Vets Choice Health Extension Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The Vets Choice Health Extension product line lists five dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

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

  • Vets Choice Health Extension Lite
  • Vets Choice Health Extension Original
  • Vets Choice Health Extension Little Bites
  • Vets Choice Health Extension Lamb and Rice
  • Vets Choice Health Extension Grain Free (4.5 stars)

Vets Choice Holistic Health Extension Original was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Vets Choice Holistic Health Extension Original

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid and rosemary extract), lamb meal, menhaden fish meal, flax seed, dried beet pulp, brewer dried yeast, egg product, apple cider vinegar, garlic, DHA, ginger, primrose oil, glucosamine HCL, chondroitin, trace mineral salt, dl-methione, vitamin A acetate, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, coral calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, niacin supplement, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid, biotin, inositol, omega 3/omega 6 oils, dehydrated kelp, polysaccharide complexes of zinc, iron, manganese, copper and cobalt, calcium lodate, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, colostrum, blue/green algae, pectin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, B. Subtillus, Bacillus lichenformis, Bacillus coagulins, Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis24%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%20%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%40%38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is organic 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 ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient includes lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Unlike most fish meals, this item appears1 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The eighth 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.

The ninth 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here)..

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, this recipe contains 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal 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.

Vets Choice Health Extension Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Vets Choice Health Extension 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 27%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

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 brewers dried yeast, flaxseed and the chickpeas contained in the grain-free recipe, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Vets Choice Health Extension 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.

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.

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

06/04/2010 Original review
01/05/2011 Review updated
04/26/2012 Review updated
11/09/2013 Last Update

  1. Per Vets Choice website, 6/2/2010
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • JeremyScottRenolds

    I know the people who own both Vets Choice Health Extension and Canine Corral….a pet store where puppies are sold. The readers here deserve to know what their money is supporting, especially since most dog lovers are vehemently opposed to puppy mills. Members also deserve to know if you represent this company in any capacity.

  • DogFoodie

    The food is obviously not agreeing with him. Can you imagine what’s happening on the inside if you’re seeing what you are on the outside. A change of food can make a huge impact as long as you’re not switching to another food that contains the same ingredient/s to which he’s intolerant. You need to figure out what the problem ingredients he’s eating are. You should compare the ingredients between the Pro Pac you were feeding to the Health Extension.

    I couldn’t agree more with Jeremy about a rotational diet. I change my dogs foods after each bag. For my Cavalier, that’s after each five pounds bag. She seldom eats the same thing twice. Ideally you should look for at least three foods that he likes and does well on that contain different animal proteins and different binder (starches).

    Trust me when I say, most Cavaliers aren’t that picky! Mine hurries to finish her food, then rushes to my Golden Retrievers bowl to see what she can steal from him. Currently, my Cavalier is eating Canine Caviar Chicken & Pearl Millet, which is a more limited ingredient food. Since your dog is eating chicken currently, I’d recommend their Lamb & Pearl Millet for you. Other grain free formulas my Cavalier likes and does well on are Orijen, Now Fresh, Victor, Wellness Core and Nature’s Variety Instinct.

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    I would not trust Health Extension products. The owner has a pet store called Canine Corral where puppy mill dogs are sold.
    do some research on this site re the importance of a rotational diet. Also consider adding some canned or dehydrated raw since kibble is not the healthiest
    And yes, it could be the shampoo. Sometimes it can take a
    while for a dog to build up intolerance to the chemicals or develop an
    allergy. Most pet shampoos are highly toxic so you may want to consider a
    more natural one like Earthbath.

