Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Wellness Complete Health Grain Free product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to check prices and read reviews from actual buyers at an online retailer.
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Large Breed [M]
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Puppy [G]
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Small Breed [M]
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Lamb and Lamb Meal [M]
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Chicken and Chicken Meal [M]
- Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Menhaden Fish Meal [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
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 denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||13%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||29%||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 next 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 that 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 next 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 Wellness product.
With 4 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.
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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
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 Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
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%.
Which means this Wellness product line contains…
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 significant amount of meat.
Wellness Complete Health Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
More Top Picks
Wellness Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Wellness. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Wellness Dog Food Recall of March 2017 (3/18/2017)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall October 2012 (10/30/2012)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall May 2012 (5/5/2012)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- 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) ↩
07/31/2020 Last Update