Holistic Select Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Holistic Select Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Holistic Select Grain Free product line includes 4 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Holistic Select Grain Free Adult Health [M]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Adult and Puppy Health [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health [G]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Large and Giant Breed Adult Health (4 stars) [M]

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

Holistic Select Grain Free Adult Health

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, peas, lentils, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, pea protein, pork meal, flaxseed, natural fish flavor, pumpkin, cranberries, apples, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, papaya, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate], blueberries, pomegranate, calcium carbonate, inulin, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Yucca schidigera extract, ground cinnamon, ground fennel, ground peppermint, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Trichoderma reesei fermentation product, dried Rhizopus oryzae fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis32%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%16%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%33%36%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

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

The fourth ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

The fifth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Pea protein

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is tomato pomace. 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.

The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. 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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, we 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 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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select Grain Free 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the legumes, flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Holistic Select Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Holistic Select Grain Free 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.

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Notes and Updates

05/29/2017 Last Update