Wellness Core/Complete Health puppy foods are two choices we believe will get your little one off to a fantastic start. Keep reading for our expert reviews and facts about this food and the company that makes it.

More pet parents are deciding every day to feed their dog a more nutritious diet. Good nutrition is the best way to ensure good health for the life of your puppy. Puppies have unique nutritional needs. If those considerations aren’t managed properly, you can’t repair the damage later.

The origin of what would become the Wellness Company began in 1926. The company was initially formed as a dog biscuit maker near Boston, Massachusetts. In 1961, the company began its commitment to developing highly nutritious products for animals. That year, it was purchased by Jim Scott, Sr., an animal nutrition scientist.

Today, they produce a full line of holistic nutrition for pets. The company’s website states their pet diets contain only whole foods from trusted sources. None of their formulas have wheat, corn, soy, preservatives, or artificial colors. All of these components are unhealthy and potential allergens to dogs and cats. The company says their foods contain the ideal nutritional balance and never “empty calories”.

Wellness is part of a corporation of other natural pet product brands called WellPet. Within WellPet, they state their goal is to deliver on the promise of “making the healthiest natural products for pets.” They state they produce natural pet food that is “safe, wholesome, and beneficial to pets’ health and wellbeing”. The corporation has expanded production at its own Mishawaka, Indiana, facility. This move makes production of the vast majority of its brands under its control at one facility to maximize safety.

WellPet is a company dedicated to supporting long-term environmental sustainability through its production and distribution practices.

Wellness Pet Food Recalls

The shocking pet food recall beginning in May 2012 sent waves of fear through pet parents in the U.S. Thousands of pounds of dog and cat food were recalled by their manufacturers due to Salmonella toxicity. Many worried that the 2012 recalls would be as bad as the recalls in 2007. More than 13,000 pets died then from melamine poisoning in their food, according to the Veterinary Information Network.

Fortunately, the 2012 recalls were much less severe. By contrast, humans were more affected than pets this time and in far fewer numbers. But, the lasting damage was done, especially to the Diamond Pet Foods Company.

In spring 2012, an outbreak of a rather rare Salmonella strain, Salmonella Infantis, was traced to a Diamond Pet Foods production facility in Gaston, SC. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a total of 49 people across the U.S. and Canada were infected with the outbreak strain. Seventeen brands representing about 30,000 tons of dry dog and cat food were recalled.

All had been produced at the Diamond facility and were recalled as a result of the outbreak. Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy was one of the foods recalled. The company made a voluntary recall of only this particular puppy food formula out of an abundance of caution. No Salmonella contamination had been found in any of its products.

Later in the fall of 2012, another pet food recall was made. This time, the recall was due to extra moisture content in the 12 pound Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food. The extra moisture had the potential to cause mold to grow inside the bag before the expiration date. The company stated that “a small batch of the product” with a specific product code was found with a higher moisture content than their recipe called for. Although the moisture could cause the food to mold before the expiration date, it posed “no health risk”. No other recipes or bag sizes were affected.

In both recall situations, Wellness offered their customers free bags of replacement food. The company also provided coupons for discounts on future purchases of Wellness products.

If you want to feed your puppy a premium kibble, full of nutritious whole foods without grain, we believe Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Formula is a great option.

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
  • GRAIN FREE: 100% grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your puppy.
  • PUPPY FORMULA: Naturally grain free, protein rich, made with premium chicken, turkey & salmon with the calories and DHA needed for healthy development in...

Last update on 2018-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This product line of Wellness foods is based on the nutritional philosophy that pets thrive on a diet mainly containing meat. Each CORE formula is packed with a high concentration of quality animal protein. For protein to be most usable to a dog nutritionally, it must come from another animal.

A named meat (beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, etc.) or meat meal should always be the first ingredient on your puppy’s food package. Ingredients on the food label are listed in order of weight. The first ingredient listed is the most used in the food.

Meat meal is the product left over after all the moisture has been removed from animal tissues. Meat meal contains about 10% moisture and is the most concentrated source of animal protein in dog food. High quality meat meal is a very important part of your puppy’s diet.

