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WholeHearted Dog Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, & Our Verdict

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Petcos-WholeHearted-Dog-Food-Review 2jpg

WholeHearted Dog Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, & Our Verdict

Our Final Verdict

We give WholeHearted’s line of dog food a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

WholeHearted is a line of dog foods owned and operated by Petco, one of the largest pet retailers in the United States. A healthy food that appeals to a wide audience, it’s a fairly new brand that continues to expand (they just added a fresh food option in the past couple of years). WholeHearted is attractive to pet owners because it delivers high quality nutrition you’ll find with similar brands—at a very fair price. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced that a big box store could create a quality product to rival other healthy dog foods, but I was extremely pleased by the results of their efforts.

divider-dog paw

At a Glance: What We Reviewed

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
WholeHearted Adult Beef & Vegetable Recipe WholeHearted Adult Beef & Vegetable Recipe
  • Delicious flavor
  • Includes vitamins and minerals for health
  • Antioxidants to support immunity
  • Second place
    WholeHearted Active Performance Chicken & Rice Recipe WholeHearted Active Performance Chicken & Rice Recipe
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • 89% of the protein is from animal sources
  • Fuels an active lifestyle, supporting joint health
  • Third place
    WholeHearted All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula WholeHearted All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula
  • Real beef is the #1 ingredient
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin & coat
  • No corn, wheat, soy or grains
  • WholeHearted Farm Favorites Trio Gravy Puree WholeHearted Farm Favorites Trio Gravy Puree
  • Real meat and water are the primary ingredients
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • High levels of vitamin A for eye health
  • WholeHearted Culinary Cuts Jerky Treats WholeHearted Culinary Cuts Jerky Treats
  • Made from real chicken
  • High-protein snack for dogs of all sizes and ages
  • Slow-cooked for the best flavors
  • Petco’s WholeHearted Dog Food Line Reviewed

    My dog Gizmo and I were given the opportunity to really dive into the WholeHearted food lineup. We were provided two different types of dry kibble, two different flavors of wet food, two types of treats, and a variety of meal toppers. After testing out each one and parsing through all of the ingredient lists (which are all provided in the links above), I’ve shared below what we learned, including some reviews of our absolute favorites.

    Who Makes Petco’s WholeHearted and Where Is It Produced?

    WholeHearted dog food is produced and distributed by Petco. The rights to the food are wholly owned by Petco. Therefore, WholeHearted is primarily found at Petco stores and online via Petco’s website. WholeHearted is distributed by International Pet Supplies and Distribution, Inc. (IPSD), which is a subsidiary of Petco Animal Supplies Inc., AKA Petco. IPSD is based in San Diego, California.

    WholeHearted dog food is produced in the United States at Petco-owned facilities. However, the ingredients are sourced internationally. That means that Petco buys certain ingredients from the international market, imports them via IPSD, and then manufactures the food in the United States.

    wholehearted lineup with Gizmo

    Which Types of Dogs Is Petco’s WholeHearted Best Suited For?

    WholeHearted dog foods are best suited for pet owners who are looking for healthy dog food at a reasonable price. Packed full of good ingredients and very few fillers, WholeHearted is more affordable than other similar brands, such as Blue Buffalo, and is of similar quality. If natural dog foods like Blue Buffalo are out of your price range, you might find a suitable replacement with WholeHearted.

    WholeHearted also offers small 5-pound bags of food that can be purchased for $15 or less, which is a great way to give the food a try to see if you and your dog likes it before investing in a larger bag. They also offer variety packs of things like food toppers so you can try to find flavors your dog will enjoy the most. This makes it easy for prospective buyers to give WholeHearted foods a try, which is always a nice touch.


    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    After a thorough examination of the ingredients for all of the products reviewed, I was pleasantly surprised to find that WholeHearted dog food, toppers, and treats are primarily made from natural ingredients with very few fillers or synthetics. The only filler that I found that some people might be opposed to is animal meal (beef meal, chicken meal, etc.), but all things considered, these ingredients are very benign. WholeHearted prides itself on being grain-free, meaning that grains are not used to fill out the dog food.

    wholehearted line with Gizmo

    Real Animal Meat

    The primary ingredient in all of WholeHearted’s products is real meat, depending on what flavor you choose. For example, WholeHearted Active Performance High-Protein Chicken & Rice Recipe’s primary two ingredients are real chicken and brown rice. No frills and no fillers. That is encouraging for people looking for quality dog food. It also makes the food nice and tasty for picky eaters.