  • GF

    When I adopted my ruby 20 lb purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from his former owner (she has MS and couldn’t keep him), she was feeding him Pro Pac dog food. His coat was silky, very shiny and he looked like a show dog. His hair looked gorgeous. We used up the remainder of the big bag of Pro Pac and during that time, Toby’s fur looked gorgeous. Then I couldn’t find Pro Pac so decided to try something else that I could get close to home. I switched him gradually to Health Extension Little Bites that I bought at Petland. He has been groomed and bathed regularly using the same brand of shampoo that the former owner used. HOWEVER, a year and a half of having him on Health Extension dog food, his coat has gone dull with no shine whatsoever and he itches even after shampooing/conditioning. So I know it must be the food, not the grooming, bathing. The vet says to try a change of food. Toby loves the taste of Health Extension and eats it right down BUT we are disappointed with his coat. He just turned 4 years old and he is a healthy dog. So I am switching him over to Nutro Ultra for small dogs. If he doesn’t improve after some months on that, I’m going to find Pro Pac somehow to put him back on. I’m not against Health Extension – just can’t use it for my dog.

  • syracuseny

    I have been using Vets Choice original for about a year. Used to use Natural Balance, but they sold out to Del Monte, and are now sourcing ingredients from China, so I switched to Merrick grain free. This made one of my dogs itch, so I went to the doggie health food store to get Vet’s Choice. The owner recommends using food with grain for older dogs, as it helps with digestion. So we went with Vet’s Choice Original, and my old dogs are doing great with it.

  • Russ Palmer

    These rumors really need to stop. A pet food company selling its food to local breeders does not make that company bad. I’ve seen their products given out at animal shelters.

  • losul

    They have done alot of clamping and closing down in the past few years, but I’m very ashamed to say that my home state of Missouri is probably still the puppy mill capital of the U.S. So sad…..

  • neezerfan

    Wow, I never knew that. Thanks for letting me know. Too bad, too. looks like a good food.

  • losul

    I think some dogs actually do better on kibbles using some grains vs the alternative carb and starch sources. But yes, do watch that weight or they could get more of a problem than gas. You might need to portion out rather than free feed.

    edit: Whoops, never mind. I see now that you said H.E. grain free, I was reading the review above with grains…

  • JDavid

    I used to give Wellness Grain Free. My son came with his Lhasa with a bag of Health Extension Grain Free. My dogs were smelling that food like crazy, so I decided to give some. They ate it all!!! My dogs were picky eaters, and with Wellness, I used to waste a lot of food. Now they eat both times, morning & afternoon. I have to watch on weight now, they are gaining some pounds. Right now they are fine, but I do not want them to be overweight. Also, I notice that they are digesting better, without running gas, which I think was the reason for stop eating with Wellness.

  • Amy Wheeler

    Thanks :)

  • Aleksandra Ninova

    Amy, I get my coupons straight from PetLand, but they stopped the free bag ones… now they only have the $10 off of a $25+ purchase which is still not bad! :)

  • Amy Wheeler

    Awesome!!!! Love this food for my cats so trying it with my dog. Where do you get the coupons? :D

  • KMalk10

    Ask Ira – he owns Canine Corral in Huntington, too, the puppy store with 100% of the puppies shipped from Missouri.

  • KMalk10

    If you love dogs, please do not buy this food. The owner of Vets Choice also owns a puppy store called Canine Corral in Huntington, NY. By his own admission, he gets all the puppies he sells from Missouri.

  • Aleksandra Ninova

    My 11-12-lb Bruno (8-11-months old – we’re not
    sure just how old exactly he is, he was found in the bushes, so 8 and
    11 months is what two different vets have said that he would be now)
    Jack Russell-Rat Terrier Mix has has just finished his first bag of Vets’ Choice Holistic Health Extension Original (4lbs), mixed in with a Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy (11lbs). I really think that Vets’ Choice helped firm up his stool, which was a tad soft on BB Wilderness alone, and then became nice and super solid and well-formed. I get this food almost for free at my local PetLand (I get an $11.99 coupon once every 1 or 2 months, which makes a bag od the Original… FREE!) I have now purchased the Grain Free version (4lbs, for $1.64 after coupon!) to mix with Dr. Tim’s
    Kinesis GF (15lbs) and Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea GF (4lbs). So far he seems to like it, but I will write a review on the other 2 brands when his batch is done or almost done. But as long as I keep getting coupons for it, I will still be getting Vets’ Choice Holistic Health Extension Grain Free to mix with whatever “main” food my Bruno gets. He seems to do good on it as a “mixer”.

