Wellness Dog Food Review: A Detailed Look at This Premium Brand

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Wellness is one of the most popular premium dog food brands on the market. Founded in 1997, they focus on providing natural, high-quality nutrition tailored to dogs' specific needs and stages of life.

But does Wellness live up to the hype? This comprehensive review will examine their product line, ingredients, recall history, and what experts think. Read on to learn if Wellness is a good choice for your dog.

Wellness Dog Food Review
Wellness Dog Food Review

Wellness Dog Food Product Line

Wellness has an extensive product line with over 80 dry and wet foods for puppies to seniors. They're especially known for their grain-free and limited ingredient formulas.

Their product lines include:

Product LineDescription
Core:Wellness CORE is their grain-free lineup. These high-protein and fat diets are made without grains, fillers, or artificial ingredients. CORE formulas include Original, Ocean, Reduced Fat, Small Breed, Large Breed, and Puppy.
Simple:This is Wellness' standard all-life stages recipes. They contain premium proteins and whole food ingredients specific to each formula.
Complete Health:This is Wellness' standard all life stages recipes. They contain premium proteins and whole food ingredients specific to each formula.
TruFood:Baked kibbles and meaty morsels made with minimally processed ingredients.
Puppy:Formulated for puppies with DHA for brain development.
Small Breed:Made for small dogs' higher metabolism and dental health.
Senior:Tailored nutrition with glucosamine and lowered calories for older dogs.

No matter your dog's needs, Wellness likely has a formula suited for them. Their extensive product range sets them apart from many competitors.

Wellness Dog Food Ingredients

When researching dog foods, looking at the ingredient list first provides great insight into the quality.

Here's what to expect in Wellness products:

Animal Protein SourcesDeboned chicken, turkey, salmon, whitefish, lamb, venison, and bison are used depending on the formula. These are high-quality lean proteins.
Fruits and VegetablesWellness includes antioxidant-rich produce like spinach, kale, blueberries, apples, carrots, and more. This mimics how dogs would eat in nature.
Healthy Grains (in some recipes)Oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and quinoa provide fiber in grain-inclusive formulas. They are easier to digest than corn, wheat, or soy.
NaturaLin ProbioticsThese live cultures support healthy and regular digestion.
Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, VitaminsThese additions provide omegas, vitamin E, and other nutrients missing from meat alone. But they come from natural sources, not synthetic vitamins.
No fillers, by-products, artificial colors/flavorsWellness avoids cheap fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. Artificial additives are never used. When compared to grocery brands using corn and mystery meats, Wellness offers far superior nutrition from quality ingredients.

Wellness Dog Food Recall History

No major recalls have affected Wellness Pet Foods since its founding. However, they did issue a few minor voluntary recalls:

  • March 2017: Potentially elevated beef thyroid hormone levels in Wellness 95% Beef Topper.
  • May 2012: Salmonella risk in Wellness dry dog food.
  • 2010: Possible salmonella contamination in treats and food made in their Indiana plant.
  • 2005: Mold risk in some wet canned products.

Wellness responded quickly by retrieving affected products and improving quality control. Their recall incidents are much less frequent than big box brands. But quality checks still seem needed.

Expert Reviews of Wellness Dog Food

Wellness enjoys strong ratings and reviews from experts and owners alike. Here's what they have to say:

ExpertRating & Review
Dog Food Advisor5-star rating. Calls Wellness a “significantly above average” grain-free product.
Labrador Training HQAwards Wellness their highest quality rating of 5 paws. Loves their ingredient quality and strict safety standards.
GoodDogGives Wellness a 4.5 out of 5 star “pawsitively awesome” rating. Praise both their grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas.
Canine WeeklyUsers give Wellness an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Owners say it improved coats, allergies, energy levels, and digestion.

From feedback and independent analysis, most experts consider Wellness to be top-quality nutrition. The natural ingredients clearly make a difference compared to conventional dog food.

Wellness Dog Food Product Line Breakdown

Now let's take a more detailed look at some of Wellness' product lines:

Wellness CORE Dog Food

CORE is their wildly popular grain-free line. With nutrient-dense formulas for all life stages, it earns rave reviews from owners:

OriginalTheir classic protein-packed recipe is one of the highest rated dry foods. Turkey, chicken, and salmon provide 34% protein and 16% fat to support energy. Fruits, veggies, and antioxidants nourish your dog's natural defenses. It earns a 5-star rating from Dog Food Advisor.
OceanThis fish-based recipe delivers omega fatty acids from salmon and whitefish oil. Great for skin and coat health. Made without chicken.
Reduced FatWith 25% less fat than CORE Original, it helps less active or overweight dogs. Chicken and turkey still offer lean proteins.
Small BreedTailored with smaller kibble size and added antioxidants for toy and small dogs' needs.
PuppyDHA supplements support growing puppies' brain and vision development. Chicken, salmon oil, and veggies provide complete nutrition.

