Health Extension Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The Health Extension product line includes six 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.

  • Health Extension Lite [A]
  • Health Extension Original [A]
  • Health Extension Little Bites [A]
  • Health Extension Lite Little Bites [A]
  • Health Extension Lamb Little Bites [A]
  • Health Extension Lamb and Brown Rice [A]

Health Extension Original was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Health Extension Original

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Organic deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbic acid), lamb meal, menhaden fish meal, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, egg product, organic apple cider vinegar, ginger, fish oil (source of DHA), primrose oil, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, salt, green tea extract, dl-methionine, vitamin A acetate, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid, biotin, inositol, dehydrated kelp, zinc polysaccharide complex, iron polysaccharide complex, manganese polysaccharide complex, copper polysaccharide complex, cobalt polysaccharide complex, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, pectin, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis24%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%20%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%40%38%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 38%

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 oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

The eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

The ninth 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.

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, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, this recipe contains fish oil. 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.

In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

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.

Health Extension Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Health Extension 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Health Extension is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

Health Extension 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

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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

10/25/2016 Last Update

  • Pitlove

    I’ve read some awful things about Petland. I’m glad one of their animals found a good home. And I’m also pleased to see them shut down!

  • Andrea Utsava Erhart

    I rescued a dog from Petland in Flagstaff, adv. the place was shut down because of residents’ protests my dog was def. a puppy mill dog who was kept in a small cage for a long time. He suffers life long concequences and has certain anxieties. He is afraid of not getting enough food and is afraid of certain things. I can see the suffering he went through…he is now 9 years old and still has some character traits that show how he was abused.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Okay, thanks everyone. I’m now even more grateful that there are no Petlands of any kind in my area.

  • aquariangt

    Since they’re all the same company, any sort of support for Petland is still in support of puppy mills.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I guessing your comment might’ve been directed at me.. and I was not at all implying that you were a new dog owner or irresponsible or anything like that. It just seems irresponsible of Petland to have a dog like a Neapolitan Mastiff available for immediate purchase, no questions asked, where someone a lot less responsible/experienced than you could’ve easily ended up with the dog and put all involved in a potentially very dangerous position. Out of curiosity more than anything, why didn’t you purchase from a breeder or a rescue? As I said, Petland just seems like such an odd place to get a dog like that from..for reasons others have mentioned.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Please understand that a lot of us are also involved in rescue. Petland does support puppy mills and puppy brokers and has in the past. I have done the research. I have some close friends that have purchased and lost dogs at young ages, due to genetic disease, from Petland.

  • Crazy4dogs

    D_O, read my post to BCnut.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I live in one of the states where it was heavily protested. I had a friend who wanted to buy a dog from Petland. Petland insisted they were from family breeders. The friends were given the name of the breeder, I researched it and he was listed as a USDA breeder (with complaints filed), which means Puppy Mill. 🙁

  • theBCnut

    They were heavily protested and, in some states outlawed, because of the puppy mill dogs and started offering rescues in those locations instead of going out of business. That does not make them a good company, in my book, just one that sees which way the wind blows. Obviously, the protests and all didn’t change their attitude about puppy mill dogs, just where they sell them. That makes them even slimier in my book.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Same! However, from my understanding of it, some Petland stores sell dogs and others offer dogs from shelters for adoption. I think it was the first one in this case, based on the word “purchased,” but I’m not sure all Petland stores are like that.

  • Shawna

    Your dogs are gorgeous!!!

    Like DogFoodie, I think the concern is not about your ability but rather Petlands support of puppy mills.

  • theBCnut

    Are you ignorant of the issues of puppy mill dogs or do you just not care?

  • theBCnut

    I totally agree. I wouldn’t buy fish food from Petland. Because they actively support the puppy mill industry, I would never give them even 1 cent of my money.

  • DogFoodie

    My aversion to Petland is as a result of their being notorious for selling puppies that are puppy mill dogs, of which, Missouri has more than its fair share.

    A friend couldn’t resist temptation and bought a Border Collie puppy being sold “on clearance” when the Petland store near us was closing. The dog died before its first birthday and my friend is a very experienced handler of BCs.

    Buying a puppy from Petland supports puppy mills.

  • Crazy4cats

    He’s very lucky too. He’s a handsome dude!

  • Gregory Dupree

    Hmm, i must be a new dog owner, haven’t had dogs all 45 years of my life.