    Plenty of Lentils

    WholeHearted Grain Free All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula Dry Dog Food contains a high percentage of lentils, which are not grains by definition, but they are pretty similar. This recipe features a solid amount of peas, lentils, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. These ingredients are not bad for dogs, but they skirt very closely to contradicting the “grain-free” promise. Peas are not bad for dogs (my dog has eaten plenty of leftover peas over the years), but they do feature prominently in this particular recipe. It’s also worth noting that peas are being potentially linked to dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in dogs. Studies to confirm this are still ongoing, but it may be worth discussing with your vet whether this particular formula is a good choice for your dog.

    Delicious Broth

    Instead of using grains and byproducts (though some byproducts are still present), WholeHearted used a lot of broth as a filler. Broth is a simple ingredient that dogs love. The meal toppers’ top two ingredients are water, lamb, beef, or chicken, which is essentially broth. The wet food also features a decent amount of beef broth which adds flavor without having to resort to anything synthetic or bland.

    Live Microorganisms

    In order to boost your dog’s immune health, WholeHearted added living (viable) microorganisms to some of their foods, including in WholeHearted Grain Free All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula Dry Dog Food. It is important to note that microorganisms are not officially recognized as an important source of nutrients, but they are still a potent probiotic that can help your dog’s gut health, especially over time. This is something that is found in other similar products, such as The Farmer’s Dog, and WholeHearted is more affordable.

    Nutritional Boosters

    After pouring over the ingredients lists to see if anything at all stood out, I could not find any major red flags. Even some of the scary-sounding ingredients I learned more about in the process, like Pyridoxine Hydrochloride and Thiamine Mononitrate, turned out to be vitamins and enzyme boosters used to treat things like B1 deficiency. These ingredients represent the extra nutritional boosters that Petco put into their WholeHearted foods. They added a slew of vitamins and minerals that all dogs need to be happy and healthy, which was nice to discover on my own.


    A Quick Look at Petco’s WholeHearted Dog Food Lineup

    wholehearted whole lineuo

    • Contains high-quality ingredients throughout, with few fillers and no grains
    • Most products are fairly priced and largely affordable
    • My dog really enjoyed it (and he’s picky!)
    • Food comes in appealing, easy-to-read packaging
    • Multiple products to choose from, including dry foods, flavors, treats, and more
    • Can order online
    • Limited buying options if you don’t have a Petco nearby
    • Not a true “budget” food

    Recall History

    To date, WholeHearted hasn’t had any recalls. This is pretty impressive as it’s a young brand that has rolled out many recipes in a relatively short amount of time. It’s essential to keep up with recall information to see if WholeHearted will sustain a clean track record as it continues to grow and expand.


    Reviews of the Petco WholeHearted Lineup That We Tried

    For the in-depth reviews, I chose one of each type of main product. I covered both types of dry food, one treat, one meal topper, and one wet food, so that you can get an overview of everything that WholeHearted has to offer.

    1. WholeHearted Grain-Free Adult Beef & Vegetable Wet Dog Food – Our Favorite

    wholehearted grain free wet

    I expected one of the dry food recipes to be our favorite, but I was surprised to find that my dog enjoyed the wet food the best. My dog typically doesn’t like wet food, but he really enjoyed this recipe. The WholeHearted Grain Free Adult Beef and Vegetable Recipe Wet Dog Food’s top ingredients are Beef, Beef Broth, Lamb Broth, Beef Liver, Carrots, Lamb, and Dried Egg Whites which are all-natural and yummy.

    While this wet food was a hit with my dog, it would be an expensive switch from dry food alone, and I’d have to check with my vet before making any full-time adjustments. Still, it made a delicious meal for my dog and I’d be more likely to add it as a topper.

    • Made from natural healthy ingredients
    • Made in the USA
    • Delicious flavors
    • More expensive than dry food

    2. WholeHearted Active Performance High-Protein Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food

    wholehearted active performance dry

    The WholeHearted Active Performance High-Protein Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is a dry food recipe designed for large and active dogs. It is made up of 30% protein and 20% fat which is used to fuel an active lifestyle. The main ingredients of this recipe are chicken, brown rice, chicken by-product meal, white rice, chicken meal, and chicken fat. Those ingredients are all natural and healthy for dogs. Up to 89% of the protein featured in this recipe comes from animal sources, making it as natural as possible to what a dog would get out in the wild.

    You should be careful switching your dog to a high protein and fat diet and do the transition slowly, according to your vet’s advice. Dogs who are not used to getting so much of these types of ingredients can get an upset stomach. I didn’t experience any diarrhea with my dog, but other people reported having some minor issues, likely due to getting too much protein too quickly.

