Wellness Stews (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★★

Wellness Stews Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Wellness Stews 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.

  • Wellness Turkey Stew [A]
  • Wellness Lamb and Beef Stew [A]
  • Wellness Beef Stew Grain Free [A]
  • Wellness Chicken Stew Grain Free [A]
  • Wellness Venison and Salmon Stew [A]
  • Wellness Turkey and Duck Stew Grain Free [A]

Wellness Turkey Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wellness Turkey Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, water sufficient for processing, turkey liver, barley, egg whites, carrots, potato starch, celery, guar gum, oat fiber, eggs, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, cobalt proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement), choline chloride, rosemary, sage, thyme

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%22%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%44%21%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is turkey broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The fourth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The sixth ingredient includes egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.

The seventh ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The ninth ingredient is celery. Although raw celery can be very high in water, it can still contribute a notable amount of dietary fiber as well as other healthy nutrients.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 Stews Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Stews looks like an above-average wet 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 44%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

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

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Wellness Stews is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

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 Chewy.com 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

07/13/2017 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  • Diane

    Koha is a great food and gluten free and grain free!

  • helloyou27

    I have my 7-month goldendoodle on a mix of the Wellness puppy formula and these stews. She’s picky and gets bored easily, so it helps to rotate the different flavors. So far she’s doing pretty well on this mixture.

  • Crazy4cats

    Shoot, sorry to hear that. I’m sure it’s frustrating. Hope you get it figured out.

  • Hiya!
    Actually they’re not going so well. Food allergies again. ugh. I posted on the forum about it.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Peggy-
    Long time no see! Glad to hear things are still going well.

  • I split a can of stew between my JRT (30%) and the Lab/shepherd (70%), on top of their kibble a couple of times per week. Next to Salmon day, this is their favorite food day.

  • Susan

    There’s the Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product-details.aspx?=dog&pid=148 or the Toy Breed Senior Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Elaine:
    I am not sure what percentage of fat you need for your dogs. I feed Wellness Core Weight Management in my “low fat” canned rotation.

    Here is an article from Dogaware with info on low fat diets. Included are a few formulas for figuring out the fat content in commercial and fresh foods towards the bottom of the page. You will also find info on low fat commercial foods, fresh foods, and resources/references for further research within those charts. Good luck with your pups!

  • Elaine Squires Romagnano

    I have a yorkie and a yorkie poo and they both have been diagnosed with pancreitis. My Yorkie is Also over weight. I have them on the Wellness weight management. I want to know What the best can of Wellness would be Good to mix with the dry food.

  • Lin

    Thank you so much for this site. I am fostering a cute 10 year old long haired Chihuahua who has been through it. Had cancer and a double mastectomy along with having all but one tooth removed. Her previous owners neglected an infected tooth that spread. They left one as it could have broken her jaw to remove. Anyway the aspca gave me mighty dog to feed her which made her smell horrible, her poop was so wet and stunk something horrible. I always heard her belly making noise and knew it had to be the food. After hours of researching and price checking I decided to try the wellness brand as she refused toeat any more mighty dog. She ababsolutely loves the stews. They are chunky but I mash it with a fork to a pate consistency. Just an fyi to owners who have toothless fur babies, they may sneeze or choke while eating soft food as they tend to accidentally inhale it through their nostrils as they try to lap up their food. So I try and make sure to remove any excess gravy. I alternate between the wellness complete and again she LOVES it! The best part, seh is no longer stinky and her poop has become a little more solid. She is also under weight and has gained half a pound since eating this brand.

  • ncdave77

    Our dachshunds are split between Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Whitefish recipe and Wellness Small Breed Healthy Weight Turkey recipe. Kibble is tiny, no issues for their teeth. Finding them in stores is hit-or-miss so I’ve been grabbing them from Chewy. I’ve noticed less gas and upset then when they were on Blue.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I just sort of composed a recipe from various ones I had read online. Here is the link to my post in the forums about it, which includes the recipe: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/has-anyone-made-homemade-dog-treats/#post-59865

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    What kind did you make?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Thanks! I was making dog treats earlier today and just wanted to check.

  • aimee

    Yup 1 Calorie= 1kcal ME

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Thanks! I actually get it now! So is one Calorie in human food the same as one kcal/cup ME?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Yes, it also makes it easier to mix with kibble. I like to use the homogenous canned foods for making treats, but for toppers it doesn’t really matter.

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    Wellness Stews are a staple in my girls canned food rotation. Chunky is good! A lot of the lesser quality canned stews have too much water and not enough chunks of food. Go! canned stews are nice and chunky too.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I was a bit thrown off by the chunky consistency of this food, but Lily loves it. It is not that high-calorie and so a can doesn’t last that long, but I still top her kibble with it sometimes.

  • Pat C.

    Does anybody know if there is a known ingredient that causes eye staining? Just recently started on my pup.