  • Gregory Dupree


  • Gregory Dupree


  • Gregory Dupree

    Hmm, are these dohs? Never seen a dog before

  • Gregory Dupree

    See, not some new person dog owner………unreal

  • Gregory Dupree

    I was fortunate to have found him there.

  • Gregory Dupree

    Well just so you so called experts know I already own an english bull mastiff, a doberman & other dogs. Just because i purchased a neo from petland doesn’t make me some new dog owner. Might want to think before you post in the future, makes you look/sound ignorant!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Yeah, and it just seems like having a Neapolitan Mastiff at a Petland is a disaster waiting to happen… like, people who go to Petland and say “hey, there’s a Neapolitan Mastiff, I think I should get it!” are probably the same people who really should not have a Neapolitan Mastiff (for their sake, and for the Neapolitan Mastiff’s sake!). They are not really “split second decision” type of dogs (not that any dog is/should be..), which that situation lends itself to a dog ownership decision being. Not saying the original poster in this case is that sort of person or that was the situation here, but….

  • Crazy4dogs

    OMG, I absolutely HATE Petland. All of the dogs in my area come from usda puppy mills. 🙁

  • Storm’s Mom

    Petland seems like such an odd place to get a neopolitan mastiff from… lucky for you that the food that you were “required” to feed upon purchase of the dog works for all the other ones you have!

  • Gregory Dupree

    Bought a neapoiltan mastiff in January from petland in Joplin Missouri, when we purchased him it was required that we feed him so much of this food, glad i switched all my dogs love it from the dogs i own now which is 8 weeks to 14 years old. I recomend it to everyone in the dobie club i belong to on facebook. It’s top notch!

  • Crazy4dogs

    I am from the midwest and just looked up Canine Corral in NY, and North Shore Animal League, NY,which I believe you are referring to. How can you possibly compare the 2? One sells puppies for profit and the other is a No Kill Animal shelter that rescues animals. If North Shore Animal League saves some of the poor animals in other countries, so what? As a foster for a rescue that pulls kill shelter dogs, I realize that there are more than enough animals to save in the USA, but at least they are saving lives. Canine Corral appears to be another Petland promoting puppy mills & if they are coming from Pennsylvania, that is one of the biggest puppy mill states in that area! Selling puppies in a pet store from brokers is just pathetic.

  • Shawna

    Other than being a bit low on protein the food doesn’t look horrible. That said, NO “responsible” breeder would sell their puppies through a pet store.

    Pennsylvania, like the state I am in, is a big puppy mill state. I will say though that not all puppy mills are horrendous as some others. Some millers and back yard breeders probably do care for their breeding stock and their puppies.

  • neezerfan

    What countries and surrounding islands do they import from?

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    99% of all puppies in pet stores are from puppy mills. No responsible breeder would ever put their puppies in a pet store.

    50% reviews for Canine Corral are negative…some very heartbreaking. Apparently half of the dogs sold can have issues and you can still afford to stay in business. That is the benefit of a high mark-up. And not many people are willing to return a sick puppy once they have fallen in love,..buyers can spend thousands in vet bills and still end up with a dead puppy or chronically sick dog…often with mental, emotional and financial devastation for the owner.. and lifelong trauma for a child or sensitive adult. So you not only exploit animals…you exploit those who buy them.

  • Ruby

    Apparently people like the puppies they get there or they would NOT still be in business. If these men were dealing with poor quality breeders WHY do you THINK they would put a FIVE YEAR health/death guarantee on each puppy…?????
    As long as you feed their recommended food & not some crap kibble. Yep I’m sure they would be in business for a loooonnnggg time if they were selling sick or unhealthy puppies. NOT!! Instead they have been in business what 20-30 yes or longer??
    The sell USA made and sourced food products and also puppies bred in the US.
    UNLIKE Northshore Animal league which imports THOUSANDS of dogs & puppies into NY from other countries and the surrounding islands.

  • Ruby

    Thank you for trying to be a voice of reason. These people travel and spend time talking to people and meeting their breeders. I met them here in Pennsylvania at a pet expo.
    Others should be careful about slanderious posts about individuals or businesses.

    Think about this is the owners of the pet store didn’t care about their puppies do you THINK they would offer a FIVE YEAR guarantee on their puppies… Do you THINK they would worry about feeding them decent kibble made and source in the US… Providing honest work for HOW many Americans????
    Animals have been part of our lives since the dawn of time – too many people forget that.

