Wellness Complete Health (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Wellness Complete Health canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Wellness Complete Health product line lists eight canned dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth, five for growth and adult maintenance and one for all life stages.

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

  • Wellness Complete Health Duck and Sweet Potato
  • Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula (3 stars)
  • Wellness Complete Health Turkey and Sweet Potato
  • Wellness Complete Health Chicken and Sweet Potato
  • Wellness Complete Health Just for Puppy (4.5 stars)
  • Wellness Complete Health Venison and Sweet Potato
  • Wellness Complete Health Whitefish and Sweet Potato
  • Wellness Complete Health Lamb and Sweet Potato (3 stars)

Wellness Complete Health Turkey and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wellness Complete Health Turkey and Sweet Potato Formula

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 33%

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, ground barley, sweet potatoes, carrots, ground flaxseed, carrageenan, canola oil, guar gum, potassium chloride, salt, tricalcium phosphate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, cobalt proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%23%33%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%44%26%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is turkey broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fifth 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 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.

The seventh ingredient is carrageenan, a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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.

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 one notable exception

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.

Wellness Complete Health Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Complete Health canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 36%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.

Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Wellness Complete Health is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of various named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for other canned products from the same company may want to check out our review of Wellness Core and Wellness 95%.

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

07/18/2014 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
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  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I thinks it’s generally recommended to discard after 3 days. Canned foods usually don’t have preservatives so it’s treated like leftover people food.

  • Karen

    How long will an opened can last in frig? i only use it as a topping over kibble. Thanks

  • heywally

    I really appreciate all of your reviews and this website.

    The slightly lesser protein is not an issue — in fact, it may be better — for our older dog. We may not be getting as much value because of that but our dog is doing extremely well on this food, having the healthiest looking poops and most energy he’s had during his senior life after recently switching him over to this.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Uhm, well not tetanus….

  • LabsRawesome

     Puppies should get their shots. But then after all puppy shots are given, I’m done. Think about it, we all get a series of shots as babies, they provide immunity for life. The same goes for dogs. There is no need for yearly vacs.

  • Bob K

     no2vax – When her dog gets lymes, rabies,parvo,  kennel cough and a host of other preventable diseases  – What are you  going to tell Morgan Royse?   There is no validity or proof to back up you opinion.

  • no2vax

    It’s the vaccines that cause the allergies. Minimize the vaccines. They haven’t been tested for safety.

  • Janice

    I have two yorkies and a 4 lb shih tzu, they all love this food. I rotate the different meat flavors. I also mix in a little of the Wellness Core dry for small breeds. I have tried so many different foods and I am tired of it so I am sticking with this. They love it, their stools are perfect so I’m happy.

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  • Michelle

    Does anyone know how much salt is in Wellness canned food? Thanks!

  • doggonefedup

    TerieV,
    you have to check the package! you’re right almost ALL chicken jerky is made in China, and whatever they are doing to them in the manufacturing process has made many dogs ill and caused many deaths. Nobody including the FDA has figured out what the cause is to date.  
     However I have found some that are nade in the USA.  Happydogplace.com  makes them fresh here in USA from USDA chicken with absolutly no additives. My GSD’s are crazy for them. There are two other places online that also sell USA made jerky but I don’t remember who they were off hand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryanv21 Bryan Van Dusen

    This is one reason I hate when customers ask me “what’s the best food”. There is no “best”, as each dog is different in it’s wants and needs.

  • TerieV

    It doesn’t matter how healthy a food is if your dog won’t eat it. I got tired of spening $3 for a can of food the dogs sniffed and then left sitting all night. Turkey & Sweet Potato vanished from their bowls. They love this food!! I was in shock. I will still cook for them but it’s so nice to be able to with supplement something healthy and they will actually eat. They are small picky dogs. A Papillon and 2 Lhasa-Tzus.

  • TerieV

    You aren’t giving your puppy any jerky treats are you?? if so STOP immediately. My dog died from kidney failure from eating Waggon Train. They are ALL from CHINA and will kill your baby.

  • Janicek

    I have been giving my 3lb, 7 month old Shih Tzu Wellness Puppy canned mixed with a very small amount of Wellness Puppy Dry for small breeds.  She recently had blood work done and her BUN a month ago was 61.  She had it retested a week ago and it is now 72.  Could this food be causing that and if so does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do.

  • Ffactumest

    This site helped me switch to Wellness last year, and my pets are far healthier.  When I added a puppy recently, however, she could not tolerate the ground flaxseed at all.  They collected in her system and became impacted.  I notified Wellness, but she’s a miniature, so it may not affect other breeds. I was double straining it at first, but it was too time-consuming, so i’m try Nutro for now since it does not contain the flaxseeds.Thanks! 

