Kim is a holistic health coach and a toxic-free lifestyle consultant. She
obtained her studies from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
This article will break down just what holistic dog food is, what its benefits
are, and where you can purchase it.
Marco Verch Professional, CC0-BY-2.0, via Flickr
What Is Holistic Dog Food?
If you’re searching for information on holistic dog food, I assume you care
for your dog’s health and wellbeing. Perhaps you’re here because your
veterinarian recommended different, higher-quality dog food. Or maybe you’re
aware of the dog food recalls in the news. I’m glad you’re here to learn more
about this type of dog food, and I guarantee that your four-legged friend is
grateful as well.
There are so many types of dog food and different brands out there. It can be
quite overwhelming to choose a dog food that is a great fit for your dog.
Read on to learn how holistic dog food is different from regular dog food.
I’ll also give a few recommendations of the best places to purchase holistic
Holistic dog food is based on the goal of treating the roots of a problem and
providing your dog the much-needed nutrients to balance out their health and
Starsapart, CC-BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr
Many of the reasons why more dog owners are switching to high-quality dog food
are due to the symptoms that surface due to regular dog food.
Does your dog have any of these symptoms?
- Excessive scratching and itching
- Dandruff or dry, flaky skin
- Frequent ear infections
- Diarrhea or frequent “bathroom breaks”
- Constant licking of paws (sometimes looks red)
- Lack of energy
- Uninterested in their food
These are common symptoms that are relatively mild. Many pet owners turn to
hypoallergenic dog food to help alleviate certain allergies. Most holistic
practitioners agree that allergic reactions are usually the result of some
kind of an underlying health problem, system imbalance, or weakened immune
Did you know that dogs can also be prone to diseases, such as diabetes,
cancer, obesity, heart problems, arthritis, and other conditions that humans
can have? A lot of it has to do with the quality of dog foods that are on the
Cheaper dog food usually contains fillers, meat byproducts, and inexpensive
ingredients such as corn or wheat gluten. These fillers can cause an array of
problems, such as hair and skin issues, frequent ear infections, itchiness,
and other sorts of ailments.
What Does “Holistic Dog Food” Mean?
Holistic health generally means fixing the root of a health problem rather
than just getting rid of the symptoms. For example, if your dog’s hair gets
dry and flaky, there are many shampoos out there that promise a smooth and
silky coat. This shampoo may fix the symptoms, but there could be an
underlying cause of dry skin.
He could possibly be allergic to an ingredient, filler, or coloring in his
food. Or, your dog could possibly be missing some important nutrients, such as
omega-3 fatty acids.
Whether it’s a skin condition or a digestive issue that your dog has, holistic
food serves to get to the root of the problem. Since holistic food contains a
wide array of vitamins and minerals, it may even solve other problems too.
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Holistic dog food is created based on this definition, with the goal of
providing your dog the much-needed nutrients to balance out their health and
wellbeing. It is made from high-quality ingredients, such as whole grain rice,
real meat, antioxidants, vitamins, probiotics, digestive enzymes, omega-3
fatty acids, and other nutrients.
Warning: Serving holistic dog food may cause them to have this euphoric idea
of being “Superdog!”
carterse, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
What Are the Ingredients?
While most holistic dog food brands contain different ingredients, the one
thing they have in common is the nutrients that they provide.
You can expect to see the following nutrients:
- Quality protein: from fish, chicken, or pork
- Wholesome grains: for energy
- Prebiotics and probiotics: support the digestive system and provide easy absorption of nutrients
- Digestive enzymes: to help break down protein, carbohydrates, and fats
- Natural fiber: to help the food move along their digestive system and keep them “regular”
- Herbs: to help with inflammation (especially with senior dogs)
- Vitamins and minerals: for strong bones, a healthy heart, and for the benefit of other organs
- Antioxidants: to keep their immune system strong and to help prevent cancer, diabetes, and other possible diseases
Better Quality Means Less Food Is Necessary
The better quality the dog food, the higher the price, the less food is fed.