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    I know the people who own both Vets Choice Health Extension and Canine Corral….a pet store where puppies are sold. The readers here deserve to know what their money is supporting, especially since most dog lovers are vehemently opposed to puppy mills. Members also deserve to know if you represent this company in any capacity.

  • DogFoodie

    The food is obviously not agreeing with him. Can you imagine what’s happening on the inside if you’re seeing what you are on the outside. A change of food can make a huge impact as long as you’re not switching to another food that contains the same ingredient/s to which he’s intolerant. You need to figure out what the problem ingredients he’s eating are. You should compare the ingredients between the Pro Pac you were feeding to the Health Extension.

    I couldn’t agree more with Jeremy about a rotational diet. I change my dogs foods after each bag. For my Cavalier, that’s after each five pounds bag. She seldom eats the same thing twice. Ideally you should look for at least three foods that he likes and does well on that contain different animal proteins and different binder (starches).

    Trust me when I say, most Cavaliers aren’t that picky! Mine hurries to finish her food, then rushes to my Golden Retrievers bowl to see what she can steal from him. Currently, my Cavalier is eating Canine Caviar Chicken & Pearl Millet, which is a more limited ingredient food. Since your dog is eating chicken currently, I’d recommend their Lamb & Pearl Millet for you. Other grain free formulas my Cavalier likes and does well on are Orijen, Now Fresh, Victor, Wellness Core and Nature’s Variety Instinct.

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    I would not trust Health Extension products. The owner has a pet store called Canine Corral where puppy mill dogs are sold.
    do some research on this site re the importance of a rotational diet. Also consider adding some canned or dehydrated raw since kibble is not the healthiest
    And yes, it could be the shampoo. Sometimes it can take a
    while for a dog to build up intolerance to the chemicals or develop an
    allergy. Most pet shampoos are highly toxic so you may want to consider a
    more natural one like Earthbath.

  • GF

    When I adopted my ruby 20 lb purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from his former owner (she has MS and couldn’t keep him), she was feeding him Pro Pac dog food. His coat was silky, very shiny and he looked like a show dog. His hair looked gorgeous. We used up the remainder of the big bag of Pro Pac and during that time, Toby’s fur looked gorgeous. Then I couldn’t find Pro Pac so decided to try something else that I could get close to home. I switched him gradually to Health Extension Little Bites that I bought at Petland. He has been groomed and bathed regularly using the same brand of shampoo that the former owner used. HOWEVER, a year and a half of having him on Health Extension dog food, his coat has gone dull with no shine whatsoever and he itches even after shampooing/conditioning. So I know it must be the food, not the grooming, bathing. The vet says to try a change of food. Toby loves the taste of Health Extension and eats it right down BUT we are disappointed with his coat. He just turned 4 years old and he is a healthy dog. So I am switching him over to Nutro Ultra for small dogs. If he doesn’t improve after some months on that, I’m going to find Pro Pac somehow to put him back on. I’m not against Health Extension – just can’t use it for my dog.

  • syracuseny

    I have been using Vets Choice original for about a year. Used to use Natural Balance, but they sold out to Del Monte, and are now sourcing ingredients from China, so I switched to Merrick grain free. This made one of my dogs itch, so I went to the doggie health food store to get Vet’s Choice. The owner recommends using food with grain for older dogs, as it helps with digestion. So we went with Vet’s Choice Original, and my old dogs are doing great with it.

  • Russ Palmer

    These rumors really need to stop. A pet food company selling its food to local breeders does not make that company bad. I’ve seen their products given out at animal shelters.

  • losul

    They have done alot of clamping and closing down in the past few years, but I’m very ashamed to say that my home state of Missouri is probably still the puppy mill capital of the U.S. So sad…..

  • neezerfan

    Wow, I never knew that. Thanks for letting me know. Too bad, too. looks like a good food.

