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Wellness Dog Food Review: History, Product Line, Cost, and More

wellness logo
  • 9.5/10
    Protein/Carb Ratio - 9.5/10
  • 10/10
    Quality of Ingredients - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Variety - 10/10
9.8/10

Summary

Wellness Dog Food stands as a premium brand, renowned for its commitment to using top-quality ingredients. This dedication to excellence places Wellness in our coveted top 10 list of the finest dog foods. It’s a testament to the brand’s ability to deliver superior nutrition without compromise, making it a standout choice for pet owners who prioritize premium quality.

Last Updated: March 28, 2024 by Lisa Melillo

We analyzed over 1500 dog food formulas and reviewed more than 120 dog food brands to understand their company values, product selection, and quality of ingredients. We did this by creating an algorithm to rate each dog food based on the nutrient content and top 10 ingredients. All dog food brands were ultimately graded based on Protein/Carb Ratio, Quality of Ingredients, and Variety.

During a casual afternoon walk with my Golden Retriever, Max, I bumped into a fellow dog enthusiast who couldn’t stop praising Wellness Dog Food. Her enthusiasm was so infectious that it led me to ponder, “Could this be the next best thing for Max?” This chance encounter turned into a quest, leading me to embark on a thorough Wellness Dog Food review.

Join me as I dissect this brand, peeling back layers of marketing to uncover the real value it holds. Does Wellness Dog Food live up to the glowing endorsements? As someone always seeking the best for Max, I’m excited to share this journey of discovery with you.

History of Wellness Dog Food

wellness logo

The brand was born from a vision to offer more than just sustenance for pets; it aimed to provide a complete solution for their well-being. This was a time when the market was saturated with conventional pet foods, often loaded with fillers and artificial ingredients. Wellness sets itself apart by focusing on natural, wholesome ingredients.

The Early Years: Old Mother Hubbard

The saga of Wellness Dog Food begins with the establishment of Old Mother Hubbard in 1926. Originally a producer of sea biscuits, Old Mother Hubbard laid the groundwork for what would become a significant chapter in pet nutrition. This era set the tone for a commitment to quality and wellness in pet food, laying the foundation for future innovations and advancements in canine nutrition. The company’s early focus on quality and nutrition would eventually lead to the development of Wellness Dog Food, a brand that continues this legacy.

The Scott Family Influence

In 1961, Jim Scott, Sr., an expert in animal nutrition, acquired Old Mother Hubbard, heralding a new era in pet food development. His acquisition was more than a business venture; it was the planting of a seed that would grow into a revolutionary approach to pet nutrition. Jim Scott, Jr. later became instrumental in conceptualizing the Wellness brand, driven by a commitment to natural, wholesome pet food. His vision was clear: to create a pet food that was as beneficial to pets’ health as it was appetizing.

Launch of Wellness Dog Food

The 1990s saw the birth of the Wellness brand under the vision of Jim Scott, Jr., alongside a team of animal nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists. In 1997, Wellness Dog Food was officially launched, marking the start of a new chapter in natural pet nutrition. This launch represented a significant shift in the pet food industry, focusing on wholesome, natural ingredients. Wellness Dog Food quickly set itself apart with its emphasis on holistic pet health, offering a range of products tailored to meet the diverse needs of dogs at every stage of life.

Innovations and Expansions

Since its inception, Wellness has been at the forefront of innovation in pet food. The introduction of Wellness CORE in 2007, with its higher protein content, reflects the brand’s ongoing commitment to evolving with the latest nutritional science. The acquisition of brands like Sojos and WHIMZEES further exemplifies Wellness’s dedication to providing comprehensive pet health solutions. These strategic moves not only expanded Wellness’s product offerings but also reinforced its position as a leader in advancing pet nutrition and well-being.

Wellness Dog Food Product Line

Wellness dog food on shelf

Wellness Dog Food stands out with its diverse and thoughtfully crafted product lines, each designed to cater to the unique needs of dogs of various breeds, sizes, and life stages. Renowned for its commitment to high-quality ingredients, Wellness offers a range of options from grain-free formulas to hearty stews, ensuring every pet parent can find the perfect match for their furry friend’s dietary needs and preferences.

