Pet Worshiper is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you buy something through these links. This means no extra cost to you.

10 Best Legume Free Dog Foods – Without Peas, Lentils, and Beans

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:

best legume free dog food

Check out my fully updated and detailed guide about the best legume free dog food in 2022.

Basically, legumes can be considered healthy. However, you can’t want your dog’s kibble to contain too many of these plants. And why? This will be discussed in my article, among other things.

But more importantly, I’ve collected for you the top 10 dog foods that don’t contain peas, lentils, beans, or even potatoes (although I wrote about potato-free recipes in another article). I’ve spent more than a full day on my little research, so I think it will meet your needs.

My favorite of these is the VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula. You can safely choose this dry dog kibble. If you want to know more useful information on the subject, be sure to read on!

Let’s start!

Why you should trust me

Whether you’re experienced in dog and other pet topics or not, I’m sure you’re in the right place. I do my best to provide the best and most reliable information possible to my readers.

My name is Peter Laskay, and I have been a pet lover since I was a child. One of the most important places in my life is to gain as much knowledge as possible about pet care. And I want to pass this knowledge on to my blog visitors.

Should you have any questions at any time, feel free to contact me using the contact information on the website.

10 Best legume free dog foods

Plants contain a lot of useful nutrients. Also, dogs are omnivores, so that they can utilize them. The same is true of legumes. However, considering various health factors, it is sometimes advisable to buy dog ​​food free of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes. I will write about the exact reasons later. Now, however, comes a list of the top 10 dog foods I have chosen that do not contain legumes.

VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal
  • Formulated for adult dogs (small and medium breeds)
  • Can be considered as a sport dog food
  • Free of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes, corn, by-products, and artificial additives
  • Contains vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, and amino acids

Be sure to consider the VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula when looking for the best dog food without peas, lentils, legumes, or beans.

This dog food formula contains complete and complex carbohydrate sources such as Grain Sorghum and Whole Grain Millet. Both healthy grains have plenty of useful and nutritious nutrients. But that’s not the only reason this product is good.

Protein sources are also very positive for me. Beef Meal, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal, and Menhaden Fish Meal provide all the amino acids you need to build muscle for your pup. Besides, meals contain parts of animals (e.g., cartilage) rich sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. This is critical for joint health.

Menhaden Fish Meal also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which balance the omega fatty acid profile of the product and have a good effect on the health of dogs’ skin and coat. Another source of fat is Chicken Fat, which is not only tasty but very healthy.

Due to its high 20% fat content, this diet is similar to the natural diet of dogs’ ancestors. This is especially ideal for active canines as a sport dog food.

In addition to those listed so far, this adult dry dog food contains valuable added ingredients. These include amino acids (e.g., Taurine), vitamins (e.g., D3 or B12), and minerals (e.g., potassium or calcium). These underpin the immune system’s proper functioning, just like prebiotics, which create the right environment for beneficial gut bacteria.

The formula is free of gluten, wheat, corn, soy, and other harmful artificial ingredients. Plus, it’s one of the best value-for-money options on my list.

Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Organic Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Contains superfoods like astralagus, blue-green algae, ginger, and Gingko Biloba
  • Features omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Free of gluten, corn, wheat, soy, by-products, and artificial preservatives, or colors

If you are looking for dog foods without peas, lentils, legumes, etc., the Health Extension Original Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is a perfect choice. The 24% protein and 18% fat content meet the requirements of AAFCO. But let’s see the ingredient list.

The main protein source is Chicken in a real and a meal form, but there is also Lamb Meal and Menhaden Fish Meal.

The meat protein sources listed above provide the amino acids needed to build and maintain muscle for your dog. Also, meat meals have an excellent effect on the joints due to their glucosamine and chondroitin content.

The product does not contain peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes. Instead, the main carbohydrate sources are Ground Brown Rice and Oatmeal. These are healthy, complex grains, full of valuable minerals, fiber, and vitamins. They have excellent digestibility and support the function of the intestinal tract due to their fiber content.

Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, and Coconut Oil are great sources of fat. They contain many valuable fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6. They promote the skin and coat of dogs and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

The added vitamins, minerals, and fermentation products that serve as prebiotics create the perfect environment for the immune system to function properly.

