tag

Search

Whole Earth Farms Dog Food Review

whole eartn farms dog food review
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print

Whole Earth Farms is a brand of dog food within Merrick Pet Care that has been owned by Nestlé Purina since 2015. Merrick Pet Care has been in operation since 1988, and the Whole Earth Farms brand was introduced in 2009.

It is assumed the foods are manufactured at one of the Merrick plants. Merrick has 3 manufacturing facilities including its original plant in Hereford and facilities in Amarillo, Texas and Evanston, Illinois. 

For our Whole Earth Farms dog food review, we’ll look at the food ingredient quality and safety of each line of food. Our dog food reviews are based on these criteria.

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grain Dry Dog Food Review

Score: 4/10

Package Ingredients For Healthy Grains Recipe with Chicken and Rice: Chicken, chicken meal, rice, barley, pork meal, canola meal, chicken fat, whole grain sorghum, natural flavor, flaxseed, apples, carrots, dried beet pulp, dried yeast, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, riboflavin supplement, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (iron amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), taurine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, citric acid for freshness, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product.

According to our evaluation criteria, Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grain Dry food is considered a high-risk dog food. There’s only one recipe in this line, as the company has discontinued other recipes. Here are our concerns. 

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are a few concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

High In Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in this line average 38% as calculated, which is quite high, even for a dry dog food. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is required for extrusion in dry foods like these. Excessive carbohydrates are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals: This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

Contains Plant Protein: Plant proteins are also used as a less expensive substitute for quality animal protein. You want to see animal sources because they’re more digestible and contain a wider array of amino acids than plant based protein sources.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grain Dry food:

Ultra-Processed: On the ingredient safety side, this line loses significant points for being an ultra-processed dog food. The individual ingredients in dry dog foods are heated several times during processing, which can cause a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species. 

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods: These recipes contain ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue, unless organic. When crops are spray-dried with Roundup, it leaves them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

GMO Foods: Recipes in this line contain known GMO crops that include canola. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off. 

Rice: The use of rice in several recipes costs ingredient safety points because of potential arsenic contamination. Arsenic contamination is a significant concern with rice since it naturally absorbs arsenic which can contaminate the water it’s grown in. Arsenic is linked to chronic health issues.  

Natural Flavor: Recipes in this line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Benefits

There’s one benefit of this recipe …

Probiotics: It’s good to see that Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grain Dry food contains probiotics, but they don’t guarantee the colony forming units (CFU), which measures the number of bacterial cells in a probiotic.

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews 

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Review

Score: 3.5/10

Package Ingredients For Grain-Free Recipe with Salmon & Whitefish: Salmon meal, potatoes, canola meal, peas, chicken fat, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, salmon, whitefish, flaxseed, natural flavor, apples, carrots, dried beet pulp, dried yeast, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, riboflavin supplement, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (iron amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), taurine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, citric acid for freshness, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product.

According to our evaluation criteria, Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dry food is considered a high-risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are a few concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

High In Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in this line average 38% as calculated which is quite high, even for a dry dog food. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is required for extrusion in dry foods like these. Excessive carbohydrates are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals: This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

Contains Plant Protein: Plant proteins are also used as a less expensive substitute for quality animal protein. You want to see animal sources because they’re more digestible and contain a wider array of amino acids than plant based protein sources.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry food line:

Ultra-Processed: On the ingredient safety side, this line loses significant points for being an ultra-processed dog food. The individual ingredients in dry dog foods are heated several times during processing, which can cause a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species. 

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods: These recipes contain ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue, unless organic. When crops are spray-dried with Roundup, it leaves them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

GMO Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients: Recipes in this line contain known GMO crops in the top 5 ingredients, including potatoes and canola meal. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off. 

Natural Flavor: Recipes in this line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Benefits 

There’s one benefit of this recipe …

Probiotics: It’s good to see that  Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry contains probiotics, but they don’t guarantee the colony forming units (CFU), which measures the number of bacterial cells in a probiotic.

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews 

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Dog Food Review

Score: 6/10

Package Ingredients for Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grain Hearty Beef and Rice Canned Recipe Dog Food Recipe: Beef, beef broth, vegetable broth, rice, dried egg product, natural flavor, carrots, flaxseed oil, potato protein, apples, xanthan gum, choline chloride, potassium chloride, guar gum, gum ghatti, cassia gum, salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, niacin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, thiamine mononitrate), sodium phosphate, agar-agar, ground flaxseed, locust bean gum, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodate, cobalt glucoheptonate, sodium selenite), cumin, cinnamon, taurine.

According to our evaluation criteria, Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Food is considered a moderate risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are a few concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

High In Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in this line average 23% as calculated on a dry matter basis which is higher than we’d like to see in a canned dog food. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. Excessive carbohydrates are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance.

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals: This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

Contains Seed Oil: Some of these recipes contain sunflower oil, which is a highly processed and inflammatory oil. It’s an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Food food line:

Highly Processed: Canned foods are heated before and during canning, which will cause significant losses in some active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species. 

Natural Flavor: Recipes in this line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

Synthetic Preservatives: One of the canned recipes uses sodium tripolyphosphate as a synthetic preservative. Antioxidants are used as preservatives for shelf stable foods to prevent oxidation of fats and degradation of water soluble nutrients. Natural antioxidants like mixed tocopherols are preferred as artificial antioxidants have limited toxicity studies and may be linked to cancer.

Benefits 

Here is a benefit of this line:

No GMO Ingredients: This is a non-GMO verified line, which is good to see. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off.

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews 

Is Whole Earth Farms A Good Dog Food?

Whole Earth Farms has 3 lines of dog foods. They have recently discontinued another line and cut back on recipes in other lines.  With the removal of some recipes and their ingredients, the scores of the remaining lines have improved. However all are considered moderate to high risk dog foods. 

All the dry dog foods have added probiotics, although they don’t guarantee the amount of CFU, so they might not meet your dog’s probiotic needs.

All recipes are high in carbohydrates and have an extensive amount of added vitamins and minerals. The company notes that they don’t use wheat, corn or soy however several other starches like potatoes, rice, barley and sorghum contribute to the high carbohydrate levels. They have some whole food ingredients but not enough to provide adequate nutrients to avoid synthetic additives that would improve the quality of these foods. 

These foods have lower scores due to processing that involves heat and destroys nutrients. They also use high pesticide ingredients and some GMO crops in a few recipes. 

There are a couple of additional concern that don’t affect the Whole Earth Farms dog food reviews score, but they’re worth mentioning:

Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio: Whole Earth Farms does not state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation and disease.

Does Not State Farmed Vs Wild Caught Fish: These foods don’t specify whether the fish is farmed or wild caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious than wild caught fish and does not contain the same healthy fatty acid balance. 

Ingredient Splitting:There is ingredient splitting in some recipes. That’s the practice of splitting ingredients into sub-categories to make them appear lower on the list. This can also move more desirable protein ingredients higher. 

Whole Earth Farms DOG FOOD RECALLS

Whole Earth Farms has had no dog food recalls.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:

Are the Ingredients High Quality?

Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:

  • Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
  • Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
  • Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
  • Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
  • Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
  • Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?

How Safe Are the Ingredients?

Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:

  • How processed is the food?
  • Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
  • Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
  • Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
  • Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?

Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. Dogs Naturally has partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.

START MAKING YOUR OWN DOG FOOD TODAY

Get instant access to easy-to-make and affordable recipes. Plus get new recipes delivered right to your inbox.

Recipe Cards for Making Raw Dog Food

Related Posts