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2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch

Wholehearted Dog Food Review

In your search for a dog food brand that provides maximum health benefits, you may have come across a brand called WholeHearted. Wondering if WholeHearted is the RIGHT dog food brand for your pup? You’re in luck.

Since WholeHearted provides tons of dog food choices, we came up with a list of WholeHearted’s top-rated dog food products.

Still can’t decide? You’ll definitely find our WholeHearted Dog Food review section extra helpful. As a bonus, we are also here to answer commonly asked questions about this pet food brand.

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  • Parent company: PetCo 2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 1
  • Founded in: August 2016
  • Available at: PetCo and Unleashed by PetCo locations
  • Product range: Grain-free and grain-inclusive wet/canned food, dry dog good, dog treats, and food toppers for all breeds, puppies, seniors, and all life stages
  • Real meat in the first 5 ingredients: Yes
  • Recalled in the past: No

Behind the Brand

You may have already heard about a pet product company called PetCo since they have over 1,400 locations all over the United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Well, WholeHearted Dog Food is PetCo’s exclusive private label.

PetCo, a pet store company that has served both pets and fur parents for over 50 years offers various pet products and services that aim to keep your furballs happy and healthy. WholeHearted is just among the many products they offer.

WholeHearted was first introduced in the market on August 22, 2016. Developed in-house by PetCo’s product innovation and nutrition experts, this affordable product line features cat and dog food recipes, treats, and dental care chews made of wholesome and quality ingredients crafted for all breeds ages.

When it comes to WholeHearted dog food products, PetCo made it a point to give picky clients a wide range of options – from wet and dry dog food to grain-free and weight management recipes. In fact, they provide over 50 selections.

wholehearted dog food review

WholeHearted Dog Food Reviews

IMAGE PRODUCT  
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 2
WholeHearted All Life Stages Salmon and Pea Recipe
  • Grain Free all life stages food
  • Real salmon is the 1st ingredient
  • Canine probiotics help maintain digestive health
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 3
WholeHearted Chicken and Pea Puppy Recipe
  • Crafted for young, growing pups
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 4
WholeHearted All Life Stages Beef and Brown Rice Recipe
  • Real beef is the first ingredient
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Canine probiotics help maintain digestive health
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 5
WholeHearted Grain-Free Boiled Chicken Dinner
  • Minced in Gravy
  • No Corn, Soy, Wheat, or Grains of Any Kind
  • Vitamins & Minerals for Balanced Adult Nutrition
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 6
WholeHearted Chicken and Vegetable Puppy Recipe
  • Cuts in Gravy
  • Rich and irresistible flavor
  • Antioxidant Formula for Healthy Immunity
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Reviewed Wholehearted Dog Foods

  1. WholeHearted All Life Stages Salmon and Pea Recipe
  2. WholeHearted Chicken and Pea Puppy Recipe
  3. WholeHearted All Life Stages Beef and Brown Rice Recipe
  4. WholeHearted Grain-Free Boiled Chicken Dinner
  5. WholeHearted Chicken and Vegetable Puppy Recipe

1. WholeHearted All Life Stages Salmon & Pea Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Lentils, Pea Flour, Chickpeas

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 26.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 15%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 5.0%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10.0%
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 7
Satisfies your pup with scrumptious flavors while providing them complete, balanced nutrition. With Omega-3 fatty acids, canine probiotics, antioxidants, and absolutely zero corn, wheat, or grains.

Made for all life stages, this WholeHearted dry dog food claims to provide complete and balanced nutrition.

Its ingredient list puts salmon and salmon meal (aka dried, ground tissue of salmon) as the first items – both being a good source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. Since it is grain-free, it does not contain corn, wheat, and other grains. This diet type is a good choice if your doggo is allergic to or is sensitive to wheat and gluten.

It is noteworthy that this WholeHearted recipe also includes canine probiotics and antioxidants. The former helps improve your dog’s digestive health, while the latter promotes healthy immunity.

