Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular brands of grain-free dog food on the market today. With a focus on quality ingredients and natural flavors, Taste of the Wild aims to provide dogs with a diet reminiscent of their ancestral wild roots.
But how does Taste of the Wild stack up against the competition? This comprehensive review will provide an in-depth look at Taste of the Wild’s key features and benefits, ingredient quality, recall history, and real customer reviews. Read on to find out if Taste of the Wild’s natural, grain-free recipes live up to their promise of quality nutrition for your dog.
An Overview of Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Taste of the Wild is made by Diamond Pet Foods, one of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world. The brand was launched in 2007 as a more natural, grain-free alternative to traditional kibble.
All Taste of the Wild formulas are grain-free and made with a high proportion of meat, fish, fowl, and/or egg ingredients. The recipes are meant to mimic the natural ancestral diets of dogs in the wild.
Here are some quick facts about Taste of the Wild:
- Headquartered in Missouri, USA
- Dry kibble recipes for puppies and adult dogs
- Grain-free recipes with novel proteins and carbohydrates
- Formulas for all life stages and breed sizes
- Made in the USA with global ingredients
- No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Taste of the Wild aims to provide complete and balanced nutrition through quality natural ingredients rather than artificial vitamin packs. The brand offers both grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes across a variety of flavor profiles so owners can find the best match for their dog’s preferences.
Key product lines include:
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie – Bison, venison, lamb, fowl
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream – Salmon, ocean fish
- Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain – Lamb meal, venison meal
- Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon – Wild boar, rattlesnake, rabbit
- Taste of the Wild Pine Forest – Venison, lamb meal, duck meal
- Taste of the Wild Wetlands – Fowl, wild boar, duck
- Taste of the Wild Ancient Grains – Grain-inclusive line
Next, let’s take a deeper look at the types of ingredients used in Taste of the Wild formulas.
Taste of the Wild Ingredients Review
As a grain-free brand, Taste of the Wild places significant emphasis on high-quality animal-based proteins as the first ingredients in their formulas. This includes novel proteins like bison, venison, boar and fowl which are less commonly used in dog food.
Here is a summary of the key ingredients in Taste of the Wild formulas:
Protein Sources: Deboned meats, fresh meats, meat meals, fish meals, eggs
Carbohydrates: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, ancient grains (grain-inclusive line)
Fruits and Vegetables: Tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds, dried kelp, various fruits and veggies
Other Ingredients: Digestive enzymes, probiotics, vitamins, chelated minerals
Taste of the Wild meets AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages. The carbohydrate sources are low glycemic and the formulas are fortified with a proprietary blend of antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables.
Key benefits of Taste of the Wild ingredients:
- High-quality animal proteins: Deliver essential amino acids dogs need
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics: Improve digestion and immunity
- Novel proteins and carbohydrates: Reduce risk of triggering food allergies
- Natural flavor: Dogs seem to love the taste!
- Antioxidants from fruits and veggies: Support whole body health
However, there are a few downsides to the ingredients:
- Legumes are primary ingredient: Linked to canine heart disease in some studies
- Contains potatoes and sweet potatoes: Higher glycemic carbs
- Fish meals not specified: Origin and mercury content unknown
- Potential food allergens present: Chicken fat, tomatoes, peas etc
Overall, most dog owners seem happy with the quality and sourcing of ingredients in Taste of the Wild. But it’s important to carefully read each formula’s ingredients list, especially if your dog has food sensitivities.
Next let’s look at how Taste of the Wild handles food safety and quality control.
Taste of the Wild Recall History
Taste of the Wild is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, which has been involved in several recalls over the years:
- May 2012: Salmonella recall of multiple Diamond brands
- April 2013: Salmonella contamination at one Diamond plant
- July 2020: Potential mold contamination prompted a recall of select products
However, Taste of the Wild itself has only had one recall in its history. In March 2019, Taste of the Wild issued a voluntary recall for one lot code due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D.
Other than that isolated incident, the brand has avoided any major recalls or controversy around their products. Taste of the Wild also sources their ingredients globally which helps minimize risk when supply chain issues occur.
Here is an overview of their quality control and food safety measures:
- Manufacturing facilities hold an SQF Level 3 certification from the Safe Quality Food Institute
- Rigorous testing protocols to identify potential contaminants
- Proactive inspections and safety checks during production
- Careful sourcing and screening of raw ingredients
- Stringent quality standards for suppliers and distributors
Based on their limited recall history and quality control procedures, Taste of the Wild appears to meet high safety and nutritional standards. However, it’s always smart to remain vigilant and check for any new recalls affecting your pet’s food.
