Transition is defined as the process of moving a dog from their current food to a new food over a period of several days.  Our recommendations at Wellness are to transition slowly, over a week or so, as can be seen in the chart above. The change in diet may be made for many reasons including: age, life stage, special needs, or due to product enhancements.

While many dogs transition seamlessly, some dogs have an adjustment period. Diarrhoea, loose stools, and vomiting are the most prevalent clinical signs. It is important to understand the underlying causes of transition issues so that they may be minimised or completely avoided.

Causes of diarrhoea or loose stools
Diarrhoea and loose stools can be caused by many factors other than a change in diet, and other potential causes should be reviewed before concluding that diet is the reason. However, it is known that some dogs experience diarrhoea and loose stools for a few days when there is a change in diet. This results from a change in the food matrix that the dog’s gastrointestinal tract is unprepared for. Unlike humans, who continually consume a variety of foods, dogs often spend months or years on a single diet. As a result, dogs develop their system to process a single diet, and when something new is introduced their system can be slow to adjust.

Changes in fibre content or digestibility will affect the dog’s stool. This is compounded when the new diet tastes much better and the dog then eats too much. The expected amount of solids now entering the colon has been changed, which creates an imbalanced environment in the colon that tends to result in an increased ratio of water to solids, thus creating diarrhoea and soft stools.

Causes of vomiting
While vomiting is most often caused by other issues than a dietary change, sometimes it results from indiscriminate eating behaviour due to the novelty effect of new food. This is simply a matter of the dog consuming too much too quickly, sometimes not even pausing to chew the food. This situation is generally diagnosed by seeing undigested food in the vomit.

Food intolerance refers to a gastrointestinal response triggered by certain ingredients. For instance, a dog with a sensitive stomach may not be able to tolerate certain ingredients that then lead to diarrhoea, vomiting or irritable bowel.  This is different from a food allergy, which is triggered by an immune response to certain ingredients. The reasons for food intolerance are unknown.  In general, it cannot be cured, but long-term management involves identifying the ingredient(s) which the animal is intolerant to and avoiding them in the diet.


The best way to transition onto a new food is to gradually introduce the food by mixing it with the old diet. This is particularly important when the new food is much tastier than the old, as is the case with Wellness. Mixing the food will allow the dog to acclimate to the new taste and not “gorge” or over-indulge on the new food because of its great taste.

When food transition is not an option, there are 3 other ways to ensure a good transition:

1. Feed multiple, smaller volume meals. This will decrease the likelihood of over-consumption and provide for a more consistent, firm stool. This is an especially good option for puppies and senior dogs.

2. Add clean warm water to the food to help soften it.

3. Add a digestive aid such a boiled brown rice or sugar-free canned pumpkin to the food.

Wellness dry foods have an expiration of 15 months from date of manufacture. Wellness canned foods have an expiration of 3 years from date of manufacture. The longer date on cans is achieved because of the hermetic sealing process (a.k.a. air-tight vacuum packing).  Our pouches of wet food have a 2 year shelf life from the date of manufacture.

The date of expiry is printed on every pack of Wellness food.  Here are a few different packs with the locations of the best before dates circled, so you will know where to look:

A food allergy refers to an immune response to a particular ingredient in food that can cause itching, scratching, hot spots, hair loss, ear and eye secretions, or excessive licking. A dog may be born with specific allergies, or they may build over time from prolonged exposure to certain ingredients.

The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, chicken, eggs, soy, corn, dairy products and wheat. The most common offenders are some of the most common ingredients in dog foods. At Wellness, we ensure that all recipes are free from wheat, corn and soy and we have selected recipes which are free from the animal-based allergens, so we can cater for pets with sensitivities.

Wellness believes in portion-controlled feeding using our recommended amounts on the back of each bag, can or pouch. However, we completely understand that some families prefer to “free feed” their dog based on their busy schedules or the dog’s ability to pace themselves and not indulge. Ultimately, we support families that support animals!

We chose to use only natural preservatives that come with benefits beyond preservation. Our combination of mixed tocopherols, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid on our panels per AAFCO) and Vitamin E preserve the food but also provide additional antioxidants that scavenge free radicals and prevent cell damage.