  • losul

    I think some dogs actually do better on kibbles using some grains vs the alternative carb and starch sources. But yes, do watch that weight or they could get more of a problem than gas. You might need to portion out rather than free feed.

    edit: Whoops, never mind. I see now that you said H.E. grain free, I was reading the review above with grains…

  • I used to give Wellness Grain Free. My son came with his Lhasa with a bag of Health Extension Grain Free. My dogs were smelling that food like crazy, so I decided to give some. They ate it all!!! My dogs were picky eaters, and with Wellness, I used to waste a lot of food. Now they eat both times, morning & afternoon. I have to watch on weight now, they are gaining some pounds. Right now they are fine, but I do not want them to be overweight. Also, I notice that they are digesting better, without running gas, which I think was the reason for stop eating with Wellness.

  • Amy Wheeler

    Thanks 🙂

  • Aleksandra Ninova

    Amy, I get my coupons straight from PetLand, but they stopped the free bag ones… now they only have the $10 off of a $25+ purchase which is still not bad! 🙂

  • Amy Wheeler

    Awesome!!!! Love this food for my cats so trying it with my dog. Where do you get the coupons? 😀

  • KMalk10

    Ask Ira – he owns Canine Corral in Huntington, too, the puppy store with 100% of the puppies shipped from Missouri.

  • KMalk10

    If you love dogs, please do not buy this food. The owner of Vets Choice also owns a puppy store called Canine Corral in Huntington, NY. By his own admission, he gets all the puppies he sells from Missouri.

  • Aleksandra Ninova

    My 11-12-lb Bruno (8-11-months old – we’re not
    sure just how old exactly he is, he was found in the bushes, so 8 and
    11 months is what two different vets have said that he would be now)
    Jack Russell-Rat Terrier Mix has has just finished his first bag of Vets’ Choice Holistic Health Extension Original (4lbs), mixed in with a Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy (11lbs). I really think that Vets’ Choice helped firm up his stool, which was a tad soft on BB Wilderness alone, and then became nice and super solid and well-formed. I get this food almost for free at my local PetLand (I get an $11.99 coupon once every 1 or 2 months, which makes a bag od the Original… FREE!) I have now purchased the Grain Free version (4lbs, for $1.64 after coupon!) to mix with Dr. Tim’s
    Kinesis GF (15lbs) and Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea GF (4lbs). So far he seems to like it, but I will write a review on the other 2 brands when his batch is done or almost done. But as long as I keep getting coupons for it, I will still be getting Vets’ Choice Holistic Health Extension Grain Free to mix with whatever “main” food my Bruno gets. He seems to do good on it as a “mixer”.

  • NCMtnGirl now sells it…..

  • InkedMarie

    I hadn’t heard of this food til recently,was at a pet expo this weekend & got samples.

  • Rob

    Dr Mike, can you please review the Grain Free, I am anxious to see why it is 4.5 and not 5 star.You have reviewed Vets choice a few times but never Grain Free. This company is local by me & has never had a recall, so I am a little hung up on them, thanks Rob

  • robert

    Hi! Carol , Chicken Soup is made by Diamond pet Foods , they are presently undergoing extensive recalls . Two of my dogs became very sick eating CS Senior. It wasn’t on CS’s list so I wouldn’t trust any of their products . Check out recalls on befor choosing a different food. Hope this helps . Robert

  • MrsB

    Name calling just makes you comment less credible.

  • lovemypets4life

    my 2 dogs (pitbull and maltipoo) are both on vets choice holistic health extension and they love it! they are very healthy, energetic, happy boys. there are NO recalls on there food that ive EVER seen unlike other dog foods. im a little bit of a health freak myself so im happy to know I feed my dogs the best dog food I can buy them

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  • Fern

    Yes I feed grain free and my pets love it ❤

  • Fern

    I feed vets choice grain free. All my pets love it and I love the quality of the food. I also love that they have never had any recalls.

  • Bichonlovers
    This web site will take you to their food and there is a tab that will take you to a page to look up the closest place to where you live. If that’s doesn’t work than their phone number is there to call them and ask. Hope this helps.

  • Bigcoupongirl

    I had a dog when I was growing up and he had vets dog food for many many years everyday. He lived to be 14 years old. I got a rescue dog and got her the shots and fixed etc. and want to feed her vets dog canned dog food but the because I live in a local store they do not carry vet dog food. I am looking to see if it is sold anywhere online.  That is how I ran across this site. 

  • Bichonlovers

    Thank you, I am going to switch to the grain free. What you said makes perfect sence.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Bichonlovers –

    The grain-free variety is better than the lite – imo. It’s higher in protein and grains aren’t good for dogs anyways. To get the glycemic index you’d have to contact the company and see if they have it. There’s no reason you need to feed a “lite” food to an overweight dog, in fact I personally wouldn’t as most diet foods are too low in protein and high in carbs. Just account for the extra fat and calories in the grain-free version by reducing the portion size.

