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Whole Paws (Whole Foods) Dog Food Review: Is It Good?

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It’s a Sunday evening, your dog is out of kibble, and the last thing you feel like doing is making another trip to PetSmart across town.

There’s a Whole Foods down the street that offers their own brand of dog food – Whole Paws!

It sure would be a time-saver to get your dog’s food from where you get your own food. But the question remains – is Whole Paws worthy of your pup’s palate?

Fear not – you’re not a negligent pup parent for getting your dog’s food at Whole Foods. In fact, you could do a lot worse, since Whole Paws is a pretty legit dog food.

Whole Paws Review: What’s On the Shelf?

For dog food options, Whole Paws has:

  • Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Recipe (Dry)
  • Grain-Free Chicken & Garbanzo Beans Recipe (Dry)
  • Grain-Free Lamb With Lentils Recipe (Dry)
  • Chicken & Harvest Grains Recipe Dog Food (Dry)
  • Grain-Free Turkey Feast with Sweet Potato & Cranberries (Canned)
  • Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey, And Salmon Dog Food (Canned)
  • Grain-Free Beef And Lentil Dog Food (Canned)
  • Turkey And Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food (Pate)
  • Chicken Dinner For Dogs (Pate)
  • Chicken Dinner In Gravy Peas Sweet Potatoes (Pate)
  • Beef Dinner In Gravy Carrots Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Pate)

They also have another collection of dry dog food in a darker packing, but with similar formulas, including:

  • Chicken & Quinoa Recipe Adult Dog Food (Dry)
  • Ocean-Caught Whitefish & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Recipe (Dry)
  • Grass-Fed Lamb & Garbanzo Bean Grain-Free Recipe (Dry)

As you can see, most of Whole Paws’ recipes are grain-free.

This isn’t a huge surprise, as grain-free has been very popular in the past. But, with recent FDA warnings showing some kind of correlation between grain-free dog food and DCM, most veterinarians are recommending that the average owner avoid grain-free food unless it’s actually necessary (such as, if your dog doesn’t digest grains well).

Deep Dive Into Whole Paws Salmon and Peas Dog Food (Dry Kibble)

salmon peas whole paws

To start off, let’s look at Whole Paws’ Salmon and Peas recipe

Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Garbanzo Beans, Lentils, Sunflower Oil, Pea Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Pumpkin, Apples, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Taurine, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Rosemary Extract

This recipe boasts salmon as the very first ingredient, followed by fish meal. Right off the bat, that’s a solid meat composition, with the first two ingredients being meat.

Peas, pea flour, garbanzo beans, and lentils make up the carbohydrate portion, and while there is some debate over how safe these grain alternatives are, these are fairly common ingredients.

This recipe also has added taurine in the food, which some theorize may negate the risk of grain-free formulas (although no one can say for sure if lack of taurine is truly the culprit when it comes to the risks of grain-free).

It’s also great to see a selection of healthy fruits and veggies, with pumpkin, apples, carrots, and cranberries in the formula.

Deep Dive Into Whole Paws Chicken & Quinoa (Dry Kibble)

chicken quinoa

Next, let’s look at a grain-inclusive formula, like the Chicken and Quinoa recipe:

Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Chicken Meal, Quinoa, Oats, Sorghum (Milo), Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Pumpkin, Spinach, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Taurine, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermenta Tion Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboblavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Lodate), Rosemary Extract.

Again, Whole Food’s Whole Paws dog food packs a nice amount of protein, featuring chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with chicken meal so long as it’s an identified meat protein and not a mystery “meat” meal (ex. “meat meal” vs “chicken meal”). In fact, chicken meal tends to have more protein than standard whole chicken when water content isn’t taken into account.

It’s also great seeing oats and sorghum as the main carbohydrates – these are some of the best grains for dogs. Plus, we see great added ingredients like flaxseed, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, and cranberries.

Deep Dive Into Whole Paws Turkey Feast (Canned)

turkey feast

Whole Paws also has some canned options too, all of which are grain-free. Let’s look at Turkey Feast as an example.

Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Water Sufficient For Processing, Turkey Liver, Dried Egg White, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Potato Starch, Guar Gum, Sunflower Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Blueberries, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Parsley, Inulin, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Rosemary, Sage, Xanthan Gum.

It’s great seeing the first ingredients in this recipe as turkey, turkey broth, and turkey liver – it’s always great seeing some organ meat in there, as dogs go crazy for that.

Again, we have nice added ingredients like sweet potatoes, cranberries, sunflower oil, and ground flaxseed. Water will always be a primary ingredient in canned foods, as their water content tends to be higher.

