Dogswell Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Dogswell Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Dogswell product line includes two dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Dogswell Vitality Chicken and Oats [U]
  • Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats [U]

Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Dogswell Happy Hips

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, oats, barley, peas, brown rice, natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, flaxseed, tomato pomace, dehydrated alfalfa meal, sweet potatoes, zinc proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, iron proteinate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate, glucosamine hydrochloride, apples, blueberries, carrots, garlic powder, chicory root extract, manganese proteinate, folic acid, calcium iodate, cobalt proteinate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, chondroitin sulfate, taurine, choline chloride, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product (source of lipase), dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis24%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%13%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%29%47%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 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 includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

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 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.

After the natural flavor, we find 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 ninth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

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 six 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, 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, this food contains alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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.

We also note that this recipe contains garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

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 includes 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.

Dogswell Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dogswell 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dogswell is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

The line also lists six Dogswell canned dog foods and are reviewed by the Advisor in a separate report.

Those looking for a grain-free kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Dogswell Nutrisca.

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.

Dogswell Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

08/05/2016 Last Update

  1. 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)
  • KcQ8ov

    I have had good results with Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea x several years for my sensitive stomach/allergy dog (Dogswell product)
    I have decided to try Dogswell Vitality dry for my terrier, I might mix it with the Nutrisca.
    I only use the kibble as a base.

  • DogFoodie

    Dogswell is co-packed by Tuffy’s Pet Foods, which is located in Perham, Minnesota. I consider them to be a reputable manufacturer. They did have a recall last year of another food they co-pack, Nutrisca. Nutri-Source is one of Tuffy’s house brands.

  • Elaine

    Thank you for getting back to me but I already made up my mind and I am taking the food back to the store. I don’t know what i was thinking as I won’t use any of their treats. It is funny though it is rated 4 stars but I am taking no chances. Thank you again.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Elaine-

    Sorry I can not answer if Dosgwell is made or has ingredients sourced from China. I did want to mention to you however that by law companies are not required to state where the food is manufactured and the origin of the ingredients. Those that chose to display that information have chosen to do so of their own accord.

    If you have concerns about Dogswell, I would email the company directly and ask. If you are not happy with the answer then do not continue using the product.

  • Elaine

    I just bought this food for the 1st time the Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats. I do not see anywhere where it says made in china. I looked all over the bag many times. Can you tell where exactly were it is printed made in china on the bag. Nothing from china comes into my home if I can help it and that includes My pet food. I only feed my guys 4 star and up pet food. so I am now worried. Thank you.

  • Flora Fauna

    Glad you got away from Beneful – it has killed thousands of dogs!

  • Mary Parker

    I had my 2 year old rottweiler on the Happy Hips chicken & oats for almost two months and he had explosive diarrhea the entire time so I took him off of it and put him on Blue Wilderness and his diarrhea stopped almost immediately. In the past, I’ve tried other brands of dog food and he never had any problems with any of it, just the happy hips. I will never again feed my dog anything from this company! If anyone is thinking about putting their pet on this food, you better think about it again.

  • Martie

    My dog has done wonderfully on Dogswell Happy Hips, but not every dog is the same. My dog has a sensitive digestive system so I’ve had to use trial & error to find a good quality food that agrees with her. You can’t rely on what works well for other dogs. You have to find the right food(s) for YOUR dog which may involve trying several different brands, ingredient combinations, etc. Remember to always make the transition gradual by mixing about 7/8 of the current food with 1/8 of the new food at first and gradually increasing the ratio of the new food over 10 days or so. An abrupt switch of foods may cause intestinal upset or other unacceptable symptoms.

  • Kim Moody

    We just got my pug this food cause he kept itching from his beniful, do they do good on this food without itching or throwing up ?

  • There’s some comments from 8 days ago down below. This article was last updated in March 2015. The food is made in the USA but some treats are still made elsewhere.

  • Martie

    Noticing that the most recent comment was 2 years ago I’m wondering how long ago this dog food has been re-evaluated.

    Specifically, is there more current information on where the food is made and the origin of sourced ingredients? It is important for certain brands like Dogswell that have a controversial history to be re-evaluated every couple of years to determine if past issues have been satisfactorily resolved, and/or if any new issues have been discovered.

    I have been happy with the results I get from Dogswell Happy Hips and I want to be confident that I am feeding my dog a safe, healthy diet.

  • aquariangt

    Made/Sourced/Processed can all happen at different locations. Especially with all the bad press from Chinese produced items, if they are specifically advertising MADE in USA, and not the others, i’d be wary

  • Scott Davis

    It’s made in Minnisota, which is in the USA. The treats may be from China but the dog food is made in Minnisota.

