Wellness Dog Food Review: Product Lines, Ingredients, and More

Wellness Pet Food

Have you ever watched your dog turn up their nose at a new food? It’s frustrating, right? Well, there was this one time when my Labrador, decided he was a food critic. Despite numerous acclaimed options, nothing seemed to please his refined palate—until we stumbled upon Wellness Dog Food.

Growing up with a devoted German Shepherd and now as a parent to two choosy Labradors, I’ve become quite the connoisseur of canine cuisine. My professional background in Animal Science and my day-to-day experiences at a Veterinary Pathology Lab give me a unique perspective on what truly makes quality dog food.

So here I am, sharing my honest Wellness Dog Food review, diving into the ingredients, nutritional value, and palatability. Let’s see if this food passes the Bruno test and can offer your pets the same joy and health it has brought to mine.

About Wellness Dog Food

Wellness logo

Wellness Dog Food stands out in the pet nutrition industry for its commitment to natural and health-promoting ingredients. The brand’s focus on comprehensive animal well-being has made it a popular choice among pet owners seeking quality and transparency in their pet’s diet.

History of Wellness Dog Food

The story of Wellness Dog Food traces back to the Old Mother Hubbard company, which began as a bakery for sea biscuits in Gloucester, MA, in 1926. This humble beginning set the stage for a focus on pet nutrition when the company started crafting food specifically for animals. By the 1960s, under the leadership of animal nutritionist Jim Scott, Sr., the company expanded its vision towards health-focused pet products.

In the 1990s, Jim Scott, Jr., took a bold step forward, collaborating with a dedicated team of animal nutrition experts, veterinarians, and scientists. The goal was to create the highest quality pet food using only natural ingredients. This culminated in the launch of the Wellness brand in 1997. The latter quickly became a pioneer in the natural pet food market. The brand’s approach was revolutionary then, focusing on whole-body health and incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients without any fillers or artificial additives.

The Promise of High Standards

Wellness Dog Food is popular for its rigorous standards in food safety and nutritional quality. Central to their operation is a comprehensive food safety protocol. It begins with carefully selecting ingredients and extends through meticulous production processes. This ensures that every product not only meets but often exceeds industry standards. The company’s dedication to quality is evident in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. It upholds top-tier safety and quality controls.

Moreover, Wellness commits to ongoing innovation and improvement. Each recipe is formulated with the latest in pet nutrition science, aiming to deliver visible health benefits to pets.

The brand actively engages its team in continuous education and training in food safety, emphasizing that the well-being of pets and the confidence of pet parents are paramount. This commitment extends beyond mere compliance to fostering a culture of excellence and trust within the pet community, which is why Wellness products are trusted by pet owners worldwide for maintaining the health and happiness of their pets​​.

Wellness Dog Food Product Lines

The company offers several specialized product lines to cater to the diverse nutritional needs of dogs. You can choose depending on their life stage, dietary preferences, and health requirements.

Wellness Complete Health

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Natural Ingredients, Made in USA with Real Turkey, For All Lifestages (Turkey, Chicken & Salmon, 4-Pound Bag)

The “Wellness Complete Health” line is formulated to support dogs through all life stages. It offers a balanced blend of proteins, grains, and fruits, aiming to support overall health, including skin, coat, and digestive wellness. This line is available in both grain-inclusive and grain-free options to cater to different dietary needs and preferences. The grain-free options utilize quality proteins and vegetables to provide a balanced diet while avoiding grains that some dogs may need to steer clear of due to sensitivities​.

Do you have a small dog? It might be worth looking at Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for hydration for picky pups, consider Wellness Complete Health Puppy Recipe Wet Dog Food.

Wellness CORE

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food, 24 Pound Bag

“Wellness CORE” is a family of high-protein, natural dog foods. It focuses on delivering more meat-based nutrition resembling the diet of wild ancestors. This line is particularly suited for large dogs that thrive on a higher protein intake. You’ll find options like CORE Digestive Health, which supports digestive health with a blend of probiotics. There’s also CORE RawRev, which incorporates raw pieces with traditional kibble for a texture and protein boost.

