9 Most Expensive Dog Foods in 2023 – Are These Pricey Dog Foods Worth the Expense?

If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’re likely aware of the vast discrepancy in prices for dog food. Some brands can be purchased inexpensively, while others can cost a small fortune. It’s easy to assume that the pricier options are of higher quality, but this isn’t necessarily true.

Dog owners often assume that the most expensive dog food is always the best choice because it contains unique and expensive ingredients such as bison instead of chicken. However, it’s essential to understand that these ingredients do not necessarily mean they are better for your dog.

It’s natural to want the best for our furry friends, but overspending on dog food isn’t the answer. The notion that “expensive is better” can be misleading. It’s crucial to strike a balance between quality and affordability when it comes to selecting the right food for our pups.

It’s crucial to take a closer look at the ingredients of the food you’re feeding your dog and evaluate their specific nutritional needs. While certain breeds may require bison-based meals, it’s not a necessity for most dogs.

In 2023, we have discovered the top nine priciest dog foods available in the market. We’ve provided a comprehensive analysis of their macronutrients and ingredients below for your reference.

Summary of 2023’s 9 Most Expensive Dog Foods

Rank Dog Food
1 Orijen Dog Original Recipe
2 Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food
3 The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe
4 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties
5 Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food
6 ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
7 Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe
8 K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
9 Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor

#1. Orijen Dog Original Recipe

If you’re willing to spend a little extra on your dog’s food, Orijen Dog Original Recipe might just be worth it. Compared to other brands, it boasts an impressive 85% animal protein content, and the protein sources are diverse, including plenty of organ meats. Your furry friend will benefit from a well-rounded and complete diet with this top-tier option.

The main ingredient of this particular food is animal protein, making it quite pricey. However, the high cost is justified by the fact that you are essentially paying for the quality of meat you are getting. It goes without saying that this food is packed with more protein and fat than your average pet food.

Moreover, this particular brand of dog food is produced exclusively in the United States, giving pet owners peace of mind that the manufacturing process adheres to strict safety regulations. Another aspect we appreciate is the freeze-dried meat coating, which enhances the taste without the need for additives like sugar that could compromise your dog’s health.

 #2. Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food

  • Main Ingredients: Lamb Tripe, Lamb Lung, LambHeart, Lamb, Lamb Liver, Lamb Bone, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Spleen
  • Protein: 44%
  • Fat: 24%

Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Air-Dried Dog Food is a premium quality dog food that comes at a higher price point. This is due to two primary factors – Firstly, the air-drying process involved in its preparation is more expensive compared to traditional kibble. Secondly, the food is packed with a generous amount of lamb, which is a relatively expensive protein source compared to chicken or beef. However, the food is a great option for dogs who may have allergies to common protein sources and require an alternative protein source.

It is crucial to emphasize that lamb is not considered hypoallergenic. This means that lamb can still cause allergies in dogs. However, dogs are more likely to develop allergies to the proteins they are regularly exposed to. Since chicken and beef are the most commonly used ingredients in dog food, they also tend to be the most common allergens.

If your furry companion is not allergic to chicken or beef, then feeding them lamb will not prevent the development of allergies.

The absence of grains makes this recipe entirely grain-free. However, it doesn’t solely consist of lentils and vegetables. The recipe primarily comprises lamb, including various organ meats. The high proportion of animal meat is the primary reason behind its expensive cost. Lamb is a pricey ingredient, but it undoubtedly adds a distinctive flavor and nutritional value to the dish.

In addition, the lamb is raised in free-range conditions, which adds to its already high price.

3. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe

  • Main Ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Barley, Dehydrated Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Oats, Dehydrated Peas, Dehydrated Carrots
  • Protein: 24.5%

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe stands out from other recipes available in the market. What sets this recipe apart is that it is meant to be rehydrated before feeding it to your dog. When warm water is added, it rehydrates to four times its weight. This means that the 10-pound box of this recipe can make up to 40 pounds of food. Isn’t that amazing? Your furry friend will definitely love this delicious and healthy meal.

The primary ingredient in this dog food is chicken, which is a good source of protein. However, organic barley, potatoes, flaxseed, and oats are the following ingredients on the list. It is worth noting that peas are also included in this dog food, which has been linked to heart problems in dogs according to recent studies.

The food in question has a high content of peas and grains, which results in its relatively low protein and fat levels. Additionally, the protein present is primarily plant-based, which may make it more difficult for dogs to digest and absorb.

It’s important to note that using per-pound costs as a basis for this food may not be entirely accurate. This is due to the fact that the food rehydrates to a significant portion, making it seem like you’re receiving less than what’s indicated on the bag in terms of weight. So, it’s essential to keep this in mind when evaluating the cost of the product.

4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

  • Main Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries
  • Protein: 44%
  • Fat: 35%

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties stand out from regular kibble, much like other items on this list. These patties are freeze-dried and require rehydration before serving to your furry friend. Due to their dense nature, they come at a premium cost per pound.

Despite considering this factor, they remain rather costly.

The ingredients used in these meals are of the highest quality. The recipe includes a variety of meats, such as whole beef, beef liver, and other beef organs, making them incredibly nutritious. Along with this, the food is also enriched with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and other high-quality fruits and veggies. These premium ingredients contribute to the overall cost of the food, but they are undoubtedly worth it for the health benefits they provide.

