What Is in Wellness Dog Food?by Kea Grace
What's in that bowl?
Wellness, a company based out of the eastern United States, manufactures dog and cat food. It produces several foods for all life stages, three specifically for puppies and one for seniors. Wellness is very forthcoming about its ingredients and sources and prides itself on "all-natural ingredients," as well as on eschewing artificial additives and useless fillers.
Protein and Fat Sources
In all Wellness dog formulas, a named meat, typically chicken, is the very first ingredient. Lamb, whitefish, salmon and turkey are other protein sources. While Wellness doesn't use meat byproducts, it does incorporate meat "meals"—dried, meat-based, protein-dense additives that pack a lot more nutrition per pound than raw, fresh, moisture-rich muscle meat. Without meat meal, it's very difficult for a dry dog food to contain enough protein, as raw, named meats are mostly moisture. When cooked down in the kibble, the protein content of muscle meat decreases drastically. Sources of fat besides meat and meat meal in the kibble include flaxseed, omega oils, canola oil, salmon oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 specific fatty acid.
Wellness foods incorporate a number of carbohydrates from many different sources. While the CORE line of food is grain-free, all other formulas use pearled barley, oatmeal, brown rice, or rye, all of which are highly digestible, nutrient-filled grains. CORE is rich in peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, but all the formulas contain fruits and vegetables, including, but not limited to, apples, blueberries, carrots, cranberries, kelp and spinach.
While its foods are free of artificial additives, Wellness does add vitamins, minerals, probiotics and joint supplements. Yucca provides a bit of digestive smoothing, green tea extract contributes antioxidants and chicory root imparts inulin, a starchy substance that's a great source of fiber and prebiotics.
While most of the ingredients in Wellness dog foods are high-quality, some are controversial. Tomato pomice, a byproduct of of tomato processing, is described by some as a pointless filler. Others, though, cite its high fiber and lycopene content. Some claim the added canola oil is an unnecessary source of fat, while others believe it's worthwhile due to the high omega complex. Finally, garlic has been much debated in veterinary, holistic and nutrient circles. Wellness claims to have added garlic in minute amounts solely to contribute to the palatability of the food and make it more desirable for dogs. In large amounts, though, garlic can cause anemia in dogs. Wellness claims there isn't enough garlic in the food to cause a problem.
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