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4Health Dog Food Review

Homemade Dog Food

Dog Food Insiders Rating

4 Paws


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Company Information

4Health Dog Food

4Health dog food is a private label brand made for the Tractor Supply Company. It is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc., owned by Schell and Kampeter, Inc. (no website available). They are a U.S.-based pet food manufacturer with plants located in Meta, Missouri, Lathrop, California and Gaston, South Carolina. The company is a family-owned, privately-held enterprise, still managed by the Schell and Kampeter family.

The headquarters for Diamond are in Meta, Missouri and the company was founded in 1970. At that time brothers-in-law Gary Schell and Richard Kampeter bought Milling Meta Co., a producer of livestock feed and dog food. Early distribution was limited to within 100 miles of Meta, Missouri and only about 5 percent of the company’s production was dog food. Diamond expanded its manufacturing to include plants in San Joaquin County California in 1999 and Gaston, South Carolina in 2002.

Tractor Supply Company, with more than 1000 locations all over the U.S., is based in Brentwood, Tennessee. TSC has annual revenue of more than $4 billion and Fortune magazine named them to its list of the 100 fastest growing businesses in 2004.

TSC launched 4Health as a premium private label dog food in early 2010. The food is marketed as an affordable pet food that provides dogs of all ages and sizes with nutritional ingredients for optimal health. Since the launch they have added a grain free formula. There is also a 4Health food for cats. According to Tractor Supply Company, the food is priced up to 20 percent less than similar national brands.

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4Health Recall History

4Health was part of a large voluntary recall by Diamond due to Salmonella in May 2012.

Product Overview

As with many private label brands, information about 4Health is harder to find than for national brands. However, Tractor Supply Company does provide ingredients and nutritional information on their company web site, so you can find out more about this food than many other private label foods. They do advertise the food in their store circulars, too. Since it is a private label brand you can only buy it at Tractor Supply Company stores.

4Health formulas include Puppy Formula, Small Bites Formula for small breeds, Performance Formula for adult dogs with active lifestyles, Large Breed Formula for large breeds, Chicken & Rice Formula and Lamb & Rice Formula. Each of these formulas has meat listed as its first ingredient, and none of the formulas use poultry by-product meal or artificial colors or flavors, according to the company. They don’t use corn, wheat, or soy and they feature fresh chicken and real salmon. They also have a Salmon & Potato formula, a Mature Adult formula for dogs 7 years and older, and a Healthy Weight Formula.

4Health also has grain free formulas: Whitefish & Potato, Beef & Potato, Turkey & Potato, all for adult dogs. These foods have no corn, wheat, soy, or rice and meat is the first ingredient. 4Health also has several canned formulas and some snacks for dogs.

Dry Foods

Canned Foods

  • Beef & Vegetable Stew Dog Food
  • Salmon & Potato Dog Food
  • Chicken & Vegetable Stew for Dogs
  • Chicken & Rice Formula Dog Food
  • Lamb & Rice Formula Dog Food
  • Turkey & Sweet Potato Stew Dog Food


  • Hip & Joint Dog Biscuits
  • Dental Care Biscuits
  • Puppy Growth & Development Dog Treats
  • Adult Health & Wellness Dog Treats
  • Skin & Coat Dog Treats


Review of 4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs

Dog Food Insiders Rating

4 1/2 paws

4 1/2 PAWS

Ingredients in 4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs

Salmon, ocean fish meal (a source of fish oil), potatoes,peas, cracked pearled barley, egg product, millet, canola oil, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, dried kelp, carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, chondroitin sulfate, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

I chose this food to review because it is listed on the Tractor Supply Company web site as their most popular 4Health food, so a lot of people are buying it. And, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he said he had been feeding this food to his two mixed breed dogs. He said since he started feeding it that most of their skin problems had cleared up and they were doing much better now. So, I was curious to see what was in the food and if it might be something to recommend to others.


First 5 Ingredients Breakdown

First, you should note that the food doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy. The first two ingredients are meat proteins – salmon and ocean fish meal. You have to like salmon as the first ingredient. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. And dogs usually love the taste of salmon.

