Taste of the Wild Dog Food


Taste of the Wild Dog Food: A Fair-and-Square Review

Credit: Taste of the Wild

Being a responsible dog parent means ensuring that your furry baby leads a happy and healthy life. You do your best to train them to be a well-behaved, lovable pooch, and you make sure they get plenty of fresh air and exercise every day. But let’s be honest here — nothing can beat the thrill they feel when you serve them their luncheon.

Finding adequate nutrition these days can be quite a challenge. With so many brands on the market, the seemingly endless formulas and recipes, and diametrically different price ranges of dog foods, how can you be sure which is the best choice for your pup?

TheDogDigest can help you out by reviewing those formulas, so you don’t have to. We are fortunate enough not to depend on affiliate links, and we don’t need to push one brand over others for profit. Instead, we can give you our honest opinion on every bag or can of dog food that we (i.e., our doggos) try.

After learning about raw canine nutrition from smallbatch dog food, the holistic pup grub approach from our Halo dog food review, and the protein-based blends from Wellness CORE dog food, among others, we are moving on to another household name — Taste of the Wild dog food.

Taste of the Wild Pet Food Background Info

Credit: Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is a well-known name worldwide — it is a dog food bestseller, if you will. The brand boasts about reconnecting your dog with their ancestral diet, filled with savory and often unorthodox meats, such as wild boar, fowl, Angus beef, and bison, to name a few.

The company’s products are made by Diamond pet food, one of the big players in the American pet food industry. Apart from Taste of the Wild, Diamond manufactures formulas for the following brands:

  • Premium Edge
  • Bright Bites dental treats
  • Nutra Gold Super Premium Holistic Formulas
  • Canidae Pet Food
  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Costco’s Kirkland Signature
  • Solid Gold Health Products for Pets
  • Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods
  • Tractor Supply’s 4Health

Taste of the Wild cat and dog chow, as well as their PREY blends, are all made in the U.S. — the company has five manufacturing facilities in four different states. The ingredients in Taste of the Wild dog food are mostly locally procured, but some are imported from abroad to ensure they are all of premium quality.

The cattle they use in their formulas are grass-fed, the poultry is cage-free, and the fish is sustainably sourced. None of the ingredients are genetically modified (GMO), and all dog food blends are amped up with K9 Strain Probiotics. Another benefit — their formulas are free from additives, artificial preservatives, and food dyes (all of which are among the dog food ingredients to avoid!).

This brand started out as, and remained, a family-operated business that offers high-quality pet food at surprisingly affordable prices. Dog owners are certainly thrilled about it, and doggos seem to love the flavor of their Taste of the Wild grub. Our task as your trusted all-around dog advisors is to determine whether this brand’s dog food is as nutritious as it is delicious.

Taste of the Wild Dog Food Recall History

Credit: Taste of the Wild

Before we even get to our review, we need to get one thing out of the way. There has only been one documented voluntary Taste of the Wild dog food recall back in 2012. Their dog and cat food formulas tested positive for Salmonella, so a large number of units were taken off the shelves.

More recently, though, the company has been under attack because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called it out as one of the brands that were linked with pet heart disease. Namely, the FDA issued a report in mid-2019 in which it named 16 brands that were involved in their ongoing investigation into the diet of dogs (and several cats) that developed dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The dogs that suffer from this vile condition were mostly fed on those 16 pet foods, but none of the brands have been recalled so far.