Deep Dive Into Whole Paws Beef Dinner (Pate)

whole paws dog food

Lastly, Whole Paws has some pate options as well – these are basically similar to canned food, but in a smaller flat bowl.

Let’s look at the beef dinner:

Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Water Sufficient For Processing, Beef Liver, Carrots, Dried Egg Product, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Spinach, Guar Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Carrageenan, Ground Flaxseed, Cranberries, Blueberries, Xanthan Gum, Rosemary, Parsley.

This formula looks very similar to the canned food, with beef and beef broth topping the list, along with beef liver and some added ingredients like carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower oil, and spinach.

There is potato starch in there too, but it’s not very high up on the list.

Our Hands-On Experience With Whole Paws

Remy and I have tried Whole Paws ourselves on one of those days when I didn’t pre-order his regular food from Chewy in time. I decided there was no time like the present to try Whole Paws from Whole Foods (especially since there is a Whole Foods right down the street from me).

We had a great experience with Whole Paws!

remy whole paws

Honestly, Remy will eat anything, so it wasn’t a surprise that he immediately gulped down his food with no problems. We tried the Salmon and Peas recipe to see if it would help alleviate some of his itchy allergy issues (it didn’t, which probably means he has an environmental allergy rather than a food allergy).

However, I was surprised that Remy didn’t seem to suffer any indigestion issues. This is unusual because you’re supposed to slowly transition your dog to a new food – starting with 1/4 cup of the new food and 3/4 the regular food, then half and half, etc.

Since I ran out of his old food, we had to transition in one fell swoop. When I’ve had to do this in the past, he usually has some pretty bad diarrhea, but he did fine with Whole Paws – which is awesome!

Remy has never turned up a meal in his life, so his easy approval of Whole Paws isn’t surprising, but it might mean your dog will take well to it too!

Pros and Cons of Whole Paws – Dog Food from Whole Foods

Benefits of Whole Paws

  • Humane certified. The “humane certified” labek means that the animals used for ingredients were raised in accordance with strict animal welfare guidelines. These guidelines include things like providing the animals with ample space to roam, access to fresh air and sunlight, and more. This is the certification we should all be looking for on our food, and the fact that Whole Foods is doing right by their dog food in this sense is huge. Just look for the label as it seems like only the darker-colored packing has the certification, at least for now.
  • No antibiotics or growth hormones. We certainly don’t want growth hormones or antibiotics in our dog’s food, so this is a good one to see.
  • No corn or soy. Corn and soy are largely considered dog food fillers, and they are lacking in nutritional value compared to grains like sorghum and oats.
  • Convenient. Whole Paws is available right down the street at Whole Foods – it doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Added probiotics and fatty acids. Whole Paws food is fortified with probiotics and omega fatty acids for better digestion, skin, and coat health.
  • No animal by-products. Labeled animal byproducts (ex. beef byproducts) aren’t the worst thing in the world, but most owners aren’t a fan of them, and Whole Paws doesn’t have any. Whole Paws dog food also contains no artificial colors, no artificial preservatives, and no added sugar.

Cons of Whole Paws

  • Most recipes are grain-free. Grain-free was all the rage until a few years ago, so many brands are still working on pivoting away from grain-free. There are a few grain-inclusive recipes from Whole Paws, but we’d like to see more.
  • Only smaller-sized kibble bags available. You won’t see entire aisles dedicated to Whole Paws kibble with those XL 40lb dog food bags, so you’re not going to get as much bang for your buck (but the plus side is that it’ll fit right into your grocery cart and won’t be a pain to haul into the car).

By All Accounts, Whole Paws is a Great Dog Food!

Whole Paws meets all the standards of any good dog food – it’s AAFCO certified, proteins are fully cooked, and the meat is even (in some cases) certified humane!

It has whole meats and meat meals at the top of the ingredient list, labels meats appropriately, avoids unnecessary additives, has useful added supplements (like taurine), and has antioxidant- and omega-3-rich ingredients (like blueberries).

Even the grains feature solid, healthy, non-corn options like oat and sorghum.

The only downside is that many of Whole Paws recipes are grain-free, and we generally recommend avoiding grain-free unless it’s necessary or advised by your vet. Luckily, Whole Paws does have a few grain-inclusive options, so just opt for those and you shouldn’t have an issue.

So fear not — even if you ran out of your dog’s food at the last minute and ran to Whole Foods for a quick fix, you’ve done well by your dog. Whole Paws is a great dog food to go with!

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