  • NCMtnGirl now sells it…..

  • InkedMarie

    I hadn’t heard of this food til recently,was at a pet expo this weekend & got samples.

  • Rob

    Dr Mike, can you please review the Grain Free, I am anxious to see why it is 4.5 and not 5 star.You have reviewed Vets choice a few times but never Grain Free. This company is local by me & has never had a recall, so I am a little hung up on them, thanks Rob

  • robert

    Hi! Carol , Chicken Soup is made by Diamond pet Foods , they are presently undergoing extensive recalls . Two of my dogs became very sick eating CS Senior. It wasn’t on CS’s list so I wouldn’t trust any of their products . Check out recalls on befor choosing a different food. Hope this helps . Robert

  • MrsB

    Name calling just makes you comment less credible.

  • lovemypets4life

    my 2 dogs (pitbull and maltipoo) are both on vets choice holistic health extension and they love it! they are very healthy, energetic, happy boys. there are NO recalls on there food that ive EVER seen unlike other dog foods. im a little bit of a health freak myself so im happy to know I feed my dogs the best dog food I can buy them

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  • Fern

    Yes I feed grain free and my pets love it ❤

  • Fern

    I feed vets choice grain free. All my pets love it and I love the quality of the food. I also love that they have never had any recalls.

  • Bichonlovers
    This web site will take you to their food and there is a tab that will take you to a page to look up the closest place to where you live. If that’s doesn’t work than their phone number is there to call them and ask. Hope this helps.

  • Bigcoupongirl

    I had a dog when I was growing up and he had vets dog food for many many years everyday. He lived to be 14 years old. I got a rescue dog and got her the shots and fixed etc. and want to feed her vets dog canned dog food but the because I live in a local store they do not carry vet dog food. I am looking to see if it is sold anywhere online.  That is how I ran across this site. 

  • Bichonlovers

    Thank you, I am going to switch to the grain free. What you said makes perfect sence.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Bichonlovers –

    The grain-free variety is better than the lite – imo. It’s higher in protein and grains aren’t good for dogs anyways. To get the glycemic index you’d have to contact the company and see if they have it. There’s no reason you need to feed a “lite” food to an overweight dog, in fact I personally wouldn’t as most diet foods are too low in protein and high in carbs. Just account for the extra fat and calories in the grain-free version by reducing the portion size.

  • Bichonlovers

    I also wrote this in another place and when I refire to the above I mean all the other lite foods listed on this web site.

  • Bichonlovers

    Then I wonder if the grain free would be a better choice for weight loss. One of the reasons I don’t choose any of the above is becasue there has been a recall at some point in the life of the company. Vets choice has never had a recall since they opened 1978. They are organic, they never import from china. I know the reasons this food is a **** and I have looked up the benifits of brown rice,garlic, beet pulp and they are really great for dogs. I love that I don’t have to worry about any recalls or stuff from china and that is is family owned. My boys and girls love the food too.

  • Bichonlovers

    I would like to feed the grain free in the vets choice but the fat content is higher. We have a girl that is over weight so we have her on vets choice lite.Which one is better? Do you know the glycemic level is in the lite?

  • BryanV21

    I’d try a different food before paying that much for the test. Besides, I’ve heard the test isn’t always definitive anyway. 

    Check out a grain-free food, which has an animal source other than chicken, lamb, or beef. Those things tend to be what a dog has an allergy or intolerance to. If you don’t see a difference after a couple of weeks, then go for the test. 

