We aim to give you all the dog food facts that you need to make the best nutritional decision for your pup. And this time around, we are comparing a newbie on the market, Wag, with a firm traditional favorite, Taste of the Wild (TOTW).
So, whether you’re on the hunt for new food for Fido, or you’re welcoming a four-legged friend into your life and searching for the right food, you’ve come to the right place.
We compare the brands from their history and recalls to their range of formulas and ingredients. So, let’s see what these dog food brands have to offer.
Note: Clicking the above links takes you to Chewy.com or Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
Brands have to be different to stand out from the crowd and appeal to their consumers. So we’re going to look at the background behind each brand. And delve deeper into what these guys are all about. Usually, when you research a brand’s history and ethos, you can get a good idea about whether they are right for you and Fido.
Wag is one of the newest brands on the pet food market, and it was made available to the market in May 2018. It is owned by Amazon, one of the most well-recognized names on the planet. Not only can they deliver anything and everything you could ever need at a touch of a button, but they also want to feed your pooch. It is not to be confused with the pet food brand ‘Wagg’ in the United Kingdom.
On the Amazon store website, they explain how ‘dogs are at their best when they feel their best, which starts with what’s in their bowls.’ For this reason, they claim to only use key ingredients that ensure your pup stays thriving by your side. Sure, they aren’t the highest quality brand that you can buy. But they are sure giving more established quality brands, like Taste of the Wild, a run for their money.
Wag can only be bought on Amazon rather than on other online pet food platforms such as Chewy or Petco. Thankfully, Amazon pretty much delivers to every corner of the world. However, it is exclusively available to Amazon Prime members only.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild is an older brand compared to Wag, and it was established in 2007 by Diamond Pet Foods. However, this still makes them relatively new on the market compared to other brands such as Purina. Diamond Pet Foods is a key name in the pet food market, and they own many other pet food brands, including Diamond Naturals.
The release of TOTW coincided with the popularity of natural doggy diets. As such, it has proved popular since the beginning. There are two Taste of the Wild product lines that focus mainly on diverse meat ingredients and tastes. Alongside being natural, their other aim is to mimic the protein ingredients in a dog’s wild diet, hence their name, Taste of the Wild.
The brand is also great value for money and tries to make its products accessible to the masses by being affordable, premium products. Taste of the Wild has its own website, which is great for additional information. And they can also be purchased in most stores across the country, including most online pet food platforms.
Although it’s nice to think that all pet brands take the safety of our pups seriously, sadly, this is not always the case. This is why it is so important to research them and their safety records. If a pet food product doesn’t meet industry or self-proclaimed standards, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), or the brand themselves, recall them. So, let’s see how Wag and Taste of the Wild’s recall history compares.
Since launching in May 2018, there have been no product recalls. Although this doesn’t give us much historical data, it is certainly reassuring that all of their products have met pet food industry standards so far. Hopefully, they will continue to do so.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild has an extra decade to their sales belt. But impressively, public records show that they have only had one product recall. In May 2012, several batches of their products were recalled because they may have been contaminated with salmonella. This wasn’t exclusive to TOTW, as it affected many other brands manufactured in Diamond Pet Food facilities.
Unfortunately, this affected thousands of pets in America. But the issue was quickly resolved, and Taste of the Wild hasn’t had any recalls since. When comparing these guys against other brands, it is reassuring to know that they clearly take the safety of their products seriously.
Looking at the ingredients list of any pet food can tell you a lot about the quality of the product. But we’ll admit, they aren’t easy to understand. And with all the misleading claims out there, it’s important to really know what is inside the food you are putting into Fido’s bowl. Plus, the type of ingredients a brand uses can also agree or disagree with an owner’s values.
Wag always uses real meat as the first ingredient. Usually, this is a top sign that the product is of good quality. So, it’s a promising start to any ingredient list. The five main meat sources that they use are chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and salmon. They also use other meats such as wild boar and various meat meals. Wag produces an average protein content of 36% across their range of products.