Taste of the Wild Product Line Review
Taste of the Wild offers an array of dry dog food recipes across multiple product lines. Here is an overview of their major formulas:
- High Prairie Puppy
- Pacific Stream Puppy
- High Prairie with bison
- Pacific Stream with salmon
- Pine Forest with venison
- Wetlands with duck
- Sierra Mountain with lamb
- Southwest Canyon with wild boar
- Ancient Mountain with roasted lamb
- Ancient Wetlands with roasted duck
- Ancient Prairie with roasted bison
- Pine Forest Grain-Free
- Pacific Stream Grain-Free
- Southwest Canyon stew
- Wild boar stew
- Trout stew
Some key details about the product line:
- Life stage specific formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors
- Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes
- Limited ingredient formulas for dogs with food sensitivities
- Canned stews in gravy with shredded meat
- Kibble sizes for small, medium, and large breed dogs
- Veterinary dietary formulas for weight management and sensitivity
Top benefits of the product line:
- Wide range of proteins and flavors
- Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes
- Formulas tailored for different breed sizes
- Limited ingredient diets available
- Veterinary formulas for dogs with special needs
Downsides to consider:
- Mostly dry kibble with few wet food options
- Limited selection of recipes for senior dogs
- No refrigerated or frozen raw diets
- Some key proteins like turkey are missing
With nearly a dozen grain-free lines featuring unique proteins, Taste of the Wild offers natural, protein-rich diets suitable for most dogs. However, the product range is still quite limited compared to some competitors.
Next let’s dive into Taste of the Wild’s nutritional value and how their recipes stack up.
Nutritional Analysis of Taste of the Wild Dog Food
All Taste of the Wild formulas are designed to meet AAFCO nutrient standards for complete and balanced canine nutrition. Here is an overview of the nutritional profile of their dry kibble diets:
- Protein: 25-32% minimum
- Fat: 15-18%
- Fiber: 3-4% on average
- Moisture: 10% maximum
- Calories: 350-400 kcal/cup
Vitamins and Minerals:
- Formulated with chelated minerals for digestibility
- Added vitamin pre-mix includes Vitamins A, B, D, E and more
- Selenium yeast for antioxidant support
- Dried chicory root for prebiotics
- Dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product for probiotics
- Yucca schidigera extract to reduce stool odor
- Natural flavor enhancers
- High protein levels from quality animal sources
- Grain-free carbohydrates with low glycemic impact
- Added probiotics and antioxidants
- Nutrient levels meet AAFCO guidelines
- Lower protein and higher carbs than some competitors
- Vitamin and mineral amounts not provided
- Omega fatty acid ratios not disclosed
Overall, Taste of the Wild provides nutritionally balanced and digestible recipes formulated for a canine’s natural diet. However, they do not disclose as much detail on nutrient levels compared to some other premium brands.
Now let’s look at how real pet owners rate Taste of the Wild and what benefits they observed when switching their dog to this brand.
Taste of the Wild Dog Food Reviews
Taste of the Wild is one of the best selling grain-free dog food brands, with thousands of positive reviews online. Here are some common pros that customers point out:
- Dogs love the taste and get excited at mealtimes
- Improved digestion with less gas and softer stools
- Shinier coats, healthier skin, and reduced shedding
- Higher energy levels especially in senior dogs
- Picky eaters start finishing their bowls
- Dogs maintain a healthy weight on appropriate feeding
- Affordable price relative to boutique brands
Of course, some dogs simply don’t thrive on a particular diet. Here are a few of the most common complaints about Taste of the Wild:
- Digestive upset like vomiting or diarrhea
- Itchy skin or ears in dogs with food allergies
- Picky dogs may turn their nose up at some recipes
- Potential link to DCM (under investigation)
- Too high calorie for some inactive dogs
- Respiratory issues in rare cases
Every dog is unique, so be sure to transition gradually and watch for any signs of intolerance. Overall most pet owners seem very pleased with the quality of Taste of the Wild diets.
Taste of the Wild Dog Food – Top 5 Recipes
With so many formulas to choose from, which Taste of the Wild recipes rise above the rest? Based on reviews and nutritional analysis, here are 5 top recipes to consider for your dog:
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie
- First ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes
- 32% minimum protein, 18% fat
- Rich and flavorful bison recipe
2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream
- First ingredients: Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes
- 25% minimum protein, 15% fat
- Omega fatty acids from fish
3. Taste of the Wild Pine Forest
- First ingredients: Venison, lentils, peas
- 31% minimum protein, 18% fat
- Limited ingredients, great for sensitive dogs
4. Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain
- First ingredients: Lamb meal, peas, sweet potatoes
- 25% minimum protein, 15% fat
- Grain-free lamb recipe
5. Taste of the Wild Wetlands
- First ingredients: Duck, duck meal, quinoa
- 31% minimum protein, 17% fat
- Novel duck protein formula
Be sure to always transition slowly over 5-7 days when introducing a new recipe. Look for any signs of digestive upset or skin irritation. Consider your dog’s age, size, and activity level when selecting the ideal formula.
What Do Independent Experts Say About Taste of the Wild?
