4health Dog Food Review, Recalls & Ingredients Analysis

4Health dog food is a private-label brand of dog food owned by a large chain store, Tractor Supply Company. In this article, we will find out a bit about this company, and check out some of 4health’s most popular recipes. Plus, I’ll recommend some good online alternatives.

My List of the Best Alternatives to 4health Dog Food in 2021:

As 4health Dog Food is only available in stores, if you’re looking for a quick click-and-buy, below I have picked a few of what I believe to be great dry dog food alternatives for each 4 health product, which are available online:


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4health Option

Alternative Dog Food

Our Rating

4health Salmon & Potato Formula Adult Dog Food

A+

4health Grain-Free Beef & Potato Dog Food

A+

4health Large Breed Formula Adult Dog Food

A+

4health Small Bites Formula Adult Dog Food

A+

4health Puppy Formula Dog Food

A

Who manufactures 4health?

4health is a private-label brand owned by the Tractor Supply Company, but it is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods Inc., which is owned by Shell and Kampter, Inc.

The latter is a family-owned, U.S.-based company that manufactures pet food and has plants located in California, Missouri, and South Carolina.

So, back to the company that owns the brand, Tractor Supply Company - you might be asking yourself:, “what does dog food have to do with tractors?” Well, this company is an operator of rural lifestyle retail stores - the largest one in the US*, in fact.

It has over 1,600 stores in 49 states and has been operating since 1938. They sell a whole lot of products from welders and generators to animal care products. And this is where dog food comes in - in 2010, they launched 4health as a private-label dog food.

*True at the time of writing this article.

Overview of 4health

The Tractor Supply Company market 4health as a premium but affordable dog food. According to the company, their food costs 20% less than other premium dog food brands, while still being of great quality.

4health dog foods are free from corn, soy, and wheat, as well as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. They pride themselves on providing dogs of all sizes and ages with a food that meets their nutritional needs.

4health Recalls history

  • In May 2012, Diamond Pet Foods issued a voluntary recall for all of their dog food brands that had best-by dates from December 2012 through April 2013 due to potential Salmonella contamination. While 4Health dog food did not test positive for Salmonella, they took the precaution in any case.

What formulas does 4health have?

4 Health has 10 dog treats, 14 canned food formulas, and 22 different dry food formulas. There are puppy, adult, and senior formulas as well as formulas for small and large breed dogs. They have a range of grain-free foods and a new line of “special care” formulas for dogs with special dietary needs.

Below is 4health's extensive line of dry dog foods:

  • Puppy Formula
  • Performance Formula
  • For Adult Dogs:
    • Salmon & Potato Formula/Chicken & Rice Formula/Lamb & Rice Formula
    • Large Breed Formula
    • Small Bites Formula
    • Mature Adult Formula
    • Healthy Weight Formula
  • Special Care Formulas:
    • Sensitive Skin Formula for Adult Dogs
    • Weight Management for Adult Dogs
    • Sensitive Stomach for Adult Dogs
  • Grain-Free Formulas:
    • Puppy Food
    • Pork & Potato/Turkey & Potato/Whitefish & Potato/Beef & Potato/Duck & Potato
    • Large Breed Formula for Adult Dogs
    • Chicken & Vegetables Formula for Adult Dogs
    • Small Breed Formula for Adult Dogs

4health’s Top 5 Dog Food Products and Their Best Alternatives (which are available online)

Dog food

Pros:

Cons:

Alternative

4health Salmon & Potato Formula Adult Dog Food

  • Good for medium/large dogs prone to joint conditions
  • Suitable for long-haired breeds
  • Doesn’t contain common allergens chicken, beef, or dairy
  • High in antioxidants from whole food sources
  • Low-fiber

4health Grain-Free Beef & Potato Dog Food

  • Good for dogs with grain allergies
  • Good choice for medium/large dogs prone to joint problems
  • Good food to help digestion
  • Few whole food sources of fruit and veg (provided in supplements instead)

4health Large Breed Formula Adult Dog Food

  • Good choice for typical large breed dogs
  • Beneficial for dogs already suffering from joint problems
  • High-carb
  • Few whole food sources of fruit and veg (provided in supplements instead)

4health Small Bites Formula Adult Dog Food

  • Suitable for typical/overweight toy and small breeds
  • Good choice for dogs prone to joint conditions
  • Few whole food sources of fruit and veg (provided in supplements instead)
  • Not suitable for long-haired breeds

4health Puppy Formula Dog Food

  • Suitable for typical puppies
  • High in antioxidants from whole food sources
  • Not suitable for long-haired breeds
  • Not a good choice for dogs prone to joint conditions
  • Low in omega-3s

#1 4health Salmon & Potato Formula Adult Dog Food

25 %
Protein
12 %
Fat
43 %
Carbs
3 %
Fiber

Listed as the current most popular recipe with customers on the website, I think this recipe is a good choice for typical medium/large dogs. The protein and fat content may be too low for active dogs who get more than an hour’s exercise a day.

