HealthWise Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The HealthWise product line includes four dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance (Weight Control).

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

  • HealthWise Chicken Meal and Oatmeal Adult
  • HealthWise Lamb Meal and Oatmeal Adult (4.5 stars)
  • HealthWise Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Puppy (4.5 stars)
  • HealthWise Chicken Meal and Oatmeal Weight Control (3 stars)

HealthWise Chicken Meal and Oatmeal Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

HealthWise Chicken Meal and Oatmeal Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of vitamin E), pea fiber, flaxseed, natural flavors, salt, herring oil, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, betaine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid), minerals (calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), lecithin, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.2%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%17%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%35%41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth 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 note the inclusion of herring oil. Herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 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.

HealthWise Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, HealthWise looks like a above-average dry dog food.

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 28%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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

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

Bottom line?

HealthWise Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals 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.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

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

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

04/03/2010 Original review
02/23/2014 Last Update

  • dani

    Secrets To Dog Training: Stop Your Dog’s Behavior Problems! ———————-

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  • J Ivison

    Never recommending this brand to my clients again. It made the dogs gain too much weight and my opion is that it’s a junk brand of food

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1519534508 Nancy DeGange Shannon

    This makes me so happy to read and my decision to switch over for my dogs!

  • doggonefedup

    Forthedogs 1111111111,
    I made another batch of liver snacks! this time I replaced the carrot with pumpkin and almost lost a finger. not really. But the boys like the cookies without the carrots, no doubt about that!

  • LA

    Methionine is one of the 10-plus essential amino acids that are The methionine supplement is called DL-Methionine. Methionine can be found naturally in meat and fish pet food ingredients.  At the whole-animal level, methionine is part of body proteins and is important for skin and coat condition, eye health, heart health and more. It serves as a precursor to other amino acids like cysteine which can then be converted into taurine. Methionine can also be converted into glutathione, an important physiological antioxidant, and into the cat pheromone felinine. It is an amino acid that is vitally important to the long-term health of the dog and cat.

  • LA

    Maybe you are thinking of Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfate (MDB), source of vitamin K activity which is NOT DL-Methionine. 

  • Shawna

    What is your concern with dl-methionine ForTheDogs?

  • ForTheDogs

     dl-methionine, WHY IS DI-METHIONE not red as a controversial ingredient?

  • denibeans63

    after 6 weeks of medication and bland diet dogs are FINALLY back to normal. i am slowly working in wellness kibble (the super 5) and they are tolerating it well. Javaxf22 – i hear what you are saying about the ogs getting into things – but my male has to be watched like a hawk b/c he is a poop eater – he is never out unattended, and the femaile – well, she is not a scavenger  - and not a digger – i have heard taht many people are not feeding any P&G foods anymore after the buy out. I guess i am one of them too now 

  • Javaxf22

    This could be a coincidence regarding the loose stools.  I have 3 large dogs on Healthwise Ckn & Oatmeal.  I choose it as a medium quality brand that I could afford. There is a huge jump in price from low quality to high quality foods with not many medium quality foods to choose from BUT probably a marketing strategy.

    Anyways, NONE of my 3 large dogs have loose stools. They have been eating Healthwise Ckn & Oatmeal for over 6 months.  When they do have loose stools, its because the ate something stupid…like bird poop or whatever else flew into my yard.  I take them to the vet, they get meds and within 2 days they are back to normal on the same dog food.  In the past 6 months, this has only happened 1x to 2 of my young big dogs.  But, these are the 2 dogs that like to eat/chew on whatever crosses their paths OR love to dig in the dirt.  So, that puts them at risk for loose stools and parasites….

    Before you consider the dog food as the problem, need to realize that dogs are scavengers and are more likely to “get into something” that will upset their stomachs.  A quick trip to the vet usually is what is needed…and, actually, will be less expensive than having bags and bags of unused expensive dog food in your pantry. 

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Honest Kitchen Zeal is low fat and no ingredients from China.  Their website actually tells you where all the ingredients come from.  Have you looked at the “low fat dog foods”  list?

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/suggested-low-fat-dog-food/

  • 2bouvmom

    Hi. I am a new member and found you after spending HOURS researching foods. i’ve been feeding healthwise (weight control b/c my female has pancreatitis AND prone to crystals in urine – they are both rescues and she has always had these issues)  for 2 years to my 2 senior bouviers. in early march, i opened a new bag and within a few days both dogs got diarrhea. dogs acting fine, just very messy. At first i thought it might have been teh 4 pieces of Milos jerky treats i fed before i realized they were MADE IN CHINA and tossed them anyway,,,,Tested stool, took to vet, inconclusive. Put on metro, bland diet, fitflora probiotic… all ok… then started adding in 1/8 cup of food again….BAM,,,diarrhea again! this has been cycle…I am wondering if there wasn’t something wrong with that particular bag? can that happen? something growing in there? wondering now if i look for a new food? but how can i verify if there are ONLY US ingredients??? I e mailed wellness bc i’m considering switching to that food – moving soon and healthwise is hard to locate in all areas. sorry for long post and thanks! 

