Lifewise Dog Food

Lifewise Dog Food Review -
Including Their Puppy Formula

Want to switch your pup to an Australian food? Then you might be considering this new brand. Our experts have done the ultimate Lifewise dog food review, so you know whether or not this is the food for your dog. Should you include this kibble in your rotation?

  • Lifewise is an Australian dog food brand created by Bill Wiadrowski, the former nutritionist behind Meals for Mutts
  • This brand offers dry dog food with a variety of recipes adapted to your dog’s age, size and preferences.
  • Lifewise offers both grain-free and traditional kibble, but there are no wet or chilled options.

Lifewise Dog Food Review

Lifewise - 4 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Adult dog food chicken with turkey: Chicken, turkey, chicken fat, sweet potato, lentils, field peas, chickpeas, sweet lupins, tapioca, carrots, spinach, parsley, kelp, garlic, yeast extract, vitamins A, C, D3, E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenate, folacin, biotin and natural organic acids, plus added minerals calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese and iodine. Also contains natural flavours, Yucca schidigera extract and is preserved with natural vitamin E and rosemary oil.
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Dry food
  • Recipe Range: Chicken, kangaroo, lamb and turkey, with different options according to breed size and age (large-breed puppy and extra-small kibble available). Grain-free and grained recipes available. Some treats are available as well.
  • Suitable For: Puppies and adult dogs. Seniors can eat it with adapted portions.
  • Cost: $$$$
  • Australian Owned: Yes.

Lifewise Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste 5/5

Dogs seem to love the taste of Lifewise kibble! Because of the relatively high protein content, it’s no surprise that this dry food is popular among pups. Plus, the small-breed recipes feature smaller kibble, meaning toy-sized pups have an easier time chewing at mealtime.

Some owners also report their picky eaters really like Likewise. This might be because of the kibble shape: some of the recipes have a flat, thinner kibble instead of the traditional larger chunks. Even though Lifewise doesn’t market their kibble specifically as enticing for picky dogs, picky eaters might have an easier time chewing on these pieces. In turn, this can make the kibble more attractive.

We’re giving this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.

Ingredients 4/5

Lifewise dog food was designed by the original nutritionist behind Meals for Mutts, and it shows in the recipe composition. This kibble has one of the better compositions we’ve seen in Australian dog foods!

The first and second ingredient in all recipes is always a meat product of some sort. Depending on the recipe, this can be tuna, poultry, lamb or kangaroo. The third ingredient in all recipes is a meat-derived fat: chicken fat, fish oil, lamb fat… which is really nice to see before the usual carbohydrates in kibble.

This tendency shows on Lifewise’s guaranteed analysis. All adult dog recipes feature a minimum of 21% crude protein content and 14% of fat. This falls in line with AAFCO’s recommendation of a minimum of 18% protein and 5% crude fat [1]. Some recipes in particular (i.e. Chicken with turkey; wild tuna with vegetables) have a minimum of 30% protein and 20% fat, which is great for active and young dogs!

The rest of the ingredient list looks good enough: most recipes have a variety of legumes and starches (lentils, peas, chickpeas, lupins, oats and/or rice) plus extra vegetables to round up the nutritional profile.

Considering the first 5 to 6 ingredients comprise the bulk of the food, Lifewise offers a respectable balance of at least 40% to 60% meat to carbs. This is pretty nice among dog food, especially considering this is a kibble. Another good point is that all the fat used comes from animal sources instead of using soybean or sunflower oil.

We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in the ingredients category. It’s a really good composition and the only qualms we have is the usual complaint with kibble: the food has been cooked twice so some of the micronutrients have been lost. All in all, we like the recipes.

Protein content 4/5

As we’ve mentioned above, all Lifewise recipes feature a minimum of 21% crude protein content, and some reach 30% depending on the composition. This is great for most dogs and it goes slightly above the minimum required by AAFCO guidelines.

Another great point is their use of animal-derived fats as the only source of lipids. Animal fats are essential to long-term dog health and this brand offers a variety, including fish oil, lamb fat and chicken fat.

We also appreciate their use of local meats: the kangaroo, chicken and lamb in their recipes are all Australian-sourced. Plus, the chicken is “barn raised”, so it’s a slightly more sustainable option if that’s a concern for you.

