Taste of the Wild Dog Food Review

Taste Of The Wild is made by Diamond Pet Foods. Both companies are owned by Schell & Kampeter Inc. Taste of the Wild and Diamond are different brands, but Diamond manufacturing facilities make Taste of the Wild as well as several other Diamond-owned lines for dogs (Diamond, Diamond PRO89, Diamond Naturals, Diamond Care, Diamond Naturals Grain-Free, NutraGold and Nutra-Nuggets). Diamond also manufactures other well known foods, including Kirkland, Solid Gold, 4Health. Chicken Soup for the Soul, Natural Balance, Artemis Pet Food and more). Taste of the Wild is made in Diamond’s facilities in California, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina and Kansas.

The company claims to offer a quality pet food at an affordable price, based on your dog’s natural diet. 

The company maintains they test for mycotoxins weekly, as well as oxidative tests on the fats and oils, which is definitely beneficial for dogs eating the food. Mycotoxins are a toxic mold that grows on grains and legumes and are found to some degree in most high carbohydrate dog foods, especially those with corn or grains. In fact, in 2005, Diamond Pet Foods had a major product recall after more than 100 dogs became ill or died after eating their food.

The company maintains their lamb, venison, bison and beef are pasture-raised, but this is a meaningless claim since most ruminants are raised on pasture for at least part of their life. They also claim the fish is sustainably sourced, although in most cases they don’t mention if fish ingredients are farmed. Similarly, they claim their poultry is cage-free, which is another empty marketing claim since all poultry raised for meat is cage-free.

Taste Of The Wild offers canned diets, and dry diets with grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. They also offer a Limited Ingredient – PREY line and an Ancient Grains line.

The average score of each Taste Of The Wild line is listed below. Click on any line to view the individual foods and scores. 

Ancient Grains

3.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Taste of Wild Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb
3.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Taste of the Wild’s Ancient Grains line has an average score of 3.6, and it’s considered a high risk dry food. The foods loses food quality points because it’s high in carbohydrates, averaging 34%, with 40% in one food. It contains unnamed animal (fish) proteins as well as seed oils that are highly processed.  It also has added amino acids plus excessive vitamin and mineral premix. It’s preferable that nutrients come from whole food sources since vitamin and mineral premixes can commonly cause excesses in vitamin D or copper.  

The ingredient safety score is low because the food is ultra processed, causing loss of nutrients.  Scores are also reduced due to added natural flavor, which is often animal digest or MSG, both low quality potentially unsafe ingredients.

The company does add (and guarantee) a good level of probiotics to these foods.    

Ancient Grains Benefits

Ancient Grains Concerns

Canned

5.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Recipe with Fowl In Gravy
5.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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With an average score of 5.5, Taste of the Wild’s Canned Food is considered a moderate risk wet food. The line averages 20% carbohydrate, measured on a dry matter basis (with the moisture removed to compare it with dry foods).  

Several of these foods contain an unnamed animal (fish) protein. The line also loses ingredient quality points for seed oils, which are highly processed and high in omega-6 fats. Some foods contain plant proteins, which are a low cost substitute for animal proteins and lack the full array of amino acids that dogs need.

The food also contains excessive vitamin and mineral premix, instead of obtaining its nutrients from whole food sources. 

Canned foods are highly processed, and are heated before and during canning, leading to nutrient losses. 

Taste of the Wild Canned food loses ingredient safety points because they contain foods known to be high in pesticides or herbicides, as well as genetically-modified ingredients. 

There’s also ingredient-splitting in these foods, which is the practice of splitting ingredients (in this case peas, pea protein and dried ground peas) to make them appear lower on the ingredient list. 

There’s no indication whether fish ingredients are farmed or wild-caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious, with a. less favorable fatty acid balance. 

Taste of the Wild does add probiotics to their Canned foods but the amount is not guaranteed, 

Taste of the Wild Canned Benefits

Taste of the Wild Canned Concerns

Dry

3.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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High-Prairie-Puppy-Recipe-with-Roasted-Bison-Roasted-Venison
3.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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With an average score of 4, Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food line is considered a high risk dry dog food. The line loses points for high carbohydrate content, with an average of 34%.

Several of the foods contain unnamed animal (fish) protein, suggesting these ingredients are lower quality, Fish meals are especially poor quality as they’re usually from rendered waste.

The food loses quality points for added seed oil or animal fat. These ingredients are high in omega-6 fats which can contribute to systemic inflammation. Their scores are also lower due to excessive vitamin and mineral content, which should preferably come from whole food sources.

Like all kibbles, Taste of the Wild is ultra processed. Excessive heat during processing can cause significant loss of nutrients.

Taste of the Wild Dry food also contains high pesticide or herbicide foods, often in the top 5 ingredients. The food loses safety points for natural flavor, which is often MSG or animal digest, both ingredients with potential safety risks.