  • Frontierrots

    I have fed Healthwise (both straight and also mixed with Evo) since it used to called Anmar (late 90′s) The dogs do very well with it and I even used it in the large boarding kennel I used to manage. I have noticed no difference in the quality or my dog’s stoool before or after the P&G takeover, and I am watching for change!

  • melissa

    Love Mooses-

    My dogs got soft stool from this food as well as the Innova .I had fed both several years ago w/out issue. so not sure why the issue now. I stopped feeding it adn the stools firmed up right away.

  • Love Mooses

    Hi, my pitbull has been on this food for at least a few months now (we’re on our 3rd bag) and while I was given warning that he may have loose stools in the beginning, this is still a problem. Half of the time he’ll have good, solid poops, but then the next day he’ll make a watery mess. Is this a problem with anyone else? Should I try a different food again? -If so, do you guys know of any good recommendations? Thank you so much!

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  • Victoria

    I hope that P&G wont change the quality of Healthwise because I really like the ingredients. I switched my parents dachshund to it from taste of the wild because he didnt do too hot on it. He has nice solid poops, shiny coat and good energy levels. Plus its very affordable.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Frank… As much as I’d like to, it’s impossible for anyone to know when (or even if) a pet food manufacturer makes changes to its formula — other than what the manufacturer chooses to let you know on its label or marketing (website).

    To get a better idea of why I focus exclusively on the government regulated pet food label and nothing else, please be sure to read my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“. Hope this helps.

  • frank

    Hi,
    can you let us know if you find out any news about Proctor and Gamble making changes to their sources of meats for kibble, i.e.. Healthywise or other Innova dog foods. thanks.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    Hahaha…I was entering my post the same time as Mike S. It seems like he agrees with me somewhat!

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    I forgot to add, Mike S. does rate it a 4 star so it’s not bad at all. And it doesn’t have any red flag ingredients.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    Actually, most probiotics in dog foods are rendered ineffective by the processing of the dog food. So you might end up having to add them to the diet anyway. I do feel they’re an important part of the diet and should be added every now and then. Enzymes are also important and I like them added in to my dogs’ diet. As for Healthwise, I’ve always thought that it looked like a decent food, ingredient and price wise, that was overshadowed by it’s sibling food Innova. That being said, it is made by Natura and they were acquired by P&G, so I have to say I’m not a fan. Doesn’t make it bad for someone else, though.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jen F… Although some may disagree, in my mind, the value of adding probiotics to a recipe at the time of manufacturing might be overrated. By the time the food gets to you, it’s not very likely these microorganisms are still alive. So, their health value should be in question.

    Actually, it’s probably better to add yogurt or some other “live” culture to your dog’s meal at the time it’s served. But if you do, be sure to cut back on the amount of food a little so as to not increase the caloric content of the mix. Hope this helps.

  • http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com Jen F

    Hi. My 7 month old golden retriever has been on Avoderm and has done well on it; however, I am unable to buy it locally anymore so am looking to switch brands. Both Premium Edge and Blue Buffalo result in softer stools. My local dog food store recommended Healthwise. It is in the right price range and seems similar in quality to Avoderm and Blue Buffalo, but I see that it does not contain probiotics. How important an ingredient is this for dogs? Thanks for your help.

  • tricia

    The good Ole American Way — Let’s sue. I have no interest in participating in this ridiculous garbage lawsuit.

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi

    A class action lawsuit may affect your rights if you purchased Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature, or Karma dog or cat food products during the time period from March 20, 2005 to July 8, 2011

    The lawsuit claims Natura made false and misleading statements about the human grade quality of its food.

    http://www.petproductssettlement.com/EN/

  • Melissa

    I just added this chicken/oatmeal variety into our rotation, so hoping it works. For anyone intersted on kibble size, its not tiny, and not large-more like a medium kibble(little bigger than Canidae). Tomorrow is the first day, so will report how my crew does with it added in, in a few weeks-

    Very reasonable in pricing this part of NY -35 lbs for $33.75-and “Natura” aka P&G does have a frequent buyer program right now through 5/2012

  • Susan

    Sorry, didn’t mean my vet recommended. Don’t want to mislead anyone. I use a trusted resource at my dog boarding and pet food store – Bark Avenue Pets in Mesa, Arizona. THEIR vet recommended the food and probiotic combination. So far, they are doing well. We’ve tried our dogs on California Natural (they both did well on that), EVO, Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Avoderm and in the winter, they have been on a RAW diet. Nothing seems to help the itching with one of our dogs, so we are hoping that this will – along with the aid of the probiotic/enzymes.

  • Susan

    Healthwise Chicken was recommended by our vet for our very itchy dog. However, the vet also recommended to add some low sodium/natural chicken broth to the food since there is only 10% moisture. We also top dress it with a canned food from Evangers. We also supplement with a probiotic/enzyme which helps them aid their digestion. Both our dogs are doing extremely well on the food. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone curious about using it. Put it this way, it’s not going to hurt your dogs to put them on it for a few months.. long enough time to see if they are thriving or merely surviving. Mine are thriving, healthy and happy. The food is very palatable as well so they love eating it.

