Wellness Dog Food Review

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Wellness is an innovative pet food brand that aims to produce the leading natural dog foods available on the market today.

Their popular brand lines use whole food ingredients without including artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. All Wellness products feature high levels of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics.

This company offers premium grain-free, grain-inclusive, and limited ingredient diets that adhere to all AAFCO nutrition guidelines.

As a former vet tech, I highly recommend Wellness brand dog food to owners who want to provide their dog with a high-quality, holistic diet. 

This Wellness dog food review will analyze this pet food company’s history and the differences between their most popular product lines.

Keep reading to learn more about this renowned pet food brand!

About Wellness

wellness logo

The Wellness dog food line up launched in 1997, quickly becoming one of the leading independent brands of natural pet food.

Although this company is much smaller than some pet industry giants, they prioritize quality over quantity.

Wellness produces a variety of specialized formulas to meet the unique nutritional needs of individual dogs. You can find a Wellness dog food recipe suitable for all breeds and life stages. But all Wellness products emphasize natural nutrition.

This holistic brand uses whole food ingredients and eliminates common artificial additives that can cause digestive upset in dogs. Some product ranges also include limited ingredient diets that are suitable for sensitive pups.

Their lines of dog food include Wellness Complete Health, Wellness Core, and Wellness Simple. These product lines vary in protein levels and dietary restrictions. But all brands feature both grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes.

Feeding your dog a biologically appropriate diet is at the heart of Wellness pet food’s philosophy. All recipes use real meat as the first ingredient and include high-quality sources of animal protein.

The company has experienced a few dog food recalls in recent years. But the founders remain committed to prioritizing the health of furry family members. Every voluntary recall involves a complete investigation to ensure the quality of future Wellness products.

You can find Wellness dog food products at most major pet food chains. These dog foods are also commonly offered at local and specialty stores. However, this premium brand is more expensive than many other pet food companies.

Who Makes Wellness Dog Food?

WellPet LLC of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, owns Wellness Pet Food. Recently, the Berwind Corporation bought this company and the family of pet food brands they manage.

Other brands that make up the WellPet family of dog foods include Holistic, Eagle Pack, and Old Mother Hubbard.

The company first emerged in 1926 when the Old Mother Hubbard dog biscuit company sold to Jim Scott Sr., an animal nutritionist. A team of animal nutrition experts and veterinarians developed the Wellness line in the 1990s.

Experts formulated Wellness pet food to ensure the safety of their products. The company depends on scientific research to back the nutrition value of their recipes. And many pet owners value this science-based approach to canine diets.

One of the things that sets this pet food brand apart is its non-profit foundation. Wellness pet food’s parent company runs the non-profit Wellness Foundation. This foundation supports the mission of ensuring that every pet receives love throughout their entire life.

The company helps promote ethical breeding, adoption, and responsible pet ownership. WellPet’s philanthropy complements its commitment to improving pets’ lives by creating dog food formulas of the highest quality possible.

Where Is Wellness Dog Food Manufactured?

Most manufacturing of Wellness products occurs at the Eagle Pack Company manufacturing facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. WellPet owns the Eagle Pack Company, so all Wellness pet food manufacturing occurs in-house in the United States.

WellPet previously outsourced some manufacturing to Diamond Pet Foods. But in May of 2012, Diamond Pet Foods discovered Salmonella at their manufacturing plant. This forced the recall of a single Wellness puppy recipe produced at the plant.

However, Wellness tests every production lot of their dog foods for Salmonella. Although the company did not receive any reports of contaminated bags, they participated in the recall out of an abundance of caution.

Following the May 2012 recall, WellPet decided to transition to manufacturing all of their Wellness wet foods and dry food recipes in-house. 

All Wellness wet and dry dog food formulas are produced in the US. But Wellness dog foods are also available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore.

WellPet also sources all of the ingredients for Wellness dog food recipes from the US. 

Quality of Ingredients

Wellness Pet Food uses ingredients made in the USA. The company follows a philosophy committed to producing the finest quality foods. They primarily use whole food ingredients to offer balanced nutrition without including potentially harmful filler ingredients.

