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Wellness Puppy Food Review 2023: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

WELLNESS Puppy Food Review

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Wellness Puppy Food a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. 


Wellness Puppy food products, produced by Wellness Pet Company, include grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties.  Wellness puppy diets are suitable for healthy puppies of any size and breed. The company focuses on using “natural” ingredients and is believed to be one of the first to offer grain-free recipes. Overall, we found that Wellness Puppy foods are a solid choice, although the company has issued some fairly recent recalls. The grain-free diets are subject to the same concerning potential links to non-hereditary heart disease as other brands.

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At a Glance: The Best Wellness Puppy Food Recipes:

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Wellness Complete Puppy Food Wellness Complete Puppy Food
  • Grain-inclusive
  • Suitable for pups of all sizes
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Second place
    Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Puppy Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Puppy
  • Extra high in protein
  • No peas
  • Includes taurine, fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics
  • Third place
    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Wellness Complete Health Puppy
  • Contains organ meat
  • High in protein and fat
  • With antioxidants and fatty acids
  • Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Food Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Food
  • Contains chicken, turkey, and salmon oil
  • Contains antioxidants and probiotics
  • Smaller sized kibble
  • Wellness CORE Digestive Health Puppy Wellness CORE Digestive Health Puppy
  • Supports gut health
  • Contains probiotics
  • Contains digestive enzymes
  • Wellness Puppy Food Reviewed

    Who makes Wellness Puppy Food and where is it produced?

    Wellness Puppy Food is produced by Wellness Pet Company, headquartered in Massachusetts. Wellness Pet began as Old Mother Hubbard, a dog treat company founded in 1926. In 1961, it was purchased by Jim Scott. Jim Scott Jr developed the Wellness brand of dog food in the 1990s.

    Wellness manufacturers the dry puppy food at a company-owned plant in Indiana. The company apparently outsources their wet food production, stating that they go through a “rigorous quality and safety program.” The website doesn’t display a specific production location for canned diets.

    Which type of dog is Wellness Puppy Food best suited for?

    Wellness puppy food is best suited for overall healthy puppies with no signs of early food sensitivities. Because they offer both grain-free and grain-inclusive diets, Wellness generally caters to most puppies.

    a Maltipoo puppy eats from a metal bowl
    Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

    Which type of dog might do better with a different brand?

    Unfortunately, not even dogs less than a year old are immune to food sensitivities. Wellness doesn’t have a limited-ingredient puppy food and relies heavily on chicken ingredients. For puppies that need to avoid chicken, Canidae PURE Salmon and Oatmeal Puppy Food may be a better option.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Deboned Chicken

    Deboned chicken is generally the primary protein source in Wellness Puppy diets. It refers to the clean, whole muscle (not organ) meat of the bird. Because it is cheap and easily obtained, chicken is the most common protein source used in pet food. It is a healthy source of protein, fat, and other nutrients.

    Chicken, Turkey, Salmon Meal

    Meat, fish, and poultry meals are made by cooking down and drying whole meat, removing all the water to create a concentrated powder. This meal is digestible, inexpensive, and still contains quality protein. It is commonly used in dry dog food.

    Chicken Liver

    Organ meat, including chicken liver, is packed with protein and vitamins. It is generally considered more nutritious overall than muscle meat. Technically, chicken liver is a chicken by-product, meaning it is one of the parts of the bird left overs after processing for human consumption.

    puppy eating
    Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

    Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Quinoa

    Whole grains serve as a source of energy, protein, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. Domestic dogs are adapted to digest and absorb nutrition from plant sources, despite the widespread belief that dogs are pure carnivores.

    Legumes, including peas and lentils

    Peas and other legumes are among the ingredients that when feed in large amounts are suspected to contribute to developing heart issues in pets. The FDA continues to investigate the exact causes of these problems, but many owners choose to avoid feeding legumes. Grain-free diets are most likely to contain peas and lentils. To avoid issues, if dog food contains legumes, make sure they are not in the first five ingredients.

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    A Quick Look at Wellness Puppy Food

    • Offers canned, dry, grain-free, and grain-inclusive diets
    • Made in the USA
    • Large breed and small breed recipes are available
    • No preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, or ingredients
    • No limited ingredient options
    • Less transparency regarding wet food production
    • Does contain ingredients from China

    Recall History

    Since Wellness Pet Food first appeared on shelves in the late 1990s, the company has issued several recalls, but only one related to puppy food. In 2012, the company recalled a large breed puppy recipe over concerns about salmonella contamination.

    Other recalls issued by the company include the following:
    • 2011: canned cat food recalled for low thiamine (vitamin B1) levels
    • 2012: small breed dry dog food recalled for possible mold
    • 2017: canned cat food recalled for potential foreign material
    • 2017: canned dog food topper recalled for elevated thyroid hormone

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Wellness Puppy Food Recipes

    Here’s a more in-depth look at three of the best Wellness Puppy Food recipes.

    1. Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal, and Salmon Puppy Dry Food

    1Wellness Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon

    Wellness Complete Health is grain-inclusive and a complete choice for puppies of all sizes. Made with both chicken and salmon, this food contains 29% protein. It’s produced without GMOs and packed with added nutrients to support a growing dog, including antioxidants, fatty acids, probiotics, and glucosamine.

    It has peas fairly high up on the ingredient list and is not a good option for puppies with food sensitivities.

    • Grain-inclusive
    • Suitable for pups of all sizes
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Not good for pups with sensitivities
    • Contains peas

    2. Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Puppy High Protein Dry Food

    Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Puppy High Protein

    Designed for high-energy, hard-working pups, Wellness CORE Wholesome contains a generous 36% protein. Made with nutritious grains (including high protein quinoa), the recipe is also full of fiber and healthy fruits and veggies. It’s grain-inclusive and pea-free and contains added fatty acids, taurine (for heart health), antioxidants, and probiotics.

    Like other Wellness Puppy foods, this one contains ingredients from China.

    • Extra high in protein
    • No peas
    • Includes taurine, fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics
    • Contains ingredients from China

    3. Wellness Complete Health Just For Puppy Canned Food

    Wellness Complete Health Just for Puppy

    Since it’s jammed with protein including nutritious chicken liver, Wellness Complete Health Just For Puppy Canned Dog Food offers a tasty alternative to crunchy kibble. Small puppies may need a little added calorie boost or appreciate the soft texture of wet food. Whatever the reason, this puppy recipe brings plenty of nutrition along with it. It’s made with antioxidants and fatty acids and supports the whole body needs of a growing dog.

    Overall, canned food can be more expensive than dry. Just For Puppy also contains ingredients from China and Wellness is less transparent about its wet food manufacturing process.

    • Contains organ meat
    • High in protein and fat
    • With antioxidants and fatty acids
    • Contains ingredients from China
    • Less transparent production

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Chewy – “If you want healthy and quality dry food for a reasonable price, this is your brand”

    • “Not for my pup but a good food”
    • “Like the fact it is vet recommended and contains pre and probiotics”

    Reddit “I think Wellness is a good quality brand”

    • “Puppy LOVES it”
    • “Good ingredients”

    Amazon – Amazon reviews can be a valuable source of information from other buyers. You can read these by clicking here.

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    Although it lacks a limited ingredient option, Wellness Puppy Food utilizes quality, simple ingredients at a slightly lower price point than other similar brands. With both grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes, owners have plenty of choices when it comes to their puppy’s nutrition. However, we don’t like that Wellness still uses ingredients from China and is less transparent about its canned food production. Overall, Wellness is a popular and high-quality puppy food brand.

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