Taste of the Wild Dog Food Review (Dry): Evidence-based Analysis

Taste of the Wild Dog Food Reviews

Taste of the Wild Dog Food ReviewTaste of the Wild dog food review has given this brand an A rating. It scored 90/100 points on our scale.

Highly recommended brand.

The below NextGen Dog’s Taste of the Wild dog food review analyzes product’s ingredients and nutrition, sourcing and manufacturing, any certifications and marketing claims used.

This dog food review was hand-written by a certified veterinarian and used an evidence-based evaluation approach for accuracy.

All Taste of the Wild dry dog foods are manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods manufacturer. It is unclear whether or not ingredients are sourced in the USA.

The brand offers these other dry dog food recipes:

  • Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula
  • Pine Forest Canine Formula with Venison & Legumes
  • Southwest Canyon Canine Formula with Wild Boar
  • Sierra Mountain Canine Formula with Roasted Lamb
  • Wetlands Canine Formula with Roasted Fowl
  • High Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison
  • Pacific Stream Canine Formula with Smoked Salmon
  • High Prairie Puppy Formula with Roasted Bison
  • Pacific Stream Puppy Formula with Smoked Salmon

For this NGD Taste of the Wild dog food review, company’s Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Canine with Roasted Lamb has been chosen to represent their line of dry dog foods.

Ingredients

Taste of the Wild dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profile requirements, which ensures adequate nutritional value.

Ingredients: Lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, egg product, roasted lamb, tomato pomace, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), dried chicory root, taurine, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Let’s take a closer look at the most important ingredients and sources of nutrition that may have the biggest impact on dog’s health.

Most important ingredients

Lamb: Lamb is a great source of protein. It can be useful for dogs with allergies to beef or chicken [1, 2, 3].

Since ingredients are listed by weight and lamb contains significant water in it’s raw form, this ingredient contributes much less to overall nutrition when cooked.

Lamb meal: Lamb meal is a rendered lamb, meaning the protein, fat and other portions of the lamb have been separated. This is a very dense source of protein.

Meat meal is a rendered source of proteins. Studies show that meat meal is a highly nutritious and concentrated protein source for pets [4].

Rendering is the process of separating the components that make up lamb, allowing the protein portion to be more concentrated. Studies show it to be safe and healthy for pets [5, 6, 7].

Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a healthy carbohydrate source and are rich in nutrients [8].

Potatoes: Potatoes can be a healthy source of carbohydrates and fiber, especially when trying to avoid grains [9, 10].

Peas: Peas are another healthy source of carbohydrates for dogs that are high in fiber and have the lowest glycemic index that may improve insulin response in canines [11, 12, 13].

Canola oil: Canola oil is a source of healthy fat and research shows its multiple health benefits [14, 15, 16].

Canola oil may also be a good source of Omega-3s and -6s which can improve health of pets [17, 18, 19].

Fat is an essential part of a balanced diet and is important to the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

Egg product: Egg product is obtained from egg graders, breakers or hatchery operations that is then dehydrated and handled as frozen or liquid.

It is free of shells and other non-egg materials. It is labeled and governed by USDA regulations for eggs.

What this means is that the egg product is essentially eggs, but in a form that is more convenient to use in a manufacturing plant.

Eggs are highly nutritious and digestible and are an excellent source of protein and vitamins [20, 21, 22]. Research on egg consumption in dogs is still lacking, however.

Roasted lamb: It is unclear how roasted lamb differs from the other sources of lamb. “Roasted” is not a term recognized by the AAFCO.

Tomato pomace: Tomato pomace is made from the leftover  pulp, skin and seeds of tomatoes processed from other uses.

Tomate pomace is high in fiber and is considered a good source of antioxidants [23].

Natural flavor: The FDA defines natural flavor as a substance obtained from a plant or animal source.

Natural flavors can also be derived from chemicals “naturally” in a laboratory setting. The term is very vague and sources of the flavoring can be varied.

In general, natural flavors are meant to enhance taste and palatability, but don’t typically contribute to nutrition.

Since the source is unspecified in this case, it is very difficult to comment on the quality of this ingredient.

Other additives

Taste of the Wild dog food has added probiotics including, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, and dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product.

Studies show that probiotics are very be beneficial to a dog’s gut health [24, 25]. However, it’s possible to argue that it may be difficult to include enough probiotics in dog food and have them survive. Cooking and extruding will have a significant effect of bacteria’s survival.

Research is contradictory on this. Some studies evaluating commercial probiotic-rich pet foods show very low levels of organisms present [26, 27].

Other studies indicate that probiotics can be effectively incorporated in dog foods and successfully infest canine’s gut with healthy bacteria [28, 29].

An owner really wanting to use a probiotic is better off giving a supplement directly rather than relying on diet.

Suspicious ingredients

Taste of the Wild dog food has added yucca schidigera extract which is used mostly to reduce fecal odor.

It reduces the fecal ammonia content and may be harmful in very high doses [30, 31].

Further research suggests that it may potentially have anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis [32].

