Honest Kitchen Dog Food (Dehydrated)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

Excluding the meat-free premix (Hale), the Honest Kitchen product line includes four dehydrated dog foods.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • Honest Kitchen Thrive Chicken Recipe
  • Honest Kitchen Verve Beef Recipe (3.5 stars)
  • Honest Kitchen Keen Turkey Recipe (3.5 stars)
  • Honest Kitchen Halcyon Duck Recipe (4.5 stars)

Honest Kitchen Thrive Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Honest Kitchen Thrive Chicken Recipe

Dehydrated Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken, organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach, parsley, organic kelp, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%21%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%21%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%41%36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 quinoa. 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.

The third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The next two ingredients are spinach and parsley. Due to their exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach and parsley exhibit a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.

The next ingredient is dried kelp, a dehydrated form of seaweed also known as alginate.

The seventh ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorous. In addition, this additive is used in canned foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.

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 one notable exception

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.

Honest Kitchen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Before we conclude, it’s worth noting The Honest Kitchen has taken the rather unusual step of applying for (and actually receiving) FDA approval to label its pet foods “human grade“.

The company only uses human-edible components and produces all its products in a human food manufacturing facility.

Since this recipe also contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.

That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.

So, judging by its ingredients alone, the Honest Kitchen appears to be a superior 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 28%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the quinoa in this recipe and the flaxseed contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

The Honest Kitchen is a plant-based dehydrated dog food using a moderate amount of poultry or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.

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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

01/28/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
  • Dori

    Hi Cheryl. With Millie being 7 months old and you feeding her a rotation diet I would absolutely have no issues feeding her THK base meals and/or their “complete and balanced” meals. I would possibly be concerned, but only a little, if you were only going to feed Millie THK base meal if she were younger. It’s, of course as always say only my opinion, and I can only tell you what I do and what I have done, and that is that in feeding my dogs (all ages) I feed rotational diets. I don’t concern myself all that much with the fact the one food or another are not complete and balanced. That is why I and many other rotational feeders will tell you is the reason that we do it. Not that any one meal has to be complete and balanced. We rotate between brands and proteins of quality foods and quality companies that “WE” trust. What they may miss nutritionally one way or the other (too much or too little) they will recapture in the next. That’s the beauty of rotational feeding. I know a lot of people believe that rotational feeding is more about not feeding the same food too often so that your animal does not become intolerant (or allergic) to that one protein that is being fed over and over again. It’s not necessarily my reason for rotational feeding. I think a lot of people that feed a rotational diet is because there really is no way to know what is lacking in one food or the other. In feeding the same food over and over again, if that food is lacking in nutrients or has an over abundance of vitamins or minerals you can do more harm than good. Rotating solely within a brand will not necessarily help as brands typically will change the proteins in their foods but not necessarily the other vitamins and minerals. Rotating brands may list somewhat the same vitamins and minerals and ingredients but there is no real way to know the % in those foods (they will differ) but at least you know they are not going to be identical to feeding one brand with the only difference being their protein. I’m hoping I’m making sense.

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Cheryl, if you home cook, you can try this recipe. I make this for my dogs now and then and they love it! It comes from cockersinneed.com

    I know a few cocker owners that only feed this for years. The only thing I question is the calcium/phosphorus. One lady said she wasn’t worried as her dogs blood tests always come back fine. Since I only do it now and then, I don’t worry, but all the time, I would

    1 whole chicken (I also chop up the heart etc. and put that in) OR 10 chicken thighs. If using thighs, add a few chicken livers
    3/4 head of garlic (not one clove but a head)–( use 1 TBS. minced garlic)
    1 handful of broccoli (cut up)–or 1/2 package frozen
    4 carrots (cut up)–or 1/2 bag frozen, sliced
    2 whole zucchini (cut up with skin on)
    1 whole yellow squash (large, cut up with skin on)
    handful of green beans, fresh,(OR 1/2 bag frozen)
    3 stalks of celery (chopped)
    1 handful of peas (or canned or frozen)
    1 tablespoon of parsley
    2 cups of oatmeal (put in the last 1/2 hour cooking time)

    In a 10 qt stock pot (stainless steel ONLY) put 2-3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil, heat and add the chicken, bones, skin and all. Fill pot with water to cover chicken. Add veggies and more water to cover. Cook over low to low-med heat for 2 hours. Add oats at the end or they tend to stick. After the stew has finished cooking (carrots are soft), take the chicken out of the mix and let cool…when cool debone it and mix it back into the stew.
    I then use an electric mixer thing to mush all of it together.

