Wellness Dog Food Review, Recalls & Ingredients Analysis in 2021

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Wellness is one of the most popular brands of dog food on the market today, known for its high-quality products that cater to dogs of all sizes and ages. They focus on all-natural, wholesome recipes that provide the best nutrition for your dog.

Let’s delve deeper into this brand - we’ll look at its philosophy, its background, and some of its top recipes.

If you’re in a rush and you’d prefer a quick click-and-buy option, here is a rundown of what I deem to be the top 5 recipes from Wellness in 2021:


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Overview of Wellness

Wellness manufacture a variety of dog foods for all life stages, sizes, and dietary requirements. They focus on simple, natural ingredients that provide excellent nutrition, giving your dog a wholesome, healthy meal.

They use real meat to give your dog high-quality protein, fresh fruit and veg to provide antioxidants for immune system health, good sources of omega fatty acids for her skin and coat health, and probiotics to keep her digestion regular. They stay away from artificial colors and flavors, corn, wheat, and soy, and they do not include by-products.

Wellness Pet Food was first launched in 1997 by veterinarians, animal nutrition experts, and food scientists. They began by producing recipes for dogs and introduced additional recipes for cats in 2000. In very little time, Wellness Pet Food became the leading natural pet food in independent pet specialty retailers.

Who manufactures Wellness?

Wellness is owned by pet food company Wellpet LLC (owned by the Berwind Corporation), who have their headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. This company formed in 2008 after merging Eagle Pack Pet Foods and Old Mother Hubbard, whose companies were founded in 1926 and 1970 respectively.

It seems that the majority of Wellness’s products are manufactured by the Eagle Pack Company at their own manufacturing facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. In May 2012, during a recall, it was shown that some of Wellness’s foods were being manufactured by a company called Diamond Pet Foods, one of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world.

In addition to the US and Canada, Wellness Pet Food is also currently available in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia & Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Wellness Recalls history

  • February 2011: There was a large-scale recall for 12 types of Wellness canned cat foods because of inadequate levels of thiamine. Wellness CORE was included in this recall.
  • May 2012: Wellness announced a voluntary recall of its Super 5 Mix Large Breed Puppy Food, which had been manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. Salmonella had been found in Diamond’s South Carolina facility. Due to this, many pet food brands had to recall products.
  • October 2012: The company issued a voluntary recall of Wellness Super5 Mix Small Breed Adult Dog Food food due to higher than normal levels of moisture.
  • February 2017: Wellness recalled 7 canned cat food formulas due to a potential for foreign material.
  • March 2017: There was a voluntary recall of a limited amount of one canned topper product due to “potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.”

Wellness Legal Issue

It is also worth mentioning here that Wellness were involved in a lawsuit over their use of the term “human grade” to describe their pet foods. They actually won this legal battle, but now refrain from using this terminology, along with many other pet food manufacturers.

The fact that a dog food doesn’t say “human-grade” does not mean it is of lower quality, however. In fact, human-grade is not even considered a standard by the AAFCO - if food is fit for human consumption, rather it is termed “edible.” But, they claim, “a product formulated for a pet is unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for a human and vice versa.”

So, instead, what really matters when it comes to your dog’s food is the quality of ingredients being used, how much nutritious protein is going into it, and whether there are good sources of fats and antioxidants, etc. Wellness ticks all those boxes. So let’s move on.

What formulas does Wellness have?

Wellness has 4 different lines of dog foods:

  • Wellness Complete Health offers whole food nutrition with grain-free options and options for different life stages and sizes. It has 20 dry formulas, 6 of which are grain-free.
  • Wellness CORE is a protein-rich and completely grain-free line, and features air-dried and freeze-dried formulas as well as kibbles. There are 7 dry kibble formulas.
  • Wellness Simple is a Limited Ingredient Diet line formulated for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. It has 6 dry formulas.
  • Wellness Trufood includes slow-baked recipes offering nutrient-rich, high-protein foods. There are 5 dry food recipes as well as other tasty meal complements.

