of their dog food products are sourced, manufactured, and packaged in the USA.
However, there are still speculations about this brand since they have not agreed to fully disclose their source of ingredients.
Best Dog Food Made in USA – Summary
There are many choices when it comes to dog foods. However, if you want what’s best for your pooch, you should consider dog food made in the USA.
American-made dog food guarantees safe, healthy ingredients, following strict pet food processing regulations. Unlike other brands, you can expect human-grade dog food made in the USA with zero fillers and preservatives.
Still, it requires a lot of legwork to fully determine that dog food is 100% made in America. With the dog food brands list above, you have saved yourself (and your pooch) from all that hassle and potential harm.
Try one of these dog foods made in the USA and treat your dog to a healthy meal that they deserve.
READ NEXT: 25 Dog Treats Made in the USA (Sourced and Packaged)
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