Whole Earth Farms (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★★

Whole Earth Farms canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Whole Earth Farms product line lists ten grain-free canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

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

  • Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe
  • Whole Earth Farms Red Meat Recipe
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Duck Stew
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Chicken Stew
  • Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe (4.5 stars)
  • Whole Earth Farms Chicken and Turkey Recipe
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Beef Stew (4.5 stars)
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Lamb Stew (4.5 stars)
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Turkey Stew (4.5 stars)
  • Whole Earth Farms Hearty Salmon Stew (4.5 stars)

Whole Earth Farms Chicken and Turkey Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Whole Earth Farms Chicken and Turkey Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 22%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, turkey, chicken liver, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, dried egg product, natural flavor, yeast culture, organic alfalfa, blueberries, calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, olive oil, flaxseed oil, cinnamon, Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary, sage, thyme

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis10%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%27%22%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%51%16%

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 chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is turkey, another quality, raw item.

The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient includes sweet potatoes. 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 eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, 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 four notable exceptions

First, olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

Next, this recipe contains alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, flaxseed oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.

And lastly, this food includes 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.

Whole Earth Farms Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Whole Earth Farms looks like an above-average canned 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 43%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 22%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the peas and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Whole Earth Farms is a grain-free, meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of poultry, beef, lamb or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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

Notes and Updates

04/09/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Bryan Ledford

    Less protein in the puppy formula. Although the same ingredient list there is a slightly lower amount of the listed ingredients. Some breeds of puppies can’t handle the extra protein. Hope this helps.

  • Sue

    I would like to ask DFA why the WEF Grain Free Puppy Recipe (wet) gets only 4.5 stars while the WEF Chicken and Turkey Recipe (wet, and listed here) gets 5 starts. The puppy food has salmon added; otherwise, exact same ingredients.

  • Natalie Marie Alvarez Padilla

    I know this is 4 years ago, but how is the pup doing and did you remain on the Whole Earth Farms. That’s what I’ve been feeding my puppy. Just switched him to the grain free version because the puppy formula was casuing diarrhea.

  • Donna

    We have a mini schnauzer puppy (3 weeks with us, and 13 weeks old) and I have been experimenting mixing wet food with a high quality dry (Blue Buffalo, Wilderness–for puppies). I bought the WEF Grain Free Puppy Recipe (wet) and though it smelled delicious (a little cinnamon-y) I wasn’t sure if it was great for him, though he seemed to like it. This puppy food is more of a pate/all ground. I also bought a can of the Grain Free Hearty Chicken Stew (“All Breeds, All Stages”) which is in chunks, that easily I break up a bit with a fork, and we both love it! Smells great too, but not as much of the cinnamon smell. The Puppy food has a 6.5 fat rating, while the Chicken Stew was only 4—which I am careful of now, knowing that Pancreatitis is common in Schnauzers! I love that this company is 100% USA made & no products added from overseas. Also, carrageenan-free and low-glycemic. So, I’m happy to have found this great review on the product so that I can be rest-assured it was a wise choice & will be buying more of.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Another brand of kibble, not Merrick.

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m not totally crossing off yet either. But, boy, will I be careful! Did you find them in the WEF line or Merrick? Are they made at the same place?

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    So far I’ve found two items in two different bags of kibble – piece of opaque plastic and piece of blue twine! But I haven’t crossed out the brand off my list. I just feed alot of homemade food and since I look at everything I scoop…

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi all-
    I’m always a little leery when someone claims to have found a foreign object in their food due to so many false accusations. But, it happened last night when using the new line of whole earth canned red meat. There was a chunk of brown rubber in the can. Luckily, I found it when mixing in to the dry food. It’s about an inch by an inch. I’m sure one of them would have swallowed with no problem. I just called Merrick and sent them a picture. She seemed concerned and said have not received any other complaints yet. Hopefully it’s an isolated incident. They are sending UPS to pick up on Monday or Tuesday. I don’t mean to cause alarm, but everyone should just be aware if using this food.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah stews are almost always lower in calories than pate style because they contain more moisture.

  • Crazy4cats

    No, did not try the stews. They are significantly lower in calories. In my opinion, not as much of a value. I’m sure they’re good though.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I have some of the old WEF cans and they were soft pate as well. I feed it to the fosters. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the new line soon. Did you buy any stews?

