Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews

Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews
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Taste of the Wild is a popular dog food brand owned by Schell & Kampeter Inc, the manufacturer of Diamond Pet Foods, Kirkland, Solid Gold, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Natural Balance and more. Taste of the Wild prides itself on safety testing and claims they regularly test for mycotoxins and that they test their fats for oxidation. This is likely necessary since Diamond had a significant recall for mycotoxins (a toxic mold found in grains) back in 2005.

For our Taste Of the Wild dog food reviews we’ll look at each food line individually, based on the food ingredient quality and safety. Each dog food review was based on these criteria.

taste of the wild dog food reviews

Taste of the Wild Ancient Grains Dog Food Review

Score: 3.6/10

Package Ingredients for Wild Ancient Stream Canine with Smoked Salmon Recipe: Salmon, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, grain sorghum, millet, cracked pearled barley, dried yeast, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brown rice, smoked salmon, 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, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Using our evaluation criteria, Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line is considered a high risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate
The Ancient Grains line averages 34% carbohydrate (dry matter as calculated), which is quite high for a premium kibble and indicates a lower quality food. The carbohydrates primarily come from sorghum, millet and barley, which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 30% dry matter, which is also fairly low for a food in this category.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals
When foods are highly processed and/or contain lower quality ingredients, a vitamin and mineral premix must be added for the food to meet minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements. These premixes can often cause toxicities, especially for vitamin D and copper.

Added Amino Acids
Protein from animals is more complete in amino acids than protein from plants – plus it’s more expensive. Foods with lower amounts of animal protein often need to add amino acids to compensate for the incomplete plant proteins, so this can be a marker of cheap, lower quality ingredients. These foods are found to contain both L-Carnitine and DL-Methionine.

Unnamed Animal Products
One way to identify low quality ingredients is unnamed animal products. While this food does contain salmon, it also contains ocean fish, which could be virtually any species of fish. These types of products are usually just waste products that are of low quality.

Contains Seed Oil
Some of the Ancient Grains recipes contain canola oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil, and an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line:

Ultra-Processed
With the exception of air-dried and cold-pressed foods, all kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, hetercyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
The recipes in Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line all contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Sorghum, millet and barley (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. However, It’s good to note the foods in the Ancient Grains line are not made with GMO ingredients.

Natural Flavor
Foods from Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line contain natural flavor, which is added to make the processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, which is another very low quality ingredient with limited safety studies.

Read more Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews

taste of the wild dog food reviews

Taste Of The Wild Canned Dog Food Review

Score: 5.2/10

Package Ingredients for Wetlands Canine Recipe: Duck, duck broth, chicken broth, fish broth, chicken liver, chicken, dried egg whites, potatoes, peas, dried egg product, potato starch, quail, turkey, ocean fish, guar gum, natural flavor, sodium phosphate, salt, flaxseed oil, potassium chloride, inulin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, taurine, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, yucca schidigera extract, iron amino acid chelate, xanthan gum, thiamine mononitrate, natural roasted flavor, natural smoke flavor, 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.

Using our evaluation criteria, Taste Of The Wild’s Canned line is considered a moderate risk dog food. This is the highest rated food in the Taste Of The Wild dog food reviews but it still scores fairly low for canned foods in this category.

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate
The Canned line averages 20% carbohydrate (dry matter as calculated), which is higher than we’d like to see. However it’s acceptable for a food in the canned category. The carbohydrates primarily come from potatoes and peas, which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets. However, the average protein content is 45% dry matter, which is acceptable for a food in this category.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals
When foods are highly processed and/or contain lower quality ingredients, a vitamin and mineral premix must be added for the food to meet minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements. These premixes can often cause toxicities, especially for vitamin D and copper.

Unnamed Animal Products
One way to identify low quality ingredients is unnamed animal products. This food contains ocean fish and fish broth, which could be virtually any species of fish. These types of products are usually just waste products that are of low quality.

Contains Seed Oil
Some of the Canned recipes contain sunflower oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil, and an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line:

Highly Processed
With the exception of air-dried and cold-pressed foods, canned foods undergo two heating steps, making them less processed than kibble. The heating means they’re highly processed and likely deficient in food-based nutrients and enzymes.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
The recipes in Taste Of The Wild’s Canned line all contain foods known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. These include potatoes peas, chickpeas and tomatoes. 

Natural Flavor
Foods from Taste Of The Wild’s Canned contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, which is another very low quality ingredient with limited safety studies.

Overall, Taste of The Wild Canned Dog Food scores well for this brand because it’s less processed than the other sub-brands. It remains high in carbohydrates and fats that are inflammatory. Its nutrients are derived from synthetic additives. You can improve this food by adding fresh vegetables and fruits. Instead, there are better foods available that aren’t as processed and that obtain nutrients from their ingredients. There are more concerns about this food than benefits. 

Read more Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews

taste of the wild dog food reviews

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Review

Score: 3.4/10

Package Ingredients For Pine Forest Canine Recipe: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea flour, dried yeast, egg product, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, DL-Methionine, 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, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Using our evaluation criteria, Taste Of The Wild’s Dry line is considered a high risk dog food and the lowest scoring line in the Taste Of The Wild dog food reviews. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate
The Dry line averages 32% carbohydrate (dry matter), which is quite high for a premium kibble and indicates a lower quality food. The carbohydrates primarily come from garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils which are high in starch. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 21.3% dry matter, which is very low for a dry food.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals
When foods are highly processed and/or contain lower quality ingredients, a vitamin and mineral premix must be added for the food to meet minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements. These premixes can often cause toxicities, especially for vitamin D and copper.

