Who to choose between American Journey and Wellness? That is the question! Thankfully, you have come to the right place to help you make that decision. Here in this comprehensive guide, we have compared these two brands so that you can make the right choice for you and your pooch.
Both the American Journey and Wellness brands have been widely accepted and celebrated as quality dog food manufacturers. Both brands offer many different flavor options across both size and age categories.
We will take a look at each brand’s history and their product recalls. We also look at what they offer for puppy, adult, and senior dogs, as well as the chunkier dogs out there. From grain inclusive to grain-free recipes, we compare it all. Let’s jump straight into the grand brand debate!
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Before we get onto the products themselves, it’s important to look at the brands. Both have built a good reputation in the pet food industry so far. Let’s take a look at their origins and ethos!
American Journey are new in the pet food arena. There isn’t a lot of information on their origins, but from our research we think they began in 2017. American Journey is Chewy’s house brand, and reviews started to appear in 2017. At the time of writing, American Journey does not have their own website, so information is limited.
There has been a big push for their products online recently. Their products are available on Chewy, PetSmart and some select stores across America. With their rising popularity we hope to see a dedicated website with more information soon.
In 1997 a team of animal nutrition experts and veterinarians launched Wellness Pet Food. They are part of the WellPet LLC family brands, including Eagle Pack, Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard and Sojo.
Wellness claims to “do things the right way”, and their products are all natural without any fluff of fillers. This has led them to becoming one of the leading premium pet food brands in America.
They have their own website, with much more information available, and a customer service team. Their products are available in most pet food stores, and available on almost every online retailer such as Chewy, Amazon and PetSmart.
It is important to understand how seriously brands take the safety of their products. Recalls are a great insight into the safety of their food, and how brands deal with issues.
According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are no recorded American Journey product recalls. This is great for a brand who does not charge a premium for their products. This leads us to believing they take their food safety very seriously.
Wellness have had a few recalls for their dog products. But, they have had only 3 since they began in 1997 (13 years at the time of writing). Using the same websites mentioned above, let’s take a closer look at their recalled products:
May 2012: Voluntary recall of one product after Diamond Pet Food’s alerted them to the presence of Salmonella found in one of their facilities. After this incident Wellness announced that they no longer purchase products from Diamond Pet Foods.
October 2012: Voluntary recall of a limited number of products due to possible moisture contamination.
March 2017: Voluntary recall of one production lot due to higher than expected levels of the naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Wellness had no reports of any illnesses, but another brand, Blue Buffalo, had the same issues. Leading to the belief the beef products were produced in the same facility.
Wellness has quickly held their hands up with any recalls and withdrew business from those who had let them down. Not all brands do this, so this shows that they take the safety of their food seriously too.
This is arguably the most important section because this is what good-quality nutrition is all about. Ingredients should always be nutritious, healthy and purposeful to Fido’s health. So, let’s take a look at how good their ingredients really are.
Despite being easier on the purse strings, American Journey promises to always use deboned meat as the first ingredient. This is why we like American Journey, and the reason why they are a high-quality brand within their price range. Other brands in a similar pricing range don’t always promise this. Their favored meat proteins are Chicken and Salmon, as well as Lamb, Beef and Turkey. Their Limited Ingredient formulas use Duck and Venison as the only protein sources.
American Journey also offers grain free and grain inclusive recipes to cater to a wider audience. Like most brands, their grain free options are slightly more expensive as they are trickier to produce. They promise never to use any corn, wheat or soy in their grain inclusive recipes, which is important for those dogs with common grain allergies. They favor gentle and wholesome grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. Sometimes rice bran and brewers rice are used. Some view these ingredients as cheap fillers, but they do have nutritional benefits.
Ingredient splitting is a common tactic used to make products appear better quality than they are. For example, pea protein is used to bump up the overall protein content. By splitting this ingredient into 4 seperate types of pea ingredient (pea protein, pea fiber, pea starch, and whole peas) which allows brands to list meat as the main ingredient. But in reality, peas could be the main ingredient. It leads consumers to believe that meat is the main protein source. Unfortunately, American Journey are guilty of this.