  • Jackie

    I am trying to find a canned dog food and a dry one that is good for renal failure. I have been feeding Earthborn but I know that I have to watch phosphates especially. I noticed the Wellness had a lot of great ingredients, but then saw the sodium phosphates was one of the upper ingredients and she has to watch both sodium and phosphates….She doesn’t like Hills and there isn’t enough protein for her in there…. any suggestions would be great, thanks…

  • dchassett

    No. Thank you. Finally someone with a crystal clear explanation.

  • aimee

    , Dori and Patty thanks for your “reviews” of my explanation. I’m glad it came across clearly. I was afraid I’d might complicate the matter further.

  • dchassett

    Wow! Aimee. I am so grateful for this explanation. This has confused the hell out of me for years and no matter how I tried to get it straight I couldn’t. With your one post, I GET IT! Woohoo!!! I am so thrilled and forever grateful to you and this site. Seriously, Aimee, thank you thank you.

    I’ve just done a copy/paste and am going to stick it to my refrigerator and as a sticky on my computers.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Fantastic explanation, Aimee!!

  • aimee

    Hi Olivia,

    Nutritionists have their own “language” that is used to ensure that they are all “on the same page” I hope I don’t complicate this more : )

    The energy available to the animal after eating a particular item is referred to as ” metabolizable energy” or ME. This number is less then the amount of energy in the food item if it was burned as fuel in an actual fire. Nutritionists report food energy as ME so everyone knows they mean the energy measures when used as fuel by an animal (not by a fire). The term ME though isn’t tagged on after the calorie content of a food by non nutritionists, but that is what is meant. So 320 kcals/can ( non nutritionist speak)is the same as 320 kcals ME/can nutritionist speak.

    Another source of confusion is the word calorie. The confusion in the term calorie is a matter of lower case “c” vs an upper case “C” . A calorie (lower case c) is a tiny unit of measure. Food energy is usually reported in dog foods as kilo(1000) calories ( kcals) which is 1000 calories (lower case “c”).

    On human nutrition labels though we don’t see food energy reported as “kcals” we see “Calories” A “Calorie” with a upper case “C” equals 1000 calories with a lower case “c” 1 Calorie ( big “C”) = 1000 calories ( little “c”) = 1 kcal (little “c”)

    When most people write “calorie” though they use the lower case “c” but what they really are referring to is a Calorie upper case “C” Take for example the dog food calculator on this site. In the boxed calculator “step 3” we see calories/cup or calories/kg when it should actually read Calories/cup or Calories/kg. Dr Mike has it reported correctly in the article “Calories per cup (kcal/cup)” Big C: )

    Nutritionists report Calories(kcals) per unit of weight of a food not volume because weight is a more accurate measurement. So when animal nutritionists speak to each other they will report the energy content of a food as kcals/kg ME. The company isn’t trying to make it difficult for us to understand how many Calories(kcals) are in their foods, they are just following the standard “language” in the field of nutrition.

    But it is confusing to us non nutritionists because we are used to talking about Calories/ volume food. So if I were to write I fed my dog a cup of food with 320 calories( I used the little c in error). What I just said in “nutrition speak” is I fed my dog a cup of food with 320 kcals ME or 320 Calories ME.

  • Zyekitty

    They put the calorie count on some of the cans like the Beef but not other ones. I don’t know why…that seems really odd, you would think they would provide the same info for all of their products. The whole kcal/kg thing just confuses people and having inconsistent label info (calorie amounts on some cans but not others) does look bad and makes it harder to figure out how much to feed your dog.

    I didn’t mean to sound rude when I said it was on the can…I was just trying to say that I don’t think they are lying about how many calories are in their food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Kcal/kg=cal/kg. You can’t drop the /kg. So does the can say how many grams of food are in it?

    I really prefer plain English rather than having to do a math problem every time I want to know something.

  • Olivia

    Thanks all for the info., very helpful. But just an FYI, on the cans I have there is no “calorie count” listed… If Kcal/kg equals calories then you all have taught me something and answered my original question, thanks again!

  • Zyekitty

    Like CrazyforCat’s said it is on their web site. It is also on some of their cans. I have a can of the Beef stew and it says 362 calories on the can. I don’t think they are trying to be deceptive.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The definition of calorie vs kcal depends on the branch of science you are working in. When it comes to food and nutrition, they are the same.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Technically 1 kilocalorie = 1,000 calories. Kcals. are a common unit of energy used in science so if you were taking physics or something this would be the case. However, in the dog food world the terms calorie and kilocalorie are used interchangeably. So kcal per kg means how many calories per kg of food. The calorie count is what it says – 320 per can.

  • Crazy4cats

    The calorie counts are on their website.

  • Olivia

    Actually “kcal/kg” is a measurement of energy vs. caloric content, not actual “calories”. 1 kcal = 1000 calories. But that’s like comparing apples to oranges. There is a formula to convert but it’s subjective. Bottom line is Wellness does not tell what the calorie content is in their food. I did try to call but can’t get a live person until Monday. But thanks for your answer, I hope it’s right, would love to confirm it’s 320 calories per can, that would be perfect! And honestly, I think its b.s. that they just don’t put the calorie number plain and simple. It should not be this confusing.