Astralagus, blue-green algae, ginger, ginkgo Biloba, and primrose oil are considered superfood ingredients that improve the quality of life for humans and dogs. However, the product does not contain any harmful or questionable ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients.

American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Rice, Chicken Fat
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Free of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes, soy, corn, wheat, and artificial ingredients
  • Probiotics support the G.I. tract and immune system of your pup
  • A highly-digestible recipe with essential amino acids that build muscle

Be sure to consider American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food if you are looking for the best recipe without legumes. The list of ingredients is straightforward, and you can immediately see why I included this product in this article.

The main source of protein is chicken in a meal form, which provides the amino acids needed for muscle building and supports the joints due to its glucosamine and chondroitin content. Plus, dogs really like the taste of it.

Other sources of protein can be found among the ingredients. One such example is the Chicken Liver, which is a wealthy source of vitamins and minerals. And Pork Meal, Fish Meal, and Dried Whole Egg diversify this diet and give the product a 25% protein content.

This is very positive, especially in terms of the fact that there are no vegetable protein sources among the ingredients. This way, we can ensure that our dogs get all the amino acids from an animal source.

Instead of lentils, legumes, and potatoes, we can find sources of carbs like Oatmeal, Brown Rice, White Rice, and Pearled Barley. If your dog is not sensitive to these, then they are quite simply perfect alternatives.

They are well digestible, rich in nutrients, and their fiber content contributes to proper digestion. Other fiber sources can be found among the ingredients, such as Beet Pulp.

The main sources of fat are Chicken Fat and Flaxseed. These two ingredients have a healthy fatty acid content. Flaxseed is a ubiquitous and healthy plant ingredient that replaces the omega-3 fatty acid content in dog food. This fatty acid is essential for proper skin and coat health. And the benefits are not over here.

The added vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics provide even more support to the immune system. I highly recommend this product too!

Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula dry dog food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice, Dried Yeast, Egg Product
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Made with added vitamins, powerful antioxidants, omega-3, and omega-6
  • Made with no corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Made in the USA

I really like Diamond Naturals dog food brand, because its products’ quality is unquestionable. This dry dog ​​food is a great choice if you want to avoid peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes. Let’s see the ingredient list.

Instead, the main carbohydrate sources are Grain, Sorghum, Ground Rice, Rice Bran, and Cracked Pearled Barley. If your pup does not have grain sensitivity, these are outstanding options. Fiber and its other nutrient content make them very valuable plant sources.

The main protein sources are Beef, Meal, and Egg Product. The former contains not only amino acids but also glucosamine, which is valuable for the joints. And eggs are one of the most biologically valuable sources of protein.

Dried Yeast also contains protein, vitamins and has a good effect on digestion. However, if your dog is prone to yeast infection or is susceptible to yeast, this ingredient should be avoided.

The main source of fat is Chicken Fat, which energizes your pup and is delicious, and makes this dry dog food healthy. Flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect and promote the skin and coat.

The added fruits and vegetables enhance the health of the recipe. Their vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content should not be left out of a balanced diet. Highly recommended product!

Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Includes Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine
  • Made in the USA
  • Free of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes

WellPet owns Holistic Select. All products of this pet food brand feel that they have been carefully developed, paying attention to dogs’ nutritional needs.

Holistic Select Adult Health is a dry dog ​​food formula that is the perfect choice to avoid legumes. Let’s see the list of ingredients.

The 25% protein content is provided by high-quality animal sources such as Chicken and Pork Meal. These provide the perfect amino acids and energy for your pooch. Also, their glucosamine and chondroitin content guarantees that the joints also function properly.

Carbohydrates are mainly given by Brown Rice, Rice, and Oatmeal. They are very digestible grains, full of useful nutrients such as vitamins, fiber, and minerals.

But added fruits and vegetables also support dogs’ immune systems. Examples are Pumpkin, Cranberries, or Apples.

The fats are given by Chicken Fat and Flaxseed, which provide plenty of healthy fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition.

The vitamin, mineral, and prebiotic content of the product is something that you should definitely consider when buying.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Recipe

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat
  • A limited ingredient diet for sensitive dogs
  • Made without corn, wheat, soy, peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes, or artificial ingredients
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Made with added vitamins & minerals

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, be sure to consider the Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Recipe.