  • Ldssunshinelady

    having the same problem Don’t know what to do. Vet wants to do allergy testing about $400..Could it be the food we are feeding the dogs. Going crazy

  • Lis

    all the pet owners, You don’t have to buy this dog food ~ Holistic health extension thru online cause this dog food sell at your local pet store around you, one of my location where i live sell this dog food @ planet pooch its pet store and they sell pet accessories and Holistic health extension dog food, i wanted to buy this food recommended from breeders and all other poodle owners fed this food and highly recommended to me! Most of important is highly digestible and over all health!! and its organic chicken!

  • LA

    sorry about that – it turns out it is Vets Choice Health Extension  that I saw at the store – and it is made right here on Long island. Wondering if anyone recently using it?

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  • Shakope

    Yes, i just started this grain free. I was feeding Merricks Before Grains. I got samples of Grain free Vets Choice at the local pet store. So far its been very good for my 9 year old and my 13 week old Lab…
    My 9 year old has had problems since i got her. I started feeding grain free about 2 months ago. Merricks was alot better but her stool is much firmer now and alot easier to pick up. No diarrhea since we went grain free thopugh.

  • M Lally

    I love this Co products. ALL of them. They have Grain Free treats too if you didnt see that one already. Caught a glimpse of it recently when I was re-stocking.

  • Laurie M.

    Vets Choice also has a grain-free formula.  I was amazed at how well my Golden Retriever did on the grain-free food.  Does anyone here also feed the grain-free?

  • Michele

    I have a foster dog that I rescued who was neglected and abused. The vet wasnt sure if the dog was going to make it. And he had little to no appetite. I started him on Vets Choice Lamb & Rice dry and wet food. The probiotics in the food made a huge difference in him since he was on Antibiotics for so long. He loves the taste and is doing amazingly well. I love this food and would recommend it to anyone.

  • melissa


    I agree with Sandy in the fact that 2 days is not enough time to judge a food, especially for a dog that is covered in a rash. I would suggest a minimum of 6 weeks. Also, with such wide spread rashes, you may not see any true resolution in the skin itself until after the 1st week of the antibiotics. These things take time, especially when they have gone on for such a long period of time-

  • sandy


    I’m not sure that 2 days of a new food is long enough to see results as he has months of “build up” in his body. Also, antibiotics tend to destroy good bacteria in the gut (where the immune system is), which allows the bad stuff to overgrow, which decreases the immune system response and makes healing and fighting infection even harder. Adding a probiotic to help the immune system would be recommended. As far as a dermatologist is concerned, seeking the help of a homeopathic doctor or holistic vet might be better. Just from reading from others’ experiences from here and from another site, derms tend to just give more meds instead of getting to the root of the problem. Have you heard of leaky gut?

  • Toxed2loss

    LOL, nice analogy, Mike!

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Catherine… It’s sometimes really difficult to choose between 2 similar (good quality) products. There’s no easy answer. Just take delight in the fact you’re going to compare a Lexus, a Mercedes and a BMW. Sure, for each of us, one will be more appealing.

    So, if you make an inferior choice, what’s the worst thing that can happen? No matter what, you’ll end up with a great car (or a great dog food). :)

  • Catherine

    Thank you for your words of wisdom! One more quick do you choose say between Brothers grain free kibble and another 5 star brand such as Orijen? If my pups problem does not get better following meds my plan B is to take him to a vet who specializes in Dermatology and allergies. Thank you so much.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Catherine… Food is only the third leading cause of allergies in canines. It could be something else in the environment (like mites, insects, dust, pollen, etc.) So, until you can determine exactly what your dog is allergic to, you’ll just be guessing which each food to buy.

    In any case, protein sources (like chicken, beef, etc.), not grains, are typically the more common causes of food allergies.

    Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide reliable product suggestions for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Catherine

    Dear Mike, I recently purchased a toy Australian Shepherd who lived at the pet shop for approximately 6 months. He is now 8 months old. Owner told me “he has a rash on his leg” and it turns out he has it all over his body. Took him to the vets…(she had as well) he felt it was a bacterial infection- skin scraping did not show parasitic or mange. He is currently on an antibiotic for the next 2 weeks. But I looked up the food he had been eating and it was full of grain! (Royal Canin toy adult food). I thought maybe he’s allergic to the food. Switched him over to Vets Choice grain free health ext. 2 days ago but he’s still scratching. Only been on antibiotic 3 days. Any thoughts?

