4Health Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The 4Health Grain Free product line includes nine dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • 4Health Grain Free Puppy [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Small Breed [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Beef and Potato [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Turkey and Potato [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Large Breed (3.5 stars) [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Chicken and Vegetables [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Pork and Potato (3.5 stars) [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Duck and Potato (3.5 stars) [U]
  • 4Health Grain Free Whitefish and Potato (3.5 stars) [U]

4Health Grain Free Beef and Potato formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

4Health Grain Free Beef and Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Beef, beef meal, pea protein, whole potato, dried peas, tapioca, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried plain beet pulp, whole flaxseed, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, beef tallow (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), choline chloride, manganese proteinate, l-carnitine, copper proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%35%38%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.

The third ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The seventh ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The eighth 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.

The ninth ingredient is 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 find beef tallow, a fatty by-product of beef rendering. Tallow is high in saturated fats.

Historically, tallow was used to make soap and candles. But today, due to its low cost, this fat is typically associated with lower quality pet foods.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this food 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 Grain Free Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, 4Health Grain Free looks like an above-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 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, dried peas and flaxseed in this recipe and the multiple legumes contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

4Health Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of various named species 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.

4Health Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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

02/26/2016 Last Update

  • TSank

    With 4 large hungry dogs we researched a bunch of options wanting to stay at a 4 star minimum rating. We switched over to 4Health and went for quite a while until my 13 year old (12 at the time) starting having some stomach issues. We then went to the grain free and haven’t had a problem since. Since we started we lost our 14 and 13 year old labs, and have added a 1 year old lab to the family. After a transition she has had zero issues. I was somewhat concerned as she runs trails with me (up to 12 miles) and she has held her weight and built additional muscle mass. Big 4 Health grain free fan

  • Dionannan

    Thanks Susan for replying. I will look for Ziwi Peak treats. I am currently using fresh dried beef as treats.
    I did take the moldy bag back to Tractor Supply. They where happy to give me a refund, but would not talk about any problems with the kibble.
    After reviewing the BARF diet and confirming with our veterinarian. We are going to remain raw and are in the process of introducing raw to our older rescue.

    After decades of owning dogs. 4 Health and TOTW are my kibble of choice, but modern veternary practice, extremely priced care designed to be life long is not normal. At least, I reject it as a norm.
    Thank you again.

  • Susan

    The chicken fat comes from chicken so when a dog is sensitive to chicken & has Gi problems, normally vet says stay away from chicken fat as well, it all depends on the dog, he might be OK with chicken fat.. Some dogs that can’t eat chicken can’t eat eggs either, again it all depends on your dog…..

  • Susan

    Hi sounds like there’s an ingredient in the adult formula he’s sensitive too, take back the moldy adult kibble & change it back to the puppy formula & read the ingredient list in the puppy food & read the ingredients in the Adult kibble work out which ingredients are different in the adult formula? write them down & try & avoid a few of these ingredients when you buy a adult food…..look to buy a kibble with just 1 single protein with limited ingredients.. I feed the “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain, Roasted Lamb All Life Stages, it just has Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, Salmon Oil, Egg, Roasted Lamb, Tomato Pomace natural flavor, blueberries & raspberries then all the vitamins & probiotics…
    Have you looked at Ziwi Peak air dried raw & use the Ziwi Peak as treats… https://www.ziwipets.com/catalog/ziwi-peak-dog-nutrition/air-dried-dog-food

  • Dionannan

    In an attempt to figure out why my 5 month old pup suddenly started showing signs of allergies I went to Dr. Mercola on youtube. She is a strong advocate for raw diets. I know it stopped the gnawin, itching and oozy lesions in just a couple of days.
    If raw is something you would be interested in trying.

  • Dionannan

    Just wanted to share my experience with 4 Health dog foods.
    We started our 2 lb pup on the grain free puppy food and 1/2 raw food. He did great.
    I use the kibble as treats and to train with. So, as he out grew the tiny kibble we grabbed a bag of adult grain free just for treats. He started gnawing, scratching and breaking out. Inspecting the adult food we found it to be moldy. I discontinued the adult food and within 3 days his skin cooled, the gnawing stopped.
    So in conclusion, the puppy kibble is a good kibble for small pups. Not so good for larger pups 3 months and up.
    Because of this issue we chose to go completely raw (BARF) 6 months sooner than planned.