Wellness CORE

Wellness CORE Grain-Free High-Protein Dry Dog Food, Made in USA with Real Meat & Natural Ingredients, All Breeds, Adult Dogs (Turkey & Chicken, 26-lb) With Nutrients for Immune, Skin, & Coat Support

Wellness CORE Dog Food focuses on a protein-rich, grain-free approach, catering to dogs with food sensitivities or those requiring higher protein diets. Its recipes boast premium meats and superfoods, ensuring a balanced diet without fillers. Ideal for maintaining lean muscle mass and overall health, it’s a top choice for canine vitality. Wellness Core is a standout choice for Aussiedoodle nutrition.

Wellness CORE Digestive Health

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains, Highly Digestible, For Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs, Made in USA with Real Chicken (Adult, 24-Pound Bag)

Wellness CORE Digestive Health targets dogs with sensitive stomachs. Each recipe is crafted with easily digestible proteins and prebiotic fibers, promoting gut health and smooth digestion. Probiotics and wholesome ingredients like pumpkin and papaya further aid in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, making it perfect for sensitive dogs including those requiring a special diet for a sensitive stomach.

Wellness CORE RawRev

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Dry Small Dog Food, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Freeze-Dried Meat (Adult, Small Breed, 10 lbs)

The Wellness CORE RawRev Dog Food blends high-protein kibble with pieces of 100% raw freeze-dried meat. This combination provides the nutritional benefits of a raw diet with the convenience of dry food. It’s designed to offer a boost in protein, natural enzymes, and minerals, supporting active and energetic dogs.

Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains

Wellness CORE RawRev Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Freeze-Dried Meat (Adult, Turkey, 20 lbs)

Combining raw, freeze-dried meat with wholesome grains, the Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Dog Food addresses the nutritional needs of dogs preferring a grain-inclusive diet. It features high-quality proteins and selected grains like oats and barley, providing a balanced diet rich in fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals for optimal health.

Wellness CORE Pate

The Wellness CORE Pate Wet Dog Food provides a smooth, rich texture that’s ideal for dogs of all life stages. Made with premium meats and superfoods, these pate-style wet foods are nutrient-dense and palatable, ensuring dogs receive a high-protein, grain-free meal that’s both delicious and nourishing.

Wellness CORE Hearty Cuts

Wellness CORE Hearty Cuts Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food, Chicken & Turkey, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)

It offer chunky, meaty pieces drenched in savory gravy. The Wellness CORE Hearty Cuts combines delicious taste with nutritional value, providing high-quality proteins in a moisture-rich format. Ideal for dogs who relish a more textured and flavorful meal, it’s both appetizing and health-supportive.

Wellness Core 95%

Wellness Core 95%

Wellness Core 95% features recipes with 95% animal protein, catering to dogs with a carnivorous preference. This grain-free, protein-packed option ensures your dog gets the majority of its nutrition from quality meats, supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals for a wholesome meal.

Wellness CORE Small Breed Mini Meals

Wellness CORE Small Breed Mini Meals

Specially formulated for small-breed dogs, these mini-meals pack a nutritional punch in smaller portions. With recipes tailored to meet the high-energy needs of small breeds, Wellness CORE Small Breed Mini Meals a variety of textures and flavors, ensuring even the pickiest eaters are satisfied and nourished.

Wellness Complete Health

Wellness Complete Health offers a balanced blend of proteins, grains, and fruits, suitable for dogs at all life stages. It emphasizes whole-body health with nutrient-rich ingredients, supporting everything from skin and coat health to digestive wellness, making it a versatile and comprehensive food choice.

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food with Grains, Made in USA with Real Meat & Natural Ingredients, All Breeds, Adult Dogs (Chicken & Oatmeal, 30-lb) – With Nutrients for Immune, Skin, & Coat Support

This range caters to dogs who thrive on a grain-free diet. Combining quality proteins with fruits and vegetables, Wellness Complete Health Gran-Free Dog Food provides a complete and balanced diet. Rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients, it supports skin, coat, digestive, and overall health without the use of grains.

Wellness Complete Health Pate

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, Chicken & Sweet Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)

 

Complete Health Pate offers a smooth texture ideal for dogs that prefer wet food. Made with high-quality ingredients, it ensures a balanced diet with all essential nutrients. The pate style is particularly appealing to older dogs or those with dental issues, making mealtime enjoyable and nutritious.