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Barbara… According to Champion Petfoods, Orijen has been using selenium yeast (a superior from of selenium) in its recipes since they changed to the new 80/20 formula last Fall. However, the packaging was improperly labeled with the words selenium selenite. I haven’t checked on their other product, Acana. So, you may wish to contact the company to confirm that Acana also uses selenium yeast. Hope this helps.

  • Barbara

    Hi Mike,
    I recently switched 2 of my dogs over to Health Extension Lite. They seem to be doing fine, good poops and they seem to like the taste. (Previously on Acana Wild Pairie) I was looking for something with a lighter fat content because they are going older and seem to be gaining weight because they are less active. My question is about the ingredient “sodium selenite.” I have read that although it is a necessary ingredient in all dog food “selenium yeast” is a safer way to go. (Life’s Abundance recognized this and made the change)
    Acana just lists selenium as an ingredient. What is your feeling? You did not comment on it as negative in your review.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Diana… I don’t believe I’ve ever said my dog had an allergic reaction to Healthy Solutions. Bailey isn’t allergic to anything. And besides, I’m not aware of any dog food called Healthy Solutions.

    Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein. And it’s rich in other healthy nutrients. Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

    Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

    Allergies aren’t caused by yeast itself(or any other item). They’re caused by a dog’s own immune system, the immune system’s individual allergy to a specific item (like yeast).

  • Diana

    MIKE SAGMAN: You spoke about your dog having an allergic reaction to Healthy Solutions. The ingredient in this food that can cause an allergic reaction is Brewster’s Yeast. It is known that this ingredient can cause allergies in some dogs. Check this website for ingredient content in this food and it will tell you that Brewster’s yeast can cause allergies in some pets.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Stephanie… Stool quantity can be related to a number of things, but most notably the total amount you’re feeding and the fiber content of the formula. And in any case, your dog’s daily fecal production may be “normal” for your specific pet.

    Since each dog has its own unique energy requirements (just like people), there’s no way to reliably predict the exact serving size that’s right for each pet. No matter what method you use.

    So, I’d suggest starting with the package’s feeding instructions. Always measure the food with a real measuring cup. Not a scoop. Never guess. Keep an accurate record of how much you’re feeding.

    Be sure to weigh your dog periodically (every few weeks or so). Then, simply adjust (titrate) that serving size up or down to establish and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

    Of course, determining the ideal weight for a growing puppy like yours can be a challenge. So, check with your vet, an experienced breeder or another canine professional.

    In the end, the titration method is the only real life method you can scientifically rely on. Hope this helps.

  • stephanie

    i have a 4 month wheaten terrier 12 lbs… I have been using the little bites, i was instructed to use 2/3 cup soaked in some water and then drained. great puppy, healthy and appetite is perfect, but she has been pooping like crazy! stools aren’t loose but today she went atleast 12x, maybe more! is something wrong with the amount I’m giving her/soaking in water, or is this not normal?

  • Bobby

    I just said Nutro cause that’s what he was eating before I tried this but he used to do the same thing with that Dry to so who knows.
    I just wish I could find a Dry that’s good for him and he’ll eat on a regular basis and not be so picky with.
    He loves the canned Nutro Lamb & Rice but the Dry…well not so much. Like it’s sits in his dish for a couple days…lol.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Bobby, why Nutro? It’s okay, but it is very potato heavy for the price. Have you tried Blue Wilderness or Wellness Core? Earthborn Primitive Natural tends to be very palatable. That one I recommend for “fussy eaters” all the time.

  • Bobby

    My Dog just started getting the grain free version around a week ago and he’s already started to dislike the food.
    At first he ate it right up now when I put a scoop in his dish he walks away.
    Might have to switch back to Nutro Grain Free.

