Wellness Core is a grain-free, high-quality dog food -- but it's not quite as meaty as Orijen, and Wellness isn't recall-free like Orijen. For this price, experts prefer Orijen.
Meat comes first -- but still less meat than some rivals. Reviewers praise Wellness Core's grain-free ingredient lineup: Turkey, turkey meal and chicken meal are the first three ingredients. But peas and potatoes come next, making Wellness Core less meat-rich than the very top-rated dry dog food, Orijen Adult Dog (Est. $45 for a 15-lb. bag) . Some top experts point out that dogs evolved to eat mostly meat and very few carbs. Wellness Core does add proteinated minerals (for easy absorption), probiotics and only natural preservatives.
One recall for the Wellness brand. One Wellness dry dog food variety (not Core) was involved in the big Diamond Pet Foods salmonella recall of 2012. Wellness immediately cut ties with Diamond. We found no other recalls for Wellness on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website, which tracks pet food recalls back to 2007.
Wellness earns kudos for sourcing the vast majority of its ingredients from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. But Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula does contain sodium selenite; one top source explains that selenium yeast is a safer form of selenium.
Among the most expensive. Pound for pound, Wellness Core Grain Free Original costs just as much as Orijen -- but Orijen offers a higher meat content and a squeaky clean recall history. Top experts recommend both, but they prefer Orijen.
Susan Thixton analyzes many dog foods, including Wellness Core Original and many other Wellness varieties. She assigns each brand (and each food) a rating, based on ingredient quality and product safety.
Review: Wellness Dog Food, Susan Thixton, As of January 2014
Mike Sagman gives Wellness Core dry dog food a perfect 5 stars, based on his detailed analysis of the Large Breed Formula. Quality ingredients and "a notable amount of meat" make this one of the best dry dog foods you can buy.
Review: Wellness Core Dog Food (Dry), Mike Sagman, Updated Nov. 12, 2013
Wellness (including Wellness Core) is one of Mary Straus's recommended dry dog foods. She praises Wellness's high-grade ingredients, but she does warn readers that it was recalled for possible salmonella contamination in 2012.
Review: Dry Dog Foods (Kibble and Dehydrated), Mary Straus, Updated Oct. 23, 2013
4. Whole Dog Journal
Whole Dog Journal explains exactly what to look for in a high-quality dog kibble and names the best choices. Editors do prefer wet food for dogs, however.
Review: Whole Dog Journal's 2013 Dry Dog Food Review, Nancy Kerns, February 2013
This press release details the 2012 recall of one Wellness dry dog food variety (Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy) after salmonella bacteria were found at the Diamond Pet Foods factory where it was made. Wellness no longer buys any products from Diamond.
Review: Wellpet LLC Voluntarily Recalls One Recipe of Dry Dog Food Due to Salmonella at Diamond Pet Foods' Facility, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 4, 2012
Wellness Core earns a perfect 5 stars and a spot on this site's list of the best dry dog foods. The write-up is brief, listing several pros (grain-free, high-protein and more) and no cons.
Review: Wellness Core, Editors of PetFoodRatings.org, Not Dated
With nearly perfect ratings in 100 reviews, Wellness Core Adult Dog is easily one of the top-rated dog foods here. Owners rave about their dogs' shinier coats, increased energy and better health after switching to Wellness Core.
Review: Wellness Core Original Adult Dog Food, Contributors to Petco.com, As of January 2014