Wellness’s Top 5 Dog Food Products

Below are the pros and cons of all the recipes included in this review:

Dog food

Pros:

Cons:

  • Suitable for active dogs
  • High in omega fatty acids
  • Lots of probiotics
  • Grain-free
  • Lots of antioxidant-rich fruit and veg
  • Supports dogs prone to joint conditions
  • May not be suitable for typically active dogs
  • Suitable for typically active dogs
  • Healthy whole grain carbs
  • Nutrients to support heart health
  • Includes some antioxidant-rich fruit and veg
  • Can help dogs prone to joint conditions
  • Fairly high in carbs
  • Good choice for active small breeds
  • Grain-free
  • Supports heart health
  • Good option for long-haired breeds
  • Includes antioxidant-rich fruit and veg
  • Can help dogs prone to joint conditions
  • May not be suitable for typically active small breeds
  • Good choice for active puppies
  • Includes 9 antioxidant-rich fruit and veg
  • High in omega oils - great for skin and coat health
  • Low in carbs
  • May not suit typically active puppies
  • Good option for dogs who suffer from food allergies or sensitivities
  • High in omega oils - good for long-haired breeds or dogs with skin irritation
  • Grain-free
  • No fruit or veg (due to limited content)
  • No joint support

Protein: 34%

Fat: 16%

Carbs: 32%

Fiber: 4%

This recipe from Wellness CORE is very popular with customers. I think its macronutrient balance makes it suited to active dogs who exercise more than an hour a day.

It is bursting with protein, at a whopping 34%, coming from deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. These meals are what make it so high in protein, as they contain less water and much more protein than the whole meat.

Wellness CORE also throws in chicken liver for good measure, which provides a great source of protein as well as fat. Other sources of fat included here are chicken fat, flaxseed, and salmon oil. These are all omega-rich fats that will nourish your dog’s skin and coat.

As for carbs, there are no grains here. Instead, they include peas and potatoes, which provide your dog with healthy complex carbohydrates. Peas provide extra fiber, too, which will help with your dog’s digestion. On top of that, there are very high levels of probiotics in this formula, so if your dog has digestive issues, this dog food could help.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it includes no less than 7 antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables. So, it’s great for supporting your dog’s immune system over the years as well as fighting off damage done by free radicals, lowering your dog’s chances of developing serious diseases.

Finally, if your dog is prone to joint conditions, this dog food could be a good option, as it includes low levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. These help to keep your dog’s joint and cartilage healthy.

#2 Wellness Complete Health Chicken & Oatmeal

Protein: 24%

Fat: 12%

Carbs: 46%

Fiber: 4%

In my opinion, this recipe is a good choice for typically active dogs who exercise of an hour or less daily.

Its protein content is mid-range, at 24%, coming from chicken and chicken meal, and the fat content is quite low, at just 12%. The carbohydrates here include oatmeal, ground barley, and ground brown rice, which are all healthy whole grains, as well as peas, which also provide additional protein and fiber.

There is some glucosamine and chondroitin here, so if your pooch is prone to conditions such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, this food could give her the support she needs. Wellness also adds in a little taurine to this recipe for your dog’s heart health. So, if she is prone to any heart conditions, this dog food could also help there, too.

Though not quite as many as in the Wellness CORE recipe, there is a handful of antioxidant-rich fruit and veg here, including blueberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apples.

#3 Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Small Breed

Protein: 32%

Fat: 16%

Carbs: 34%

Fiber: 5.5%

Another recipe from Wellness Complete Health makes it into this review for its popularity among customers and great reputation as a dog food for small breeds. I think it suits active little ones - perhaps a yappy Yorkie or a cheeky Chihuahua.

The protein here comes primarily from turkey and chicken meal, and there is some salmon meal here, too, which ups the protein even more. Flaxseed and salmon oil provide high levels of omega fatty acids, making it a food that is especially suited to long-haired breeds.

Completely grain-free, the carbs here come from the pulses peas, lentils, and chickpeas. These are all excellent sources of low-glycemic carbs, which also provide protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.

The inclusion of taurine will support your little one’s heart health. Plus, 5 antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables will keep her immune system healthy and protect her against free radicals over her long life. Lastly, there are small amounts of joint-supporting nutrients, which can help support dogs prone to joint conditions.