Not only is it free of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes, but it contains a single source of protein, and the number of carbohydrate and fat sources is also limited. However, the recipe does not include common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients. Let’s see exactly what this recipe contains.

The first ingredient is Lamb Meal. It is an excellent meat protein source that provides the amino acids needed to build muscle, is delicious, and rarely causes sensitivity or allergies.

The carbohydrate sources of the product are Brown Rice and Ground Rice. Not only are they highly digestible, but they are high in nutrients. And their fiber content contributes to good digestion. Incidentally, added fiber can also be found in the form of Dried Plain Beet Pulp.

The source of fat is Chicken Fat which is not only delicious but also very healthy for dogs. These were the main ingredients.

In addition to these, we also find several added vitamins (e.g., Vitamin B12) and minerals (e.g., Calcium) that can really make our dog’s immune system healthy.

Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Patties

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Rabbit With Ground Bone, Olive Oil, Rabbit Liver, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • A limited ingredient diet
  • Made without grains, gluten, fillers, artificial preservatives, or colorings
  • Enhanced with probiotics

The easiest way to avoid the carbs that are causing the problem is to avoid the usual sources of carbs. That’s why Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food is great. The number of ingredients is limited, and we can’t essentially find any classic carbohydrate sources among them.

Instead, there is Pumpkin Seed and various organic vegetables and fruits. Examples include Cranberries, Spinach, Broccoli, Beet, Carrots, Squash, and Blueberries. These plant sources are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This way, you can be sure that your pooch diet will be balanced and healthy.

The protein sources for the product are Rabbit With Ground Bone and Rabbit Liver. The rabbit is an extremely valuable source of animal protein. Its protein content is high quality, it does not cause sensitivity, and last but not least, it is delicious.

Also, along with the bones, cartilage, and liver, dogs receive all the valuable nutrients they need for joint, digestive, and immune system health.

Rabbit meat also contains fat, but you can also find Olive Oil in the recipe. This somewhat balances the ratio of omega fatty acids.

This product would already be quite healthy. However, the manufacturer makes the recipe a desirable option with the added vitamins and minerals if you are looking for pea- and legume-free dry dog food.

Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • Free of peas, lentils, legumes, or potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy
  • Packed with antioxidants, and omega fatty acids
  • Fortified with essential vitamins, minerals, and taurine

Nutro dry dog ​​food is also a good choice if your dog is on a legume-free diet. Ingredients include carbohydrate sources such as Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, and Rice Bran. These are complex and healthy grains that support intestinal function with their digestibility and fiber content.

Chicken, Lamb Meal, and Salmon Meal are animal meats that are well digestible. Meals also contain valuable glucosamine for healthy joints.

The fat sources are Chicken Fat (preserved with tocopherols), Sunflower Oil, and FLaxseed. These are very healthy fats that provide a lot of energy and give your dog a balanced omega fatty acid profile.

Like the rest of my list, this Nutro product is full of vitamins, minerals, vegetables, and fruits. Be sure to consider it!

Ziwi Peak Beef Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver
  • Air-dried dog food
  • Includes 96% fresh meat, organs, bones, and New Zealand green mussels
  • Made from beef free of antibiotics, growth promotants, and added hormones
  • Free of peas, lentils, legumes, grains, corn, soy, potatoes, wheat, rice, fillers, sugars, glycerin, rendered meals, or preservatives

If you want to avoid carbohydrates that are problematic for your pooch, be sure to follow this recipe!

This limited ingredient dry dog food contains 96% fresh meat, organs, and bones. I don’t think I have to say how beneficial that is. This way, your dog gets all the important nutrients he needs to build and maintain muscle, as well as healthy bodily processes.

In addition to beef and internal organs, the recipe contains New Zealand Green Mussel, an excellent natural glucosamine source. For healthy joints, this ingredient is a must-have!

The product also contains added vitamins (e.g., Vitamin E and D3) and minerals (e.g., Magnesium Sulfate and Zinc). If you want a simple but valuable, guaranteed legume-free diet for your dog, consider Ziwi’s product when choosing.