  • Crazy4cats

    I picked up a couple of cans of the grain free adult recipe. I’m going to give it a thumbs up. It’s a soft pate style that is easy to mix. It looks and smells good. The dogs love and it did not cause any digestive upset. It’s more expensive than the Kirkland cuts in gravy that I regularly feed, bit still less than most. I recommend.

  • Pam

    I recently changed to Whole Earth Farm Canned stew for my dog as it specifically does NOT list carrageenan as an ingredient. Her stomach issues are greatly improved and she loves it.

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  • LabsRawesome

    In a canned food, I don’t see how the bones could be sharp. Because of the way canned food is processed. I feed my dogs sardines with bones, and the bones are so soft, if you rub them between your fingers they disintegrate. Merrick makes a canned called wingalings, which is whole chicken wings. The bones are extremely soft in that food too. If it there were large, sharp bone fragments in a kibble, that could pose a laceration hazard. From the Merrick site- A NOTE FROM OUR CHEF: Our slow cooked whole chicken wings offer marinated tender chicken cooked on a softened bone. This special cooking process makes the bone mushy and safe for your dog to enjoy. Feel free to serve whole or to break apart the chicken and soft bones for ease of pet consumption.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    There shouldn’t be bone fragments in the food. I’ve used it before and there were never any bone fragments. I’d contact the company.

  • Concerned Beagle Owner

    Are the fragments of bones in the Senior wet food okay to feed or could they be dangerous since some are sharp?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1345253286 Dawn Marie Bowers Chentfant


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1345253286 Dawn Marie Bowers Chentfant

    My dog eats Adult Formula and LOVES it, and we spent a lot of money on finding something his finicky taste buds would eat.  Great product, even better value!

  • Karinaintili

    Thank you!!

  • Finnessence

    The puppy canned WEF smells delicious and my 4 month old loves it!!! I have to mix it with the Halo dry puppy food I bought for him because he doesn’t like the tiny sized single and won’t eat the Halo otherwise. Very highly recommend WEF canned… Smells better than my own home cooking and puppy licks his plate clean.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Ann… After checking our published ingredients for this adult product against the Whole Earth Farms website, I found only minimal changes (yeast culture, etc.). The only notable difference noted is a slight (0.5%) increase in fat in the Puppy Formula. I’ve updated the review and our rating remains the same.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Thanks for the tip, Ann. I’ll check it out.

  • Ann

    Hi, I just wanted to notify others that the ingredients for Whole Earth Farms Adult Formula canned food were changed back in October 2010. I emailed Merrick about it and they confirmed the formula change. Here are the new ingredients:

    Chicken, Chicken broth, Chicken liver, Duck, Buffalo, Whitefish, Fresh carrots, Fresh Sweet Potato, Frozen peas, Dried egg, Organic Alfalfa Sun-cured Ground, Yeast Culture, Tomato pomace, Organic Sunflower Seed Ground, Calcium Carbonate, Salmon Oil, Canola Oil, Cassia Gum, Carrageenan, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Guar Gum, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dried Blueberry, Dried Cranberry, Choline Chloride, Poultry seasoning (Thyme, Sage, Rosemary), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, Pot Marigold, Cinnamon, Lecithin, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Mixed Tocopherols, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Copper Amino Acid Complex, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite.

  • Chapps

    We got a 3 month old puppy recently – a great little guy, full of love, wiggles and plenty of puppy licks. One thing developed, however. He started scratching – a lot. I’ve had cats with skin allergies before, and it started to look a lot like that. I noticed the skin was somewhat dry, too. We added some salmon oil to our guy’s food for the dry skin and simplified the food – some I/D, as he also had diarrhea.

    But none of this really worked, so we’re returning him to the first puppy food that he had at his foster home – Whole Earth (puppy dry food, so not exactly what this review is discussing). I’m really hoping this helps. But the food smells great, and he was wagging his stumpy tail while eating, so I know he loves it!

  • Thelma Taylor

    I have a ten-year old yellow lab who is sensitive to and probably allergic to a number of ingredients, mainly beef or any beef product. Last week, I was happy to find the Whole Earth Farms Senior Formula canned dog food at my local feed store and to see that it did not have any beef. Also, having lost our other dog very recently to kidney failure (she was only 13 yrs. old), our vet told us that it is a good thing to not feed high levels of protein as dogs age. It is hard on their kidneys. So I was doubly happy to see the protein level of 8% for the Senior Formula. And, it is very palatable to my yellow lab. I highly recommend the canned Whole Earth Farms Senior Formula dog food.