  • Zyekitty

    The 905/kcal/kg is if you want to gram out your dog’s food. There are 12.5 ounces in 1 can of the Wellness Stews which is equal to .354 kg. so 905 kcal x .354 = 320 kcal. kcal are the same as calories. So 1 can has 320 calories.

    Another person got confused about the same thing on a different food awhile ago.

  • Olivia

    Hi again, I just saw all of the responses and would like to thank each one of you for taking the time for your input. I received an email notice on my cell phone that there was a a post but it wasn’t up until I logged on to my laptop that I saw all of them…
    I guess I should clarify my mindset a bit. Over 600 calories per can sounds high to me. But maybe I’m wrong. That’s what I don’t know. I mean, even food for a human that has between 600-up to 900 calories in a can, no matter what is is, is packed with something that’s not too healthy. Think a can of tuna packed in water (90 calories per can, 0 fat), versus say…Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli (900 calories, 15 grams of fat). My thought process is more toward what “kind” of fat is in this dog food. Yikes, I didn’t mean to turn this into a whole weird discussion (my own doing), but, it has me thinking is all…also, since my dog has been on Wellness for so long, it’s making me wonder if they have changed what’s in the food. For example, not only has he gained weight over the last 6- months, but for the first time in time in his ENTIRE life, he is beginning to have eye staining….and no, nothing has changed in his environment. Nothing. Environmentally, or emotionally. He is a beautiful animal (with or without the staining), but, and one of the things that people always notice/comment on has been his healthy coat and lack of staining. He was actually used in a promotional calendar for our local SPCA chapter. My concern is 100 percent about health. But the sudden staining and weight gain (over 6- months) has me wondering. Since he does not eat people food, or “treats”, and his water is changed twice a day and the bowl washed each time, it is easy for me to narrow it down to the Wellness.

  • Olivia

    Thank you very much for the responses…first I should clarify that my dog just had a complete yearly physical and he is in perfect health. I discussed his weight gain with the vet and he wasn’t concerned at all. My dog only gained 1/2 lb., but, moving forward I would like him to remain healthy and happy. So you don’t all think I’m obsessive about “weight”, I was really only trying to figure out the calorie content and nutritional ‘value”. The Wellness website actually says;
    “The food contains 905 kcal/kg or 320 kcalcan ME (metabolizable energy”. From what I can tell googling “kcal/kg” it puts the actual calorie count at around 600. That is what I need help figuring out. I mean come on Wellness, just put the calorie content on your website, or the can for that matter, in “plain English”. It’s giving me the impression they are trying to hide it. I am fortunate to have a dog who does not over eat. It’s weird, but, he will eat what’s in his dish but stops when he’s full…usually depens on how much activity he’s had. In reality he eats about 3/4 of a can total in a 24 hour period of time. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to assur every one he is healthy. Honestly just trying to understand the whole “905kcal/kg” thing.

  • Zyekitty

    The wellness 95% Chicken Recipe has 638 cals per can…is that what you are looking at when you say it appears to have over 600 cals per can? The 95% recipe is different that the stews. Not sure where else you would find a statement about there being 600 cals per can. Hope things turn out well for your dog, my guy loves this food too….just got back from the pet store and was thinking about your little one.

  • Zyekitty

    I have a 6 pound yorkie, I started feeding him this about 2 weeks ago. I feed him 1/3 can per day. I feed him 3x a day and add 4 or 5 instinct raw boosts bite size treats to each meal. Not sure if this is relevant to your dog’s size etc.

    You said you have been feeding wellness stews for 4 years and he has only started gaining weight recently. So I feel like it probably isn’t from the food. You might want to take your dog to the vet. Like Patty said your dog might have thyroid issues and/or other metabolic problems.

  • Pattyvaughn

    For a small dog like a Maltese, the difference between 1/4 to 1/2 a can is huge. When you feed 1/2, you may be doubling what your dog needs. Your dog probably has a slow metabolism and actually needs less. Try giving just 1/4 can twice a day for a while and see if the weight comes off. You may have to adjust to 1/3 can, but the only way to know is to feed an amount for a while and watch your dog’s body condition.
    One other thing, sometimes when dogs are eating the right amount and gain weight and don’t lose the weight when put on a diet, it is because they have thyroid or other metabolic issues and may need blood work to figure it out.

  • Their website states it has 320 cal/can for the chicken stew. You can always call their customer service line or shoot them an email just to verify. Are Maltese dogs small? My pugs, ages 6 to 9 normally eat one can or less (if the food is over 400 calories) and they weigh 23 to 27 lbs. They’re lap dogs.

  • Without exact figures as reported by the company and a good calculator, it would be impossible to determine the precise serving size.