The Core line has earned a reputation for quality nutrition free of fillers and junk. Even picky dogs seem to love the taste. It provides everything in nature your dog would eat.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diets

Simple's limited ingredient recipes are perfect for dogs with sensitivities. With just 1 novel protein and 1 easily digestible carbohydrate, there are fewer potential triggers:

  • Lamb & Oatmeal
  • Turkey & Potato
  • Salmon & Potato
  • Venison & Chickpea
  • Duck & Oatmeal
  • Beef & Barley

These formulas still provide balanced nutrition. Just with fewer ingredients to cause issues. Owners of dogs with itchy skin, digestive troubles, and allergies find Simple provides welcome relief.

Wellness Complete Health Dog Food

The Complete Health line features both grain-free and grain-inclusive all-life-stage recipes:

PuppyDHA supports brain development, while chicken meal and oatmeal nourish growing puppies.
AdultTheir Chicken & Oatmeal recipe is a longtime favorite for its gentle nutrition.
SeniorGlucosamine, probiotics, and controlled phosphorus levels keep aging dogs healthy. Made in both wet and dry food.
Grain-Free Whitefish & PotatoQuality carb and protein sources for sensitive dogs. Potato-free options are also made.
Large BreedFeatures glucosamine and optimal calcium and protein levels suited for big dogs.
Healthy WeightWith 10% less fat and L-Carnitine to help burn fat, it helps dogs slim down.
Small BreedMade with smaller kibble size and antioxidant boost for small dogs.

No matter your dog's age and needs, there is a Complete Health recipe to provide balanced nutrition. It lives up to its name.

Wellness Dog Food Pricing

As a premium brand, Wellness costs more than budget-friendly grocery brands. But it's very competitively priced compared to other high-end natural foods.

Wellness CORE Original Dry Dog Food

  • 5 lb bag: $16.99
  • 26 lb bag: $56.99

This comes out to around $1.06 per pound. Very affordable for the quality.

You can save more by signing up for their auto-ship program for routine deliveries. Buying larger bags and online brings the per-pound average down as well.

Even picky dogs who won't eat cheaper foods devour Wellness. So the value comes from less waste and the nutrition you’re investing in.

Wellness Dog Food: Where to Buy

Wellness pet foods are sold both online and in physical pet retail stores. Here are some of the major retailers that stock Wellness products:

PetcoWellness is one of Petco's flagship natural pet food brands. They offer the full product line both in-store and online.
PetSmartAnother major big box pet store chain that sells Wellness nationwide. Shop online for delivery or in local stores.
ChewyLarge online pet food seller that offers great prices on Wellness formulas. Autoship discounts available.
AmazonSelect Wellness products sold directly via Amazon. Prime members get fast free shipping.
Local pet boutiquesMany independent pet stores and chains may carry Wellness foods regionally. Check your local options.

Wellness provides an online store locator to find retailers near you that may stock their products. Buying online tends to offer the lowest prices and widest selection.

Is Wellness a Good Dog Food?

Based on its high-quality natural ingredients, positive expert reviews, and outstanding owner feedback, Wellness delivers on its promise of premium nutrition.

Extensive product range for all dogsSlightly higher cost than grocery brands
Uses premium proteins and superfoodsA few minor recalls occurred
Grain-free and limited ingredient options
Strict quality and safety standards
Minimal recall issues to date
Competitively priced for quality

When you dig into the ingredients and nutrition compared to big box pet food brands, Wellness offers stellar quality. They go above and beyond minimum standards to craft natural recipes dogs thrive on.

Dog owners searching for a healthier upgrade that avoids low-grade fillers should consider Wellness. Their grain-free CORE line in particular stands out from the pack.

Wellness CORE Original earns our highest rating as a premium protein-packed diet free of junk. For dogs with allergies or sensitivities, their Simple or Complete Health may be perfect solutions too.

In the end, every dog has unique needs. We recommend starting with Wellness CORE or Complete Health for puppies or adults first. Then adjust formulas based on your dog’s taste preferences and any health issues that arise.

With rigorous ingredient standards and strict quality control testing, Wellness is a brand you can feel good about feeding your dog. Overall they live up to their motto of contributing to total wellbeing through natural nutrition.

