4Health Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

4Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The 4Health product line includes nine dry dog foods.

Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • 4Health Puppy Formula
  • 4Health Small Bites Adult
  • 4Health Large Breed Adult
  • 4Health Mature Adult (3 stars)
  • 4Health Chicken and Rice Adult
  • 4Health Salmon and Potato Adult
  • 4Health Lamb and Rice Adult (3 stars)
  • 4Health Healthy Weight Adult (3 stars)
  • 4Health Performance Formula Adult (5 stars)

4Health Chicken and Rice Adult formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

4Health Chicken and Rice Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 46%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, millet, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, Yucca schidigera extract, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%17%46%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%35%40%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The fifth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

After the natural flavor, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

4Health Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, 4Health Dog Food looks like an average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

4Health Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken, lamb or fish as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/14/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Sugar Daddy

    I looked it up.
    In fact it is made by Diamond

  • Carolyn Vickers

    No it is not. I get it at Tractor Supply Co. It was recommended to me by the people that work there, they all feed it to their dogs. My golden was having severe food allergies, and so I put her on 4Health grain free Beef and Potato. Her food allergies cleared up within a month!

  • Pitlove

    Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy, Precise Holistic Complete Large/Giant Breed Puppy and my new favorite I added to my list, Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy. Those are my suggestions for a good LBP food.

  • DogLover

    My vet had no recommendation on what to feed our 16 week old puppies (mastiff/St. Bernard/something smaller) except for look for the seal of approval. TSC said either Diamond or 4Health. Then I read comments here; I don’t know what to buy. They are currently on Purina Puppy Chow (that’s what the kennel was feeding them). Help!

  • Mike Edwards

    Only the Beef and Turkey GF are made by Ainsworth… the rest are made by Diamond

  • Pitlove

    I know and I personally don’t have an issue with by-products. I only mentioned it because some people feel that if a company is dishonest, they aren’t worth supporting.

    If you are still going to go with Blue make sure you get a formula for large breed puppies.

  • Sugar Daddy

    I am thinking adding things that were not suppose to be there and adding things that killed dogs are a bit different. I doubt anything is 100% when it comes to dogs.

  • Pitlove

    Alright. make sure you look into the legal trouble Blue has been having as well.

  • Sugar Daddy

    Going with blue.

  • Tammy

    You could try the Fromm Gold LB puppy food. It has worked well for my Lab puppies, nice slow, even growth.

  • Bobby dog

    You’re welcome. I used to feed the GF kibble, but when one of the recipes that Ainsworth manufactured went to Diamond I stopped. Didn’t want to have to keep checking on the manufacturer. Still waiting out Diamond to see if they have improved their manufacturing practices.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Thanks for updating with the current information BD! :) I don’t use it and didn’t have time to finish researching!

  • Bobby dog

    Hi C4d:
    As of March 2015 the information I received from an Ainsworth rep via e-mail is they manufacture 4Health GF Beef & Potato, GF Turkey & Potato dog foods, and GF Whitefish & Potato cat food.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi DTalksAll,

    I looked up 4Health on TSC website. There is a difference in protein level and fat. The performance is higher in both, which could be causing the problems. Also, the performance says “Adult” specifically, which means it isn’t an all life stages formula. If they are ALS, they are stated that they are specfically on the bag. Mixing the 2 might be a good idea. Here’s the formula links:



    There is a good forum on Large Breed Puppies on the forum side of this site and here is a link on DFA regarding Large Breed Puppy food.


  • Crazy4dogs

    That’s very possible. I’ve seen differing comments all over the web.

  • Pitlove

    the GF lines are made by Ainsworth if I’m not mistaken

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’ve read conflicting links. Some say Diamond, some say Ainsworth. They might be splitting between 2 manufacturers and formulas.

    You might want to look into the DFA large breed puppy food link:


    There is also a lot of information on the forum side of this site.

  • Pitlove

    yes it is made by Diamond. are you looking to switch your puppy off this food?

  • Sugar Daddy

    Isn’t this stuff made by diamond?
    I just got an 8 week old Labrador and my vet said no to this when I said what she was eating.

    Diamond has had more recalls than Chevrolet.

  • theBCnut

    All Life Stages meets the requirements for Growth. It is puppy food.

  • Pitlove

    Lol wow! What an over reaction to my questions! I am NOT trolling you at all. I am asking you the same questions anyone would be asking you on this site. This is how we think here and I’m not a mindreader.

    If you are looking for an easy answer that doesn’t require people to ask you questions, I don’t suggest asking for advice on DFA or from your vet. Both will ask a lot of questions to help solve your problem.

    Good luck with your puppy. Take care.

  • Nancy Walk

    We have always fed our two boxers age 9 and 2 the 4 health line. We have switched from the large breed to the performance, due to the large breed was not available at our local store. After being on the performance for a couple months both of our dogs started not wanting to eat and getting sick. We have spent $810 in this past month for testing for vomiting and chronic diarrhea in both dogs, ruled out parasites, worms, etc. just to finally come down to the conclusion “we must of got a bad bag of dog food because there are no current recalls.” Very dissatisfied with this brand due to our recent experience and looking to switch.

  • http://www.dtalksall.com/ DTalksAll

    Oh my gosh! YES, he’s been to the vet, no issues. Like I said in my original comment, they just aren’t as consistently formed as they were when he was on the puppy food. He was tested for Giardia & put on antibiotics a few weeks ago after camping and probably drinking too much lake water. He has been on the 4Health performance for a few months now. Some times he has formed stool for a week straight. Other times it’s just once a day.
    Would you like a list of the supplements he gets? The amount of coconut oil I feed him? How about a list of the treats I feed him? My Vet’s phone number, or my breeders? His fecal sample?
    I’m done feeding the troll.

    I was wondering if others experienced the same issue as mine & what they did about it. I did not come here for a lecture on puppy food and pumpkin. It’s people like you that ruin the comments for everyone else.