Wellness Complete Health Stews

Wellness Thick & Chunky Natural Canned Dog Food, Lamb & Beef Stew, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)

Offering a homestyle stew texture, these recipes combine premium meats with fresh vegetables in a savory broth. Wellness Complete Health Stew provides a comforting, nutrient-rich meal that’s both appetizing and healthy. Ideal for dogs who enjoy a more gourmet, textured food experience.

Wellness Complete Health Petite Entrees

Wellness Petite Entrees Mini Fillets Natural Wet Small Breed Dog Food, Roasted Chicken, Beef, Carrots & Green Beans, 3-Ounce Cup (Pack of 24)

 

Designed for small breeds, Wellness Complete Health Petite Entree offers nutrient-rich, flavorful meals in small, manageable portions. They combine fine meats with vegetables in a unique pate, topped with delicate shreds or chunks, perfect for smaller mouths and discerning palates.

Wellness Simple

Wellness Simple provides a limited-ingredient diet, ideal for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. It focuses on a single protein source and easily digestible carbohydrates, ensuring a high-quality, hypoallergenic meal. Free from fillers and artificial additives, it’s perfect for maintaining a healthy, sensitive system.

Wellness Simple Grain-Free

 

Wellness Natural Pet Food Wellness Simple Natural Grain Free Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Salmon and Potato Recipe, 24-Pound Bag

Offering a limited-ingredient, Wellness Simple Grain-Free Dog Food is for those with sensitivities or allergies to grains. Using a single protein source and simple, natural ingredients, it ensures a wholesome, easily digestible meal while minimizing the risk of food-related reactions.

Wellness Simple Pate

Wellness Simple Natural Wet Canned Limited Ingredient Dog Food, Turkey & Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)

The Wellness Simple Pate range caters to dogs with sensitive stomachs, offering a smooth texture that’s easy to digest. Made with minimal ingredients and free from common allergens, it provides a nourishing, hypoallergenic option for dogs requiring a simpler diet, without compromising on taste or nutrition.

Wellness Dog Food Review

Quality of Ingredients

On the company website, curious customers can find a complete list of the ingredients that go into each bag of food, as well as a brief description of why these items were selected.

Additionally, the company website promises that “rigorous standards and practices are put in place to protect the nutritional integrity of our food,” and that all of their food “is carefully handled, carefully prepared and undoubtedly safe.” This strong commitment to quality assurance placed Wellness on our list of best dog food brands.

Wellness CORE kibble

Full Ingredients and Analysis

To get a better analysis of what’s inside Wellness Dog Food, I sampled the Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Turkey & Chicken Recipe. Analyzing the first 10 ingredients in dog food is a great way to understand the overall nutrient content of the dog food because AAFCO requires all dog food ingredients to be listed in order of predominance by their weight. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside Wellness CORE Original Dog Food.

Full Ingredients:

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.

  • 34%

    Crude Protein

  • 16%

    Crude Fat

  • 4%

    Crude Fiber

The Estimated Nutrient Content in this Wellness CORE dog food was found to have a healthy nutrient breakdown. When analyzing the top 10 ingredients of the Wellness CORE Original formula, you see a decent amount of potatoes which adds to the carb total. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it all depends on your dog’s activity levels and digestion state (sometimes too much protein can be hard to digest).

Apart from the obvious ones, a few additional ingredients that are great for dogs include flax, taurine, and glucosamine. Flaxseed or flaxseed oil is a great source of healthy fats for your dog. It has a variety of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and helps maintain a healthy coat and skin. In addition, Taurine is an essential amino acid commonly added to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements and Glucosamine is a natural supplement that helps your dog’s joint health. If your dog has arthritis or joint issues, this is a great ingredient to add to your dog’s diet.

Here are some more interesting and good quality ingredients found in their dog food products and why they are good:

  • Magnesium Proteinate and Copper Proteinate: These are protineates (metal salts) that are derived from a protein.
  • Magnesium Sulfate: A form of salt, you might have heard of this ingredient being used in bath salts.
  • Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product: this is a probiotic. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are good for your gut.
  • Thiamine Mononitrate: this is a salt. It is often used in the form of vitamin B1.

Fun Fact: Mixed tocopherols are added to preserve the food’s freshness. Tocopherols are forms of vitamin E and essentially lengthen the food’s shelf life.

Cost

When assessing the cost of Wellness Dog Food, it’s essential to understand its premium brand status. This is reflected in its pricing, which is higher than many budget dog food options. The elevated cost is attributable to the brand’s dedication to using high-quality, nutritious ingredients in their formulations. This commitment ensures a higher standard of dietary benefits for your dog, which is a key factor in the pricing structure.