Our team liked the protein variety: not all adult dog recipes have chicken, which can be a common food allergy among dogs with issues [2].

Overall, this brand’s protein choice is pretty nice, so we’re giving them 4 out of 5. We would have loved to see some organ meats thrown into the recipes!

Additives 4/5

On top of the meat and carbohydrates that make up the bulk of the food, Lifewise also added a few extras to round up the recipes and add more micronutrients. Most of the recipes have more or less the same “extra” ingredients, so we’ll examine them together.

  • Vegetables: This brand has added alfalfa, carrots, spinach and parsley. On top of providing dietary fibre to feed your dog’s healthy gut bacteria, these veggies are full of vitamins and extra minerals. Plus, parsley in particular has shown a positive effect in arthritic pain among dogs [3], and it’s used by other dog food brands as well.
  • Yeast extract: This additive is rich in B-type vitamins and promotes healthy skin and liver function. Yeast extract in a dog’s diet can also improve the look and feel of their coat, and overall improve their skin.
  • Vitamins and minerals: We appreciate that vitamins and minerals are named one by one in the ingredients list. This points at a high-quality mix instead of unknown percentages from a mysterious powder.
  • Preservatives: This brand claims to be preserved with natural Vitamin E and rosemary. This is great, especially considering the dangers of sulphates as preservatives in dog food [4]. Since the Australian dog food industry is still unregulated, it isn’t a given that brands won’t use harmful preservatives.

It would have been nice to see other goodies like green-lipped mussels or blueberries, but the extra goodies are fine as is. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5.

Variety 4/5

Even though this brand is relatively new, they still offer a wide variety of kibble options. They have both regular and grain-free recipes, both with respectable amounts of protein and varied legumes.

Plus, there are different protein options for dogs with issues, even though the only single-protein recipe is chicken. All others (fish, kangaroo, and tune) have lamb as the second ingredient.

We also appreciate that there are different kibble sizes to fit small pups and the different puppy options tailored at different growth stages.

Lifewise gets 4 out of 5 in this category, mainly because of the lack of single-protein options that some dogs might need.

Price 3/5

This is an upper mid-range food with the price to match. Of course, it isn’t as expensive as the raw, freeze-dried foods available in the market, but it’s pretty close to other brands like Meals for Mutts. Considering the price of the higher-end options, Lifewise is in the budget for most families ready to invest in high-quality food for their dogs.

There are some discounts available when shopping online, so if you’re looking into saving up to 20%, try that option.

Nevertheless, because we know the price might be a stretch for those with more than one dog, we’re giving this brand 3 out of 5 in this category.


Lifewise Puppy Food Review

Of course, we couldn’t do a Lifewise dog food review without dedicating a section to their puppy food!

This brand is different from others we’ve reviewed because they offer 3 different puppy recipes targeted at different growth stages:

  • Stage 1: Also named “starter food”, it’s aimed as a supplement during weaning from 6 weeks old, and can be fed to puppies up to 16 weeks old depending on mature size. According to Lifewise, this is a “gentle food” to support the fast growth rate at this stage of development. The turkey recipe features a guaranteed composition of 28% minimum crude protein, 16% minimum crude fat, 1.5% calcium and 1% phosphorus. There is a “mini starter” available with an even smaller kibble size.
  • Stage 2: This food is made to fulfil “second stage growth” requirements, meaning you would feed it from the initial transition to mature height. To support this growth, Lifewise’s recipe includes lamb and tuna. While the minimum crude protein and minimum crude fat percentages remain the same as with the Stage 1 food, Stage 2 has more calcium (1.9%) and phosphorus (1.4%) to support bone and muscle growth.
  • Stage 3: The last puppy food available is aimed at pups that have already reached their mature size, and it’s supposed to be fed for the same time it took to reach that size. So, for example, a small Chihuahua can take around 5 months to reach adult size, so you would feed Stage 3 food for another 5 months. But a large-breed pup might take 18 months to reach adult size, so you would feed this recipe until they are 3 years old. According to Lifewise, this specific recipe helps support the final development stage, develop a robust microbiome and strengthen your dog’s bones. This recipe’s composition is 30% minimum crude protein, 20% minimum crude fat, and a return to 1.5% minimum calcium and 1% minimum phosphorus.