If you’re willing to spend more, you’ll definitely get what you pay for with this dog food. So, if your budget allows, it could be a great choice for your furry friend.

5. Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food

  • Main Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Kale
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 37%

The Primal Raw Pronto Lamb Recipe Dog Freeze-Dried Food may come off as a bit pricier than other dog food brands, but it’s well worth the investment. Its freeze-drying process ensures that the quality of the ingredients is preserved, making it a healthier option for your furry friend. Additionally, this dog food contains more animal meat and fewer fillers, which explains the higher price tag. While it may not be the most budget-friendly option, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment for pet owners who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.

The food is crafted using top-notch protein sourced from the USA. The fruits and veggies used in the recipe are purely organic, ensuring maximum health benefits. Moreover, the lamb included in the food is raised without any added hormones or steroids, making it all-natural. Additionally, the food is free from corn, wheat, soy, legumes, or lentils, ensuring a balanced and healthy diet for your furry friend.

If you’re someone who wants to provide your dog with raw food but don’t have the time or energy to make it yourself, then this food is perfect for you. The best part? You won’t have to go through the process of rehydrating the food as it’s ready to serve straight out of the bag. However, if you prefer to rehydrate it, you have that option as well.

The reason behind the steep pricing of the food is due to the premium quality ingredients that are used and the added convenience that it provides.

6. ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • Main Ingredients: Beef, Deboned Pork, Beef Meal, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Whole Green Peas, Pork Meal
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 17%

ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is similar to other premium dog food recipes in that it is mostly comprised of meat. This specific recipe places emphasis on beef and pork, with both types of meat being included in the top few ingredients. Although only the first three ingredients are meat, the third ingredient is beef meal, which is highly concentrated.

Hence, this particular recipe comprises a generous amount of beef. It would be an excellent choice for dogs who have an allergy to chicken and require a high-quality substitute.

It’s important to note that this recipe contains a significant amount of lentils and beans, which naturally boosts the protein content. It’s worth keeping in mind that not all of the protein in this dish is derived from meat.

If your dog has an allergy to grains, then this food is a great option to consider. However, it’s important to note that most dogs can tolerate grains in their diet without any issues. Just because a food is labeled as grain-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for your dog or that it contains more meat. In fact, often the grains are just replaced with other ingredients like lentils. So, it’s important to consider your dog’s individual needs and dietary requirements before making a decision on their food.

The image above is copyrighted by Jaromir Chalabala and licensed by Shutterstock.

7. Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe

  • Main Ingredients: Venison, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Safflower Oil, Fish Oil
  • Protein: 9%
  • Fat: 2%

The Just Food For Dogs Venison & Squash Recipe stands out from the rest of the dog foods on this list in a significant way. While it may be one of the pricier options available, it’s worth noting that it’s not like the others.

This particular dog food stands out from the rest due to its fresh preparation. Similar to human food, it is carefully prepared and shipped frozen when purchased online. Prior to feeding it to your furry friends, you simply need to thaw it out.

The recipe contains a substantial amount of venison, which is a rare and expensive meat. While all meat is costly, venison’s rarity makes it even pricier. However, it is not necessarily beneficial for most dogs. If your dog doesn’t require venison due to allergies, it would be wise to opt for a recipe with a more affordable meat option.

This particular recipe boasts minimal fillers, making it a grain-free option that is primarily composed of venison. While this contributes to its higher price point, its value ultimately hinges on your dog’s individual needs. Generally, most dogs can thrive on more affordable chicken or beef-based diets.

8. K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • Main Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Tripe, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Blood, Eggs
  • Protein: 35%
  • Fat: 37%

The K9 Natural Beef Feast Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food is another food on the list that is packed with protein-rich meat. Beef is the main ingredient, and it includes various types of organ meats as well. These organ meats are an excellent source of nutrients that are essential for the health of dogs. Interestingly, they don’t add much to the cost of the food, as they are often discarded.

There are a few reasons why this particular food comes with a higher price tag compared to others. Firstly, it is exclusively made in New Zealand, which means importing it to other countries incurs a significant cost. As a result, the overall price of the product can be quite steep, and a single bag can easily set you back hundreds of dollars.

The quality of this dog food is undoubtedly impressive. It is made with grain-free and freeze-dried ingredients, ensuring top-notch nutrition for your furry friend. The high protein and fat content make it an ideal choice for most dogs, resulting in a healthy and vibrant coat. Investing in this food is a surefire way to keep your canine companion in excellent shape.

In our opinion, while the quality of the food is undoubtedly high, the added benefits don’t necessarily justify the higher price tag. It’s possible to find comparable options for a much more reasonable price point. This is particularly true if you’re not based in New Zealand, where the product may be more readily available. All in all, we would say that the cost doesn’t necessarily outweigh the benefits in this case.

9. Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor

  • Main Ingredients: Water, Hydrolyzed Chicken, Corn Starch, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil
  • Protein: 3%
  • Fat: 2.3%

If your furry friend is experiencing severe food allergies, Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Sensitivities Original Flavor is the perfect solution for them. This specialized dog food is made with hydrolyzed chicken, which is an innovative ingredient that cannot provoke allergic reactions. However, this unique process does make the food a bit more costly than regular dog food since an extra step is needed to create it.

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