For dogs who are allergic to beef or chicken, it is a good choice, as the sources of protein here are salmon and fish meal.

This formula has small amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are good nutrients for dogs who are prone to joint conditions, as they help to keep cartilage healthy and joints lubricated.

There is also an additional source of iodine - coming from kelp - which is a nutrient that promotes thyroid health. So, if your dog suffers from a thyroid condition, this food may be a good choice.

Of all the recipes in this review, it has the most omega fatty acids, so it will be the best option for dogs with long coats, as well as those with skin allergies, as omega-3s act as anti-inflammatories, helping to soothe itchy, sore skin.

While 4health adds probiotics to their foods to aid digestion, the fiber content is fairly low in this particular recipe, so if your dog is prone to digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea, it’s not the top choice.

Finally, there is a good helping of fruit and veg in this recipe, so it provides a lot of antioxidants. While these are good for any dog, they are especially good for dogs prone to serious diseases such as heart disease or cancer, as they help to undo the damage done by free radicals and maintain healthy cells.

Alternative Dog Food: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Adult Dogs

This recipe is usually more expensive than 4health, but it makes a good alternative. The macronutrient balance is similar, though there is slightly more fat (14%). The main sources of protein here are from turkey or chicken rather than fish.

This formula also includes kelp as a natural source of iodine, plus there is a small amount of glucosamine to support your dog’s joints, though it lacks chondroitin. Lastly, this recipe is high in antioxidants (from a range of fruit and veg) to support your dog’s immune system over the years and ward off diseases such as cancer.


#2 4health Grain-Free Beef & Potato Dog Food

24 %
Protein
12 %
Fat
44 %
Carbs
5 %
Fiber

As with the first food, I think this recipe is suited to typical medium/large dogs that get an hour or less of exercise a day.

It is a grain-free formula, so it’s a good choice if your dog has a grain allergy. Since the protein in this recipe comes from beef, it’s certainly one for dogs that like the taste of red meat.

As with the first recipe in this review, it has small amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin to help support your dog’s joints, so it is a great choice for dogs who are prone to joint diseases.

While not high, the fiber content is medium-range. Alongside the generous addition of probiotics, this food will be a good choice to support your dog’s digestion.

Alternative Dog Food: Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Lamb and Lamb Meal Recipe

This recipe from Wellness Complete Health makes a good alternative to this food, as it has a similar macronutrient balance.

It is grain-free, plus it has similar amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin to protect your dog’s joints.


#3 4health Large Breed Formula Adult Dog Food

24 %
Protein
12 %
Fat
46 %
Carbs
4 %
Fiber

This food is suited to typical large breed dogs, such as German Shepherds, who do an hour or less of exercise a day. If your large breed dog is very active, she will need a food with a higher protein and fat content.

I recommend this food for large breed dogs already suffering from painful joints or hip dysplasia, as this formula contains high levels of glucosamine (1,200 mg/kg) as well as some chondroitin (400 mg/kg).

In my opinion, there are a lot of carbs in this recipe, which come in the form of white rice, brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and rice bran. Therefore, this formula will not suit dogs sensitive to grains, nor dogs who are carrying excess weight, as they will need a lower-carb diet.

Alternative Dog Food: Merrick Classic Real Beef + Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains

While not a food specifically for large breeds, I chose Merrick Classic’s recipe here because of its very high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin (1200 mg/kg each) for dogs already suffering from joint problems.

It is a touch higher in protein (30%) and fat (15%), but lower in carbs (about 33%), so it should be suitable for typical dogs.


#4 4health Small Bites Formula Adult Dog Food

26 %
Protein
12 %
Fat
44 %
Carbs
4 %
Fiber

This dog food is specially formulated to meet the needs of toy and small breed dogs.

