Earthborn Holistic Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Earthborn Holistic Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Earthborn Holistic product line includes four dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (Puppy Vantage).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Earthborn Holistic Small Breed (4.5 stars)
  • Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage (3.5 stars)
  • Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion (3.5 stars)
  • Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage (4.5 stars)

Earthborn Holistic Small Breed formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Earthborn Holistic Small Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, whitefish meal, oatmeal, ground barley, ground brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rye flour, potatoes, sweet potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, ground flaxseed, natural flavors, apples, blueberries, carrots, peas, spinach, blueberry fiber, cranberry fiber, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, beta-carotene, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%19%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%39%35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is rye flour, a finely-ground product obtained by milling rye. Rye is a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The eighth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, canola oil can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

In addition, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Earthborn Holistic Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Earthborn Holistic Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Earthborn Holistic Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or whitefish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Those looking for a grain-free kibble from the same line may wish to visit our review of Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural dog food.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/18/2010 Original review
11/18/2010 Review updated
03/04/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • theBCnut

    YIKES!! Reactions like your dane is having are very dangerous, because from one feeding to the next they can be fatal. Make sure your dane does not get even one more bite of that bag of food. I would call the company and let them know. Not that I think it will do any good, but if there is a problem, there has to be a first report.

  • doggievangogh

    My last bag of grain free bison seems to be causing 2 of my dogs to have some weird reactions. The dane is clearly having an allergic reaction as her eyes have swollen and also the leather of her ears. The toy poodle is chewing on her feet like crazy! This only happens when there have been grains introduced to them. I’m NOT happy right now. Looks like going back to raw is it for me. This was just nice to have as a back up for the dog sitter.

  • theBCnut

    If you read down through other posts, you would see that several people have written about this lately.

  • sandary

    I have been mixing different bags of the earth born grain free together like coastal catch & meadow fest etc in the last few months my 6 year old golden has gotten a lot of loose stools I am thinking it might be the food and am thinking of changing has anyone else seen this problem

  • Christina Dubuque

    Have been to vet with several of my large dogs on this food with great weight loss digestive issues etc .I need to switch vet states it is this food.

  • Christina Dubuque

    Yes same issues my dogs have loose diarrhea now so frustrating. I am changing foods soon.

  • Guest-1111

    Awesome, thanks so much for all of the suggestions! After they adjust to the kibble transition, I’m going to bring some raw into the rotation & see how it goes.

  • Guest-1111

    Thanks for the input. My dogs eat too much to go raw completely (financially anyway), so after they adjust to the new kibble, I’m going to try to bring some raw into the rotation & see how it goes.

  • Guest-1111

    Glad to hear your dogs are getting better! I emailed the company also, but have received no response. Sad really.

  • jan

    yes, my 4 dogs were all on coastal catch for a couple of years. just recently , last 6 months , my dogs were having intestinal issues and losing weight. I tried resolving this isssue but 3 of my dogs lost too much weight and it was only getting worse. we found no other reason for the weight loss. my vet ran test on one of the dogs and found nothing. I can only assume it was the dog food. I even contacted the company , they claimed there has been no change in the recipe of coastal catch. I finally had to change dog food, and My dogs have gained the weight back. We also noted a difference in the kibble shape and size. Like I said I really like there product until this happened.

  • Beth Knuth

    I have done raw, Darwin’ delivered right to your door, for breakfast and then kibble at night for awhile. Lately, Butch, pit mix has done a little puke burping at night after kibble, I do rotate and change, I try to get grain free kibble, but this time I did get a NutriSource brand grain inclusive type. I think that was the main problem. So the last three days I have done all Darwin’s raw, no puking at all, and already Butch smells sweet, his fur actually smells sweet. It is amazing about raw, I don’t know if I can afford this total raw with Darwin’s but we will see. Just an idea from me, good luck to you!

  • InkedMarie

    Yes, lots do kibble and raw, myself included (in the past). My brittany has a raw meal once or twice a week. Feeding any raw is fantastic, sure does not defeat the purpose!

  • Guest-1111

    Thank you for the suggestion!

  • Guest-1111

    I think I would probably have to do ground also, don’t know if I could handle watching them eat whole parts, natural or not. I’ll have to do some more research on the raw diet with regards to portioning & balancing. Have you heard of anyone doing both raw & kibble? For example, feeding kibble in the morning & raw in the evening? Was wondering if that would defeat the purpose.
    My finicky one gets ear infections, but I suspect she has environmental allergies that are causing them. They didn’t start until recently when we moved to the south & only act up when it thaws outside. So she’s on daily allergy meds currently, not ideal, but they help.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Guest-
    Sorry, you are having trouble with the Earthborn food. I wanted to let you know that Victor has two fish recipes. One with grain and one without. I’ve been using the grain free beef with great results. I plan on trying the Yukon salmon formula next. Just thought you might want to check it out if the Canidae does not work out. Good luck!