Farmina N&D Ocean Codfish & Orange Ancestral Grain

Key features:

  • The first 5 ingredients are Cod, Dehydrated Cod, Herring Oil, Whole Spelt, Whole Oats
  • A low glycemic formula
  • No peas, lentils, legumes, meals, or by-products
  • Formulated for adult dogs and all sizes of breeds
  • High-quality animal sources

The last member of my list is the product of the famous Farmina. This is an Italian company that makes excellent recipes.

The dry dog food currently reviewed contains 60% animal ingredients, 20% organic grains, and 20% vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. So you can be sure that your dog will not eat lentils, beans, or other legumes.

The protein source is Cod, in normal and dehydrated form. The meat of this fish is precious. It contains not only protein but plenty of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. This greatly supports the development of dogs.

The added Herring Oil adds additional omega fatty acids to the recipe, which has a good effect on dogs’ skin and coat.

Whole Spelled and Whole Oats are valuable sources of carbohydrates that add not only energy but vitamins and minerals, and fiber to your diet.

Incidentally, the manufacturer also included additional vitamins and minerals. This way, you can be sure that your dog’s immune system will work as optimally as possible.

Finding the best diet for your dog is not easy. You have to consider several aspects, e.g., activity, breed, age, health condition, etc. If you want to make the best decision possible, check out my comprehensive guide on how to choose the best dog food.


What are legumes, and why are they in dog foods?

Legumes are plants whose fruits grow in pods. This family includes, for example, various beans, peas, chickpeas, alfalfa, lentils, and soybeans.

They are commonly used by pet food manufacturers as a carbohydrate source, mainly as alternatives to grains. Their nutritional value is quite excellent, as they contain many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Examples are calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

The high fiber content helps dogs digest and feel full. Also, legumes have low glycemic. Because of these properties, they help maintain optimal body weight.

Are legumes bad for dogs?

It is difficult to answer this briefly. As you can see above, legumes contain plenty of valuable nutrients. Most of those listed are completely harmless to dogs.

However, it would help if you were careful with coffee beans and flavored beans. The caffeine content of coffee beans is extremely high, and this poses many health risks for dogs. Canines have a harder time handling caffeine than humans.

In some cases, legumes in dog food can be harmful. This is the case, for example, if there are too many of them. Although beans, or lentils, are high enough in protein, you need to prefer animal proteins when looking for the right recipe for your pup.

Dogs can better utilize real meat, meat meals, and internal organs. Some manufacturers prefer to use legume protein in dog foods (e.g., pea protein). There’s not much trouble with that as long as it’s just some supplementation.

It would be best if you also avoided processed legumes (e.g., canned or baked beans). In many cases, they contain preservatives or too much salt and sugar, so they are not considered safe for your dog.

You should also avoid raw legumes in your dog’s diet. They contain a substance called phytohaemagglutinin, which is very toxic to dogs. Baking or cooking reduces the amount of this compound and makes it harmless. Fortunately, most commercial dog foods contain legumes in cooked form.

I should also mention the long-running investigation initiated by the FDA. Although it has never been proven, it has been hypothesized that a diet high in legumes can cause heart disease in dogs. I will write about this in more detail below.

FDA warnings about grain-free dog food

Dogs are omnivores. This means that they can digest not only meat but also various plants and carbohydrates. Nevertheless, animal sources should be an important part of any canine diet.

Proteins are crucial building blocks for muscles, organs, and virtually all cells. But they also play a key role in other important bodily processes. All animal nutrition experts agree that animal protein can be better utilized than plant ones.

There are pet food brands that use legume proteins (e.g., pea protein) in their recipes. This is not necessarily a problem as long as there is more animal protein.

The easiest way to determine this is to look at the list of ingredients in pet foods. Whichever ingredient is listed first is quantitatively more of it in dog food. Choose a product in which animal protein is listed before plant protein.

There is no particular problem with carbohydrates anyway. If a recipe is properly balanced (enough animal protein, healthy fats, and useful nutrients), carbohydrates can add to nutritional value. They contain a lot of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as energy.

Grains are usually great options. However, many dogs are allergic to them, so they invented grain-free diets for dogs.

These diets most often contain carbohydrate sources such as legumes, or potatoes, or sweet potatoes. Well, the thing is, the FDA has been investigating since 2018 to figure out the link between grain-free dog food and Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.