PROS

  • Helps stop/reduce the itching for dogs suffering from skin irritation caused by food allergies
  • Packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, this WholeHearted recipe gave dogs thicker and shinier coats.
  • Pet parents appreciate how this recipe helped fix their pal’s tummy problems. Their stool became noticeably firmer.
  • Its tasty salmon flavor is a hit. As proof, a bunch of dogs gave this recipe a thumbs up by licking their bowls clean.
  • Fur moms and dads report that this WholeHearted grain-free salmon and pea recipe is a budget-friendly alternative.

CONS

  • Although grain-free, this WholeHearted grain-free food is not free from carbohydrates since its first ten components include lentils, pea flour, chickpeas, and peas, as well as sweet potatoes.

Rating: 3.85/5

A PetCo best-seller, based on user review ratings alone, this WholeHearted grain-free dog food formula would have scored 4.7. Many reviews were impressed with this grain-free dog food recipe when it comes to its flavor, price, and health benefits. However, we’d have to deduct points.

Select dog foods in WholeHearted’s product line (this one included) contain lentils, peas, and chickpeas. Yes, legumes are packed with protein, fiber, and other vitamins.

However, a dog food recipe with high-quality animal protein sources in its first three ingredients is considered a better choice.

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You may have also heard about FDA’s investigations on the possible link between legumes and potatoes to DCM or canine dilated cardiomyopathy – an enlargement of the heart caused by a disease in the dog’s heart muscles. 

Since the connection between DCM and legumes/potatoes is not yet fully understood, we don’t suggest throwing away dog food products that contain these in their ingredient list.

However, to be safe, we recommend looking for dry dog food brands that do not include legumes and sweet potatoes as their first three ingredients.

2. WholeHearted Chicken and Pea Puppy Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Lentils

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 28.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 17.0%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 5.0%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10.0%
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 8
Nourishes your young, growing pup with high-quality ingredients. DHA helps support your clever puppy”s brain development while Omega-3 fatty acids help keep their skin and coat supple and shiny.

Another favorite from PetCo, this WholeHearted Grain-Free puppy food recipe is specifically made for puppies. This dry puppy food also boasts high-quality food items, canine probiotics (like dried chicory root), and Omega 3 fatty acids.

However, instead of salmon, chicken and chicken meal are listed as its first two ingredients.

PROS

  • Small breed and large breed pups approve of its kibble size.
  • Thanks to its chicken fat and meat content, dog owners love that this PetCo pet food recipe gave their puppies the energy they need for the whole day.
  • A good number noticed an improvement in the bowel movement of their puppy. The puppies regularly pooped, thanks to this formula.
  • Many noticed a positive change in their puppy’s skin and fur. One dog food review even mentioned that his pet’s condition significantly improved after eating this recipe. His dog had itchy and flaky skin.

CONS

  • Like WholeHearted Grain-Free Salmon and Pea recipe for all life stages, this grain-free chicken flavored dog food contains a fair amount of carbs since it also has peas, chickpeas, and lentils in its first five ingredients.

Rating: 3.9/5

This chicken and pea recipe contains legumes (which makes this similar to other dry pet foods when it comes to their amount of carbs). Legumes are commonly used as replacements for grains and are usually found in grain-free dry dog food.

While we don’t often recommend foods with peas or other legumes in the first three spots of the ingredient list, we can’t ignore the good things that pet parents have been saying about this chicken and pea recipe.

Compared to expensive grain-free dog food products, this WholeHearted formula comes with an affordable price tag. Fur moms and dads also vouch for this recipe’s quality and benefits.

A pet food formula that mentions the specific types of meat and fat ingredients used in its recipe (like this one) gets a plus in our books. With this, you are assured that your dog is eating real meat and not just animal by-products.

3. WholeHearted All Life Stages Beef and Brown Rice Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Beef, Beef Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Millet

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 23.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 14%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 5.0%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10.0%
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 9
Serves up complete, balanced nutrition in each tasty bite. Canine probiotics help support your dog's digestion, while Omega-3 fatty acids promote supple skin and a shiny coat-and a healthy pup is a happy pup.

Created for dogs of all ages, this beef and brown rice recipe also contains Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and canine probiotics. Instead of salmon, its first ingredients are beef and beef meal – a high-quality source of protein.

Unlike the first two dry dog food options, wholesome grains (minus corn and wheat) are added to the mixture.