  • Bichonlovers

    I also wrote this in another place and when I refire to the above I mean all the other lite foods listed on this web site.

  • Bichonlovers

    Then I wonder if the grain free would be a better choice for weight loss. One of the reasons I don’t choose any of the above is becasue there has been a recall at some point in the life of the company. Vets choice has never had a recall since they opened 1978. They are organic, they never import from china. I know the reasons this food is a **** and I have looked up the benifits of brown rice,garlic, beet pulp and they are really great for dogs. I love that I don’t have to worry about any recalls or stuff from china and that is is family owned. My boys and girls love the food too.

  • Bichonlovers

    I would like to feed the grain free in the vets choice but the fat content is higher. We have a girl that is over weight so we have her on vets choice lite.Which one is better? Do you know the glycemic level is in the lite?

  • BryanV21

    I’d try a different food before paying that much for the test. Besides, I’ve heard the test isn’t always definitive anyway. 

    Check out a grain-free food, which has an animal source other than chicken, lamb, or beef. Those things tend to be what a dog has an allergy or intolerance to. If you don’t see a difference after a couple of weeks, then go for the test. 

  • Ldssunshinelady

    having the same problem Don’t know what to do. Vet wants to do allergy testing about $400..Could it be the food we are feeding the dogs. Going crazy

  • Lis

    all the pet owners, You don’t have to buy this dog food ~ Holistic health extension thru online cause this dog food sell at your local pet store around you, one of my location where i live sell this dog food @ planet pooch its pet store and they sell pet accessories and Holistic health extension dog food, i wanted to buy this food recommended from breeders and all other poodle owners fed this food and highly recommended to me! Most of important is highly digestible and over all health!! and its organic chicken!

  • LA

    sorry about that – it turns out it is Vets Choice Health Extension  that I saw at the store – and it is made right here on Long island. Wondering if anyone recently using it?

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  • Shakope

    Yes, i just started this grain free. I was feeding Merricks Before Grains. I got samples of Grain free Vets Choice at the local pet store. So far its been very good for my 9 year old and my 13 week old Lab…
    My 9 year old has had problems since i got her. I started feeding grain free about 2 months ago. Merricks was alot better but her stool is much firmer now and alot easier to pick up. No diarrhea since we went grain free thopugh.

  • M Lally

    I love this Co products. ALL of them. They have Grain Free treats too if you didnt see that one already. Caught a glimpse of it recently when I was re-stocking.

  • Laurie M.

    Vets Choice also has a grain-free formula.  I was amazed at how well my Golden Retriever did on the grain-free food.  Does anyone here also feed the grain-free?

  • Michele

    I have a foster dog that I rescued who was neglected and abused. The vet wasnt sure if the dog was going to make it. And he had little to no appetite. I started him on Vets Choice Lamb & Rice dry and wet food. The probiotics in the food made a huge difference in him since he was on Antibiotics for so long. He loves the taste and is doing amazingly well. I love this food and would recommend it to anyone.

  • melissa


    I agree with Sandy in the fact that 2 days is not enough time to judge a food, especially for a dog that is covered in a rash. I would suggest a minimum of 6 weeks. Also, with such wide spread rashes, you may not see any true resolution in the skin itself until after the 1st week of the antibiotics. These things take time, especially when they have gone on for such a long period of time-

  • sandy


    I’m not sure that 2 days of a new food is long enough to see results as he has months of “build up” in his body. Also, antibiotics tend to destroy good bacteria in the gut (where the immune system is), which allows the bad stuff to overgrow, which decreases the immune system response and makes healing and fighting infection even harder. Adding a probiotic to help the immune system would be recommended. As far as a dermatologist is concerned, seeking the help of a homeopathic doctor or holistic vet might be better. Just from reading from others’ experiences from here and from another site, derms tend to just give more meds instead of getting to the root of the problem. Have you heard of leaky gut?

  • LOL, nice analogy, Mike!

  • Hi Catherine… It’s sometimes really difficult to choose between 2 similar (good quality) products. There’s no easy answer. Just take delight in the fact you’re going to compare a Lexus, a Mercedes and a BMW. Sure, for each of us, one will be more appealing.