  • theBCnut

    I agree, I wouldn’t give that company any of my money, but I wouldn’t give Blue Buffalo any of my money either.

  • aquariangt

    wow, bit of a BB spammer, eh? I’m glad they’re made in the states, but they’re still shady as heck. Avoid

  • animalwelfare

    Its made in china on back of package in very small print horrible products

  • animalwelfare

    Blue wilderness chicken jerky product is usa pricy but worth every cent!! Dogswell is china made not worth risk of one day they get sick n die

  • animalwelfare

    Dogswell is made in china!!blue wilderness chicken jerky is usa pricey but worth it

  • animalwelfare

    Dogswell is made in China says in very small print in back threw it out and it expensive to boot.I will never purchase anything from that company I give my dog blue wilderness chicken jerky made in USA very pricey but worth every bit of money

  • theBCnut

    We lump the two together because it speaks about the integrity of the company. They have none. They did not recall their treats when the other ones were recalled even though their customers were reporting the exact same problems. The did not send samples of their jerky to the proper lab, they waited for independant testing to find that their jerky had the same substance in it. All they cared about was raking in a few more bucks, not the health and safety of our pets. If they don’t care about the health and safety of pets, why would you want to buy food from them. If they have a problem with their food, they will not recall until someone else proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have to.

  • Robin

    It makes me sad to see lots of people commenting on the jerky treats in this thread, instead of the food (which is what’s being reviewed here – not treats!). I was just as unhappy as the rest of you that their jerky treats ended up in a recall situation – but I feel that it is not a reflection upon their dog food, and to lump the two together is unfair.

    My dogs have thrived on this food, so the ingredients are of a high quality in my opinion. We have tried Canidae and Canidae Grain Free, both of which made our dogs shed and lose luster. We had success with Nulo Endurance (which unfortunately was discontinued), as well as GO! Fit and Free. However, Dogswell is less expensive than GO! (though I prefer the higher protein found in GO!’s recipe) and my family will be transitioning back to this very soon. It’s unfortunate that our local retailers don’t sell Dogswell food as I would prefer to shop local. They just carry the jerky treats (ugh, I wish they’d pull them from market!).

    Speaking of, to the people who have had poor experience with their customer service, I am saddened to hear that. In 2012, our family moved to a new town, in which we couldn’t find the food. Dogswell overnighted us a bag to get us through (at no cost to us!) while we waited on a shipment from an online retailer (we couldn’t afford overnight shipping). It wasn’t a small bag they sent either, considering we have three dogs. If that’s not excellent customer service, I’m not sure what is.

  • Country of origin should become part of dog food reviews. Until it does, pressure to change will not be adequate to have an effect on where pet foods source their ingredients, and consumers will not be empowered to protect their dogs and cats from the most obvious sources of tainted food. I realize this is a very tangled web…but perhaps holding manufacturers to a written statement would be a start.

  • bella
  • Two more words: Chinese chicken!

  • bella

    two words: synthetic vitamins!! eek =

  • Kimberly Dawson Jauretche

    My german shepherds do great on this food! Coats are beautiful

  • My Dog’s Mom

    My dogs hated this food. It is quite expensive. And their customer service is terrible. Not a happy customer.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dogswell is one of the Chinese chicken jerky treats that was killing dogs and finally got recalled after years of people complaining about deaths.

  • CranberryCoco

    He said the vitality treats are made in China.

    Just so you know made in the USA does not necessarily mean the ingredients are sourced from the U.S.

  • featheredfear

    I buy Dogswell Vitality Dry Food and the bag I purchase says Made in the USA. Where did you get that is was made in China? or do they actually make treats too with the same name?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Did you sign up for email recall notices?

  • Brad

    We have two Chihuahuas, one 7 and one 12. We have been using Vitality as their “treats” for 3 years now. Both of their coats sparkle. The 12 year old can almost out-run the 7 year old. Both of them have zero joint problems and can turn on a dime as they run around the house. Both of them have perfect blood tests every time they go to the vet. They have solid poop and are never sick. Even if Vitality is made in China, maybe, just maybe, it’s still actually a good product? Crazy, I know! Until their is factual proof that Vitality is bad, I am going to keep my dogs happy with their preferred treats.

  • Marcusdee

    Our 8 year old Scottie has been eating a mixture of Dogswell canned and dry for about 6 months now. In that time his skin condition has completely cleared up and his coat is shiny and soft. His poops are finally solid too! He’s also a very picky dog, and he likes this food.

