Wellness Complete Health1 Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Wellness Complete Health product line includes 14 dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth (puppies), ten for adult maintenance and one for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Wellness Healthy Weight
- Wellness Puppy (4.5 stars)
- Wellness Senior (3.5 stars)
- Wellness Large Breed Adult
- Wellness Small Breed Senior
- Wellness Adult Lamb and Barley
- Wellness Toy Breed Adult (5 stars)
- Wellness Adult Chicken and Oatmeal
- Wellness Small Breed Puppy (4.5 stars)
- Wellness Large Breed Puppy (4.5 stars)
- Wellness Small Breed Healthy Weight (4.5 stars)
- Wellness Adult Whitefish and Sweet Potato (3.5 stars)
- Wellness Small Breed Adult Turkey and Oatmeal (4.5 stars)
- Wellness Small Breed Adult Whitefish, Salmon Meal & Peas (4.5 stars)
Wellness Large Breed Adult Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Wellness Large Breed Adult Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, barley, peas, oats, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon meal, tomato pomace, oatmeal, tomatoes, carrots, natural chicken flavor, ground flaxseed, choline chloride, spinach, vitamin E supplement, taurine, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, niacin, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, vitamin A supplement, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, chicory root extract, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, Yucca schidigera extract, garlic powder, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||12%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||27%||47%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient lists oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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.
The eighth ingredient is salmon meal, 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.2
The ninth ingredient is 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 four notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is 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.
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.
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
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.
Wellness Complete Health Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Complete Health 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Wellness Complete Health is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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.
Wellness Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Wellness Dog Food Recall of March 2017 (3/18/2017)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall October 2012 (10/30/2012)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall May 2012 (5/5/2012)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/11/2017 Last Update
- New name for Wellness Super5 Dog Food ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- 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) ↩