Dog Food That Doesn’t Smell: What You Need to Know

Labrador retriever dog smelling food before eating

Dog food has come a long way over the last few decades in terms of ingredients and types. However, one aspect that has always been overlooked by many manufacturers is how strong dog food can smell, especially if you have a sensitive nose or stomach.

Luckily, there is good news, as many dog food brands nowadays are redesigning their products to overcome the bad odour issue.

In today’s article, we’ll walk you through different options of dog food that doesn’t smell as well as extra tips to help keep the smell down. Let’s dive right in!

Why Does Some Dog Food Smell Bad?

First, let’s take a closer look at different pet food options and why they can smell so bad. Here’s what you need to know about them.

Poor Quality Ingredients

Of course, the food ingredients used in dog food formulas are the primary culprit behind the terrible food smell. Dog food contains a wide variety of ingredients, but their quality can differ significantly. 

For instance, low-quality components like meat byproducts are popular filler ingredients responsible for the unpleasant odour in dog food. 

These ingredients contain protein sourced from hairs, hooves, and horns, which may have traces of intestinal content and manure, causing them to have a strong smell, especially in raw diets.

Other cheap fillers that also have a relatively bad smell are “meal” ingredients. This includes chicken meal, fish meal, bone meal, etc. 

This is because these ingredients use relatively low-quality parts as a source of protein, which often smells bad. This includes organ meat like beef liver and kidneys.

Artificial Flavourings and Palatants

Dogs are known for having a sense of smell, and they use it to identify everything around them. Dog food brands are aware of this fact, and many of them use special ingredients to utilize it.

These ingredients are known as “palatants”, which are artificial chemicals added to the food to make it more appealing and palatable to dogs

However, the downside here is that these palatants and flavouring agents don’t necessarily appeal to us as well. 

These palatants are also extensively used to mask unfavourable ingredients in dog food, which is why they’re less commonly added to grain-free food.

A hungry chihuahua dog behind the food bowl

Top 5 Dog Foods That Don’t Smell

If you’re looking for quick recommendations for high-quality dog foods that don’t smell so strong, here are some options you might want to consider.

1. Dr Harvey’s Human-Grade Ground Dog Food

Starting off with one of the premium dog food options if you want to avoid strong smells at all costs. 

As the name suggests, this dog food brand offers human-grade dog food, so it contains no byproducts or masking agents that make your stomach turn.

The beef formula is also easy to prepare, as you only need to add some water to them and they’ll be ready to go. The only downside here is the premium price tag it comes at.

2. Wagg Active Goodness Chicken

Another excellent to consider if you want to avoid strong scents is the Wagg Active Goodness. What makes this option great is that it contains a high percentage of meaty ingredients, but is mostly sourced from chicken instead of beef.

Besides the chicken content, it also has odourless vegetable ingredients like green peas and whole beets instead of beet pulp and vegetable meal. 

The formula is designed so that it’s suitable for different breeds, so it’s a good choice if you have several dog breeds in your household.

3. COYA Freeze-Dried Raw Food

One of the main problems with raw feeding is that raw meat can be a bit smelly. However, this formula from COYA solves the problem through freeze drying.

This preservation technique removes moisture from the food completely, which doesn’t only help it last longer and prevent mess, but also reduces its scent significantly.

The hypoallergenic formula is also perfectly balanced for dogs with 80% meat and 20% fruits and vegetables for healthy growth.

4. Pooch & Mutt Complete Dry Dog Food

Pooch & Mutt is a perfect choice for picky dogs, as they’re made with all-natural ingredients that dogs enjoy eating.

Unlike many options on the market, this one contains a high percentage of chicken, which doesn’t only improve its flavour, but also reduces the smelly ingredients in the blend.

Besides the chicken, the formula also contains healthy and odourless ingredients like sweet potatoes and pea proteins. 

The food is also fortified with healthy supplements, such as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and L-carnitine (for better fat processing) as well as chondroitin and glucosamine (for healthier joints).