  • Charlie_Driggs
  • Charlie_Driggs

    Dogswell is a shady, shady company. Their chicken treats made my dog sick a few years ago. (Bought them in Whole Foods, assumed they were quality, didn’t notice the very fine print re Made in China) Whenever I see them in stores, I caution the owners to remove them and not carry them.

    Just heard yet another story of a dog getting sick from their Healthy Hips chicken treats.

    This company needs to be put out of business.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, they are slick.  The Canadian ones that someone posted a picture of looked down right patriotic.  It’s just sickening.

  • Robinandjohn3

    I just bought chicken treats at the store because I thought they were made in the USA. I DON’T BUY DOG TREATS FROM CHINA. Are these companies getting “slick” making the package look like it is an USA product? It says “cage free chicken” on the package.  Does China have this? My last package of these!!

  • Cchameleon81

    Why do my dogswell beef / chicken treats say made in the USA? Have they recently switched from china to USA?

  • Tedgi

    People need to STOP using Dogwell Produsts, Their  Rawhide treats are  top dollar  but MOST important they are “MADE IN CHINA”, I would  NEVER feed my  dog products from CHINA

  • I have an aussie (pure) that is allergic to almost everything, he is now on vitality – cheapest dog food I could find that was quality and not overly expensive. Never had an issue in 3 years – he was on a buffalo diet $50+ a 20lb bag and this bag at costco is $30… much better and more lbs… it is hard to find a dog food without fish oil in it… (allergies to fish)… however my puppy doesn’t seem to be holding weight on this (12 week german shep) however that could be because the other dog is pushing him off

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Dogswell’s chicken jerky treats are made in China. Why would you want to risk your dogs by feeding them? There are many chicken jerky treats made in the U.S.

  • dogowner

     This reviewer is not an employee of Dogswell, so you are incorrect in saying that it is the reviewer’s dog food. Furthermore, Dogswell’s dry and canned dog foods are made in the USA. Only some of their treats are made in China, and I have fed the chicken jerky treats to my dog with no problem.

  • Natela Chubinidze

    Your spoiled babies is very very cute!I have also beagle,sheppard mix and black busset hound mix.God Bless You and your Babies!

  • we have three dogs – a 7 year old beagle, a 2 year old shepherd mix, and a 1.5 year old cane corso mix. all three dogs chow on Happy Hips daily and clean their bowls as if they’re in a race. the beagle was formerly taken care of by family, who fed Purina (green bag); the beagle had a dull coat and was overweight when we took her in. she’s now very close to ideal weight for her size and her coat looks awesome. she also sheds less and moves with a lot more ease and vigor (toss up on the glucosamine or the weight loss, maybe both?). when we adopted the shepherd, within a few weeks his coat brightened up and the shedding subsided soon thereafter. our corso was super gassy before we switched her from Costco to Dogswell, now she’s much less stinky. 🙂 

  • Shawna

    Well this is encouraging if you ask me…. 

    PROOF that probiotics CAN survive on kibbled foods… 

    Now we just have to get the manufacturers to put enough in them to be beneficial..  Even then, I’d still supplement…

    I believe Richard said they have Brothers tested and had favorable results.

  • aimee

    What a timely post! i just yesterday came across this paper “Bacteriological evaluation of dog and cat diets that claim to contain probiotics” Not sure how I missed it before!

     No products contained all of the listed organisms, while 1 or more of the
    listed contents were isolated from 10 out of 19 products (53%). Eleven products
    contained additional, related organisms including Pediococcus spp, which was
    isolated from 4 products. No relevant growth was present in 5 (26%) products.
    Average bacterial growth ranged from 0 to 1.8 x 10(5) CFU/g. Overall, the actual
    contents of the diets were not accurately represented by the label descriptions.

  • .

    Ok folks. Be leary of any pet food that has probiotics in it. If it has L.acidophilus in it. Its dead. That bacteria cannot be prepackaged in food with out it going through its lifecycle and dieing. Also, they do not list the strain or how much CFU/G so you do not know how much you are getting. Now, the big problem is E.Faecium. WHile it can survive longer than most bacteria. It also will die do to being packaged in food. One important thing to know is that only E.Faecium NCIB 1045 has been proven not to weakin antibiotic therapy. All of the other strains have proven to aid some bad bacteria and weakin the ability of antibiotics to kill them.  A dog needs atleast 2Billion CFU/G of probiotics to do any good. Any less, it will not have any effect.