Unnamed Animal Products
One way to identify low quality ingredients is unnamed animal products. While this food does contain salmon, it also contains ocean fish, which could be virtually any species of fish. These types of products are usually just waste products that are of low quality.

Contains Seed Oil
Some of the Dry recipes contain canola oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil, and an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many dog food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Taste Of The Wild’s Dry Dog Food line:

Ultra-Processed
With the exception of air-dried and cold-pressed foods, all kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient and food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, hetercyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
The recipes in Taste Of The Wild’s Dry Dog Food line all contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Sorghum, millet and barley (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases.

Natural Flavor
Taste Of The Wild’s Dry Dog Food line contains natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, which is another very low quality ingredient with limited safety studies.

Taste Of The Wild Dry is similar to the other foods by this manufacturer. It’s ultra-processed causing a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. That requires the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals. You can improve this food by adding fresh vegetables and fruits. But instead of that, there are dry foods that score better and obtain nutrients from their ingredients. 

Read more Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews

taste of the wild dog food reviews

Taste of the Wild Prey Limited Ingredients Review

Score: 4/10

Package Ingredients for Angus Beef Limited Ingredient Recipe: Beef, lentils, tomato pomace, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salmon oil (source of DHA), salt, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, taurine, 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, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

The Prey Limited Ingredients is the best Taste Of The Wild Dog food (excluding the canned line). Using our evaluation criteria, Taste Of The Wild’s Prey Limited Ingredients line is considered a high risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate
The line of Prey Limited Ingredients averages 32% carbohydrate (dry matter), which is quite high for a premium kibble and indicates a lower quality food. The carbohydrates primarily come from lentils. High carbohydrate diets have been linked to gut imbalance. High carbohydrate diets also mean lower protein diets and the average protein content is 21.3% dry matter, which is also fairly low for a food in this category.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals
When foods are highly processed and/or contain lower quality ingredients, a vitamin and mineral premix must be added for the food to meet minimum AAFCO nutritional requirements. These premixes can often cause toxicities, especially for vitamin D and copper.

Added Amino Acids
Protein from animals is more complete in amino acids than protein from plants – plus it’s more expensive. Foods with lower amounts of animal protein often need to add amino acids to compensate for the incomplete plant proteins, so this can be a marker of cheap, lower quality ingredients. These foods are found to contain both L-Carnitine and DL-Methionine.

Contains Seed Oil
Some of the Ancient Grains recipes contain sunflowwer oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil, and an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Taste Of The Wild’s Ancient Grains line:

Ultra-Processed
With the exception of air-dried and cold-pressed foods, all kibbles undergo four heating steps, making them an ultra-processed food. Ultra-processed foods are deficient and food-based nutrients and enzymes, and can also be high in toxic chemicals like acrylamides, hetercyclic amines and PBDEs. In fact, research shows that ultra-processed foods are linked to an increase in all-cause mortality in humans.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
The recipes in Taste Of The Wild’s Prey Limited Ingredients line all contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Lentils (unless organic) are crops that are spray-dried with Roundup, leaving them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases.

Natural Flavor
Foods from Prey Limited Ingredients contain natural flavor, which is added to make the processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, which is another very low quality ingredient with limited safety studies.

Taste Of The Wild Prey Limited Edition has limited ingredients in terms of actual food ingredients. And they’re followed by a long list of synthetic additives to replace missing amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Essentially you’re getting a food made with one protein plus legumes and tomato pomace (leftover from tomato processing). There are better dry foods that have ingredients that provide nutrients from the actual ingredients. 

Read more Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Reviews

Is Taste Of The Wild A Good Dog Food?

When evaluating ingredient quality and safety, we consider all Taste Of The Wild dry dog foods to be high risk foods. Although the company claims their ingredients are GMO-free, most of the foods still contain known high pesticide/herbicide foods, unnamed animal proteins, seed oils, natural flavor and excessive added vitamins and minerals.

While the ingredients are non-GMO (although not certified), and the foods do contain guaranteed amounts of added probiotics, there are additional concerns with the food and marketing. These don’t affect the Taste Of The Wild dog food reviews score, but they’re worth mentioning:

Glam Ingredients
Most Taste Of The Wild foods contain glam ingredients. These are expensive or desirable ingredients like blueberries, kale or apples often added to appeal to consumers but may be in minuscule amounts. They contribute little or no nutritional value to your dog. 

Ingredient Splitting
This is a technique of splitting ingredients into sub-categories to move certain ingredients higher or lower on the ingredient list. This is often used to disguise the amount of lower quality ingredients in the food, such as corn, potatoes or peas, and moves desirable ingredients, like proteins, higher.

Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio
It’s also worth noting that Taste Of The Wild does not state the omega6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation and disease.

Does Not State Farmed Vs Wild Caught Fish
These foods don’t specify whether the fish is farmed or wild caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious than wild caught fish and does not contain the same healthy fatty acid balance. 

Finally, Taste Of The Wild parent company Diamond Pet Foods has been involved in multiple recalls or Salmonella contamination and aflatoxin contamination, while there was a Taste Of The Wild recall for Salmonella contamination in 2012.

Finally there is more than one Taste Of The Wild dog food lawsuit: In 2018 and 2019, Diamond Pet Foods was challenged for not disclosing positive tests for arsenic, lead, pesticides and other toxins in their foods.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:

Are the Ingredients High Quality?

Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:

  • Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
  • Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
  • Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
  • Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
  • Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
  • Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?

How Safe Are the Ingredients?

Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:

  • How processed is the food?
  • Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
  • Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
  • Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
  • Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?

Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. 

This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. We’ve partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.

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