Hank’s Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Hank’s Dog Food product line includes 3 dry recipes.
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.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Hank’s Dog Food [U]
- Hank’s Tug Dog Food [U]
- Hank’s Premium Dog Food [U]
Hank’s Premium Dog Food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Hank's Premium Dog Food
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Poultry by-products meal, wheat, corn, animal fat, fish meal, poultry meal, barley, beet pulp, wheat middlings, blood meal, flax, amorphous silica, salt, choline chloride, inulin (chicory extract), MOS and beta-glucans yeast extract, corn distillers dried grains with solubles, roughage products, zinc sulfate, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate (source of vitamin E activity), iron sulfate, ascorbic acid, manganese sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, mineral oil, vitamin B12 supplement, d-biotin, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, riboflavin, manganese proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione dimethylprimidinol bisulfite (source of vitamin K activity), thiamine mononitrate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, d-activated animal sterol (source of vitamin D3), folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||22%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||44%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
The second ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
The fourth ingredient lists animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from just about anywhere: salvaged roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat… even dead, diseased or dying cattle.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich 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
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
The sixth ingredient is poultry meal. Poultry meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.
The seventh ingredient lists 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 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 includes wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.
Unfortunately, the variations in nutrient content found in wheat middlings can be a critical issue in determining their suitability for use in any dog food — or even livestock feeds.2
In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically associated with lower quality pet foods.
The next ingredient is blood meal. Blood meal is a by-product of slaughter and used to make high-protein (very low ash) animal feeds.
Yet even though some consider it a controversial ingredient, blood meal can still be considered a quality source of animal protein.
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 eight 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, we find amorphous silica, the quartz component of diatomaceous earth (or fossil shell powder). Amorphous silica is frequently used as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds. We’re not sure why it’s included in this particular dog food.
In addition, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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.
Next, we find corn distillers dried grains with solubles, a by-product of the ethanol (bio-fuel) industry. This low quality ingredient is frequently found in cattle feed and only rarely used to make pet food.
We also note this food contains roughage products, a source of natural fiber frequently used as a mixing vehicle for pre-packaged nutritional supplements.
Roughage products are more typically found in farm feeds and can include items like rice hulls, soy hulls, oat hulls, dried citrus meal, rye mill run and other milling by-products.
Also, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.
However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.3
Next, 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.
And lastly, this food includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.
Hank’s Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Hank’s Dog Food looks like a below-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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 65%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the slight protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Hank’s is primarily a meat-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat or by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
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.
Hank’s Dog Food
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.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Wheat Middlings as defined in an article by Wikipedia ↩
- EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012 ↩
10/15/2019 Last Update