Wysong Optimal Performance (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Wysong Optimal Dog Food

Wysong Optimal Performance dry dog food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

Like all Wysong dry dog foods, Optimal Performance claims to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

However, the company also advises the product is “equally suitable for dogs of all life stages and breeds” when fed as a part of a diet rotation with other Wysong products.

Wysong Optimal Performance Canine Diet

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 26%

Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken giblets, poultry meal, ground brown rice, ground oat groats, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols as a source of vitamin E), eggs, whey, dried yogurt, plums, dried wheat grass powder, dried barley grass powder, lecithin, citric acid, sage extract, rosemary extract, dried kelp, fish oil, salt, garlic, artichoke, dried chicory root, l-carnitine, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, yeast culture, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, ascorbic acid, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, manganese proteinate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A acetate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis40%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%21%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%41%21%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes organic 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 item lists chicken giblets, the edible by-products of poultry slaughter. They include the gizzard, lungs, kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, ovaries and most other internal organs of the bird.

Although the thought of eating an animal’s internal organs may not be appealing to most humans, these unfamiliar ingredients can be considered a natural part of an authentic canine ancestral diet.

The third ingredient is poultry meal. Poultry meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.

The fourth item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The sixth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The seventh ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The eighth item is whey, a by-product of the cheese industry. Depending on its type, whey consists of about 75% carbohydrate and can also contribute a limited amount of protein to a 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 five notable exceptions

First, wheat grass is prized for its unusually high vitamin and mineral content. So, please ignore our software’s unfavorable treatment of this otherwise healthy ingredient.

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

Thirdly, chicory root is naturally 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 most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

And lastly, this food also 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.

Wysong Optimal Performance Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wysong Optimal Performance Dog Food appears to be an above-average kibble.

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 46%, a fat level of 21% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 26%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Wysong Optimal Performance is a meat-based dry kibble using a generous amount of chicken, giblets and poultry meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand five stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Those looking for a nice wet food made by the same company may wish to read our review of Wysong Au Jus Diets Canned Dog Food.

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

12/14/2009 Original review
07/07/2010 Review updated
08/07/2013 Review updated (merged)

08/07/2013 Last Update

  1. 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)
  • Kirsti

    Based on dogfoodadvisor.com 5-star rating, we bought a bag of the Wysong Optimal Performance for our 2-1/2-year old Giant Schnauzer, who tends to have a touchy tummy. He needs the grains and pulps, but he also needs the high protein since he does agility, tracking, and hiking.
    There are 2 types of kibble, small uniform-sized pieces and shredded pieces of different sizes in the bag. Our dog is a picky eater, but he liked it and it agreed with him. However, on the 3rd day we found a fist-sized chunk of something (food) in the bag.
    We sent an email to Wysong and got a response that said “there are supposed to be different sized pieces of food in the bag, have a nice day”. We took a picture of the size of the chunk and sent it back to Wysong. Their answer is that their customers “like” to break up the pieces themselves and mix it up.
    We threw out the bag of food. Obviously, there’s no consistency in nutrient levels from bag to bag of the Wysong I wouldn’t be sure if I were giving my dog a bowl of beet pulp or a bowl of whatever from feeding to feeding. I’m also not sure – based on this – why this dog food got the 5-star rating.

  • Cindy

    Synthetic Vitamin K is so outdated.
    You know I always had a split feeling about Wysong. When I study their concept, it makes me want to buy their product. But I have heard from a very reliable source that someone who used to work for the company and then another person who dealt with them, both stated (this was 5 years ago), that they use cheap ingredients. Yes it is hearsay but I believe it is true.
    Even though I must give Wysong credit for being one of pioneers.

    There are better companies out there, like I was just talking Fromm.

  • Tom

    They just changed their recipes except for Epigen (so far) and they added Menadione to all of them. Very disappointing for a company that I trusted.

  • PomMom

    Your reviews are fantastic. Thank you! re: “consult a veterinarian” seems a bit of an oxymoron in that they create and push one of the worst pet food brands on the planet – Hill’s! Although our vets are among the best anywhere, they are not even aware of the better brands of food, let alone promoting them. Vets seem even slower to wake up to nutrition, vitamins, supplements, etc., than main stream medical doctors. Our pets would not be alive without them, but pet owners would be better advised to consult YOU than a veterinarian, when it comes to nutrition!

