Taste of the Wild (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★½

Taste of the Wild Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Taste of the Wild product line includes seven dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and four for growth (Puppy).

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

  • Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon
  • Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain (3.5 stars)
  • Taste of the Wild Wetlands Formula (5 stars)
  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula (5 stars)
  • Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Formula (4 stars)
  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula (4 stars)
  • Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula (4 stars)

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, pea protein, peas, potatoes, canola oil, tomato pomace, roasted venison, roasted bison, flaxseed, potato fiber, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, Yucca schidigera extract, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis28%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%19%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%39%35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is bison. Although it is a quality item, raw bison 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 includes lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The third ingredient includes sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fourth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The fifth 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 meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while some condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.

Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The ninth ingredient includes tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

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, salmon 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 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.

Taste of the Wild Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Taste of the Wild Dog Food 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 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, peas and flaxseed in this recipe as well as the potato protein and garbanzo beans contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Taste of the Wild Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of named meats, meat meals and fish as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Those looking for a quality grain-free wet food may wish to visit our review of Taste of the Wild canned dog food.

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

10/17/2013 Last Update

  1. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  • Thomas

    Yeah, I’m happy sticking with TOTW…

  • Thomas

    That’s what I’m talking about! Same here…soft,shiny coat, and good muscle development.

  • Maren Roush

    We are big TOTW fans in our house.

  • Dori

    Unfortunately Labs, we have more than one troll from time to time that has us questioning ourselves and then we stop and think and realize……OH RIGHT!!! THAT’S ONE OF THOSE TROLL IDIOTS! It would be so lovely to figure out some way to block those trolls. I know there isn’t and I realize I’m thinking fantasy land but it’s exhausting enough to weed through all the dog food info without the trolls trying to trip us up.

  • Storm’s Mom

    “crude protein” = “guaranteed analysis”, so, yes the 32% “crude protein” would be about 36% on a dry matter basis.

    Did you transition slowly to these foods? Do you use a probiotic and/or digestive enzymes during the transition from one food to another, or just generally? I’d suggest both, if you’re not already doing so.. you shouldn’t need to transition slowly after the first few times you switch to a new food, but probiotics and digestive enzymes will always help with digestion. I can switch cold turkey with my guy now, but I still regularly use probiotics and digestive enzymes.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yeah, he’s pretty much crazy. This site has a troll that shows up every so often to cause trouble.

  • Melanie

    How funny. I just saw the rest of your post explaining protein levels and how they are determined. Thanks again. Maybe I will try the Nature’s Logic if the price is right.

  • Melanie

    Thanks for your input. My TOTW bag states it’s crude protein is 32%. I’m sure there is a difference between that and the dry matter% that I don’t quite understand. He’s been on Acana and tolerated it well but didn’t seem to like it very much and Acana and Orijen are a bit out of my price range. I tried him on the Merrick bison and sweet potato which states it’s crude protein is 38% and he did not tolerate it at all. I mixed just a little with his TOTW and he woul only eat a small amount and then vomit it up an hour later undigested. This happened 4 times and he didn’t even eat 1/2 a cup of it. Anyways, I think I will try the Earthborn Holistics and see how that goes. Thank you again.

  • Storm’s Mom

    High Prairie is approx 36% protein on a dry matter basis. Nature’s Logic is 38% protein on a dry matter basis. NL reports their food on a dry matter basis, while with most other foods (like TOTW) you have to do the calculations yourself (Dr Mike does them for the recipes he chooses for each review, though). TOTW lists High Prairie as 32% protein based on guaranteed analysis, but on a dry matter basis that would be more like 36% or so (dry matter basis is generally about 4% higher). So, your dog *should* be just fine with NL from a protein perspective. I’d strongly suggest trying it. Earthborn Holistic is another great option. Acana or Orijen would be other ones to check out.. Horizon Legacy.. there’s a new one called Wild Calling that I really like (their Rocky Mountain ones)… others here have sung the praises of Dr Tims and Victor (neither are available here so I can’t vouch for them personally). Hope that helps!