What is Dilated cardiomyopathy?

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle thins and weakens. Thus, the blood pressure in the heart increases, which causes the heart to enlarge. In the long run, this condition can lead to congestive heart failure.

It is challenging to diagnose early because no symptoms appear in the early stages. These symptoms may include loss of appetite, restlessness, distended abdomen, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or weakness.

Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to this disease. These breeds include the Great Danes, German Shepherds, Boxers, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers.

cute dog

The FDA observed that Dilated cardiomyopathy occurs in many cases in dogs that are not genetically predisposed to it. According to observations and research, 90% of these dogs were on a grain-free diet. The main sources of carbohydrates in these diets were peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes.

The relationship between DCM and these plants has been actively studied ever since. (The FDA investigation has been running since 2014.)

In 2018, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published an article drawing attention to the relationship between DCM and the so-called BEG diet.

This acronym refers to the diets that are often offered by boutique companies and include exotic protein sources and grain-free carbohydrate sources. An FDA report confirmed that a significant proportion of dogs with heart disease were on a BEG diet.

We can also find out the most commonly affected dog breeds. These are the following:

There are other breeds, but with fewer (less than 5) cases. Examples include the Afghan Hound, Australian Cattle Dog, Beagle, Belgian Tervueren, Border Collie, and Boston Terrier. You can see that many of these breeds are actually not genetically predisposed to DCM.

In a 2019 report, the FDA published a list of the 16 dog food brands with the most frequent diet-related DCM cases. These are the following:

  • Acana
  • Zignature
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Earthborn Holistic
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Fromm
  • Merrick
  • California Natural
  • Natural Balance
  • Orijen
  • Nature’s Variety
  • NutriSource
  • Nutro
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish

Should I be afraid of grain-free dog foods with legumes?

Despite what has been described so far, it cannot be stated unequivocally that peas, lentils, legumes, beans, and potato or grain-free diets directly cause DCM in dogs.

The FDA also makes it clear that the investigation is still ongoing and has not been completed.

However, the organization also stated that most dog foods contained legumes and/or potatoes in the cases examined. This can be a problem of ingredient replacement, but these cases can also occur due to grain-free.

The FDA also says this is an extremely complex scientific issue, and there are plenty of factors yet to be considered. That is, there is no clear answer to the question.

My advice is that if your dog is not allergic to grains, you may want to choose a grain-inclusive diet for him. If you are worried about DCM, avoid those containing legumes or potatoes when choosing the right product.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that the incidence of diet-related DCM was very low overall. Between 2014 and 2019, we know of 515 cases, a significant proportion of which occurred in 2018 and 2019.

Of course, this does not mean that all this should be ignored. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a severe disease. It is best to discuss your dog’s diet with your veterinarian.

dog eats

Taurine is one of the 20 amino acids needed by dogs. Its role is key and unquestionable. It is important in vision, digestion, and heart health. On the other hand, dogs can produce taurine, which requires nothing but a diet high in protein.

According to some experts, legumes or potatoes make it difficult for dogs to produce enough taurine. Manufacturers often supplement their recipes with vegetable proteins (pea ingredients, potato protein). These are cheaper than animal proteins.

However, you should know that plant proteins’ biological value is much poorer than that of animals. Therefore, insufficient taurine synthesis may occur.

Grain-free dog foods are most often high in protein. However, manufacturers are not obliged to indicate exactly what percentage of a given amount of protein is of animal or vegetable origin. So it is conceivable that you are buying high protein dog food for your dog, but a significant portion of it comes from legumes or other plants.

One of the things you can do is avoid these questionable plant ingredients from your dog’s diet.

The other thing is to look at the order of the ingredients. As I mentioned, the more you have in the recipe from a plant source, the sooner you can find it in the order. If pea protein is in the top three, or possibly ahead of real meat, it’s definitely a red flag. However, if you are in tenth place and the recipe contains real meat or meat meal, you don’t necessarily have to worry.

And how does taurine come to this whole subject? So that there is a strong correlation between this amino acid deficiency and heart failure. So in case of deficiency, you may want to consider a taurine-containing dog food.

Best Legume alternatives in dog food

There are plenty of healthy carbohydrate sources. If you are looking for the best legume-free dog food, you should consider these.