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Essential Elements of Protein in Wellness CORE

The first three ingredients in this puppy diet are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. All of these poultry sources are easily digestible. They are also very appetizing for your puppy.

Although a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture would be lost. The meat content remaining would be just a fraction of its original weight. However, as we mentioned earlier, chicken meal and turkey meal are both high quality sources of protein-rich meat concentrates. Chicken meal contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

As the company states, the CORE line of Wellness products is designed to be a protein-focused diet. Through our careful research, we feel pet parents can be assured of the nutritional foundation this puppy formula provides. The variety of high-quality proteins contributes the amino acid building blocks essential for muscle growth in your precious puppy. These amino acids are also responsible for cellular replacement and removal of waste deposits.

In addition to meat protein, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Formula includes many fruits and vegetables. These super foods contribute to a complete and well-balanced diet for your puppy. Spinach, apples, blueberries, kale, carrots, and bananas are some of the whole food ingredients your puppy will love.

Wellness CORE Puppy Formula gets our expert approval for these key facts:

  • 36% protein, 18% fat, ~28% carbohydrate content.
  • Gluten free, 100% grain-free, and no meat by-products.
  • No wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Probiotics to help maintain a healthy digestive tract.
  • Salmon Oil, a natural source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), helps support cognitive development.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • Antioxidant rich to support a strong immune system.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Extra Help for Large and Giant Breed Puppies

Puppies, especially those of large and giant breeds, need extra attention to their nutrition in their first six months of life. This is because of the unique requirements of their growing skeletal system. Too much rapid growth due to inferior nutrition will damage the formation of bones and joints.

Specifically, puppies need to have restricted caloric intake and controlled levels of calcium in their diets. Overfeeding will be destructive to the growing bones and joints of your puppy. This damage is irreversible and very painful.

To get the balance of nutrients just right, Wellness CORE Puppy Formula has guaranteed levels of calcium. The calcium-to-phosphorous ratio in the puppy diet is also important for optimal skeletal development. These important minerals ensure proper support for growing bones and joints.

Customer reviews of Wellness CORE have been overwhelmingly positive! Here, we present the Pros and Cons pet parents have shared about this terrific food.

PROS: •Small kibble size for growing puppies. • Dogs poop less often and in less volume. • Poop doesn’t smell as bad! • Tear-staining on white or light-colored dogs has disappeared after feeding Wellness CORE. • Improved skin and coat condition. • Dogs with sensitive digestion issues are thriving on the food. • Alleviates dry skin and scratching. • Puppies love the taste. •

CONS: •Green Tea Extract sourced from China. • Too much potato/sweet potato causes yeast overgrowth. • Expensive to buy. •

Guaranteed Analysis & Ingredients - Wellness Core Puppy Formula

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude ProteinNot less than36.00%
Crude FatNot less than18.00%
Crude FiberNot more than5.00%
MoistureNot more than10.00%
CalciumNot more than1.50%
PhosphorusNot more than1.00%
Vitamin ENot less than400 IU/kg
Omega 6 Fatty Acids*Not less than3.50%
Omega 3 Fatty Acids*Not less than0.60%
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)*Not less than0.10%
Beta-Carotene*Not less than5 mg/kg
Total Lactic Acid Microorganisms*Not less than80,000,000 CFU/lb

The Wellness Complete Health line of products is formulated with healthy, natural ingredients. They include super nutrients to provide whole-body nutritional support.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag
  • COMPLETE HEALTH: complete and balanced everyday nutrition to support your dog's healthy weight.
  • HEALTHY WEIGHT FORMULA: Reduced calorie diet made with delicious deboned chicken and peas to help satisfy hunger and maintain a healthy weight.

Last update on 2018-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Each recipe contains quality protein, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Each is also formulated to be easily digestible. As such, your puppy’s body will be able to quickly absorb the food’s vital nutrients.

Our research indicates these complete and balanced diets would provide strong nutrition for your puppy’s growing months. Veterinarians agree a healthy, balanced meal is one that contains plenty of veggies — not just meat — in your pup’s diet.

