Have you ever passed a bag of dog food on a store shelf and wondered, “How is that different from what I feed my dog now?” Sometimes, those differences are vast. But perhaps more often than we realize, there’s little difference in dog food formulas aside from the label on the bag.
This is especially true when it comes to store-brand dog food, such as Tractor Supply Co.’s 4health pet food brand. Like most store-brands, 4health is manufactured by a third-party company. Of course, this company also makes various other pet food brands, including Taste of the Wild.
So, should you invest in the “name brand” dog food that’s sold in most independent pet supply stores? Or should you make a trip to Tractor Supply Co. to purchase the near-identical store brand? Here’s what you should know:
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Taste of the Wild
Overall, these two dog food labels are quite similar. But since Taste of the Wild offers slightly better nutrition, it ultimately won our vote. Taste of the Wild’s offerings might be a bit more expensive than 4health, but we feel that the better quality justifies the extra cost.
Plus, not all dog owners live near a Tractor Supply Co. retail location or wish to purchase their dog food online.
If you’ve never heard of 4health dog food before, it’s probably because you don’t shop at Tractor Supply Co. Just like grocery stores often distribute store-brand milk, crackers, and other basic items, 4health is Tractor Supply Co.’s store-brand of dog food. While 4health does sell a variety of wet foods and treats, most of its product range is made up of kibble.
Where is 4health made?
Though Tractor Supply Co. owns and distributes 4health dog food, it does not manufacture it. Outsourcing production to other companies is common practice when it comes to store-brand items. In the case of 4health, Diamond Pet Foods is the actual manufacturer.
Diamond Pet Foods maintains five different pet food factories, all within the United States. These factories are located in California, Missouri, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
At this time, 4health dog food has only been directly affected by one product recall. In 2012, all products manufactured in Diamond Pet Foods’ South Carolina factory were recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
Although no recalls have been issued as a result, 4health was listed in a 2019 report from the FDA of brands potentially linked to increased cases of heart disease. While these cases seemed to be related to grain-free formulas, nothing conclusive has been released.
A Quick Look at 4health Dog Food
About Taste of the Wild
Taste of the Wild’s main selling point is its use of natural ingredients that are inspired by the diets of wolves, foxes, and other wild canines. While the brand built itself on providing grain-free formulas, it has recently expanded its product line to include a few grain-inclusive ones as well.
Where is Taste of the Wild made?
When comparing these two brands, there’s one important piece of information that we need to point out. Just like 4health, Taste of the Wild is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. But it is also owned by Diamond Pet Foods, unlike 4health.
All Taste of the Wild products are made in the U.S., in one of the aforementioned five Diamond Pet Foods factories.
Taste of the Wild has only been recalled one time in its history. In 2012, several varieties of Taste of the Wild dog food were recalled because of suspected salmonella contamination. This was the same recall that affected 4health.
Similarly, Taste of the Wild was listed in the FDA’s report on dog food brands connected to certain cases of canine heart disease. No recalls or official warnings have been released.
A Quick Look at Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Three Most Popular 4health Dog Food Recipes
Despite being sold exclusively by Tractor Supply Co., the 4health dog food label encompasses quite a few unique formulas. Here are the best-selling recipes currently on offer:
1. 4health Original Salmon & Potato Formula Adult Dog Food
The 4health Original Salmon & Potato Formula Adult Dog Food is one of the most basic recipes offered by Tractor Supply Co. While this recipe is not grain-free, it is made without wheat, corn, and soy. It also features carbohydrate sources commonly found in grain-free formulas, like potatoes. As the formula name implies, this food lists salmon as its first ingredient, along with a variety of fruit and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
To learn what other dogs and their owners have said about this 4health dog food formula, you can find the Tractor Supply Co. reviews here.
2. 4health Grain-Free Beef & Potato Recipe
If your dog does thrive on a grain-free diet, then the 4health Grain-Free Beef & Potato Recipe is one of the brand’s most popular options. This recipe features real beef as the first ingredient, though pea protein is listed shortly after. Along with being completely grain-free, this formula does not contain common allergens like corn, soy, or wheat. It also includes a blend of live probiotics for improved digestive health.
If you want to learn more about this formula from those who have tried it for themselves, you can check out the Tractor Supply Co. reviews here.
3. 4health Original Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food
Back to the brand’s grain-inclusive offerings, the Original Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food is another popular option. Like the other formulas we’ve already reviewed, this one is free of corn, wheat, and soy. Most of the animal-sourced nutrition in this recipe comes from chicken, but you’ll also find ocean fish meal further down the ingredients list. Supplemental omega fatty acids support skin and coat health alongside live probiotics added for digestion.