If your dog is active (does more than an hour of exercise a day), the fat content here is likely to be too low. In my opinion, it better suits typical toy and small breed dogs, and could even be a good choice for overweight dogs who need to shed a few pounds.

The protein comes mainly from chicken in this recipe, and there are good sources of fat (chicken fat and flaxseed.) Having said this, the omega-3 levels are fairly low, so I recommend this food for short-haired breeds.

Lastly, this recipe contains some glucosamine and chondroitin, so it is a great choice if your little dog is prone to joint problems, like Chihuahuas, for example.

Alternative Dog Food: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs

This recipe from Blue Buffalo Life Protection is a great alternative for small breed dogs. It is slightly higher in fat (15%), so could even suit more active dogs. It is also fairly high in omega fatty acids, so would be suited to long-haired dogs.

It contains a wealth of fruit and veg to support your little dog’s immune system throughout her life (and little ones do tend to live longer!) Finally, it contains some glucosamine for your dog’s joints, though this formula lacks chondroitin.


#5 4health Puppy Formula Dog Food

27 %
Protein
15 %
Fat
40 %
Carbs
4.5 %
Fiber

This formula is specially developed for puppies, who need a different macronutrient balance to adult dogs.

I think it is a good choice for less active puppies, and not for those who are very high-energy and do more than 1 - 1 ½ hours’ exercise a day - for example Border Collies or Boxers - as they may need more protein and fat to sustain their energy levels.

The protein comes from lamb and ocean fish meal here, and chicken fat and salmon oil provide good sources of fat. There is also a nice handful of fruit and veg to support your puppy’s immune system.

The omega-3 levels are low, so I recommend it for short-haired puppies. If your pup suffers from skin allergies, she may need a food higher in these fatty acids to soothe her.

There is no added glucosamine or chondroitin in this recipe, so I do NOT recommend it for large or giant breed puppies, as they are more prone to developing joint problems, and so tend to do well with extra support.

Alternative Dog Food: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula with Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison

Taste of the Wild provides a good formula for puppies here, which contains many sources of protein (mainly meat-based) as well as a few fruits and vegetables and plenty of supplements to support her immune system.

As with the above recipe, it is better for short-haired breeds due to low levels of omega-3, and, as it does not contain glucosamine or chondroitin, I don’t recommend it for large or giant breed pups.

What is the average price and how long will it last?

A bag of 4health regular (non-grain-free) dog food weighs 35 lb (15.87kg) and will cost you in the region of $35 ($1/lb.)*

A bag of 4health grain-free dog food weighs 30lb (13.6kg) and costs slightly more - about $38 ($1.26/lb.)

*all prices in this post are given approximately by looking on average at 5 of the top online retailers. The final price can vary.

Take a look at the chart below to see how long a bag of 4health food can last you, and the difference between the regular and grain-free varieties:

Weight of adult dog*

Regular recipes**

Grain-free

lb / kg

Grams/day

How long does it last approx.?

Grams/day

How long does it last approx.?

5 / 2.26

60 g

8 3/4 months

60 g

7 1/2 months

10 / 4.5

120 g

4 1/3 months

120 g

3 3/4 months

20 / 9

160 g

3 1/4 months

210 g

2 months

30 / 13.6

210 g

2 1/2 months

270 g

1 1/2 months

40 / 18

270 g

2 months

360 g

1 1/4 months

60 / 27

360 g

1 1/2 months

480 g

3 ½ weeks

80 / 36

420 g

1 1/4 months

600 g

3 weeks

100 / 45

510 g

1 month

690+ g

2 - 2 1/2 weeks

*For typical dogs. Active dogs may need more to meet their daily calorie intake

**Used the Salmon and Potato Formula as an example

While the recommended daily allowance for your dog can differ depending on which 4health recipe you choose, it seems to differ quite a lot if the recipe is grain-free - as you can see from the chart, the recommended intake of food is much higher if your dog is on a grain-free recipe. This is likely because the high grain content in the regular foods fill up your dog much more.

If your dog needs a grain-free food, it is still worth opting for one. If you’re more interested in the food lasting longer, however, it’s better to opt for a regular formula.


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4health Dog Food Review
  • Overall Quality of Ingredients
  • Meat Content
  • Grain Content
  • Quality/Price Ratio
4.1

Summary

All in all, 4Health is a good-quality dog food at a low price. In my opinion, their recipes could contain a little more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Furthermore, a high-quality dog food for me should contain a range of fruits and vegetables, which some of 4health’s recipes are lacking.

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