We thought it was good to add a grain-inclusive option to the list since some pet parents prefer this type. Grains also contain a chunk of nutrients that reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.

It is also a good source of insoluble fiber, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

PROS

  • The addition of vitamin B12 supplement and probiotics in this formula encourages healthy digestion and bowel movement.
  • Reviews from dog owners state that this WholeHearted recipe resulted in a noticeable improvement in their dogs’ coats.
  • Bichons, German Shepherds, Labradors, and Pitbulls gobbled this up with no issues thanks to its perfectly-sized kibble.
  • Since its ingredient list includes grains, which are known to be more affordable, expect this beef and brown rice recipe to cost lower than most grain-free dog food products.

CONS

  • A small percentage complained about their dogs developing rashes. 
  • It uses Canola oil which isn’t really toxic. However, dogs tend to better absorb non-plant-based oils like salmon oil and krill oil.

Rating: 4.25/5

Grain-inclusive pet food recipes like WholeHearted Dog Food’s Beef and Brown Rice Recipe are an excellent choice, especially if your dog is not suffering from any type of grain allergy.

Ph.D. pet nutritionist Dr. Jennifer Adolphe once mentioned that grains are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals like Selenium, Magnesium, and Iron that support digestive health.

This dry dog food also gets plus points for using high-quality whole grains (like brown rice and millet) that contain dietary fiber, B vitamins, and iron (natural nutrients that are not commonly found in refined grains). Corn, a type of whole grain that provides empty calories, is also excluded from the formula.

While this contains canola oil, we can’t ignore the fact that this WholeHearted recipe is loaded with other natural components (like salmon oil and flaxseed). It’s also worth mentioning that this formula does not include lentils in its first three ingredients.

4. WholeHearted Grain-Free Boiled Chicken Dinner

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Carrots, Pumpkin

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 8%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 2%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1%
  • Moisture (Max) – 85%
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 10
Helps promote healthy digestion with a high-quality and easily digestible protein. This delicious dinner also includes multiple sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals to support a balanced adult nutrition.

A high-quality canned food offers adequate amounts of protein and fat. WholeHearted Grain-Free Boiled Chicken Dinner for adults fills this recipe with easily digestible protein that promotes healthy digestion.

Fiber-rich ingredients (minus grains) and vitamins and minerals are also blended into the concoction to provide balanced nutrition.

PROS

  • Many were impressed to see actual chicken shreds and carrot pieces in this formula.
  • Dogs with tummy problems now poop regularly with better-looking stools.
  • Reviews state that dogs (even the picky ones) – from small breed dogs like Chihuahuas to large ones like Boxers- love its taste.

CONS

  • This WholeHearted recipe contains more liquid than meat. One review even added that it was not worth the price considering the broth to meat ratio.
  • Tapioca is included in this recipe’s first ten ingredients. Often used in grain-free dog foods as a source of carbs, it is considered a low-grade filler for its lack of nutrients.

Rating: 4.4/5

Despite the fillers, WholeHearted Grain Free Boiled Chicken Dinner is still a solid wet food choice for adult dogs since it has real meat and vegetables listed as its top-five ingredients.

Chicken, as we know by now, is a good protein source and is loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids. These essential nutrients supply dogs with the energy they need for the day ahead and help them develop healthy bones, skin, and coats.

Carrots and pumpkin are also blended into this formula. You’ve probably heard your mom say that these veggies are good for your eyesight. The same goes for your dogs.

5. WholeHearted Chicken and Vegetable Puppy Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Fish Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 9.0%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 4.5%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.5%
  • Moisture (Max) – 80.0%
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
2021 WholeHearted Dog Food Review: Hearty Dog Food Recipes for your Pooch 11
Offers your young pup the energy they need during this important growth period through ideal protein levels. Features a rich and irresistible flavor and texture so you can show your love for them in every bite.

Specially made for growing pups, this grain-free WholeHearted dog food with chicken and veggies is created with an irresistible flavor that both large and small breed dogs will like.

It also states that it contains protein levels that are ideal for this life stage.

