Wysong Optimal Performance dry dog food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
Like all Wysong dry dog foods, Optimal Performance claims to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
However, the company also advises the product is “equally suitable for dogs of all life stages and breeds” when fed as a part of a diet rotation with other Wysong products.
Wysong Optimal Performance Canine Diet
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken giblets, poultry meal, ground brown rice, ground oat groats, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols as a source of vitamin E), eggs, whey, dried yogurt, plums, dried wheat grass powder, dried barley grass powder, lecithin, citric acid, sage extract, rosemary extract, dried kelp, fish oil, salt, garlic, artichoke, dried chicory root, l-carnitine, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, yeast culture, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, ascorbic acid, zinc proteinate , iron proteinate , vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, manganese proteinate , calcium pantothenate , thiamine mononitrate , copper proteinate , pyridoxine hydrochloride , riboflavin supplement, vitamin A acetate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||46%||21%||26%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||41%||21%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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 item lists chicken giblets, the edible by-products of poultry slaughter. They include the gizzard, lungs, kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, ovaries and most other internal organs of the bird.
Although the thought of eating an animal’s internal organs may not be appealing to most humans, these unfamiliar ingredients can be considered a natural part of an authentic canine ancestral diet.
The third ingredient is poultry meal. Poultry meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.
The fourth item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The sixth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
The seventh ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The eighth item is whey, a by-product of the cheese industry. Depending on its type, whey consists of about 75% carbohydrate and can also contribute a limited amount of protein to a dog food.
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, wheat grass is prized for its unusually high vitamin and mineral content. So, please ignore our software’s unfavorable treatment of this otherwise healthy ingredient.
Next, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Thirdly, chicory root is naturally 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.
Next, 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.1
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).
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.
Wysong Optimal Performance Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wysong Optimal Performance 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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs as compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Wysong Optimal Performance is a meat-based dry kibble using a generous amount of chicken, giblets and poultry meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand five stars.
Those looking for a nice wet food made by the same company may wish to read our review of Wysong Au Jus Diets 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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Notes and Updates
12/14/2009 Original review
07/07/2010 Review updated
05/02/2012 Last Update
- 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) ↩