WholeHearted Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

WholeHearted Grain Free Canned Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The WholeHearted Grain Free product line includes six 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.

  • WholeHearted Adult Lamb and Carrot Cuts in Gravy [U]
  • WholeHearted Adult Chicken and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy [U]
  • WholeHearted Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato Cuts in Gravy [U]
  • WholeHearted Adult Chicken and Fish Cuts in Gravy (4.5 stars) [U]
  • WholeHearted Adult Beef and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy (4.5 stars) [U]
  • WholeHearted Puppy Chicken and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy (4.5 stars) [U]

WholeHearted Adult Beef and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

WholeHearted Adult Beef and Vegetables Cuts in Gravy

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 23%

Ingredients: Beef broth, chicken, beef, carrots, dried egg whites, potato starch, dried egg product, peas, guar gum, salt, added color, tricalcium phosphate, dried potatoes, sodium phosphate, beet pulp, ground flaxseed, potassium chloride, natural flavor, ferrous sulfate, xanthan gum, choline chloride, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, 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) = 8.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%25%23%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%48%18%
Protein = 35% | Fat = 48% | Carbs = 18%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

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

The third ingredient is beef, another quality, raw item.

The fourth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient lists dried egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.

The sixth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The seventh ingredient is dried egg product, 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.

The eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

Next, 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.

In addition, 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.

And lastly, with the exception of copper, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

WholeHearted Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, WholeHearted 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 44%, a fat level of 25% and estimated carbohydrates of about 23%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

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

Bottom line?

WholeHearted 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.

WholeHearted 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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

11/27/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Randa Slater

    When this food first came out the lead trainer at my local PetCo called me specifically because the lamb variety is not only grain free, has no chicken or beef, both of which my dog is highly sensitive to! I was thrilled! For over a year, plus the addition of another pupper, who is extremely allergic a lot of stuff, and they eat it every day. Unfortunately, the all the dry foods (other than salmon that they will not touch) has chicken, so they don’t get that brand.