Food scores are based on ingredient quality and safety. For more information, view our evaluation criteria.
With a score of 4/10, Whole Earth Farm Healthy Grain dry dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There is 1 recipe with 25% protein and 38% carbohydrates as calculated.
The company states it doesn’t use wheat, corn or soy in this line, but it does list rice, barley and sorghum at the top of the ingredient list and several within the first 5 ingredients. This leads to a carbohydrate content that is excessively high, even for a kibble. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. Starch is also required for extrusion in dry foods. Excessive carbohydrate is an indicator of lower food quality as it can be used to reduce manufacturing cost. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can increase insulin levels, increase the risk of obesity and cause unwanted changes to the gut microbiome.
This line contains an excessive amount of added vitamins and minerals to fulfill the nutrient needs of these recipes. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from added vitamin premixes, so it’s preferable that most or all vitamins and minerals come from real foods.
It’s also worth noting this recipe contains sodium selenite as a source of selenium. Dogs need selenium, and it’s usually added in very small amounts. However some research suggests that sodium selenite may be associated with potential toxicity, so selenium yeast is the preferred form of this mineral.
This recipe also contains plant protein, including canola meal (which is a GMO crop as well). Plant proteins are 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.
This recipe includes probiotics but the amount of CFUs (colony forming units) is not guaranteed.
On the ingredient safety side, kibble is ultra-processed. costing a loss in points. 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.
The recipe includes several ingredients known for high pesticide/herbicide residues, including barley in the top 5 ingredients, apples, sorghum and beet pulp. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers pose a significant health risk to plants, animals and soils. Foods with the largest reported amount of residue are penalized, including crops that are known to be spray-dried with glyphosate, which leaves them with higher herbicide residues.
The use of rice costs an ingredient safety point because of potential arsenic contamination. This 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.
The recipe also contains natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. Natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.
Lastly, Whole Earth Farm doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.