    However, from our Dog Food Calculator page, here’s my very best advice:

    “Since each dog has its own unique energy needs, it’s impossible to accurately predict the exact serving size that’s right for your pet.

    “So, start with the package’s feeding instructions or the amount suggested by our calculator.

    “And be sure to weigh your dog every few weeks.

    “Then, simply adjust that suggested serving size up or down to reach and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.”

    And be sure to use a kitchen measuring cup. Not a generic scoop or a drinking glass.

    Hope this helps.

  • Olivia

    Hello, my question is to the “reviewer”. I am having a terrible time trying to figure out the actual calorie count in one can of the Wellness Chicken Stew. They have a confusing (to me) statement. I hope I am wrong, but it appears to be over 600 calories per can. I have a male, 6 year old Maltese. I have fed him the Wellness Stews for about 4- years. Recently, he has gained weight. I feed him 1/4-1/2 a can twice a day, once in the morning, once at night. The recommended calorie intake for my dog, (taking into his age, breed, activity level) is 390 calories per day. I do not ever, ever give him “people food”, or “treats”. Please don’t every one say I’m mean, he is very happy! Any way, since he does not eat other “stuff”, the weight gain is coming from the Wellness. And, if in fact it does have over 600 calories per can that would explain it. He is a small dog, average activity level. I doubt this would be an issue for a large breed, but, in your opinion where are the calories coming from in this food? From the “fat”? My dog is very healthy, happy and active….and loves this food. Thanks. (Love your blog)

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, definitely a good change.

  • jay

    i bought some today and he loved it 🙂 mixed it with the wellness core for puppy and he loved that too glad i took him off beneful

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, it’s rated for growth and maintenance. It sounds yummy!

  • neezerfan


  • jay

    can i feed this to my 7 month old shih tzu/papillon?

  • Tony

    Ross you are still here? The people who keep down voting all of your posts and keep praising each other have not flagged you yet for having a different opinion ? You must be a very resiliant person for being among this polorizing group. I have seen it all. Including posts they coveniently get deleted or dissappear, I wonder who would do such a thing…

  • You said, “I read things very carefully and see the bias and inaccuracy. I don’t think its unfair for you to be challenged, by me or anyone if your posts are inaccurate or part of an agenda.”

    Because of your misrepresentation of the AAFCO guidelines, you are apparently the one with posts that are “inaccurate or part of an agenda”.

    By the way, there’s a huge difference between challenging someone and the mean-spirited way in which you harshly rebuke others who are here to help.

  • You said, “The term by-product is a very misleading term on a dog food label, as it only applies to avian ingredients, not mammal.”

    Contrary to your own misleading comment, the official AAFCO definition of meat by-products follows. I have added the underlining to call attention to your intentional error:…

    “Meat by-products is the non rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves.”

    To quote your own words, “It is amazing how freely you offer advice without having correct information.”

  • Pattyvaughn

    The only thing I implied was that because of how the AAFCO defines by products, you don’t know what quality they are. You are clearly the one with an agenda.

  • rossc.

    This is what you wrote “As far as by products go, you need to remember the AAFCO term “by products” basically allows low quality mystery meat to be used in foods.” You are misleading people. You are implying that the term “by-product” implies low quality whereas the term “chicken hearts & lungs” which you prefer implies high quality. The “chicken hearts & lungs could be from diseased birds and covered with maggots whereas “chicken by-product meal” could be from pristine even organic birds. Where I live Bell & Evans is a pretty big producers of high quality chicken. Where do you think all the parts we don’t eat go? Let’s take the ingredient “chicken by-product meal”. What could possibly be in that ingredient that is a mystery? Nothing. We all know the parts of a chicken. I read things very carefully and see the bias and inaccuracy. I don’t think its unfair for you to be challenged, by me or anyone if your posts are innaccurate or part of an agenda.

  • Even though many of your comments are contributory and have merit, some others do not.

    Your condescending, provocative and arrogant treatment of other posters (as demonstrated by your last comment here) is unwelcome and a clear violation of our rules.

    Stalking, provoking and criticizing others here who make a genuine effort to help others will not be tolerated.

    Please consider yourself duly warned.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Seriously?!? Did you actually read what I said?!? I didn’t say the term by products has anything to do with quality. I said because of how AAFCO defines the term, it allows dog food companies to use low quality mystery meat. This is the third time in recent weeks that you have tried to correct me claiming I said something that I didn’t say. You are clearly harassing me. And I totally agree that it could apply to crappy grain free foods. I never said that grain free foods are automatically better than grain inclusive foods. Did you bother to read anything I wrote before you decided you, once again, had to harass me?

  • Ross C.

    The term by-product is a very misleading term on a dog food label, as it only applies to avian ingredients, not mammal. If you see a label that says, “lamb meal”, for example, the ingredients could be any tissue of the lamb including muscle, organs, intestines, connective tissue but not hoof and hair.

  • Ross C.