It’s unlikely that the amount of yucca schidigera added to this dog food will have any adverse effects.

The bottom line on ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in Taste of the Wild Sierra dog food are above average.

Taste of the Wild has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Ingredients are listed in order by weight. Lamb as a primary meat source will contain a lot of water and therefore is likely to be the biggest contributor by weight, but not necessarily the biggest contributor to nutritional value.

While the quality of the ingredients can’t be determined by the label, the ingredients themselves are all nutritious, healthy and appear to be well-balanced.

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Canine with Roasted Lamb.

  • Protein: 25% minimum
  • Fat: 15% minimum
  • Carbohydrates: undetermined
  • Fiber: 4.0%

Calories: 3,611 kcal/kg (338 kcal/cup) calculated metabolizable energy.

Adult dog food protein content is typically in the range of 20-35% which is appropriate for most healthy dogs [33].

Fiber is beneficial to dogs in many ways but further research is required on several health benefit claims [34, 35, 36, 37].

However, crude fiber listed on Taste of the Wild dog food labels are not a particularly accurate measure of actual total dietary fiber content [38].

Certifications and Claims

Dog food manufacturers can have their foods tested and certified to meet specific regulations.

Some companies often use obscure or undefined statements. Below, we analyze all certifications and claims made by the company for accuracy and definitions.

Certifications

Taste of the Wild dog food has no specific certifications to evaluate.

Nutrition claims

On their website, Taste of the Wild claims to produce premium, grain-free pet formulas based on a pet’s ancestral diet.

Terms such as “premium” and “optimal” have no actual definition under AAFCO or FDA. They are used solely for marketing purposes.

“Grain-free” implies it is free of corn, wheat, barley, and rice. However, this diet is manufactured in a plant that also manufactures diets containing grain, and cross contamination may occur [39].

The term “with roasted lamb” means that the percentage of roasted lamb in the diet is 3-10% of the total by weight.

AAFCO requirements

The nutrition standards set by the AAFCO are voluntary.

The presence of a statement by the AAFCO on the dog food’s label is the most important indicator of dog food’s nutritional adequacy.

Ingredient Requirements: Taste of the Wild dog food line meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages when evaluating their diet using food composition tables of the ingredients.

All of Taste of the Wild dry dog foods have an AAFCO statement on the bag.

Feeding Trials: Taste of the Wild dog food has not undergone any food trials with dogs.

Diet trials are the most stringent and costly AAFCO standard, and the highest AAFCO standard that can be met. The lack of a diet trial does not necessarily indicate that this dog food isn’t high quality.

Although the AAFCO statement claims to be adequate nutrition for all life stages, this diet may not be appropriate for puppies, especially large breed growing puppies that need very precise ratios of vitamins and minerals to calorie content.

Other Evaluations

Other factors are taken into consideration for the final assessment of this dog food brand.

“Best Use By” date on the label

When considering dog food’s quality control, it is important to have a “Best Use By” date present on the label to ensure proper shelf life.

Taste of the Wild dog food includes a “Best Use By” label on their packaging.

While seemingly inconsequential, the presence of this date is an important indicator of a dog food’s quality and the company’s commitment to pet health and safety.

Manufacturer

All Taste of the Wild dry dog foods are manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods manufacturer (owned by Schell and Kampeter, Inc).

Diamond Pet Foods manufacturer also produces a variety of other dog food brands. Those include:

  • Diamond
  • NutraGold
  • Kirkland (B rating)
  • Nutra Nuggets
  • Premium Edge
  • 4Health (B rating)

Diamond Pet Foods are one of the largest dog food manufacturers in the United States. The company has four different facilities across the nation and produces private label dog foods as well.

As a dog food manufacturing company they have a comprehensive safety and quality testing program in place, but have had recalls in the past years for various reasons.

Testing, safety and quality control

Diamond Pet Foods have many testing parameters in place in order to ensure food safety.

They do on site mycotoxin and microbiological product testing weekly.

The company tests for oxidative stability of fats and oils to ensure these ingredients don’t go rancid.

Diamond Pet Foods website claims the company does a test and hold, meaning samples are collected from products before going to distribution and are tested by an independent laboratory. Each sample is kept for the time equal to the shelf life of the product.

Recalls

Diamond manufacturer has had several diet recalls over the years.

Taste of the Wild brand in particular had a recall in 2012 for the presence of salmonella in both cat and dog foods.

Summary of Taste of the Wild Dog Food Review

This brand has scored 90 points out of possible 100 points for an excellent A rating, according to our Dog Food Rating System.

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain with Roasted Lamb Formula shares many of the characteristics of a great quality dog food.

This brand does not claim any certifications, but it meets AAFCO nutrition adequacy requirements and includes a “Best Use By” date.

While ingredients listed are limited in giving insight to their overall quality, they are appropriate for dogs. There are no added artificial flavors or colors.

The manufacturer is located in the USA and undergoes standard safety testing to assure quality. However, source of the ingredients could not be determined.

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