The Lifewise Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Want to switch your pup to an Australian food? Then you might be considering this new brand. We teamed up with veterinarians and canine nutritionists to discover the pros and cons of the food offered by this popular company to help you decide if it's the best option for your pup. After several weeks of research, and many, many bowls of dog food later, we compiled everything together to give you the lowdown on this dog food.
Our experts have done the ultimate Lifewise dog food review, so you know whether or not this is the right choice for your dog. Should you include this kibble in your rotation?
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega-3 and -6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's 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
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 members of our team of independent experts also reported their picky eaters really liked 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.
Lifewise dog food was designed by the original nutritionist behind Meals for Mutts, and it shows in the recipe composition. Everyone on our team of experts noted that 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 . 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 five to six 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 .
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!
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 our panel of independent experts sought to examine them together.
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.
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.
Our panel is giving Lifewise a 4 out of 5 in this category, mainly because of the lack of single-protein options that some dogs might need.
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, our team is 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 three different puppy recipes targeted at different growth stages:
Is this 3-step feeding necessary for all pups? Should you invest in these recipes?
If you have a medium or small dog, then our independent experts share that 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:
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: I think it’s great to see meat as the first and second ingredient in all recipes, as well as meat-derived fats that come before the carbohydrates.
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.
Overall, everyone on our expert panel liked 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 not be right if you:
Overall, our team of independent experts like this brand. They offer a pretty nice composition for a reasonable price. We appreciate the use of protein as the first two 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:
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- "Calorie Content". Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO. Retrieved October 8, 2023. https://www.aafco.org/resources/startups/calorie-content/
- Llera, R., Barnette, C., Ward, E. "Food Allergies in Dogs". VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved October 8, 2023. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/food-allergies-in-dogs
- Doğru, Y., Erat, M. (2012). "Investigation of some kinetic properties of polyphenol oxidase from parsley (Petroselinum crispum, Apiaceae)". Food Research International, 49:1, 2012, pp 411-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2012.07.028
- "Are preservatives in dog food a concern?". RSPCA Knowledge Base. Retrieved October 8, 2023. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/