Ocean fish meal is a concentrated form of fish protein. Diamond Pet Foods, which makes 4Health for Tractor Supply Company, has stated that they only use fish meals that are free of ethoxyquin as of 2010 and this seems to be true with food such as Taste of the Wild and other products they make. I believe that this food is ethoxyquin-free but this status can change with dog foods, so you might want to re-check this point periodically. The ocean fish meal is also cited as a source of fish oil and it provides more omega-3 fatty acid as well as good oil for your dog’s skin and coat. A good named fat source such as this is important for your dog’s health.

The next three ingredients in the food provide carbs and fiber and some additional protein: potatoes, peas, and cracked pearled barley.

The potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber as well as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. Many dog food companies today are using peas instead of grains like corn. They are high in protein and dietary fiber, as well as being a natural source of vitamin K. They’re also very high in vitamin C. However, some dogs have problems digesting them because of the fibrous cellulose surrounding the interior of the peas. That’s why you see an ingredient such as dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract later in the ingredient list. This is a cellulase digestive enzyme to help break down the cellulose in the fiber ingredients in the food so they can be more easily digested by your dog. Again, some dogs have more or less problems digesting these fiber ingredients in the dog foods that include ingredients like peas. The fifth ingredient here is cracked pearled barley which is considered to be a good source of carbs that are absorbed more slowly in the gastrointestinal tracts so the blood sugar level stays steady. It’s also a source of fiber.

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Additional Ingredients Of Interest

There are a number of other interesting ingredients in this food. Egg productappears as the next ingredient. Eggs are high in protein and very easy for dogs to digest so they get lots of nutrition from them. Canola oil supplies another source of fat in the food. Plant-based fats are not as desirable as good named animal sources of fat but canola oil is a very good fat source. It’s considered to be a very healthy oil and contains linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids at 2:1 making it as one of the healthiest cooking oils at a ratio even better than olive oil. Of course, you won’t be cooking with the dog food and your dog isn’t worried about his cholesterol, but canola oil is also high in calories and it contains vitamin E, which is used in dog foods as a preservative.

We also find tomato pomace here which is the pulpy part of the tomato, together with the seeds. It is used as fiber in the food. Some people object that tomato pomace is a cheap filler in dog foods, and they might be right. But it also contains lots of vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene which are desirable. The food also has flaxseed. Flaxseed has pros and cons. It’s often considered good for a dog’s skin and coat because it is a good source of, well, lots of things. It’s high in calcium, iron, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. It’s also got lots of calories and it’s a good dietary fiber. However, if you are a dog breeder, flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been associated with failure to conceive, smaller litters, and other breeding problems.

The food also contains dried kelp which is typically added for its trace minerals and iodine. Blueberries and cranberries are sources of antioxidants. And rosemary extract is often used in dog foods as a preservative. This isn’t a problem for most dogs but if your dog has epilepsy or seizures, rosemary can cause problems. However, it’s hard to find dog foods that don’t use rosemary today.

The food uses lots of digestive enzymes, pre- and probiotics such as dried chicory root, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, and dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product. Their purpose is to help your dog digest the food better. You should also note the presence in the food of chelated minerals which makes it easier for your dog to absorb them.

The food also has glucosamine and chondroitin which are usually added as joint supplements, though in most cases if your dog really needs a good joint supplement you should add something in addition to his food to be sure he is getting what he needs. Yucca schidigera extract is added to dog foods to reduce odor from the stool, though it supposedly has some healing properties, too. And, finally, L-Carnitine is an amino acid nutritional supplement that is sometimes added to food to help metabolize fatty acids into energy and keep the body lean. It’s found naturally in meat and dairy products. A dog food might add it to the ingredients, as in this case, when the proteins are mainly fish.

