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Wellness Dog Food Review

Dog Food Nutrition February 19, 2020

Wellness Dog Food Review

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Wellness Dog Food makes several highly popular dog foods, along with meal toppers and treats for dogs. They make foods with and without grains; dry and wet foods; and limited ingredient formulas.

Before you buy, find out if Wellness Dog Food has a food that’s right for your dog by reading our unbiased review.

Wellness Dog Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Brand Score

Wellness Dog Food
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • The company makes their dry foods and most wet foods at their own facilities in North America
  • Customers give the company and its foods high marks
  • Wellness is moderately priced compared to some premium dog foods
Cons
  • Wellness does not provide clear cut answers about the sources for their ingredients
  • Many Wellness foods use peas in the first several ingredients
Pros
  • The company makes their dry foods and most wet foods at their own facilities in North America
  • Customers give the company and its foods high marks
  • Wellness is moderately priced compared to some premium dog foods
Cons
  • Wellness does not provide clear cut answers about the sources for their ingredients
  • Many Wellness foods use peas in the first several ingredients
Ingredients
Overall Quality
Customer Experience
Recall History
Formulation
Nutritional Standards
Research
Price

Our reviews are based on extensive research and years of professional knowledge of dog food brands. In order to remain objective, we do not accept gifts of free products or write sponsored posts on this site.

We’ve looked at Wellness closely and graded it according to the PupJunkies.com standard. Our criteria include ingredients, quality, customer experience, recall history, working with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the food, nutritional standards, research, and price.

About Wellness

The Wellness dry pet food line was launched in 1997. In 2000 the Holistic Select dry dog food and cat food lines were started. Between 2000-2003, the company expanded their cat food offerings.

By 2004, Wellness was the number one leading natural pet food in the independent pet specialty sales market. In 2006 Wellness added Simple Food Solutions for dogs with allergies.

In 2007 the Berwind Corporation bought Eagle Pack pet food. This was followed in 2008 with the purchase of Wellness and Old Mother Hubbard (a much older company specializing in making dog cookies) for $400 million.

Together with Holistic Select (which had been part of Eagle Pack in the past), these companies were merged into one company – Wellpet LLC. Wellpet is now headquartered near Boston, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Today Wellness is known for making bestselling dog and cat foods. According to the Wellness web site, their philosophy is based on using simple, natural ingredients without fluff or fillers.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Sourcing of ingredients is not a clear cut issue with Wellness. The company provides an information page about their ingredients but it does not indicate where they are sourced.

Wellness was sued several years ago in a class action lawsuit due to the fact that their vitamin pre-mixes allegedly come from China, even though their packaging states that their foods are “Proudly Made In The USA.”

This case was subsequently dismissed when the judge declared that there were no actual damages involved.

Wellness continues to have the “Proudly Made In The USA” statement on their packaging but we can’t say with any certainty where their ingredients are sourced.

Obviously, it’s better when a company will tell you where they obtain their ingredients.

This was one customer representative response to a question about sourcing: “Wellness will source their high-quality ingredients right here in the United States depending on availability. However, certain high-quality ingredients can only be outsourced (i,e: duck, lamb, venison, etc.).”

The company’s dry recipes are made at their own manufacturing facility in Indiana, near South Bend.

Wellness is less forthcoming about where their wet foods are made.

Online questions about where the food is made always seem to lead to pages about how the food is made. We did find an answer about where their canned foods are made, though it’s more than a year old.

Here is a customer service response on Chewy.com from 2018: “All Wellness dry recipes are produced at their company-owned manufacturing facility in Indiana, U.S.A.

The majority of wet foods are made in the U.S. The 5.5 and 12.5 ounce cans are made in New Jersey, the 3 ounce Pate’s are made in Toronto, and the Divine duos, signature selects and pouches are mad e in Thailand.”

This is the most recent information we found. Keep in mind that manufacturing/co-packing information can change.

Recall History

Wellness has had several recalls over the years. In February and March 2017 the company had recalls for both dog food and cat food.

Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs was recalled because of elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone; a number of cat foods were recalled because of the potential for foreign material.

In May 2012 Wellness recalled Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy because of a potential for Salmonella.

In October 2012 the company announced (via Facebook) a recall of Wellness Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food because of possible moisture contamination.

Wellness had a canned cat food FDA recall in February 2011 because of inadequate levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1).