    So, if you make an inferior choice, what’s the worst thing that can happen? No matter what, you’ll end up with a great car (or a great dog food). 🙂

  • Catherine

    Thank you for your words of wisdom! One more quick do you choose say between Brothers grain free kibble and another 5 star brand such as Orijen? If my pups problem does not get better following meds my plan B is to take him to a vet who specializes in Dermatology and allergies. Thank you so much.

  • Hi Catherine… Food is only the third leading cause of allergies in canines. It could be something else in the environment (like mites, insects, dust, pollen, etc.) So, until you can determine exactly what your dog is allergic to, you’ll just be guessing which each food to buy.

    In any case, protein sources (like chicken, beef, etc.), not grains, are typically the more common causes of food allergies.

    Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide reliable product suggestions for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Catherine

    Dear Mike, I recently purchased a toy Australian Shepherd who lived at the pet shop for approximately 6 months. He is now 8 months old. Owner told me “he has a rash on his leg” and it turns out he has it all over his body. Took him to the vets…(she had as well) he felt it was a bacterial infection- skin scraping did not show parasitic or mange. He is currently on an antibiotic for the next 2 weeks. But I looked up the food he had been eating and it was full of grain! (Royal Canin toy adult food). I thought maybe he’s allergic to the food. Switched him over to Vets Choice grain free health ext. 2 days ago but he’s still scratching. Only been on antibiotic 3 days. Any thoughts?

  • Hi Barbara… According to Champion Petfoods, Orijen has been using selenium yeast (a superior from of selenium) in its recipes since they changed to the new 80/20 formula last Fall. However, the packaging was improperly labeled with the words selenium selenite. I haven’t checked on their other product, Acana. So, you may wish to contact the company to confirm that Acana also uses selenium yeast. Hope this helps.

  • Barbara

    Hi Mike,
    I recently switched 2 of my dogs over to Health Extension Lite. They seem to be doing fine, good poops and they seem to like the taste. (Previously on Acana Wild Pairie) I was looking for something with a lighter fat content because they are going older and seem to be gaining weight because they are less active. My question is about the ingredient “sodium selenite.” I have read that although it is a necessary ingredient in all dog food “selenium yeast” is a safer way to go. (Life’s Abundance recognized this and made the change)
    Acana just lists selenium as an ingredient. What is your feeling? You did not comment on it as negative in your review.

  • Hi Diana… I don’t believe I’ve ever said my dog had an allergic reaction to Healthy Solutions. Bailey isn’t allergic to anything. And besides, I’m not aware of any dog food called Healthy Solutions.

    Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein. And it’s rich in other healthy nutrients. Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

    Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

    Allergies aren’t caused by yeast itself(or any other item). They’re caused by a dog’s own immune system, the immune system’s individual allergy to a specific item (like yeast).

  • Diana

    MIKE SAGMAN: You spoke about your dog having an allergic reaction to Healthy Solutions. The ingredient in this food that can cause an allergic reaction is Brewster’s Yeast. It is known that this ingredient can cause allergies in some dogs. Check this website for ingredient content in this food and it will tell you that Brewster’s yeast can cause allergies in some pets.

  • Hi Stephanie… Stool quantity can be related to a number of things, but most notably the total amount you’re feeding and the fiber content of the formula. And in any case, your dog’s daily fecal production may be “normal” for your specific pet.

    Since each dog has its own unique energy requirements (just like people), there’s no way to reliably predict the exact serving size that’s right for each pet. No matter what method you use.

    So, I’d suggest starting with the package’s feeding instructions. Always measure the food with a real measuring cup. Not a scoop. Never guess. Keep an accurate record of how much you’re feeding.

    Be sure to weigh your dog periodically (every few weeks or so). Then, simply adjust (titrate) that serving size up or down to establish and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

    Of course, determining the ideal weight for a growing puppy like yours can be a challenge. So, check with your vet, an experienced breeder or another canine professional.

    In the end, the titration method is the only real life method you can scientifically rely on. Hope this helps.

  • stephanie

    i have a 4 month wheaten terrier 12 lbs… I have been using the little bites, i was instructed to use 2/3 cup soaked in some water and then drained. great puppy, healthy and appetite is perfect, but she has been pooping like crazy! stools aren’t loose but today she went atleast 12x, maybe more! is something wrong with the amount I’m giving her/soaking in water, or is this not normal?