  • Laurie M.

    Vet’s Choice now has a Health Extension Grain-free formula. It is chicken based and according to the label it has a protein level of 27% (min) and fat concent of not less than 18%, and also according to the label it is ideal for all life stages.

  • carol

    I started using Vets Choice Small Bites about two years ago for my smaller pups. Previously, I had been grinding up Chicken Soup for Puppy and adding water but I got to thinking that adding water to dog meal ( that is not sterile) was a way to grow bacteria if the food was not eaten all at once….and sometimes it’s not. I was having occasional bouts of diarrhea and thought it might be from leaving the dampened dry dog food in with the pups but I also was tired of grinding the food. Little Bites are the perfect size for pups who are still nursing and for pups who are newly weaned and weigh less than three pounds. They eat it easily, they love it very much. Once all the pups are at least 3lbs, I mix the little bites in with CSPLS and that is what most of my pups are eating when they leave here. I send home a bag of CS Puppy with the larger pups and a bag of Vets Choice Little Bites with any pups under 3lbs in weight. Vets Choice is harder to find in stores.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Craig… Unfortunately, I do not track the glycemic index of each food in our database. However, some product lines are marketed as possessing a low glycemic index for diabetic dogs. For a few ideas, I’ve tagged these foods as I wrote the reviews. Just click the “tags” link on the red navigation bar at the top of this screen. Then choose the tag, “low glycemic”. You must do your own research to find the best one for your pet. And be sure to check with your vet. Hope this helps.

  • craig butler

    I have a mixed breed 24kg in weight. Overweight (chubby).
    Diagnosed with diabetes. Vet is putting him on insulin in the next few days.
    Need to know if Vets choice lite is fine to use as I require a dog food that keeps my pets glucose level low.
    Will appreciate a response as was initially recommended
    HILLS SCIENCE DIET, but have my reservations after viewing your blog.


  • Roger Prows

    Jacquelyn –

    The addition of probiotics to your dogs diet can help substantially as well!

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Jacquelyn… Though the most likely culprit is the animal protein, your dog could be allergic to almost any specific ingredient. Allergies are not caused by any food but by a dog’s own immune system. If you’re fairly certain your dog is having an allergic reaction to the food, stop feeding it immediately and try something else. Try one with a different meat protein first. And consider using a limited ingredient dog food.

  • Jacquelyn

    is there a place to ask a “general” question? I have a 10 lb 3 yr old dog that seems to be sensitive to allergies (vets only want to give generic shots) -so I decided to try corn free food- got samples of “Taste of the Wild” at pet store – he seemed to like it and they had to order it -husband picked it up and they gave him “Vets choice Little Bites” instead, so we tried it- But He has been Non Stop scratching since – is there something in it that would cause it? PLEASE please help me can’t go on another day !!!

  • nancy

    didn’t mean to give that impression at all. I had not carried an Holistec food in the store before because I couldn’t justify the over priced prices and when I saw or was introduced to Vets Choice and I saw the price I was very impressed. Then after I was carring it for many months I found out that it was associated with Millers wellness center through whom I have been buying my herbs to treat my puppies and have had very great success with any problem they may get and it has been wonderfull. Now with the Vets Choice and the rare occasion that I may have to treat any puppy I couldn’t be a happier camper. Yes I really like Vets Choice and do recomend it to my customers with great eagarness. The pups look great also and don’t seem to require a whole lot of food and the stools are good.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Nancy… While reading your comment, I get the impression you believe you’re speaking directly with the manufacturer of Vets Choice Dog Food. Please be aware I’m an independent dog food reviewer. I don’t make or sell any dog foods.