Another misleading tactic is to state that all of their food is manufactured in the USA. Whilst true, this leads consumers to believe that it is a 100% USA-based product, but in fact ingredients are sourced from outside America. They are just made in American facilities. In the small print American Journey states that their products are “made in the USA, from domestic and imported ingredients”. But they do not state where their ingredients are sourced from. Are they sourced from Great Britain? They have high food standards similar to America. Or are they sourced from China? They have much lower food standards. Unfortunately, no one knows!
Wellness states that each ingredient is thoughtfully chosen for it’s nutritional benefit. So, there is nothing in their recipes that doesn’t serve a purpose. Depending on the range that they offer, they also always use meat protein as the first ingredient. Sometimes they use meat as the first three ingredients in their protein-rich formulas. They also use the same meat sources mentioned above, but also use Chicken liver, Herring, Menhaden fish, Venison and Whitefish.
Similar to American Journey, they also provide a variety of grain free and grain inclusive formulas. They also never use any corn, soy, or wheat, and only use gentle higher fiber ingredients. Wellness do not use controversial rice bran or brewers rice ingredients. They only use whole peas and pea fiber, but not pea protein or pea starch. These ingredients aren’t close together either, so they do not use the ingredient splitting tactic.
Wellness states that their products are proudly made in the USA, but again fail to disclose where all of their ingredients are sourced from. Research suggests that they may source some of their micro-ingredients from foreign countries with lesser safety protocols. For a premium brand, this is poor practice.
Range of Formulas
It is important that brands offer a variety of product lines that cater to different canine nutritional needs. As well as considering different owner budgets. So, let’s take a quick look at what your pooch can get from each brand during their puppy, adult and senior life stages.
American Journey have 3 product lines across their entire brand. These include a standard kibble, limited ingredient line, and Landmark line (high-protein). Their standard product line offers both grain free and grain inclusive. Both the Limited Ingredient line and Landmark line are grain free only.
Wellness has 5 product lines across their entire brand. This includes their Complete Health (standard kibble), Core (high-protein), RawRev Core (high-protein with raw bits), Core six (limited ingredient), and Simple limited ingredient. Each line has grain inclusive and grain-free options, and kibbles for every breed size too.
American Journey Grain-free Puppy Formula
- Top pick for puppies.
- Grain-free formula.
- Perfect for sensitive stomachs.
- Made real fruits and veggies.
- Packed with antioxidants & vitamins.
- 380 Calories per cup.
- 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.
Feeding your puppy the right nutrition is possibly the most important decision you’ll make for him. It sets the foundations for a healthy body and lifestyle. So, what do each of these brands offer at this crucial stage?
In total there are 6 puppy formulas to choose from. There are both grain inclusive and grain-free options that come in a variety of flavors. There is a protein-rich option, and 2 of the puppy formulas are specifically formulated for large breed puppies.
However, American Journey has forgotten about small breed puppies. So, if you have a toy or small breed, Wellness is the only option for your tiny pup.
In total Wellness offers 10 puppy formulas. There are 4 from the Complete Health range, 3 of these are grain inclusive, with one dry kibble for small breed puppies and one for large breeds. Only one is a grain-free option in this range.
There are 4 in their high-protein Core range, again, with one formula for both small and large breeds. One grain inclusive recipe is in this range. There are then 2 kibbles in their Core RawRev range, one is grain-free and the other is grain inclusive.
Wellness offers puppy food based on size, while American Journey doesn’t. But Wellness falls slightly behind when comparing cost, and the different recipes that American Journey Carries. American Journey gets a nod in the puppy food department here.
American Journey Grain-free Adult
- Top pick for adults.
- Grain-free formula.
- Made with fruits and veggies.
- High protein formula.
- Omega Fatty acids for skin & coat health.
- 390 Calories per cup.
- 32% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber.
During the adult stage of your dog’s life, his bowl should be focused on a well-balanced diet.
In total American Journey offers 22 adult kibbles. These include 8 grain-free recipes and 7-grain inclusive recipes focused on brown rice. There are 2 high-protein recipes and 5 limited ingredients recipes.
In their adult selection there are also 3 diet management kibbles and 4 formulas are specifically designed for large breeds. As you can see there is a bit more option in the adult life stage. But unfortunately, they have forgotten about small breed dogs again. This may not be an issue for those on the larger end of the small scale, but toy breeds do not have an option.