Few dog food brands offer a similar quality of ingredients. But superior quality does come at a higher cost. Most of their product lines have higher price tags than average dog kibble.

The company does not frequently offer any coupons, but you may find discounts available from individual retailers.

All formulas feature real meat as the primary ingredient. High-quality protein sources used in Wellness recipes include whole chicken, beef, and salmon. Some limited ingredient diets feature novel protein sources like lamb for dogs with allergies.

Fresh fruits and vegetables act as natural sources of antioxidants. These ingredients help boost your dog’s immune system and overall health. In grain-free formulas, starchy vegetables also provide alternative sources of digestible carbohydrates.

Grain-inclusive product lines use whole-grain ingredients instead with high concentrations of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But all products feature sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fats are vital for skin and coat health.

Every recipe also includes probiotics to help regulate your pup’s digestive system. Probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut. These bacteria help break down food to optimize nutrient absorption.

All recipes also exclude corn, wheat, and soy. These ingredients commonly appear in dog food ingredient lists as inexpensive fillers. But, they can also cause allergic reactions. The Simple line of limited ingredient diets eliminates other common allergens as well.

Wellness Brand Dog Food Lines

Wellness is a smaller pet food company specializing in offering a selective range of premium formulas that meet most dogs’ needs.

Here is a list of the product lines currently available from Wellness.

Wellness Complete Health

wellness complete health

The Wellness Complete Health dog food line includes a wide variety of formulas designed to meet different dogs’ unique nutritional needs. These recipes combine natural ingredients to offer balanced nutrition that supports your dog’s overall wellbeing throughout their life.

Complete Health dog foods use real meat as the first ingredient to offer moderate levels of high-quality animal protein. Other whole food ingredients like veggies and fruits provide a concentrated natural source of vitamins and minerals.

Additional fortification and antioxidants ensure that these recipes provide balanced nutritional profiles that support optimal health.

This product line up features recipes that are both grain-inclusive and grain-free. Grain inclusive Complete Health products use whole grains high in fiber as a healthy source of digestible energy. Starchy vegetables offer alternative carbohydrates in grain-free recipes.

Dog owners can choose between dry and wet food, depending on the preferences of their pup. But most pet parents find that even the pickiest of eaters find the dry dog food in this product line palatable.

Different recipes feature unique nutritional compositions tailored to dogs of specific sizes and ages. There are several Complete Health dog foods explicitly designed for puppies or seniors of large or small breeds.

Specialized recipes offer advanced nutrition for dogs with specific health concerns, like weight management. Unique animal proteins used in this dog food’s different flavors include chicken, whitefish, turkey, and lamb.

Wellness Core

wellness core

Products in the Wellness Core range make up a family of high protein dog food formulas. These natural recipes emphasize the importance of animal proteins in the evolutionary canine diet.

These dog foods are ideal for active dogs who need extra protein for maintaining muscle mass. Most dogs love the taste of these nutrient-dense dry and wet foods.

Most Wellness Core products are grain-free. Dogs with gluten sensitivities that cause adverse reactions to grain-inclusive recipes can thrive on these diets. But other pups may do better on a grain-inclusive diet if they have higher energy or carbohydrate needs.

In addition to high volumes of top-quality animal protein, these dog foods also feature the whole food ingredients that highlight Wellness formulas. Whole fruits and veggies balance the nutritional content of meats like turkey, chicken, and salmon.

Most of the Wellness Core formulas also have moderate to high levels of crude fat content. Fat is an excellent source of energy for dogs. And healthy fat sources like salmon oil provide DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids that support brain and eye health.

Like other Wellness brand products, the Core range features recipes specifically designed for different life stages and breeds.

Wellness Core RawRev is a subcategory of products in this line that includes freeze-dried pieces of raw meat mixed in with high-protein kibble. This product range aims to combine the benefits of raw diets with the convenience of dry kibble.

Pet parents highly recommend these products in Wellness dog food reviews for dogs who need to improve muscle condition. Most dog owners also noticed improvements in coat quality on these diets.

