Which Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Whole Food Clusters sub-brand includes the 9 baked kibbles listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Recipe and Label Analysis
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain Free Chicken
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, potatoes, peas, chicken liver, lentils, carrots, ground flaxseed, eggs, broccoli, pumpkin, apples, coconut oil, natural chicken flavor, salmon 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 chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken liver, 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, which 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 Honest Kitchen product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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, 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.
In addition, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
Another note-worthy addition is taurine, 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.
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 dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% 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 59%.
Which means this product line contains…
Above-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 significant amount of meat.
Our Rating of Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Dog Food
Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters includes both grain-free and grain-inclusive dry dog foods using a significant amount of named meats as their dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Honest Kitchen Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Honest Kitchen through December 2022.
- Honest Kitchen Recalls Five Lots of Dog Food (2/21/2013)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Honest Kitchen Brand Reviews
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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.
- 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. ↩
10/24/2022 Last Update