Perhaps you already know that plant-based food diets are the best sources of proteins for us humans. Plant foods like peas, lentils, and legumes are great sources of proteins and other essential nutrients. This, unfortunately, is not true for dogs. In fact, most legume-based diets are unhealthy for dogs.
With basic canine nutrition knowledge, you already know that proteins make up the most important foods for dogs. You probably also already know that they prefer meat to plants. While plant protein sources like peas and lentils are great sources of protein, your dog cannot effectively process this type of protein.
There are hordes of dog foods on sale in today’s pet food market. And it can be quite a hassle to know which one has the healthiest combination of ingredients for your dog. Luckily, you found just the right place to provide you with information on which factors to consider when selecting dog food and the role of grain-free dog foods in DCM.
Below are the best legume-free dog food available in the market today;
Table of Contents
Reviews of the Best Legume-free dog food in 2022
Inception Dry Fish Recipe
Inception dry dog food by Inception Foods is our overall best legume-free dog food on this list.
Have you decided to find your pooch some dry dog food that does not contain any legumes, lentils or potatoes? Then the Inception, Fish Recipe could very well be the solution for you. The recipe harnesses the high-quality nutrients in millets and oats, along with whitefish and catfish. This combination of nutrients nourishes your dog with antioxidants, high fiber and a few beneficial supplements.
The inception Fish Recipe is loaded with animal protein, making sure your dog is safe from any diet-induced cardiomyopathy. This food is great for all dog breeds whether small or big as its animal protein content surpasses the benefits associated with plant-protein.
This is a great food to switch to from a food with its major protein source is legumes or peas. As its name suggests, Inception, Fish Recipe is a great food to reduce your dog’s intolerance towards otherwise healthy foods. It is also loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a smooth coat and healthy skin for your furry friend.
- Oats and millets provide a great source of fiber in the dog’s diet
- High percentage of animal proteins with two popular types of fish
- Strengthens the immunity of elderly dogs faster
- It contains no artificial additives or insignificant food ingredients such as wheat, corn, or soy
- Some dogs do not like fish flavors
Rachel Ray Nutrish Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
As its name suggests, the Rachael Ray Nutrish has only six high quality ingredients as well as essential minerals for your pooch. Rachael Ray Nutrish’s recipes are well known, especially for making food for the family. They are just as well mustered and tasty when it comes to legume free dog food. You can definitely trust this manufacturer to meet your expectations in creating an excellent dog food for your furry friend.
This food includes poultry fat in its ingredients to provide your dog with omega fatty acids for skin maintenance, coat health as well as good taste. This food’s main ingredients are all wholesome and natural, and the recipe does not contain any legumes, corn, lentils, soy, potatoes, or wheat. There are also no artificial additives in the food such as flavors, colors, meat byproducts, or fillers.
For you pooch’s bone health, this dog food contains lamb meal to provide vitamin B and amino acids as well as chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health. Even more, this dog food’s brown rice ingredient provides carbohydrates and fiber to improve your dog’s energy levels while enabling easy digestion.
- Ideal for dogs with allergies or sensitive digestive systems
- Great for pups with digestive problems
- Ideal dog food for weight management
- Available at a reasonable price
- Some dogs do not like its smell
Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food is a great source of protein with its primary ingredients being Chicken, Grains, Salmon, and lamb. This adult dry dog food formula contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and is also enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin. To top it all off, this food has an abundant supply of superfoods like spinach, chia seed, and kale to help in boosting your dog’s immune system.
$54.99 in stock
Nutro Dry Dog food mixes three sources of proteins that are both natural and holistic and offers the optimum levels of amino acids for your furry friend. With no artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, this dog food uses human-grade ingredients for your pooch’s safety while ensuring a wonderful taste and the nutrients responsible for the development of stronger muscles.
- Trio Protein Formula
- Crude Protein: 23%
- Crude fat Min: 12%
- Crude Fiber Max: 4%
- Several varieties available without legumes, peas, lentils and potatoes
- Best for large dog breeds
- High fiber and low fat content
- No additives or artificial colors
- Uses natural and quality protein sources
- Available at an affordable price
- The kibbles are very easy for dogs to eat up and can lead to overfeeding
Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus
Boasting 88 percent meat protein sources, the Victor Classic Hi-pro Plus Dry Dog Food Formula is well endowed with nutrients, including high quality meat meal, chicken meal, fish meal, and pork meal, making it one of the most ideal for dogs of all breeds and sizes.