Feedback and thoughts from other owners who have tried this dog food formula can be found by reading the Tractor Supply Co. reviews here.
Three Most Popular Taste of the Wild Dog Food Recipes
Both 4health and Taste of the Wild might be manufactured by the same company, but that doesn’t mean their products are identical. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular recipes in the Taste of the Wild line-up:
1. Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe
From Taste of the Wild’s new grain-inclusive offerings, the Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe is a dry formula high in meat and other animal ingredients. Real buffalo and pork are the top ingredients in this recipe, providing a good balance of flavor and nutrition for your pup. Meanwhile, ancient grains deliver ancestral carbohydrates (in contrast to modern grains like wheat and corn). Taste of the Wild also includes a live probiotic blend in all of its dog foods, and this formula is no exception.
Since Taste of the Wild is available at a variety of retailers, detailed customer feedback isn’t hard to find. For more information about this recipe, you can start by reading the Amazon reviews here.
2. Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Canine Recipe
We all know that cats and fish go together like bears and honey, but what about your dog? Believe it or not, seafood is a favorite of many pups, and the Taste of the Wild Ancient Stream Canine Recipe is an excellent way to satisfy that craving. Whole salmon is the first ingredient, but you’ll also find salmon meal and ocean fish meal further down the list. We’re sure that your dog will love the taste of this food, but be warned: many reviewers have mentioned its lingering fishy odor.
You can see what other dog owners have to say about this recipe by reading the Amazon reviews here.
3. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Recipe
Compared to many dog food companies, Taste of the Wild doesn’t offer much in the way of specialized formulas. The High Prairie Puppy Recipe is one of the only formulas designed for non-adult dogs. Unlike the other two Taste of the Wild recipes we already reviewed, this one is grain-free. It features bison as the first ingredient, a guaranteed amount of DHA, and the kibble pieces are smaller than the brand’s adult formulas.
Thoughts and feedback from other puppy owners who have tried this food can be found in the Amazon reviews here.
4health vs. Taste of the Wild Comparison
Before wrapping up our comparison of these dog food brands, let’s recap what we learned during our research and reviews.
After adjusting for price per pound, varying retailers, and other contributing factors, we found that 4health is consistently less expensive than Taste of the Wild. Since 4health is marketed as a store-brand label, this price difference doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
If you opt for 4health over Taste of the Wild, you’ll save quite a bit of cash throughout your dog’s lifespan (or however long you choose to feed this particular brand). When buying just one bag, though, this difference isn’t enough to finalize our decision.
While prioritizing your dog’s health and happiness is important, we also need to consider the convenience of choosing one dog food brand over another. In this case, 4health has an obvious disadvantage.
Right now, 4health dog food products are only available at Tractor Supply Co. brick-and-mortar stores and the company’s website.
Even if you are someone who regularly shops at Tractor Supply Co., 4health is far from your only option. In fact, you’ll find Taste of the Wild on the store’s shelves as well.
When evaluating overall ingredient quality, we rely almost exclusively on the information made public by different brands and their manufacturers. Since both brands are made by Diamond Pet Foods, it’s fairly safe to assume that most (if not all) core ingredients come from the same distributors.
We know that Taste of the Wild uses Chinese-sourced ingredients in its formulas, and it’s likely that 4health does the same.
Based on the formulas we reviewed, one of the clearest differences between 4health and Taste of the Wild is the former’s protein content. All of the recipes we looked at are high in protein, but Taste of the Wild does offer more.
4health’s recipes also feature slightly lower fat contents, which may affect satiety, as well as skin and coat health.
In terms of reputation, 4health and Taste of the Wild are nearly neck and neck. Both brands have been subject to the same product recall and listed on the FDA’s report on dilated cardiomyopathy.
After comparing 4health and Taste of the Wild, here’s what we think:
While we ultimately chose Taste of the Wild as the winner of this comparison, our decision wasn’t based on 4health being a bad choice. Yes, Taste of the Wild offers more animal-sourced protein than 4health and is available at a wider selection of retailers, but Tractor Supply Co.’s store-brand is still an above-average option.
If you regularly shop at Tractor Supply Co. or aren’t opposed to placing an online order, then 4health might end up being an affordable alternative to more popular brands. Otherwise, you’re probably better off spending a little more for the quality and availability of Taste of the Wild.