In addition to this 4Health Healthy Weight dog food review, you can check our main review of 4Health dog food for even more information on how the food is made, recalls, company history, and their quality control history.
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 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.
Ingredients in 4health Healthy Weight Formula for Adult Dogs
Whole grain brown rice, chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, L-Carnitine, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, yucca schidigera extract, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, 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.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Unlike other 4Health dog foods, 4Health Healthy Weight Formula for Adult Dogs doesn’t lead off its ingredient list with meat protein. Instead, the first ingredient in this weight control dog food is whole grain brain rice, a carbohydrate. That’s not a good start. Pet food ingredients are listed by weight as they are used in the food so this means that there is more whole grain brown rice in the food than any other ingredient. This isn’t a bad ingredient, but you don’t want to see so much of it in a food, even if you like grains for your dog. There’s no reason a weight control dog food can’t have good meat protein as the lead ingredient. Many other weight loss foods do.
That said, whole grain brown rice is considered to be a reasonably nutritious ingredient. It’s a good source of Selenium and Manganese, as well as a plant source of omega-6 fatty acid. However, if you are concerned about arsenic in rice, according to the FDA, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice due to the fact that it is a whole grain and retains it’s outer hull. The FDA says that there’s not enough arsenic in rice in dog food for owners to be concerned, however. Brown rice is considered to be more difficult for dogs to digest than white rice.
The next two ingredients are meat proteins – chicken and chicken meal. These are good sources of protein for dogs and they contain lots of omega-6 fatty acid. Most people think chicken sounds better, but chicken meal containsseveral times as much protein since it has had the moisture removed. It’s a concentrated form of chicken. Both of these ingredients are good for your dog.
The fourth ingredient is chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). This is a good named animal fat and it’s a good source of fat for dog foods. It has both omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid. It’s extremely high in omega-6, in fact. Mixed tocopherols are a form of vitamin E so it’s a natural preservative.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
Flaxseed and fish meal are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acid. People often debate whether plant sources of omega-3 fatty acid are as good as animal sources, but omega-3 is important for your dog no matter which source it comes from. It makes your dog’s skin supple and his coat shiny; it is important for heart health and for the brain and central nervous system, among other systems. Flaxseed has both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid, but it is an especially good source of omega-3. It’s also a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Thiamin and Manganese. Dog breeders should note that flaxseed has been linked to reproductive problems so you should avoid feeding foods that contain flaxseed if you are planning to breed your dog soon or if your dog is pregnant.
Fish meal is a great animal source of omega-3 fatty acid. Like other meals, it’s a concentrated form of the food that has had most of the moisture removed so it contains several times as much protein as fish. Different kinds of fish have different nutritional values but, in general, fish is high in protein, Niacin, Vitamin B12, and Selenium, as well as omega-3 fatty acid. Fish meal is often made from menhaden but it can be made from other kinds of fish or mixtures of fish.
4health Healthy Weight Formula also contains a number of supplements that should be mentioned. L-Carnitine is often added to weight control dog foods. Carnitine is considered to be a non-essential amino acid that behaves like a vitamin. Dogs can make it in their bodies but it’s also found in animal sources like meat and dairy products. There are two forms of carnitine and one of them is L-Carnitine (made from the amino acid lysine). L-Carnitine helps dogs convert fat to energy and maintain muscle mass, so it’s considered helpful for overweight dogs.
The food also features glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements are often added to foods as joint supplements. They aren’t specifically for weight loss or joint problems due to dogs being overweight. However, obesity or being overweight can exacerbate any tendency toward joint problems that your dog might have. If your dog has joint problems or arthritis, it’s best to talk to your vet about them. The amount of glucosamine and chondroitin that are added to dog foods is usually not enough to really help a dog. You can find good joint supplements in drug stores, online, and in stores like Costco and Walmart. Glucosamine, chondroitin, Sam-E, MSM, CoQ10, and joint supplements made especially for dogs are all good. If your dog has arthritis or is having any pain, talk to your vet. Sometimes a buffered aspirin made for dogs is all a dog needs. Or your vet may prescribe an NSAID. Do NOT give your dog any over-the-counter NSAIDS (naproxen, ibuprofen, and others) without talking to your vet. Some over-the-counter drugs can be very harmful to your dog. Always ask your vet before giving your dog acetaminophen. Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs unless you follow a precise dosage.
This food also features vitamin E and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which are used as natural preservatives. It also contains yucca schidigera extract which is used to reduce odor associated with dog stool.
Finally, the food has added vitamins and chelated minerals (“proteinated”) which means the minerals are attached to amino acids so they are easier to absorb and digest. This is often found in better quality dog foods.
- Crude Protein ….. 20.0% (min.)
- Crude Fat ….. 8.0% (min.)
- Crude Fat ….. 9.0% (max.)
- 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.)
- L-Carnitine* ….. 30 mg/kg (min.)
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids* ….. 1.7% (min.)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids* ….. 0.3% (min.)
- Glucosamine* ….. 300 mg/kg (min.)
- Chondroitin Sulfate* ….. 100 mg/kg (min.)
- Caloric Content: 3,402 kcal/kg (318 kcal/cup) Calculated Metabolizable Energy
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profile.
Tractor Supply Company states the following in their description of this and other 4Health foods: “4Health Healthy Weight Formula for Adult Dogs is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs that are overweight or prone to weight gain.” It also says that it is formulated for all life stages. However, this is NOT the same as an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. AAFCO statements are present on the packaging of 4Health products but it would be nice if the company would make them available on the web site.
4Health Healthy Weight Formula for Adult Dogs has an estimated 50 percent carbohydrates in the form of whole grain brown rice – the first ingredient in this food. It only has 20 percent protein or 22.2 percent dry matter basis. This is a low percentage for a premium dog food. The fat content is worrying, even for a weight control food. It is between 8 and 9 percent, which is at the very low end of the AAFCO allowance for fat. Even figured on a dry matter basis, this is only 8.8 percent. I understand that this food is designed for weight control, but considering the very high amount of carbs and the low protein and very low fat in the food, and the use of rice as the first ingredient, this food seems below average. I’m not sure that a dog would maintain good health on this food.
4health Healthy Weight formula for adult dogs has received our 1.5 paw rating.
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