This dog food is available in 5, 15, 40, and 50lb bags, allowing you to purchase the ideal dog food according to your dog’s age, size and activity level. The Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus is also formulated as a gluten-free dog food and is instead enriched with protein, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, which allow for an easier and healthy digestion process while ensuring a stronger immune system.
- The abundance of animal protein ensures high quality protein content for your dog
- Great for active dogs and sport dogs
- High nutrient diet that is great for small and large breed dogs
- Fortified with essential minerals, vitamins and fatty acids for a well-balanced diet
- Switching to this dog food as a new food should be done carefully
- The manufacturer recently changed the product’s packaging
Farmina N&D Ocean – Cod, Spelt, Oats & Orange Recipe
Are you looking to exclude legumes, peas, and lentils in your dog’s diet due to a food allergy or maybe a sensitive tummy? Then it is only wise to choose foods with premium quality ingredients, which are often easy on your pooch’s tummy and do not contain the ingredients causing his allergic reactions.
The Cod, spelt, and Oats & Orange formula in this dog food make it top among the dog food options you should consider to exclude legumes, peas, lentils and potatoes from your dog’s diet. This food is created using highly digestive grains such as spelt and oats with dried veggies and fruits to lift its overall nutritional value. Additionally, this dog food is well endowed with fiber for easy digestion. And to top it all off, it has chelated minerals to encourage nutrient absorption. It is great for dog’s with a sensitive tummy or suffering allergic reactions after ingesting specific ingredients.
Farmina N&D Ocean is made up of 92% animal protein from premium quality natural sources. It is recommended for dogs of all ages since it boats a low glycemic and low carb recipe that increases palatability and is easy on your dog’s digestive system all while maintaining your dog’s sugar levels at their healthiest levels.
- The major ingredient is animal protein
- The amount of carbohydrates and fiber is limited
- Ideal for dogs with high blood pressure due to a low glycemic formulation
- Does not include legumes, peas, lentils or potatoes
- Some dogs do not like the strong smell
Holistic Select Adult Health, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
Thanks to its healthy fiber, active probiotic contents, and digestive enzymes, the Holistic Select Adult Health Recipe is blended to support a healthy digestion process and system. It is a wonderful recipe for dogs with allergic or sensitive tummies as well as those diagnosed with digestive health problems.
This dog food is grain free and does not include legumes or potatoes in its ingredients, providing the perfect blend of whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa and nutritious fruits like papaya & pumpkin and veggies to provide your pooch with natural fiber and sufficient energy.
The Holistic Select Adult Health Recipe is also enriched with protease, cellulose, and alpha amylase to aid in the breakdown of cellulose, starch, and proteins. To top it all off, this dog food includes superfoods like blueberries, oranges, and pomegranates in its recipe, providing your dog with antioxidants.
- Ideal for dogs with digestive complications
- Great for your dog’s skin and coat
- Ideal for picky dogs
- Great for allergic dogs
- Can give dogs gas
- Has colitis issues and is therefore unsuitable for canines
Health Extension, Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Designed to combine just a few natural and high-quality ingredients, the Health Extension, Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is manufactured in the US by a family-operated firm in a human-grade facility. The main ingredients in this dog food are chicken meal, chicken pieces, and chicken fat. It also contains brown rice, which is great for promoting canine health.
Other ingredients in this dog food include fish meal, lamb meal, and oatmeal. The formula combines more ingredients than most others in this review and as a result may not b the ideal dog food for dogs that require simple foods due to digestive complications.
- Contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids which are great for dog’s skin and coat
- Made in the USA
- Boasts added health benefits with additional ingredients like brown rice
- Provides minerals and vitamins to improve your dog’s immune system
- Has a lot of ingredients, which might not be ideal for dogs with digestive issues
Ziwi Peak Gently Air-Dried, Venison Recipe
If your dog is intolerant to legumes, peas, lentils or potatoes, the ZiwiPeak Gently Air-Dried, Venison Recipe could be an ideal option since it is mostly made of animal protein. This dry dog food also includes very little components of grains, fruits and veggies in it.
As its name suggests, the meat is gently air dried, hence retaining all its essential nutrients including fats and protein. The manufacturer avails this dog food in small-sized bags (8.8, 5.5, 2.2, and 1lb) making it easier for the buyer to choose the food that suits their dog size and energy levels.
- Air-dried meat is rich in all the natural nutrients
- Made up mostly of animal protein
- Nutrient rich dog food
- Contains no artificial additives such as preservatives or colors
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes
- High fat content
- It might be a little hard to master portion sizes
Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula
The Purina Pro Plan Sport dog food comes highly recommended for sport dogs or highly energetic pups to enhance their strength and endurance. The formula contains 30% protein, which is sourced from authentic chicken and is great for packing up on your pooch’s muscle mass.
