Holistic Select dry dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Holistic Select product line includes 12 dry dog foods, eight claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, three for growth (puppy formulas) and one for all life stages (grain-free formula).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Holistic Select Nourish Puppy
- Holistic Select Adult Duck Meal
- Holistic Select Adult Lamb Meal
- Holistic Select Adult Chicken Meal
- Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Adult
- Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult
- Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy
- Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Nourish Puppy
- Holistic Select Weight Management Chicken Meal
- Holistic Select Vitalize Senior Health Chicken Meal
- Holistic Select Adult Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Meal
- Holistic Select Grain Free Adult and Puppy Health (4.5 stars)
Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal and Rice was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal and Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), pork meal, dried beet pulp, anchovy & sardine meal, flaxseed, dried egg product, menhaden fish oil, tomato pomace, carrots, peas, sun-cured alfalfa, potassium chloride, organic quinoa, blueberries, apples, cranberries, dried kelp, Yucca schidigera extract, dl-methionine, vitamins [beta-carotene, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, niacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), biotin], minerals [polysaccharide complexes of zinc, iron, manganese and copper, cobalt carbonate, potassium iodate, sodium selenite], choline chloride, lecithin, rosemary extract, glucosamine hydrochloride, inulin, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger fermentation products, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||17%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||35%||42%|
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 item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third ingredient is white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.
The fourth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The fifth item mentions 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 sixth ingredient mentions pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The eighth ingredient is anchovy and sardine meal, once again, another high-protein meat concentrate.
The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
The tenth ingredient is dried egg product, 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.
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, 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.
Next, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Thirdly, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.
What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deeper water species.
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.
Holistic Select Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select appears to be an above-average dry 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 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
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 peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Holistic Select is a grain-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named species meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Holistic Select canned dog food.
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
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Notes and Updates
02/26/2010 Original review
04/13/2010 Review updated (ethoxyquin warning removed)
06/18/2010 Review updated (corrected nutrient percentages)
09/29/2010 Review updated (changed example product)
12/07/2012 Added Grain-Free product
12/07/2012 Last Update