Is this 3-step feeding necessary for all pups? Should you invest in these recipes?

If you have a medium or small dog, then these multiple steps wouldn’t be vital. Nevertheless, the different recipes can make it easier for owners to tailor their puppy’s nutrition to their growth stage. This is especially important for large-breed dogs that need careful monitoring of their growth.

These changes in food might be a bit difficult to implement for first-time owners, so we like that Lifewise offers a dedicated blog post explaining why and how to feed your puppy.

Now, for our assessment:

The good

We appreciate the different kibble sizes to account for your puppy’s size: the starter kibble is great for first-time eaters and the flat shape can make the food more appealing. The second and third stages feature larger kibble, adapted to pups that are already used to dry food and have larger mouths.

Also, large-breed puppies can benefit greatly from this system since it simplifies the owner’s measuring and makes feeding times quicker.

The overall composition of the kibble is pretty nice: it’s good to see meat as the first and second ingredient in all recipes, as well as meat-derived fats that come before the carbohydrates.

The not-so-good

We like the recipe composition, but this 3-tier feeding system might be overkill for small-breed puppies. A Chihuahua or a Toy poodle will generally be fine eating the starter food, then stage 2 before switching to adult food at 12 months old. Plus, the stage 3 recipe is mainly aimed at large-breed dogs: the kibble size is significant in comparison with the other recipes.

Another thing to consider is the protein flavours available: there are no options if you’d rather avoid feeding poultry to your dog. Nevertheless, it’s very common for puppy food recipes to only be available in chicken or lamb flavour, so in that sense, Lifewise is like other brands. Considering the only reason you’d avoid poultry is a food sensitivity, and it’s highly unlikely a puppy has had enough time to develop an intolerance to poultry at a young age, the lack of variety won’t be an issue for most dogs.

Our opinion

We like Lifewise’s puppy dog food! It’s a great option to simplify feeding for large-breed puppies, and the extra small kibble makes it easy for small-breed pups to learn to appreciate kibble. The composition is as good as the rest of the line, and we appreciate the higher calcium and phosphorus percentages in these recipes. A great one that we’d recommend!


Do Not Buy If…

Lifewise can be a great food option for many pups, but it might be right if you:

  • Are looking for raw food: This isn’t freeze-dried food, it’s traditional kibble. This means the food has been cooked twice throughout the manufacturing process. Very far from raw recipes!
  • Need to avoid lamb and chicken: While the recipes are pretty nice, there are no options for those that need to avoid both lamb and chicken. Of course, this would only be the case if your dog has been diagnosed with an allergy, but it does happen from time to time.
  • Want to avoid all legumes: Most of the recipes have some legumes added. We don’t have issues with it because there are different types of legumes instead of a single one in all recipes. But if you’re trying to stay away, this isn’t the brand for you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we like this brand. They offer a pretty nice composition for a reasonable price. We appreciate the use of protein as the first 2 ingredients (!) in all recipes, which isn’t all that common in kibble recipes. We also like that, instead of sunflower oil, they only use meat-derived lipids (fish oil, chicken fat…) to add fat to the recipes.

We would recommend this brand!

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References

  1. AAFCO. AAFCO Methods for substantiating nutritional adequacy of dog and cat foods. https://www.aafco.org/Portals/0/SiteContent/Regulatory/Committees/Pet-Food/Reports/Pet_Food_Report_2013_Midyear-Proposed_Revisions_to_AAFCO_Nutrient_Profiles.pdf
  2. VCA Animal hospitals. Food allergies in dogs. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/food-allergies-in-dogs
  3. Food Research International. Investigation of some kinetic properties of polyphenol oxidase from parsley (Petroselinum crispum, Apiaceae) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996912002724?casa_token=rkO9awHViNEAAAAA:Zg_mwbwo03tdwy3klrAITVML2-55NmfK4_dheKVjVKh_7GEsl6DtiPdlr3kb8AITDvDb5eLsjQ
  4. RSPCA. Are preservatives in dog food a concern? https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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