Q Holistic Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Q Holistic Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Q Holistic product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.

Q Holistic All Life Stages Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 46%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole barley, ground brown rice, chicken fat naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, dehulled oats, pork meal, herring meal, liver digest, potassium chloride, salt, yeast, flaxseed, dried carrots, dried apples, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, choline chloride, Yucca extract, Bacillus subtillis, Bacillus lichenformis, glucosamine, chicory root extract, l-carnitine, iron sulphate, zinc oxide, vitamin E, copper sulphate, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A, niacin, selenium, manganese oxide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin K, biotin, vitamin D, calcium iodate, oregano extract, cinnamon extract, red pepper extract, zinc amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, cobalt glucoheptonate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%18%46%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%37%40%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 40%

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 is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. Pork meal can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The seventh ingredient is herring meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The eighth ingredient is liver digest. Liver digest is made from the enzymatic breakdown of liver tissue. Digests are commonly used by pet food manufacturers as flavor enhancers.

Normally, a digest can be considered an acceptable ingredient. However, in this case, the digest is of lower quality — made from the organ tissue of an unnamed (generic) source species.

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 four notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, this food also includes an item identified as vitamin K. Is this the safe natural version of vitamin K. Or is this a cleverly disguised version of the synthetic (and controversial) form of the vitamin also known as menadione?

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the nature of this ingredient.

And lastly, 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.

Q Holistic Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Q Holistic Dog Food looks like an 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 28%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Q Holistic is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

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.

Q Holistic Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

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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

11/29/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Gary Alan

    That is such a magnificent detailed analysis of the contents of Q Holistic Dog Food! And the ingredients themselves contain great amount of vitamins. But isn’t it true that when ingredients are processed, they tend to lose their nutrients? So the more processes dog foods undergo, the lesser the nutrients left. So how can dog food guarantee the health of our dogs? I recommend we feed our dogs home made dog food. It is proven to boost our dogs health, their appetite and make them energetic. We just have to make sure that the ingredients are fresh and nutritious and contains protein and carbohydrates. Cooking dog food reduces processes thereby leaving maximum nutrients of the food.

  • mayda

    How much of the duck recipe should I be feeding my 14 year old 5 lb pomeranian?