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)
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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||20%||41%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||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…
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.
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.
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.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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.
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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.
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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