  • Cheri & Rick Biggs

    How do you know the foods contain chelated minerals?  I am looking at a can of Wellness Wellness Venison & Sweet Potato Vormula, 12.5 oz — no mention on the label

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Waterwings,

    Performatrin Ultra Grain Free is already on my list of reviews I plan to do. However, my current backlog of products awaiting review will probably keep me from getting to it for a while. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Waterwings

    Oh, by the way, I am very much hoping you can do a review of Performatrin Ultra Grain Free (I know in the regular Performatrin Ultra thread you said it would be a while due to backlog).  It was a bit of a shot in the dark to try it because it had just come out (I got it the 1st week it was available) and it’s unrated on here, but it seems to tick a lot of your boxes for a 5-star food, so I’m hopeful I’m feeding him a high quality kibble! He’s also got a sensitivity/allergy to chicken and/or grains, so that kibble has worked brilliantly for him, and we’ll use it for a bit before probably trying something else. Now I’m trying to find him the best wet food(s) I can!  Thanks again.

  • Waterwings

    Mike, thank you so much for your reply!! I just bought the Wellness wet food last weekend because it was on sale for like 60 cents/can, I know (thanks to your site!) that Wellness is generally a good brand, and I didn’t know if/how he would respond to the whole thing… so it seemed like a good test candidate. But, while it’s fairly highly rated here, I know I can do better for him, so I just wanted to know the best way to go about it.  Now I know! Thanks!! 

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Waterwings,

    Rotation protein sources (rotation feeding) and topping (adding wet food to kibble) are a great idea. Topping adds palatability (desirability) to any meal and diversification helps minimize the risk of feeding the same product (and its inherent imperfections) over and over again.

    For Bailey, we vary his diet without paying much attention to macthing protein sources of his wet food with his kibble. Hope this helps.

  • Waterwings

    Hi, I’m currently mixing my dog’s kibble (Performatrin Ultra Grain Free) with a tiny amount of Wellness Duck & Sweet Potato for his breakfast (so he doesn’t take an hour to eat breakfast like he has been doing since I got him (2 different kibbles ago, so it’s not THIS kibble)..he now wolfs it down in about a minute!).  Question I have is: with the wet food, should I just use protein sources that are in his dry food, or should the wet food be a completely different protein? (dry food has turkey, duck and salmon)  Thanks!!

  • Morgan Royse

    My extremely picky, allergy prone adopted 6-year-old Pomeranian (know nothing about his past) has made it very difficult for me to get him to eat. I have to say that Wellness whitefish and sweet potato wet food mixed with his dry canine caviar has made eating a possibility! I know for sure he doesn’t particularly like the dry kibble (venison flavor) since it isn’t chicken flavored and I am trying to find out what he is allergic to. However, he now gobbles down his food since starting the Whitefish canned food mixed with the dry kibble. I have tried every other “wild” flavor, many different brands and was reluctant to try anything fish flavored due to smell and to my surprise he loves it! I have had him for 9 months now and this is the first thing I can get him to eat consistently. However, I didn’t realize it isn’t grain free so I will be switching to Wellness CORE ocean flavor to proceed with my food trial. I would recommend this canned food for any dogs who are picky. It’s worth a try.

  • LoveMyChihuahua

    Ah okay I see, missed that. Thanks for clearing that up for me =)
    I really do wish Wellness would minus the barley (mainly grain free feeder) but still a great food that my dog loves.

  • Jonathan

    LoveMyChihuahua, California Naturals has and amazing 55% protein, 36% fat, and only 1% carbs. This food is more “average” for a canned food, with 33% carbs. That means there is a lot more of the grain or starch ingredient in this food as compared to the very tiny amount in the California Naturals. This is still a darn good food, to be sure.

  • LoveMyChihuahua

    Mike, I’m just curious to why this canned food is a 4 star and not 5? It seems to have a good amount of meat and only one grain ingredient compared to California Natural canned which has a good amount of meat and brown rice but is 5 star? Just a little confused :)

    Oh and do you plan on having reviews on the Wellness Stews and Blue Buffalo Family Favorites (canned)?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meagan… All things considered, kibble seems to be the most unnatural form of commercial dog food. Puppies are fed raw dog food and canned foods (made for puppies). So, I don’t see any reason to worry. No matter what you choose to feed your puppy, I would take changes very slow. Hope this works for you.

  • Meagan

    Our new puppy is two months. My boyfriend asked me if I was going to feed her a wet “topper” like I do with Patches. Mike- In your opinion would it be best to wait until she is either a few months older or even a year to give her wet food as a topper? I do not want to upset her digestive system.
    Thanks!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Catherine… Wellness Senior is a very good canned dog food. But unfortunately, it contains less protein (meat) than the other products in the line. So, we’re compelled to lower its rating to 3 stars. I wouldn’t stop feeding this food if your dog is doing well on it. Hope this helps.

