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 five dehydrated dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and three for maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Honest Kitchen Revel Chicken Recipe
- 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
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, thiamine mononitrate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||21%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||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 includes 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 include 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
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 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.
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.
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.
Honest Kitchen Dog Food
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.
- Honest Kitchen Recalls Five Lots of Dog Food (2/21/2013)
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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Notes and Updates
04/27/2015 Last Update