    This is totally incorrect. The term by product has nothing to do with quality. The skin, hearts, liver, and feet from the finest chicken is still “by-product” under the definition. Similarly, other definitions do not reflect on quality. Chicken Meal is Chicken Meal is Chicken Meal. It does not mean it is high quality. No definition is a reflection on quality. It is amazing how freely you offer advice without having correct information. Your other statement could equally to apply to many of the crappy Grain Free foods that are recommended.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The point is that liver, kidney, etc. are very healthy for dogs, but because AAFCO definitions are what dog food companies are allowed to go by, you can not trust an ingredient labeled as “by products.” The higher quality foods that use by products that are actually healthful will label the individual parts that they use, such as turkey liver, instead of turkey by products. Yes, you can feed some really nice cuts of meat for what good dog food costs, but you still need to balance it, which isn’t expensive, just time consuming and very much worth it, IMO. I like to make big batches of raw food then portion it out and freeze it and have food for a while. If you research making balanced homemade raw, you will see that they recommend that 10% of the diet be organ meats. Those are quality by products and very healthy.

  • torontogal6636

    Thanks Patty! I have a problem with the AAFCO guidelines. I dont believe that ANY dog should be fed with products whether it be what they view as high or low grade types of mystery meat or animals. For the price of a can of 5 star dog food … you could buy LITERALLY buy filet mignon (seriously! I calculated it!) and put high grade veggies in it and grains or no grains and it would be less expensive than what 5 star and 4 star dog food charge per can. For the amount they charge per can, they should be helo accountable to make SURE these foods have a MUCH higher quality food and that MUST include NO BY PRODUCTS and should be of a human grade type food … rather than simply AAFCO current guidelines. BTW, those guidelines apply to ALL foods. Thanks

  • Pattyvaughn

    Most dogs don’t have any problems with grains. The problem is that most grain inclusive foods have tons of grain and are lacking the meat that dogs need to thrive. If you make sure you are getting a 4 or 5 star food, then you are getting plenty of protein.
    As far as by products go, you need to remember the AAFCO term “by products” basically allows low quality mystery meat to be used in foods. There are high quality by products, but you should look for them to be listed individually, as the example above does with turkey liver.

  • torontogal6636

    Is grain free truly better for all dogs? How about regular sized chihuahuas that are 4years old? Also what about by products? Does the Wellness stews contain by products of any kind? Thanks

  • CathyandLucy

    Just gave this to my overweight 4yr sheltie Pomeranian mix Lucy and she loved it!! She’s 22.5lbs and needs to loose about 7lbs mixed it with a little of her old food and the wellness core low fat dry food and she liked the stew better then the dry but still ate the dry. Smells and looks great and she agrees! Thanks for all the info it made one happy pup!

  • ngrrsn

    Natural flavors? I don’t like this term when I see it listed on pet products! Is it chicken broth or sourced? Lard? What is the source of the “natural flavors” and why did they list it? If you have a dog with a food intolerance, this is worrisome!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Dogs are actually what are known as “facultative carnivores”. Cats are obligate carnivores.

  • Alexis

    Dogs are NOT obligate carnivores… they are OMNIVORES.

  • Hello Chong,
    All grains aren’t good for carnivores or obligate carnivores.

    Only three of Wellness Stews are grain-free. Roger Biduk

  • Valerie

    Our dog is an extremely picky eater as well, for years we have tried to give her meats in with grain free high quality dog food. She always gets bored after a bit. We have tried the wellness stews mainly Beef, Lamb and will try the venison & salmon. We believe she has a chicken allergy. Anyway she LOVES, LOVES these stews. The BPA mention is a concern but at her older age I am just grateful she eats and loves her food. Bella is an 11 year old German Shepherd.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If a product truly is grain free it won’t contain gluten.

  • Peggy Chong

    thanks!  if the food stated that they are grain free, can I assume that they are gluten free?  My dog is allergic to gluten, I am now trying hard to source him some gluten free wet food but since most of the pet shop in my place (HK) they dont distribute gluten-free products and the only thing they have is grain-free (in fact, grain-free products are very limited in HK).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Barley – along with wheat and rye – is one of the three primary gluten containing grains. Other grains – such as oats – which don’t naturally contain gluten are often contaminated with gluten as well. Your best bet would be finding a grain free food or a food without wheat, barley and rye and verifying with the company that it’s gluten free.

  • Chong Peggy

    but i saw there is Barley as one of the ingredient. Does Barley contains gluten? is this a gluten free wet food?

  • If you haven’t seen the “Suggested Low Fat Foods” list yet, there are actually several canned foods listed on there.

  • Maybe you can rotate with Weruva Human Style.  It is very low fat.

