4Health dog food from Tractor Supply is marked as a higher quality dog food meant to rival premium foods but at a price that is more comparable to supermarket brands.
But does this dog food really deliver healthy, high-quality ingredients with food your pet dog will love while saving you money?
In our detailed dog food reviews below, we tell you how the 4Health dog food brand ranks and if it’s worth the extra trip to this specialty store to save a little money.
4Health Dog Food Flavors and Lines
4Health currently has five dog food lines, most of which include both dry dog food and canned dog food diets. Each has a slightly different focus and price point.
4Health Original Line
The original line from the brand features meat-first recipes without fillers. These recipes are not grain-free and contain varying mixtures of grains, legumes, and other starches. Each flavor has an about average amount of protein and fat compared to other dog foods.
This line includes age-specific and size-specific formulas and recipes for weight management.
Available Flavors & Types:
- Salmon & Potato Formula
- Chicken & Rice Formula
- Lamb & Rice Formula
- Large Breed Formula
- Puppy Formula
- Beef & Rice Formula
- Small Bites Formula
- Mature Adult Formula
- Healthy Weight Formula
4Health Grain Free Line
These grain-free recipes are similar to the original line in terms of quality but contain starches such as legumes and potatoes rather than barley, rice, and oatmeal. Meat is the first ingredient in all of these dog food recipes as well.
This dog food line features size-specific and stage-specific formulas and all have an about average protein and fat amount.
Available Dog Food Flavors & Types:
- Beef & Potato Formula
- Chicken & Vegetables Formula
- Whitefish & Potato Formula
- Duck & Potato Formula
- Large Breed
- Small Breed Formula
4Health Special Care Dog Food Line
The special care dog food line features canned and dry dog food diets and treats made especially for dogs with special digestive concerns. These recipes are not meat-first and instead, are focused on easily-digestible, low-allergen, hydrolyzed ingredients.
This dog food product is lower in protein and fat than the other lines and has fewer recipe options available.
Available Flavors & Types:
- Sensitive Skin Formula
- Sensitive Stomach Formula
- Weight Management Formula
4Health Untamed Dog Food Line
The untamed line features foods with more novel proteins and more limited ingredient recipes. These are all meat-first and grain-free recipes. This line is also more limited in terms of specialty options and flavors.
These foods have a slightly higher protein amount than the original line but also utilize higher protein plant-ingredients.
Available Dog Food Flavors & Types:
- Wild River Recipe Trout & Lentil Formula
- Red Canyon Recipe Buffalo & Lentil Formula
- Open Highland Recipe Lamb & Lentil Formula
- Southern Bayou Recipe Wild Boar & Lentil Formula
4Health brand has two lines meant to emulate the ancestral diet of dogs, the Untamed and Strive lines. Both of these contain meat-first recipes with grain-free or grain-limited ingredients.
4Health Strive Line
The strive line was made specifically for high-drive, active working dogs. These recipes are all meat first and get at least 87% of their protein from these meat sources rather than legumes and other plant sources.
This is the newest line from the brand and is currently limited to only two dry food recipes. Both contain higher than average amounts of protein and fat to fuel active dogs.
Available Dry Dog Food Flavors & Types:
- Strive 90
- Strive 87
4Health Dog Food Ingredient Analysis
To perform our ingredient analysis, we chose one of their more popular recipes, the original line salmon and potato kibble formula.
4Health Salmon and Potato Formula
Fresh salmon provides a quality source of protein, healthy fats, and valuable nutrients for dogs. This is an especially good protein for dogs who suffer from food allergies and skin issues.
Ocean Fish Meal
Fish meal is a nutrient-dense, low-water, rendered protein source that provides a ton of macro and micronutrients. Because the specific types of fish that go into this meal are not named, it is considered to be a slightly lower quality meat than one that includes specific species names.
Starches like potatoes are used to bind dry kibble during processing. They provide some protein and energy in the form of carbohydrates but the nutrients they provide are not as biologically available to canines as those from lower starch ingredients.
Peas are a well-tolerated starch that also add a big dose of protein. However, that protein is less biologically available than protein from meat.
Cracked Pearled Barley
Barley is another well-tolerated plant-ingredient. Unlike other grains, this one is not often associated with allergies and is easy on the stomach. It provides some nutrients and fiber.
Like whole peas, pea flour provides a lot of protein but in a form that the canine body cannot utilize as well as protein from animal sources. This legume flour is preprocessed which makes the nutrients more easily accessible than the whole grain form.