Overall, most independent experts and canine nutritionists give positive reviews for Taste of the Wild grain-free recipes:
- High-quality meat proteins: Deliver essential amino acids
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics: Aid digestion
- Limited ingredients: Avoid common allergens
- Decent vitamin and antioxidant levels
However, some concerns raised by experts include:
- Legumes are primary ingredient: Potential heart risks
- Lack full nutritional analysis: More data needed
- No feeding trials: No proof of long-term benefits
- Occasional quality control issues: Prior recalls
According to veterinary nutritionist Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, “Taste of the Wild provides a good balance of quality proteins, digestible carbohydrates, and beneficial supplements. But we need long-term feeding studies to determine the ideal diet for maximizing longevity.”
Overall, most experts consider Taste of the Wild to be a good grain-free option compared to grocery store brands. However, some boutique and veterinary brands may offer more customized recipes for dogs with specific needs.
Is Taste of the Wild Worth the Price?
Taste of the Wild is considered one of the more affordable grain-free dog food brands. Here is an overview of their pricing:
- Dry Kibble: Approximately $1.50 to $2 per pound
- Wet Food: Approximately $2.50 to $3.50 per 13 oz can
This pricing is very competitive compared to most boutique or specialty brands which can cost $3 to $6 per pound.
Key benefits of Taste of the Wild pricing:
- Mid-range price suitable for most budgets
- Often available on sale or discounts
- Substantial savings over many premium brands
- Good value for the quality
- Slightly pricier than generic brands
- Rare sales or deals from retailers
- Price increases over last 2-3 years
- Cheaper discount brands available
For shoppers looking for a moderately-priced upgrade from traditional kibble, Taste of the Wild offers competitive pricing. However, devotees of premium or veterinary diets may still find it too reasonably priced and opt for a pricier brand.
Top Alternatives to Taste of the Wild
While Taste of the Wild is a popular choice, you may want to compare it against some of these top competing brands:
- Similar protein-rich recipes
- More food toppers and mixers
- Comparable cost
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
- Boutique brand with greater selection
- More frequent sales and promotions
- Slightly higher pricing
- More limited ingredient and grain-free options
- Higher protein percentages
- More expensive
Purina Pro Plan
- Veterinary formulas with clinical research
- Lower cost but lower quality ingredients
- More fillers like corn and wheat
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- Moderately priced grocery store brands
- Lower protein levels and ingredient quality
- Larger marketing budget
Be sure to consult your veterinarian when changing your dog’s diet, and transition slowly between brands. But Taste of the Wild stacks up nicely against competitors, offering quality ingredients at a reasonable price point.
FAQ about Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Still have some questions about Taste of the Wild pet food? Here are answers to some of the most common queries:
Q: Is Taste of the Wild good for puppies?
A: Yes, Taste of the Wild offers specially formulated puppy recipes like High Prairie Puppy and Pacific Stream Puppy. They deliver balanced nutrition with DHA for brain development. Slowly transition puppies at 8-12 weeks old.
Q: Is Taste of the Wild being investigated by the FDA?
A: In 2018, the FDA issued a report linking grain-free diets to an increased risk of heart disease. This included Taste of the Wild. However, the limited ingredients may still be a good choice for dogs with allergies under veterinary supervision. More studies are underway.
Q: Is Taste of the Wild high in protein?
A: Yes, Taste of the Wild foods contain 25-32% minimum protein, primarily from high-quality animal sources. This supports muscle development but large breed puppies may need calcium monitoring.
Q: Does Taste of the Wild contain taurine?
A: Taurine is an amino acid dogs synthesize from protein. Taste of the Wild recipes contain meat protein which provides natural taurine. But the exact amounts are not disclosed. Supplementing taurine is optional for most dogs.
Q: Where is Taste of the Wild dog food made?
A: Taste of the Wild is made by Diamond Pet Foods, which has manufacturing facilities across the USA including South Carolina, California and Missouri. All formulas are made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients.
The Verdict: Is Taste of the Wild Worth It?
At the end of the day, Taste of the Wild delivers quality nutrition at a reasonable price point. The grain-free recipes offer digestible proteins, limited ingredients, antioxidants, and probiotics that most dogs appear to thrive on.
While no brand is perfect for every pooch, Taste of the Wild is a solid option to consider if you want:
- Natural, protein-focused formulas
- Limited ingredients for food sensitivities
- Affordable pricing for tight budgets
- Positive customer reviews and results
- Occasional quality control issues
- Lack of feeding trials and data
- Potential heart disease risks (under investigation)
- Might not suit dogs with complex needs
As with any new diet, transition gradually while monitoring your dog’s energy, appetite, weight, coat, allergy symptoms, and digestion. Consult your vet if any issues develop. Make sure to stay up to date on any new FDA findings or brand recalls as well.
Overall, Taste of the Wild grain-free recipes deliver quality nutrition that most pups seem to love. While not the absolute highest-end brand, it provides natural, protein-rich nutrition at a reasonable price point for the average pet owner. Just be sure to consult your veterinarian, follow feeding guidelines, and watch for any signs of intolerance.
With an array of formulas featuring novel proteins like bison, trout, boar and duck, Taste of the Wild can provide a tasty, balanced diet full of natural flavor. Just transition slowly and stick to their healthy weight formulas for best results.