A limited ingredient diet refers to a formulation that relies on as few ingredients as possible to eliminate introducing problematic ingredients for dogs with very sensitive digestive tracts. These often feature novel proteins, but have many other non-Wellness ingredients such as by-products and artificial preservatives. Be sure to check the back of the pack to assess all the ingredients!

Ultimately it depends on what the dog is allergic to. Grain-free is the one of the key benefits pet parents are looking for when choosing an allergy diet for their dog. We felt that is was important to have a fish, a lamb and poultry grain free option for dogs with different protein intolerances.  The addition of probiotics to our CORE dry food also helps many dogs with dietary issues as it helps promote a healthy gut microbiome, which contributes to resolution of  many digestive issues.

For a step by step explanation of the process, please visit How Wellness Natural Canned Pet Food is Made.

All Wellness dry dog and cat foods are made with GMO-Free ingredients.

Although we see dogs get very excited over the flavour, there are some that may tend to be more cautious. You can add a little warm water to the kibble. This helps to release the aroma of the food.  Or you can  try our No More Boring Bowls!

Just add one of our tasty toppers, mixers or meals to the top of the kibble to make mealtime much more appealing and exciting for your pooch.

For puppies specifically:
– Definitely add warm water or a wet food to soften and release the aroma. When puppies are teething they may be shying away from their food.
– A puppy’s tastes preference is sometimes determined by the diet fed to the mother. For example, if the mother was fed a lamb diet… the puppy may be inclined to prefer a lamb puppy food.  So if you are able to learn a little about your puppy’s parents and their feeding, it may assist you in introducing foods to your pup.

All of our products in the Wellness line are all-natural. We use no artificial colours or dyes of any kind. Colours and dyes are used  by many companies to mask the natural colours and give a consistent colour. As with many things in nature, there are subtle changes in ingredients based upon geography and seasonality. We try to maintain as much consistency as possible without the use of unnatural colourants, but you will see a little bit of variation from time to time and recipe to recipe in our kibble.

One is for dogs that need to reduce their weight. The other is for when the dog reaches their ideal body weight and wants to maintain it.

Yes you can.  The calcium and phosphorus levels in this food, plus protein and fat are suitable for all breeds and sizes of pups. There is also a CORE Grain Free Large Breed Puppy food, which is even more suitable as it is a little lower in calories, to help control the growth rate of larger breed pups.  If you do feed the Puppy formula, it’s important to feed it in limited amounts when feeding large breed puppies. When free fed (food is allowed out all of the time) large breed puppies tend to overeat causing them to grow too quickly with much of the growth being fat, and this can put a lot more pressure on their growing bones and joints. Instead, we suggest allowing your large breed puppy access to food 2-3 times a day for 1/2 to 1 hour at a sitting. For younger puppies (6-16 weeks) we suggest feeding three times a day while older puppies can be fed twice a day. It is important to keep your large breed puppy from becoming too fat because they are less likely to have joint problems as an adult.

We use only high quality sources of protein and fat which are inherently more digestible. Additionally, our optimised cooking process is converting more carbohydrates to bio-available energy. Thus, less unutilised solids are being passed to the colon as waste. For the pet, this means they get more nutrition from their food, with less waste and means they can be fed smaller amounts of food compared with lower quality, less digestible pet food brands.  For a pet parent, this means smaller and firmer stools to clean up.  So everyone wins!

If the canned food is well covered or sealed from the surrounding environment, the food should last up to 3-4 days. It is advised to consume before this time. The storage conditions and general hygiene of the refrigerator, as well as how long the food has sit out exposed will have determining affects on the safe storage of the canned diets.  Also be aware that you may find that some pets are not fond of the food when it is cold and prefer it once it has warmed to room temperature again.

No, the lining of our cans is made of a food grade emulsion coating approved by the USDA and it serves as absolutely no health hazard. Feel free to store the remaining meal in the opened cans but please do cover it and refrigerate it.

For more information on the consistency of our natural canned pet food, please see, How Wellness Natural Canned Pet Food is Made.