  • Bobby

    I just said Nutro cause that’s what he was eating before I tried this but he used to do the same thing with that Dry to so who knows.
    I just wish I could find a Dry that’s good for him and he’ll eat on a regular basis and not be so picky with.
    He loves the canned Nutro Lamb & Rice but the Dry…well not so much. Like it’s sits in his dish for a couple days…lol.

  • Bobby, why Nutro? It’s okay, but it is very potato heavy for the price. Have you tried Blue Wilderness or Wellness Core? Earthborn Primitive Natural tends to be very palatable. That one I recommend for “fussy eaters” all the time.

  • Bobby

    My Dog just started getting the grain free version around a week ago and he’s already started to dislike the food.
    At first he ate it right up now when I put a scoop in his dish he walks away.
    Might have to switch back to Nutro Grain Free.

  • Laurie M.

    Vet’s Choice now has a Health Extension Grain-free formula. It is chicken based and according to the label it has a protein level of 27% (min) and fat concent of not less than 18%, and also according to the label it is ideal for all life stages.

  • I started using Vets Choice Small Bites about two years ago for my smaller pups. Previously, I had been grinding up Chicken Soup for Puppy and adding water but I got to thinking that adding water to dog meal ( that is not sterile) was a way to grow bacteria if the food was not eaten all at once….and sometimes it’s not. I was having occasional bouts of diarrhea and thought it might be from leaving the dampened dry dog food in with the pups but I also was tired of grinding the food. Little Bites are the perfect size for pups who are still nursing and for pups who are newly weaned and weigh less than three pounds. They eat it easily, they love it very much. Once all the pups are at least 3lbs, I mix the little bites in with CSPLS and that is what most of my pups are eating when they leave here. I send home a bag of CS Puppy with the larger pups and a bag of Vets Choice Little Bites with any pups under 3lbs in weight. Vets Choice is harder to find in stores.

  • Hi Craig… Unfortunately, I do not track the glycemic index of each food in our database. However, some product lines are marketed as possessing a low glycemic index for diabetic dogs. For a few ideas, I’ve tagged these foods as I wrote the reviews. Just click the “tags” link on the red navigation bar at the top of this screen. Then choose the tag, “low glycemic”. You must do your own research to find the best one for your pet. And be sure to check with your vet. Hope this helps.

  • craig butler

    I have a mixed breed 24kg in weight. Overweight (chubby).
    Diagnosed with diabetes. Vet is putting him on insulin in the next few days.
    Need to know if Vets choice lite is fine to use as I require a dog food that keeps my pets glucose level low.
    Will appreciate a response as was initially recommended
    HILLS SCIENCE DIET, but have my reservations after viewing your blog.


  • Roger Prows

    Jacquelyn –

    The addition of probiotics to your dogs diet can help substantially as well!

  • Hi Jacquelyn… Though the most likely culprit is the animal protein, your dog could be allergic to almost any specific ingredient. Allergies are not caused by any food but by a dog’s own immune system. If you’re fairly certain your dog is having an allergic reaction to the food, stop feeding it immediately and try something else. Try one with a different meat protein first. And consider using a limited ingredient dog food.

  • Jacquelyn

    is there a place to ask a “general” question? I have a 10 lb 3 yr old dog that seems to be sensitive to allergies (vets only want to give generic shots) -so I decided to try corn free food- got samples of “Taste of the Wild” at pet store – he seemed to like it and they had to order it -husband picked it up and they gave him “Vets choice Little Bites” instead, so we tried it- But He has been Non Stop scratching since – is there something in it that would cause it? PLEASE please help me can’t go on another day !!!

  • Mike
    didn’t mean to give that impression at all. I had not carried an Holistec food in the store before because I couldn’t justify the over priced prices and when I saw or was introduced to Vets Choice and I saw the price I was very impressed. Then after I was carring it for many months I found out that it was associated with Millers wellness center through whom I have been buying my herbs to treat my puppies and have had very great success with any problem they may get and it has been wonderfull. Now with the Vets Choice and the rare occasion that I may have to treat any puppy I couldn’t be a happier camper. Yes I really like Vets Choice and do recomend it to my customers with great eagarness. The pups look great also and don’t seem to require a whole lot of food and the stools are good.

