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Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original is a mid-priced dog food with great quality. This product has no controversial ingredients, including zero artificial preservatives, flavors and colors. It has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality throughout. It’s important to be aware that Wellness has an above average number of recalls but was extremely transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs recommends this product.Read the Full Review Below
This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 37.78%
Min. Fat 17.78%
Min. Carbs 36.67%
Max. Fiber 4.44%
Max. Ash 7.78%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 34.0%
Min Fat: 16.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 4.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 10%
421 Calories per Cup
This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Broccoli, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), 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.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original contains 0 controversial ingredients.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original contains no controversial ingredients - fantastic.
Country of Origin
This food is made in the United States. That’s good, because the U.S. has strong quality and food safety laws in place for dog food.
Meat & Fat Quality
The meats and added fats in this dog food are all clearly showing which animals they are made from, very transparent: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Chicken Liver, Chicken Fat and Salmon Oil.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original contains no controversial preservatives. It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
No artificial colors are used in this food, really great.
Another area this food excels in is the lack of artificial flavors. They’re unnecessary (dogs like many food flavors) and a potential health concern.
Wellness has an above average number of recalls, compared to other dog food brands. Here is an overview:
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company-
Wellness responded quickly to the first email, only 2 days. There was a round of follow up emails to clarify some of the questions which were also responded to quickly and completely.
Does Wellness have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
We do have a PhD Animal Nutritionist on staff. His name is Dr. Mark Fink.
Its great to know exactly who the professionals are working on the product.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
We have a product development team that consist of food scientist, a DVM and our Animal Nutritionist.
(Follow-up email answer)
The name of our Animal Nutritionist is Dr. Mark Fink and our DVM is Albert Townshend. The rest of our product development team is a group that typically do not deal with the public.
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
Since we follow AAFCO nutritional guidelines AAFCO feeding trials are not required. We do our own feed testing for digestibility, stool output, skin & coat, and palatability.
What country are your products manufactured?
WellPet Operations: Mishawaka, IN
CJ Foods: Bern, KS & Pawnee City, NE
Bio Biscuit: St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada (TruFood)
Mountain Country Foods: Spanish Fork, UT (CORE Tender Bites)
Sojos Farm Fresh Kitchens: South St. Paul, MN (Make it Fresh)
Wellness Can Dog
Simmons Pet Food: Pennsauken, NJ, Emporia, KS & Toronto, Ontario, Canada
IPB (Thailand): CORE Chunky Centers, CORE Simple Shreds, CORE Mini Meals, and Petite Entrees
Bio Biscuit: St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
Mountain Country Foods: Spanish Fork, UT
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
Our manufacturing facilities are not open to the public.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
Please visit this link to learn about our Quality Assurance Program: https://www.wellnesspetfood.com/our-philosophy/our-standards-our-promise
Does Wellness own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
We own our dry food facility, WellPet Operations, located in Mishawaka Indiana. Co-manufacturers are listed above in question above.
Do any parts of your product come from China?
Our Wellness ingredients are primarily sourced from North America. WellPet has one of the most strict sourcing criteria of any pet food manufacturer. All ingredient suppliers, whether domestic or international, need to meet certified nutrient levels and be manufactured in quality audited facilities. While there are many high quality ingredients available in the U.S., in some cases there is not a readily available U.S. supply. For example, our Venison, Lamb, Rabbit and Salmon Meal are sourced internationally from New Zealand, Australia, Italy and Chile respectively. Specifically for Chinese ingredients, we do source our Green Tea Extract, Mixed Tocopherols and may source some our vitamins and minerals from China. We feel that we have the appropriate quality programs in place at all our vendor locations and feel safe and secure with all the ingredients we source, whether they are sourced locally or globally.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.