According to Livestrong, “Meats contain a substantial amount of L-carnitine, with beef and pork containing the highest amounts. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that 3 oz beef contains between 80 and 81 mg of L-carnitine, while a 3 oz serving of pork contains between 20 and 24 mg. Fish and chicken do not compare as well, with fish containing only 5 mg in a 3 oz portion, and chicken containing 3 mg in a 3 oz portion.”

Quality Of Ingredients

The quality of the ingredients appears to be very good. The salmon and ocean fish meal are good animal proteins, especially if your dog has any problems with chicken or lamb, and they are the first two ingredients. The fish meal is also thought to be free of ethoxyquin. There’s no corn, wheat, or soy, if your dog has problems with those common ingredients. The food appears to use natural preservatives. The chelated minerals make them easier for your dog to absorb them and use them. There’s nothing too bad here. Some dogs may have problems digesting the peas but overall it looks like the ingredients are of good quality.

Special Concerns

Nothing stands out. I find the peas used as protein/fiber to be a potential problem for some dogs but many dogs seem to have no trouble eating foods using peas in this way. However, I think more research needs to be done on peas in the diet of dogs.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein ….. 25.0% (min.)
  • Crude Fat ….. 14.0% (min.)
  • Crude Fiber ….. 3.0% (max.)
  • Moisture ….. 10.0% (max.)
  • Zinc ….. 150 mg/kg (min.)
  • Selenium ….. 0.4 mg/kg (min.)
  • Vitamin E ….. 150 IU/kg (min.)
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids* ….. 2.5% (min.)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids* ….. 0.5% (min.)
  • Glucosamine* ….. 300 mg/kg (min.)
  • Chondroitin Sulfate* ….. 100 mg/kg (min.)

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profile.

Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): 3,500 kcal/kg (327 kcal/cup) Calculated Metabolizable Energy

Tractor Supply Company states the following in their description of this and other 4Health foods: “4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your adult dog.” However, this is NOT the same as an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy and I couldn’t find one listed for the food on the TSC web site. This raises concerns about the nutritional adequacy of this food.

4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs provides 25 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs) and a normal percentage for a premium food. The 14 percent fat in 4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs is at the high end of the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog), but good quality fat is good for your dog and the fat in this food comes from the ocean fish meal and the canola oil. The 3 percent fiber in the food is a little low. The government’s recommendations are 4-4.5 percent. You should watch to make sure your dog doesn’t have any problems with constipation. Make sure that his stools are normal and that he has regular bowel movements each day while feeding this food.

Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues

Tractor Supply Company has a good reputation and they have been in business since 1938. 4Health pet food gets good reviews online and it’s hard to find anyone who has anything negative to say about it. All of the customer reviews on the company’s web site are positive for 4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dogs and many of the reviews for their other foods are positive (though not all). Diamond does manufacture the food and that will make some people nervous, but it seems to be a very good line of foods.


4health Salmon & Potato Formula for Adult Dog looks like a very good food and there is little to dislike about it (peas, flaxseed, where’s the AAFCO statement, grumble grumble). It seems to be exactly what is claims to be: quality nutrition for a good price. No, these are not organic ingredients and they don’t say the salmon comes from the sparkling waters of the north, yada yada. But it looks like the food provides good nutrition. Recommended.

4Health Salmon & Potato Formula has received our 4 paw rating.


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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Do you know if any of the ingredients for 4Health dog foods are imported from China? Vitamins or other? I realize it is a not a law to provide this information on the packaging (although it should be.) All the more reason for companies like yours to research and inform us. I also realize that ingredients can come from different countries at different times. But if this is the case, than the answer to me is….YES. Maybe I should ask, rather…. Do you know if ANY of the ingredients in 4Health Dog Foods are EVER imported from China? If the answer is NO….one would think a dog food producer whould proudly state this on their bag. Made or Manufactured or Produced in the USA…. misleading! Ginger S

  • Unfortunately, the answer to your question is no, we do not know if any of the ingredients are imported from China or not. You’re right that it should be a law to disclose that information, but as of now, it is not. As I’m sure you already know, many dog foods are manufactured in the United States, but they source ingredients from China. Even though it says “Made in the U.S.A.” on the packaging, that doesn’t mean all of the ingredients are sourced in the U.S.