Egg product includes any shell-free egg ingredient such as egg whites and yolks and eggs from hatcheries where the chick failed to hatch. The quality of this ingredient can vary significantly based on the source. Overall, however, eggs provide a lot of protein and other biologically available nutrients.
Fats are important to keep the canine metabolism running smoothly. However, plant-sourced fats like canola oil are of much lower biological value to dogs than fats from fish and other animals.
The remaining food ingredients consist largely of added synthetic vitamins and minerals with a few notable exceptions.
This food recipe, like many other 4Health recipes, contains dried kelp, carrots, apples, spinach, and cranberries. These whole superfoods are nutrient-dense and contain a lot of valuable vitamins and minerals to supplement the less biologically available synthetic nutrient additives.
Dogs were built to extract nutrition from meat, bones, and organs. Their short digestive tract struggles to pull vitamins and minerals from plants and cannot utilize plant proteins as well as those from animal sources.
Like other recipes from this brand, this one also contains multiple fermentation products that act as the source for live probiotics. These important microorganisms help regulate digestion and improve immune function.
Overall, this recipe contains two quality animal-sourced ingredients listed first. It also utilizes higher-quality plant-sourced ingredients and multiple nutrient-dense whole foods and a long list of probiotics.
Protein Content of 4Health
The salmon and potato food formula contains 25% protein according to the guaranteed analysis. While this amount is about average compared to most dog foods, we must consider the use of peas and pea flour. These two protein-heavy plant ingredients must contribute some to this overall protein amount, but with protein that is less useable than protein from meat.
For this reason, we would rate this particular recipe as having an average to lower-than-average protein content. It would still be an appropriate food to feed the average companion animal but not something we would recommend for dogs involved in dog sports or for working canines.
However, some of the other lines from this brand contain recipes with higher protein contents, most notably the strive line. These high-meat, high-protein recipes would be more than adequate for performance dogs and those who struggle to hold weight.
Fat Content of 4Health
At 14% fat according to the guaranteed analysis, this particular food recipe sits at about average. Much of the fat comes from the fish ingredients which are high in omega fatty acids. However, the use of canola oil as the whole-fat source is less than desirable.
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Still, this recipe contains the right amount of fat and fatty acids for the average dog.
All the lines from this brand contain around average amounts of fat with the exception of the strive line which has a high 20% fat in both flavors.
Dog diets high in quality fats support your dog’s coat and skin health. Fats are also important for brain development and organ health.
Pros of 4Health Dog Food
The vast majority of foods from this food brand include meat-first recipes without cheap filler ingredients. While they do contain some less desirable plant-ingredients such as canola oil, legume flours, and potatoes, overall, the ingredients are of higher quality and more nutritionally dense than the average dog food.
The number of food line choices and flavors choices within the 4Health lines is also something worth celebrating. There are various proteins to choose from along with specialty diets for weight management, sensitivities, and performance dogs, which means that most owners will be able to find a food from this brand that works for their dogs.
Having multiple food flavors and forms from the same company also makes rotating foods easy which can help prevent your dog from getting bored with their dinner.
Here are some additional beneficial takeaways from this food brand:
- Average to higher than average protein contents
- Low to higher than average fat contents
- Use named animal ingredients
- No fillers or red flag ingredients used
- Grain-free and legume-free varieties available
Cons of 4Health Dog Food
Overall, there is a lot to love about this food brand. However, there are some specific food recipes that stand out due to less than desirable ingredients.
Many of the untamed line foods contain high amounts of legumes. These high-protein plant-sourced ingredients allow manufacturers to skimp on higher-quality meat proteins and still advertise foods with high protein percentages. Since these plant proteins contain different amounts of different amino acids, they don’t provide the same quality nutrition as higher-meat foods.
Choosing the wrong food for your dog can lead to digestive upset, itchy skin, and behavior problems. It can also lead to higher vet bills and premature aging down the road. Choosing a quality diet may cost a little more now, but it is worth it in the long run.
The special care food line also uses many of these high-protein plant ingredients while also failing to use meat-first recipes. This can cause problems for some dogs, especially those with certain amino acid deficiencies and health issues. While these diets do provide very specific nutrition for dogs with allergies and other digestive issues, they would only be worth using if higher-quality limited ingredient diets or homemade diets did not work well enough.