  • Marie0304

    REALLY hoping I can alternate the Wellness stews (all are 4% fat) with Wellness Simple (the 5% fat salmon; lamb is too high at 8% fat) for my 15 1/2 year-old terrier mix. Buddy is obviously part schnauzer and has developed a chronic “smoldering” pancreatitis along with some renal failure over the past year. I have him on 250mg Flagyl twice a day and Pepcid twice a day. He mainly has some intermittent bouts of diarrhea. Thankfully the vet gave me some Lomotil to use as needed. That stuff works great! ;0) Now if I can just figure out what foods to feed him as he was not a fan of boiled chicken breast and rice or the Rx dog food (you know, the crappy ingredients dog food? How vets can sell that stuff and say its good for the animals is kind of beyond me.)

  • Hi Mjs_lls,

    Oops. Unfortunately, that’s a typo in my review. As you probably know, there are no probiotics in any canned dog food.

    I’ve corrected the error. Thanks for the tip.

  • Mjs_lls

    Hi, Mike. Can I ask how you determined presence of probiotics in this turkey stew? I don’t see it on the cans here at home or in your summary. Thanks for your help.

  • Hi GinaWilliams0,

    Like you, I’m also concerned about bisphenol-A (BPA) can liners in our pet and human foods.

    Unfortunately, since companies can change their cans with each batch of food and because there are yet no laws requiring manufacturers to report this information, it’s impossible for consumers (and reviewers) to reliably determine the presence of these potentially toxic liners.

    It’s my personal hope that the FDA will ultimately mandate that companies reveal this important information. That way, we can protect our pets as well as our families from this controversial substance.

  • Toxed2loss

    I read that you really liked their product; I’ve had great success with calling the company, telling them that I liked the product and why, and then telling them why I feel I can no longer use it, and urging them to change the unhealthy aspect.

    I was told by several companies and the Consumer Protection Agency that one call represents 10,000 people’s opinion that never called. They value the input, and they do pay attention. It’s important to be polite and appreciative of the good qualities.

    That won’t help short term, but if enough people do it they will change.

    Short term, try making your own. 🙂 there are several books out there that have guides and recipes… “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Karen Becker DVM and Beth Taylor, available on healthypets.mercola.com or “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” by Steve Brown (amazon) hope that helps!

  • Ginawilliams0

    We have found that the wellness cans are lined with bpa.  We have pretty much stopped feeding the wellness canned stews because of this concern.  They don’t give us any answers on facebook, just to call their customer service.  I’m sure other brands use bpa lined cans also.  What should we do?

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Gina,
    Good question! Have you checked the can for a lining or called the company and asked them if their cans are lined? If you discover for sure they are lined, then you should be concerned about BPA. The studies show that it’s definitely a problem in adult humans, and is a bigger problem for infants and children. That would make it a big concern for small dogs.

  • Ginawilliams0

    What about the bpa lining the cans.  Small dogs exposed to this daily is our concern.  What do you think? We know the stews are great.  Our 3 small dogs love them.  Thank you.

  • erin c.

    Tonight our 13 yr.old ate a mix of Evo & Blue & Pinnacle (free sample) Grain Free Salmon & Potato dry. She also ate the same mix soaked in veg. water. It is good to see a little more excitement in her. Pinnacle might be the first dry food I am thinking of buying in a long time.
    She has been very picky about eating for about 3 months. I have baked whole turkeys, steamed peas & carrots, browned ground beef and made rice. I now soak her dry dog food in vegetable water saved from steaming vegetables. Some might say she isn’t getting all she needs. BUT she’s finally back to eating and she’s alive. (Better stuff than what the vets offer sick dogs.) 

    One thing that she liked when she was being picky is WELLNESS VENISON & SALMON STEW. And now it’s the WELLNESS BEEF STEW. We are still using Evo small dog dry and Blue Wilderness Duck dry. (Too many dry food products do not smell very inviting. I have tried lots of 5 star products available locally–some were samples.)

  • Gemarie

    Is there any site where they sell Wellness Stew Grain-Free Canned food for puppies per can instead of cases? I want to try them out first if my puppy will like them before I buy cases of them. Thank you.

  • John Huff

    Thanks for some great information. I have my Golden and Jack Russell on Acana and top it with the Wellness stews for variety. They LOVE it and are doing great on it.

  • Jenny

    Canned foods cannot have probiotics. Probiotics are good bactiera that live in your dog’s gut. Canned dog foods are cooked in the can, which will destroy all bacteria. So probiotics will not survive processing.

  • sandy

    Perhaps you can look at the Wellness website. It will list all ingredients for all formulas.

  • Kris

    Are there probiotics in Wellness canned dog foods? If not all formulas, which formulas of the canned do have probiotics? The one listed on this page says there are probiotics in the summary section, but I do not see them in the ingredients listed. Thanks.

  • sandy


    Merrick has about 2 dozen flavors of canned. So you can rotate for the picky one.

  • Erin W

    My dog is a very picky eater, and I usually spend a good bit of time coaxing him to eat his dog food. He likes the regular Wellness canned food ok, so I bought him a can of the grain free beef Wellness Stew, and he loves it! When he finished his first plate, he stood in front of it and barked until I gave him more. It even smells and looks good. It is a little pricier but definitely worth it!