Here is a full list of all the brands involved, and the number of reports that named them as the main or only pet nutrition choice:

  1. Acana, 67
  2. Zignature, 64
  3. Taste of the Wild, 53
  4. 4Health, 32
  5. Earthborn Holistic, 32
  6. Blue Buffalo, 31
  7. Nature’s Domain, 29
  8. Fromm, 24
  9. Merrick, 16
  10. California Natural, 15
  11. Natural Balance, 15
  12. Orijen, 12
  13. Nature’s Variety, 11
  14. NutriSource, 10
  15. Nutro, 10
  16. Rachael Ray Nutrish, 10

How We Conducted Our Analysis

We strive to give you nothing but objective and fact-based dog food reviews. To make sure our facts are straight, we enlisted the help of:

  • Veterinarians, who guided us through The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) dog food requirements and told us all about DCM
  • Canine nutritionists, who broke down the nutritional value of the Taste of the Wild dog food ingredients for us
  • Online reviewers, who had loads to say about their experience with this brand
  • Our community of dog parents and devoted readers, who gave their pups a taste of the wild for at least two months and shared their impressions with us

Taste of the Wild Dog Food Reviews

Credit: tasteofthewild

Once we got all the details from our army of helpers, we were able to single out the best Taste of the Wild recipes in seven categories. They are all in accordance with AAFCO’s nutritional requirements for dogs in growth and development and/or maintenance stages.

If you are wondering whether your little wolfie would get all the nutritional value these nature-inspired formulas pack, we included a rundown of the guaranteed analysis and a full ingredient list for each of our choices.

Category

TheDogDigest PicksRating
Best OverallTurkey Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs

4.7

Runner-Up

Wetlands Canine Formula with Fowl in Gravy4.5
Best for Puppies

Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe with Smoked Salmon

4.6

Best for Senior Dogs

High Prairie Canine Formula with Bison in Gravy4.7
Best for Sensitive Tummies

Trout Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs

4.7

Best for Small Breed Dogs

Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Recipe With Venison and Garbanzo Beans4.6
Best for Large Breed Dogs

Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb

4.4

Best Overall: PREY Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs wins the cup on almost all fronts. Turkey is a rich source of protein, and it is a fantastic meat choice for dogs with food allergies. It is tender and soft, and since PREY dog formulas contain only four main ingredients, it is found in abundant quantities in this recipe.

Of the three PREY blends, this one has the most protein, which makes it adequate for all life stages — from fuzzy yappers to graying muzzles! It also has plenty of fiber, which paves the path to excellent digestive health in the long run.

The controversial item among the ingredients of this chow is lentils — we are not referring to the FDA’s inquiry this time around but rather to the fact that lentils are loaded with plant-based protein, which points to the high protein count in the table below. Were the percentage related to meat-based protein only, we would have been even more impressed with this recipe.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

30.0% minimum

Crude Fat

15.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

5.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

0.05% minimum

Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum
Selenium

0.35 mg/kg minimum

Vitamin A

15,000 IU/kg minimum
Vitamin E

150 IU/kg minimum

Taurine

0.12% minimum
Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.5% minimum

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.5% minimum
Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb

Calories

3,670 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Turkey, lentils, tomato pomace, sunflower oil, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salmon oil (source of DHA), salt, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Runner-Up: Wetlands Canine Formula With Fowl in Gravy

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

Wetlands Canine Formula with Fowl in Gravy is another formula that was favored by many a pooch — duck, quail, and turkey are the stars of this stew, so we can totally get why it captured their snouts. The recipe is enriched with potent veggies and fruit — peas, sweet potatoes, raspberries, and blueberries add their share of nutrients and antioxidants.

This formula is suitable for canines of all ages, including large breed puppies, who have the highest nutritional requirements.

The downside of this recipe is that potatoes are among the top ten ingredients, which are considered the main items in any dog food blend. Potatoes are not ideal veggies for a dog; although potatoes have plenty of carbs, doggos can get that energy from another, milder veg, such as yam or sweet potato.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

8.0% minimum

Crude Fat

3.5% minimum
Crude Fiber

1.0% maximum

Moisture

82.0% maximum
Calories

896 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Duck, duck broth, chicken broth, fish broth, chicken liver, chicken, dried egg whites, potatoes, peas, dried egg product, potato starch, roasted duck, roasted quail, smoked turkey, ocean fish, guar gum, natural flavor, sodium phosphate, salt, flaxseed oil, potassium chloride, inulin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, taurine, choline chloride, yucca schidigera extract, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, xanthan gum, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Best for Puppies: Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe With Smoked Salmon

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe with Smoked Salmon is one of only two Taste of the Wild puppy formulas — the other one is based around roasted bison and venison and seems to be equally delicious.