Vegetables are excellent sources of healthy carbs and they help keep your puppy’s immune system strong. Carrots, potatoes, and real fruit like blueberries and apples provide essential vitamins and nutrients for your growing puppy.

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During the important foundation year of puppy growth, puppies need an optimal balance of nutrient-rich foods and minerals for their unique health needs. Our research indicates this recipe provides that balance , and supports your puppy’s teeth and bone strength with ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus.

It uses precise levels of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) to ensure healthy brain development. DHA level is guaranteed on every bag of Wellness Complete Health Puppy Formula. Scientific research suggests this important fatty acid helps support cognitive development, vital to learning and training.

We think you’ll love the support for overall health, energy, and vitality your puppy receives in every meal. The optimal nutrient absorption promised by Wellness and healthy muscle growth are bonus benefits. We’re sure your puppy will love the great taste in every bite.

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion

All puppies need a diet that encourages an active immune system. The immunity puppies receive from the mother’s milk will not last forever. Probiotics are an essential part of the digestive immune system. Puppies need to acquire these “good bacteria” from the environment to maintain a healthy intestinal tract. They will also be key in the fight against illness and disease.

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria in your puppy’s digestive tract that promote the absorption of nutrients. They also aid in the fusion of certain vitamins and help limit growth of “bad bacteria”. Some pet parents use probiotics to prevent the overgrowth of yeast organisms in their dogs that can cause skin problems or ear infections. A

ll of this is done by helping to restore the natural bacterial balance within the intestines. Diets like Wellness Complete Health add probiotics after the food has cooled, making it ideal for all puppies.

Specific details which make Wellness Complete Health Puppy Formula one of our expert choices:

  • 29% protein, 17% fat, ~36% carbohydrate content.
  • No wheat, corn, soy or meat by-products.
  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition, made with natural ingredients.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Optimal Nutrient Absorption

Carbohydrates provide energy. This puppy formula uses oatmeal, barley, and brown rice as carbs because they’re easy to digest and full of nutrients.

Wellness has developed a way to measure the amount of nutrients in a dog’s feces when fed their foods, called “Digestool”. Basically, the fewer nutrients that end up in the stool of the dog, the more nutrients have been absorbed by the dog’s body.

Optimal absorption of the puppy formula diet ensures your puppy uses all the nutrition available in the food to fuel his growth. It’s also how the nutrition scientists at Wellness know their foods are super easily digested by your dog.

Reviewers highly rate and recommend Wellness Complete Health Puppy Formula. There are only a few negative comments about the food. We have gathered many of the Pros, and the few Cons, here for you.

PROS: •Reliably resealable bag. • Significant reduction in smell of stool/gas from previous food. • Picky dogs eat every bite. • Reduced tear staining on light colored puppies. • Healthy skin and coat. • Well-formed stools. • Great price per serving. • High quality ingredients you can smell. • No tummy trouble any longer with sensitive puppy. •Great customer service. • My puppy is thriving. • It exceeded my expectations! • Much smaller stool volume. •

CONS: • The kibble is too hard. • My puppy didn’t like the taste. • Gave my puppy bad gas. • Kibbles are too large.

Guaranteed Analysis & Ingredients - Wellness Complete Health

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude ProteinNot Less Than29.00%
Crude FatNot Less Than18.00%
Crude FiberNot More Than4.50%
MoistureNot More Than10.00%
CalciumNot Less Than1.20%
PhosphorusNot Less Than1.00%
Vitamin ANot Less Than25,000 IU/kg
Vitamin ENot Less Than200 IU/kg
Omega 6 Fatty Acids*Not Less Than3.80%
Omega 3 Fatty Acids*Not Less Than1.00%
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)*Not Less Than0.10%
Taurine*Not Less Than0.09%
Total Lactic Acid Microorganisms*Not Less Than20,000,000 CFU/lb

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas, Chicken Fat, Salmon Meal, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil , Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, 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.

About the author

Carol Cornwall has loved animals from the time of her first childhood pet, a duck named Fluff. From then, it's been a steady parade of dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, horses, cows, goats, and sheep. In addition to writing, she's worked as a vet tech, cow hand, and owned a dog boarding facility. She now shares her home with three very spoiled dogs.