The price range for Wellness Dog Food varies depending on the specific product line and the type of food. Generally, for a large bag of dry food, the cost ranges from $50 to $70, while wet food options are priced at about $2 to $3 per can. This variation in price is indicative of the different nutritional profiles and ingredients used across the various product lines within the Wellness brand.

Despite the higher initial cost compared to budget brands, the investment in Wellness Dog Food can be seen as cost-effective in the long run. The premium diet provided by Wellness products can contribute to better overall health for your dog, potentially resulting in fewer veterinary visits and a healthier life. It’s important for pet owners to weigh the initial financial investment against the potential long-term health benefits and nutritional value that Wellness Dog Food provides.

Sasha with Wellness CORE food

Pros

  • High-Quality Ingredients: Wellness Dog Food is lauded for its use of premium, wholesome ingredients. This includes high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to a well-balanced diet for dogs.
  • Variety of Formulas: Catering to different dietary needs, Wellness offers a wide range of formulas including grain-free, high-protein, limited-ingredient diets, and options for different life stages and breed sizes. This variety ensures that there’s a suitable option for almost every dog.
  • Focus on Digestive Health: Many Wellness products include probiotics, prebiotics, and healthy fibers, which aid in maintaining good digestive health. This is especially beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
  • No Artificial Additives: Wellness dog foods do not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, reducing the risk of allergic reactions and ensuring a more natural diet.
  • Promotes Overall Health: The balanced nutrition in Wellness Dog Food supports various aspects of a dog’s health, including coat and skin condition, joint health, and energy levels.

Cons

  • Cost: As a premium brand, Wellness Dog Food comes with a higher price tag compared to budget brands, which might not be feasible for all pet owners.
  • Availability: Depending on the location, some formulas or specific products within the Wellness range might not be readily available in all stores, potentially causing inconvenience for regular buyers.
  • Recall History: Like many pet food brands, Wellness has experienced recalls in the past. Although these are typically precautionary and the company takes immediate action, it’s something for cautious pet owners to consider.
      • February 2011 Recall: Wellness recalled certain lots of its canned cat food due to insufficient levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1). Although this recall was specific to cat food, it was a significant step taken by the company to ensure the health and safety of pets.
      • May 2012 Recall: A voluntary recall was issued for one recipe of Wellness dry dog food (Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy) due to potential salmonella contamination. This recall was a precautionary measure, and there were no reported cases of health issues in pets.
      • October 2012 Recall: Wellness decided to recall a small batch of one of its dry dog food recipes due to higher-than-acceptable moisture levels. High moisture levels in dry kibble can lead to mold growth, and this recall was issued to prevent any risk to pet health.
      • March 2017 Recall: The company voluntarily recalled a limited amount of one of its canned dog foods, Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs, due to potential elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. This recall was initiated after the company received a report from the FDA.

Choosing Wellness Dog Food: Essential Considerations

Picking the best Wellness dog food for your furry companion involves considering several key factors to ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Dog’s Age and Life Stage: Puppies, adults, and senior dogs have different nutritional requirements. Wellness offers specific formulas for each life stage. Puppies need more calories and specific nutrients for growth, while seniors might need lower-calorie diets with joint support.
  • Activity Level and Size: Active dogs and working breeds may require more calories and higher protein levels found in formulas like Wellness CORE. Conversely, less active or overweight dogs might benefit from a lower-calorie diet.
  • Health Conditions and Allergies: If your dog has specific health issues like allergies, digestive problems, or skin conditions, you might need a specialized diet. Wellness Simple, for example, offers limited ingredient diets for dogs with food sensitivities.
  • Breed Specific Needs: Some breeds have unique dietary needs based on their size, genetic predispositions, or common health issues. Consult with your vet to understand if your breed has any specific dietary requirements.
  • Quality of Ingredients: Wellness is known for high-quality, wholesome ingredients. Look for real meat or fish as the first ingredient, and ensure the formula doesn’t contain fillers, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Grain or Grain-Free: Depending on your dog’s health and dietary tolerance, choose between grain-free or grain-inclusive formulas. While grain-free diets suit some dogs, others may do better with healthy grains in their diet.
  • Dry or Wet Food: Decide whether dry kibble or wet food is more suitable for your dog. Dry food is convenient and good for dental health, while wet food can be more palatable and hydrating. Wellness offers both options.
  • Palatability and Taste: It’s important that your dog enjoys their food. Wellness offers a range of flavors and textures, so consider your dog’s preferences. Some dogs prefer wet food, while others enjoy the crunch of dry kibble.