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  • Please consider that albeit many pet food companies mention what we consider to be “good ingredients” on their lables, it does not constitute what quality the source is, and many many pet foods coming from China have been recalled due to poor quality control and contaminating influences. On another note, flaxseed [whether powdered or liquid] is not good for dogs, and fish oils should be used instead. Also, you highlight sodium selenite in red, yet do not describe what it is. These inorganic selenium sources (the sodium selenite most commonly used in pet foods) can be toxic in high doses; affecting an animals Blood, Liver and Muscles over long-term use. The organic selenium yeast on the other hand, has proven to be far less toxic, even in large doses. There is much more information on this as well. I would avoid it altogehter. Thank you for this article, but it can be misleading as to the quality of the food, and many people may go out and buy pet food products without reviewing the Pet Food Recall lists first, inadvertantly feeding thier pets toxic products. So you might want to recommend that being their first stop.

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  • Kathleen Brown

    I have been feeding Dogswell Vitality for a year now.  We have four aging mixed-breed ranch dogs who all love it.  One of them was nearly bald with chronic skin problems.  Now that he is on a regular diet of Vitality, he has abundant, healthy hair from nose to tail.  My own Bloodhound is a six-year-old show dog who had always had flaky skin – he, too, is in gorgeous coat – no more dry skin – with this change in feed.  For his meals, I add a bit of vegies and a capsule of fish oil.  At six years, he is strong and healthy.  The ranch cats steal the Vitality, and all are doing very well on it, from kittens to elders.

  • Hansman86

    my store has a warning against your dog food and treats { made in china } dogs are getting sick,liver and kidney failure. what are the chinese putting in the food. shame on you for not keeping it american made. I am no longer buying yor product,and I advise anyone else who buys it to stop if you want your pups to live a healthy life. do not buy anything made in china !!!!!

  • Dogswell Chicken Jerky Treats are SAFE according to my vet, pet shop, and my own research. Just make sure the store you buy it from arent keeping outdated pet products on their shelves! Because that is a common problem, always check the dates. My vet also informed us to beware of any chicken products not approved by the FDA bought from China ..but like our local pet shop owner, both are owners of dogs. Their dogs also love those chicken treats so I trust their reseach is even more trust worthy then my own. I’ll just list the links for all of you to seek facts & credibility on your own:
    GRI, our gov research institute in D.C listed Dogswell Jerky Treats as best pet treat 2011-2012 (Orijen as champion pet food)

    Dogswell quality assurance in reference to farms in the US & China and links to view their QUB & test results:

  • Unless your vet was a fly on the wall at every chicken farm in China, Idk how in the world ‘she/he’ fixed her mouth to assure you Dogswell farms DEFINITELY “were & are” UNSUPERVISED? First of all, it’s illogical that any human being could be in 2 places at 1 time, so between the two of you, someone is not being very truthful. In regards to any topic, no professional in any field should administer advice as if it’s based on facts when its actually based on their own personal “assumption”. Its a matter of integrity. My mother always taught us to research & have facts to back us up if we want ppl to take us serious. Anything less would make an individual & their opinions irrelevant in life. Even to their own children. 

  • I was googling about the Dogswell jerky treats and found this post.  Thanks for the comments that the treats may be made in china, I think I’ll avoid them.

  • 9 years old hound just got really sick from something digested.  His favorite dogswell treat are chicken and banana.  Read bag and it says china now.  Trashed them all!!  Don’t buy

  • monkey

    Shinto – good idea

  • Shinto

    My Holistic Vet told me to throw all Dogswell treats into the trash as they are now made in China in UNSUPERVISED “farms”!!!

  • melissa

    If you go to the brands list, it has been done : )

  • Bamalana

    Please do a review on the Dogswell Nutriscia.  It’s low glycemic & potato free.  It’s great for my English Bulldog that struggles with yeast infections and weight issues.

  • Miha

    My whippet terrier mix puppy didn’t like the taste. 🙁 We opted to try something else, since she didn’t really care for it and desperately needed to gain weight as a bone thin rescue dog. I used to buy the Dogswell jerky treats for our dogs until I noticed that they were made in China vice the USA. Not sure why Dogswell changed, but I think it was a sign, so we even stopped buying the wet food. Our min pin/chihuahua mix only liked the duck one anyway. 

  • Mogitha

    My 50lbs pitbull mixes love vitality dry dog food and happy hips dry dog food. I’m a happy customer.

  • Christy B

    After reading this review, I find myself wondering what qualifies Mike to be a “dog food advisor”. It seems that he doesn’t know much about dog health/nutrition (based on his own words above that he’s not qualified to answer questions) and he admittedly doesn’t do research to the origin of foods, which is completely negligent. I have a few comments on this article.