So, in essence, you will spend as much (and possibly less) on a higher quality
Is It Worth It?
My own mother does not understand why I pay so much more for my dog’s food.
What she doesn’t realize is that a 40-pound bag of holistic dog food has
lasted twice as long compared to the old dog food that I used to feed them.
A Quick Personal Story About My Own Picky Eater
My sweet pit, Oakley, used to be a “picky” eater. He would not eat his dry
food unless I mixed some real meat with 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
I remember the first time I switched him over to holistic dog food. I poured 1
cup of dry food into his bowl while I heated up his chicken in the microwave.
To my surprise, he ate it all before the chicken was done heating!
Your Dog Will Be More Satisfied With Less Food
If you ever try to smell holistic dog food, you will notice that it has a
stronger scent than real food. They all look the same, but you can tell from
the smell, as well as your dog’s reaction, that this food is real.
Dogs require the right amount of carbohydrates and fiber to keep them full.
Since this dog food contains a higher percentage of nutrients (including
fiber) that come from real ingredients, your dog will be satisfied with less
food and stay satiated longer. Grocery dog food brands use fillers that not
only fail to provide nutrients but can also be harmful.
Each bag has a recommended feeding instruction. Many grocery store brand dog
foods recommend feeding a 50 lb dog between 3–5 cups per day. Most holistic
dog food brands recommend only 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups.
Although holistic dog food is much more expensive, you can save money in the
long run. And you can save yourself from high vet bills later.
So yes, I truly believe it’s worth it!
My picky eater, Oakley, playing with a volleyball.
Which Holistic Dog Food Do You Recommend?
If this is your first time buying holistic dog food, I would recommend trying
out some of the highly trusted brands. You can start off with a smaller bag,
such as 5 to 10 pounds. With any changes to dog food, always introduce the
food in small amounts.
Let your dog try it and make observations for a few weeks. Notice how their
energy level changes and how their hair looks. Pay close attention to their
poop and how often they do their business.
With that said, I recommend the following holistic dog food brands to try:
- Candidae Dry Dog Food
- Earthborn Holistic Ocean Whitefish
( Note: I do not work for any of these companies, nor did they pay me to
write this article. I am simply sharing with you from personal experience, my
friends and family’s experiences, and my own research and readings.)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It
is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription,
or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.
Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a
Questions? Comments? Please share your experience with dog food.
MonaLisa on April 16, 2019:
My puppy had the hiccups all the time and the Dr gave me a pre/probiotic for
digestion and it worked. The brand of holistic dog food I tried and my dog
love’s is “Solid Gold Wee Bits and the Lamb…I mix them together and when I
go to change his water the dog has disappeared and he does not have the
stomach issues any longer. Love Solid Gold puppy food!
Evelia Veronica Rivera from Bridgeport, CT on November 08, 2014:
Great hub and i agree! I use Earthborn for my pups
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 07, 2014:
I love this! Unfortunately we tried Canidae for a while and our dog developed
a serious food allergy. I’ve Earthborne is pretty good. 🙂
Faith A Mullen on March 09, 2013:
Congrats on HOTD, turtlewoman! You deserved it. This is a great hub.
Kari on March 09, 2013:
I just wanted to add that cheaper dog food does label splitting as well. So
you may see corn as the second ingredient and some sort of meat by-product as
the first, but corn can also be the forth, sixth, and seventh ingredient –
just called different things like cornmeal or corn or maize…there are more,
I just can’t think of them off the top of my head. In the end, corn makes up
the bulk of the food and very little else is there in the way of actual
Amanda Swiderek on March 09, 2013:
Your hub was very informative. If only every pet owner had the financial
resources to purchase the best possible for their pets. Unfortunately, with
the economy these days, pets are lucky if their owners even feed them, let
alone select a healthy food. Sad but true. Thanks for the info.