Wellness offers a total of 45 adult kibbles. There are 16 kibbles across their Complete Health line, and 23 formulas across their 3 Core lines. There are 6 options in their Simple (limited ingredient) line.
Across every product line there are 6 diet management options. There is 1 option for toy breeds and 12 options for small breeds. There are fewer options for large breeds, with only 3 kibbles available. Each line has grain inclusive and grain-free options, with small and large breeds having an option of both.
While Wellness has a bigger product selection, we have to give American Journey the win here. When you compare budget alongside the grain-free and grain inclusive formulas that American Journey offers, American Journey pulls out slightly ahead.
Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula
- Top pick for seniors.
- First ingredient is deboned chicken.
- Taurine for a healthy heart.
- Green Tea extract provides an antioxidant boost.
- No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products.
- 416 Calories per cup.
- 22% Protein, 10% Fat, 4.25% Fiber.
Senior years are all about a well-balanced diet, but with some added extras. Your pooch needs extra vitamins and minerals to boost his immune system. The glucosamine and chondroitin content also needs to be high to support his aging joints. Particularly if your pooch is a large breed.
American Journey offers 3 options for senior dogs. 2 of these are grain-free and the other is grain inclusive. Unfortunately, they do not cater for small or large senior breeds.
The glucosamine and chondroitin content vary significantly across the 3 different kibbles. The grain-free kibbles offer a high content compared to more premium brands. The Salmon and sweet potato recipe offers 800 mg/kg of glucosamine and 600 mg/kg of chondroitin. The Chicken recipe offers 600 mg/kg of glucosamine and 500 mg/kg of chondroitin. The grain inclusive recipe offers a lower content.
Strangely, Wellness only offers 2 senior options. One in their Complete Health range, and one in their Core range. The Complete Health option is grain inclusive and the Core product is grain-free.
The Complete Health formula offers 800 mg/kg of glucosamine and 700 mg/kg of chondroitin, which is great. The Core formula offers 275 mg/kg of glucosamine and 200 mg/kg of chondroitin, which is even lower than the lowest American Journey option. Wellness’s senior formula ranks well against other competitors like Blue Buffalo as well.
Wellness has both a grain-free and grain inclusive senior formula available. They have similar nutritional ingredients, with close slightly less glucosamine and chondroitin than American Journey. We give Wellness a slight win here, given the formula choice and green tea extract antioxidant boost.
Wellness Limited Ingredient Wet Food
- Top wet food pick.
- Limited ingredient wet food.
- High-quality turkey is first ingredient.
- Does not contain gluten or wheat.
- Includes probiotics and prebiotics.
- 482 Calories per cup.
- 8% Protein, 7% Fat, 1% Fiber.
Wet foods are a great way to add more flavor and moisture to dry kibbles for our fussier four-legged friends. They also make mealtime easier for those dogs who have brittle teeth or aging seniors. Let us take a look at what each brand offers.
There are 7 wet food options in total. This includes several different flavors as well as limited ingredient formulas. There are also no grain-inclusive options, formulas for small breeds, or puppy and senior life stages. Overall, American Journey’s wet formulas are limited.
Wellness offers 57 wet foods. There are a variety of options, such as stew and paté, across their different lines – Complete Health, Core, Simple. They also have other options such as Petite Entrées, Hearty Cuts, Chunky Centers, and Mini Meals. There are a lot of options for small breeds, and there are 2 options for puppies and 1 option for seniors. There is a variety of grain free and grain inclusive too across the different lines.
Wellness wins the wet food round paws down. Again, they have options for small breeds, puppies and seniors. They also offer a variety of flavors, formulas and grain-free and grain inclusive options.
As you’ve seen when comparing American Journey vs. Wellness, deciding who is the winner here is tricky!
Yes, Wellness offers a much wider variety of lines, formulas and options for small dogs. They also use slightly better ingredients and are not as guilty of ingredient splitting compared to American Journey. But they charge a higher price, and they still source ingredients from outside the USA.
However, American Journey has had no product recalls. They are a very new brand and they have good quality products for their price. For a budget brand promising to use protein as the first ingredient every time is also impressive. But they are guilty of ingredient splitting, and they too source from outside the USA.
Winner based on budget: American Journey
Winner based on food variety: Wellness