Wysong Epigen (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Wysong Epigen Dog Food gets the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Wysong Epigen product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

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

  • Wysong Epigen
  • Wysong Epigen Fish
  • Wysong Epigen Venison

Wysong Epigen Original Chicken formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wysong Epigen Original Chicken Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 67% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 9%

Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potato protein, meat protein isolate, chicken fat, gelatin, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, coconut oil, chia seeds, salt, calcium carbonate, tomato pomace, calcium propionate, taurine, choline chloride, organic barley grass powder, blueberry, dried kelp, yogurt (whey, milk solids, yogurt cultures), apple pectin, fish oil, yeast extract, citric acid, chicory root, hemicellulose extract, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, yeast culture, carrots, celery, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, minerals (potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (ascorbic acid [source of vitamin C], vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, pepper

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis60%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis67%17%9%
Calorie Weighted Basis58%35%7%

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 turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is , a product made by “separating meat protein from fresh, clean, unadulterated bones by heat processing followed by low temperature drying to preserve function and nutrition. This product is characterized by a fresh meaty aroma, a 90% minimum protein level, 1% maximum fat and 2% maximum ash”.1

Contrary to what the name would normally imply, this item is not generic. According to Wysong (on its website), this ingredient is derived exclusively from pork meat.

This is a quality source of meat-based protein.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is gelatin, a colorless, flavorless, translucent, brittle substance that’s irreversibly derived from the collagen found in the skin and bones of animals.

Although it consists mostly of protein (98-99% non-essential amino acids), gelatin is of only limited nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth 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.

After the natural flavor, we find coconut oil. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids.

Coconut oil has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.2

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, chia seed is an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.

However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, 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.

In addition, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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.

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 Epigen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wysong Epigen looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 67%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 9%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 67% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 12% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 20%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein and chia seed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing an abundance of meat.

By the way, what impresses us most here isn’t the extraordinary protein content of these products. It’s actually the unique process Wysong uses to avoid the starchy binders normally required for making any kibble.

A process which can cap the meat content of most dry dog food recipes at well under 40%.

But Wysong claims its Epigen product contains 60% meat. What’s more, our computations project a a carb content here of an exceptionally low 12%.

In addition, those looking to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet should find Wysong Epigen an appropriate choice.

Bottom line?

Wysong Epigen is a meat-based kibble using an abundance of chicken, fish or venison as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Those looking for a quality wet product to use with this kibble may wish to visit our review of Wysong Au Jus canned dog food.

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

05/18/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Dr. Bruce Fife, Healthy Ways Newsletter, Vol 4:3
  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Vivian, Pure Balance 95% cans are high in fat. Thats why they get a lower rating. 41% protein 41% fat and 10% carbs. 66% of total calories in PB 95% can are from fat. I don’t use that formula, but my 3 dogs love Pure Balance Puppy cans, they receive 5 stars. You can see the review for PB 95% cans here. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/pure-balance-95-canned/

  • Crazy4cats

    If I remember correctly, the 95% was a little higher in fat than the other varieties.

  • Vivian Maggard Baker

    I buy the 95% Pure Balance Can and my 6 dogs love it and it is rated 5 stars here and only 1.25 per can

  • Jim Rothe

    “Perhaps it is a DNA thing that they tolerate it.”

    Agreed. Also consider that digesting pork FAT may not necessarily indicate a tolerance for pork MEAT. Give them some pork chop cutlets and see how they do. If they don’t tolerate any amount without adverse affects, then you might want to reconsider whether or not you stick with Wysong products.

    Regardless, I don’t want to bash the company. I’ve always respected the company’s philosophy about pet foods. Actually, I still do. It’s just that this latest move to include a pork-derived “meat protein isolate” has made their products detrimental to my dog’s well-being.

    I can’t have that for my little buddy.

  • Jill Garnet

    Thank you for the update and reply to my question on your previous post. My dogs have been eating blueberries In the wellness core for over a year not really an issue. Since my dogs are sled dogs and a working breed they have been exposed to very high levels of pork fat in a supplement form by national. This was years ago though. Fat is important for sled dog endurance. Perhaps it is a DNA thing that they tolerate it.

    As far as the Epigen issues I scaled back the ratio I was blending with the wellness core and the dogs are tolerating much better. No more burping up goo or running stools. With 13 dogs there are some who are transitioning better than others.