Meat meals are a concentrated form of protein, and they are a quality ingredient used by most brands. Meat meals are also rich in glucosamine, which is important for doggy joints. They do not use meat by-products that are lower in quality. Wag also uses other ingredients rich in omega-three and six fatty acids, such as flaxseed and salmon oil. Poor quality kibbles rarely list these ingredients, so this is another sign of quality.
Wag started off as a grain-free only company, but they have recently started producing grain-inclusive recipes. This is great news for consumers who are restricted to such products for whatever reason, be it Fido’s dietary needs or personal preference. They do not use corn, wheat, or soy. Instead, they use barley, brown rice, and millet, gentler on many doggy digestive systems.
All of Wag’s recipes list added vitamins and minerals which care for your canine’s immune system. They also list probiotic ingredients, such as dried lactobacillus plantarum products, which are a great bonus for gut health. Not all brands, including the quality ones, list these ingredients. Wag is a good option for most dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Wag never uses artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. Their products are made in the USA, specifically California, from globally sourced ingredients. Although this often sounds alarm bells in some consumers’ minds, most dog brands source micro-ingredients overseas. Thankfully, their main ingredients, including the meat sources, are sourced from America. And they have strict food standards too.
Taste Of The Wild
Like Wag, TOTW always lists real meat as the first ingredient. They also have a wider selection of meats and flavors compared to Wag. Their main meat ingredients are beef, bison, wild boar, fish, fowl, lamb, and venison. Plus, they also use ingredients such as turkey, quail, and duck too. Taste of the Wild has an average protein content across its range of 32%.
Like Wag, they also never use meat by-product ingredients. Instead, they’ll stick to real meats such as the ones above, or they’ll use concentrated quality meat meals rich in glucosamine. TOTW is also rich in healthy omega fats and uses ingredients such as flaxseed, fish oil, and egg products.
Taste of the Wild uses natural ingredients and enriches each recipe with vitamin and mineral supplements and antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries. They also focus on being easy to digest and smooth on the gut thanks to probiotic ingredients such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bacillus subtilis products.
Again, like Wag, most of their recipes are grain-free. They use other energy-rich ingredients such as sweet potato, peas, and legumes, all nourishing and full of prebiotic fiber. Taste of the Wild also has a few grain-inclusive choices to offer their consumers, but they never use corn, wheat, and soy. These formulas use ancient grains such as chia seeds, quinoa, millet, and sorghum.
Range Of Formulas
Now that you’ve learned that the ingredients Wag and Taste of the Wild use are very similar, it’s time to look at their range of formulas. All dogs are unique and differ in size and age, and they have different dietary needs and taste preferences too. So it’s important to offer something for every pup. In order of the three doggy life stages, let’s see what each brand has to offer.
Many canine nutritionists and vets say that the most important stage of a dog’s life is puppyhood because it sets the stage for a healthy body and lifestyle. Puppies need a higher concentration of protein, fats, and energy to grow compared to adults. Plus, small-sized pups have slightly different nutritional needs compared to large-sized dogs. So, let’s see what these guys offer all the pups out there.
Wag For Puppies
- Cage-free American meat is the first ingredient.
- Wholesome grains for heart health.
- Probiotics and fiber for healthy digestion and immune function.
- DHA supports cognitive and vision development.
- No added by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy.
Wag has two puppy options that are both chicken-based recipes. One is grain-inclusive, and the other is grain-free. Both are suitable for small and large-sized dogs and list meat as the first ingredient. There aren’t many choices here, and if your pup doesn’t like chicken, Taste of the Wild presents more variety.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild also has only two puppy formulas, each with different meat sources. One lists buffalo, lamb, and bison meats, while the other lists only salmon and fish meal. The fish recipe is egg and chicken-free, a rare offering in the puppy market. This makes it a top choice for puppies allergic to these ingredients. If your pup needs a grain-based diet, Wag is the only choice here. But there is a bit more flavor variety here.
As you can see, Wag and Taste of the Wild both offer two puppy formulas. Wag is the only option for those needing grains, and TOTW is the only choice for those seeking a non-chicken recipe. Overall, Wag and Taste of the Wild equalize in the puppy round.