  • nancy pilsen

    I own a Pet retail store in Fla.. Royal Pets started to carry your food and for the fact that it was VERY reasonale priced
    holistic food and that it was prepared with decent ingredience I thought that it would be a good food to try to put up against all the extrodiarly high priced Holistic food on the market. Your food is fed in my Pet Store and the pups seem very satisfied and this has allowed me to be able to sell more of it when and if I sell a puppy. A feeding program would be nice! Like the food and so do my pups and and my at my home they like it also. i’M GLAD that I took it in and can sell it. It far out does the other holistic foods as far as I am concerned, especially at price point.

    Nancy, Splash Landing, Jupiter, Fl.

  • misbeepers

    I have been feeding and selling Vets Choice for a while now and my results are remarkable. I show various toy breeds and the small bites are always received well. I also have a not for profit rescue for mainly small breeds and when the kibble is too small for some of the dogs they always enjoy the original. The lite is 50% less fat but the dogs still enjoy the taste. This is extremely important as I am also a groomer and alot of my clients are a little chubby. My customers are amazed at the small stools and the fact that it doesn’t smell up the house if the dog has an accident or potties on pads.
    My only complaint is it is difficult to find for some of my clients that have moved too far from me to purchase. I will ship but most people wait till the last minute to realize that they are out of food. We need to get this food in more stores so that all dog and cat owners can relax about their pets nutrition.

  • Christie

    We are a breeder of top quality champion line havanese. I have used several other top quality foods and have found our babies had loose/runny stools never consistent. We had come from a top quality food which was holistic w berries and veggies. After alot of thought I have never seen a pup in the woods strolling for fruits and berries and decided to look for a holistic food with meat. We came upon Vets Choice and will feed nothing else. Love the stools always consistent and the coats have never looked better. The kibble is small enough to feed to our teacups which I have found sometimes impossible to find. Love this food would and do recommend it to all our extended family’s.

  • Dee

    My 5 month old Maltese is on the little bites and she is doing very well. I am a new dog owner and I only want the best for our pet so that she will be with our family for years to come.

  • sal


    Why not just email the company in Long Island and have it shipped. Gas is expensive!!!

  • Karen Sage

    I’ve been using the Little Bites dog food for about 4 months now. All my dogs love it including the finicky ones, and they are all doing great on it. I had been having problems with other “quality” dog foods, two of my dogs consistently had a loose or runny stool, no matter which foods I tried. (including raw) On the recommendation of a friend who has a relative of my dogs, I tried Vet’s Choice Little Bites. Almost immediately the loose stools stopped! There is no retailer in my area, so I drive almost 200 miles to pick up the food each month! It’s worth it as far as I’m concerned.

  • sal

    I know the owner of the company and he really cares and buys the best ingredients. It is widely used in the show community. As far as kibbles go, I would only use that or my favorite Annamaet. The rest are just pretenders.

    I think you think the dogs don’t like the taste because it is a very hard kibble and they eat it slowly. Its not the taste its the fact its very hard and dense. I notice the same thing when one of my dog eats it.

  • oded

    Sal. How is it better?
    I’ve been feeding it for a few months now. the dogs looks OK although they are not crazy about the taste.
    I’m going to stick with it for now since I cant find anything else right now that is a good quality food in my price range. (acana is hardly sold anymore, where I live and Orijen is just to expensive)

  • matt

    check out dr. miller’s garden pre-mix at and – it’s the best food in america. we back it up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

  • sal

    this is a better food than acana, dont get sucked in the champion hype

  • oded

    Thank you for this review! I decided to try this brand about tow weeks ago, after my supplier insisted that it is as good as as acana dry food. So far my two dogs seem to enjoy it but considering the the relatively low protein content (relative to acana/orijen) and the average price, I would probably go back to acana next time.
    Since their is no indication of calories/kg on the bag or on the web site, I’ve emailed the manufacturer and got this numbers back:
    The Original and Little Bites formula have 418 Kcal/Cup 3678/kg
    The Lite formula has 385 Kcal/Cup 3394/kg
    The Lamb & Brown Rice formula has 365 Kcal/cup 3213/kg
    Comparing These numbers with those of th better quality foods clearly shows that it is cheaper to feed the better quality food.