WholeHearted Dog Food Review

WholeHearted Dog Food Review -WholeHearted dog food is an exclusive private label from Petco. A leading pet specialty retailer, Petco prides itself on providing supplies, services, advice, and experiences for healthier pets.

Petco launched WholeHearted dog food in 2016 to provide customers with a healthy, nutritious option at an affordable price.  WholeHearted dog food uses only the finest ingredients to create a variety of primarily grain-free selections for dogs of all breeds and life stages. It comes in both dry kibble and canned wet food form.

While it might seem like our 4.0 out of 5-star rating is low for a dog food brand with such a lofty mission to provide high-quality, well-crafted recipes, a closer look at the choice of ingredients reveals a troubling health issue that is often the case with most grain-free dog foods.

WholeHearted Dog Foods Reviewed

In this review, we’ll explore why certain ingredients in WholeHearted dog food can cause unwanted health issues. We’ll also give you the facts to decide if WholeHearted dog food is right for your dog.

Is WholeHearted dog food the right choice for your dog?

To help you answer that question, we’re going to take a closer look at Petco, which produces WholeHearted dog food. We’ll look at which dogs can benefit from its mostly grain-free recipes, as well as which WholeHearted ingredients some dogs should avoid.

Who makes WholeHearted dog food and where is it produced?

Petco, the creator, and maker of WholeHearted dog food has been in business for over 50 years. This company has more than 1,470 locations in the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. His success seems to stem from his corporate vision of healthier pets. Happier people. Better world.

In 2016, Petco announced the launch of its own brand of dog food, WholeHearted. It has established its mission to provide its customers with a product made with premium quality ingredients without the high price tag of its competitors.

Is WholeHearted a good dog food brand?

With over 50 dry and wet dog food selections, WholeHearted has a viable option for all breed sizes and maturity levels. You can choose from formulas suitable for small breeds or large breeds, as well as puppy foods and recipes suitable for senior dogs. WholeHearted also offers special options for high protein, digestive health, skin and coat care, and weight control.

With a variety of flavors and meat sources from lamb, duck, beef, chicken, and salmon, chances are picky dogs will find a recipe they love.

Most selections are grain-free with no added corn or wheat. If your dog suffers from grain allergies with symptoms of skin irritation or intestinal distress, WholeHearted dog food is a solid choice.

What kinds of dogs might do better with a different brand?

WholeHearted derives its protein largely from vegetable sources. Allergy-free dogs can do better with brands that rely on protein ingredients that provide your dog with the much-needed amino acid, taurine. 

These dog food brands have the right selection of ingredients to help your dog absorb this essential nutrient. 

Victor Hi-Pro Plus Formula dry dog ​​food is ideal for active dogs, derives 88% of its protein from meat, provides essential carbohydrates from sorghum, whole grain millet, and oatmeal, and its price is similar to WholeHearted.

Another alternative to healthy, natural ingredients in an equivalent price range is American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry. If your dog prefers canned foods, you may want to consider Merrick Grain-Free Real Canned Chicken.

What are the main ingredients in WholeHearted dog food?

Wholeheartedly Dog Food chooses fresh, wholesome ingredients for every recipe. Most formulas list a meat source of lamb, duck, beef, chicken, or salmon. 

Wholehearted does not include low-quality meat by-products or fillers in any of its recipes. It contains meat meal, where moisture is removed from nutritious real meat for an effective and efficient source of protein.

WholeHearted’s few grain-based recipes contain whole-grain rice, cracked pearl barley, and rice bran. Its grain-free formulas, which make up most of its selections, contain peas, chickpeas, lentils, pea flour, and sweet potatoes. 

The remaining ingredients are antioxidants, probiotics, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and omega fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin.

Why You Can Avoid Feeding Your Dog Peas, Potatoes, Lentils, and Legumes

WholeHearted’s grain-free recipes list pea, potato, lentil, and legume food choices among the top ingredients. 

While grain-free dog foods have recently become popular among dog owners, a new study and an FDA alert may link these ingredients to canine heart disease, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). 

While certain dog breeds are more prone to developing DCM, alarm bells have been sounded when there has been an increase in incidents with dog breeds that would not typically develop this heart condition.

Currently, the FDA is investigating how the grain-free dog food trend has contributed to the increase in the number of dogs suffering and eventually dying from DCM. 

The prevailing theory points to a deficiency of the vital amino acid, taurine. Dogs can produce their own taurine, but only if they eat a balanced diet.

Grain-free dog foods get much of their protein from plants, which don’t provide taurine. Even worse, potatoes, peas, lentils, and legumes may block taurine absorption. Even though many WholeHearted recipes list taurine as an added ingredient, your dog may not be able to absorb this essential amino acid, rendering it useless.

