Wellness Complete Health Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Wellness Complete Health Grain Free product line includes 6 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Large Breed [M]
  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Puppy (5 stars) [G]
  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Small Breed (5 stars) [M]
  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Lamb and Lamb Meal (4 stars) [M]
  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Chicken and Chicken Meal (4 stars) [M]
  • Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Menhaden Fish Meal (4 stars) [M]

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Menhaden Fish Meal was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Menhaden Fish Meal

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Whitefish, potatoes, peas, menhaden fish meal, chickpeas, dried ground potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, ground flaxseed, tomatoes, natural fish flavor, carrots, sweet potatoes, choline chloride, spinach, vitamin E supplement, taurine, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, apples, blueberries, niacin, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, vitamin A supplement, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, chicory root extract, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, Yucca schidigera extract, garlic powder, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%13%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%29%45%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.1

Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

The fifth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient lists dried ground potatoes, a dehydrated potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet possibly with more protein.

The seventh ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

The ninth 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.

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 three notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, 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.3

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 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.

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Complete Health Grain Free 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 29%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.

Wellness 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.

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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.

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

09/13/2017 Last Update

  1. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. 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)
  • ChrissyW

    Hi Susan! 🙂 yes there is a new one out,i don’t think there is a review for it yet,the turkey one.Has no canola or garlic powder.For small breed.

  • lani

    I don’t like to see white potatoes in a dogfood…it’s just a filler more then anything its seems to me there is little nourishment value in a potato.

  • lani

    Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Menhaden Fish Meal

  • ChrissyW

    bump

  • ChrissyW

    Sorry if i missed it! is there a review for the new Complete Health,small breed,deboned turkey,chicken meal & salmon? i see no garlic powder or canola oil on their site.Thank you 🙂

  • Susan

    Hi, looking at all the grain free complete health formulas ingredient lists, the Adult Lamb & Lamb Meal, looks the best, at 422Kcals per cup…it has Lamb, Lamb Meal then potatoes, peas, dried ground potatoes, chickpeas, menhaden fish meal, tomato pomace, chicken fat, ground flaxseed… http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product-details.aspx?pet=dog&pid=232

  • Shea

    My little terrier really likes this food. I had to change her to a food with less fat and calories. She has had no stomach troubles with this at all. I also top it with Wellness Mini Filets or Shredded Medleys.