  • Kelly

    Just a note to Teri ~ Healthwise is now owned by P&G as well. The Natura Pet sellout includes Innova, California Natural, Karma, Healthwise and EVO.

  • tricia

    Just thought I would add that I have had my 3 dogs on Healthwise Chicken & Oatmeal for 3 years now. A golden retriever, springer spaniel and border collie/aussie mix. In my opinion this is the best food and the cost is very reasonable. The springer is around 12 and he is able to eat this food. It’s difficult to find a food that all your dogs can eat and Healthwise is the only one that works for our guys.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jeni… Since I’m not a veterinarian it would be misleading for me to assure you any particular dog food would be appropriate for your pet’s health issues. In any case, although we rarely favor low protein dog foods, these foods are not only low in meat, they’re also (usually) low in fat also. This type of diet may be OK in the short run, but we question the sensibility of any low meat diet in the long term. To help you find a few of these products, please be sure to read my recent article, “Suggested Low Protein Dog Foods“. And of course, since hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a serious condition, please be sure to discuss what you read here with your vet before taking any action. Hope this helps.

  • Jeni

    Hi, I have a wonderful Golden Doodle, that has had a bout of HGE, and seems to be pretty sensitive. We are currently feeding him Royal Canin Highly digestable low fat Prescription diet, wet and dry, however, it is very expensive for a 83 lb dog! would this diet be comparable, or is there something you can recommend to stretch out the Royal canin (perhaps blend them) to make this more economical? We have to be careful, as I noted before, he is sensitive! Thanks, jeni

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Shelby… We rate dog food based upon the government regulated label information. We then read and interpret those ingredients lists and attempt to estimate meat content only. Based upon these two factors alone, California Natural exhibits a brand average of 25% protein whereas HealthWise shows about 29%. To us, both are rated 4-stars. But HealthWise might have just a bit more meat. Thus the reasons for that wording.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be too concerned about those subtle differences in our ratings.

    Though I’m not a vet, we have observed that many professionals claim the essential fats (omega 3 and omega 6) commonly found in foods like flaxseed and dark fish support better skin and coats. So, you may want to look for products containing those nutrients and items.

    If you’ve read that California Natural “guarantees a healthier coat”, I’d be reluctant to place much value in claims like that. For its impossible for anyone (even this website) to guarantee specific health results.

    Hope this helps.

  • Shelby

    My golden retriever had a beautiful and shiny when she ate a higher premium dog food (Nature’s Recipe: Venison Meal). Now that my dog has been eating Kirkland again, her coat has been very coarse again, and my golden retriever sheds a lot!

    I am considering to try either Healthwise or California Natural, just for my dog’s coat and overall health. Healthwise is economically cheaper than California Natural, but according to your reviews, Healthwise earned “solid 4 stars”, while California Natural “marginally earned 4 stars”. However, Healthwise is “not exceptional”. Right now, I am very stumped.

    Could you possibly provide your own opinion as to which one would improve my greatly improve my dog’s coat? I know that California Natural may guarantee a healthier coat, but the “marginal earned 4 stars” is discouraging me from this brand.

    Thank you very much!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Teri… Protein levels are a controversial issue. I personally am not concerned about protein as much as some of our readers. But calcium and phosphorous can be important. I’d be inclined to feed a puppy food to your large breed puppies until about age 10-12 months. Be sure to check with your vet for professional guidance.

  • teri

    Hi there,

    My dogs suddenly stopped eating Innova as well. Because P&G has recently bought out the parent company, I wanted to switch anyway. I’m considering Healthwise (or Wellness). Here’s my quandary- My dogs (and now puppies) are a mix of large breed (Golden) and miniature Poodle – do I fixate on the amount of protein and calcium that’s a concern to large breed puppies? This is why I’m considering more “Middle of the Road” foods with regards to protein content. Your opinion is appreciated.

    teri

  • Anthony

    Thanks Mike! I will figure it out.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Anthony… Wet topping over kibble is my very best suggestion. If that doesn’t work, you’ll just have to use good old “trial and error” with different brands :(

  • Anthony

    Hi Mike.. I have tried that as well with no luck. I tried tonight to give him Innova (Adult Dry / Red Meat) and he seemed to like that. Just not sure what to get now. Shold I go with the Healthwise (Lamb Meal) or Innova (Red Meat)? Just want my lil fella to be happy and healthy.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Anthony… We had a similar problem with Bailey. But once we started “topping” his kibble with a quality canned food, the problem quickly disappeared.

    Now, we rotate the various wet recipes from the same product line each time we finish a can. That way he doesn’t get tired of the same old flavor. After all, dogs are a lot like us humans. Hope this helps.

  • Anthony

    Well I am really stuck! please Help! I have a 11 month old Minature Schnauzer and was feeding him Innova (Dry) puppy food and then he stopped eating it. So I have switched him over to Merrick (Dry) food and he is just not really eating. So I have some samples of Healthwise (Lamb Meal) and he seems to like it. I don’t want to have to everymonth keep switching foods. WHAT TO DO?!?!!? :-(