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Joy Dog Food Review: Ingredient Quality, Alternatives, and More

Joy Dog Food

Last Updated: February 28, 2024 by Lisa Melillo

When it comes to picking out the perfect chow for our canine companions, many of us lean heavily on the familiar jingles and glossy bags of big-name brands. It’s almost like we tune to a frequency where only the most popular tunes play. But what about the unsung melodies of the dog food world? Brands like Joy Dog Food, often nestled quietly on the shelves, can also whisper tales of nourishment and care. 

So, here I am, your trusty guide through the maze of meal options, taking a detour from the well-trodden path to explore the less heralded but potentially harmonious offerings of Joy Dog Food. Join me on this culinary adventure, where we peel back the layers of this underdog brand, and who knows? We might just uncover a feast fit for our furry royalty in this Joy Dog Food review.

All About Joy Dog Food 

Joy Dog Food

Diving into the story of Joy Dog Food, we’re not just unearthing a brand, but a story that’s been lovingly scripted over decades. Born from a humble beginning in 1945, founded by Albert Shiffler and Russ Kohser, Joy Dog Food began as a manufacturer of farm feed before transitioning to dog food in 1953. It has a strong presence in the working dog community, known for its calorie-dense formulas and high protein content, making it a popular choice among owners of hunting dogs and cattle dogs. 

A Philosophy Rooted in Care

Peering deeper into the heart of Joy Dog Food, we find a philosophy that resonates with those of us who see our pets not just as companions, but as family. Joy prides itself on a simple yet profound commitment: to craft dog food that nourishes both the body and spirit of our beloved pets. This guiding principle shines through in their meticulous selection of ingredients and the thoughtful formulation of their recipes. It’s as if each bag of Joy Dog Food is a love letter to our furry pals, promising them not just sustenance, but a zest for life.

The Mission That Drives Them

At the core of Joy Dog Food is a mission that goes beyond mere nutrition. They’re not just in the business of filling bowls; they’re about enriching lives. With an unwavering dedication to quality and a keen ear to the ground listening to the needs of pets and their parents, Joy aims to be more than a dog food brand. They aspire to be a companion on the journey of life with our dogs, ensuring every meal is a step towards health, happiness, and the unbreakable bond we share with our pets. It’s a reminder that in every scoop of Joy Dog Food lies a commitment to our dogs’ well-being and joy.

Joy Dog Food Product Line

The lineup is a thoughtful assortment designed to cater to the varied needs of our canine companions. Here’s a quick look at the options available from Joy Dog Food. 


The Joy Ultimate Chicken Meal & Rice product line is formulated with high-quality ingredients, including chicken meal and rice, to meet the nutritional needs of dogs at all life stages. This formula is designed to support healthy joints, a strong immune system, and a shiny coat with the inclusion of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

High Performance 26/18

This formula is a powerhouse for the most active dogs, blending 26% protein with 18% fat. It’s crafted for those who need that extra burst of energy, whether they’re working dogs or just love to play all day. It’s all about supporting stamina and recovery, ensuring your dog stays in top shape.

High-Energy 24/20 Formula

Geared towards the athletic canines who never seem to run out of steam, this 24% protein and 20% fat mix is perfect. It’s designed to meet the rigorous demands of highly active dogs, providing sustained energy and aiding muscle recovery post-exercise.

Super Meal 

This is the ultimate fuel for the hardest working dogs, offering a high-octane blend of 30% protein and 20% fat. It’s formulated to ensure your dog gets the maximum energy from their meals, supporting their endurance and activity levels.

Adult Formula Formula 26/18

Balanced nutrition is key for active adult dogs, and this formula delivers a 26% protein and 18% fat profile. It’s crafted to provide all the essential nutrients your adult dog needs to maintain their health and vitality.

Maintenance Plus 

Perfect for dogs with normal activity levels, seniors, or those managing their weight, Maintenance Plus combines 22% protein and 12% fat in a beef-based, soy-free formula. It’s crafted to offer balanced nutrition, ensuring your dog maintains optimal health without unnecessary weight gain.

Puppy Food

Joy’s Puppy Food is specially designed for the growth phase, featuring real chicken to cater to the nutritional demands of puppies. It’s formulated to support healthy development, providing essential nutrients without contributing to excessive weight gain, making it an ideal choice for your growing pup.

Special Meal

With a legacy spanning over 40 years, Special Meal stands out for its consistent quality and formulation. It’s a trusted choice among dog owners, known for delivering balanced nutrition that has supported the well-being of generations of dogs. This formula continues to be a reliable option for those seeking a proven diet for their pets.

Joy Dog Food Review: Quality of Ingredients 


Joy Dog Food Ultimate Chicken and Rice, Maroon (70654)

Of all the products, I will focus on the Joy Ultimate Chicken Meal & Rice Dog Food. Honestly, at first look at the ingredients, I was not impressed. Nothing stood out for me. To give you an idea, here’s a list of some major ingredients you can expect in this Joy Dog Food. 

  • Chicken Meal: A high-quality. protein source vital for muscle development and repair. This is essential for active dogs.
  • Oat Groats & Pearled Barley: These grains provide slow-releasing energy and packs fiber. They are crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting gut health.
  • Chicken Fat: An excellent source of essential fatty acids. It contributes to a shiny coat and healthy skin and supports overall well-being.
  • Brewers Rice: Known for its digestibility, this carbohydrate helps provide energy without taxing the digestive system. Therefore, it is ideal for sensitive stomachs.
  • Flaxseed: A superfood for dogs, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It supports joint health, cognitive function, and can help reduce inflammation.
  • Fish Meal: Provides high-quality protein and is another rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re beneficial for heart health and maintaining a healthy coat.

Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Oat Groats, Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Peas, Dried Beet Pulp, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Turkey Meal, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Egg Product, Fish Meal, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrus Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Vegetable Oil, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract.

  • 26%

    Crude Protein

  • 16%

    Crude Fat

  • 4.5%

    Crude Fiber

Joy Dog Food: The Good and The Bad 

Selecting the ideal dog food is a pivotal decision for your pet’s well-being. Among the myriad choices, Joy Dog Food emerges as a notable contender, especially for those with active dogs. This part of my Joy Dog Food review delves into the brand’s offerings, scrutinizing everything from the quality of ingredients to the nutritional value.


  • Premium Ingredients: Joy Dog Food opts for top-notch ingredients. It avoids fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, ensuring your dog gets a nutrient-packed meal​​.
  • All Stages Covered: They craft food for every dog, from puppy to senior. This makes it a go-to for households with dogs of different ages​​.
  • Active Dogs Benefit: Their recipes, like the Ultimate Chicken Meal & Rice, include joint-supporting ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Omega fatty acids in the mix boost immunity and coat health, ideal for energetic dogs​​.
  • Safety First: With no recalls to date, Joy Dog Food stands out for its commitment to consistent quality and safety.


  • Grains Present: Some recipes contain grains. This might not suit dogs with specific allergies or sensitivities​​.
  • Hard to Find: You might not find Joy Dog Food in every store, which could be inconvenient for some.
  • Pricier Option: Depending on where you shop, Joy Dog Food might stretch your budget more than other brands.
  • Flavor Hit or Miss: Not all dogs might like the taste. Picky eaters could turn their noses up at it, as some reviews suggest.

Joy Dog Food Alternatives 

Exploring alternative dog food options to Joy Dog Food opens up a world of possibilities for pet owners. Here are some noteworthy alternatives:

  • Blue Buffalo: Popular for its natural ingredients and variety of formulas to cater to different dietary needs, Blue Buffalo offers a wide range of options for dogs of all ages and sizes.
  • Taste of the Wild: With grain-free recipes inspired by the diet of wild wolves, Taste of the Wild provides high-protein, nutrient-rich formulas that mirror a dog’s ancestral diet.
  • Wellness Core: Known for its grain-free and protein-rich recipes, Wellness Core offers premium dog food options formulated to support optimal health and vitality.
  • Orijen: Made with fresh, regional ingredients and biologically appropriate ratios of meat, organs, and cartilage, Orijen delivers nutrient-dense, flavorful meals for dogs.
  • Merrick: Committed to using real, whole foods like deboned meat, fish, and poultry, Merrick offers a variety of grain-free and grain-inclusive options to suit different dietary preferences.
  • Acana: Similar to Orijen, Acana emphasizes biologically appropriate diets with high-quality ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers, providing dogs with nourishing meals.

FAQs About Joy Dog Food 

Where is Joy Dog Food from?

Joy Dog Food is proudly sourced and manufactured in the United States, ensuring quality and safety standards are met. By manufacturing locally, Joy Dog Food can maintain control over the production process and ensure the freshness and quality of its products.

Does Joy Dog Food contain gluten?

Yes, Joy Dog Food may contain gluten due to the inclusion of grains like barley, rice, and oats in some recipes. While gluten can be a concern for dogs with certain sensitivities, Joy Dog Food offers grain-free options for those who require it.

Is Joy Dog Food grain-free?

Joy Dog Food includes whole grains like rice, barley, and oats in its recipes to provide essential nutrients and fiber. These grains contribute to the overall nutritional balance of Joy Dog Food formulas, supporting your dog’s health and digestion. However, a grain-free option is also available. 

What are the key benefits of Joy Dog Food?

Joy Dog Food offers premium ingredients, tailored nutrition for active dogs, and formulas designed for all life stages, promoting overall health and well-being. With high-quality ingredients and specialized formulations, Joy Dog Food provides dogs with the nutrients they need to thrive.

Has Joy Dog Food ever been recalled?

As of the available information, Joy Dog Food has not been subject to any recalls, emphasizing its commitment to product safety and quality. Pet owners can trust Joy Dog Food to provide safe and reliable nutrition for their furry companions.

Where can I buy Joy Dog Food?

Joy Dog Food can be purchased from select retailers or online through the brand’s official website or authorized distributors. Check the Joy Dog Food website for a list of retailers near you or to place an order online for convenient delivery.

Should You Buy Joy Dog Food? 

After a thorough Joy Dog Food review, it’s evident that this brand offers a substantial option for pet owners, particularly those with active or working dogs. The brand’s commitment to quality and specialized nutrition is commendable, providing a solid foundation for canine health and vitality.

However, the drawbacks are undeniable. Many people may be unfamiliar with the brand, which makes it not as desirable as its more popular counterparts. The limited availability can also be an issue.

Should you buy it? This is one question only you can answer. I find it to be a decent choice, especially for active and working dogs. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for more variety, there are other more popular options worth looking at. 

  • 7.3/10
    Woof Whiskers Rating - 7.3/10


Joy Dog Food delivers quality recipes for active dogs. It offers several recipes to meet different needs. However, the flavors can be a hit-and-miss and it can benefit from more variety. 

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