    Freeze what you don’t need immediately after it has cooled. (One batch makes about 30-34 cups of stew)

    You will notice an improved dog. More energy, better coat, skin, ears and most of all, you will see them acting like a puppy again. Breakfast and dinner will be a fun event.

    Our dogs actually watch us making this and their little noses twitch in delight all day long.

    As a side note, if your dog doesn’t do well on chicken, you can substitute a different protein source. For instance, beef cubes or ground beef, turkey or ground turkey, etc.

    If you compare the price of homecooked to store bought, this is by far a more reasonable way to go.

    We also use some raw foods in the dogs diet.

    It is recommended that you also use supplements and vitamins when home cooking. Some suggest 1/4 of a centrum vitamin. Some use Missing Link. We usually mix this in with their Evo Kibble or Merrick kibble.

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    IMHO, I think it’s a good food to feed. Too much reading confuses everything sometimes and it’s better than Purina!

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Thank you so very much, I could use some more but after reading Aimee’s posts I am so confused :(

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Dori,
    Millie will be 7 months in February,4th
    Oh no i thought I would feed 1 meal THK with a topper of boiled meat or poultry & her other meal just raw (rotating within raw various brands & proteins). Now, the base mixes might not be the best to feed her, so I could go with the protein inclusive mixes and just top with more protein, but if she is too young and I will hurt her growth by feeding THK, I will wait.
    poor thing smells Pepper’s food and just stands next to pepper sniffing-it is funny , but my heart hurts for her, she finishes her food in say 20 seconds and watches Pepper eat her honest kitchen. She looks at me as if to say feed me some of that too!!!

    I lucked out, the local lawn & feed store which just on a whim I called had it-had special ordered it for someone else & they never picked it up, they were able to get me the green tripe nibblets & rabbit mini patties ,just can’t get the fish in the mini patties . I even got (now hold on) a bag of the Wild Boar patties.
    I am going raw crazy !!!
    I also ordered 2 bags of nature’s variety instinct to try -along with some more primal (these I got on petfooddirect), I think these brands along with the OCRAW will give them enough variety and like you said will balance out in the long run.
    Thanks so much Dori as always

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Here is the code: Use promo code: HKBOGOALL Select the Kind or Hale Base Mix, or the Halcyon food and put 2 as the quantity. Then use the above code in the promotional code area. It will deduct automatically the price of one of them. It is good through 02/06.

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    I would love it if you wouldn’t mind sending it -I get their emails I don’t know why I didn’t get it,unless it is for new customers only.

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    They are both precious Chuckles is what I call my nephew Charles- Teddy looks like a handsome golden-they are such a handsome breed.
    Chuckles looks pooped those ears are AMAZING
    I too fed milk bones URGHH-I think they were the only “treats” available. Pretzels lived until he was 14 or 15. So there goes our theory right down the drain. When I went to college my uncle and grandma took him well they fed him everything -they adored him & he still made old bones
    I have to figure out how to put peppers picture of her in a life jacket in the pool-poor angel was so scared.
    They really are wonderful looking -that water looks beautiful

  • Dori

    Cheryl, I’m so glad your girls love Vital Essentials fish. I figured they would. My girls go crazy for it also. But my girls go crazy for all foods in rotation. On the question of feeding THK to Millie…I forget how old Millie is. So that’s one question that I have for you and also are you planning to feed Millie ONLY THK or is it going to be part of raw rotation?

    What site did you order the Vital Essentials raw?

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    LOL I agree. I think that’s all my parents’ Golden Retriever got her whole life. My dad will fill the bowl up in the morning and when it was gone that was it. I don’t remember her ever getting treats other than the occasional Milk Bone. She was 15 when she died and always healthy up until she passed. Here’s a couple of newer pictures of my guys. Chuck (Chuckles) is on the left, Teddy (Theodore Roosevelt on the right). Teddy hates the water LOL

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    It was an email they sent me. I can give you the code if you or someone you know wants to give it a try.

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Cheryl, no need to apologize! My dogs can go from grain or grain free and have no digestive issues or anything I’ve fed them (knock on wood) since I’ve had them. I do like grain-free better though as it has more protein and don’t have to feed quite as much. :)

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    I forgot to ask was this offer from The Honest Kitchen website or some oner website??

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Thanks DF,
    Brain Freeze is all i can say :(

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    I hate to post this here, but when I got my toy poodle Pretzels as a 13 year old-now don’t anyone yell I fed Purina does anyone remember those patties they made that looked like a hamburger? But also funny, I always made him boiled ground meat as a topper & I didn’t even know that was what it was called.
    I guess we live and HOPEFULLY learn as we go on.
    I live in a constant state of confusion-so many choices so many opinions (which is a good thing) in the end we are their guardians their caretakers it is up to us to know them and then hopefully do right by them in all aspects of their lives!