From 12 to 18 months, it’ll be time to switch your pup to an adult kibble. Now they need less protein and energy and more of a balanced diet. So, let’s see what these brands offer in the next life stage.
Taste Of The Wild Adult Formula
- Meat is the first ingredient.
- Crafted with less refined grains.
- Digestible probiotics for gut health.
- Fatty acids for skin & coat health.
- Made in the United States.
- High in protein and fiber.
Wag offers a total of 13 adult kibbles. There are six lentil-based grain-free options and three sweet potato-based grain-free options. There are also four grain-inclusive options, with one choice specifically designed for small breed adults thanks to the smaller-sized kibble pieces. Some of the options are chicken-free recipes. And there is a decent selection of flavors to choose from, such as beef, salmon, and chicken.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild offers a total of 16 adult kibbles. The majority of the choices are grain-free, with a wide variety of meat flavors. Four of the options are grain-inclusive made with gentler, ancient grains rather than wheat or corn. Like Wag, there is one option for smaller breeds. And three of these recipes are from their ‘Prey’ product line, which is based on a limited ingredient diet for those with sensitive digestive systems. They also have a few chicken-free choices.
For the adult round, we crown Taste of the Wild as the winner. They offer a few more adult options, and ensure that small-breeds and those needing grain-free and grain-inclusive diets are covered. On top of Wag’s offerings, they have three limited diet kibbles, which is excellent.
As dogs grow older, they need less protein, fats, and energy than before because they become less active. They also need more glucosamine to support their achy joints, significantly larger pups, or dogs who have always been very active. Seven years is the average age to make the switch to senior kibble. So, let’s see what these brands offer our older besties.
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Adult Formula
Wag does not offer a senior-specific option. They state that their adult options are suitable for all life stages, including the senior stage. For a new brand, this is not uncommon. However, it is still disappointing for our senior pups, who usually do better on a senior-specific kibble.
Taste Of The Wild
Like Wag, TOTW also does not offer any senior-specific options either. Their adult options are suitable for all life stages. Indeed, many senior dogs do fine continuing with their adult kibble, but they often need less of it. And plus, their senior nutritional needs are not met as well as they would be on senior-specific options. Unfortunately, this is disappointing.
Neither Wag nor Taste of the Wild wins this round. Sure, both brands have recipes that are suitable for senior dogs and are AAFCO compliant, but many of the other brands on the market do a better job of tailoring to the specific needs of aging canines.
Dried kibbles are the favorite options as per vets and canine nutritionists. But some dogs need, or prefer, wet foods on their own or mixed with dried kibble. So brands need to offer a selection of wet foods. Let’s take a look at what wet choices each brand offers.
Wag Wet Food Cups
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- 8.5% protein.
- 12 perfectly portioned and easy to peel 3.5 oz cups.
- Available in chicken or lamb.
- No added wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or chemical preservatives.
Wag offers a total of 11 wet food options offering a selection of different flavors. They provide a mixture of grain-inclusive and grain-free options. And they also have a small selection specifically designed for smaller breeds.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild offers a total of five wet food options. Each option uses different meats making the selection appealing to all taste buds. Each option is suitable for all life stages and sizes, and they are all grain-free.
Canned Food Winner
For the wet food round, Wag wins hands down. They have a wider selection of wet foods and ensure all-grain vs. non-grain dietary needs are met. Plus, there are options for smaller dogs too.
Overall, Wag and Taste of the Wild are very similar in the nuts and bolts of their product offerings. They have the similar ethos in that a dog’s diet is super important to their health and happiness. Both use natural ingredients, always with real meat listed as the first ingredient. They also use high-quality real meats and meat meals, never animal by-products or cheap fillers. Their selection of ingredients is very similar, and they both provide grain-free and grain-inclusive diets.
It’s important to put the needs of your pup first over anything else. And as you can see from the reviews above, there are times when TOTW might be the better choice over Wag, and vice versa. But ultimately, they are both high-quality brands that take the health and safety of our beloved pups seriously.