Wellness Dog Food Product Range Details

To give a deeper dive, let's look at some of Wellness' most popular formulas and what makes them stand out:

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • Features a protein-packed combo of deboned turkey, chicken, and salmon.
  • Enriched with superfoods like kale, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Includes probiotics and antioxidants for digestion and immunity.
  • 34% minimum protein and 16% minimum fat levels to support energy.
  • 100% grain-free with no wheat, corn, or soy.
  • All life stages formula suitable for puppies to seniors.
  • One of the highest rated grain-free dog foods.
  • Praised for quality ingredients at an affordable price point.

Wellness CORE Original dry dog food earns rave reviews for its outstanding nutrition. The high meat content keeps dogs satisfied while superfoods provide a nutrition boost.

It's especially great for active dogs who need a protein punch for muscle recovery and sustained energy. Owners find picky dogs love the taste too.

Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

  • Made with chicken, salmon oil and DHA for brain support.
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals for development.
  • Smaller kibble size for puppy jaws.
  • Boosts immunity with antioxidants.
  • Holistic nutrition philosophy.
  • No meat by-products, wheat, corn, or soy.
  • Provides energy for play and growth.

This gentle puppy recipe provides complete balanced nutrition for growth and brain development. Wellness thoughtfully tailored this formula just for a puppy's needs.

The smaller kibble size, DHA, and antioxidants set it apart from adult foods. Chicken delivers a tasty and digestible protein source.

Owners say their puppies thrive on this formula from weaning through adulthood. It avoids tummy troubles common with cheaper puppy foods.

Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe

  • Features 25% less fat than Original CORE recipe.
  • Lean turkey and chicken provide quality protein.
  • Great for less active or overweight dogs.
  • Maintains high protein for muscle support.
  • Enhanced with salmon oil, fruits and vegetables.
  • Weight control formula with fewer calories.
  • Grain-free and gluten-free.

This reduced fat version of the CORE line is perfect for dogs needing a lighter diet. But it still provides the same high protein content for lean muscle mass.

The lower fat and calorie counts help prevent weight gain or allow safe weight loss. It keeps dogs feeling full while cutting back on fat prone to cause issues.

Overweight dogs, senior dogs, and those with pancreatitis often thrive when switched to this recipe. It allows tasty CORE nutrition in a formula tailored for their needs.

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Dog Food

  • Made in a smaller kibble size for tiny jaws.
  • Fortified with antioxidants like vitamin E for immunity.
  • Higher calorie mix for small dogs' faster metabolism.
  • Grain-inclusive recipe with oatmeal.
  • Enriched with salmon oil, fruits and veggies.
  • Supports dental health.
  • Provides gentle digestion.

Many small and toy breed dogs have special nutritional needs. This Wellness recipe provides the tailored nutrition they require in a bite-sized kibble.

The smaller kibbles prevent choking hazards. It packs a calorie and nutrition punch into a tiny serving. Antioxidants address small dogs' weaker immune systems.

Owners of finicky small breed dogs find this formula entices their dog to eat properly. It delivers complete daily nutrition in a form suited just for them.

Wellness offers finely tuned nutrition for dogs of all breeds, sizes, ages and health needs. No matter your dog, they likely have a formula that will provide the perfect fit.

Wellness Dog Food Ingredient Analysis

When choosing a dog food, looking under the hood at the ingredients is key. Let's analyze what nutrition Wellness recipes provide:

Deboned Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and turkey are lean, highly digestible proteins. Wellness uses hormone and antibiotic-free, human grade poultry raised in the USA.

This makes them healthier than anonymous or imported meat meals found in cheaper foods. Dogs thrive on these delicious and nutritious whole meat ingredients.

Oatmeal and Brown Rice

For grain-inclusive recipes, Wellness chooses gentle whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice. They are easier to break down than fillers like corn or wheat.

Whole grains provide important fiber for digestion and lasting energy. Wellness uses quality whole grain sources.

Fruits and Vegetables

Every Wellness recipe contains antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. This includes superfoods like spinach, broccoli, apples, blueberries, kale, carrots and more.

Replicating how dogs would eat in nature provides vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients missing from meat alone. It supports whole body health.


Flaxseed provides plant-based omega-3s for skin and coat health. It manages inflammation and gives an alternative for dogs sensitive to fish oil.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

These joint supporters are added to senior and large breed formulas. They reduce inflammation and ease joint pain for mobility.

Salmon Oil

Salmon oil adds anti-inflammatory omega-3s from fish oil. It benefits skin, coat, joint, heart, and brain health.

