Earthborn Holistic Dog Food (Dry)

(4 / 5)
Earthborn Holistic Dog Food (Dry)

The Earthborn Holistic product line includes four dry 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.

  • Earthborn Holistic Small Breed (4.5 stars) [M]
  • Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage (4.5 stars) [G]

Earthborn Holistic Small Breed formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 31

Fat 19

Carbs 42

Ingredients: Chicken meal, whitefish meal, oatmeal, ground barley, ground brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rye flour, potatoes, sweet potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, ground flaxseed, natural flavors, apples, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, peas, spinach, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, beta-carotene, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 28% 17% NA
Dry Matter Basis 31% 19% 42%
Calorie Weighted Basis 26% 39% 35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is rye flour, a finely-ground product obtained by milling rye. Rye is a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The eighth ingredient includes potato. 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 ninth ingredient includes 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.

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

Next, tomato pomace is also a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

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.

Next, this recipe 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.

We also note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

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.

Earthborn Holistic Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Earthborn Holistic Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Earthborn Holistic is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Those looking for a grain-free kibble from the same line may wish to visit our review of Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural dog food.