  • Hi Linda C… In our review, please notice that we always use “dry matter” when we report protein and fat figures from a food’s label. Be sure to click on that link. It will help you understand why we mathematically remove all the water in every product we review. Hope this helps.

  • Gordon

    Linda – It can be confusing but this site’s calculation is based on what’s called, ‘Dry Matter Basis’, where as the the label you’re reading on this product is calculated on a Guaranteed Analysis or As fed basis or Crude percentages. Dry Matter Basis is calculating the nutrient percentage like protein and fat by taking water completely out of the equation, and hence is actually a more accurate way in comparing canned foods to kibble nutrient percentages.

    It makes sense to me, but I understand that it can seem confusing.

    So for example, you said that the product shows a minimum of 8% protein and minimum of 4% fat, And so to calculate the Dry Matter percentages based on http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product-details.aspx?pet=dog&pid=90#guaranteed-analysis claim that it contains 82% moisture……….

    ……You then subtract 100 from 82 giving you 18, of which you then calculate DM by:-

    For protein – 8/18 = 44.4 repeater % rounded down to 44% protein on a DMB

    For fat – 4/18 = 22.2 repeater % rounded down to 22% fat on a DMB (Dry Matter Basis)

    That’s the reason for the above figures.

    I hope this helps.

  • Linda C

    I have just started using wellness grain free stews for my dogs.
    They have been fed a grain free diet for a few years now.
    The protein lists as not less than 8% and fat not less than 4 % so what actually does this mean. In your analysis the protein and fat was a lot higher albeit the can had barley in it.I am looking for a good protein and a low fat food with limited ingredients as my old Ridgeback has gastro intestinal problems and suffered from a severe pancreatitis earlier this year.Please give me your thoughts on this

  • Hi Wil… To me, the primary attraction to most grain free products is their (usually) higher meat protein content. In any case, after revisiting this report today, it’s apparent Wellness Stews were probably underrated when I first reviewed this line over a year ago. Three of the six are grain free and the others are not. But all six appear to contain the same amount of meat.

    So, you’ll notice I upgraded the rating of the full line to 5 stars today (which is unrelated to the grain free nature of some of the recipes).

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • Wil


    I just bought a can of Wellness Beef Stew. The label on the can said “Grain Free.” The ingredients on the can support that statement.

    You reported on the Turkey variety of the Wellness stews which lists barley. Does the “Grain Free” property with the following dry analysis upgrade the Beef Stew to 5-star.

    Dry Protein 44.44
    Dry Fat 22.22
    Dry Carbs 25.33
    Dry Fiber 5.56


  • erin c.

    Our 13+ dog enjoyed her Wellness Turkey Stew this morning. She wouldn’t eat the Nat.Bal.Ultra Prem. so I offered the stew. I knew she liked the stew, but it’s more pricey. What’s more pricey than a dog who won’t eat the cheaper food you offer, or ends up at the vet.

    Wellness stews look good, smells good, and the dog says, “tastes good.” 🙂

  • Aimee

    i just bought this dog food yesterday and i gave my dog a spoonful to try adnd he won’t touch it. i got the turkey stew canned food. i was just wondering if anyone else had this problem with their dog not liking it. it could just be because my dog has tummy sickness right now and he’s just not interested. advice? experience?

  • Jan

    I avoid venison since deer have a “wasting disease” and have been dying for some time now, and, officials do not know why they are dying or what is causing it.

  • Sheila Zevit

    Hi, Just my “two cents” again. with reference to mixing different canned and dry food. I do it with my overweight Norwich using some of the recommended weight loss foods. i.e.-Acana Light & Fit, rotated to Core reduced calorie (tranistioned slowly for a change), dog is losing weight quite nicely. In the evening meal I cut back some of the kibble and either add some of the Merrick or Wellness suggested cans.
    I try to keep the calorie count as close as possible. My cats eat raw in the a.m. and canned & Orijen/Acana grain free in the p.m., no problem. I am looking into K9Natural or closer to raw for the dog in the future, also HKitchen. It does however take sometime to tranistion as with Johnathon’s comments of PH and digestion. I think what the pet store girl was referring to was mixing raw and kibble in the same meal, I interpreted it that way. I like to be able to rotate nutritional profiles every so often.
    Correct me if I am wrong….

  • J.J.

    Thanks for the tip Mike P.

  • Mike P

    J.J. I get coupons from emailing and calling the home office . I call 4 and 5 star companies . Avoderm , wellness , fromm, pro plan select , canadie ,by nature , solid gold , and more. They all send with no problems . I only use 1/4 can mixed with her BG kibble . A new flavor every 4th day . Most companies will send you a coupon every 4 to 6 weeks if you ask them . Avoderm sent me coupons for 9 free cans in on envelope .

  • J.J.

    Thanks for the input Mike and Jonathan!