    First, some of Dogswell’s products are in fact made in China. They are produced at a plant called Yantai China Pet Foods. I highly recommend you researching this company online. They have been flagged by the FDA’s Import Refusal List. They have been flagged numerous times for Salmonella and Melamine (remember Melamine? It’s what caused the pet food recall of 2007 and killed those thousands of pets, including my dog!!!). To get on the FDA Import Refusal List you have to be a REPEAT offender. It ALSO means that the FDA can flag ANY shipment that comes in and they don’t even have to check it or suspect it of anything. They just have to refuse it and it’s up to the company to prove that it’s safe. Yeah, that’s pretty bad!

    Secondly, I suggest you read THIS article:

    I also suggest you read THIS article: And then research online about people whose dogs became “addicted” to Dogswell jerky much like cigarettes and their appetites waned to the point where they only wanted to eat Dogswell jerky and nothing else. If you still think ANY product coming out of China is safe, you are out of your mind.

    Fun highlight from above article: “following exact directions by the owner and founder Mr. XXXX, to 1. Irradiate the chicken and product as needed, 2. for financial reasons, use only 65% chicken and the remainder to be non-fowl filler … including MELAMINE, peanuts, BONE FRAGMENT POWDER, etc … and 3. even though they ADVERTISED to use vitamins and herbs for stronger bones, etc., we NEVER were allowed to include these because the COST WOULD BE TOO MUCH.” Sounds safe!!!

    Lastly, I absolutely cannot believe you are sitting here PRAISING chicken meal! This just goes to show that you know nothing about pet food!

    Here are some fun facts about Chicken Meal:
    -NOT legally allowed in human food (red flag!!!!)
    -May contain: DISEASED chickens, chickens that were DEAD or DYING prior to butchering, DISABLED chickens (more prone to disease carrying)
    -May contain: restaurant WASTE, meat processing facility WASTE, packinghouse WASTE
    -NOT subject to testing for quality standards or nutrient levels, may vary widely from batch to batch

    See page on chicken meal here:

  • Victoria

    I just started using the Chicken & Oats dog food because my other brand is out and I am VERY HAPPY with it! I have a large dog 110lbs+ with a lot of gastro issues, as well as joint issues. I recognized the brand because I use the happy hips chicken treats. I have tried numerous foods for my dog including grain free, vet prescription foods and other natural dog food products, even making his food myself. This is the first dry food that smells good and makes his stool firm – my dog has a chronic mud butt. Even better it is half the price of the prescription food and his stools are better. I am so pleased with this dog food, I cannot even begin to share it. I think a big help is the probiotic, which is a dominant reason why I bought it. For dogs with gastro issues it can make all the difference. That’s my two cents, hope it helps!

  • patsy

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for all the valuable information you provide on this site!
    You are bookmarked as a favorite!

  • Hi Gayle S… From some studies I’ve read, soy appears to be reasonably digestible by a dog. However, compared to meat, soy protein has an inferior biological value.

  • Gayle S.


    I have been looking for a canned food to mix with kibble for
    my 60lb, Catahoula. She likes to have kibble mixed with the
    canned food. I have been buying the canned at trader joes, but am concerned about the soy. How does soy affect a dogs digestion? I happened to see the Happy Hips lamb on sale and read the ingredients label. What a refreshing difference!
    The scent was the closest I have come to “real” meat, and my
    dog did not want to wait long enough for me to put it in her bowl. I am going to see if our Costco carries the kibble!

  • Hi Kimberly… Unfortunately, I cannot confirm where the company gets its raw materials. And please remember, we never rate treats here anywhere on this website. Just dog food. The only folks who know for sure where they get the ingredients for making their products are the manufacturers themselves. For that reason, you may wish to contacts Dogswell. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Kimberly

    Hello Mike. I am a dog trainer who does retail sales also, I recently just made a purchase order for my business but then I heard a very trusted friend (own pet shop) that the treats are made in China, then from your comments it’s said only the duck is made in china. Please let me know which products are made in China because I can’t take that product in my inventory. Please help. Thanks

  • Dan ODay

    Based on your review, we switched our 14 year old toy poodle to the Dogswell Happy Hips about two months ago. The change is amazing. He has slimmed down noticably, has greater energy, and is far less bothered by his minor arthritis. He can walk farther faster and doesn’t struggle nearly as much to get up. His digestion is better, too.

    We can’t thank you enough. We have been recommending your site to every dog owner we know.

  • Casey

    Costco warehouse now carries Dogswell Vitality dry kibble for $29.99/40lb bag….wanted to read up on all the reviews.

  • Anne

    I am about to return all of my Dogswell jerky treats as they are still listed as Made in China. I’m very disappointed by this. Has anyone seen chicken jerky treats made in the USA? Trade Joe’s are also made in China.

  • Lorre Ann Hopkins – I think Dogswell is still owned by itself and still headed by its founder Marco Giannini. The company has investor input but it still influences its own direction, I think….if that’s the answer to the question your were seeking?