This blend stands out for its caloric content, which is potent enough for even the liveliest of pupperinos. It is egg-free, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your little doggy to this common allergen. The kibble size is adjusted for the smallest of munchers, and it is also unlikely to pose any choking hazard. The high Omega acid count from salmon will ensure your pup has a healthy and shiny coat.

In case your pooch has a particularly refined taste and would like more variety in their bowl, you can also offer them any of the Taste of the Wild All Life Stages recipes or go for one of the best puppy food formulas we could find.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

27.0% minimum

Crude Fat

15.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

5.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

0.05% minimum

Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum
Selenium

0.35 mg/kg minimum

Vitamin E

175 IU/kg minimum
Taurine

0.12% minimum

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.4% minimum
Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.3% minimum

Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb
Calories

3,600 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, tomato pomace, smoked salmon, salmon meal, natural flavor, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, yucca schidigera extract, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Best for Senior Dogs: High Prairie Canine Formula With Bison in Gravy

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

High Prairie Canine Formula with Bison in Gravy is suitable for all life stages, but we found it is perfectly matched for elderly doggos.

When pooches hit a certain age, their appetite diminishes, so owners have to work hard to find the most mouth-watering recipe for their disinterested fellows. Bison is surely a scrumptious chunk of meat that will entice your finicky aged woofer. Your grandpa-dog may also experience dental issues, which is why a wet formula may prove easier for them to chew.

If you feel that your silver fluffer would rather wolf down another meal, feel free to browse our selection of the best senior dog food options.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

8.0% minimum

Crude Fat

3.5% minimum
Crude Fiber

1.0% maximum

Moisture

82.0% maximum
Calories

860 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Beef, lamb broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, lamb liver, bison, dried egg whites, potatoes, peas, dried egg product, potato starch, roasted lamb, roasted venison, ocean fish, guar gum, sunflower oil, natural flavor, tricalcium phosphate, sodium phosphate, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, inulin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, taurine, choline chloride, yucca schidigera extract, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, xanthan gum, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Best for Sensitive Tummies: PREY Trout Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

Just like our top pick, this PREY formula boasts only four main ingredients — trout, lentils, tomato pomace, and sunflower oil. The idea behind this line was to develop nutritionally rich recipes inspired by our canines’ ancient diets that would be light on their tummies. You cannot hope for lighter meat than spring-fed trout — it is soft, buttery, and packed with Omega goodies!

The Trout Limited Ingredient Formula for Dogs is recommended for all life stages and is well-suited for doggos with digestive issues. For further stomach support, this blend is enriched with 80 million probiotics! We dare say that any sensitive furry belly will welcome such an easily digestible meal.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

27.0% minimum

Crude Fat

15.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

5.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

0.05% minimum

Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum
Selenium

0.35 mg/kg minimum

Vitamin A

15,000 IU/kg minimum
Vitamin E

150 IU/kg minimum

Taurine

0.12% minimum
Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.5% minimum

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.5% minimum
Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb

Calories

3,592 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Trout, lentils, tomato pomace, sunflower oil, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salmon oil (source of DHA), salt, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Best for Small Breed Dogs: Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Recipe With Venison & Garbanzo Beans

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Recipe With Venison and Garbanzo Beans is the only Taste of the Wild formula for small breed adult pups, and it is a solid option for miniature breeds. The kibble is the size of a pencil eraser, which makes it perfectly safe and comfortable for tiny munchers.

The only fault we could find with this blend is that it is super loaded with protein, so much so that it should be well-suited for puppies, too — yet, the brand lists it as adult only. That is likely due to its high garbanzo beans (chickpeas) content — chickpeas are known to abound in plant-based protein. The primary ingredient in this formula is venison, but most of it diminishes during cooking, and we presume garbanzo beans then take the lead.

