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The Honest Kitchen Dog Food Review 2024: Our Expert’s Breakdown

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

DOG_SAPR_The Honest Kitchen Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food Review 2024: Our Expert’s Breakdown

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give The Honest Kitchen dog food a rating of 4.75 out of 5 stars.

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The Honest Kitchen was founded in 2002 and is the first pet food company to get the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) seal of approval for producing human-grade dog food. Since its founding, The Honest Kitchen has been a leading pioneer in the human-grade pet food industry and has developed many kinds of products containing high-quality, natural ingredients.

Today, The Honest Kitchen produces and distributes a wide selection of cat food and dog food. It has developed many different recipes, including food with specialized formulas so that dogs of all life stages can enjoy eating them. However, despite having numerous recipes, owners of young puppies may find it challenging to find an appropriate diet because The Honest Kitchen has very few recipes specifically formulated for puppies.

Overall, I had a positive experience with The Honest Kitchen. I found the selection of adult dog food to be quite impressive, and the majority of recipes I’ve tested got the seal of approval from my picky dog. This honest review will give you a detailed breakdown of what The Honest Kitchen is all about and help you determine if it’s the right brand for your dog.

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At a Glance: What We Reviewed

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef Dog Food Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef Dog Food
  • First ingredient is dehydrated beef
  • Contains nutritious whole foods
  • Can be served as meal topper or wet food
  • Second place
    Grain-Free Chicken Clusters Grain-Free Chicken Clusters
  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Version with smaller kibble size is available
  • Third place
    3Pk Superfood Pour Overs Variety Pack 3Pk Superfood Pour Overs Variety Pack
  • Grain-free and legume-free
  • Clean and short ingredient lists
  • Contains nutritious whole foods
  • Dehydrated Grain-Free Chicken Dog Food Dehydrated Grain-Free Chicken Dog Food
  • Human Grade
  • Vet recommended
  • Human Grade
  • Grain-Free Beef Clusters Grain-Free Beef Clusters
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • Human Grade
  • The Honest Kitchen Dog Food Reviewed

    the honest kitchen dog foods

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    Who Makes The Honest Kitchen and Where Is It Produced?

    The Honest Kitchen was founded by Lucy Postins in 2002. Postins began making dog food recipes and saw significant health benefits when her dog ate a whole-food diet.

    The company headquarters is in San Diego, California, and all batches of its recipes are made in a human food facility. All the recipes contain non-GMO ingredients. 97% of the ingredients in the Whole Food Clusters line are sourced in North America, and 70% of the ingredients in the dehydrated foods are sourced in North America.

    Which Types of Dogs Is The Honest Kitchen Best Suited For?

    The Honest Kitchen is an excellent choice for most dogs, as it creates recipes for dogs of all life stages. It uses high-quality ingredients, and many of the recipes have clean and simple ingredient lists. You can also find recipes using limited ingredients and novelty meat, so dogs with sensitive stomachs and food allergies often have an easier time digesting them.

    The Honest Kitchen also has high-protein formulas and a wide selection of broths and meal toppers to add more protein to a dog’s diet. So, it’s a viable option for active dogs and working dogs that have to consume more calories and protein.

    Of course, The Honest Kitchen won’t be suitable for all dogs. It has a limited selection of puppy food, which may not be able to meet the specific nutritional needs of some puppies. Also, its grain-free diets use legumes as some of its main ingredients, which can cause concern for dog breeds that are predisposed to heart disease. The FDA is currently investigating any links between grain-free dog food and canine dilated cardiomyopathy. So, dog owners wishing to err on the side of caution may want to avoid grain-free recipes.

    As a premium dog food brand, The Honest Kitchen isn’t the most budget-friendly option. However, in this case, the quality of the food and the integrity of the company justifies the prices. In its 20-year history, it has had just one voluntary food recall for the potential for salmonella. While the tests of the affected batches didn’t contain traces of salmonella, The Honest Kitchen still chose to be extra cautious and recall the products because of a salmonella case reported by one of its suppliers.

    dog sniffing the honest kitchen dog food

     

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    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Real Meat

    The Honest Kitchen uses high-quality animal meat as the main ingredient in its dog food recipes. The poultry is all cage-free, and the company has also made the Better Chicken Commitment. This initiative will work to ensure that The Honest Kitchen will source all its chicken from farms that have been certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) by 2024.

    The Honest Kitchen’s beef recipes use ranch-raised beef. The company also sources fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. None of the dog food recipes contain any animal by-products.