  • Lorre Ann Hopkins

    I like the convenience of Dogswell being sold in my local grocery store but that also is a red flag to me because I remember IAMS being a decent dog food when it was sold in pet stores but the quality plummetted when it showed up in Grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. Then I found out it had been sold t another company (Purina??) Is it possible that Dogswell is no longer owned by the same company?

  • Pingback: Oh the victory of non-trashy dog food! - Beagle Forum : Our Beagle World Forums()


    I’m also very concerned about the duck jerkey treats we buy from Dogswell, that indicate on the packaging that they are made in China. Has Dogswell done any research as to whether or not these treats contain anything other than duck (like milamine)? I want some guarantees from Dogswell that they know what the treats contain. We all know the problems with quality control in China

  • Hi Amy… Flax seed is valuable for its omega-3 fatty acid content. But it is of no benefit to humans or dogs unless it’s first ground to a meal. This is almost always the case in kibble-type dog foods.

    There are many different kinds of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Yet not all of them are created equal. Fish oil contains the prized EPA and DHA variety. These two fatty acids possess the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

    On the other hand, plant-based sources of omega-3 oils (especially flax seeds) contain a much higher content of ALA (an omega-3 oil not as readily utilized by the body).

    Yet ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA by the animal. However, this conversion process (of ALA to the superior EPA and DHA types) is notably limited (especially in dogs).

    Bottom line? Fish oil is superior to flax and canola oils. But these plant-based omega-3 fats are better for a dog than no omega-3 at all.

  • Amy

    I’m curious about the comments for flaxseed as an ingredient. There doesn’t seem to be consistency in the comments; some indicate that “flaxseed” may be good, but “indigestible in whole form”, but others imply that it is a very good ingredient with an additional benefit if it’s been ground up.

    Seems to be two very different messages, when taken at face (or text) value.

  • Elizabeth Chalem

    Well, I can only say that my 3 dogs can’t wait until their Vitality is poured into the bowl. Because there are 3 dogs, it’s difficult to find food that they each enjoy with the quality that I feel is good for their systems. I have 3 australian shepards, 2 blue merles and 1 black-tri female. One of the males (merle) had allergies and continuously sneezed and had to take benedryl. I can only say that he no longer has an issue. My second male (merle) was overweight and I needed something that would help him reduce his weight and still maintain his health. He has since lost 6 pounds. Of course, he exercises more now, but he runs quicker and loves his food. My third aussie is a black-tri female. She is dainty and quick on her feet. She loves her food and guards it while she eats. It’s an amazing fete to find something for everyone. Last, my little cat (kitty) cannot get enough of this food. He doesn’t want his science diet and kibble any longer. I can’t get him to eat anything but Vitality. He waits by the bowl to get his food. When he’s gone and hiding (or sleeping) and the food hits the bowl, he comes running. It’s hilarious. Vitality is now difficult to find in stores, so I’m going to order on-line. I just wanted to say, wow.

  • Jessica Storm

    @Rosemary Phoenix
    what kind of dog food did your friend reccomend? I have been feeding my dog beniful and one day i was curious about the difference between beniful and pedigree so i did some research. I came across a video that talked about what is REALLY in your dog’s dog food, and was told by a lot of people that i should purchase the blue buffalo product. I researched that and saw that it was recalled recently. Too recently for my comfort.
    I told my dad about this dog food research and the results of it and explained to him what was in the food we have been feeding my dog and he brought home a bag of Dogswell Vitality.
    I’m tired of being lied to about what my dog is eating and her health as my dogs my CHILD and if anything happened to her i would die.

  • Hi Rosemary… It appears your retailer may not be correct. Please read my previous comment regarding this persistent (but apparently false) rumor.

  • Rosemary Phoenix

    I was informed by a local and trusted pet food retailer (also AsianAmerican so bi-lingually fluent) in Portland OR that he will not carry Dogswell as some of the ingredients *are* in fact sourced in China. He visits every factory of every brand he carries, and he said he found Dogswell to be less forthcoming about it’s processing and it’s sourcing than they would appear. He has vetoed brands for outsourced ingredients, or dirty factories with low quality-control, etc. His following of customers has grown because he does the dirty work for us so we can rest more assured our pets are eating safely. I have been a long-time user of Dogswell, but am making the switch to a safer brand of food for my dog that I know he has actually inspected and researched. He has several to choose from, in the price-range of Dogswell or up. I wish Dogswell would come clean and make the change for the better but until then, it is off my shopping list.

  • Laura I.