#4 Wellness CORE Puppy

Protein: 36%

Fat: 18%

Carbs 28%

Fiber: 5%

This recipe from Wellness CORE suits active puppies that are on-the-go for more than an hour a day.

It has a very high protein content, including quality deboned chicken and high-protein chicken meal and turkey meal. Chicken fat, flaxseed, and salmon oil provide high-quality fats, making this recipe high in omega fatty acids, which is great for nourishing your pup’s skin and keeping her coat shiny and soft - you will want to cuddle up to her all day!

This Wellness CORE puppy recipe really goes all out in the fruit and veg department, adding 9 antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to support your puppy’s maturing immune system. Wow! Plus, there are high amounts of probiotics here to keep your pup’s digestion regular.

This formula is grain-free, so if your puppy has shown signs of grain allergies, this food is a good option. It is also low in carbs, which is ideal, as dogs don’t need a whole lot of these and benefit from a diet that focuses more on good proteins and fats.

#5 Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Turkey & Potato

Protein: 26%

Fat: 12%

Carbs: 43%

Fiber: 5.5%

This Limited Ingredient recipe from Wellness Simple is a good choice for typically active dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.

Turkey is the only meat protein included here, and there are just two sources of fat, which are chicken-free, including canola oil and flaxseed. The omega fatty acids are high in this recipe, so it’s a good option for dogs with long coats or for those suffering from skin irritation, as omega 3s have soothing anti-inflammatory properties.

No grains are included in this formula, so if your dog suffers from grain allergies, too, you don’t have to worry with this food. On the downside, there are no sources of fruit or veg due to its limited content. However, there are plenty of vitamin and mineral supplements included here to give your dog the nutrients she needs.

This recipe does not include any joint support, so if your dog is prone to or suffers from joint disorders, you may want to choose a different food.

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

Wellness CORE is sold in bags of 4lb, 12lb, and 26lb.

For the largest bag, prices usually range from about $60 - 80*. Taking $70 as the average, that equals roughly $2.69/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.

Wellness Complete Health comes in 5lb, 15lb, and 30lb bags.

The latter size usually costs about $50 on average. That’s $1.66/lb.

So, Wellness Complete Health certainly seems to be cheaper. However, the daily feeding recommendations for Wellness Complete Health are much higher.

According to my calculations, a 26lb bag of Wellness CORE can last a week or two longer, in fact, than a 30lb bag of Wellness Complete Health. So, while Wellness Complete Health is still probably that little bit cheaper, as it doesn’t last as long, there isn’t a great difference concerning price.

Below I have drawn up a chart showing how long a 26lb bag of Wellness CORE can last your dog based on Wellness’s own daily feeding guidelines, which you can see on their website at the bottom of each recipe.

Weight of adult dog, lb / kg

Grams/day*

How long does it last approx.?

20 / 9

141 g

2 3/4 months

35 / 16

198 g

2 months

50 / 22.5

254 g

1 1/2 months

65 / 29.5

311 g

1 1/4 months

80 / 36

367 g

1 month

95 / 43

424 g

4 weeks

115 / 52

480 g

3 1/2 weeks

*The Wellness CORE recipes display their recommended daily intake in cups; based on the assumption they are using an 8 fluid oz. cup measurement, this equals roughly 113g.

Wellness CORE seems to last almost exactly as long as Zignature, which so far is our second-highest rated long-lasting dog food after Orijen. It is also very similar in price (Wellness costs about 30 cents more per lb).

Wellness CORE is, in my opinion, however, a little higher in quality than Zignature, since it includes more whole food sources of antioxidants, plus there are recipes to suit dogs of all life stages and sizes.


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Wellness Dog Food Review
  • Overall Quality of Ingredients
  • Meat Content
  • Grain Content
  • Quality/Price Ratio
  • Long-lasting
4.8

Summary

Wellness is certainly a top brand that puts your dog’s health first. They offer a variety of high-quality recipes for dogs of all sizes, life stages, plus they have recipes for dogs with special dietary requirements. I think that any dog can do well on a Wellness diet.

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