Holistic Select Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Holistic Select Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Holistic Select Grain Free product line includes 6 canned 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.

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.

  • Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Duck Pate [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Lamb Pate [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Chicken Pate [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Turkey and Duck Pate [A]
  • Holistic Select Grain Free Whitefish, Salmon and Herring Pate [A]

Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Holistic Select Grain Free Beef Pate

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 55% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 10%

Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, pork liver, whitefish, ground dried peas, potato protein, ground flaxseed, dicalcium phosphate, canola oil, cassia gum, xanthan gum, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, apple powder, cranberry powder, pumpkin powder, chicory root extract, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, blueberry powder, papaya powder, pomegranate powder, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, peppermint leaf powder, cinnamon, fennel powder, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis12%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis55%27%10%
Calorie Weighted Basis42%51%8%
Protein = 42% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 8%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

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

The fourth ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

The fifth ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

The eighth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

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, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

Next, chicory root extract is rich in 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.

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.

Holistic Select
Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Holistic Select Grain Free 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 55%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 10%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 54% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 10% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Holistic Select Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats 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.

Holistic Select Dog Food
Recall History

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.

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A Final Word

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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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Notes and Updates

02/06/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials