Wellness Core Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Our Final Verdict

We give Wellness Core Dog Food a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Many companies have a tender, heartwarming origin story — like how an everyday David decided to take on a world of Goliaths, armed with nothing more than a belief in his methods.

Wellness is not one of those companies.

That’s not a dig at all. Wellness Pet Food (a subsidiary of Wellpet LLC) was created in 1997 for one simple reason: the founders believed they could make a high-quality, profitable dog food.

There was no sob story about a dog brought back from the brink of death by premium ingredients or anything like that, but the company didn’t need one. They did quite well making dog food for dog food’s sake, thank you very much.

The company continues to crank out that food from its factory in Tewksbury, MA, with an emphasis on creating recipes that are as healthy as they are delicious.

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At a Glance: The Best Wellness Core Dog Food Recipes

Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Original Turkey & Chicken Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Original Turkey & Chicken
  • Well-balanced nutritional profile
  • Includes superfoods like kale, broccoli, and blueberries
  • High in protein and fat
  • Second place
    Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon
  • Extremely high in omega fatty acids
  • Has added taurine for heart health
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • Third place
    Wellness Core Air Dried Bowl Boosters Tender Wellness Core Air Dried Bowl Boosters Tender
  • Dogs likely to love the taste
  • Similar to raw food without need to refrigerate
  • Heavy emphasis on protein
  • Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Reduced Fat Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Reduced Fat
  • Made without grains for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Taurine supports a healthy heart
  • Reduced fat formula for dogs carrying excess weight
  • Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Large Breed Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Large Breed
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • With antioxidants, omega fatty acids and probiotics
  • Optimum fat and calories for healthy body weight
  • Wellness Core Dog Food Reviewed

    Who makes Wellness Core Dog Food and Where is it Produced?

    Wellness Core Dog Food is made by Wellpet LLC, a dog food company based out of Tewksbury, MA. The company owns several other dog and cat food brands, all of which place an emphasis on natural, healthy ingredients.

    Which Types of Dogs is Wellness Core Dog Food Best Suited For?

    Any owners who want to feed their pets food made from high-quality, natural-if-possible ingredients should consider Wellness Core.

    The food is high in protein and fat, so it should be a good choice for both active dogs and those who could stand to lose a few pounds.

    Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    While the recipes are grain-free, they use a lot of potatoes, lentils, peas, and other vegetables with a high glycemic index. This can be troublesome for dogs with diabetes or cancer.

    If your dog suffers from either of those conditions, consult your vet to determine the best food to give her. We recommend Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food (Lamb Formula).

    bone

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

    The primary ingredient is deboned turkey. We’re big fans of feeding turkey to pooches, as it’s lean and packed with protein. It’s also easy for most dogs to digest, making it an excellent choice for animals with sensitive stomachs.

    The next two ingredients are turkey and chicken meal. This is usually a mash-up of internal organs, which may not sound very appetizing, but it’s filled with important vitamins and nutrients that dogs need.

    The next few foods are somewhat troublesome: peas, potatoes, and dried ground potatoes. While these add some fiber, they’re also a source of cheap calories, and we’d prefer to see them replaced with healthier veggies.

    If you go further down the ingredients list, you’ll find foods that are packed with important vitamins and nutrients like omega fatty acids and antioxidants. These foods include chicken fat and liver, salmon oil, kale, blueberries, broccoli, and more.

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    Wellness Core is Grain-Free

    There’s quite a debate in the dog food community over whether  grains are good for pups: some say they’re essential, while others argue they’re the devil.

    We’re not quite in the “burn them at the stake” camp, but we do feel that it’s best to avoid them if you can. They tend to be a source of empty calories and many dogs have trouble digesting them.

    Wellness Core omits grains entirely but makes up for it by including a balanced menu of other nutritious fruits and vegetables.

    The Company Completely Avoids Artificial Colors and Flavors

    The manufacturer places a premium on natural ingredients, so you won’t find a bunch of hard-to-pronounce chemicals in each bag. Instead, the kibble is made from real food — much of which you would do well to eat yourself.

    Wellness Core is Just One Aspect of an Entire System

    While the kibble is excellent on its own, it’s designed to be part of an entire dog food system. You buy the kibble, then you get a can or two of their topper to sprinkle on it, and you mix it in with wet food.

    While you don’t technically need anything besides the kibble, the company can make you feel like you’re abusing your dog if all you’re feeding her is their wet food.

    A Quick Look at Wellness Core Dog Food

    Pros
    • Uses premium, natural ingredients
    • Grain-free formula
    • High in protein and fat
    • Filled with highly-nutritious fruits and veggies
    Cons
    • Uses lots of high-glycemic vegetables
    • Fairly expensive

    Recall History

    In May 2012, the company issued a voluntary recall of their Large Breed Puppy formula due to concerns over Salmonella. The food was believed to have become tainted at one of their food processing plants; after the recall, Wellness Core severed their relationship with that processor.

    In October of that same year, the company recalled their Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food due to concerns of a possible moisture contamination. The contamination was not believed to pose a health risk.

