PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED
Harmony Farms dry dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest rating of four stars.
The Harmony Farms Dog Food product line includes two kibbles. Since we could not locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these products on the Harmony Farms website, we’re unable to report life stage recommendations.
- Harmony Farms Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
- Harmony Farms Healthy Weight Formula (3 stars)
Harmony Farms Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Harmony Farms Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole ground brown rice, whole ground barley, rye, oats, chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavor, menhaden fish meal, alfalfa meal, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), ground flax seed, dried eggs, peas, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, canola oil, apples, potassium chloride, sea salt, blueberries, chicory root extract, dried kelp, vitamin E supplement, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bacillus subtilis, Bifodobacterium thermo-philum, Bifidobacterium longum, Enterococcus faecium, Yucca schidigera extract, choline chloride, zinc proteinate (source of chelated zinc), zinc sulfate, iron proteinate (source of chelated iron), ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate (source of chelated manganese), vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, calcium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, cobalt proteinate (source of chelated cobalt), calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate (source of chelated copper), vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide (source of iodine), pyridoxine hydrochloride, rosemary extract, biotin, folic acid, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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 occupy a lower position on the list.
Which brings us to chicken meal… the second and (more likely) the dominant meat ingredient in this dog food.
Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third item is brown rice. Brown rice is a quality ingredient… a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.
The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
The fifth ingredient is rye. Rye is a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.
The sixth ingredient lists oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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.
After the natural chicken flavor, we find menhaden fish meal. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring and rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Menhaden fish meal is another high protein meat concentrate.
Unfortunately, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in many 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 tenth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal contains protein (about 18%) and fiber, it’s not usually found in dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse and cattle feeds.
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.
Ground flax seed is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids… and it’s rich in soluble fiber, too.
Dried eggs are 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, we note canola oil. Most applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content… while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1
Next, chicory root is naturally rich in a substance called inulin… a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
Thirdly, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
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.
Harmony Farms Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredient quality alone, Harmony Farms Dry Dog Food looks like an above-average kibble.
But ingredient quality alone does not tell the whole story. We also need to estimate meat content before determining a final rating.
The Healthy Weight Formula is typical of most products of its kind… low in protein (22%) and low in fat (7%). These figures portray a product that’s low in meat content, too.
If we exclude this lower-rated recipe from our evaluation, Harmony Farms Dog Food presents good nutrient numbers.
Near-average protein. Average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this is the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Harmony Farms dry dog food is a grain-based kibble using a fair amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand four stars.
However, the company does not appear to provide a customer service phone number and does not respond to our emails.
Those looking for a comparable wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Harmony Farms canned dog food.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
06/09/2010 Original review
01/09/2011 Review updated
10/19/2012 Last Update