Wellness CORE is built upon the nutritional philosophy that cats & dogs, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a natural diet mainly comprised of hearty animal proteins. Our first priority is to deliver the most thoughtful, balanced higher protein diet for dogs. We understand that higher protein may also mean higher fat (calories), and minerals. Both of these components are healthy when delivered in moderation however, many of the highest protein diets neglect to pay close attention to maintaining appropriate fat and mineral levels. We believe that a higher, not highest protein diet is a very safe option for dogs provided they are fed the correct overall balance of nutrients.

CORE is built upon the nutritional philosophy that cats & dogs, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a natural diet mainly comprised of hearty animal proteins. While cats evolved relying on specific nutrients only available from meat, dogs have evolved to adapt to a wide range of foods. Dogs are opportunistic animals, and are able to turn on and off the enzymes responsible for digesting and utilising diets with range of differences in protein, carbohydrates, and fat. So the ideal diet for a dog contains a mojority of animal based proteins, supplemented with plant-based ingredients, like fruits and vegetables, and that is the basis upon which we formulate our CORE diets for dogs.

We developed CORE Dry Dog diets with three main focuses:

– Supply a higher protein diet, but not the highest. Based upon our study of comparing our 34% protein diet versus a 42% protein diet, we observed no difference in protein absorbed by the dog when the protein guarantee exceeded 34%. Simply put, just because there is more protein content, doesn’t mean the dog absorbs more.

– By having a slightly lower protein we were able to deliver less fat, and thus fewer calories. This is critical since over-feeding is prevalent among owners and their pets. A diet that is rich with fat and calories can lead to obesity, a leading cause of pet health issues.  CORE provides truly balanced nutrition without an excess of calories within the diet coming from either carbohydrates or fat or protein.

– Create a higher protein diet that does not deliver an excess of minerals (e.g. Calcium & Phosphorus) that a dog does not need. These nutrients are important parts of a regular diet, however, at extreme levels, these nutrients could become detrimental leading to possible bone abnormalities, kidney problems and iron and zinc deficiency.

Our guaranteed analysis provides these values as MAXIMUMS (leading competitors mostly provide Minimums or don’t list on the bag at all), to assure you that we have your dog’s health and nutrition as or number one concern.

For food manufactured in the US, as Wellness dry food is, minimum and maximum claims for each nutrient are established by AAFCO, the American Association of Feed Control Officials. The only necessary claims a pet food must make as per AAFCO are for: Crude (Protein, Fat, Fibre, and Moisture).

– Protein is always a minimum claim
– Fat is always a minimum claim
– Fibre is always a maximum claim
– Moisture is always a maximum claim

While these are the only nutrients mandated by AAFCO to carry a min/max claims, ash may voluntarily be listed, but must be listed as a maximum guarantee. Any vitamins, minerals or live microorganisms (probiotics) may be labeled with a minimum guarantee.

The Australian Standard for Manufacturing and marketing of pet food, AS-5812, is less prescriptive than AAFCO and requires only protein and fat to be listed, and these are permitted to be a ‘typical’ analysis, which is an average, rather than a guaranteed minimum or maximum.  So you may notice differences on Australian-manufactured foods due to the differences in regulations from country to country.

In the case of CORE Dog, we want to make the consumer aware that we only used high quality, lean protein sources that have a thoughtful amount of minerals, so therefore we list Calcium and Phosphorus as maximum claims. The consumer can be assured there is no more in there than listed. Some companies list minimums as a way to get the claim on the bag but there could be more in there than listed.

We feel very strongly about providing only proven nutrition to your dog. Research has shown that large breed puppies should not be fed a diet that is over 1.3% – 1.5% Calcium or they run a significant risk of developing bone abnormalities. If we listed all our CORE Dog diets as suitable for all life stages, we would be irresponsible, knowing inevitably that large breed puppies may be fed these diets (by no fault of their loving owners). In contrast with the CORE Cat diet, there is no supporting evidence that kittens suffer any bone abnormalities from higher calcium levels. We still strived to maintain low mineral content in CORE Cat diet to reduce the occurrence of urinary problems in cats.

Yes. The truth is ALL ingredients that go into extruded foods start out in the raw form and go through the cooking process to create the kibble.