    Whole Grains

    The with-grain dog food recipes use nutritious whole grains, like barley and oats, and some of the recipes use organic oats. Dogs need carbohydrates in their diet, and whole grains are a nutritious option and excellent sources of B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.

    the honest kitchen grain free beef and chicken clusters

    Organic Quinoa

    Quinoa is perfectly safe for dogs to eat and is often found in premium dog food as an alternative to corn and wheat. It’s a great source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin B1.

    The organic quinoa that The Honest Kitchen uses is sourced from family micro-farmers in Bolivia that use regenerative agriculture practices.

    Legumes

    Many of The Honest Kitchen’s grain-free recipes use legumes, such as peas and lentils, as main ingredients. In general, legumes have several health benefits and contain essential amino acids and antioxidants.

    Most dogs can safely eat legumes in moderation. However, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to remember that grain-free diets that contain significant amounts of legumes are currently under investigation by the FDA.

    the honest kitchen chicken and beef recipes

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    Variety of Dog Food Recipes

    The Honest Kitchen has a large selection of adult dog food recipes. You can find dry food, dehydrated food, and wet food, along with meal topper stews, broths, and treats. The Honest Kitchen makes special diets and has a lot of grain-free recipes. It also makes limited-ingredient, high-protein, low-fat, and legume-free recipes.

    Dogs with food allergies and sensitive stomachs will especially benefit from The Honest Kitchen recipes. The Honest Kitchen has several recipes that use novelty meat, like duck and lamb, which can be safer alternatives for dogs with meat allergies.

    Quality Assurance Standards

    The Honest Kitchen is a certified B Corp, which indicates that it meets the highest standards for environmental performance and impact and public transparency. It’s also the first pet food brand to make human-grade pet food. All the food is made in a human food facility, and the recipes must adhere to strict standards that match those of healthy human food.

    The company also has an extensive sampling program that’s completed by an independent third-party laboratory. This laboratory tests for pathogens and ensures that batches of food meet food safety and quality standards. The food is regularly tested to ensure that it meets the nutritional needs of cats and dogs.

    The Honest Kitchen is also very selective with its ingredient suppliers. Suppliers must meet high standards before establishing a partnership, such as having human-edible status and supporting documentation for non-GMO claims. They must also renew their documentation annually and submit it to The Honest Kitchen to maintain their partnerships.

    As a result, the dog food recipes are composed of high-quality, whole-food ingredients. The dehydrated food uses free-range, GAP-certified chickens, and all the quinoa is certified organic. All of its poultry come from suppliers that have cage-free facilities, and the recipes use ranch-raised beef.

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    Ethical and Sustainable Practices

    The Honest Kitchen has made several strides to adhere to ethical and sustainable practices. It sources its ingredients from reputable suppliers, many of which operate environmental programs for their farmlands. Some of The Honest Kitchen’s suppliers have programs that protect wildlife habitats and reduce pesticide usage. When possible, The Honest Kitchen works with local suppliers in efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

    63% of The Honest Kitchen’s packaging is made with renewable materials and can be recycled. The company is continuing to improve its packaging so that at least 80% of it will be renewable and recyclable by the end of 2024.

    Limited Selection of Puppy Food

    Puppies require a specific set of nutritional needs to ensure healthy growth and development, and different breeds have varying nutritional requirements. Currently, The Honest Kitchen has two recipes that are specifically formulated for puppies. The puppy food is chicken-based and has a whole grain version and a grain-free version. So, if your puppy has a chicken allergy, you’ll have to resort to another recipe or brand.

    The Honest Kitchen does have some recipes that are suitable for all life stages. However, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first to ensure that your puppy is eating the right amount of food and getting all the nutrients it needs to promote steady and healthy growth. Also, if you have a giant breed puppy, you may spend an exceptional amount of money with The Honest Kitchen compared to other brands that have food formulated explicitly for giant breeds.

    dog standing next to the honest kitchen dog food

     

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    A Quick Look at The Honest Kitchen Dog Food

    Pros
    • Recipes use high-quality ingredients
    • Ethical and sustainable practices
    • Makes recipes for all life stages
    • Wide selection of specialty diets
    Cons
    • Limited recipes for puppies
    • Relatively expensive

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    Reviews of The Honest Kitchen Dog Food We Tried

    1. Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef Dog Food

    Grain-Free Chicken Clusters

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    This recipe is one of the most popular options amongst dog owners. Dehydrated beef is the first ingredient, and the rest of the ingredient list contains many other nutritious whole foods, like sweet potatoes, flaxseed, organic coconut, and dried cranberries.

