Holistic Select Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Holistic Select Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Holistic Select Grain Free product line includes six canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

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

  • Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Duck Pate
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Lamb Pate
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Chicken Pate
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Turkey and Duck Pate
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Whitefish, Salmon and Herring Pate

Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 55% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 10%

Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, pork liver, whitefish, chicken meal, ground flaxseed, dicalcium phosphate, cassia gum, xanthan gum, potassium chloride, apple powder, cranberry powder, pumpkin powder, canola oil, chicory root extract, salt, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, blueberry powder, papaya powder, pomegranate powder, thiamine mononitrate, magnesium stearate, vitamin E supplement, peppermint leaf powder, cinnamon, fennel powder, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis12%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis55%27%10%
Calorie Weighted Basis42%51%8%
Protein = 42% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 8%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

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

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

The third ingredient is pork 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The sixth 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.

The seventh ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

The eighth ingredient is cassia gum. Cassia gum is a plant extract likely used here as a gelling agent and providing no nutritional value to this 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 three notable exceptions

First, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

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, chicory root extract is rich in 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.

And lastly, this food 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
Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select Grain Free 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 55%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 10%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 54% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 9% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-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 wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Holistic Select Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of poultry, beef, fish or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Holistic Select Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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

Notes and Updates

02/07/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Sarah

    If anyone is interested in the canning facilities used, I got this info from a holistic select rep.
    Wellness Can Dog
    American Nutrition: Ogden, UT
    Simmons Pet Food: Pennsauken, NJ, Emporia, KS & Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thai Union: Thailand (Petite Entrees)
    IPB: Thailand (Petite Entrees, TruFood Tasty Pairings, TruFood Complements & CORE Chunky Centers)

  • IJ

    Anybody used this food for puppies? Seems it has higher fat then protein lever, but it seems to be a good food. I am looking for samoyed puppy grain free more fish diet food.

  • Rob

    Looking forward to the next update then! DFA is a great resource and love what the members/mods add to it!

  • This article was last updated 8/2014. So with the numbers you have today, the chicken pate would be on par with the other recipes. The articles are updated every 18 months.

  • Rob

    Thanks Sandy for the reply. I’m wondering if your numbers are based on an older formulation? When going to the holisticselect.com website (as of 07/28/15) I’m finding the Chicken Pate to be 12,6,78 based off the guaranteed analysis (protein min, fat min, moisture max) which puts this on par with the rest of the formulations the DFA website currently lists as 5 stars. On amazon.com I’m finding perhaps the older recipe, which in fact represents the numbers you give based on the dry matter content.

    The reason I ask all this is because I’m searching for a commercial food that comes close to Steve Brown’s ancestral ‘gold standard’ diet and was hoping the Holistic Select Grain Free (canned) would be a good match. From my limited but growing knowledge, I think the caloric percentage is the way to go (% of calories coming from protein, fat, carbs). Am I missing something here or does the Chicken Pate recipe actually meet the 5 star standard?

  • At it’s last update, the chicken pate had 36% protein and 41% fat with a fat-to-protein ration of 113%. All the other recipes had at least 55% protein and alot less fat.

  • Rob

    Anybody know why the chicken version is rated 3 stars?

  • Phillip

    Hi, could you review this product: Holistic Recipe (Holis+ic Recipe)

    http://www.caminadepet.com/image/cache/data/test%20folder%202/holistic%20recipe-adult-960×960.jpg

    It says made in the USA but I couldn’t find any site/article of it. I’ve been feeding it to my dog for years now.