Other concerns include a ingredient splitting, the practice of splitting lower quality ingredients to make them appear lower on the ingredient list. The company doesn’t disclose whether fish is farmed or wild-caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious and has a less favorable fatty acid balance.

The company maintains foods contain desirable ingredients like pasture-raised venison or buffalo, but these ingredients are low in the ingredient list. In fact the first ingredient in the Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe With Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison is not bison or venison, but water buffalo, a low cost meat from Asia.  

The company does add and guarantee a good level of probiotics in the food. 

Taste of the Wild Dry Food Benefits

Taste of the Wild Dry Food Ingredient Concerns

PREY

4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Taste of Wild Prey Limited Ingredient Turkey Recipe
4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Taste of the Wild’s PREY Limited Ingredient line is considered a high risk dry dog food, with an average score of 4.  The food loses quality points for excessive carbohydrate, calculated as an average of 35%.The food loses additional quality points for added sunflower oil, which is a highly processed seed oil.

The line also loses points for excessive vitamin and mineral premix content, when ideally these nutrients should come from whole foods. It also contains added animo acids.

Like all kibbles, the Limited Ingredient – PREY line is ultra-processed, lowering its food safety score. High heat during processing causes a significant loss of nutrients.

The PREY line also loses points for high pesticide or herbicide foods in the top 5 ingredients. Natural flavor loses it another safety point, as this is often animal digest or MSG, both ingredients with limited safety studies.

The company does add and guarantee a decent level of probiotics in the food. 

PREY Limited Ingredient Benefits

PREY Limited Ingredient Concerns

IS Taste of the wild a GOOD DOG FOOD?

Taste of the Wild’s foods are mostly dry goods are considered high risk foods. The foods claim to be based on the dog’s natural diet, and they do contain some high end protein ingredients (such as wild game). However, these better ingredients are not near the top of the ingredient list, meaning they’re included in small amounts.   

While the Canned food line scores better, that’s because it’s less processed than the dry foods. The quality and safety of the Canned food ingredients is otherwise similar to a dry food, including being moderately high in carbohydrates.

Many of the Taste of the Wild  foods contain high pesticide or herbicide foods, unnamed animal proteins, seed oils, and natural flavor, as well as excessive added vitamins and minerals.

Taste of the Wild does not provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their foods, which is a concern because AAFCO allows very high ratios that can lead to inflammation. 

Most of the foods do have guaranteed levels of added probiotics, which is a benefit.

Taste of the Wild foods are made by their sister company, Diamond Pet Foods, who has experienced many food recalls … although those were a long time ago and it appears the company has resolved its safety issues. A lawsuit filed in 2012 was settled. However there are two pending class action suits relating to Taste of the Wild foods (see below).

TASTE OF THE WILD FOOD DOG FOOD RECALLS

Recalls are shown for both Taste of the Wild and for Diamond Pet Foods, who manufactures Taste of the Wild as well as several of their own brands and other third party brands. 

Product Recalls

Diamond Pet Foods was recalled in 2005 due to aflatoxin contamination in foods at their South Carolina facility. More than 100 dogs became ill or died due to aflatoxicosis.  

Diamond Pet Foods had several recalls in 2012 due to Salmonella contamination, again, all foods were made at their South Carolina facility:

4/10/12 – Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food – possible Salmonella contamination

4/26/12 – Diamond Pet Foods Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food – Salmonella contamination

Debu4/30/12 – Diamond Pet Foods , Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food – voluntary recall due to possible Salmonella contamination

5/4/12 – Diamond Pet Foods, possible Salmonella contamination in the following brands:

  • Canidae Pet Foods
  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Country Value
  • Diamond
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Natural Balance
  • Premium Edge
  • Professional
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Kirkland Signature Dog Food
  • Solid Gold
  • Wellness 

This was a massive recall and in July 2018 the CDC announced a link to Salmonella poisoning in 49 individuals (no deaths) from Diamond Pet Foods production facility in Gaston, South Carolina.

Class Action Lawsuits

Filed February 2019, Jackson et al v Schell & Kampeter Inc, d/b/a Diamond Pet Foods et al, alleging failure to disclose positive tests for arsenic, lead, pesticides and other toxic materials in Taste of the Wild dog food.

Filed August 2018, Grossman v Schell & Kampeter Inc, d/b/a Diamond Pet Foods et al., alleging failure to disclose the presence of heavy metals, pesticides, acrylamide and bisphenol A (BPA) in Taste of the Wild dog food.

Settled Lawsuit

Filed May 2012, Marciano v Schell & Kampeter Inc, d/b/a Diamond Pet Foods et al, alleging negligence following the salmonella-related recall of many Diamond-manufactured pet food brands, including Taste of the Wild. The case was settled for $2 million. Some consumers received reimbursement for veterinary costs. 

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