Wellness Simple

Wellness Simple Natural Limited-Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Easy to Digest for Sensitive Stomachs, Supports Skin & Coat (Lamb and Oatmeal, 26-Pound Bag)

For dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, “Wellness Simple” provides a solution with limited-ingredient diets. These recipes focus on a single protein source and limited carbohydrates to minimize the risk of food sensitivities. This line is perfect for maintaining a healthy, sensitive system and comes in both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. The recipes avoid using fillers and artificial additives to ensure pure, simple nutrition that is easy on your dog’s digestive system​.

One of my favorites is the Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Formula Lamb & OatmealIt’s easily digestible and ideal for dogs with food sensitivities.

Wellness Dog Food Review: Ingredients Analysis

Let’s dive into the Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe. As a dog owner who’s constantly reading labels and scrutinizing what goes into my Labradors’ diets, I find it vital to understand the benefits and roles of each ingredient. Starting with the top five ingredients of this popular Wellness recipe, we can see why it’s a favorite among discerning pet parents.

  • Deboned Chicken: This is the primary ingredient, providing high-quality protein that helps maintain muscle mass. It’s exactly what you want to see at the top of the list—real, whole meat that offers essential amino acids and a flavor that dogs love.
  • Chicken Meal: A concentrated form of chicken, this is a fantastic source of protein that contains more protein per ounce than fresh chicken because the water has been removed. It’s a potent ingredient for muscle and bone health.
  • Oatmeal: A gentle grain that provides dietary fiber, oatmeal supports healthy digestion and is an excellent source of energy. It’s especially good for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those who need a slower release of energy throughout the day.
  • Ground Barley: Another beneficial grain, barley is packed with fiber and essential nutrients. It helps not only in digestion but also in maintaining steady blood sugar levels, making it ideal for active dogs.
  • Peas: Often used in dog food as a source of carbohydrates and protein, peas also add essential vitamins and minerals. They contribute to the overall nutritional balance of the diet by providing fiber, Vitamin A, and iron.

Taste Test

Now, let’s get to the fun part—the taste test! Given that my Labs are not shy about expressing their culinary preferences, this was an exciting segment. I opened a bag of the Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe and immediately noticed their tails wagging in anticipation. As I filled their bowls, they waited impatiently, sniffing eagerly.

Once allowed, they dove right in. My lab, usually a picky eater, didn’t hesitate this time. He seemed to enjoy every bite. From the looks of it, the chunks of real chicken were a big hit. The oatmeal and barley must have added a satisfying texture. They cleaned their bowls without any of the usual mid-meal distractions.

It’s clear that the recipe meets nutritional expectations and passes the crucial taste test with flying colors. Seeing my dogs enjoy their meal with such gusto reassures me that this product sounds good on paper and stands up to the taste standards of my discerning duo.

A Word of Caution: Wellness Recall History

Wellness Dog Food has few recalls in its history. This is important for consumers to consider when evaluating the brand.

  • May 2012: Wellness voluntarily recalled one of its Complete Health Large Breed Puppy formulas. This recall was initiated after a routine test at one of the Diamond Pet Foods’ plants (where some of Wellness products were manufactured) returned positive for salmonella.
  • October 2012: A small breed recipe was recalled due to a higher-than-normal moisture content. It raised concerns about the potential for mold.
  • March 2017: Certain batches of Wellness canned beef dog food were recalled due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. This was discovered after the FDA received reports that three dogs showed signs of excess thyroid hormone consumption.

Wellness Dog Food Review: The Good and The Bad

Selecting the right dog food involves a careful balance of pros and cons. Wellness Dog Food provides various options, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.


  • High-Quality Ingredients: Wellness uses top-notch ingredients. Real meats like deboned chicken often lead their ingredient lists, promoting optimal health and vitality.
  • Wide Product Range: The brand caters to diverse dietary needs with lines like Complete Health, CORE, and Simple. This variety ensures you can find just the right food for your pet’s unique requirements.
  • Enhanced Digestive Health: Many formulas include probiotics and digestible fibers, aiding gut health significantly.
  • Clean Recipes: Wellness food does not contain harmful additives. It avoids fillers and artificial agents and focuses on wholesome nutrition.


  • Higher Cost: Premium ingredients mean higher prices. Wellness may stretch some budgets, especially for households with multiple or large dogs.
  • Variable Protein Levels: Protein content varies across products. Active or working dogs might need more consistent levels than what some Wellness lines offer.
  • Use of Legumes: Despite their nutritional value, peas and other legumes have raised concerns among some pet owners due to potential health risks.
  • Past Recalls: The brand has faced recalls, a factor worth considering for cautious buyers.