The formula also contains 20% fat to provide the dog with additional energy source during playtime. The remaining portion of the recipe includes amino acids and minerals to boost your dog’s immune system. The formula excludes all legume and potato ingredients, making it a great choice for dogs in any life stage. What’s more, the formula also features glucosamine to aid in maintaining joint health and mobility.
With omega 6 & 3 fatty acids, this dog food is great for your dog’s health. Ideally, this sport dog food is designed to improve the dog’s metabolism, enhancing endurance during physical activity. Purina Pro Plan is also gaining reputation among pet parents for its natural ingredients with no artificial additives like preservatives, colors, or flavors. This sport dog food is packed with animal protein as well as carbohydrates to keep your dog both strong and energetic.
- High protein content helps in building muscle mass
- Boosts stamina for athletic and working dogs
- Has glucosamine for joint health
- Promotes oxygen metabolism
- Ideal for both small and large breed puppies
- More on the expensive side
- A sudden switch to a high protein diet may lead to digestive issues among some dog breeds
Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Canned Dog Food
Free from legumes, peas, lentils, as well as potatoes, Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Canned Dog Food is perfect for dogs with allergies and stomach sensitivities. This dog food contains very few veggies and comes in four flavors (Real Lamb + Real Beef, Real Duck, Real Chicken, and Real Beef) for dogs that are picky with flavors.
This dog food also boasts a large percentage of animal protein to ensure your dog gets a reasonable amount of natural fat and protein. What’s more, it is free from any allergens and is great for dogs with food sensitivities and skin allergies.
Other notable ingredients in this dog food are gums and minerals. However, since Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Canned Dog Food is wet canned food, it is available at a significantly higher price than similar products on the market.
- It contains deboned chicken as its first ingredient
- Suitable for pups with skin allergies and digestive complications
- It is enriched with minerals, vitamins, and amino fatty acids
- Great source of high quality natural protein
- It is legume and gluten-free
- One of the more expensive options
- It has a strong smell that might deter some dogs
Buying Guide for the Best Legume-free Dog Food
FDA report on health risks
The FDA also released its findings after an investigation that began in 2014, with the major aspect of the study being the link between BEG (boutique, exotic ingredients and grain-free) diets and DCM. Another major part of the research aimed at breaking down the dog breeds that were most affected by DCM.
According to the FDA, the study showed that the potential association between diet and CDM in dogs may involve multiple factors and appears to be a complex scientific issue. To us, this means that there is no definitive conclusion as to the relationship between diet and CDM. However, since legumes, peas, lentils and potatoes have been in scrutiny for a long time for their role in inducing CDM, it is best to find an alternative food that does not contain these ingredients in the meantime.
What Makes Legumes bad for dogs?
No one really knows for sure that legumes are the cause of increase in the cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. However, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in December of 2018, the two are linked. The article describes how diets containing peas, potatoes, lentils, and legumes led to the rise in cases of DCM.
While the percentage of dogs assumed to be afflicted by diet-induced CDM is quite low, it is crucial to note that DCM is extremely serious and can easily be fatal in all dog breeds. Now that the research points towards legumes, potatoes, peas and lentils as possible causes of diet-induced CDM, it is only right to consider other sources of protein for your furry friend. We have done all the heavy lifting for you and reviewed 10 of the best dog foods without these ingredients. Any of them is a great replacement for your plant-based dog food.
What Are Legumes in Dog’s Food?
In dog foods, legumes often come as ingredients like peas, beans, and lentils. Typically, they are used by pet food manufacturers as an alternative to grains in grain-free dog foods. While the popular misconception argues that legumes in most pet foods are only fillers, they actually provide your pooch with carbs, proteins, fiber, and nutrients that are essential to a furry friend’s overall well-being.
Problems associated with legumes in dog diets mainly arise when too much legumes are included in the grain-free dog foods. Pet owners largely avoid plant-based protein sources as they are connected to the rise in CMD. However, if used in the right quantity, legumes can be a great source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, antioxidants, and magnesium.
Are Legumes Bad For Dogs?
Legumes have been used in commercially produced dog foods for a long time, particularly in grain-free dog foods. The legume family plants include lentils, beans, and peas. The trend of adding legumes and potatoes to dog food to boost protein content is very prevalent in today’s pet food industry.
However, after a rise in the cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating foods rich in legumes and potatoes, they were subjected to a series of tests by the FDA. As stated earlier, DCM has a lot of factors aiding it but legumes and potatoes seem to be linked to its prevalence in dogs.
