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Holistic Select Grain Free (Canned)
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
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 indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||23%||28%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||33%||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.
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.
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.
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.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
08/06/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