If that is not what you’d select for your tiny, ravenous wolf, we suggest you also take a look at these best dry dog foods for small dogs.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

32.0% minimum

Crude Fat

18.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

4.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum

Selenium

0.35 mg/kg minimum
Vitamin E

150 IU/kg minimum

Taurine

0.12% minimum
Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.8% minimum

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.3% minimum
Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb

Calories

3,719 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), egg product, duck meal, pea flour, tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Best for Large Breed Dogs: Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe With Roasted Lamb

Credit: Taste of the Wild pet food

This brand doesn’t have a formula tailored for giant canines and recommends all of their All Life Stages recipes for big woofers, too. So we took cues from our readers when choosing the winner in this category.

Their Taste of the Wild large breed dog food pick is Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lambit is nutrient-packed yet calorie-moderate, which is ideal for large pooches who can wolf down substantial amounts of kibble in a single meal. That prevents them from overeating and putting on excess weight quickly. Lamb is also a superb meat choice for canines — it is protein-rich and also suitable for dogs with allergies to the standard dog food meats, such as beef or chicken.

We wish this brand offered a blend formulated specifically for big dog breeds, and if yours doesn’t enjoy this one, we encourage you to try one of our best large breed dry dog foods instead.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

25.0% minimum

Crude Fat

15.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

3.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

0.05% minimum

Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum
Selenium

0.4 mg/kg minimum

Vitamin A

15,000 IU/kg minimum
Vitamin E

150 IU/kg minimum

Taurine

0.12% minimum
L-Carnitine

100 mg/kg minimum

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.8% minimum
Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.4% minimum

Glucosamine

750 mg/kg minimum
Chondroitin Sulfate

250 mg/kg minimum

Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb
Calories

3,625 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Lamb, lamb meal, grain sorghum, millet, cracked pearled barley, dried yeast, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brown rice, egg product, roasted lamb, natural flavor, tomato pomace, salmon oil (a source of DHA), quinoa, chia seed, salt, potassium chloride, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Is Taste of the Wild Dog Food Safe?

Credit: Taste of the Wild

Since this question is mostly related to the current FDA investigation, for the time being, the answer is yes. The agency has not found any conclusive links between DCM and the 16 pet food brands — Taste of the Wild included — apart from the fact that a number of the affected dogs were fed these formulas. Most of the recipes are grain-free, but some contain grains, even brown rice. There were reports of DMC in pooches that were fed home-cooked or raw meals, too.

The FDA also emphasized that they received reports from around 560 dog owners, while there are over 77 million pet dogs in the U.S. who are eating the same food and are perfectly healthy. Many dogs are genetically predisposed to this heart condition, and the primary reason for calling out the said brands is so that more people would come forward and help the investigation — both owners of sick pets and company representatives.

For now, we believe that it is entirely safe for your dog to eat Taste of the Wild grain-free dry dog food that they love so much.

The Digest: How Good Is Taste of the Wild Dog Food?

Overall, we were pretty impressed with Taste of the Wild dog food. They stand out because their recipes contain novel meats that are nutritious enough to satiate the hunger of our dogs’ inner wolves.

We also appreciate a brand that takes special care of where it sources its ingredients, and we were won over by the fact that they don’t add chemical preservatives, MSG, ethoxyquin, or artificial dyes to their blends.

There were some downfalls, too. This company heavily relies on legumes as protein sources in their recipes (legumes and bean veggies could potentially be harmful to dogs), so that left a slightly bitter taste in our mouths. They also lack a large breed formula, and they need more age-specific foods as most of their products are recommended for all life stages.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_food
  2. https://www.quora.com/Should-I-feed-taste-of-the-wild-puppy-food-to-my-German-shepherd-puppy
  3. Thompson, Angele. “Ingredients: Where Pet Food Starts.” Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, vol. 23, no. 3, 2008, pp. 127–132., doi:10.1053/j.tcam.2008.04.004.
  4. Morgan, Judy, and Hue Grant. Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods, Not Drugs. Thirty-Six Paws Press, 2017.

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