It is only wise for pet owners to check all dog foods’ ingredient lists to see if these ingredients are present and the amount that is included. Dog food ingredients are often listed in a descending order based on their percentage or weight in the food, so it won’t be hard to check the legume content.
If legumes are listed at the top of the ingredients list, avoid feeding your dog with the food. It not only risks your dog getting DCM, but also often contains toxins/carcinogens that are hard for canines to digest. If at the moment you check the ingredients list you get concerns about the plant-sourced protein content, it is best to find an alternative brand.
Important Features to Consider when choosing the best legume-free dog food
It is essential to remember that though legume-free dog foods are preferred, not all dog foods that are marketed as legume-free are good for your pooch. It is important for your dog’s well-being that you always check the ingredients list before purchasing any dog food. Below are some of the essential features to consider when purchasing the best legume-free dog food for your furry friend:
- A Balanced Nutritional meal
To be certain that the food you are purchasing is designed to meet the nutritional needs of pup, check that the product has an AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement. While the statement is not a guarantee of quality, when combined with a detailed check of the ingredients list, you are bound to choose the best dog food for your furry friend. The ingredients should provide a well-rounded nutritional meal for your dog, including all the primary nutrients and essential minerals for optimum dog health and energy.
- Contains Other Beneficial Nutritional Supplements
Dogs need a steady balance of certain minerals and vitamins in their daily diet. Most commercial dog foods contain various artificial supplements. You will be wise to select a dog food with chelated minerals as they bind protein molecules, boosting nutrient absorption. As you may have noted, the pet food market is teeming with a broad array of legume-free dog foods that contain these minerals in different ratios.
Provided the dog food of your choice provides your pup with the overall nutritional requirements, you can select it based on your dog’s taste and smell preferences. If you are still unsure about which is the best legume-free dog food for your pooch, you can simply choose any of the ten we have reviewed above.
4 Alternatives to Legumes
Are you concerned about the connection between legumes and heart disease in dogs? It is only reasonable to consider including alternative ingredients in your dog’s diet. Below are some of the best ingredients to replace your dog food’s legume ingredients:
Pumpkins are perhaps the best source of dietary fiber for dogs. Even more, they contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and several essential minerals. Search for dog foods with ingredients such as acorn squash, pumpkin, or butternut squash in place of potatoes.
- Chicken peas
Chicken peas are very rich in protein as well as dietary fiber, iron, manganese, copper and vitamin B9. Since chickpeas are also legumes, however, you should consider avoiding them in dog’s diet if you already have concerns over your pet’s heart health.
- Whole Grains
Most dog owners prefer buying dog food that is formulated completely grain free. However, whole grains are generally much healthier than commercially produced dog food with grains in them. Look for dog foods that contain millet, brown rice, or whole oats as a limited ingredient diet.
Tapioca is not that popular in the USA, but it is very prevalent in other parts of the world including South America. Tapioca is rich in complex carbs and a horde of other nutrients. When purchasing a product with tapioca, make sure that its listed ingredient is tapioca and not just its byproducts.
Are Peas Bad For Dogs?
If used in small proportions in your dog’s diet, peas are not usually harmful to most dogs. However, they contain harmful elements such as oxalates, phytates, phytoestrogens, and lectins, which can lead to digestion and even fertility issues in some dog breeds. Oxalates, lectins, and oxalates are particularly dangerous since they inhibit absorption of essential minerals such as zinc, calcium, and iron in your dog’s digestive system.
Though there is not enough evidence yet, we have already shown that these foods are also linked to elevating the risk of dogs getting a heart condition. Symptoms of DCM include loss of appetite, fainting, coughing, and lethargy. Being a life-threatening condition, DCM should be avoided at any cost and treated as soon as possible to avoid fatalities.
Can Dogs Eat Legumes?
Yes, of course dogs can eat legumes. They are great sources of protein and fiber, but should be fed to a dog on chosen varieties. Legumes should never be a replacement for animal protein. Moreover, legumes should not be fed to dogs in large amounts. Dog owners should try and avoid purchasing pea-byproducts such as pea fiber, pea protein, and pea flour as well as legume ingredients such as baked beans, refried beans, and beans.
Now that you have a good understanding of legume-free dog foods and what the risks of feeding your dog too much legumes and potatoes are, you can now go ahead and choose the best legume-free dog food for your pooch.
If you decide that you want to buy legume-free dog food for your furry friend, the recommendations above could offer a great start. If in doubt about any product on the list, consult with your vet first.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org