Wellness Core Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Wellness Core Grain Free product line includes 6 canned 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.
Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.
- Core Grain Free Puppy [A]
- Core Grain Free Weight Maintenance [M]
- Core Grain Free Beef, Venison and Lamb [M]
- Core Grain Free Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver [M]
- Core Grain Free Turkey, Pork Liver and Duck (4.5 stars) [M]
- Core Grain Free Whitefish, Salmon and Herring (4.5 stars) [A]
Wellness Core Grain Free Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Wellness Core Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken broth, chicken liver, turkey liver, sweet potatoes, chicken meal, ground flaxseed, carrageenan, guar gum, carrots, apples, spinach, parsley, blueberries, broccoli, kale, potassium chloride, salt, chicory root extract, Yucca schidigera extract, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||50%||34%||8%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||59%||6%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
The second ingredient is turkey, another quality, raw item.
Both chicken and turkey are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The next two items include chicken and turkey liver. These are organ meats sourced from named animals and thus considered beneficial components.
The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The seventh ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
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, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, 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.
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 Core Grain Free
Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Core Grain Free dog food looks like an above-average canned 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 11% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a generous amount of meat.
However, with 59% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 36% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Wellness Core Grain Free is a canned dog food using a liberal amount of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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
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.
- 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
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
01/23/2019 Last Update