    This food can be sprinkled as a meal topper in its dehydrated form. You can also add warm water to it and serve it as wet dog food. It’s also suitable for puppies, adults, and active adults. However, it’s not a recipe formulated for senior and less active dogs.

    Pros
    • First ingredient is dehydrated beef
    • Contains nutritious whole foods
    • Can be served as meal topper or wet food
    • Suitable for puppies and adult dogs
    Cons
    • Not for senior dogs and less active dogs

    2. Grain-Free Chicken Clusters

    Grain-Free Chicken Clusters

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    The Grain-Free Chicken Cluster is a delicious meal that puppies, senior dogs, and most adult dogs can enjoy. The clusters are slightly larger than average kibble sizes. However, The Honest Kitchen makes a version with a smaller kibble that’s more manageable for puppies and small dogs.

    Chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe, and it also contains chicken liver, potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin. The recipe does list peas and lentils as some of the main ingredients, so it may not be suitable for dogs susceptible to heart disease. If this concerns you, you can always let your dog try the chicken and whole grain version, which doesn’t contain legumes.

    Pros
    • Suitable for all life stages
    • Chicken is first ingredient
    • Version with smaller kibble size is available
    Cons
    • May not contain enough protein for active dogs
    • Legumes are one of the main ingredients

    3. 3Pk Superfood Pour Overs Variety Pack

    3Pk Superfood Pour Overs Variety Pack

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    The Honest Kitchen offers a three-pack stew sampler that contains the Chicken Bone Broth Stew, Turkey & Salmon Bone Broth Stew, and Beef Bone Broth Stew.

    The stews are grain-free and legume-free and have very clean and short ingredient lists. They use nutritious foods like carrots, butternut squash, and bone broth. Each box contains two servings, but you may have to adjust the serving sizes depending on the size of your dog.

    The recipes omit any artificial preservatives, which also means they have a short shelf life. They expire 3 days after opening and must be refrigerated. So, it’s important to keep track of opened boxes and use them quickly.

    Pros
    • Grain-free and legume-free
    • Clean and short ingredient lists
    • Contains nutritious whole foods
    • No artificial preservatives
    Cons
    • Relatively short shelf-life

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    Our Experience With The Honest Kitchen

    My 8-year-old Cavapoo sampled several different products. She’s a notoriously picky eater, so I always have reservations when testing out new dog food. She definitely had her clear favorites and refused to eat some food and treats.

    The Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef recipe was a hit. It contained some of my dog’s favorite foods, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and pumpkins. We ordered the trial-sized cup of this food, and it had a convenient line drawn on the inside that instructed how much water to put in the cup. The food rehydrated within minutes, and I was able to serve it to my dog pretty quickly. It had a bit of a gooey texture, and I noticed that my dog was much more enthusiastic about eating it as a dry meal topper rather than as a wet meal.

    The stews were also a favorite. I was impressed by how they only contained natural ingredients and didn’t list any added flavors. I mixed them with my dog’s regular food, and she was noticeably happier and more excited about mealtimes.

    The Wolffish Skins Beams didn’t contain any other ingredients, and I’d highly recommend them to any seafood lovers. Naturally, they have a stronger smell than rawhide. So, I had to make sure that my dog wasn’t chewing them on my furniture and rugs so that they didn’t develop a fishy odor. This wasn’t too much of an issue for us, and it was just nice to see her happily enjoying a tasty snack.

    We did come across some issues with the grain-free clusters and treats. Again, my dog is a very picky eater and has a tendency to reject any foods with legumes in them. Unfortunately, the Grain-Free Clusters were no exception to the rule, and my dog refused to take a bite. The recipes contained peas and legumes, and they seemed to have enough for my dog to sniff out.

    It was the same thing with the Bone Broth Bites. The ingredient list had chickpeas as the third ingredient, and my dog refused to take a bite, even though the packaging indicated that the treats were “picky dog approved.”

    I can’t review the quality of the Grain-Free Clusters as my dog didn’t eat them. However,  I recommend that dog owners of picky dogs purchase the trial-sized bag first. This will help you ensure your dog enjoys the food before you buy a bigger bag.

    dog eating the honest kitchen ocean chews

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    Final Thoughts

    My dog and I had an overall positive experience with The Honest Kitchen. I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients, and it was refreshing to see a company operating with transparency and rigorous quality assurance practices.

    While The Honest Kitchen is relatively expensive, the quality of its food matches the premium prices. So, if you’re looking for a premium pet food brand, The Honest Kitchen is a considerable option to explore. It exceeds industry standards and has plenty of healthy and nutritious products that all kinds of dogs can enjoy.

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