The raw feeding philosophy is to provide a diet to dogs with an extremely high level of meat. By developing CORE, a diet with 80% more meat than traditional dog foods with grains, we have done just that, but we have ensured that the diet is ‘complete and balanced’, providing all essential nutrients, including protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are provided at optimal levels – none in excess and none in deficiency – to ensure that a pet thrives on our diets.

The definition of CORE in Webster’s dictionary: the essence: the vital or most important part. At Wellness, we define CORE as: we care for animals from the inside out an animal’s long-term wellbeing is at the CORE of everything we do. This name not only means something to us here at Wellness, but it was also the name consumers had the strongest emotional connection to in research.

CORE is safe for everyday feeding. We create a diet that was higher in protein, but also had fewer calories from fat, and moderated mineral levels and reduced carbohydrates. This means that you can feel 100% comfortable feeding your dog a higher protein diet everyday, without the fear of your dog putting on too much weight and having them suffer from possible long term effects of consuming extremely high Calcium and Phosphorus levels.

Research has shown the large breed puppies should not be fed a diet that contains an excess level of calcium or they can run a significant risk of developing bone abnormalities.  Many of the high protein diets on the market today contain high levels of calcium. This is why when we designed our Wellness CORE Puppy Formula, and our specific CORE Large Breed Puppy formula we took great care to ensure that our calcium did not exceed 1.5%, which we guarantee right on the bag.  For this reason, we do not recommend any large breed puppies be fed our CORE adult dog diets, and why we have labeled them as maintenance diets, not growth diets.

Feed management is often very difficult. It is actually quite easy to overfeed your dog, and this is exacerbated when the diet contains high levels of fat. Most people tend to use the same scoop for their pet food no matter what the food. Others use the same bowl and fill no matter the caloric concentration of the diet. Lastly, there are a large number of pet owners that fill their dog’s bowl…and then refill it so it is never empty! We created a diet that is very moderate in fat and fat calories to help reduce the risk of obesity: a number one cause of dog/pet health issues.

We kept the fat and fat calories down by going for higher, not the highest protein, and by using lean meat and animal protein sources. This approach allowed us to get the amount of protein desired without also dragging the fat levels up. In a higher protein diet, we felt it was important to have the protein contribute more calories than fat. A grain free competitor’s diet has a 42% protein and 22% fat. The fat actually contributes more calories than the protein!

Fish oils (salmon oil) and flaxseed are both high in omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon oil is high in the very long chain omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. DHA) and flaxseed delivers the long chain omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. ALA). By using the blend of both types of omega 3 fatty acids, this ensures that your dog gets a complete balance of each type, helping to promote healthy skin and coat.

We source high quality, natural protein sources from poultry, mammals such as lamb and rabbit and fish. Chicken, Turkey, and Fish sources deliver the majority in our CORE dog diets, but we do also have a Lamb diet.

We decided to formulate a 34% protein diet for two main reasons.

* First, from our research and development process, we observed that once we increased the protein to 34%, we saw that a dog was not absorbing any more protein. Protein, even the highest quality sources, will still deliver moderate fat and elevated minerals. If we could still deliver a high protein diet, and the dog doesn’t absorb and utilise any more protein past 34%, why would we add more – especially if it would only serve to increase fat and mineral levels a dog didn’t need?

* Secondly, we feel uncomfortable that there are no long term studies done on dry diets fed at extreme elevated levels of protein.

There is no perfect diet for every type of dog. Recent research suggests that many senior dogs can tolerate higher levels of protein very well unless there is a specific medical reason such as kidney disease, to reduce the protein. It really depends upon the individual dog’s needs and overall health. If you are not sure of the best approach for your dog, it is recommended to consult with your veterinarian.

Low carbohydrate dog food generally translates into being a higher protein dog food because protein, fat, carbohydrates and other nutrients are presented on a percentage basis all adding up to 100%. The guaranteed analysis will feature a protein that may range from 30-52% in dry foods and fat levels from around 10-22%, and carbohydrate levels from 12-26%.

NOTE: Since there are no NRC/AAFCO guidelines on what level of carbs is appropriate for dogs, it is not legal from a regulatory standpoint to make a “low carb” claim as there is no official baseline on what is high or low.