Here are some additional negative takeaways from this brand:
- Some recipes are low in meat ingredients
- Plant-based oils are used in place of animal-sourced fats
- Some recipes contain higher than desirable amounts of plant-sourced ingredients
- Some recipes contain lower than average animal-sourced protein
- Some recipes rely heavily on synthetic nutrients
4Health Dog Food Price Tag
Given the overall quality of the diets from this brand, we are still blown away by the price tag on most of these lines.
The original and grain-free lines, especially, are priced low enough to compete with many supermarket brands but contain much higher quality ingredients.
Some of the lines, including the strive, special care, and untamed lines, are priced more in line with premium foods. But still, given the quality of ingredients and specialty focus of these lines, these foods are still very well priced for what you get.
It is important to note that the price of this brand varies greatly depending on where you are shopping.
You don’t have to choose a fancy designer brand dog food to give your dog what they need. Just look for a diet that contains named animal ingredients listed first and one that does not contain filler ingredients like corn and soy or red-flag ingredients like chemical preservatives.
4Health Dog Food Recall History
The brand is owned by Tractor Supply but manufactured by Diamond Pet Food who are also responsible for full or part manufacture of brands like Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Chicken Soup, and Diamond.
Because this food is copacked in large facilities alongside many other brands and recipes, it is more likely to be subject to widescale recalls.
However, since coming to the market in 2010, the brand has only been recalled once.
In 2012, the brand was included in Diamond Pet Food recall of several types of dog food due to possible salmonella contamination. Salmonella bacteria don’t typically pose a threat to healthy adult dogs but can cause disease in dogs with certain health conditions and young puppies. It is most dangerous to owners who may handle contaminated pet food.
Which Dogs Can Benefit from 4Health?
Because this brand puts out such a high number of lines and recipes, there is likely to be a food to fit just about any doggy need.
The original line contains adequate protein and fat for the average companion animal, especially those who are less active. This line also contains diets with slightly different macronutrient makeups specific for puppies and large breeds.
The grain-free line is a good, lower-priced line for dogs with grain sensitivities. Like the original line, the amount of protein and fat means this food is best suited for dogs of average activity level.
The special care line is made for dogs with severe allergies and digestive sensitivities. It is a good choice for dogs who have not done well on other hypoallergenic foods, but not a great choice for dogs without special dietary needs.
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For dogs with some allergies or less severe sensitivities, the untamed line is a better choice. These limited ingredient foods contain more animal protein than the specialty line but the use of less common meats and plant ingredients means even dogs with allergies can tolerate many of the flavors.
Lastly, the strive line is perfect for performance and working dogs due to the high level of animal-sourced protein. These recipes also include added taurine, making them a great choice for dogs at higher risk of DCM such as Labs, Goldens, and Great Danes.
Large breeds like mastiffs are prone to many health problems that stem from diets lacking in certain nutrients. This is true for large breed puppies and adult dogs. Make sure your work with your vet to find the right food for your breed.
Which Dogs Should NOT Be Fed 4Health?
While most dogs would do well on any one of the 4Health lines, there are certain breeds and types of dogs that should avoid certain recipes.
The grain-free and untamed lines utilize a large amount of legumes in their recipes. As the FDA has found a connection between higher rates of DCM and foods containing legumes, dogs prone to this condition should not be fed these diets.
We would also caution against using the limited ingredient or specialty diet for a dog that does well on a normal dog food. These diets tend to be more restricted in terms of nutrients and can lead to problems if fed exclusively for long periods. The pros of using these foods should outweigh this risk for the dog.
The Final Word for 4Health Dog Food
Overall, the 4Health brand of dog food contains a long list of quality diets with different focuses to meet every doggy need. Most of the 4Health dog food recipes are real meat first and filled with high-quality animal ingredients and nutrient-dense plant foods.
And all of this quality is delivered at a lower than average price considering what you get.
Given all of these factors, we would highly recommend this dog food for the average owner.
Other Recommended Dog Food Products
Looking for something a little different? Here are some dog foods that are similar to 4Health but with a little something different to offer.
- Orijen brand dog food comes with a higher price tag but offers over 14 animal-sourced ingredients listed first–a rare find among dry dog food. (Check out our full Orijen dog food reviews).
- Pure Balance dog food is another retailer-owned food that comes with a lower price tag and quality ingredients. (Check out our full Pure Balance dog food reviews).
- Wellness dog food is another food product line that delivers quality and nutritional value. They also have a number of lines and food recipes to choose from so you can find exactly what you need for your dog. (Check out our full Wellness dog food reviews).
Wellness Complete Chicken & Oatmeal