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Dori,
    You are correct as usual -i forgot about their grain inclusive line.
    I MUST share this with you the girls ADORE the Vital Essentials fish -Dori you should see them gobble it up-Millie is a riot she cries jumps on the cabinets(she fell backwards yesterday) anticipating the fish-I can only get the large patties so I just cut it in 4 -I really think Millie & Pepper could each eat an entire patty by themselves,but according to the bag that would be way too much.
    I have been buying the frozen while its cool here, the shipping is high, but I am so afraid that when it gets hot the food will be to perishable to ship.
    I also found OC Raw online-shipping crazy high but you know me I will be getting it next week.
    what is your opinion on feeding the Honest Kitchen to Millie (the puppy) now?

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    I do apologize for my mistake about the duck, my mind was on freeze-
    I forgot about their grain inclusive line-as usual lately Dori has my back!!!I
    I guess Millie could eat grain, but, since pepper doesn’t ,well she doesn’t -I really never understood why their food has grain in it-so i shy away from it,but if it works for you then try it.
    Again please forgive my error about the duck

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Do you feed only food such as HK or do you use kibble and cans too? I stay away from cans–just an added extra expense I don’t feel they need. I do put some fresh food on their food like chicken, yogurt, cottage cheese, some fruits in small amounts. Once in awhile I make Puppy Stew for them, which I really like, but again, with my lab eating so much, it doesn’t last long and I only have a small freezer, compliments of my apartment :)

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Your mom was right on both accounts! When I had my dogs in the mid-80s, we went to the grocery store, got some kind of canned food and fed it to my mutt I rescued the rest of his life and he was super healthy until he died of old age basically. Not info back then about food. I definitely got myself education when I got my current dogs a few years ago, but so confusing sometimes!

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Dori, I normally feed grain-free, but my dogs do well on grain foods too. Still undecided :)

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    It is!

  • Dori

    It’s a great deal. I only wish I could feed grain inclusive.

  • Dori

    No problem Lori. Cheryl and I and others only feed THK grain free which is why some may not be all that familiar with their duck formula. It’s grain inclusive.

  • Dori

    Hi Cheryl. THK does make a duck but it is grain inclusive which is why you may not be that familiar with it as you and I feed grain free.

  • DogFoodie

    Halycon is their new grain-inclusive duck based product and the other two, Kindly and Hale are their two new base mixes. Kindly is grain free and Hale contains ancient grains.

  • DogFoodie

    I bought a couple of boxes of Halcyon, too, Lori. It’s a great deal, isn’t it!

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Hi, this is what part of the email said from THK: For one week only, buy one box of Halcyon duck dog food, Hale base mix or Kindly base mix, and get one box free!

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    I think you are confusing HK with another dehydrated food HK doesn’t make a “duck”.
    I agree that seems like a good price.
    I also agree it is expensive,but, I look at it this way, I much rather spend it on good food for them then on taking them to the vet for what can be food related issues.
    My dear late Mother always said put good things in your system and you lay a good foundation for dealing with issues as we get older.
    Our fur-kids are no different in my opinion.I didn’t have a chance to put my older one on good food since i got her when she was 8 , so her damage was long done, but I am trying my best, now she is over 11. But my puppy well her foundation is being formed now- I am hoping to get her off kibble (and she eats Orijen & Horizon Legacy) for most of her meals-their is something in kibble being fed for all meals that I think may not be the best option for them. I may be wrong, I shall see.
    Good luck

  • Lori Olin Thorn

    Thanks, Cheryl. I normally feed dry kibble, but have bought THK a few times, but not the duck. I will probably buy 4lb box. It doesn’t last long with my lab especially and my cocker spaniel, but $59.99 for 2 boxes seems pretty good to give it a try.

  • Cheryl, Pepper & Millie-Belle

    Lori,
    I have tried the Kindly (i stick to grain free) and the Preference. I should say my Pepper has tried them both ADORES THEM BOTH -poor thing is blind so I literally have to take bowl away, my angel keeps licking the bowl till it shines. Have tried the grain free turkey she loved that now on the beef thumbs up to that also.
    So if pepper were telling you she would say : go for it.
    I add different proteins to the mixes and am going to try a bit of commercial raw to top these base mixes with.

    Once you smell them ,you will think they are soup mixes, they have such a good smell.