A Look at WholeHearted Dog Food


  • Real healthy ingredients
  • No meat by-products or fillers
  • Affordable and competitive price
  • Wide variety of selections and flavors
  • Suitable for dogs of all sizes and maturities
  • Options for treating common health problems
  • No callback history


  • Not widely available for purchase
  • Grain-free recipes can cause heart problems

Ingredient analysis

Our favorite WholeHearted dog food recipe is the whole grain selection, WholeHearted Adult Large-Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe With WholeHearted Adult Dry Dog Food With WholeHearted for large breed dogs. Here is a percentage breakdown of ingredients based on information provided by the Petco website:

WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review
  • Crude protein 24.0%
  • Crude fat 13.0%
  • Crude fiber 3.0%
  • Humidity 10.0%
  • Methionine0.4%
  • Zinc 180mg/kg
  • Selenium 0.5mg/kg
  • Vitamin A 15,000 IU/kg
  • Vitamin E 200 IU/kg
  • Taurine * 0.12%
  • L-Carnitine* 100mg/kg
  • Omega-6 fatty acids* 3.0%

Callback history

In the brief history of Wholehearted dog food since the brand launched in August 2016, there have been no recalls.

Top 3 WholeHearted Dog Food Recipe Reviews

1. WholeHearted Adult Dog Food

WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review

Reasons to suggest

  • If all WholeHearted Dog Food Selections had as well-balanced ingredient selection as this recipe, our overall rating would have been much higher. 
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient provides needed protein, while brown rice provides the grains, carbohydrates, and fiber your dog needs.
  • Tailored to meet the needs of large breed dogs, this WholeHearted selection is also available in a small breed version with kibble size adaptations and added minerals for bone health.
  • The large breed option provides your dog with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for improved joint function, canine probiotics to maintain digestive health, omega-3 fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat, and an antioxidant formula with vitamins E and A, selenium, and zinc to boost immunity.
  • Keep in mind that if your dog is experiencing bouts of diarrhea, brown rice may be too difficult for your dog to digest.
  • A well-balanced diet
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Brown rice for fiber and carbs
  • Suitable for large breed dogs
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for the joints
  • Probiotics for digestion
  • Omega fatty acids and antioxidants
  • Also available for small breeds
  • Not suitable for dogs with diarrhea

2. Beef & Pea Formula All Life Stages

WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review

Reasons to suggest

  • This grain-free selection is suitable for almost all dog sizes and all life stages. With real beef as the first ingredient, many dogs love the taste.
  • This versatile recipe consists of many beneficial ingredients. 
  • It contains canine probiotic strains that help support better digestion, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthier skin and a more radiant coat, and an antioxidant formula with added vitamins and minerals for greater immunity.
  • This recipe contains no corn, wheat, soy, or grains, making it ideal for dogs with skin allergies and gastrointestinal disorders. Be aware that a recent FDA alert warns that grain-free dog food has been linked to the development of a heart condition, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
  • Suitable for all sizes and maturity levels
  • Real beef is the first ingredient
  • Most dogs prefer the taste
  • Contains probiotics for digestion
  • Omega fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • No corn, wheat, soy or grains
  • Useful for allergic dogs
  • Grain-Free Foods Linked to Heart Disease in Dogs

3. WholeHearted All Breed Puppy Food

WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review
WholeHearted Dog Food Review

Reasons to suggest

  • This dry puppy food is a well-balanced meal suitable for all breeds of puppies. Although WholeHearted does not offer a specialized grain-based formula for large and small-breed puppies, which would be beneficial, this puppy food contains most of the nutrients your growing pup needs.
  • WholeHearted offers a grain-free puppy food option. However, unless your pup suffers from grain-related allergic reactions, this chicken and brown rice recipe is our favorite pick for your pup. It does not contain ingredients that may contribute to heart disease.
  • This puppy food contains kibbles that are sized and textured to suit your puppy’s jaws and teeth.
  •  It incorporates real chicken as its main source of protein, DHA for better cognitive development, probiotics to aid digestion, and omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health.
  • Suitable for all puppy breeds
  • Balanced and nutritious formula
  • Size and texture of kibble suitable for puppies
  • Real chicken as the main source of protein
  • Contains DHA, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Does not specify breed size

What Other Users Say About WholeHearted Dog Food

Dog Food Advisor: However, it’s unfortunate that the company chose to include so much plant-based protein in its recipe. Otherwise, we would have been forced to rate this product higher.

Petco Customer: [WholeHearted All Breed Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dry Puppy Food] I know the brand has a very good reputation for omitting fillers and only necessarily including nutrients. We have several types of this brand and our Shiba pup loves them. Our vet recommended our pup to take cereal to avoid health issues, so we bought him. It does not disappoint! Great value.

Petco Customer: [Beef & Pea Formula All Life Stages Dry Dog Food Without Whole Grains] My Shepherd had constant digestive issues. Once we switched it to beef and peas it stopped. His coat is shiny and he has energy and looks so happy. I just wish this had grains after reading the FDA survey regarding brainlessness and heart disease.

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Final Thoughts

WholeHearted dog food provides your dog with high-quality, nutritious ingredients at an affordable and competitive price. It is produced and manufactured exclusively by Petco, which limits where you can buy it.

We rated this brand 3 stars out of 5. WholeHearted loses points by focusing on grain-free selections that contain ingredients that can lead to heart disease. However, we found a few selections that incorporated brown rice and no peas, potatoes, lentils, or legumes. These grain-based recipes are of excellent quality and provide your dog with a well-balanced diet.