  • Melanie

    Wow. I just started reading all of these posts and I am floored! I was going to post something positive to have Rick’s back because I was agreeing with everything he was saying until I read that last one. It’s almost like someone else wrote that. He seemed like he was really in to dogs and animals but after that post I’m not so sure. I have a lab and believe me he wants to be alive, happy, and loved. I feed him TOTW High Prairie and he thrives on it. That’s why he keeps getting it. I too have concerns about the recalls and it being associated with Diamond. More concerning is the vitamins and minerals from China that may or may not be in the food. If anyone can recommend a food with no recalls and no Chinese ingredients would love to hear about them. I’ve read that Nature’s Logic is a good one but my lab can’t tolerate 38% protein. I read somewhere that Earthborn holistics has the closest makeup to TOTW without the recalls. I would love all of you dog foodies to give me your in put.

  • Thomas

    Update: my dog was allergic to the fish. Rash in ears, but gone now. Switched back to high prarie with great results.

  • Melanie

    I really like this dog food for my 5 year old lab. I’ve done a lot of research and I know it has been involved in some recalls being associated with Diamond which does make me nervous. I’m also not too sure about its ingredients from China. That makes me more nervous than salmonella contamination. One thing I do know is that my dog thrives on TOTW High Prairie formula. Shiny coat, bright eyes, and very lean and muscular. He’s been on Nature Select, Kirkland, Acana, and most recently Merrick. I like to switch it up. This is the one I keep coming back to. Price is right too and he tolerates it the best.

  • PrivacyInA9M80

    Great, thoughtful remarks. I second all your thoughts.

  • PrivacyInA9M80

    I’ve fed Taste of the Wild, along with Merrick and Canidae, for four years. My dogs are incredibly healthy and happy. I wish there were a similar product made with human nutrition in mind. ;)

  • PrivacyInA9M80

    Yep. It’s nice to see someone placing at least some blame on vaccination. In theory, vaccination rocks; in practice, limitations can sometimes lead to problems.

  • Cyndi

    You sound a lot wiser than just 14 years old. Awesome job! Your story gave me goosebumps as well!

  • pagarama

    I love hearing stories like yours! Excellent news!

  • Shawna

    Hi Ken,

    Comparing wet canned food to dry matter kibble is like comparing apples to oranges. To get a true comparison you have to convert the canned to dry matter.

    As an example, per DFA, the canned Chicken Soup Adult Formula has an “as fed” protein amount of 8%. But when converting to dry matter the protein amount is 36%. Canned foods are more often than not higher in protein than kibbled foods. (Due to the higher moisture content, they are easier to digest.)

    More info on dry matter can be found in this article http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-matter-basis/

  • Ken Kendrick

    do not feed high protein diet to a dog with diabetes they have a hard time with digesting proteins with that issue.I had a Min Pin with the same problem and found that home cooked chicken boiled and rice worked but if yoy want an easy way out go with canned food as most are just 6 to 9 percent protein where dry is 19 to 35.My dog did great on canned Chicken Soup for older dogs and lived 5 years with the diabetes.As a matter of fact the US government taking pork insulin off the market is what did him in not the food.Stay as low as you can with protein and you should be good.

  • Kally

    I started feeding my 8 month old corgi Taste of the Wild (any and all flavors of the puppy kibbles) when he was about 5 months old and he has done wonderful on this food! He has a great moisturized and shiny coat, and has healthy stools. I usually include a half tablespoon or so of Pumpkin Puree to his dry food. I used to feed a variety of the Natural Balance puppy kibbles until Oliver became uninterested in eating, and often had loose stools, which is when I switched him to TOTW. This is a great dog food, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially for puppies

  • USA Dog Treats

    Great Job!!!

  • Betsy Greer

    Great job Columbia!! Your story gave me goosebumps. : )

    I hope your dad values the food you’ve chosen and is paying for it now.

