WholeHearted Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The WholeHearted Grain Free product line includes 8 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.
- WholeHearted Adult Lamb and Carrot [U]
- WholeHearted Adult Chicken and Vegetables [U]
- WholeHearted Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato [U]
- WholeHearted Adult Chicken and Fish (4.5 stars) [U]
- WholeHearted Skin and Coat Care Healthy Benefits [U]
- WholeHearted Adult Beef and Vegetables (3.5 stars) [U]
- WholeHearted Easy Digestion Healthy Benefits (4 stars) [U]
- WholeHearted Puppy Chicken and Vegetables (4.5 stars) [U]
WholeHearted Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
WholeHearted Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey broth, turkey, chicken liver, dried egg whites, sweet potatoes, potato starch, dried egg product, guar gum, salt, peas, sodium phosphate, flaxseed meal, tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt amino acid chelate, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin Bl2 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, xanthan gum
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||28%||20%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||51%||15%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey 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 second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient includes dried egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.
The fifth ingredient lists sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
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 is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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 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.
Next, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, 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.
WholeHearted Grain Free
Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, WholeHearted Grain Free dog food looks like an above-average wet product.
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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
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 meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
WholeHearted Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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
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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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/05/2018 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