  • Hi J.J… The controversy over feeding multiple proteins that you hear about is more often related to other issues. For example, feeding various proteins can hamper any effort to investigate the cause of a specific allergy or food intolerance. In addition, feeding different proteins can make it less likely an animal will develop allergies in the first place.

    In any case, there’s probably no sound medical basis to support the belief that different proteins “are digested at different rates”.

  • Jonathan

    J.J., I don’t buy what the girl at the per store said to you…
    Now, what does digest quite differently, despite the fact that it is mixed in every dog kibble and almost every meal we eat, is concentrated carbohydrates and proteins. These require different pH levels in the stomach to digest. If you eat them together, the resulting neutralization of the stomach acids can cause the proteins to putrefy and the carbohydrates to ferment, leading to upset tummy, gas, etc. And dogs (and usually us too!) always eat them together now-a-days. In the ancestral diet of man and wolf, the wolf would eat all protein and almost no carbohydrates (and certainly no “condensed” carbs) and the human would eat what ever was either harvested from the earth that day, or occasionally (but less frequently) killed in a hunt. Mixing calorically dense proteins and carbs are a modern (within the last few thousand years) invention. We really aren’t smarter than nature, so maybe we should start to think of what our (and our dog’s) bodies evolved eating! 🙂

    Oh, but your question about mixing various proteins with toppers… yeah, if your dog tolerates it fine, then do it! There’s nothing like variety to keep life interesting! Besides, as you mentioned, many of the best dog food contain lamb, chicken, and fish in the same kibble.

  • J.J.

    Rachel & Mike P.
    Our two rescue girls are on Acana Grain Free Dry food and we top with a couple spoonfuls of one of the Wellness Stews. Our girls love it. One of ours is finicky, so the variety of stews keeps her interested. They are both doing wonderfully on this mix. I don’t think it hurts one bit to mix brands as long as they are similar quality. Mike P. where are you getting all the coupons?

    Mike Sagman, your site is an invaluable resource. I love it and all your frequent commentators who add their valuable two cents. I know you’re a big fan of topping and rotation. I have been wondering about mixing proteins when topping and whether that would be a good or bad idea. One of the gals at my locally owned pet food supplier said that it’s not a good idea to mix protein types together during one meal because the types of proteins are digested at different rates. So if feeding a poultry based kibble, top with a poultry based canned food and so forth. However, I have noticed that many dog food formulas will mix different protein types in the same food like chicken and salmon. What are your thoughts on this?
    I welcome thoughts from everyone on this question as I find that the comments of others adds to the depth of the information on this site.

  • Mike P

    Rachel , I too am a adopter . Adopted a Boxer girl last October . She came home with Pedigree . Thanks to this site and Mike Sagman she is eating like a Queen . When I mix the topping ,my dog crys and can’t wait for her food . Great to see she enjoys her meal so much . Good luck to you Rachel

  • Rachel

    Hi mike p….

    So you top your kibble with a different brand than your kibble? Good…then I know it is okay…I do about a 1/4 as well…I was feeding Ciro 1/2cup kibble in morning and evening…. But I think I will cut kibble to 1/3 cup and add add 1/4 cup canned … Thank you so much for writing….. I am very impressed with Mike Sagman…..I’m a dog rescuer … I volunteer a ton of my free time to make every “fur” feel special cared for and loved….thank you again for your message…


  • Mike P

    Rachel, I have called a bunch of 4 and 5 star companies and have a bunch of coupons for canned food . I hope it does not matter what cans i use , as i only use 1/4 can per topping . I think the topper only makes it tastey . So far so good

  • Hi Rachel… Your “rescue” is one lucky dog. Like you, we also “top” our Bailey’s kibble, too. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  • Rachel

    Hi Mike…
    Thank you. I meant can I top off my kibble with a different brand canned wet food? My Shih Tzu is finicky and I have him on NB L.I.D. Sweet potato venison….I top off with Wellness Turkey Stew ( rating 4 stars ) on your site! I know you can’t give advice on foods….just wondered about topping canned wet food over my kibble? ( but different brand names) …YOur website is EXCELLENT….THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOU TIME AND PATIENCE…. I have a rescue and he is finicky and I want to feed the BEST food I can….I had allergy test done and know the foods he is possibly allergic too, as I know there are many false positives…. I rescued him in very bad shape and spent ALOT of money to heal him! I don’t care about the money, I just want to continue to heal him and give him proper foods…being no wheat, soy, corn,artificial flavors, bi products…etc…. The dog food industry is so over shelling and I have done a lot of studying on dog food…..! I second guess my choices…. I want to switch his kibble to Pure Vita grain free turkey….knowing I have to have a topper like the one I am using…lol….Thank again for listening and responding back….YOU ROCK!

  • Hi Rachel… I don’t see any reason you can’t do this. But it would be unusual to top a kibble with a dry food. We usually recommend toppers be canned or fresh food.

  • Rachel

    Can you mix two different brands together…kibble and different brand dry for a topping?

  • roy greenberg

    answered all my questions.