Whole Earth Farms Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Whole Earth Farms product line lists two dry dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Whole Earth Farms Adult [A]
- Whole Earth Farms Puppy [A]
Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Whole Earth Farms Adult Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, oatmeal, pearled barley, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken, natural flavor, organic dried alfalfa meal, whitefish, dried yeast culture, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt amino acid complex), salmon oil, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate), mixed tocopherols (a preservative), Yucca schidigera extract, cinnamon, dried blueberries, rosemary, sage, thyme, 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 indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||15%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||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 can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fourth 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 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 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 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.
After the natural flavor, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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 three 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, 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 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 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.
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.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal in this recipe, and the peas and potato protein contained in the Puppy recipe, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Whole Earth Farms is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Whole Earth Farms Dog Food
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Notes and Updates
02/04/2017 Last Update