Dogs are extremely well suited to adapt and maintain biochemical homeostasis to a wide range of nutrients – carbohydrates being one of them. Carbohydrates are not considered an ‘essential nutrient’ as per AAFCO nutrient profile recommendations. In published studies (Kroneld), the researchers observed that dogs showed no differences in glycemic response when fed zero carbs and up to 38% carbs as a contribution of calories. This means that the dog’s reaction to a diet with 0% or 38% carbs is no different in terms of absorbing and utilising carbs. Simply put, there is no “optimal” level as dogs are able to utilise a huge range with no effect on their glycemic response.  Carbohydrates do provide a source of nutrients such as fibre, including prebiotics in the diet, which can aid digestive health, plus they provide an additional source of calories to meet an animal’s energy requirements.  This can be beneficial or detrimental.  On the beneficial side, it can mean that the protein in the diet can be used by the dog’s body for rebuilding muscle, hair, skin to keep the dog in top condition, as the energy it needs can be provided by the carbohydrates and fat in the diet.  But on the detrimental side, an excess of carbohydrates can be associated with obesity.

Dogs are very capable of digesting well-cooked carbohydrates. The carbohydrates may be stored as fats if the diet is consumed beyond the dog’s caloric needs. This is why it is very important to either strictly manage your dog’s diet, or choose a diet that delivers a moderate calorie content (kcal/kg).

High levels of Calcium and Phosphorus interfere with the absorption of trace minerals like Zinc and Iron. Over time, this can lead to deficiencies and result in poor growth rates, skin lesions, and red blood cell levels and many other health conditions.  In growing pups, excesses in these minerals can lead to the development of bone and joint problems also.

Calcium and Phosphorus both have important functions for a dog including the building of healthy bones. A very good ratio of Ca to P will range between 1.2- 1.5 to 1 and AAFCO recommends not to exceed a ratio of 2 to 1. This ratio is important to keep at this level to manage the bioavailability and absorption of these nutrients and to prevent bone related disorders. CORE Original has a ratio of 1.4 to 1.

ActiCoat is our system of coating each kibble, after cooking, with live, naturally-occurring Probiotics that are normally found in a healthy digestive tract. These micro-organisms help support overall digestive health and are found at guaranteed levels in each bag.

If a dog is overweight, even just a little, they may lose some weight which may not even be noticeable. In the case of some dogs, they may be satisfied eating less food on CORE and naturally become healthily lean. A healthy dog will likely maintain their current weight range. Our studies have shown minimal weight loss on CORE Original.

The stools should be firm and well formed (i.e. easy to pick up). Most dogs will have a bowel movement 1-2 times a day.

Fish ingredients are often quite high in ash, and therefore contribute dis-proportionate amounts of Calcium and Phosphorus. That’s why developing CORE Ocean was challenging. We use real fish as the first ingredient, followed by meals, which helps significantly. But also, to keep these minerals in check, special sources of low-ash meals and specially selected fish are utilised to create a balanced diet.

Each ingredient selected contributes a numeric value to the final formulation. Based on our CORE nutritional philosophy of:

– Multiple proteins first in the deck
– Higher not highest proteins
– Moderate fat
– Controlled minerals

Our number of fish ingredients chose us, we did not choose them! We wanted to add as much protein as we could to the diet and still keep our nutritional balance. Some diets may list more fish in the decks, however, they have higher fat and protein and it is often after the carbohydrates. It is important to remember that the balance of the nutritional equation is what is most important.

We chose a combination of fish sources that have varied levels of ash, fat, and protein. Using the four different sources allowed us to dial in with precision the exact levels of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus that we established as nutritional goals across the CORE line. We chose Deboned Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal and then specially sourced Low Ash Whitefish Meal and Low Ash Salmon Meal.

First and foremost, it is a grain-free fish-based diet, so it automatically does not contain many of the top allergens in dogs!  Ocean is based on a single type of unique protein – fish – it will be a great solution for dogs that have a food allergy and pet parents who prefer a grain-free option. However, with all of the additional supplements we add including: greens, botanicals, and probiotics, there are so many other health benefits from this diet which will ensure your dog truly thrives when eating it!

Optimal stool performance is an important aspect of canine product development. As you know, each formula performs a little differently based on the various types of ingredients used. Through our Field Trial Program, we found that the Ocean diet produced optimal stools similar to Original by using an additional fibre source, Pea Fibre. This meant a little more fibre in the recipe.