Check for current dog food recalls

What kinds of dog food does Wellness offer?

Wellness makes both kibbles and wet foods, as well as treats/snacks and toppers for meals. Many of their products have recipes for puppies as well as adult dogs. They also make some foods for senior dogs.

In addition, they make foods especially for small and large breeds.

Here are the major product lines for Wellness:

  • Complete Health – Available in formulas with and without grains, in kibbles and cans, and in limited ingredient recipes. Complete Health includes Grained, Grain-Free, Complete Health Pate Wet, Pate Mixers and Toppers, Complete Health Limited Ingredient, Complete Health Limited Ingredient Wet, Complete Health Limited Ingredient Mixers and Toppers (wet), Stews, Wellness Ninety-Five Percent, Petite Entrees, and several treats and snacks.
  • Wellness CORE – Grain-free natural dog foods, treats, and toppers that emphasize animal protein. Includes kibbles, wet, and freeze-dried foods. This line includes CORE Six, RawRev, CORE 100 % Freeze-Dried, CORE Simply Shreds, CORE Dry, CORE Tender Bites, CORE Pate, CORE Hearty Cuts, CORE 95%, CORE Small Breed Mini Meals, CORE Puppy Bites, along with several treats and toppers.
  • Simple – Limited ingredient dog foods with a single source of protein and easily-digestible carbohydrates. No fillers or additives. Formulated for dogs with food sensitivities. Available in kibbles and wet foods. Kibbles are made with oatmeal or are grain-free. Simple includes Simple Dry, Simple Grain-Free Dry, Simple Pate, and Simple Pate Mixers and Toppers.

As you can see, their product lines offer many choices for all kinds of dogs. You can easily find a food for your dog whether you have a tiny dog or a large one.

You can find grain-free foods or foods with grains, kibbles or canned foods, and foods for puppies and senior dogs.

Wellness Dog Food: Top Three Recipes Reviewed

We’re taking a look at three of the top-selling Wellness dog foods as found on Chewy.com.

Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food is one of Wellness’s bestselling dog foods. This formula is considered to be a grain formula but it contains no corn, wheat, or soy.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

As you can see, deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first ingredients. Chicken meal is chicken that has had most of the water removed before cooking. This means that is has several times as much protein as the deboned chicken (which still contains moisture). The addition of oatmeal, barley, and brown rice make this a food with healthy grains.

Peas are the fifth ingredient which could be a concern, especially if you are worried about DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). The FDA has suggested that dog owners avoid dog foods that contain large amounts of peas, legumes, and lentils.

That has been interpreted to mean various things ranging from all of the ingredients before the vitamins and minerals to the ingredients before the fat in the food.

One of the researchers involved in investigating nutritional DCM has suggested that people should avoid dog foods that have these ingredients as one of the first five ingredients in the food.

Otherwise we don’t see any ingredients here that raise concerns. If you are wondering about the vitamins/mineral pre-mixes from China referred to in the lawsuit mentioned above, many dog food companies use these pre-mixes because some of these vitamins/minerals are hard to obtain elsewhere.

We wouldn’t hold that against Wellness, though many people do try to avoid dog foods that use other ingredients from China out of fears about safety.

Per the guaranteed analysis, this food has 24 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, 10 percent moisture, and 434 kcal/cup.

This is a good food for most pets that aren’t overly active. We would give this food a score of 4 out of 5, lowering it due to concerns about the peas being so prominent in the ingredients.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 34% Min
  • Fat – 16% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food is another bestseller for Wellness. This is a grain-free, gluten-free formula with no corn, wheat, or soy. The formula is high in protein and contains no meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Broccoli, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

This formula features deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the sources of meat protein, with some chicken liver appearing later in the list. These are all good sources of protein. As mentioned earlier, these named meat meals have had the water removed before cooking so they contain several times more protein than the deboned turkey. This provides your dog with lots of meat protein.

We have highlighted the peas, potatoes, and dried ground potatoes because these ingredients have been linked to nutritional dilated cardiomyopathy, at least with reported cases.

The link with the potatoes (and dried ground potatoes) is more debatable than the link to peas and other legumes (See the section on the FDA page: “Diet Information from Reported Cases.”)

The FDA has not come up with any final answers about DCM and dog foods so dog owners and dog food companies are more or less left trying to figure out what to do right now.

According to the guaranteed analysis, this food has 34 percent crude protein, 16 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 421 kcal/cup.