Wellness Simple

wellness simple

The Wellness Simple dog food line is a smaller range of limited ingredient diet formulas designed to offer holistic nutrition to pups with food sensitivities. These formulas use a single protein source and a simple recipe of key ingredients to limit the risks of allergic reactions.

If your dog suffers from a food intolerance, finding the right diet can be difficult. Limited ingredient diets help sensitive pups by eliminating common allergens and fillers responsible for gastrointestinal upset.

Some of the products in this line up of dry and wet food use only five carefully chosen main ingredients. Additional fortification with vitamins and minerals helps ensure that these simple recipes still meet most dogs’ nutritional requirements.

A single source of novel protein is also essential for managing food sensitivities. Most allergens are proteins. So avoiding multiple types of animal protein in a single recipe can help reduce the risk of new allergies developing.

Digestible carbohydrates balance the single protein source and act as a source of digestible energy. Simple dog foods come in both grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties. But all of the carbohydrate choices are optimal for sensitive stomachs.

These limited ingredient diets also come in different recipes specifically designed for small breeds. And if your pooch struggles with multiple health conditions, a weight control formula can help your sensitive furry friend maintain a healthy weight.

It can be challenging to find limited ingredient diets suitable for picky eaters. But the Wellness Simple range of wet and dry dog foods have excellent palatability.

Wellness Dog Food Recall History

Wellness Pet food has a strict quality assurance program to guarantee the safety of their products. The mission statement of WellPet LLC states that the company does “whatever it takes to make the healthiest natural products for pets.”

The manufacturing process and handling of ingredients are rigorous to assure the purity and balance of their formulas. Despite being careful, Wellness has still experienced a few recalls in their company history.

Here is a list of Wellness dog food recalls since 2011.

  • 17th March 2017 – Limited amount of one canned dog food topper recalled due to elevated beef thyroid hormone levels. [1]
  • 30th October 2012 – Voluntary recall of Wellness Small Breed Adult Health dog food due to excess moisture content. [2]
  • 4th May 2012 – Wellness voluntarily recalled a batch of Super 5 Mix Large Breed Puppy Food after the discovery of Salmonella at the Diamond Pet Food plant where it was manufactured. [3]

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. [4]

Controversies and Legal Issues

Although Wellness is a reputable company with an excellent history of producing high-quality dog food, they have faced some legal issues in recent years. The primary controversy involving Wellness dog food refers to their controversial use of the term “human grade.”

Wellness previously used this term to describe their dog foods. But AAFCO does not recognize “human-grade” as a suitable standard for dog food recipes.

The organization claims that pet products are unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for human consumption, even if it is edible.

Wellness won the legal battle over the use of this term. But like most other pet food manufacturers, the company now refrains from using this terminology to describe their products. 

WellPet argued that they used the term human-grade to describe the superior quality of their ingredients. They continue to follow higher quality standards to ensure that your pet eats a safe and nutritious diet.

The removal of a single term does not change the quality of their wet or dry dog food. Every Wellness item still uses top-quality ingredients to provide comprehensive nutrition for your special four-legged friend.

Our Verdict

I highly recommend Wellness Pet Foods as a top-quality manufacturer of natural dog food.

This Wellness dog food review demonstrates that Wellness is a dog food industry leader with exceptional ingredient quality.

Although Wellness offers fewer product lines than other larger dog food brands, there is a suitable specialized formula for nearly every pup. All of their products use whole food ingredients to provide balanced nutrition that meets the daily nutrient profiles recommended by AAFCO.

Their parent company has some history of limited recalls, but WellPet’s rigorous manufacturing guidelines help ensure their products’ safety.

Their real meat and fresh produce ingredients make Wellness pet foods more expensive than some other products. But many pet owners find the improvements in the overall health of their four-legged friend well worth the investment.

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Caroline Cochran is a former veterinary technician who is passionate about helping fellow dog lovers learn about canine nutrition. Her best friend is a rescued Great Pyrenees named Syrah, who is also very enthusiastic about dog food.

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