    Wow such fast replies! Thanks Mike and Heather…that is good to know. Like I had indicated, I do think their food and treats are outstanding in quality as I see much better results in my dog’s energy and gait…glad to know I can keep buying their food and treats knowing they are trying to make an effort to reduce or eliminate dependence upon China for sourcing.

  • Heather

    Oh should mention that they are trying to move the processing plant for those to the US but again its been a year so things could have changed-its something they want to do!

  • Heather

    As far as the China comment….

    Their dog food is made in the USA with all ingredients from the USA. Now their jerky or wrapped treats are made in China (talked to rep about a year ago so this may have since changed) only because the cost of the process is so expensive here in the US. That’s why similiar products in the US cost so much more.

    Their other treats (the hard cookie/bone shaped treats) are made in the US, again only their jerky treats are made in China.

  • Hi Laura… I’ve written to Dogswell and here’s the response I received today (2/5/2011) from the company’s CEO and president, Marco Giannini…

    “Please know that our food is made in the USA with ingredients from the US. We do have less than .5% of ingredients that are internationally sourced, not from China, and we have extremely strict controls on our quality assurance policies.

    “I think there may be confusion from your threads of consumers in that we do have products that come from China, and those are our jerky treats. But our food, our dry and canned, is made in the USA.”

    Hope you find this message reassuring.

  • Laura I.

    Dogswelll food is great, but when I asked their Customer Service about the source of there chicken, duck, etc, they said it could be from China. Bad! If the good folks in China are willing to feed their own offspring milk that is knowlinglyh contaminated and did lead to deaths, and have been caught adding melamine to dog food, we as consumers need to pressure these highly level brands to STOP SOURCING FROM CHINA. OK, I also have ancesters from China so this is pure logic, not a prejudical comment. I’m hoping that by switching to Dogswell Sweet Potato Treats, this will lessen the chance that my dog is getting hormone, antibiotics and other things that are not good for her. Note: The “happy hips” products by Dogswell all work great for keeping my 11 year old, hard exercising Sheltie pain-free, which is why I will continue to use their products here and there. DOGSWELL: Please read the comments about China sourcing and work on having all ingredients sourced from USA. Thanks…Laura from San Francisco Bay Area

  • Hi Jordan… I would not recommend feeding Dogswell Happy Hips to any puppy. It only meets AAFCO nutritional profiles for adult maintenance.

  • Hey Jonathan… I contacted Dogswell today and learned the AAFCO ratings for all the products. I’ve now added the information to each review. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Jonathan

    I can’t find ANY aafco adequacy statement for this food… Anywhere. Mike? You know anything about that?

  • Jordan

    I had a question, is the standard Dogswell Happy Hips dry dog food acceptable to feed to puppies as well as adult dogs? We currently feed it to our 2 year old lab, but are getting a puppy in a week. I can’t find anything that states acceptable age ranges. Thanks for your help.

  • Vickie

    I also appreciate the review of Dogswell products. I purchased the duck jerky as well for my dogs and was very distressed when I saw it was made in China. At the bottom of the bag in samll letters it says: Dog treats, Made in China. I’m always very careful to avoid any food or treats made in China. Needless to say, I won’t be getting any more Dogswell products!


  • Christine

    Hi Mike –

    I appreciate your review of the Dogswell products, however my experiences have recently led me to remove their duck jerky treats as my dogs’ treats after being a faithful Dogswell buyer for many years. It would seem that after many years of providing a great product, Dogswell has started to use more sinew and other bits of the duck such I can’t even break apart the jerky when pulling with all my strength. The only reason I tried was after two episodes in the past couple of months where my 12-pound dog started choking. Each time I was able to reach down her throat and pull out the “jerky” only to find that it was impossible for my dog to chew.

    So I don’t know how in depth your review of the jerky treats was, but I can tell you that Dogswell’s quality standards have plummeted. I am thankful only that I didn’t loose a dog while finding this out.

    Thanks so much for your work,

  • Debbie

    My 1 year 3mo old puggle is fairly picky about the dog food she will eat. Unfortunately, she generally is not crazy about the healthy food we’ve introduced, such as Natural Balance and Natures Recipe. She loves our friends’ poorer selection of food such as Kibbles in Bits, which we try to keep her from when we visit! She does like Blue Buffalo enough but it gave her bad gas! She really likes Halo but when I found Dogswell at our supermarket as well as our petstore (Allpets), I was thrilled at the convenience of it. But most of all, she LOVES it! I cut down slightly on the recommended serving and add some ground chicken mixed with some babyfood vegetable mixtures or Evangers pure meat canned food and she gobbles it down! Hopefully it increases the protein level of the food that it is missing. She is not a fan of the canned food, however, but loves the treats!

