Vote in the Dogington Post Awards: Best Dry Dog Food

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As part of a larger initiative to educate dog owners on proper nutrition, effective training, and other ways to raise a happy and healthy dog, the Dogington Post is reviewing products, toys, foods, treats, and rescue organizations in our first annual Dogington Post Awards Program!

Each week, we’ll present the nominees in a particular category. And, YOU, our readers, will have an opportunity to weigh-in on your favorites, to help us choose a winner!

Nominees from each category for the Dogington Post Award have been selected based on strict criteria including dedication to animal health and welfare, providing the very best quality ingredients, and dedication to improving the lives of our dogs.

This week, we’re presenting the nominees for Best Dry Dog Food in 2012!

Each of our Best Dry Dog Food nominees are manufactured in US-based facilities, with thoughtful sourcing, handling, and processing of the foods we feed our dogs every day. These brands are dedicated to improving the health and vitality of our pets through carefully selecting ingredients, providing nutritionally complete foods, and utilizing manufacturing facilities and procedures with the very best interest of dogs in mind.

Dogington Post’s Best Dry Dog Food nominees are:

1. FreeHand

FreeHand is a mission-driven, super premium dry dog food company conceived out of social activism with a fierce dedication to both providing dogs with the highest quality food and, in the process, saving the lives of abandoned dogs in the communities where their products are sold. For each bag of dog food purchased, FreeHand donates an equal amount of dog food to shelters and rescues.

With 4 unique recipes to choose from, all formulated by a renowned animal nutritionist, Dr. George Collings, dogs from all walks of life will find a food that meets their needs with specific benefits to each flavor. Each recipe is wheat, corn, and soy free and made from the finest ingredients in their Texas facility. Choose from Engage, a chicken and rice recipe specially designed for older or large breed dogs, especially those that are less active or overweight; Enrich, a chicken and pork recipe for both large and small breeds enriched with Taurine and L-Carnitine to support overall health; Empower, a chicken, turkey, and duck recipe designed for small breed and highly active dogs with added vegetable fibers to support digestion; or Energize, a grain-free chicken and salmon recipe with a higher protein content, ideal for active, athletic dogs and those with high energy.

In addition to providing our companions with the best quality food and nutrition, FreeHand matches pound-for-pound every bag of food sold to a customer by donating a bag of their premium rescueOne recipe dog food to shelters around the nation. It has been proven that shelter dogs fed a top quality food are healthier, happier, and more adoptable, reducing the likelihood of overcrowding and euthanasia.

A newcomer to the dog food industry, FreeHand is primarily sold throughout Texas and the west coast, but fans of their food and their mission are finding their online ordering system (and scheduled incremental shipments) to be an easy alternative to shopping in stores.

To learn more about FreeHand, visit


2. Merrick Grain Free

Since 1988, Merrick has been raising the bar for the entire pet food industry. With a long-standing tradition of manufacturing premium dog food and treats with only the finest ingredients, Merrick uses only real whole foods that are locally sourced and processed as little as possible to create one of the highest quality, best tasting, and most nutritious dog foods on the market.

Their 4 grain-free recipes: Real Chicken & Sweet Potato, Real Buffalo & Sweet Potato, Real Pork & Sweet Potato, and Real Duck & Sweet Potato, all use real meat as the number one ingredient with fresh produce like sweet potato, peas, and apples as natural fiber, mineral, and antioxidant sources. The Merrick Grain-Free line is easily digestible, providing excellent energy benefits without upsetting sensitive systems. This ultra-premium line of grain-free dry dog food is beneficial to all breeds in all stages of life.

In addition to providing our pets with the highest quality, tastiest recipes possible, Merrick is dedicated to changing the entire pet food industry as we know it. By setting standards high above the norm and educating consumers on proper pet nutrition, Merrick is a driving force behind an improving pet food industry.

To learn more about Merrick and their 65 wholesome dog food recipes, visit


3. California Natural Grain Free

California Natural is best known for their “pure & simple” approach to dry dog food: use very few ingredients, just premium lean meats, essential vitamins and key minerals, to create healthy, nutritious recipes that dogs of all life stages – even those with sensitive systems and food allergies – can thrive on. California Natural never uses additives, chemical preservatives, or fillers in their complete line of super-premium, top quality dry dog food.

The California Natural line of Grain-Free foods include 5 unique protein choices – salmon, venison, lamb, chicken, and even kangaroo – that are all interchangeable from one recipe to the next. The grain-free line is perfect for those dogs that prefer a variety in their diet, without the hassle of slowly transitioning to new foods. Many experts agree that rotating a dog’s protein source often lowers the risk of developing food sensitivity and provides a more balanced intake of nutrients.

Manufactured in Nebraska, California Natural is completely transparent in terms of where their ingredients are sourced. Consumers can visit their innovative website, See Beyond the Bag, to see exactly where each and every ingredient in their bag of kibble is sourced. Whenever possible, California Natural sources ingredients from local farms, with the exception of their kangaroo and lamb which are sourced in New Zealand, a country with standards for meat production even more stringent than our own.

To learn more about California Natural’s Grain Free line of dry dog food, visit


To vote for your favorite Dry Dog Food brand, leave a comment with your selection below!



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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


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