Natural Vitamin E

Vitamin E from fruits and veggies acts as a powerful antioxidant. It boosts immunity against illness and disease.


An omega-3 in fish oils that specifically supports brain development and learning in puppies.

The premium proteins, superfoods, vitamins, omegas, and probiotics make Wellness stand out from the competition. These are ingredients your dog would thrive on in nature.

Wellness avoids:

  • Anonymous meat meals
  • Meat by-products
  • Artificial preservatives or ingredients
  • Harsh chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin
  • Fillers like corn, soy, and wheat

You can feel good about what you are feeding your dog when you choose Wellness.

Is Wellness Worth the Price?

Wellness costs notably more than bargain bin brands that use corn, by-products, and fillers. But you get what you pay for.

You Save in the Long Run

The biggest value of quality dog food comes in healthcare costs you avoid later on. Cheap ingredients often lead to:

  • Allergies
  • Digestive issues
  • Obesity
  • Dental disease
  • Organ damage

Which means pricey vet visits down the road.

Wellness supports overall wellness to prevent health problems before they start. Their natural nutrition is worth every penny.

Quality Sourcing Has a Cost

It costs more to source:

  • Deboned chicken, turkey, bison and unique proteins instead of mystery meats.
  • Imported superfoods like coconut oil, ginger, turmeric and camu camu.
  • Humanely raised meats from smaller ranchers, not factory farms.
  • Made in the USA ingredients.

But these quality ingredients offer superior nutrition.

You Feed Less

With 30% protein and densely packed nutrition, you can feed less volume per day. Wellness packs more nutrients into every bite compared to fillers.

This allows a 25-30 lb bag to last similar to a larger bag of a budget brand once you adjust portions to your dog’s needs.

Buying Tips to Save

  • Choose larger bag sizes for the best value per pound.
  • Sign up for recurring delivery subscriptions to save 5-10%.
  • Buy during sales or with retailer coupons when possible.
  • Compare vendors like Chewy vs Amazon for lowest prices.

With some savvy buying, you can make quality brands like Wellness more affordable. Feeding Wellness to your dog is one of the best investments you can make in their long-term health and happiness.

Wellness Dog Food Recall History and Analysis

While no brand is perfect, Wellness has an excellent food safety track record compared to big box competitors. Let's look at how they handled past minor recalls:

March 2017: Potential Elevated Beef Thyroid Levels

  • Voluntarily recalled a single product: Wellness 95% Beef Topper.
  • Routinely tested for beef thyroid hormone, which can cause hyperthyroidism if excessive.
  • One batch tested slightly higher than their stringent standards.
  • Proactively recalled although FDA deemed levels safe.
  • Showed commitment to quality and owner trust.
  • Handled quickly and professionally.

May 2012: Salmonella Risk

  • Voluntarily recalled dry dog foods produced in their Guelph, Ontario facility.
  • Routinely tested finished products and found potential contamination.
  • Expanded recall as a precaution, retrieved products quickly.
  • No confirmed illnesses reported.
  • Discontinued contract manufacturing with Canadian plant.

Wellness has also issued isolated recalls due to:

  • Mold risk in some canned foods (2005)
  • Potential salmonella at one plant (2010)

For a premium brand producing vast product volumes, their recall rate is very low. No widespread incidents have occurred.

And Wellness has been transparent, issuing voluntary recalls out of an abundance of caution. They put pet health first.

Why Wellness Recalls Less Than Other Brands

  • Rigorous supplier screening: Carefully vet and audit all raw material suppliers.
  • Test and hold procedure: Ingredients and finished products are tested before release.
  • Proactive product monitoring: Wellness routinely pulls samples for pathogen and nutrient testing to catch potential issues early.
  • Single focus company: As a pet food-only company, their sole priority is pets' well-being and owner trust.

While occasional minor mishaps can happen, Wellness goes above and beyond to ensure product safety. Their small, targeted recalls with prompt action demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Top Wellness Alternatives to Consider

While Wellness offers a stellar lineup, you may also want to consider these top competitors when choosing a premium diet:

