Taste of the Wild dry dog food earns the Advisor’s second highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Taste of the Wild product line includes seven dry dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and three for adult maintenance.
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 (4 stars)
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
- Taste of the Wild Wetlands Formula (5 stars)
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula (5 stars)
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Formula (4 stars)
Taste of the Wild Dog Food Wetlands Formula with Roasted Fowl was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Taste of the Wild Wetlands Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, duck meal, chicken meal, egg product, sweet potatoes, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potatoes, roasted quail, roasted duck, smoked turkey, natural flavor, tomato pomace, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, Yucca schidigera extract, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, 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) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||20%||36%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||40%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck 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 next two ingredients include duck meal and chicken meal. Poultry meals are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The fourth item is egg product, a dehydrated 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 lists 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 sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh 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.
A little further down the list we find three more meat items…
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
Ocean fish meal is yet 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 actual source species.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
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.
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Taste of the Wild dry dog food appears to be an above-average kibble.
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.
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.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and pea protein found in the 2 puppy formulas, this is the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Due to their apparently differing meat content, some of the products received either higher or lower ratings.
Taste of the Wild dry dog food is a grain-free kibble supplying a notable amount of identified meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Those looking for a quality grain-free wet food may wish to visit our review of Taste of the Wild canned dog food.
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
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Other spellings: TOTW
Notes and Updates
12/11/2009 Original review
10/31/2010 Updated (Sierra Mountain Added)
07/14/2011 Updated (Pacific Stream and Sierra Mountain rating reduced to 4.5 stars)
10/27/2011 Added two new puppy formulas
11/20/2011 Updated, Pacific Stream and Sierra Mountain re-rated
10/02/2012 Last Update