  • InkedMarie

    we’ll just start over :)

    My husband is not into prey model raw so I buy ground. Not cheap but I got tired of vet visits and meds for his ears. My holistic vet prefers no veggies for him for now so I buy from Hare-Today.com

    I was going to try the Canidae Sea for Boone, he had been on Natural Balance sweet potato & fish and doing fine. Had a phone conference with my holistic vet, Pure Sea was the choice of foods. Two days later, bam, another infection. Decided to go to raw.

  • Guest-1111

    I would love to try the raw diet with mine, it’s unfortunately too time consuming & costly for me at the moment, some day! Friends that have their dogs on it absolutely love it. I’ve heard good things about California Naturals for dogs with allergies, but hesitate because they’ve been part of so many recalls lately. The Canidae Pure Sea looks like it would work for my girl based on the ingredients. I think I’m going to grab a bag, start the transition & see how it works. Hopefully my other finicky girl will eat it. Thank you for the suggestion, and I do apologize for getting defensive so quickly. A bit out of character for me, but I won’t bother you with all of the excuses.

  • InkedMarie

    :::passing peace pipe::::

    I understand about going through dog food. My allergy boy had no ear infections for seven years, then bang, last april, they came back and didn’t stop. I have given away the equilivent of 4 big bags of dog food in the last year. Six weeks ago, I put him on ground raw as it seems to be the only thing that works. I adopted a toothless dog last January, she ended up with 2 back to back UTI’s and needed two enemas for constipation. She was also underweight. Now she’s on Canidae Pure Sea with a little Pure Sky canned, they’re the only thing that works. My other gal can eat anything, thank god.

    You’re right about EB, I don’t feed it but used to. I’m not a troll, just commented.

    Hope you grasp the peace pipe.

  • Guest-1111

    Well when you go through dog food as fast as i do & combine all of this with a stressful interstate move, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of such things. It’s only since life has calmed down a bit that I was able to identify it. Since you have not commented on the actual question, I assume you do not use this type of food & just troll the comments section?

  • InkedMarie

    I have a dog with allergies too but I can tell you that if I bought 7 or 8 bags of food and my dog(s) had digestive upsets AND the dog appearance varied, I would have stopped after the second or third bag. I’m sorry you felt criticized but thats an awful lot of bags to buy with the same issues.

  • Guest-1111

    Because it took me a while to realize it was not a coincidence. Because previous to this, they had been on the food for about 2 years with no trouble. Because I have a dog with severe allergies and this is the only reasonably priced food I have found that works for her. Do you want me to go on? I posted on here asking for input, not criticism, thanks.

  • InkedMarie

    Why have you continued to feed a food that has been inconsistent over 7-8 bags of food when your dogs have had digestive upsets? That just makes no sense.

  • Guest-1111

    Has anyone else had trouble with the consistency of their food from bag to bag lately? The kibble in the last 7-8 bags of Coastal Catch I’ve purchased has varied greatly between the bags, and each time I open a new bag, my dogs have digestive issues. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this, and trying to determine if it’s time to switch to a food I can trust to be consistent between bags.

  • Msams0975

    I actually just bought a bag of ocean fusion for my springer mix this morning. I mixed it with the small amount of orijen regional red she had left. I am going on a stricter budget and had to find a cheaper food that I felt she could handle. She had it for dinner tonight, loved it and seems completely satisfied. Her tummy is sensitive but so far it’s agreeing with her. I would recommend it, even though I don’t normally like grain-inclusive foods.

  • InkedMarie

    You can unsub still the bottom of this page. Unclick the green subscribe

  • LabsRawesome

    Whatever.

  • Susan

    Unsubscribe!

  • LabsRawesome

    Did you think you were the only Susan in the world? If you are worried about people confusing your posts for another Susan’s posts, make your name more unique. Add your last initial, the name of your dog, or something else. You could also add an Avatar. Gravatar.com

  • Susan

    Appears to be two posters as Susan. I did not post
    this..

  • susan

    Has anyone tried the Ocean fusion?? when I read the ingredients they were limited ingredients & no garlic, mite be better for sensitive tummys…also fat was only 12% fat,, Has anyone tried..

  • Cate

    I try to stay with 5 star foods and rotate for a healthy gut.

  • jo

    My dog has been on blue grain free for 2 1/2. Years…never see bits of cat food in it..however we are gtti g new pup nd someone suggested earthborn…..does dog food come in tiny morsels for pup and dogs

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Oatmeal, barley, brown rice, rye flour, and potato are all in this one.

  • Storm’s Mom

    These are the grain-inclusive formulae. The grain-free ones are here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/earthborn-holistic-grain-free/ They are 5 star vs these 4 star ones.

  • Susan

    Just as an FYI and to beware. I used to give my dogs those little marrow bones that I got at the butcher. One of these bones cracked and lodged on his jaw. He wouldn’t let me work to get it off and he was getting anxious and could not drink water. So I had to take him to the vet and they sedated him and sawed it off. That little bone cost me $35 in the end and a very scared dog and nervous dog mom. So from then on I bought the knuckle bones instead.

  • Susan

    I read the ingredients for this food. I am not impressed other than it has no grains or potatoes

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