  • Thanks Mike. Appreciate your time. I guess the only way to know for sure is to cook it, using the cow from my backyard and the veggies from my garden. I have neither:)

  • Sure thing Ginger! You could always make your own dog food. There are piles and piles of recipes to make your own dog food at home with ingredients you source yourself. Amazon even has some dog food cookbooks out there.

    There is also an option to feed your dog a raw food diet which is a fast growing trend. We’ve got a couple articles covering these topics…

    Making your own dog food:

    Raw food diet:

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  • This is what I wrote Diamond and ask, but they still have not answered me. When I ask Tractor Supply if 4health was made by Diamond they answered right away. The Whitefish, Duck and Pork are made by Diamond and the Beef and Turkey are made by Dad’s. No answer about the ingredients being from China doesn’t sound good to me. If they weren’t I think they would have answered.
    Which ingredients would most likely come from China, you think?

  • Is there enough rosemary in this food to hurt a dog that is on medication for seizures I have been feeding this for about a week and she seems ok. Please answer thank you so much.

  • Hi Deborah,

    While I don’t believe there is enough rosemary to harm your dog, I am not qualified enough to give you a definitive answer and it will also depend on your dogs specific medications. I would contact the vet who prescribed the medication or ask your vet if he or she knows of a good nutritionist you can contact. It’s always important to be extra cautious when medical issues and medications are involved.

    Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  • My german shephard has been on 4health for 4+ years without any problems. About a year ago we switched to the healthy weight formula. We saw in increase in gas with him, and now are starting to have major skin problems. I have loved this product, but wonder why we are now having these problems when we have never had them before. He is an inside dog, and we have done no other changes to warrant these allergies (as I am a creature of habit). I have gone through everything, and can’t figure out anything else that would be the source of these issues. I know food allergies are uncommon, and account for only 10% of these types of issues, but I think this is the source of his problems. Has there been any changes in the manufacturing process over the last year?

  • Hi Anna,

    Unfortunately, it is somewhat common for dogs to form allergies in their older age that they never had before and that’s especially true with food allergies. Additionally, dog food companies can change the sourcing of their ingredients which can also trigger issues. I don’t know if this is true in your case, but it does happen.

    It would be extremely difficult for me to give you any concrete answer, but one thing I noticed right away is the rather high content of peas in this food. This isn’t a “bad” ingredient, but many dogs (mine included) have some issues digesting peas or pea fiber. That ingredient is being used much more these days because it is grain-free which is the new trend these days. I would suspect that ingredient might have something to do with the gas issues.

    Skin problems are usually an issue of diet. The real challenge is finding out what exactly is causing those problems. Most of the time, skin issues are caused due to a high corn or grain based diet, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

    Have you considered switching to a canned or freeze dried dog food? Not only are canned and freeze dried foods usually a bit higher quality, but they have WAY fewer ingredients than dry kibble. Switching to a canned food might make it easier to narrow down which ingredients could be causing problems. If you really want to roll up your sleeves, you can even try switching to a raw food diet or making your own kibble at home.

    Just a final note – remember to gradually switch over your dogs new food and don’t switch it all at once. Adding some of the new food for about a week, slowly adding more, seems to be a good timeframe. This will reduce any stomach upset and digestive issues.

    So sorry you’re having these issues but I hope I was able to provide a bit of direction for you. Best of luck and if you have any other questions just shout them out! 🙂

  • Thank you for you response! We do like the product, and changed over to the grain free formula about 2 weeks ago. My understanding is it can take up to 3 months for him to see any real benefit from the grain free formula, but I am nervous as he has been very uncomfortable. Her is currently medicated right but, which has helped. But the last time he went off the meds, the issue returned. So I am trying to get a plan in place now before this reoccurs.

  • This article has “Performance Formula (5 Paws)” – however its not under your general web page for “5 Paws” dog foods. Is performance formula a “5 Paw” food?