BrandKey Features
Orijen– High protein, biologically appropriate formulas
– Up to 90% meat ingredients
– Limited ingredients, no fillers or artificial additives
– Often recommended for allergies and sensitivities
– Made in their own US and Canadian kitchens
Merrick– Uses “Whole Earth” diet philosophy for balanced nutrition from nature
– Grain-free and limited ingredient offerings
– Industry leading food safety standards
– Humanely raised USDA meats as first ingredients
Taste of the Wild– Grain-free recipes based on what dogs would eat in the wild
– Proprietary probiotics and antioxidants added
– High protein formulas with added vitamins and minerals
– Uses unique meats like wild boar, bison, duck and venison
Nature's Logic– 100% natural and sustainably sourced ingredients
– Diverse meat meals as only protein source
– Fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals
– Focus on digestive health with enzymes
Zignature– Extremely limited recipes, usually only 1-2 protein sources
– Excellent for elimination diets
– Wet and dry foods available
– Hypoallergenic formulas with novel proteins like duck, kangaroo, guinea fowl and trout

While Wellness remains a top choice, be sure to consult your vet if debating between brands. Ingredients that work for one dog may not be ideal for another based on health conditions, allergies, age and preference.

With so many quality dog foods available today, you're sure to find the perfect solution to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Feeding Guide: Transitioning Your Dog to Wellness

Switching your dog to a new food like Wellness should be done slowly over 7-10 days. Here are some tips for a smooth transition:

Pick the Right Formula

Select an age and size appropriate recipe suited to your dog's needs. The CORE, Complete Health or Simple lines are all good starting points.

Mix New and Old Food

Mix a little bit of the new Wellness food in with your dog's current food. The ratio can be 25% new, 75% old to start.

Gradually Shift Ratios

Over a week, slowly decrease the old food and increase the Wellness ratio until you reach 100% new food. This gives their digestive system time to adapt.

Watch Stool Consistency

Monitor your dog's poop during the transition. Loose stool is common but should resolve within a few days. If it persists over a week, slow the switch.

Expect Appetite Changes

Some dogs may seem more or less eager for mealtimes. Stick to a consistent schedule and give them time to get used to the new flavor and texture.

Observe Energy Levels

Your dog may have a burst of energy from the increased protein and nutrition. Make sure they have adequate activity and exercise.

Be Patient

It can take 4-6 weeks for some dogs to fully transition to a new food. Allow time for their body to adjust before making additional changes.

With a gradual switch, most dogs can readily adapt to Wellness. Pay attention to their signals during the transition. Consult your vet if any severe issues pop up.

Wellness Dog Food: The Verdict

When considering your options, Wellness stands out as a leading premium natural dog food brand. Here's a final summary of its pros and cons:

High quality ingredients fit for human consumptionSlightly more expensive than big box brands
Grain-free and unique protein formulasLimited number of recipes/proteins compared to some competitors
Tailored nutrition for all life stages and sizesOccasional limited recalls occurred in the past
Rigorous safety standards and testing
Company focused solely on pet nutrition
Minimal history of recalls
Positive expert and consumer reviews
Competitively priced compared to boutique brands

The Bottom Line:

For pet parents seeking a significant upgrade from conventional grocery store brands, Wellness delivers exceptional quality. Their natural, protein-focused formulas avoid filler ingredients that simply pass through your dog unused.

Dogs thrive on the nutrients they can actually utilize from quality animal proteins, fruits, veggies, and supplements. Wellness also offers specially tailored nutrition based on age, size, and specific health needs.

With strict standards and rigorous testing at every stage, Wellness ensures the safety of all their products too. They've built a legacy of trust by always putting pets first.

We confidently recommend Wellness, especially their Original CORE recipes, as a great step up to premium natural nutrition. Wellness provides the real, biologically appropriate ingredients your dog needs to live their healthiest, happiest life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wellness Dog Food

Where is Wellness Dog Food produced?

Wellness has production facilities in Indiana, Minnesota and the Netherlands where high standards of food safety and quality control are practiced.

Does Wellness test for allergens?

Yes, every batch of Wellness is tested to ensure it stays below the maximum allergen thresholds before being released.

What are some common Wellness dog food recipes?

Common proteins used in Wellness recipes include chicken, salmon, turkey, and beef. Some grain-free recipes use duck, boar, bison or venison.

Is Wellness Dog Food suitable for puppies?

Yes, they have specially formulated puppy food lines like Complete Health Puppy and CORE Puppy that provide balanced nutrition for growth and development.

Does Wellness offer coupons or discounts?

Yes, you can find Wellness coupon codes and discounts on their website, from retailers, and through pet food review sites. This can lower the cost.

What is Wellness's return policy?

Unopened Wellness products can be returned to retailers within 30 days for a full refund or exchange.

References and Resources on Wellness Dog Food

This concludes my extensive review of Wellness Dog Food. I hope you found this breakdown informative and it helps you make the right choice for your dog's needs. Let me know if you have any other pet food questions!

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