Honest Kitchen Dog Food (Dehydrated)


Rating: ★★★★★

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.

Excluding the premix (Preference), The Honest Kitchen product line includes seven dehydrated dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for all life stages (Thrive, Embark and Love).

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

  • Honest Kitchen Zeal*
  • Honest Kitchen Love*
  • Honest Kitchen Embark*
  • Honest Kitchen Keen (4 stars)
  • Honest Kitchen Verve (4 stars)
  • Honest Kitchen Force* (4 stars)
  • Honest Kitchen Thrive* (4.5 stars)

* Grain-free

The Honest Kitchen Embark was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Honest Kitchen Embark

Dehydrated Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 32% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Turkey, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, spinach, carrots, organic coconut, apples, organic kelp, eggs, bananas, cranberries, rosemary extract, 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) = 10.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis29%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis32%20%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%40%34%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

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

The second 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 third ingredient includes potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The next three items include a series of nutrient-rich vegetables

  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Carrots

The seventh ingredient is coconut. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut is rich in medium chain fatty acids.

Coconut has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.2

The eighth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

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 exceptions

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.

The 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 32%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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

Even when you consider the slight protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dehydrated dog food containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

The Honest Kitchen is a plant-based dehydrated dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main source 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.

Special Alert

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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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

04/17/2010 Original review
11/17/2010 Review updated
04/01/2011 Review updated
05/05/2011 Review updated
07/27/2011 Review updated
11/17/2011 Review updated
05/19/2013 Review updated
10/24/2013 Review updated
10/24/2013 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  2. Dr. Bruce Fife, Healthy Ways Newsletter, Vol 4:3
  • theBCnut


  • Boston Belle

    I’ve been revisiting some of our earlier posts,and thought I’d put up FOUR “donations” of poop from today! Huge difference,and they look like dog,rather than horse! (The food is K9Naturals freeze dried raw…lamb feast….seems to be awesome so far!)

  • Boston Belle

    I’m revisiting some of the past posts,and since we were talking poop then…..I have a pic of some of today’s! The shovel has FOUR “donations”,talk about smaller and looking like dog,rather than horse! They go regularly,so it isn’t a constipation issue,but they are small! Sometimes closer to peanuts in size! These are from dogs 16# and 12#. Big difference!

  • Boston Belle

    I hear ya! It’s kind of just a starting place to me…..more that the really bad ones are weeded out. It’s hard to define anyway,because people have different needs for their foods to fulfill…there can never be a one food fits all

  • theBCnut

    That’s how I feel about it. There are a number of 5 star foods that I wouldn’t feed my dogs after reading what people have experienced with them.

  • Boston Belle

    Oh,okay,I wasn’t sure how it worked! Good to know! This has been an awesome way to touch bases with other consumers tho,and my main “mission”was to find out of I really WAS the only one with issues! I see now I’m not,so at least if someone wants info about this food,they can find it! That’s more important to me than a rating number!

  • theBCnut

    Yes, but Dr Mike bases his rating on the government regulated label, not on individual people’s experiences. That’s why when a food has a recall, the rating does not go down, or when a lot of people are having vomitting and diarrhea problems with a food, like Blue Buffalo has been having lately. Hopefully, THK will realize that there is a lot of talk going around about this quality control issue and will fix it, but it shouldn’t affect Dr Mike’s ratings.

  • Boston Belle

    I was wondering about the stars given by this site…..they update every 18 months, I believe I read….

  • theBCnut

    Why wouldn’t they be? If recalls and all the other nasty things we find out about dog food makers don’t change their rating, alfalfa stems shouldn’t either. The rating is based on the government regulated label and guaranteed analysis, not individual experiences. If it was, any Diamond product would have zero stars.

  • Boston Belle

    I wonder in their next review if they’ll still 5 stars?!

  • Shawna

    I agree!! :)

  • Boston Belle

    The K9 Natural we’re on now is much more “raw” than HK! We’re using the freeze dried,and it has the same 5 minute prep,with warm water,but even smells like MEAT! Not hay!