Holistic Select Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Holistic Select product line includes 13 dry dog foods, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, one for all life stages and three for growth (puppies).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Holistic Select Senior Health
- Holistic Select Weight Management (3 stars)
- Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health
- Holistic Select Nourish Puppy Health (4.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal and Rice
- Holistic Select Adult Health Duck Meal (3.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Grain Free Adult Health (4.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Adult Health Lamb Meal (3.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Health (5 stars)
- Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Adult Health (4.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health (3.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Grain Free Adult and Puppy Health (4.5 stars)
- Holistic Select Adult Health Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Meals (3.5 stars)
Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal and Rice was selected to represent the other products 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 mixed tocopherols), pork meal, dried beet pulp, anchovy & sardine meal, flaxseed, dried egg product, menhaden fish oil, carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, tomato pomace, dehydrated alfalfa meal, potassium chloride, apples, peas, organic quinoa, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid], minerals [zinc polysaccharide complex, iron polysaccharide complex, copper polysaccharide complex, manganese polysaccharide complex, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, potassium iodide], papaya, dried kelp, blueberries, pomegranate, glucosamine hydrochloride, inulin, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Yucca schidigera extract, dl-methionine, ground cinnamon, ground fennel, ground peppermint, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, lecithin, choline chloride, rosemary extract
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 ingredient 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 can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient includes pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
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, yet another high protein 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 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual 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 seven notable exceptions…
First, we find 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 as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.
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, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, we note the inclusion of 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.
Additionally, quinoa, (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
We also note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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.
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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select 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.
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 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, alfalfa meal, peas and quinoa in this recipe as well as the lentils, chickpeas and pea protein contained in another, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Holistic Select is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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 wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Holistic Select canned dog food.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/18/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