Whole grains

Grain-free diets have become very fashionable among dog owners. However, you need to know that whole grains are very healthy. In fact, if your dog doesn’t have sensitivity, I think you should prefer a grain-inclusive diet.

One of the best sources of such carbohydrates is brown rice. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Similarly, good whole grains are oats, millet, sorghum, and quinoa.

Avoid gluten-containing carbohydrate sources such as wheat. Not all dogs will be sensitive to gluten, but it is better to prevent discomfort. Corn should also be avoided.

brown rice

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tapioca

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tapioca are starchy carbohydrate sources. Starch can be a very energy-rich and healthy alternative to legumes. Potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and beta carotene, among others.

However, it causes sensitivity or allergies, or various digestive problems in many dogs. You should pay attention to this and test it in small quantities. However, never give raw potatoes to your dog because they contain substances that are harmful to him.

Sweet potatoes are an even healthier alternative. They contain more vitamins and minerals than white potatoes and are less likely to cause allergies in dogs. In addition, they give the dog food a special taste.

Tapioca is non-toxic and does not contain lectin or gluten. Its nutrient content is similar to that of white potatoes. The iron and calcium content is extremely high.


Squash and pumpkin

Squash and pumpkin are excellent sources of carbohydrates. They contain a lot of fiber, so they are beneficial for digestive problems. They also provide a lot of vitamins and minerals, so they make your dog’s diet healthy. Also, their taste and texture are special. Most dogs love these special vegetables.

It would help if you gave squash and pumpkin to your dog in a cooked form. This will release the nutrients properly and make them easier to digest. Fortunately, these vegetables are also present in a cooked form in commercial dog foods.


What to look for when choosing the best legume-free dog foods?

As I mentioned, legumes are very popular with dog food manufacturers. Therefore, it is difficult to avoid them completely.

However, you should be aware that experts do not completely oppose these plants. The focus is on quantity. Be careful not to have legumes in the first 5-10 ingredients of the product you choose. As a 15-20th ingredient, some pea flour or pea protein shouldn’t be a problem.

The FDA also confirmed that in the case of diet-induced DCM, the foods tested contained higher amounts of peas, lentils, legumes, and other grain-replacement ingredients.

You must look at the exact list of ingredients when choosing. In addition, you should pay attention to the following:

High-quality carbs

I’ve written above about healthy alternatives. The point is that it is not enough if a product does not contain legumes. Not all carbohydrate sources are just as good. Avoid gluten-containing carbs or anything your dog may be sensitive to. Whole grains should be preferred as they have a low glycemic index.

High-quality protein sources

Legumes and other plants also contain certain amounts of protein. However, animal protein sources are much more preferred than these.

The best is real meat or meat meal. Contrary to popular belief, a meat meal is of outstanding quality and a nutrient-rich source. It contains protein and glucosamine, and chondroitin, which is beneficial for the joints of dogs.

You should make sure that the meat or meat meal is named. By this, I mean that a turkey meal is a much better choice than a poultry meal or simply an animal meal. The quality of unnamed protein sources is uncontrollable.

Choose dog food whose first ingredient is real meat or meat meal.

Vegetables, fruits, and plant sources

The nutrient content of fruits and vegetables is unquestionable. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, enzymes, and other useful compounds. These support your dog’s immune and digestive system as well as the full functioning of his body.

Beneficial supplements

Health supplements are trendy among people. However, it is also worthwhile to include supplements in dog foods that support dogs’ overall health. These are included in the wholesome and high-quality ingredients, but some additional amount shouldn’t hurt.

It’s no coincidence that vets and pet nutritionists also help develop the best dog food brands. After all, they know exactly how many of these beneficial ingredients a healthy recipe should contain. Such supplements include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fruits, vegetables, and other plant sources, but even meats, contain such micronutrients. However, if you see some of these on the product label among the ingredients, that is a positive sign. Manufacturers tend to create different blends that contain the right proportions of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Of the minerals, chelated ones are the best. This is because they bind to protein molecules and thus promote the proper absorption of nutrients.

Added amino acids (e.g., taurine and carnitine) may be required in many cases. An example is when a dog develops a certain deficiency.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are also important. These compounds play an important role in the protection and repair of joints in dogs. They can be found in animal cartilage, mussels, but some manufacturers add them to their recipes.