  • Hi YC… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s problem. Unfortunately, you have asked a question I don’t feel qualified to answer. Like with us humans, each dog responds to a particular food (or an ingredient) in its own unique way. And many times, the signs and symptoms you see are not even related to the food in the first place. So, it would be impossible for me (or anyone) to assure you feeding a specific product would help control your dog’s renal crystals or deliver the results you’re looking for. Wish I could be more help.

  • YC

    I have a 5 year old tibetan terrier who just had a UTI, and crystals. I googled her dog food” nutrish by Rachel ray ” and was disgusted to find out all the bad things. My dogs have been on that for 2 years.
    Now there on Vitality, and I see an energy increase in them. Will this food help remove crystals? She’s on med’s for her UTI. Is this product sold at petsmart?
    Thank you

  • Susan G

    Thank you for the time you’ve spent compiling the wealth of information on this website. I have a two year old Papillon, who was a very picky eater until I gave her the Dogswell “Vitality” dry dog food. She not only loved the taste of the food, but the change in her overall health was remarkable. Her coat is so silky, her energy level is high, yet she sleeps so peacefully at night. The information on your site about this particular food just confirms I made the right choice for my dog.

  • Thanks for your prompt response–it does help. Your article on the best puppy foods gave me what I needed. I’d written you initially as this particular product is one that is available to us locally, and I liked your review & recommendation. We’ll simply wait to feed him the adult dry kibble till when he’s older. He’s recovering well on a combination of Kirkland puppy and a high grade canned food.

    As I said earlier, our vet really believes it was his reaction to the live distemper vaccine that caused the problem in the first place and not too much protein. We’re just relieved we think we’ve gotten him through this without any long term issues.

    Thanks again. Your website has been most helpful.

  • Hi MC… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you any particular dog food would deliver the kind of health results you’re looking for. However, it’s no secret, we do not believe feeding a moderate to high protein diet to most dogs should be a realistic cause for concern.

    For more information, please be sure to read two of my recent articles, “Low Protein Dog Foods” and “Best Puppy Foods“. I think you’ll find these two articles helpful. And of course, discuss our opinion with your vet before taking any action. Hope this helps.

  • Quick question–any problem in feeding Dogswell Happy Hips to our 6 month old border collie pup? He’s recovering from several episodes of what’s been diagnosed as HOD. Causes could be too high a protein puppy kibble (Kirkland Puppy) or a reaction to his distemper and parvo booster shots (most likely cause).

    Anyway, we’ve been reasearching quality dog foods that we can reasonably afford. This looks like a good kibble for our needs now. We can easily add cooked chicken if we need to boost the protein, and we’ll be feeding in combination with Nutrisca’s canned foods.

    I’d appreciate your input.

  • Patty

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the answer, Mike:) What you say makes a lot of sense, although in my “ideal” world, it seems country of origin for things anyone (including our animals) puts into her mouth ought to be straightforward and right there to see. Oh well . . .
    Anyway, after looking over the rating of Purina Puppy Chow that my baby has been on for the first 6 months of her life, again, I “bit the bullet” today and purchased a small bag of Fromm’s 4* Duck and Sweet Potatoes to try. I know I have to transition slowly, but boy, I wish I could just pitch that Puppy Chow right now, lol! I really don’t understand why it seems to be so widely recommended, including by vets. Even if they aren’t specifically trained in nutrition, some of the negatives seem to be glaringly obvious once you look at the ingredient list! After all, I’m not trained in nutrition, or even science, either, but I know that eating a bunch of artificial coloring, etc. is bad, and that corn and wheat and soy are allergy suspects. Oh well, enough ranting, hopefully the Fromm’s will work out!

  • Hi Patty… Actually, I’ve never heard that China story before. We intentionally make no effort to trace the origin of the ingredients in dog foods for very good reason. A manufacturer’s claims about their sources are almost impossible for us (or anyone) to prove. The pet food industry is always alive with politics and rumors. If you feel this is important to you, be sure to contact Dogswell customer service and ask them. In any case, to better understand why we intentionally ignore ingredient sources, please be sure to read our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“. Hope this helps.

  • Patty


    I thought I’d seen that Dogswell is made in China. Is that true, and, if so, do you not consider that a big red flag on the foods?


  • Hi Damian… Sorry, I do not know the answer to your question. You may want to check the with Dogswell Customer Service.

  • Damian

    I was wondering if you had any information about when, in the process, the Glucosamine & Chondroitin is added to the food. It is my understanding that if it is added before the heat is added it looses most of it’s effect. I was wondering from your analysis you were able to learn when in the process it was added, and if it has been all “cooked away”. Thanks for any info.