  • Susan

    Hi that’s great it’s hard finding a good formula when they are sick I’m pretty sure 4Health is made by Diamond & they make Taste Of The Wild as well my boy has IBD & Pancreas pain & he does real will on the TOTW Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb it seems to be easy to digest something works very well the fat is 15% max but it doesn’t seem to bother his Pancreas, I really think its how the kibble breaks down & is easy to digest….My boy was the same all the vet diets did NOT help him they made him worse..

  • Susan

    Hi my boy does sloppy poos when protein is increased….Even though everything looks nilly the same on both kibble bags if you email 4Health & ask for the accurate percentages they will be higher then what’s written on the bag, they say min, so they can vary from 1-5% more…look at the fat% normally a puppy formula will have more fat…..Canidae make 2
    good large breed puppy formula’s that have healthy grains + peas, lentils, potatoes etc click on link below
    then scroll down, Canidae’ make their cheaper brand “Under The Sun” it has a chicken puppy formula then I think its page 4 & 5 the large breed puppy formula are on …I rotate between TOTW & Canidae, my boy has IBD & does real well on these brands…

  • massbloggerrrrrr

    Just wanted to comment here. I have 12 puppies and momma.Momma is a Cane Corso- pups are 50Cane corso/31Neo/12DDB/6Alapaha blueblood bulldog. Momma eats a mix of Taste of the wild(rotating formulas) and 4health grain free chicken and vegetables no problems with either. I started pups on the 4health grain free chicken and vegetable (brown bag)puppy for 1 1/2 weeks(loose stools) constant loose stools !!! So I switched off puppy formula to the 4health grain free chicken and vegetables NON puppy formula and everything is great 2 weeks now , all doing well no problems. What I don’t understand is ingredients are identical. Slightly higher protein in puppy formula. I can not for the life of me figure out why the puppy formula gave them diareah but not the other. Usually higher protein firms the stool , not loosen !! Any input? It’s a mystery to me !

  • Jessica Boyd

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/519df64d4b8ca157d1d1a9a92095cbf82964580c2d6bf4904122b673c9eddae0.jpg

    My dads Jack Russell was allergic to corn and anything from a chicken/ fowl. We feed him Natural Balance L.I.D. Venison and Potato. It was so expensive. I found 4Health Beef and Potato at Tractor Supply and never went back. He stopped itching. His hair grew back. He had no more vet visits except for his yearly. I feed my Corgi/Heeler Beef and Potato 4Health. We were feeding our new puppy Blue Wilderness Puppy Chicken Formula since we got a free bag at PetSmart. He started vomiting, diarrhea, peeing all over the house and once while he was asleep. His potty training was going great and this was out of the ordinary. After all the vet visits, medications, negative parvo test, and hundreds of dollars we figured out it was the Blue Wilderness was doing this to him. Now he is on 4Health Grain Free Puppy. I will stick with 4Health.

  • Nomi Schwartzengraber

    After my rescue mastiff got pancreatitis repeatedly and not even an Rx diet helped I decided to try 4Health grain free to see if it helped. Since she’s been on this food she’s hasn’t had any more issues. I’m totally sold on this food.

  • Susan

    Hi it may not have been the Chicken your dog was sensitive to in the Fromm formula, it may have been higher fat or higer in protein, may have heap more fiber% go & read the Fromm formula you were feeding & write down te protein, fat & fiber % or it could have been a vegetable ingredient he’s sensitive too, the only way to know 100% is add some cooked chicken skin free to only one of his kibble meals this way when he does 2 poos one of the poos will be sloppy/sticky & smells…. I wouldn’t ride off the chicken just yet he’s still a pup & there’s too many ingredient sin a kibble to say it was the chicken…. Normally when they cant eat chicken you stay away from chicken fat but like spanielvet posted it’s the protein in the food you react to…..”Taste Of The Wild” make a 2 chicken free grain free puppy formula’s, Pacific Stream Puppy & High Prairie Puppy Formula & so does “Canidae” they have 2 chicken free large breed Puppy formula’s but 1 has grains + potatoes the other puppy formula is Turkey & brown rice with limited ingredients for multi dogs large breed for Puppys, Adults & Seniors….
    http://www.canidae.com/dog-food/products