  • Columbia

    I mostly grew up with my dog. He was always fed Beneful, or the similar. Rummy had been eating it for about 7 years, and I noticed his overall health was declining. His fur was dull, nails brittle, and he was becoming lazy and uninterested in his food. I’m also certain his allergies and scratching was caused by the ingredients. He was bald. Everywhere. I decided to take the matters into my own hands. I found this website, researched all night, and then went to the feed store (they have the nicest food in town) to pick out his food. I was stuck between Chicken Soup FTS and TOTW, but once I saw that the Pacific Stream formula was for dogs with food sensitivites, I knew it was for him. Of course, I had to pay the difference between this and his own food (I’m 14), so I tried to get the most bang for my buck. It’s $40 for the largest bag, but it’s made all the difference in the world. The fish has made his coat is lustrous and strong, the shedding ceased, and his hair is growing back. He’s senior, and has a cruciate ligament injury and genetic hip issues, and I’ve seen a difference in his mobility. I also suggest SmartPak supplements, I use Missing Link on his food, and also generic fish oil tablets.

    Thank you Dog Food Advisor for making a significant difference in me and my dog’s life. Also, my father was stubborn about the food change, and your reports have swayed him over. My dog will live a longer, healthier life- thanks again.

    The picture attached is my Rumsfeld with his friend and ex-Iams dog Sammy. I had her change her food when I petsitted him- she loves this site, too.

  • Crazy4cats

    All of the flavors are rated 4.5 stars unless noted otherwise. Which in this case is all but SW Canyon. So, 4.5 stars.

  • Southern Born

    Wonder what the rating would be on TOTW Southwest Canyon with wild Boar? I’m looking for something without potatoes, rice, peas.

  • Dumbass

    I use the grain free version of Victor. I buy it local at less than 40 bucks for 30 pounds. Never recalled Non GMO, and made at Victor’s family owned plant in Texas. Victor’s site- victordogfood.com

  • 3SpottedDogs

    While I think that the recalls from 2012 give me a reason to regularly monitor my pets for digestive issues, my pack of 6 do fabulous on TOTW. I think as a pet parent, no matter what brand of pet food you choose to feed, you have to be prudent about watching your dog/cat for changes in behavior that may be related to their food.
    I have seen several recommendations for The Honest Kitchen and they are on the 2013 recall list. Most recently Science Diet, the brand that most veterinarians push, is recalled. You can probably find something wrong with every brand out there. My personal experience has been positive with TOTW so I wanted to contribute to this thread.

    I have tried switching to other high quality brands including Fromm and Precise and I always end up back with TOTW. They all ended up with dull coats, excessive shedding and weight loss on one of the brands that I switched to and the other was too rich for them, giving all but 2 tummy troubles (and yes I slow change foods).

    All of mine happily lick the bowl clean at every meal so I will continue to feed TOTW. For all 6 dogs to do well on a brand that I feel good about feeding, it’s a winner for me! I typically vary between High Prairie and Wetlands and all of my dogs have shiny coats, great muscle tone, and great digestive health.

    I did have an episode of diarrhea among 3 of mine when I started feeding a new bag in March of this year and just to be safe I dumped the bag and called TOTW and spoke with the vet about the lot. They opened a case file and said they would contact me if they had any other complaints in the same lot and they ending up refunding me for the bag. I purchased a new bag with a different lot number on it just to be safe and the issues resolved. Would the issues have resolved with time? Could the diarrhea have been from something else? Maybe, but I didn’t want to take the chance and continue feeding and it be the food.

  • UseYourNoggin

    To TheDogMan77,

    Our Australian Terrier was diagnosed at age 4 with diabetes. He lived to age 9 on Blue Buffalo w life source bits. We also added in pumpkin and/or yogurt most of the time. (I didn’t know much about dogfood then, except to feed higher quality.)

  • Thomas

    Disregard. I see my previous comment now. Still true.