  • Barrons7

    Hi Neil,
    Bil-Jac is only given a sad 2 stars from this site. At Bil-Jac, they do recognize that Wysong is a very good food, and a couple of others, but theirs is equal.
    I have put an educated review on Bil-Jac dog food on the Bil-Jac comments area of this site.
    Barb Cole

  • guest

    What variety of Wysong were you using?

  • Hi Neil… Bil Jac has already been reviewed here. Not sure why you’re not seeing it. Please check the listings again.

  • Neil Hood

    Hello, and thank you for the interesting website. I do not see Bil Jac dog food represented here. can you explain why it isn’t?

    Warm regards,

    Neil Hood

  • ed

    It is amazing what people worry about, poultry fat and meal is just from chicken, turkey & duck.

  • Hi Victoria… Even though poultry fat isn’t as specific as a single species item, this ingredient is still identified as coming from “poultry”. And that significantly minimizes our real worries. That is, unlike an anonymous “animal fat”, you can be sure this ingredient didn’t come from some truly low grade generic raw material like roadkill, euthanized pets, etc. Hope this makes sense.

  • victoria

    Why is poultry meal/fat not a red item? its the same stuff thats used in lower quality kibble.

  • IC

    Thank you Amy! I have been seriously considering Wysong and now I already know why I haven’t gone ahead. Reluctance saved my pup from this crazy suffering. I feel for your dogs and I thank you so much for posting your response here for all of us to make our own educated guess on what we choose to feed our dogs.
    As I search and research, I am more comfortable cooking for my dog and will be 100% soon.
    Thius maze of dog food manufacturers, the good and the bad is something I can do without.
    Thank Goodness for the hard work from the dogfoodadvisor!
    Many thanks there as well. I appreciate the effort(s).
    Happy Tails & Cheers.

  • Amy

    We have used Wysong for years and now our dog is having some very annoying allergies to the mold in Wysong. We purchased a box and it was covered in fur..we took it back and did some testing (expensive out of our pocket) on another box and it had mold in it even though we couldn’t see it with the blind eye. We have started our dogs on Evo (no grain) and they are all doing wonderfully. No more symptoms…I feel so bad for hurting our dogs for so long. We also have a relative having the same issues. Wysong says they stand for quality but they are have been having issues since 2009 and they still are…I just wish our dogs didnt have to suffer…I am just glad things are looking up.

  • Judy Shafer

    Wysong did finally answer my question which was specific to their new Epigen. According to their tech rep Logan, Epigen has a remarkably low Percent of phosphorous in comparison to other 5-Star dry foods. He said it “varies” but ranges from .6 to .8 percent. Remarkable since the product claims to be 70% protein.
    And yes, Wysong has those spreadsheets, but those are the MINIMUMS represented and what I needed was the Maximum percentages. Companies must disclose the minimum percentages of many nutrients. Orijens is the only company I have found that offers to disclose both min/max on their data sheets. The other companies I have had to write and request the data.
    The minimum percentages do not help when I am trying to limit the amount of phosphorous in the diet. It is the maximum percent which is critical, especially when attempting to adjust the amount of phosphorous binder to add.

  • Julie

    Wysong has a whole spreadsheet with the dry-matter analysis of most of their foods. Phosphorus is included in that analysis. They haven’t added their more recent foods (Optimal Performance, Nurture with Free-Range Pheasant, and Epigen) to the spreadsheet, though. Otherwise, Wysong is an open book when it comes to their ingredients and nutrition info. Companies like Natura don’t list dry-matter analysis, they use typical. Some don’t give any info other than the basic guaranteed analysis.

    I would like to see all pet food companies be forced to provide full nutrition info on a dry-matter basis so that consumers can make proper comparisons.

  • Judy Shafer

    Wysong will not answer my questions on phosphorous content in the dry foods. And then they told me they recommended people not chose a food based on a particular nutrient even when I told them my Vet recommended such.. Based on their lack of cooperation and unwillingness to disclose information Wysong is not a food I will buy.

  • Hi Robin… Optimal Performance and Nurture appear to be Wysong’s “top-of-the-line” dry dog foods. However, the company has made some recent additions and changes to its line so we’re planning to revisit the Wysong brand later this year.

  • Robin

    What brand of WYSONG dry dog food is rated highest?
    Thanks so much.