  • Hi Nancy… While reading your comment, I get the impression you believe you’re speaking directly with the manufacturer of Vets Choice Dog Food. Please be aware I’m an independent dog food reviewer. I don’t make or sell any dog foods.

  • nancy pilsen

    I own a Pet retail store in Fla.. Royal Pets started to carry your food and for the fact that it was VERY reasonale priced
    holistic food and that it was prepared with decent ingredience I thought that it would be a good food to try to put up against all the extrodiarly high priced Holistic food on the market. Your food is fed in my Pet Store and the pups seem very satisfied and this has allowed me to be able to sell more of it when and if I sell a puppy. A feeding program would be nice! Like the food and so do my pups and and my at my home they like it also. i’M GLAD that I took it in and can sell it. It far out does the other holistic foods as far as I am concerned, especially at price point.

    Nancy, Splash Landing, Jupiter, Fl.

  • misbeepers

    I have been feeding and selling Vets Choice for a while now and my results are remarkable. I show various toy breeds and the small bites are always received well. I also have a not for profit rescue for mainly small breeds and when the kibble is too small for some of the dogs they always enjoy the original. The lite is 50% less fat but the dogs still enjoy the taste. This is extremely important as I am also a groomer and alot of my clients are a little chubby. My customers are amazed at the small stools and the fact that it doesn’t smell up the house if the dog has an accident or potties on pads.
    My only complaint is it is difficult to find for some of my clients that have moved too far from me to purchase. I will ship but most people wait till the last minute to realize that they are out of food. We need to get this food in more stores so that all dog and cat owners can relax about their pets nutrition.

  • We are a breeder of top quality champion line havanese. I have used several other top quality foods and have found our babies had loose/runny stools never consistent. We had come from a top quality food which was holistic w berries and veggies. After alot of thought I have never seen a pup in the woods strolling for fruits and berries and decided to look for a holistic food with meat. We came upon Vets Choice and will feed nothing else. Love the stools always consistent and the coats have never looked better. The kibble is small enough to feed to our teacups which I have found sometimes impossible to find. Love this food would and do recommend it to all our extended family’s.

  • Dee

    My 5 month old Maltese is on the little bites and she is doing very well. I am a new dog owner and I only want the best for our pet so that she will be with our family for years to come.

  • sal


    Why not just email the company in Long Island and have it shipped. Gas is expensive!!!

  • I’ve been using the Little Bites dog food for about 4 months now. All my dogs love it including the finicky ones, and they are all doing great on it. I had been having problems with other “quality” dog foods, two of my dogs consistently had a loose or runny stool, no matter which foods I tried. (including raw) On the recommendation of a friend who has a relative of my dogs, I tried Vet’s Choice Little Bites. Almost immediately the loose stools stopped! There is no retailer in my area, so I drive almost 200 miles to pick up the food each month! It’s worth it as far as I’m concerned.

  • sal

    I know the owner of the company and he really cares and buys the best ingredients. It is widely used in the show community. As far as kibbles go, I would only use that or my favorite Annamaet. The rest are just pretenders.

    I think you think the dogs don’t like the taste because it is a very hard kibble and they eat it slowly. Its not the taste its the fact its very hard and dense. I notice the same thing when one of my dog eats it.

  • oded

    Sal. How is it better?
    I’ve been feeding it for a few months now. the dogs looks OK although they are not crazy about the taste.
    I’m going to stick with it for now since I cant find anything else right now that is a good quality food in my price range. (acana is hardly sold anymore, where I live and Orijen is just to expensive)

  • matt

    check out dr. miller’s garden pre-mix at and – it’s the best food in america. we back it up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

  • sal

    this is a better food than acana, dont get sucked in the champion hype

  • oded

    Thank you for this review! I decided to try this brand about tow weeks ago, after my supplier insisted that it is as good as as acana dry food. So far my two dogs seem to enjoy it but considering the the relatively low protein content (relative to acana/orijen) and the average price, I would probably go back to acana next time.
    Since their is no indication of calories/kg on the bag or on the web site, I’ve emailed the manufacturer and got this numbers back:
    The Original and Little Bites formula have 418 Kcal/Cup 3678/kg
    The Lite formula has 385 Kcal/Cup 3394/kg
    The Lamb & Brown Rice formula has 365 Kcal/cup 3213/kg
    Comparing These numbers with those of th better quality foods clearly shows that it is cheaper to feed the better quality food.