Review of 4Health Grain Free Dry Dog Food
4Health Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The 4Health Grain Free product line includes the 7 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|4Health Grain Free Large Breed||4||M|
|4Health Grain Free Puppy||4.5||A|
|4Health Grain Free Beef and Potato||3.5||M|
|4Health Grain Free Duck and Potato||4||M|
|4Health Grain Free Whitefish and Potato||4||M|
|4Health Grain Free Small Breed||4.5||M|
|4Health Grain Free Chicken and Vegetables||4||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
4Health Grain Free Chicken and Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
4Health Grain Free Chicken and Vegetables
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, garbanzo beans, lentils, peas, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea flour, egg product, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, salt, dl-methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, glucosamine hydrochloride, Yucca schidigera extract, chondroitin sulfate, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, beta carotene, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||17%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||35%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% 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.
It’s important to note that the next three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Garbanzo beans
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth item is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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 pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is 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.
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 4Health product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
Next, 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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
We also find chicory root in this food. Chicory 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.
Next, this recipe includes sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, 4Health Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Which means this 4Health product line contains…
Above-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 garbanzo beans, lentils, pea products and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble still containing a notable amount of meat.
Our Rating of 4Health Grain Free Dog Food
4Health Grain Free is a dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include so much plant-based protein in its recipe. Otherwise, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.
4Health Dog Food
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Tractor Supply.
- Diamond Dog Food Recall Summary (5/6/2012)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Tractor Supply Brand Reviews
The following Tractor Supply dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- 4Health Dog Food Review (Canned)
- 4Health Dog Food Review (Dry)
- 4Health Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
01/11/2022 Last Update