Bob Bamberg on March 09, 2013:
It gets even better with grain-free holistic foods. Holistic foods contain
rice, oatmeal, barley and sometimes rye…which don’t appear to be problematic
like grains such as wheat, soy, sorghum, corn, etc.
But some dogs are grain intolerant. They don’t suffer an allergic reaction or
hot spots necessarily, but they do develop dry, itchy skin from grains. For
these dogs, grain free is ideal.
Also, the wrong treats can cancel out the benefits of holistic foods. The cute
commercial where the dog runs frantically into the kitchen exclaiming, “Bacon,
bacon, bacon” may make the product irresistible to buy, but the first and
third ingredients are wheat. What flaxseed giveth, wheat taketh away.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 09, 2013:
This is good to know. It makes sense that holistic dog food would be an
option. thanks for sharing this. I will check into it and see if they have nay
Sending Angels to you as well.
Gerard Bianco from Portland, Maine on March 09, 2013:
I will try it for my little guy – he’s worth it, for sure! Thanks for the
torrilynn on March 09, 2013:
thanks for sharing about holistic dog food
I’ve never heard of it before.
very great information.
Shravan K Acharya from India on March 09, 2013:
nice article.. just loved it!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 09, 2013:
My Schnauzer, Baby, has allergies. The Vet thinks for food (but who knows for
sure). He put her on a diet that he sells…….that makes me wonder. I cook
chicken and rice for her. Sometimes I mix sweet potato in with it.
This is good info for those pet owners who want to know the advantages of
holistic dog food.
Voted UP, and will share. Congrats of HOTD!
Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on March
I’m a cat person, but thoroughly in support of your recommendations. There are
more serious health issues at stake – a diet that is truly appropriate for the
dog (or cat) can add years to your pet’s life. We use Taste of the Wild, and
I’m wondering what you think of that brand (there are varieties for both dogs
Voted up & useful. Congrats on Hub of the Day.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on March 09, 2013:
I’m all for feeding one’s dog(s) healthy food. In fact, I prepare my dog’s
food in my own kitchen, using a grass-fed protein source and other organic
ingredients. Yes, it costs more, but it’s worth it, protecting her from
allergy flareups and other illnesses. I wrote a hub about this, which you can
find by going to my profile page. I no longer trust any commercial dog food,
so I’ll be making her food from now on.
I’m retired and live on a severely limited budget, but I’d rather do without
things I used to think important (but no longer do) in order to care for my
dear canine companion.
Natasha from Hawaii on March 09, 2013:
I used to give my dogs really, really nice food but I just can’t afford it
these days. It makes me feel really bad every time I buy a bag of ‘regular’
dog food because I know they love the other stuff so much more!
larakern from Georgia on March 09, 2013:
Turtlewoman- This hub is packed full of great information and great photos! I
have three dogs (2 pits and a border collie) and they eat everything. But when
one of them isn’t feeling well or something I’ll cook rice with chicken and
broth and feed it too them. They really seem to love it but I haven’t ever
tried a holistic dog food, so I’ll definitely have to give this a try! I voted
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 09, 2013:
Excellent information on holistic dog food. This really gets me to thinking
about what kibble I feed my dogs. Voted very up, shared and congrats on HOTD!
Maria Cecilia from Philippines on March 09, 2013:
For me this is a very excellent hub…. I don’t always feed my dogs dog food
but when I did I prefer the holistic type. but you don’t recommend any brand,
do you mean all holistic dog foods will do….? again great hub true worthy to
be the hub of the day….
Kim Lam (author) from California on January 30, 2013:
Thanks Billy, and hello! It’s such an important topic that I want to spread,
especially the dog food recalls. Dogs can also get diseases like cancer, etc.
My brother-in-law’s dog has diabetes and he has to give it shots EVERYDAY! So
sad. Thanks for visiting as always!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 30, 2013:
Very interesting my friend. I wonder how many hubs I have read over the past
year; in all that time I have never seen a hub about this subject. You have
cornered the market at HP with this topic. 🙂 Well done!