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How to Find the Best Dog Food in South Africa

Dog food and dog bowl

Any reviews will no doubt include a high level of subjectivity from the reviewers perspective and it's impossible to be a 100% objective.

It's also important to note that pet food is regulated in South Africa, where manufacturers should be members of the Pet Food Industry of South Africa (PFI). Currently there's close to 90 members with multiple brands and ranges that span different pets, breeds and sizes.

With this in mind, please note the following was not a comprehensive review of all dog food brands and focussed on the more popular items. Off course you will also have your favourites and possibly tried a few brands before finding one that worked for your dog, so you will have a different experience!

As with most products that you buy, there are multiple brands competing against each other. Each brand has its own positives, negatives and unique qualities. The trick to finding the perfect one for your dog is to compare your budget with the quality of the food you will be getting, and whether or not the brand caters for your dog’s specific needs.

Acana

Acana has designed their foods based on the ancestral diet of your pets. According to them, the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domestic dogs, and so they have used the wolf’s eating habits and nutritional needs to build the perfect recipe for their dog food.

Their foods are said to follow 5 basic Nature Rules; meaning they are rich in protein, include high quantities and an abundant variety of fresh meats, contain the perfect whole prey meat ratio, and limit the use of glycemic carbohydrates.

Their range includes:

  • ACANA Classics
    • Prairie Poultry
    • Wild Coast
  • ACANA Heritage
    • Puppy Small Breed
    • Puppy & Junior
    • Puppy Large Breed
    • Adult Small Breed
    • Adult Dog
    • (Chicken & Greens)
    • Adult Large Breed
    • Sport & Agility
    • Light & Fit
    • Senior Dog
  • ACANA Regionals
    • Wild Prairie
    • Pacifica
  • ACANA Singles
    • Grass-Fed Lamb
    • Free-Run Duck
    • Yorkshire Pork
    • Pacific Pilchard

Royal Canin

Not only does Royal Canin produce pet food that is of outstanding quality and fantastic nutritional value, but they also work hard to inform all pet owners of the benefits that a good diet will bring for your pet.

They have a Dog Food Finder, which allows you to enter your dog’s details, like age, breed, weight, etc. and find the perfect food for them. Their dry dog food range includes:

  • X-Small (1 – 4kg)
  • Mini (1 -10 kg)
  • Medium (11 – 25kg)
  • Maxi (26 – 44kg)
  • Giant (> 45kg)
  • Giant (> 45kg)
  • Maxi (26 – 44kg)
  • Medium (11 – 25kg)

Montego

A family-owned company, Montego was started in 2000 by Hannes van Jaarsveld, a farmer in Graaff Reinet, South Africa. He and his son now run the factory and produce one of the best-known pet food brands of South Africa.

Montego’s range of foods extends from dry food, to wet food and everything in between. They have thought of everything; sauces to go over pellets, treats for your ‘good boys’ and the best nutritional value in their everyday foods.

  • Karoo – a premium dog food range full of nutrients and scientifically formulated for your dog (comes in 1.75 kg, 8 kg, and 20 kg bags)
    • Small Breed Puppy
    • Large Breed Puppy
    • Adult Dog
    • Senior Dog 
  • Montego Classic – a perfectly balanced, highly digestible recipe of delicious dog food (available in 2 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg and 25 kg bags)
    • Small to Medium Breed
    • Large to Giant Breed Puppy
    • Adult Dog
    • Senior Dog 
  • Monty & Me – a more affordable range of the same Montego quality that dogs enjoy (available in 8 kg, 10 kg and 25 kg bags)
    • Essential for Adult dogs
    • Adult Dog
    • Puppy 

Hill’s

Divided into three main groups, Hill’s offers pet owners a choice between their Science Diet™, Prescription Diet™ and Ideal Balance™ ranges. The Prescription Diet™ range is obviously for dogs who have medical issues and have been prescribed this food to help them rectify these problems. From weight issues to joint and muscle problems, this food will help keep your pups healthy.

In the Prescription Diet™ dry and wet food range are:

  • Metabolic Canine Original
  • Digestive/ weight/diabetes management
  • Weight Reduction
  • Joint Care
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Heart Care
  • Liver Care
  • Dental Care
  • Digestive Care
  • Urinary Care
  • Kidney Care
  • Ageing and Alertness Care
  • Derm Defence
  • Hypoallergenic Treats

The Science Diet™ range is designed by experienced vets, with the help of science to make a biologically-fitting dog food for your pet according to its size, breed and age.

In the Science Diet™ Range are:

  • Mature Adult 7+ Light Active Longevity™
  • Adult Sensitive Skin – Chicken
  • Adult Oral Care – Chicken
  • Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin – Chicken
  • Adult Performance – Chicken
  • Adult Light
    • Mini, Medium and Large Breed – chicken
  • Adult Advanced Fitness™
    • Mini, Medium and Large Breed – chicken
    • Large Breed – Lamb & Rice
  • Puppy Lamb & Rice
  • Adult Perfect Weight
    • Mini, Medium and Large Breed – chicken
  • Puppy Healthy Development™
    • Mini, Medium and Large Breed – chicken
  • Adult Healthy Mobility
    • Mini, Medium and Large Breed – chicken

The Ideal Balance™ range is made from a perfect balance of natural and nutritious ingredients. This range has a much larger variety of flavours, such as:

  • Large Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult
  • Poached Salmon & Vegetables Recipe
  • Small Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Canine Adult
  • Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Mature Adult
  • Grain Free Natural Chicken & Potato Rice Recipe Adult
  • Soft-Baked Naturals with Duck & Pumpkin Dog Treats
  • Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Canine Adult
  • Puppy Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Puppy Large Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 

Eukanuba

With a name meaning ‘tops’, Eukanuba is one dog food that is hard to beat. Around since 1969, they have continued to bring to the market an innovative food range that focuses on pet health and growth.

