Holistic Select Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Holistic Select canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Holistic Select product line includes eight canned dog foods, seven claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (Puppy formula).

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

  • Holistic Select Beef
  • Holistic Select Duck
  • Holistic Select Puppy
  • Holistic Select Chicken
  • Holistic Select Lamb (2 stars)
  • Holistic Select Duck and Chicken
  • Holistic Select Tuna, Salmon and Shrimp
  • Holistic Select Chicken and Chicken Liver

Holistic Select Chicken formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Holistic Select Chicken Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 28%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, whitefish, oat bran, carrots, peas, potatoes, dried egg product, flaxseed, guar gum, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, canola oil, cranberry powder, dried kelp, vitamins [vitamin E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement], minerals [ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite], choline chloride, carrageenan, lecithin, Yucca schidigera extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%23%28%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%44%23%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

The fifth ingredient is oat bran, a nutritious by-product obtained from milling whole grain oats. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, vitamins and minerals.

The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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 six notable exceptions

First, dried egg product is a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

Next, 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.

In addition, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, 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.

Also, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

And lastly, this food contains one chelated mineral, a mineral that has been chemically attached to protein. This makes it easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Holistic Select Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select looks like an above-average canned dog food .

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 41%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Holistic Select is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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 kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Holistic Select dry 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, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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

02/26/2010 Original review
09/29/2010 Review updated
06/20/2012 Review updated
01/17/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Dori

    Also Weruva Human Style Canned. They have a lot of different protein formulas without any chicken.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Try Hound and Gatos and Ziwipeak.

  • NO MORE WELLPET

    WellPet LCC owns Holistic Select. They recently discontinued the wet canned dog food lamb recipe with a grain-free formula. The problem is they added chicken meal to the recipe, which my dog is extremely allergic. I am disappointed WellPet did not take into account pet owners use Lamb products for dogs with food sensitivity.

    I am in a jam needing to find a new food for my dog. I won’t do business with Holistic Select aka WellPet any longer. So long big corporation

  • Pingback: Best Canned Dog Food: A Few Extra Years For Your Dog | Best Dog Treats For Your Happy & Healthy Dog !!

  • Patrick

    Mike – The government is not our friend! That said – it’s WE, THE PEOPLE who have to DEMAND and BOYCOTT (walking with our pocketbooks in a healthier direction and avoiding toxic products to the best of our ability and knowledge – even if it means growing it ourselves!)

    When lawmaking, high ranking, from-the-top-down politicians are in very close company with these corrupt corporations, on the board of directors and in lobbyists pockets and beds – WE, THE PEOPLE – WHO ARE THEIR EMPLOYERS AND PAY THEIR BLOATED SALARIES – have to stand on our own 2 feet and make our own healthful decisions for our pets, our family and ourselves.

    Nanny government is impotent on our behalf. They couldn’t care less.

    When the vote in California last year to label foods came before the voters, GMO labeling was vote down. Sadly, tragically – the VOTING PUBLIC – do not observe WHO put all those “VOTE NO ON LABELING” commercials on TEEVEE. It was all paid for by Monsanto, BASF, Cargill and the other chemical companies, including many uncaring, uninformed farmer’s who choose to plant Monsanto patented GMO seed.

    It was all written right there on the bottom of the “VOTE NO ON LABELING” commercials. And the ads, as in most all voting issues, were misleading. Yes means no, and no means yes!! Such disinformation is rampant in our society.

    Trouble is, most people do not care to take the time to do their due diligence on such important issues. We can never put a price on good health.

  • somebodysme

    It seems that big money/Monsanto is “god” here in the US of A. They have control over this because money, enough of it, can buy anyone….

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Patrick,

    The description of canola oil you quote here is our previous version. This review was last updated on 6/20/2012 and is due to be revisited soon. We plan to post our newer definition of canola oil at the time of our next update later this year.

    BTW, until the government requires more precise labeling of both human and pet foods, we’ll all be at the mercy of those that manufacture these products.

    Thanks for calling this important issue to our attention.

  • Patrick

    “Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source. Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.”

    Canola IS a GMO food with seed patented by Monsanto – one of the most corrupt companies in he nation regarding toxic foods. Look up -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oju86YIOOLI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVeS1yIA7x0

    I’ve just recently started feeding my 2 dogs with Holistic Select canned dog food. They love it. BUT I am very concerned about the overall, long term health effects to my dogs from this GMO food – toxic, Round-up ready (a weed killer) insecticide contained in its cells.
    Any product containing GMO foods should be clearly labeled as such. The American people need to wake up and demand better, healthier foods not only for them selves and that of their families but also for their animals!!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Sparky, canned food labels can be confusing. They seem to be low in protein, when in all reality they are high in protein. The can states 9% protein 5% fat and 78% water. But when it is broken down on a dry matter basis. The protein is 41% fat is 23%. Please read this for more info. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-matter-basis/

  • Sparky

    Your page on this CANNED dog food reads…  “Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select appears to be an above-average dry dog food.”

    I am confused here, are you judging the canned version or the dry dog food?

    I read the analysis myself, and the canned version has 78% water, and only 9% protein. 

    How can you give this food any stars at all? 

    This product definitely strikes a chord of misleading labeling.  Reading further on the label states that there are added vitamins and minerals.  How can chemical additives be healthy for any creature?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Purple… Unfortunately, due to the various labeling laws found in different countries, we only review dog foods marketed in the North America. Wish I could be more help.

  • Purple

    Hi, I think there is a confusion on holistic products because here in the philippines there is a dog food named HOLISTIC RECIPE, are there 3 named holistic as a brand name? with different ingredients? HOLISTIC RECIPE since it was written on the package that it was made in USA but i cant find any reviews from anyone in the USA that using this product and there’s no website found for this product. Alot of us pet owners here are feeding our pets with HOLISTIC RECIPE. please help us getting the right information. Is it a good quality food or it is a junk that our dogs can be harmed, since it said that its from USA. You can check on this blog http://philippinepethaven.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-3353.html thanks! i hope to hear from you soon!!!

  • Mike P

    I just bought 3 cans of this yesterday with a 5 dollar off coupon from the company . I got one can each of beef, chicken, and lamb . Opened up the beef today and it smelled really fresh . I wanted to fry up a patty for myself . My dog absolutely gobbled it down . This food is a keeper …

  • Donna Hulse

    There was no mention of benefits or not of the ingredient Brewers dried yeast?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Beth… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s condition. The first thing I notice is that you are certainly feeding your Lab some very good dog food. I especially like the canned foods for an older dog as so many senior pets have compromised dental health… which can make chewing dry kibble very difficult.

    However, I’m not a veterinarian… and because of your dog’s surgical and arthritis needs, it’s difficult for me to make useful (and predictable) suggestions appropriate to his diet.

  • Beth Reed

    I was wondering if you could recommend some canned food that I could feed my 15yr old lab. Right now, he is eating California Natural (chicken & rice) canned and Holistic Select (Chicken) dry. He needs the rice to “bind” him, as he has to take rimadyl (because he had his rear leg amputated-due to cancer- and he has arthritis in the other)

    any suggestions are welcome – Thank you