Omega fatty acids (Omega 3 and omega 6) are excellent sources of energy and extremely healthy. They contribute to the health of the skin and coat of dogs and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Omega 3 fatty acids also contain EPA and DHA, which promote brain and eye health, among other things.

Research shows that omega fatty acids have a good effect on dogs’ allergies and joint health. The best sources of omega fatty acids are fish, seafood, or mussels, but vegetable oils and flaxseeds also contain many valuable ingredients.

Balanced nutrition

So far, I’ve written almost only about what should be in dog food. Quantity and percentage of nutrients are just as important.

You should be aware of the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. This is a guideline that sets the minimum nutritional requirements for dogs.

Dog foods made in the US often contain an AAFCO statement that proves that the product meets the organization’s standards.

Otherwise, AAFCO recommends a minimum of 18% protein for adult dogs and 22.5% for growing puppies. For fats, these figures are 5.5% and 8.5%. Each of the products in my article meets and exceeds these expectations to the maximum.


According to certain dietary considerations, if you are looking for the best product for your dog, you may come across many expensive options. Of course, some solutions will meet your dog’s needs and will also fit your budget. You will also find such affordable products on my list.

Frequently asked questions about the best legume-free dog foods

If you still have questions about this topic, be sure to read the section below.

Are there any grain-free dog foods without peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes?

It is not easy to find grain-free dog food without peas and other legumes. These are widespread grain-replacement ingredients. But some manufacturers offer such recipes (e.g., Merrick or Blue Buffalo).

Are legumes bad in dog food?

Peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes may be associated with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. The FDA has not yet been able to prove a clear link. Legumes contain many useful nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, they also contain compounds that are harmful to dogs. Examples are phytoestrogens, oxalates, phytates, and lectins. Most of these are neutralized during cooking. Another problem with legumes is when producers use them to supplement the amount of protein. This is because plant proteins have a much lower biological value than meat. So, in short, legumes aren’t necessarily bad in dog food, but make sure they’re not the first ingredients.

Is Sweet Potato a legume?

No, sweet potatoes and potatoes are not legumes. These plants are often mentioned together because they often occur together in grain-free dog foods.

Are grain-free diets bad for dogs?

Some dogs do not respond well to grains. This can be allergies, sensitivity, or intolerance. Most problems are caused by wheat, corn, and soy in general. Grain-free diets provide a solution for this. These dog foods have become very fashionable in recent years. As products that do not contain the ingredients in question mentioned above are a solution for sensitive dogs, this is no wonder. They have become so popular that many dog ​​owners buy grain-free food for their dogs even if they don’t need it otherwise. These dog foods usually contain various fruits, vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and legumes. However, the potential disadvantages mentioned in this article should not be forgotten. The FDA has long investigated the development of grain-free diets and DCM in dogs. There is no conclusive evidence yet. On the other hand, I suggest that if your dog has no sensitivities or allergies, you may prefer grain-inclusive recipes.

If my dog ​​is on a potato-free diet, are sweet potatoes a good choice?

There may be several reasons why you want to avoid dog-containing dog food. This could be a sensitivity, allergy, or the fact that white potatoes may be associated with DCM development. Whatever the reason, sweet potatoes are a good alternative. They have a higher nutritional value and are less likely to cause sensitivity.

Is Chicken Meal good for dogs?

Many people do not consider meals to be a good source of protein. However, this is not true. Chicken in a meal form is a dried and ground form of chicken. So its protein content is adequate, and it also contains parts of the animal such as cartilage. This makes it a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which is good news for dog joints.

My final verdict

There are several reasons why you may not want your dog to eat legumes. It could be allergies or intolerance.

It can also be a problem to have too many of these plant ingredients in a product. This displaces valuable animal proteins, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies sooner.

And let’s not forget the ongoing FDA investigation. This is because there is a possibility that peas, lentils, legumes are associated with the development of heart failure in dogs.

But it is not enough for dog food not to contain these controversial ingredients. It also has to meet several quality criteria.

I strongly recommend each member of my list, but my favorite is the VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula. Because of its quality and value for money, I consider this to be the best dog food without peas, lentils, and legumes.

Photo of author
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!