  • Catherine

    I feed my 16 yr.old and 14 yr. old Wellness Senior canned. I notice that it carries only 3 stars whereas other Wellness food carries 4 and 5 stars. I cannot find a review on this site for Senior Wellness. What is the problem that it received only a 3? If this is not the best senior food, what are other senior canned that will meet their “standards” and make me comfortable feeding the food. Thanks!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jesse… The regular canned Wellness product line meets AAFCO nutrient profiles as complete and balanced for growth and maintenance. So, you can feed this food without mixing it with anything else. For variety, you may want to consider diet rotation with other Wellness recipes (flavors).

  • Jesse

    Can I feed my dog just wellness canned food? Or do I need to mix it

  • Meagan

    Guess I bought the Duck and Sweet Potato. LOL

  • Meagan

    I only top on the evening feeding and they get about 1-2 tbls. This way they do not refuse dry food.

  • Mike P

    Melissa Probably a good idea not to top every meal . I top every meal just for the added meat and she loves it so much . Rarely she will go to the bowl and lick an hour or two after her meal , and I give a handful of kibble and she eats it up .

  • melissa

    Meagan-

    I switch toppers depending on what I reach over and grab, lol..

    In the last 5 days they have had-Merrick, By Nature, 4Health, and Dry Nature’s Variety Instinct as toppers to their kibble of Pro Pac. They do NOT get a topper every meal as I do not want anyone refusing food based on the topper.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Meagan… As long as the canned foods are just toppers and provided your dogs seem to tolerate rotation, I don’t see why not.

  • Meagan

    Mike P-Good I think it would be better, that way they do not get tired of the diamond.

  • Mike P

    For topping Meagan , I change flavors after every can with no problems at all . Diff brands ,doesn’t matter ..

  • Meagan

    Went shopping for the pups today and bought a case of 12 Venison and sweet potatoe. With a five dollar off coupon.

    Mike-I also have 23 cans of Diamond Beef and Rice. Can I feed one Diamond for 3-4 days then feed the Wellness the next 3-4 and just rotate till all the Wellness is gone??

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Denise… The way you’ve asked “if all your foods are chelated” gives me the impression you might believe you’re writing to the manufacturer. If you need to know the copper content of this food you’ll need to contact Wellness Customer Service. By the way, most (but not all) the 4 and 5-star foods here usually contain chelated minerals. Hope this helps.

  • denise

    I have a 14 yr old westie with copper storage syndrome and must have foods with chelated copper and minerals only i also have a 9 yr old scottie with skin allergies. I need to know if all of your foods are chelated minerals most of all the copper. she also has pancreas disease. can you give me a food for my girls to address both their health issues.
    Thank you, denise

  • Andrew

    @Carol: I can’t say much about the nutritional aspect of Canned VS Dry, but all I know is that Dry is more affordable (especially for a broke college student like me).

    I currently buy the 6oz can Wellness Lamb formula, which contains:
    “Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Ocean Whitefish, Ground Barley, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Ground Flaxseed, Canola Oil, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Canola Oil, Salt, Iron Proteinate (Source Of Chelated Iron), Zinc Proteinate (Source Of Chelated Zinc), Choline Chloride, Vitamins A, E And D3 Supplements, Copper Proteinate (Source Of Chelated Copper), Manganese Proteinate (Source Of Chelated Manganese), Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, D-Biotin.”

    I trust wellness because of their clear, firm statement that they do not use ethoxyquin in their products.

    I currently mix in a spoonful of Wellness Lamb into my dog’s TOTW dry food, and add in some warm water. It gives a really nice meaty aroma!

    Currently there’s a sale at Petco on all their Natural canned formulas (Wellness, Halo, Solid Gold, Natural Balance, etc.), and the price for the 6oz cans I buy are $1.35. Wellness also has a $1 off ANY can formula from their e-mail newsletter, so all I have to pay is $0.35 cents+ tax! A great deal for a broke college student like me.

    On final note, I would recommend Wellness canned formulas to people who are switching. I’m also going to try out their CORE and Grain-free/95% canned formulas in the future.

  • Carol

    I am taking care of an older relative’s dog and may have him for several months. This dog has been fed nothing but cooked chicken, cream cheese and supper-market type dog treats for over 12 years. I now have the dog on canned Hills Prescription Diet i/d that the vet prescribed for stress related Colitis. The Colitis has cleared up so now I want to start him on canned Wellness and healthier treats. Is canned Wellness a complete diet or should I have him on the kibble type Wellness instead. He is not used to eating dry food but does enjoy crunchy healthy dog treats. By the way, his teeth look pretty good for eating soft food most his life.