Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains product line includes seven dry dog foods.

Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product website. So, it’s impossible for us to report life stage targets for these recipes.

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

  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Adult
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Large Breed Adult
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Sensitive Stomach
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Large Breed Puppy
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Mature Lite
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Small Breed (4.5 stars)
  • Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Small-Med Breed Puppy (4.5 stars)

Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Adult dog food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, fresh deboned chicken, pearl millet, whole barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), peas, flaxseed, natural flavours, dried whole egg, suncured alfalfa, quinoa, tomato pomace (source of lycopenes), herring oil (source of DHA), potassium chloride, lecithin, chicory root extract (source of FOS), mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), brown kelp, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate, botanicals (blueberries, cranberries, aniseed, cassia, thyme, rosemary, green tea extract, barley grass, spirulina, milk thistle, ginger root, turmeric, fenugreek, aloe vera, juniper berry), Yucca schidigera extract, probiotic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Lactobacillus acidophillus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Enterococcus faecium), digestive enzymes (papain, bromelain, Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product), vitamins: vitamin E, choline chloride, niacin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta carotene, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin A, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, chelated minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate), copper sulphate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient lists oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The third ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 fourth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The fifth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

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

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

The eighth 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.

After the natural flavor, we find whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 five notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

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.

Next, the company appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

And lastly, 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.

Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains dog food 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 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

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

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings 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.

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

Other spellings: Nutreco

Notes and Updates

12/13/2012 Original review
12/13/2012 Last Update

  • Reddog

    Yes, Lifetime and Wholesome Blend are two different lines available from the same company. The Lifetime line uses the same quality ingredients, they just do not add the fruit, veggies or botanicals. They do this to make the line affordable to everyone, but without compromising quality.

  • Melamoose

    I was wondering the same thing, but after looking at the nuterco website I believe they’re two different brands by the same company:

    http://www.nutreco-pet.ca/brands/

    I’m not sure how similar they are as I didn’t look over both ingredients.

  • Kellyshunter

    Is this lifetime foods at pets unlimited?