PROS

  • Small breed dogs and large-breed dogs are so fond of its chicken and veggie flavor that many devour this in seconds.
  • Expect your fur babies to be loaded with energy since this puppy food formula is rich in animal protein source ingredients.

CONS

  • Although grain-free, a few pups suffered from an upset stomach.

Rating: 4.35/5

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A puppy food recipe that got 5-star ratings from fur babies and pet parents alike for its reasonable price tag, delectable taste, and health benefits, this WholeHearted dog food deserves a second look.

Aside from having protein-rich meat sources in its first five ingredients, this WholeHearted puppy food’s ingredient list also includes various vitamins and supplements that promote balanced nutrition.

The downside about this product is that it also contains peas, potato starch, and pea protein. Since they are not included in the first five items in its ingredient list, you can be assured that you’ll only find small amounts of these ingredients.

However, it’s still best if you can speak to your vet in case you plan to change your dog’s diet.

Is WholeHearted made in the USA?

When it comes to WholeHearted’s ingredients, PetCo provides limited information about their sources. The pack simply mentions that the ingredients are globally-sourced.

It’s good, though, that the brand made it a point to name the types of meat they use on their WholeHearted recipes instead of just saying generic names like meat meal and animal by-products. With this, you know that this product line is made of quality meats, oils, and fats.

Apart from the protein sources, you’ll probably find unfamiliar ingredients. Here are a few found in some of WholeHearted’s recipes. We’ve also included their benefits and drawbacks as a bonus.

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product and Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product. Both are types of probiotics or good bacteria added in select recipes. These promote healthy digestion.
  • Beet Pulp. Found in sugar beets, this is added as a dietary fiber supplement. This ingredient promotes digestive health. 
  • Chicory root. A plant rich in simple sugars, this ingredient promotes the regeneration of good bacteria in the gut.
  • Tomato pomace. This ingredient comes from ripe tomato fruits and includes the skin, seeds, and pulp. Tomato pomace and tomatoes, in general, are not toxic to dogs. On the other hand, tomato and tomato pomace contain tons of insoluble and soluble fiber that aids digestion. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • L-carnitine. Select WholeHearted formulas like their weight control recipe contain this to keep active dogs alert. 
  • Potassium Iodide. This is used in veterinary medicine to treat chronic skin and select bacterial infections in dogs.  
  • Thiamine Mononitrate. Simply known as Thiamine or Vitamin B, this supplement helps in the conversion of fat and carbohydrates into usable energy. It also supports normal growth and development and aids in the proper functioning of the heart, digestive and nervous system.
  • Choline Chloride. Brain development, heart health, and proper muscle and liver function are achieved with the help of this essential nutrient.
  • Sodium Selenite. An ingredient used in pet food recipes, this one is full of controversy. High doses of this ingredient can be toxic. However, for a dog food to be considered complete, some selenium needs to be added since its absence can also be damaging.
  • Other minerals like Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, and Manganese Proteinate. These are commonly seen in pet foods like those from WholeHearted. Correct amounts of these mineral supplements provide essential nutrients for dogs. Some are needed to be included for a recipe to meet AAFCO’s nutrient profiles. However, some of these can be toxic when consumed in high doses.

Is this pet food expensive?

Most of the recipes from this brand are already reasonably priced, ranging from $6 to $53. PetCo also gives discounts for repeat deliveries.

Recall History

With products that meet AAFCO’s nutrient profiles, it is reassuring to know that WholeHearted, at the moment, has no record of products being recalled. Take note, though, that this is a relatively new product line.

Hopefully, PetCo will be able to maintain a recall-free record for the years to come.

wholehearted dog food review

Is WholeHearted dog food a good brand?

WholeHearted Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Is WholeHearted Dog Food Safe?

Although WholeHearted does not offer a grain-inclusive formula specialized for large breed and small breed size puppies, which would be advantageous, their puppy food has most of the nutrients that your growing puppy needs.

Is WholeHearted dog food AAFCO approved?

WholeHearted products are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Is grain or grain free better for dogs?

While every pet has unique nutritional needs, all pets need vitamins and healthy substances found primarily in grain. Research shows that grain free isn't necessarily better for pets, except for the 10% of pets who have a grain allergy or intolerance.

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