  • Thomas

    My comment may have been deleted…

    I actually posted in reference to how great TOTW has been with my new pup. I guess this thread doesn’t know how to handle a relevant comment. Anywho, High Prairie formula is the best as far as muscle definition goes. Pacific Stream is great for overall absorption–less poop, so more absorption. But I like the higher fat content in the bison formula. Just me. Anyone else have success or failure with this brand. All I see on any of these threads is propaganda and brand bashing. It’s really frustrating having to scroll for two hours to get a real critique.

  • Thomas

    I’d like to add a comment pertaining to TOTW, which is what this thread is for, though people seem to have forgotten that.

    I think it’s great. Isn’t that refreshing? I’m not one of those freaks who would rather discuss recalls or mention other brands on this thread. This is the TOTW page, is it not? I could care less about Hill Science or IAMS or Orijen…the list goes on and on. Please tell us! How did your dog react to TOTW?

    As alluded to, my dog does great on it. He has great muscle definition. He loved the Pacific Stream at first, but I think I’ll switch back to the bison-based food. He (a black mouth cur, btw) was putting on muscle more rapidly on the High Prairie, which is the first bag I tried. I think it was the higher fat content, which is just as important as the protein–good fats, that is. Energy is good. Poop is good…better on the Pacific Stream, oddly enough–less poop.

    Anyway, anyone else actually use this stuff, or am I the only one?

  • Shawna

    Ummm, humans eat raw meats all the time.. Sushi and sashimi are quite popular in my area. Steak tartar is considered a delicacy.

    I also find it a bit strange that you would call out raw diets for salmonella when Taste of the Wild has been recalled for the very same concern??

    Parasites can be killed by adequate freezing in most cases. In the rare exception, like salmon, it is advised that the food be cooked or not eaten.

    Kibbles have had numerous recalls for salmonella contamination. That aside, a healthy pet can actually be a carrier for salmonella and ecoli. It is part of their normal flora.
    “A number of bacterial organisms commonly associated with diarrhea in dogs and cats include Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium difficile.

    Veterinarians are faced with a quandary when attempting to diagnose dogs and cats with suspected bacterial-associated diarrhea, because these organisms commonly represent a normal part of the host’s intestinal microflora.” http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/local-assets/pdfs/newsletter_2003_fall.pdf

    Dog in my avatar has had kidney disease since birth (symptoms noticed at around six weeks of age). She also had some other complications and was almost lost. Since coming to me at nine weeks of age she has been raw fed. The only time she gets sick is if I feed her kibble for more than one or two meals infrequently (running late or seriously lazy). She was officially diagnosed with kd at one year of age and given one year longer to live. That was seven years ago. She is still going strong, still unmedicated and still eating raw. Her eight year birthday is next week. I have no doubt she would not be with me any longer if I fed her kibble regularly (any brand of kibble).

    For the record, I’m not particularly fond of Diamond at the moment but I’m not in the fear TotW camp either.

  • A D

    I see fear mongering and self advertizing has seeped into the dog food forums :( . Taste of the Wild is a high quality USA made dog food and i currently feed it to my dog (who enjoys the fact we can switch around the recipes –without diarrhea issues– because he burns out on dry food flavors quickly) and my cat eats Taste of the Wild cat food (and loves it). Raw feeding can have deadly consequences, our dogs are not wolves and can easily become victims of e. coli, salmonella and parasites just like humans. Since raw feeding is risky business despite what those on the internet will tell you and vegan diet feeding a dog is insane and cruel, these canned and dry products are the best options for health. I personally recommend TOTW, both my animals, a 200lb Saint Bernard (tall beast, not fat at all) and my grey domestic short-hair cat (roughly 10lbs, none of it fat) have done well on this brand. Both animals are healthy and active (well as active as a 3 year old saint bernard chooses to be lol). The current recipe we’re using for the dog is the Pacific Stream formula. Aside from slightly more offensive stools (common with fish based foods), we’re pleased with it. Our vet was also pleased that we were feeding this grain free brand of food to our dog and cat.