  • Jim Rothe

    Jill – I think I addressed your questions in the post that you’re already replying to. But I do have some new information in a post above. Check it out.

  • Jim Rothe

    Just a follow up from my earlier post….

    I’ve switched to Merrick Grain Free.

    We initially made a smooth transition – gradually over 2 weeks – to the chicken kibble. As soon as we got to about a 50/50 mix of the troublesome Epigen and the new-to-us Merrick, his digestion started showing significant signs of improvement. By the time we were at 75% Merrick, his stool was reasonably firm. We’re at 100% Merrick now and he’s pooping rock-solid.

    We also tried Merrick’s Grain Free salmon with good results, and I have a bag of their beef kibble that we’re going to try, too. Since these are all very similar formulas, I’m transitioning to them with only a few days of mixing with the prior Merrick kibble. He seems to like them all and digests them just fine.

    I’ve had some time to do a little more research on what might be the issue with the new Wysong formulations. Epigen (and I believe Optimal Performance) both include trace quantities of tomato pumice and blueberries. I know my dog doesn’t tolerate blueberries – and I have a carpet stain to prove it! – but he’s taken in enough dropped Italian food that I’m sure that tomato is not an issue. Besides, both of these are so far down on the ingredients list that I doubt that they’re much of a factor in any digestive problems.

    But the new formulations’ use of “meat protein isolate” is significant. Somewhere – whether here or on another site, I don’t recall – I remember reading that this replaces some vegetable protein sources that Wysong used to use. I’ve also found that the “meat” source in this new ingredient is pork. If I recall correctly, they’re using enzymes to separate the pork from the bone. The result is probably the saw-dust looking material that is mixed in with the kibble in both Epigen and Optimal Performance. Clearly, it is a significant quantity of the total ingredients – likely over 20% of the total mass of each serving.

    The problem is that I know that my dog can’t eat pork. I’ve given him pieces of fresh-cooked pork chop cutlets and he had horrible problems with it: bad diarrhea and even a very little bit of blood in his stool. That result was repeatable a week later when he got another small portion of pork mixed in with his regular meal, at which point I recognized the cause and he hasn’t had fresh cooked pork since.

    That observation set me off on another quest: to identify popular commercial dog foods that use pork as a primary ingredient. With one notable exception, there aren’t any! Check it out for yourself: look at the ingredients list of every major dog food out there. You’re not going to find a pork variant. My guess is that most dogs don’t do well on pork. They can’t digest it. It’s not the same as a piece of bacon or a pigs ear treat. There’s something about the meat that doesn’t work for dogs’ digestion, and so it isn’t used successfully in any major dog food line. The one notable exception? Merrick Grain Free has a pork flavor available. My boy won’t be trying that!

    Anyway, I won’t say that Merrick is the only kibble that would have produced such good results for my dog, but only that Epigen and other Wysong products that include their “meat protein isolate” are probably a common source of digestion problems for a great many of the dogs being discussed in this thread. Again, though, it’s probably not disagreeable to all dogs. But it is to mine.

    So we switched, and my little guy is doing fine now.

    Happy dog! Happy daddy!

  • Jill Garnet

    Thank you I’m really really hoping the food is just much richer than the dogs are used to – I am soaking it first and scaling back on amount to allow better adjusting – thank you for your reply

  • ash

    I have since tried feeding the Epigen Chicken to my two 4 month old kittens….was previously feeding to dog and adult cat. Adult cat stopped eating it last year and I’ve posted re my dog’s experience (see below). Unfortunately it gave both the kittens diarrhea. This was the new formula.

    Can you please past back here when/if you find something to replace it?? Thx!

  • ash

    Hi Jill….I tried one other thing, but it was even worse as far as healthy BMs go….so I went back to the Wysong “until I could find something better”…..it’s still not ideal, bc it causes gas, but seems to be better than when I first switched her. That’s where we stand for now….

  • Jill Garnet

    Did you ever get your dogs to transition on the new epigen? What are you feeding now

  • Jill Garnet

    I just ordered a bunch of epigen – How many days have you been feeding Epigen – just started at my kennel dogs drinking a lot too and a few are burping up brown goo 5-8 hours after eating. I was wondering if I transitioned too quickly ?How many days have you been feeding Epigen – just started at my kennel dogs drinking a lot too and a few are burping up brown goo 5-8 hours after eating. I was wondering if I transitioned too quickly ?