Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters earns the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4.5 stars.
The Whole Food Clusters sub-brand includes the 3 baked kibbles listed below.
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.
Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Beef Recipe [A]
- Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Turkey Recipe [A]
- Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Chicken Recipe [A]
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Beef Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
THK Whole Food Clusters Beef Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, potatoes, peas, beef liver, lentils, carrots, ground flaxseed, eggs, broccoli, pumpkin, apples, salmon oil, natural beef flavor, coconut oil, kale, chia seed, minerals [calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, sodium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, zinc, amino acid chelate, sodium selenite], fenugreek seed, dried kelp, taurine, vitamins [vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, thiamine, mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin supplement], mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), turmeric, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||17%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||35%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains up to 73% 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.
The second ingredient includes potatoes. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third ingredient lists peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
The next ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
Next, we find lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, both the peas listed above and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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.
Next, we find eggs in this recipe. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The next ingredient is broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.
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 6 notable exceptions…
First, we note the use of salmon oil. 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, chia seed is an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.
However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Another note-worthy inclusion is coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
Next, taurine is an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
We also find dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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.
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters
Dog Food Review
Before we conclude, it’s worth noting The Honest Kitchen has taken the rather unusual step of applying for (and actually receiving) FDA approval to label its pet foods “human grade“.
The company only uses human-edible components and produces all its products in a human food manufacturing facility.
So, based on its ingredients alone, Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters looks like a superior grain-free dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Which means this product line contains…
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry kibble.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils and flaxseed, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Honest Kitchen Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to this Honest Kitchen product line. If there are no recalls listed here, we’ve not yet reported any events.
- Honest Kitchen Recalls Five Lots of Dog Food (2/21/2013)
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
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
10/01/2019 Last Update