Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Sportmix Wholesomes product line includes three dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one recipe for all life stages (Chicken Meal and Rice).

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

  • Sportmix Wholesomes Fish Meal and Rice (3 stars)
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice (4 stars)
  • Sportmix Wholesomes with Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars)

Sportmix Wholesomes with Lamb Meal and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Sportmix Wholesomes with Lamb Meal and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 54%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, rice flour, peas, rice bran, menhaden fish meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, flaxseed, dried egg product, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis22%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%13%54%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%29%49%

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

The second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient lists rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fourth 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 meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The sixth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

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

Unfortunately, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The ninth 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.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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.

Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Sportmix Wholesomes 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 24%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 54%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of lamb, chicken or fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

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

04/27/2013 Original review
04/27/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • theBCnut
  • chelsea

    i feed the lamb sometimes but mostly the fish. i have Great Danes and they arent supposed to be fed over 22% protein because they grow so fast and it can destroy their joints to have a higher protein. (several vets have said this to me) my blood hound and shih tzu also eat this food. all do amazing. great coats, weights, and stools, and they LOVE it. Its cheap enough to feed them all without breaking the bank and it doesnt have corn so my shih tzus allergies dont act up. I think this is a great choice in feed

  • MisterPotatoHeadToYou

    My dog is 50 lb. and we walk 30 minutes daily. I feed her just under two cups per day which is less than my friends feed their similarly-sized dogs and she’s still holding her weight and might slightly be heavy. Vet says she likely just has low metabolism. She likes the Chicken Meal & Rice and has no gas. Great price to boot.

  • Randy Thompson

    I feed the chicken and rice to my GSD and my girl put on weight very easily. Her coat appears shinier and fuller and she appears to have more umph than she did with higher protein foods that had fillers. She likes it, and I am getting it at a fair price. I would like to see the analysis above on the chicken and rice rather than the lamb meal.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The protein level may be acceptable in this food but for large and giant breed dogs, it’s calcium that has to be regulated not protein, and even that is only for puppies. Limiting protein is a myth that has been disproven.

  • Shawna

    Why do you feel the protein level is “perfect” for large and giant breed dogs? Twenty-four percent is only marginally more than the minimum required by AAFCO (especially for growing puppies).

  • Shanna Pittman

    The protein level in this food is perfect for large and giant breed dogs. I have been feeding Wholesomes since they started carrying at my local Tractor Supply this year and all my Bloodhounds do great on it. Coats look great, no horrible gas and poop is firm and reduced as it should be. They have done better on this than Evo and Merrick BG and they love the taste! For the price and quality you can’t beat it!!!

  • GSDGUY

    Correct

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think he is saying he has tried so many different foods because he is not going to use Diamond.

  • Corey Rigoni

    I’m not sure why you would go with Diamond since they have been recalled more than anybody. Many of the dog foods that have been recalled in the last couple of years were manufactured by Diamond. You’ll never convince me that Diamond is a safe food to feed.

  • GSDGUY

    Emailed Sportmix asking if Wholesomes was ethoxyquin-free. Received a fast response assuring me it was. Seems like a good alternative to Diamond Naturals.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Serving amount is just a suggestion. Some dogs have a faster metabolism and need more, some dogs have a slower metabolism and need less.

  • jags52

    I have been feeding my dogs the chicken rice and they have gained a lot . We give the right amount to there size and they are still gaining. Anyone else having the same problem?

  • Gabe

    Rodger I have been using sport mix wholesome chicken rice formula in all my 6 show dogs they are doing amazing on this kibble we use to use eukanuba , diamond brands , purina pro plan I never had same results. Earthborn it is made by sportmix I would advise you add a spoon of plain yogurt for the sensitive stomach ! Good lucky

  • RogerF1970

    I have tried Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice for 5 months. all 3 of my dogs have gotten an upset stomach and are eating grass and vomiting. I had been using Pro pac mini chunks until the store quit carrying it,so I talked to the sales rep and she suggested i should try the sportmix. I am now feeding 2 of my dogs earthborn and the 3rd has the most sensitive stomach were are trying Merrick-duck & sweet potato. With all of the recalls that are going on with other manufactures (Diamond) I dont know what else to try.I have always liked midwestern pet foods.

  • Gabriel Siqueira

    I want more information about the Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice qualified 4 stars ! if you guys are happy using it. I’m feeding my dog loyall Loyall Active Adult Formula 26/19 I’m not real happy about my dogs coat. I’m looking forward for more informations and reviews about Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice. Best regards

  • Gabriel Siqueira

    I want more information about the Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice qualified 4 stars ! if you guys are happy using it thanks. I’m feeding my dog loyall Loyall Active Adult Formula 26/19 I’m not real happy about my dogs coat. I’m looking forward for more informations and reviews about Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken Meal and Rice. Best regards

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.russell.33 Annie Russell

    I was just wondering about that i never even thought to look at protein % lol

  • Pattyvaughn

    Pure Balance has 30% protein and 17% fat, this is both lower protein and lower fat. Too low for me to be OK feeding it even with protein boosting additions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.russell.33 Annie Russell

    I noticed this is rated 3.5 stars like pure balance but i’m curious if this is about the same thing as pure balance. Better or worse than pure balance. My dogs are doing good on pure balance but i have to give them a skin/coat supplement because if i don’t they’ll look dull and have dry skin. They are also tired of it.

  • Shawna

    Got it!! That makes more sense.. I thought maybe you were abandoning paleo or something.. ;) No fears that you wanted to “marry the food” though…

  • Jamie as Guest

    Thank you for review! I feed the chicken/rice. Perfect fat/protein and it beats the heck out of comparable foods. (IE Diamond-4health) Midwestern is a milling company so all of their ingredients are milled on site. Logical explanation of every part of the single grain listed. Dogs coats look great, they maintain good weight and stools, not complaining. Perfect for my pack which is also supplemented with raw. :) I add spoonful of plain yogurt to their kibble couple times a week. I feed wholesomes in rotation with pro pac. For the price it just can’t be beat.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Oh come on, I didn’t say I wanted to marry the food. Lol. There is a certain percent of the population that simply will not or cannot pay more for the really good foods, and if I can get someone to use this in my store rather than dog chow or Beneful, then its a positive step.

  • Shawna

    Grain or grain free at only 24% protein, I’m really surprised you would endorse this food DFN?

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Although I’m not a fan of grains in any amount, this is a really decent food at a very low price point from a reputable producer. My store has been selling it pretty well and the dogs eating it seem to be doing well. Of course I always recommend probiotics and fish oil with grain based foods…