Top Wellness Dog Food Alternatives

If Wellness doesn’t float your boat, don’t worry! I can recommend a few other alternatives, including the following:

Diamond Naturals

Diamond Naturals prioritizes natural ingredients and affordability in its dog food offerings. The brand leads with real meat as the first ingredient, bolstered by probiotics and fatty acids to support digestive health and a shiny coat. These qualities make it a preferred option for those seeking nutritious, budget-friendly pet food.

Additionally, Diamond Naturals caters to all life stages with specific formulas for different breeds and sizes. The company upholds high safety standards by manufacturing its products in U.S.-based facilities, ensuring tight quality control from production to packaging.

Open Farm

Open Farm emphasizes ethical sourcing and ingredient transparency, catering to the environmentally conscious pet owner. Certified Humane meats and non-GMO produce form the backbone of their recipes, free from artificial additives. This approach attracts those who value knowing the precise origin of their dog’s diet.

With Open Farm, each product package includes a unique code, allowing owners to trace all ingredients back to their sources. This commitment to transparency reassures consumers about the ethical standards and sustainability practices behind their pet’s food, positioning Open Farm as a leader in responsible pet nutrition.


Orijen champions a “Biologically Appropriate” approach, crafting dog foods that mimic canines’ natural, meat-rich diets. Their high-protein recipes feature a diverse selection of freshly sourced meats, aligning with dogs’ evolutionary dietary needs. This method especially appeals to those seeking a diet supporting their pet’s natural eating habits.

The brand sources its ingredients from regional farms and fisheries, ensuring freshness and nutritional integrity. Orijen’s focus on fresh and raw inclusions, along with fruits and vegetables, delivers a nutrient-rich profile ideal for supporting the health of all dog breeds across different life stages. This commitment to premium, natural nutrition makes Orijen a top choice for pet owners looking for superior quality in their dog’s diet.

FAQs: A Deeper Dive into Wellness Dog Food

Does Wellness Dog Food meet AAFCO standards?

Yes, Wellness Dog Food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This ensures that their formulas provide complete and balanced nutrition suited for various life stages, from puppies through to adult maintenance.

Is Wellness dog food suitable for all dog breeds and sizes?

Yes, Wellness dog food is suitable for the nutritional needs of dogs across all life stages, breeds, and sizes. They offer specialized formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors, ensuring appropriate nutrient balances for each stage.

Does Wellness use any artificial additives in their dog food?

No, Wellness dog food is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They prioritize natural, wholesome ingredients to promote health and well-being in pets.

How does Wellness ensure the safety and quality of their dog food?

Wellness commits to high safety standards by conducting rigorous quality checks throughout their manufacturing process. They also source premium, natural ingredients to maintain a high level of product quality and safety.

Can I feed Wellness dog food to a dog with food sensitivities?

Yes, Wellness offers the Simple line for dogs with food sensitivities. This line features limited ingredient diets to minimize the risk of allergies and digestive issues.

Where can I purchase Wellness dog food?

Wellness dog food is widely available. You can purchase it from pet specialty stores, major online retailers, and directly from their website, offering convenience and accessibility for pet owners.

Where is Wellness dog food made?

Wellness dog food is produced in the USA. The brand prides itself on manufacturing its products in company-owned facilities located in Indiana and other sites across the country, ensuring strict control over the quality and safety of its pet food.

Wellness Dog Food Review Verdict: Is This the Right Pick for Your Dog?

Deciding if Wellness Dog Food is the right choice for your pet involves considering its nutritional benefits and your dog’s specific needs. With its range of formulas tailored to various life stages, dietary requirements, and health concerns, Wellness has established itself as a versatile option for many pet owners. Their commitment to using high-quality, natural ingredients and avoiding artificial additives underpin their reputation for promoting pet health and vitality.

Ultimately, whether Wellness is the right pick for your dog depends on your priorities for ingredient quality, product safety, and dietary suitability. If you value a diet crafted with care and backed by rigorous quality standards, Wellness Dog Food presents a compelling choice that caters to a broad spectrum of canine nutritional needs, making it a worthy contender for your consideration.


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