Pea fibre is a very gentle fibre source that also helps maintain good stool consistency and form. Together with tomato pomace, and probiotics these fibre sources help a dog maintain regular digestive health with firm, well-formed stools.

Fish is naturally high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids and therefore naturally lower in Omega 6. The Omega 6 number is lower in Ocean compared to Original. However, the question you must ask is, “Does this diet deliver a good Omega Fatty Acid profile and fulfill the requirements of all Wellness diets to deliver at least 2% Omega 6 and a ratio between 2:1 and 8:1”? And the answer is yes! Every diet will be a little different based on the formulation but results will be similar as we have established targeted nutritional standards for all our foods.

Ocean and Original will both result in excellent skin & coat health for dogs. However, every dog is different. Some dogs thrive on fish-based diets while others thrive on all-poultry or poultry-fish combination diets. Performance is really up to the individual dog.

Spinach is not bad for pets! It provides iron, calcium and a variety of phytonutrients like Lutein which is a powerful antioxidant. While spinach contains somewhat more sodium than some other vegetables it still would not be considered a high sodium food.

Chicory root has always been in our formulas as it is a beneficial fibre source, a prebiotic in fact, that helps support overall intestinal health, by providing a food for the good bacteria in the gut, so they can thrive. It was previously called Inulin on our packaging, but that is the active component of the chicory root rather than the ingredient itself. The new AAFCO definition was changed to Chicory Root to be consistent.

Yes, green tea does contain a small amount caffeine. However, at our inclusion amount, there is not enough to have any effect on your dog.

A full rainbow of fruits and vegetables provides the best blend of naturally delivered antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Consuming foods of many natural colors provides a wide range of natural antioxidant protection, as each colour brings a unique antioxidant with it.

Yes, we use filtered water. It was removed from the ingredient listing on the bag for space purposes so we could include other information.

Chicken meal is a high quality protein source that contains muscle meat as well as a small percentage of bone. The bone fraction contains rich sources of calcium and phosphorus. By law it may not contain heads, feet or intestines. Chicken by-product meal contains a variety of chicken “parts” including heads, feet and intestines. The only part of the chicken which cannot be included in chicken by-product meal is feathers.  At Wellness, we believe that your pet deserves the best quality ingredients, so that is what we include in our recipes.

We do use dried tomato pomace, specifically because it meets stringent microbiological specifications to be sure of its purity. As a result, it is one of the most expensive fibres available. It is worth it because it is not just an “empty fibre” and has a lot of nutritional benefits. Tomato pomace is rich in powerful antioxidants such as lycopene, and it has a high level of soluble fibre (which helps create excellent stools, gut health and a strong immune system).

No. The red in the tears is a result of porphyrin (a by-product of haemoglobin metabolism) being exposed to sunlight.

Yes, there is a trace amount in our dry foods.  It is included in there as a natural preservative to help prevent oxidation of the food.

Garlic has been long used for its healthful benefits as well as a flavourful ingredient in recipes around the world. Dogs won’t eat what they can’t smell. At Wellness, we add only a trace amount of garlic to our dog food to increase palatability and aroma. While it is a member of the onion family garlic does not contain a meaningful amount of disulfide, which is the substance found in onions that is harmful to cats at a high dosage. As with most things, the old saying “moderation in all things” applies to garlic. It would require a massive amount of garlic to cause a dog to become ill. Some studies even show that small amounts of garlic can actually be beneficial to the health of pets.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is a natural Omega-3 fatty acid essential in the development of the brain, vision and nervous system of young mammals. Healthy brains are about 60 percent structural fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. Dietary DHA is critical for optimal neural development in puppies because DHA synthesis in the body is limited. Prior to weaning, puppies get DHA from their mothers. Mothers, both human and canine, transfer DHA from their body tissues to their offspring during pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, puppies can obtain DHA for continuing neural development through the diet in cold water fatty fish and fish meals. 

The DHA in our Just for Puppy comes from an expensive, high quality salmon meal made from salmon located in the cold waters of the northeast. The source is highly regulated for quality and purity. We guarantee the inclusion levels of both DHA and EPA in our diet.