Because of the peas and potatoes in the food, and possible issues with DCM, we have to lower the rating to 4 out of 5.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 25% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture – 11% Max

Ingredients:

Like other Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient formulas, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food is made for dogs with food sensitivities. It’s easily digestible and supports your dog’s skin and coat health.

This formula is grain-free, gluten-free, made for sensitive digestion, with a limited ingredient diet; and it has no corn, wheat, or soy. It has a single source of protein with carbohydrates that are easy to digest. And, it has no extra additives or fillers. As with other Wellness recipes, it has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Salmon, Salmon Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dicalcium Phosphate, Natural Fish Flavor, Chicory Root Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Salmon and salmon meal are the first ingredients. Salmon is a good source of protein for dogs. It’s also a source of coldwater omega fatty acids that are good for your dog’s skin and coat.

Unlike the omega-3 fatty acid that comes from flaxseed, which dogs can’t really use very effectively, omega-3 from fish is great for dogs.

As with the other Wellness foods we have looked at, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food uses peas and potatoes.

In this case, potatoes are the third ingredient, peas are the fourth ingredient, and dried ground potatoes are the fifth ingredient.

We have the same concerns with these ingredients in this food that we mentioned before. If these ingredients appeared lower in the ingredient list they probably wouldn’t be a problem.

But since they all appear within the first five ingredients of the food it means that they likely make up a large percentage of the food’s contents.

This food has a guaranteed analysis of 25 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, 11 percent moisture, and 446 kcal/cup.

Most of the ingredients in the food look fine but the presence of the peas and potatoes in the top five ingredients is a concern. Our rating for this food is 3.5/5.

How Much Does Wellness Dog Food Cost?

Wellness is considered to be a premium dog food brand. The prices for their foods are expensive, though not the most expensive foods in the market.

The Wellness CORE line is generally their most expensive product line since it contains higher protein percentages.

What Do Customers Think Of Wellness Dog Food?

Most customers have positive things to say about Wellness dog foods. If you read comments on the Wellness web site, long-time customers are more likely to comment about the packaging than the contents of the food.

All reviews are from Chewy.com:

Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Great Value

By Chris on Jan 26, 2020

Both of my Pitbulls I have noticed an uptick in energy and nice shine on their coats. I switched from a grain free brand to this and am having good results. Both were having digestive issues and vomiting quite a bit from the grain free so it was time for a change. The Wellness brand seems to be doing a good job.


Buddy Approved

By Bella on Oct 16, 2019

I have a 9 year old Golden Retriever that has struggled with constipation since he was very young, I switched to Wellness food because it was recommended by many, had many great reviews whenever I researched it and many reputable breeders use it. i was a bit nervous switching him since its always a little scary to start a new food…but I was also very excited. Now..he usually eats his old kibble food with a small amount of canned pumpkin to help him go to the bathroom since he has constipation issues. I tried this food without the pumpkin and observed for a good week or so and its been wonderful. He hasn’t need the additive of pumpkin and he seems to love this food, he does his little happy/excited dance before I give it to him. I 100% recommend this food. I sleep SO good at night knowing my dog is being fed a great quality food.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Food Ever!

By barb on Nov 15, 2019

I highly recommend Wellness CORE. We have a new puppy and were told that this is the best food to give a dog, period. We didn’t feed our previous pups this food, as we didn’t know about it. My dear friend had a very ill dog and the doctor told her that this was the best food to give any dog. The dog thrived on this food. So….this is our new food for life.


Good Product, Good Service

By brooklynpaul on Dec 14, 2019

I have been using Wellness for the entire six years I have had my dog, at the recommendation of the rescue organization through which I got her. She is happy and healthy. Prompt delivery from Chewy.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Great For Our Pitty

By Kiley on Nov 24, 2019

Our pit bull had developed an itch this past month and we’re suggested a change of protein. A friend recommended this brand and the itching has stopped.

Overall, Is Wellness Dog Food A Good Choice?

Overall, we do think Wellness dog foods are good foods. We do recommend that you look at the ingredients, especially if you are concerned about DCM or if your dog has DCM.

Not every Wellness food uses peas and potatoes, or uses them in large amounts, though these bestsellers we looked at do.

Where is Wellness Dog Food sold?

You can buy Wellness Dog Food online from retailers like Chewy.com and from some pet food stores.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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