Whole Earth Farms (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★½

Whole Earth Farms Dog Food gets the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Whole Earth Farms product line lists two dry 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
  • Whole Earth Farms Puppy (4 stars)

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

Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, oatmeal, pearled barley, brown rice, whole barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken, natural chicken flavor, white fish, yeast culture, organic alfalfa meal, salt, salmon oil, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A acetate, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, thiamin mononitrate), minerals (zinc sulfate, iron amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt amino acid complex, sodium selenite), dried blueberries, choline chloride, cinnamon, rosemary, sage, thyme, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%15%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%31%43%

The first two items in this product are chicken meal and turkey meal. Poultry meals are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.

The fourth ingredient is pearled barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. The term “pearled” means the grain has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran, unlike whole barley.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient lists barley again. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth 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.

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, salmon 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this food contains chelated mineralsminerals 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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Whole Earth Farms looks like an above-average dry 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 29%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Whole Earth Farms Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a notable amount of chicken and turkey meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Those looking for a wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Whole Earth Farms canned dog food.

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.

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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

02/06/2010 Original review
09/12/2010 Review update
06/08/2012 Review updated
12/21/2013 Review updated
02/06/2014 Last Update

  • Shawna

    The website for Duramune states the vaccine should be given annually for adult dogs. No mention of boostering adult dogs?

    “Annual Revaccination

    Labeled for revaccination in annual protocols to support routine patient care

    *Initial vaccination series with Duramune Lyme® should be administered to puppies. Dogs should then receive required annual boosters.” http://www.duramunelyme.com/

    Dr. Karen Becker is a vet that lives in a wooded area in Illinois. She is also a wildlife rehabilitator. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/05/04/flea-and-tick-control-tips-for-pets.aspx

    Our vets often HIGHLY recommend vaccines that simply aren’t necessary. For example, some pets can have life long immunity from just one vaccine (given after mom’s immunity is no longer protecting). This applies to core vaccines (adeno, distemper and parvo). Many of us chose to titer test our pets versus vaccinate. Titering checks the blood to confirm the antibodies are still present. If they are, the vaccine is absolutely unnecessary and worse is worthless as they do not actually “boost” anything.. There’s TONS of info on the subject written by vets like the one Labs linked to…

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi I posted this info for you last week, not sure if you saw it as you did not respond. I would not get a second (never would have gotten the first) Lymes vacc.. I too live in a wooded area and spend a lot of time in the woods as well. These vaccinations are very detrimental to our dogs immune system, My vet recommends the Lymes vacc as well, I just say, no thank you. My vet also recommends Heartguard which I do not use either. I just wanted you to have more info on vaccs, that I know your vet will never give you. http://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/31497486463/dogvaccines