Is It A Good Idea to Feed Taste of The Wild to Pitbulls?

Finding the best food for a pitbull can be challenging, especially as new companies and diets continue to pop up. One brand growing in popularity is Taste of the Wild, featuring several different offerings. Some additional knowledge is required to determine if it’s a good idea to feed it to your pitbull.

Grain-free and exotic meat dog foods, like Taste of the Wild, have been under investigation by the FDA for possibly causing DCM, a heart disease. The food is formulated to pass all AAFCO nutrition requirements but has not been tested to confirm. While Taste of the Wild may be good for the rare pitbull who has food allergies, it is generally best to stick with dog foods that AAFCO has tested. 

Until possible causes for DCM have been further explored, most veterinarians recommend sticking to standard diets from large, reputable brands. Continue reading below for more information.

How Taste of The Wild Has Been Graded By AAFCO

AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the body that is closest to regulating pet food nutrition in the United States. Pet food in the United States has extremely little regulation, and AAFCO aims to provide nutrition guidelines. 

While AAFCO is not an official governing body, they are highly respected in the vet community and do significant testing of pet foods and nutrition. Almost all pet foods sold in stores will have a label somewhere identifying the results of AAFCO’s nutrition findings.

Reading AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Labels

AAFCO labels differ in wording and expected nutrition and can be unclear. Talking to your veterinarian is the best thing to do, especially if you are uncertain about claims that a food is making. Still, understanding a quick rundown of what the labels mean will help weed out some possibilities.

Luckily, these labels do not change whether looking at food specifically for a pitbull or any other dog type. Labels fall into two main formats; either the “formulated to meet” seen on Taste of the Wild food, or “tests… substantiate that [the food] provides complete and balanced nutrition.”

As you might expect, the “better” of these labels is the second, where the food has undergone actual testing and truly fulfills all of the requirements for a dog of that size and stage of life. Put simply, a dog food labeled with this nutritional wording is some of the most complete available.

The “formulated to meet” model means that the food should match AAFCO’s requirements, but it has not been tested. This opens up quality significantly; while the foods with this label may be able to pass AAFCO’s test, they have not. Showing some caution when it comes to these labels is a good idea, especially if you are searching for the best food for your pitbull.

Source: AAFCO Reading Labels

How Taste of The Wild Matches Up

All of Taste of the Wild’s offerings are “formulated to meet” nutritional values established by AAFCO. This means that the food has not been tested to ensure that it meets the nutritional values required in a diet.

The majority of pet food is labeled similarly to Taste of the Wild and has not undergone AAFCO testing. This places Taste of the Wild in a similar camp to other pet foods that share its features, such as unique meats and a grain-free diet. It is likely not the best option for your pitbull.

AAFCO has not tested Taste of the Wild, and its other features, such as grain-free and exotic meats, may also cause additional health issues. This is currently being investigated, but evidence seems to be stacking against these sorts of pet foods. 

The Risks of a Grain-Free or Exotic Diet

A quick look at Taste of the Wild or other similar brands may inspire you to think that it is immediately a good brand for your pitbull. This is primarily the result of marketing; while Taste of the Wild may not be a bad option for your pitbull, they are still selling an idea.

In addition to not being thoroughly tested by AAFCO, most of Taste of the Wild’s foods are grain-free and feature some rare ingredients. As explained in this article from Tufts University, foods with these properties are currently being investigated by the FDA as a possible cause for DCM, a potentially fatal heart disease.

Taste of the Wild is not the only grain-free or exotic pet food available, but it does share some of the same concerns that similar foods do. The investigation is still on-going, but many veterinarians currently agree that choosing grain-free foods is likely doing more harm than good to your dog. 

In a follow-up article to the one listed above, Dr. Lisa M. Freeman continues to explain that grain-free diets offer no health benefits unless a food allergy exists (and these are rare). 

The concerns are so severe that Taste of the Wild includes a section explaining DCM on their FAQ page. They point out some additional facts, such as certain breeds being more prone to DCM than others and some other common causes of the disease.

Luckily, DCM has not been found to be more common in pitbulls than other dogs. However, it is still a fairly regular occurrence; Dr. John Rush, a veterinary cardiologist, explains that 10 to 15% of dogs, regardless of breed, will develop some form of heart disease at some point.

Talk to your veterinarian about your pitbull’s specific dietary needs and the risks of a grain-free or exotically-based diet. Ultimately, every dog is different, and the FDA has not yet found concrete evidence of these diets causing DCM. 

Choosing the Best Food for Your Pitbull

To ensure healthy growth and then maintain health, it is best to feed all dogs specialized nutritional mixes at various life stages. Some foods, as specified by AAFCO, are also acceptable for use throughout all life stages. 

Pitbulls should be fed food for All Life Stages or for growing puppies while young. Growing dogs require additional nutrients found in these formulas, such as extra protein. 

Food that has been formulated to meet AAFCO standards in these categories should contain enough protein and other essential nutrients to encourage healthy growth. One example of this food suitable for pitbulls from Taste of the Wild is the Pine Forest Canine Recipe

When your pitbull has fully grown, it is best to switch to food that meets AAFCO’s statements for maintenance; Taste of the Wild also offers foods that are formulated to meet these standards. One such example is the High Prairie Canine Recipe

While continuing to use an All Life Stages mixture will likely not harm your pitbull, it could lead to issues arising earlier than necessary. Talk to your veterinarian to ensure that your pitbull is eating healthily. 

Most of Taste of the Wild’s foods are grain-free, and the few that use grains feature exotic ones that may still cause health issues in your dog. Despite marketing attempts, most grains are actually good for your pet, containing things such as vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. 

While it is likely possible to get most of these from the replacements found in Taste of the Wild such as potatoes and lentil beans, it inevitably increases the cost of the food and may introduce additional heart disease problems. The Tufts Cummings Veterinary Medical Center contains more information about ensuring your pitbull is eating a healthy and complete diet.


Taste of the Wild is a grain-free dog food that has not been fully tested by AAFCO but is formulated to meet their requirements. AAFCO is the body that provides values and estimations for pet nutrition, and the best foods feature a label stating that they are a complete and balanced diet by AAFCO standards. At this time, Taste of the Wild does not have this.

Grain-free and exotic-ingredient-based dog foods may also be linked with DCM, a heart disease in dogs. The FDA is currently investigating this. 

Talk to your veterinarian to ensure that you are feeding your pitbull what is best for them. 

Recent Posts