The Aldi Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Wondering about this supermarket brand? Is this the best option for your pup? Well, wonder no more!
We teamed up with a panel of independent experts and have created the ultimate Aldi dog food review. After several months of research and debate and dozens of Aldi dog foods tested, we were able to agree on this list of the retailer's best choices. That way, you can make an informed decision. Here’s what you should know!
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced kangaroo, chicken or salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega-3 and Omega-6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Aldi Dog Food (Natural Elements) Review
Aldi Dog food - 3 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Aldi natural elements Chicken recipe: Poultry Meal (Source of Chicken), Peas, Poultry Tallow (Contains Rosemary Extract, Antioxidants), Tapioca, Potato, Sweet Potato, Gravy, Vitamins & Minerals, Beet Pulp, Salmon Oil, Vegetable Oil, Chicory Root, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Coconut Oil, Alfalfa, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Parsley Flakes, Chondroitin Sulphate, Glucosamine, Rosemary, Taurine, Kelp Meal, Beta Carotene
- Named Protein First: No, but meal is OK.
- Dog Food Type: Dry and wet food
- Recipe Range: Chicken and salmon kibble recipes, one wet food, and treats in both chicken and beef flavours.
- Suitable For: Adult dogs (can be fed to puppies and seniors)
- Cost: $$
- Australian Owned: No, but it is made in Australia
Before getting into our Aldi supermarket dog food review, it’s important to mention this supermarket has had different dog food home brands. Up until early 2020, Aldi sold their Julius dog food in the Australian market.
Since then, their Natural Elements dog food brand was born. As of the writing of this article, Natural Elements is the most easily available of the two. Because of this, the following dog food review will focus on Aldi Natural Elements dog food.
Interested in a Julius Dog food review? Our independent team also covered those recipes down below!
Aldi Natural Elements Dog Food Review
Aldi Natural Elements Dog Food Review
This food seems to be tasty enough for dogs to enjoy it. Some members of our research team reported that their pups had a hard time getting used to it, but after a couple of days, they took to the new brand with gusto. This is very normal whenever you’re swapping foods, which is why we recommend slowly fazing out the previous kibble and increasing the new food progressively.
PRO TIP: Got a new dog food brand for your dog? Don’t just give a bowl of the new one! To avoid digestive trouble, you need to slowly introduce the new food and lower the percentage of “old” food. Most dog food brands have a portion guide on the packaging: use it!
Considering the taste of this brand doesn’t seem overly remarkable, our panel is giving Aldi Natural Elements 5 out of 5 in this category.
Aldi’s kibble has a decent ingredient list. This dog food has a guaranteed analysis with a minimum of 28% crude protein, and 18% of fat. I like the overall percentage of protein since it’s above the 18% recommended by the AAFCO . We’ll examine the quality of the protein in the next category.
All kibble recipes are grain-free as well as their wet food. However, our team noticed that treats aren’t marketed as grain-free so be careful if you’re looking to avoid cereals in your dog’s diet.
The first item is poultry meal, followed by peas and poultry tallow. Considering the respectable 18% crude fat content, this shows that poultry meals and peas are the bulk of the food, with percentages that probably are around the 50/50 mark. This is good news! Poultry meal is a nice protein source, and peas can be healthy for dogs.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal in Dog Food.
Our independent experts think that it's important to note, however, that a high legume consumption (including peas) have been recently linked to a higher chance of heart disease . A study by UC Davis lab showed that high legume consumption and grain-free diets can cause dangerous taurine deficiency, which is an essential nutrient for heart health . To help lower the risk, it’s important to make sure your dog gets enough taurine from their diet through homemade toppings and raw dog food.
PRO TIP: Taurine is a heat-sensitive amino acid, so cooked dog food like kibble tends to have a lower content. To bump up your dog’s taurine intake, you can include toppings like dark-meat poultry, organ meats, eggs, or cooked fish.
Besides poultry, peas and tallow, this food also has carbohydrate sources like tapioca, potato and sweet potato to make up the rest of the food. Other ingredients include goodies like coconut oil, alfalfa and blueberries. I really love that there are no added chemicals, cereals, salt and sugar, items I tend to keep an eye out for when dog food shopping for my pups.
Of course, this food has its shortcomings (like a high percentage of peas), but our research team like its overall composition. We’re giving Aldi Natural Elements 3 out of 5 in this category.
Protein content 3.5/5
As we’ve mentioned above, poultry meal is the first ingredient in all recipes (including salmon and chicken flavour). We appreciate that Aldi has gone slightly above the minimum protein percentage recommended by the AAFCO, so this food features a respectable 28% crude protein percentage. Of course, it’s safe to assume part of this protein percentage comes from peas.
Poultry meal is a nice first ingredient. According to the AAFCO, poultry meal is the rendered, cooked down of “a combination of clean flesh and skin with bone” excluding feathers, heads, feet and entrails . While it would be nice to have a second animal protein source, at this price point we cannot ask for more. Poultry meal adds healthy protein to your dog’s diet, and it’s easy to supplement with extras like chicken liver or dark meat as a topper.
Considering the protein sources and the fact that peas represent a good chunk of the total protein, we’re giving this brand 3.5 out of 5 in this category.
