Wysong Epigen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Wysong Epigen product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for adult maintenance.
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Organic chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potato protein, meat protein isolate, chicken fat, gelatin, beet fiber, natural flavor, coconut oil, chia seeds, salt, taurine, calcium carbonate, tomato pomace, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, dried kelp, organic barley grass powder, blueberry, yogurt (whey, milk solids, yogurt cultures), apple pectin, dried kale, dried spinach, dried carrots, fish oil, yeast extract, citric acid (a preservative), chicory root, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, yeast culture, minerals (potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (ascorbic acid [source of vitamin C], vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, pepper
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content
|Dry Matter Basis
|Calorie Weighted Basis
The first ingredient in this dog food is organic chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The next ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is meat protein isolate, a product made by “separating meat protein from fresh, clean, unadulterated bones by heat processing followed by low temperature drying to preserve function and nutrition. This product is characterized by a fresh meaty aroma, a 90% minimum protein level, 1% maximum fat and 2% maximum ash”.1
Contrary to what the name would normally imply, this item is not generic. According to Wysong (on its website), this ingredient is derived exclusively from pork meat.
This is a quality source of meat-based protein.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is gelatin, a colorless, flavorless, translucent, brittle substance that’s irreversibly derived from the collagen found in the skin and bones of animals.
Although it consists mostly of protein (98-99% non-essential amino acids), gelatin is of only limited nutritional value to a dog.
The next ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
After the natural flavor we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2
Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
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 5 notable exceptions…
First, chia seed is an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.
However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Next, 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.
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.
Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.
A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago4, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
In any case, since the label reveals little about the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.
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.
Wysong Epigen Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wysong Epigen Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 25%.
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 potato protein and chia seed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing an abundance of meat.
By the way, what impresses us most here isn’t the extraordinary protein content of these products. It’s actually the unique process Wysong uses to avoid the starchy binders normally required for making any kibble.
A process which can cap the meat content of most dry dog food recipes at well under 40%.
But Wysong claims its Epigen product contains 60% meat. What’s more, our computations project a carb content here of an exceptionally low 9%.
In addition, those looking to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet should find Wysong Epigen an appropriate choice.
Wysong Epigen is a grain-free dry dog food using an abundance of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Those looking for a quality wet product to use with this kibble may wish to visit our review of Wysong Au Jus canned dog food.
Wysong Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Wysong. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Wysong Dog Food Recall October 2009 Update (11/4/2009)
- Wysong Dog Food Recall October 2009 (10/13/2009)
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
- L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances ↩