5. Barking Heads Dry Dog Food

If you have large-breed dogs and you want to make sure that their diet is fully natural with no palatants or strong odour, you should keep this one in mind.

Barking Heads dry food kibbles are easy to digest and offer a great variety of ingredients. Besides quality, grass-fed chicken, the food also contains slow-release carbs, pre and probiotics as well as other essential minerals and vitamins to ensure healthy digestive health.

The food comes in various types and formulas. However, we highly recommend chicken or lamb options instead of beef if you want to avoid strong smells as much as possible.

Tips to Avoid Smelly Dog Food

A dog in front of a bowl full of feed

Now that you know more about dog food options that don’t smell so strong, here are some additional tips to help you reduce the smell of dog food.

Opt for Dry Food Instead of Wet Food

While choosing a new food formula, make sure that you opt for dry food alternatives instead of wet food. 

This is because the moisture content in wet food spreads into the air, especially during the summer, in the form of water vapour.

These vapours carry the scent molecules and volatile compounds across the room, making the smell of the food more noticeable. 

Additionally, wet food spoils quickly, which ends up causing a bad smell if you stock up on large quantities. For that reason, going for dry kibbles or freeze-dried formulas would reduce the scent significantly.

Choose Your Source of Protein Carefully

Another aspect to consider while choosing dog food is to choose the right source of protein for your dog. Here, you want to balance two essential factors: health growth and smell.

For example, vegetable protein doesn’t smell as strongly as animal protein. However, they’re much lower in quality and you can rely solely on them if you want to keep your dog healthy.

On the other hand, beef and fish protein are notoriously smelly, especially when sourced from low-quality parts.

To make the best of both, you should stick to poultry protein like chicken, turkey, and ducks. These have high-quality amino acids while not smelling as strong as other sources.

You can also check the percentage of protein in your formula and make sure that it balances between low smell and nutritional value.

Avoid Foods with Vague Ingredients

As previously established, low-quality meat is one of the main sources of strong smell in dog food. 

Many dog food brands will sneak these ingredients into food under vague ingredient names, such as:

  • By-products
  • Derivatives
  • Extracts
  • Meal

Try to keep these ingredients under 20% to 25% to reduce their impact on the overall smell of the formula.

Use Portion Control to Avoid Leaving Food Uneaten

A person putting dog food on the dog bowl

No matter how clean the source of the food is, it’s still bound to leave a strong scent if you leave them out in the open.

To overcome this effect, make sure that you keep the food sealed whenever it’s not feeding time.

Additionally, make sure that you use the right portions of your dogs’ bowls so that there is no excess. 

You can also use Dog Food Dispenser to keep the food covered and control the portions provided automatically.

Also, if the food start smelling after a while, make sure that you clean after your dog regularly.

Try to Prepare Your Dog’s Food at Home

Lastly, you should know that almost all dog food brands will try to cut costs by adding lower-quality ingredients and protein to their food, especially budget-friendly ones.

If you want to keep your dog’s food healthy without spending a lot of money in the process, you should consider preparing your dog’s food yourself.

Fresh diets are incredibly good for dogs’ dental and digestive health, and ensure they get all the necessary ingredients for healthy skin and body growth.

Final Thoughts on Dog Food That Doesn’t Smell

This wraps it up for today’s guide about dog food that doesn’t smell. As you can see, there are various reasons behind the strong scent, but poor-quality ingredients and chemical palatants are usually the main culprits.

In the end, you should remember that what works for others may not work for you, and of course, the same goes for your pooch. That’s why you need to experiment with different brands and flavours until you find a balanced diet with a bearable smell.

Luckily, the options we mentioned in this list are great starting points, and you can choose any of them depending on your preferences and budget.

Besides healthy food, you should also make sure that your dog gets plenty of daily exercise to stay healthy. If you’re looking for a reliable dog-walking service in Chiswick, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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