Their core range, known as PAWS, includes:

  • Puppy
    • Small Breed
    • Medium Breed
    • Large Breed
    • Small & Medium Breed Lamb & Rice
  • Adult
    • Small Breed
    • Medium Breed
    • Large Breed
    • Small Breed – Lamb & Rice
    • Medium Breed – Lamb & Rice
    • Large Breed – Lamb & Rice
  • Weight Control
    • Small & Medium Breed
    • Large Breed
  • Senior
    • Small Breed
    • Medium Breed
    • Large Breed
  • Daily Care
    • Sensitive Skin
    • Sensitive Joints
  • Premium Performance Working and Endurance

Orijen

Having won many awards over the years, Orijen is another brand dedicated to feeding pets a diet based on natural ingredients and whole prey animals. Not only do they offer your usual dry pellets, but they also have freeze-dried pellets and freeze-dried treats.

The Orijen dry dog food range includes:

  • Puppy
  • Puppy Large
  • Original
  • Six Fish
  • Regional Red
  • Tundra
  • Fit & Trim
  • Senior

Field and forest

The Field and Forest brand is a branch of Montego but has its own wonderful variety of flavours and product options.

Some of their favourites include:

  • Field and Forest – a grain-free, highly nutritious combination of wholesome and authentically prepared dog food (comes in 2 kg, 7 kg, and 12 kg bags)
    • Adult
      • Game & Lamb
      • Salmon & Tuna
      • Turkey & Duck
    • Large Breed Puppy
      • Turkey & Duck
    • Small Breed Puppy
      • Turkey & Duck

Vet’s Choice

It says it in the name – Vet’s Choice. This is another brilliant brand on offer in South Africa that helps us keep our canine friends in tip-top shape. Their products are full of Omega 3, Omega 6, and plenty of other vitamins and nutrients.

The range consists of:

  • Puppy
  • Large Breed Puppy
  • Premium
  • Superior
  • Large Breed Adult
  • Sensitive
  • Lite
  • Golden Years 

Bobtail

VITARITE® is a special formula created by Bobtail, which is found in all of their dog food. The formula contains 23 different minerals and vitamins, and it has the perfect combination of vegetable derivatives, animal-based protein and cereals. They have both the usual dry foods, as well as meal enhancers like gravy powder and sachets of chunks in gravy, which can be put over the dry food to give your dogs some variety in their meals.

The Bobtail range of dry foods include:

  • 2-in-1 moisty meat
  • 2-in-1 gravy coated
  • 2-in-1 with real veg
  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Lamb

All of these come in Puppy, Adult and Senior. 

Pedigree

Made with no artificial flavours, colours or sugars. Pedigree is made to keep your pets healthy. The dry food is full of fibre, which helps in digestion and the pellets provide abrasion as your dog chews which aid in oral hygiene.

The wonderful range of Pedigree dry products include:

  • Puppy 1 – 12 months (Small to medium breed)
    • 5kg and 3.5kg
      • Available in chicken and rice flavour
  • Puppy 3 – 12 months (Large breed)
    • 5kg and 5.5kg
      • Available in chicken and rice flavour
  • Adult +12 months (Small breed)
    • 75kg and 4kg
      • Available in chicken and beef flavours
  • Adult +12 months (Medium breed)
    • 75kg, 6kg, 15kg and 20kg
      • Available in chicken and beef flavours
  • Adult +18 months (Large breed)
    • 6kg
      • Available in chicken and beef flavours
  • Senior + 6 years (All breed sizes)
    • 75kg and 5.5kg
      • Available in chicken flavour

Best Dry Dog Food in South Africa

Based on the brands we've mentioned above, we would have to give our winner’s ribbon to Hill’s. They offer the largest range, catering for both prescription needs as well as average nutrition needs. Their flavours allow dogs to have variety in their diet, and their ingredients are specially chosen to keep dogs healthy and happy.

Best Grain-Free Dog Food in South Africa

While there are many brands that offer grain-free dog food in South Africa, there is one of the above-mentioned brands that is known for its 0% grain in its dog food.

That brand is Acana; with a large range of foods in a variety of flavours, all with absolutely no grain, they come up on top.

List of Dog Food Ratings South Africa

Dog food brands work hard to get high ratings from their consumers, the better their product and customer service is, the more likely they are to be a favourite among South African pet owners.

Dog food is rated on the following:

  • Price
  • Nutritional value
  • Value for money (variety in size of bags available)
  • Customer service from a brand
  • Product availability (available in many shops, online, etc.)
  • Feedback and reviews (people are not likely to buy a brand with a bad name)

Price of Dog in South Africa (at the time of article)

Feeding pets can become expensive, so it’s important to find a dog food that is both healthy for them and affordable for your wallet. Below, are average prices for some of the brands we have mentioned.

Acana 

From R864 for 6 kg to R1 829 for 11.4 kg bag

Eukanuba 

From R117 for 1 kg to R1 058 for 15 kg bag

Orijen 

From R513 for 2 kg to R1 860for 11.4 kg

Montego 

From R233 for 10 kg to R717 for 20 kg bag

Royal Canin 

From R113 for 800g to R1 185 for 15 kg bag

Hill’s 

From R269 for 2 kg to R1 185 for 18 kg bag

Pedigree 

From R213 for 3.5 kg to R665 for 15 kg bag

Bobtail 

From R139 for 8 kg to R369 for 25 kg bag

Fields & Forest 

From R253 for 2 kg to R1 149 for 12 kg

Vet’s Choice 

From R186 for 1.8 kg to R1 149 for 20 kg bag

Adapted from Original Article. 

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