Tips for Feeding Wellness Dog Food to Your Pet

Feeding your pet Wellness Dog Food can be a great way to ensure they’re getting high-quality nutrition, but it’s important to do it right. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this premium dog food for your furry friend:

  • Transition Gradually: If you’re switching to Wellness from another brand, it’s crucial to transition gradually. Start by mixing a small amount of Wellness with your pet’s current food, and gradually increase the proportion over a week or so. This helps prevent digestive upset.
  • Understand Your Dog’s Needs: Every dog is different. Consider your dog’s age, size, breed, activity level, and any health issues when choosing the right Wellness formula. For example, active dogs might benefit from the high-protein CORE line, while dogs with sensitivities might do better with the Simple line.
  • Follow Feeding Guidelines: Check the feeding guidelines on the Wellness package, but remember these are just a starting point. Adjust as needed based on your dog’s individual requirements and always monitor their weight and health.
  • Keep Hydrated: If you’re feeding your dog dry kibble, ensure they have constant access to fresh water. Wet food can help with hydration, but clean water is always a must.
  • Mix Wet and Dry Food: For a varied diet, consider mixing wet and dry Wellness food. This can be particularly appealing to picky eaters and provides a balance of textures and flavors.
  • Store Properly: To maintain freshness, store dry dog food in a cool, dry place, ideally in an airtight container. Refrigerate opened cans of wet food and use them within a couple of days.
  • Watch for Allergies: Even with high-quality food like Wellness, some dogs may develop allergies. Watch for signs like itching, ear infections, or gastrointestinal upset, and consult your vet if you notice any unusual symptoms.

FAQs: More About Wellness Dog Food

When it comes to choosing the right food for your dog, having all the necessary information is crucial. Here are some frequently asked questions about Wellness Dog Food that can help provide further clarity and assist you in making an informed decision for your pet’s nutrition.

Is Wellness Dog Food suitable for all life stages?

Wellness offers specialized formulas tailored for different life stages, including puppies, adults, and senior dogs. Each formula is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of dogs at different ages and sizes.

Are there any preservatives in Wellness Dog Food?

Wellness Dog Food does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. They use natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols to ensure the quality and safety of their food.

Can Wellness Dog Food help with specific health issues?

While Wellness Dog Food is not a substitute for veterinary care, certain formulas are designed to address specific health concerns. For instance, their Simple line is crafted for dogs with food sensitivities, and the CORE Digestive Health line supports gut health.

Where is Wellness Dog Food manufactured?

Wellness Dog Food is produced in the United States. The company ensures high standards of quality control and sources most of their ingredients from trusted suppliers in the U.S. and around the world.

Is Wellness Dog Food appropriate for dogs with allergies?

Wellness offers limited-ingredient diets, such as the Wellness Simple line, which are specifically formulated for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities. These formulas have fewer ingredients to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.

Final Woof

Wellness Dog Food really impresses with its commitment to top-notch nutrition and overall pet health. It’s clear that they put a lot of thought into creating a variety of formulas to suit different dogs’ needs, from playful puppies to graceful seniors. And yes, while the price is a bit on the higher side, I think it’s a fair trade-off for the quality and peace of mind you get, knowing you’re feeding your furry friend something wholesome and free from nasty additives.

Honestly, as someone who’s always looking around for the best options for my own dog, Wellness Dog Food strikes me as a solid choice. It’s not just about the ingredients, but also about the care and research they put into each product. Their approach to pet health and safety, especially with their responsive track record in recalls, really sets a high bar. If you’re thinking about switching or just starting out in the complex world of dog food, chatting with your vet and considering Wellness as an option could be a great move for your dog’s happy, healthy life.

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1 thought on “Wellness Dog Food Review: History, Product Line, Cost, and More”

  1. The Woof Whiskers Staff

    Hi John – every dog is different, some can be picky towards certain flavors while others are not. I urge you to try another brand if your dog does not like it. There are still many dogs out there who do very well on Wellness dog food.

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