We like the little extras this brand has on top of the bulk of the food. Aldi has added interesting ingredients, so we’ve broken them up down below:
Overall, this is a generally good ingredient list with nice extras to round up your dog’s diet. Our independent experts had serious doubts about the inclusion of “vegetable oil”, which is very likely palm oil. Because of this issue, we’re taking off 2 stars.
For a supermarket food, Aldi Natural Elements has a very limited range. All their recipes are targeted at adults, although the packaging mentions it can also be fed to seniors and puppies.
As of the writing of this review, there are two grain-free kibble recipes (chicken, salmon), a wet “casserole” recipe and two treat options. Both the dry and wet food are grain-free, but the treats are not.
All recipes (including the salmon one) have poultry by-products, so there are no true single-protein options from this brand. I wasn't happy to note that Natural Elements doesn’t offer a smaller kibble size, so small and toy pups like mine might have a hard time chewing at mealtimes.
Due to its shortcomings (no senior option, no small dog line), our team is taking off 3 stars.
Aldi is known for its reasonably priced groceries, so it’s not a big surprise their dog food range is equally affordable. In general, a small bag will be significantly cheaper than most other brands available in Australia, including other supermarket dog food brands! Larger bags are also relatively inexpensive but still an investment, of course.
Overall, Natural Elements dog food is inexpensive enough to fit households with very large pups or those with multiple dogs. In general, the price is one of the best things about this brand, so our panel is giving it 5 out of 5 in this category.
Aldi Julius Dog Food Review
Have you ever heard of Aldi’s Julius dog food? This was the first iteration of Aldi’s dog food home brand. According to Aldi’s site, the ingredients in Julius dog food are:
“Chicken recipe: Meat and Meat By-Products (from Chicken and Beef), Wholegrain Cereals (Wheat and/or Sorghum), Wheat Bran, Vegetable Protein, Tallow, Whole Linseeds and/or Linseed Oil, Beet Pulp, Salt, Prebiotic, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Rosemary Plant Extract, Vitamins (A, D, E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline, Pantothenic Acid), Minerals (Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Iodine, Cobalt), Lutein, Garlic, Kelp.”
Overall, this ingredient list looks pretty bad. For starters, the first ingredient is a vague “meat and meat by-products”, apparently from chicken and beef. This includes all parts of the animal except from hooves, horns or manure . The second and third ingredients? Wheat and wheat.
Yes, with their Julius range Aldi used ingredient splitting. Since ingredients have to be named in the percentage they represent within the food, splitting an ingredient (here, as the full cereal and as the bran) allows companies to place it on the second and third position on the ingredient list. The food wouldn’t sound so appealing if the first ingredient was wheat, right?
Then we have “vegetable protein”, a sign that the meat in the first ingredient isn’t enough to fulfill the protein requirements in dog food. Our panel of experts also believes that it is also suspicious that no specific vegetable is named. Is this pea protein or plain wheat gluten? We’ll never know.
The rest of the ingredient list is nice enough, except for the addition of garlic. As we’ve covered before, garlic can be highly toxic to dogs so it would be better to avoid it altogether.
Comparing Aldi Julius to the more widely available Aldi Natural Elements dog food, the latter is significantly better. Aldi Natural Elements is a grain-free food unlike Aldi Julius that is based around wheat. If you were to buy one or the other, Natural Elements is the better option between the two.
Are Aldi Julius dog food and Aldi Natural Elements dog food the same?
No. Even though they have the same parent company, these two foods have completely different recipes and are in fact different brands.
The Aldi Julius food brand has a wheat-based recipe, while their Natural Elements line does not include wheat in the ingredient list and has a more balanced recipe.
Overall, our independent experts believe that Aldi Natural Elements dog food is a significantly better option than Aldi Julius.
Do not buy if…
This brand can be a nice addition to your rotation, but our researchers say you might look elsewhere if you:
For the low price, every member of our expert panel could agree that Aldi Natural Elements is a very decent mid-range food. Considering many other mid-range options, this brand is fairly good! However, remember our word of caution about the mysterious “vegetable oil”, which might be palm oil.
Other than that, it’s not a bad choice if your shop of choice is Aldi.
Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:
- Ivory Coat Dog Food Review
- Canidae Dog Food Review
- Advance Dog Food Review
- Farmers Market Dog Food Review
- Supercoat Dog Food Review
- Applaws Dog Food Review
- Optimum Dog Food Review
- Royal Canin Dog Food Review
- Nature's Gift Dog Food Review
- Baxters Dog Food Review
- Leaps & Bounds Dog Food Review
- Stay Loyal Dog Food Review
- Pedigree Dog Food Review
- Science Diet Dog Food Review
- SavourLife Dog Food Review
- Scratch Dog Food Review
- Black Hawk Dog Food Review
- Vetalogica Dog Food Review
- Glow Dog Food Review
- Crave Dog Food Review
- ProBalance Dog Food Review
- Nood Dog Food Review
- Woofin Good Dog Food Review
- Instinctive Bite Dog Food Review
- "Understanding Pet Food". Association of American Feed Control Officials AAFCO. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://www.aafco.org/consumers/understanding-pet-food/
- "Are Peas Safe for Dogs?". The Simple Food Project. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://simplefoodproject.com/peas-and-grain-free/
- Kaplan J.L, Stern J.A, Fascetti A.J, Larsen J.A, Skolnik H, Peddle G.D, et al. December 13, 2018. "Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets." PLoS ONE 13(12): e0209112. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209112. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0209112