    • High protein and fat diet fuels an active lifestyle
    • Natural ingredients
    • Most of the protein comes from animal sources
    • Switching to a high protein and fat diet from a cheap dog food can cause short term diarrhea

    3. WholeHearted Grain Free All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula Dry Dog Food

    WholeHearted Grain Free All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula Dry Dog Food is a general-purpose dry dog food made for dogs of all ages and sizes. It uses natural ingredients to create a formula that is good for nearly any dog. The main ingredients are beef, beef meal, lentils, pea flour, chickpeas, peas, and sweet potatoes. The main analysis comes back with crude protein at 24.0% minimum, crude fat at 14% minimum, crude fiber at 5.0% maximum, and moisture at 10.0%. This provides a well-balanced meal even if it is a little heavy on lentils and peas. This food is grain-free, but it uses peas as a similar body. My dog gobbled it up with no qualms.

    • Excellent ingredient pallet
    • Yummy taste is good for all dogs
    • Balanced diet
    • Delivery could be more streamlined
    • A bit heavy on the peas and lentils

    4. WholeHearted Grain-Free Farm Favorites Trio Gravy Puree Dog Meal Topper Variety Pack

    wholehearted meal topper 2

    The WholeHearted Grain-Free Farm Favorites Trio Gravy Puree Dog Meal Topper Variety Pack was a great way to sample WholeHearted’s variety of flavors. This pack comes with six pouches and three flavors, allowing you to figure out which flavor is most enticing for your individual dog. The main ingredients for the meal topper are real meat, water, and sunflower oil. The chicken, lamb, and beef flavors feature real meat of each type. Each pouch only contains 47–67 kcal/pouch, depending on the flavor, making it an easy way to add some flavor to your dog’s food. I do wonder what would happen if my dog got hooked on this product.

    We like the meal topper but we probably won’t be using it regularly. While my dog is a picky eater, I don’t see myself buying a meal topper to entice him to eat. If you get your dog hooked on a meal topper you could end up spending $8 to $20 per week, which can quickly add up.

    • Plenty of different flavors to choose from
    • Real meat and water are the primary ingredients
    • Few calories per pouch
    • WholeHearted’s foods are tasty enough to do without a meal topper
    • Can get expensive if you buy it regularly

    5. WholeHearted Culinary Cuts Chicken Recipe Jerky Dog Treats

    wholehearted jerky treats 2

    The WholeHearted Culinary Cuts Chicken Recipe Jerky Dog Treats is a yummy treat made from chicken. The ingredients are chicken, vegetable glycerin, salt, and rosemary extract. The analysis found that these treats are made up of crude protein (min.) 55%, crude fat (min.) 2%, crude fiber (max.) 1.5%, and moisture (max.) 22%. The large size and flat shape made it visually appealing for my dog, who got excited and grabbed it immediately.

    The only downside is that these treats are a little pricey if you get the large pack. While the treats will last a while, the upfront cost might be a bit steep for some people.

    • Made from real chicken
    • Basic ingredients
    • Not as unhealthy as some treats
    • Visually appealing
    • A little pricey


    Our Experience With Petco’s WholeHearted Dog Food

    Overall, my dog and I had a great experience with WholeHearted dog food. He slurped down and gobbled up every item I reviewed, including the treats and toppers. The packaging was very clean, bright, and appealing. All of the important information was provided on the bag, can, or box, including the ingredients, feeding instructions, and calories per serving. Everything was easy to read at a glance. Even after doing a deep dive into the ingredients, I was happy to find that there was nothing to fret about. There are multiple options for buying, including different package sizes, flavors, and shipping options.

    My dog was happy, and the product seemed solid, so that left me very pleased overall.

    My only complaint about this dog food had nothing to do with the food itself but with the delivery I experienced. My delivery came in multiple parts and over multiple days. This could be frustrating for someone who is trying to use this general food as the primary food source for their dog. However, with careful planning and availing of the Petco “repeat delivery” online shopping option, this inconvenience can be avoided. Or you could visit your local Petco and skip all the contingencies.

    Wholehearted dog food is fairly priced and less expensive than its key competitors, but it is by no means a budget dog food, in price or in quality.



    WholeHearted surprised me in its quality and flavor. Overall, I enjoyed it very much, and so did my dog, which is good enough for me. As someone who is generally skeptical of natural and healthy dog foods, this product checked all of the boxes and made me a believer. If I had a Petco nearby, I would consider ordering it regularly for my precious pooch.

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