    In March of 2017, the company recalled its 95% Beef Topper due to elevated levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. There were no reports of any dogs being affected by the food.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Wellness Core Dog Food Recipes

    While many of Wellness Core’s recipes are very similar, there are a few key differences between them that are worth knowing. We took a closer look at three of our favorites below:

    1. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food,...
    1,820 Reviews
    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food,...
    • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR DOG'S BEST LIFE: Premium protein expertly balanced with...
    • SAVORY FOOD DOGS LOVE: Wellness CORE is available in grain and grain free recipes, as well as...

    This food combines two very lean protein sources with a wide array of fruits and vegetables, giving your dog a well-balanced meal in each scoop.

    It’s hard to find any vitamins and minerals that this food lacks, because it gets its nutrition from so many sources. In addition to the poultry listed on the package, there’s kale, broccoli, flaxseed, blueberries, and a whole lot more.

    It’s high in protein and fat (34% and 16%, respectively), so your dog should get long-lasting energy from each bowl. Our biggest problem with it is that it uses ingredients like peas and potatoes, which can spike your dog’s blood sugar and may cause gas in some animals.

    Pros
    • Well-balanced nutritional profile
    • High in protein and fat
    • Includes superfoods like kale, broccoli, and blueberries
    Cons
    • May cause spike in blood sugar
    • Can cause gas in some dogs

    2. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon

    Wellness CORE 88414 Core Natural Grain-Free Dry...
    510 Reviews
    Wellness CORE 88414 Core Natural Grain-Free Dry...
    • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR DOG'S BEST LIFE: Premium protein expertly balanced with...
    • SAVORY FOOD DOGS LOVE: Wellness CORE is available in grain and grain free recipes, as well as...

    Not every dog loves fish, but those that do will be rewarded with a diet that’s full of omega fatty acids and other important nutrients.

    This food is excellent for creating a shiny, healthy coat, and the ingredients inside can also be essential for building a highly functioning immune system. There’s also added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, making this a good choice for larger dogs.

    We also like that the company added taurine, which is essential for heart health.

    The package doesn’t indicate how the fish was procured, though, so we don’t know if it’s wild-caught or farm-raised. That can affect the mercury levels inside, as well as the overall nutritional profile of the fish.

    Also, in addition to the potatoes and lentils that all Wellness Core products have, this recipe uses canola oil, which is extremely fattening. You’ll want to feed it to your pooch in moderation.

    Pros
    • Extremely high in omega fatty acids
    • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
    • Has added taurine for heart health
    Cons
    • No idea how fish was caught
    • Includes fattening canola oil

    3. Wellness Core Air Dried Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

    Wellness Natural Pet Food 88508 Core Tender Bites...
    415 Reviews
    Wellness Natural Pet Food 88508 Core Tender Bites...
    • 100 percent natural, grain free dry dog food that supports whole body health for dogs
    • Dry dog good features 70 percent Turkey and chicken and nutrient rich greens including spinach,...

    This food contains “bowl boosters,” which are little nuggets of protein designed to make it irresistible to dogs. They certainly seem to succeed in that respect, although they’ll put a dent in your pocketbook along the way.

    This gives the kibble the taste and texture of raw food, without requiring you to refrigerate it. There’s quite a bit of chicken and turkey inside, as well as spinach, broccoli, and dried kale.

    It’s worth noting, however, that the latter ingredients aren’t as prevalent as they are in other Wellness Core foods, as this particular recipe is heavy-handed on the protein.

    This recipe also has skim milk, which many dogs have issues tolerating. It’s higher in salt than we’d like, too.

    Overall, this is a good choice for picky eaters, but you’ll get a less-balanced nutritional profile than you would with some of the company’s other brands.

    Pros
    • Dogs likely to love the taste
    • Heavy emphasis on protein
    • Similar to raw food without need to refrigerate
    Cons
    • Extremely expensive
    • Less-balanced nutritional profile than other Wellness foods
    • High salt content

    What Other Users are Saying

    • HerePup – “What you’ll find are natural, real ingredients that should be in your dog’s food to help him thrive.”
    • Dog Food Guru “Wellness provides some of the highest quality, healthiest ingredients on the market.”
    • Amazon – As pet owners, we always double-check with Amazon reviews from buyers before we buy something. You can read these by clicking here.
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    Conclusion

    While many dog food manufacturers talk the talk when it comes to relying on natural ingredients, Wellness Core is one of the few that walks the walk. The company eschews artificial flavors and chemicals at every turn, choosing instead to pack their kibble with high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables.

    The food isn’t without its limitations, as we’d prefer to see them ease up on the potatoes and lentils and replace them with foods lower on the glycemic index. That’s a relatively minor quibble, though, and does little to diminish our enthusiasm for the food.

    Pet owners who desire to feed their dogs a healthy, well-rounded diet would do well to start with one of the recipes that Wellness Core offers.


    Featured image credit: Wellness Core Natural Grain Free, Amazon