  • Sorry for the confusion! That was our error and we’ve got it listed under the 5 Paw foods now. Thanks for letting us know.

  • For years I have battled stomach problems with my male Rott Bullmastiff mix. I tried numerous brands and formulas and they all caused problems. This also led to him being a tad underweight. I tried the salmon and potato formula about a year and a half ago and we stopped having problems all together! He’s put on about ten pounds and his itchy skin had gone away!! I love this food and strongly recommend it to my friends.

  • Can I just say my full blooded Rott is one year old and I couldn’t find him a food that he didn’t throw up or have diarrhea from or horrible gas until I tried the salmon one! And viola! I real doggy emerged! So thankful! I tried all the vet prescription foods… $150 a month! Then this! Thank you!

  • This is the best food on the market I use it for my dogs and my cats and I will never feed anything else, Actually I have 1 (out of 3 cats) who can’t eat any other food it will make him throw up, he can only eat 4Health. And is lasts a lot longer than other “top of the line” (AKA TRASH) Pet food. I buy an 18 pound bag of the cat food and feed 3 cats and I buy 1 bag every 2-3 months – when I was feedin those “Top of the line” foods I was buying the biggest bag I could most were at least 40 pound bags and I was honestly buying a bag every other week with these same 3 cats!!!

    Why I don’t buy my cat food as much any more? What have I changed? Honestly I have only changed the BRAND! I feed the cats the same amount as I always have, the difference is with 4Health it is not full of Fillers, so when their bellies tell their brains ” Hey I’m full” it’s really because they are full, where as those trashy ”top of the line” feeds only make the animal think they’re full so in 5 minutes or what ever they’re right back devouring food because their brain is telling them they’re very hungry!

    This food has not only saved my bank account, but it has improved my animals health, fur and even saved my Male cat (who gets sick on all other foods). I recommend this food to EVERYONE I know with cats and dogs, some shy away because of the price but once they see I barely ever buy food and they’re buying it like every week for 1 cat they tend to listen a little more, and aren’t so scared to change.

    Also it does not bother me what so ever that Diamond is the manufacture of this food, My father in law has been using Diamond on his AKC Registered Beagles that are fro champion blood lines for many many many years, and has never had a single problem with it.

  • What about the canned? I use Blue dry but put in some of the 4 Health canned for my two dogs. I also just bought the 4 Health Dental Treats. It doesn’t say anywhere on the package where it is made.

  • My Fur babies have been eating 4health and seem to love it. My problem is that my one baby was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma so I have been label reading like crazy and I have found that 4health has just as much if not more carbs as protein. Carbs feed cancer so I’m at a cross roads of sorts. Is there any one food that has less of the bad carbs then another in 4Health?

  • My 2 beagles have been on this dog food for 6 years now . They have no problems with it and my male beagle has a sensitive stomach and he loves this food . We have tried all the flavors of the grain free and they seem to like the beef the best . We rescued a treeing walker 3 years ago and she also loves this food . I will not change my furchildren away from this food . I am so happy I found it , researched it and tried it for my furchildren . They were on Pro plan when we switched them . They are far more satisfied on 4 Health then pro plan . This is a great dog food and I tell everyone about it when asked what food I would recommend. Thank you .

  • Earthborn “Primitive” dog food, also sold at Tractor Supply. High protein & fats, very low carbs. Family run, they own the factory it’s manufactured in & locally source ingredients that are available.
    After 15yrs of use, a few dogs experience dry skin. Added liquid Omega 3 (weight appropriate), coconut or your choice of oil will remedy that.

  • I absolutely love the 4 Health Brand. I had 2 ACD (Blue Heelers) that lived in to their teens and did really well on the dry food. Both had coat issues and allergies and when I put them on 4 Health both greatly improved!! We have a new ACD puppy now. When we got her she was on a grocery store brand of wet puppy food and having horrible loose bowel problems. Within 3 days of feeding the 4 Health canned puppy food her over all coat and condition looked better. Not to mention a lot better bowel function!! I recommend it for any dog!

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