Nutrition - 7/10
Ingredients - 5/10
Earthborn Holistic Small Breed is a high-quality dry dog food. Its nutrient profile is above average and it provides above average proportions of protein and fat. We consider the carbohydrate proportion to be higher than ideal. It would be better replaced with additional protein and fat.
It contains some high-quality meat and fish ingredients such as Chicken Meal and Whitefish Meal. It contains Sweet Potatoes which are considered high-quality sources of carbohydrates. In addition, they provide fiber for healthy digestion. It also contains a large range of grains such as Oatmeal and Rye. These are considered lower-quality ingredients.
Earthborn Holistic Small Breed contains a range of vegetables and two different sources of meat and fish. For this reason, it is unlikely to be suitable for dogs that suffer from allergies or sensitivities.
High-Quality Meat Ingredients
Contains Grains and Grain Flours
Full review of Small Breed By Earthborn Holistic
The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.
Carbohydrate Content Analysis
Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 36% of Earthborn Holistic Small Breed calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is below average for a Dry Dog Food.
The majority of this carbohydrate content appears to be sourced from a large range of vegetable and grain ingredients such as Potatoes, Oatmeal and Brown Rice. We consider many of these ingredients to be of a lower-quality. These will be discussed in depth later on. This is above what we would consider the ideal proportion of carbohydrates.
Protein Content Analysis
Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 27% of Earthborn Holistic Small Breed calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is above average for a Dry Dog Food.
This will be a sufficient proportion of protein for the average dog but may be inadequate for those who are more active. This protein appears to be sourced from a mix of poultry and fish ingredients which are all considered high-quality sources. A small proportion of this protein is from the grain ingredients such as Oatmeal. Plant-based proteins are considered inferior to meat-based proteins. However, this proportion is hopefully small and less significant.
Fat Content Analysis
Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 37% of Earthborn Holistic Small Breed calories are derived from Fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is above average for a Dry Dog Food.
The fat present in this dog food appears to be sourced from a mix of poultry and fish ingredients which are fantastic high-quality sources. Fish and animal fat such as this is a dog’s natural source of fat. This low estimate of fat content is sufficient to fulfill the energy needs of the majority of dogs including those who are more active.
Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.
Guaranteed Analysis – Earthborn Holistic Small Breed
Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.
- Crude Protein (Min) – 28.00%
- Crude Fat (Min) – 17.00%
- Crude Fiber (Max) – 4.00%
- Moisture (Max) – 10.00%
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.8%
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 1.0%
The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.
However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.
- Chicken Meal
- Whitefish Meal
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Rye Flour
Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients
In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review
The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Earthborn Holistic Small Breed contains two sources of meat and fish.
The primary meat source present is Chicken Meal. Chicken Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Meat Meal is a concentrated form of meat that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Chicken Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Chicken but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Niacin and Vitamin B6.
The secondary fish source present is Whitefish Meal. Whitefish Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Whitefish Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Whitefish but in higher concentrations. This includes Phosphorus and other minerals.
In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review
Oatmeal is made from the grinding of Oats. Oats are a grain and in their pure form do not contain gluten. However, oats and oatmeal are considered one of the better grains for a dogs diet. Oats are high in fiber, very high in plant-based proteins and have some vitamins like Vitamin B5 and B9.
Barley is a grain containing gluten and can be considered a low-quality ingredient in dog food by some. It is very high in carbohydrates and can be difficult to digest. The fact that it is challenging to digest could lead to constipation or other symptoms. However, Barley does contain high levels of selenium and manganese. Learn more about Barley in our article Barley In Dog Food.
Rye is a cereal grain similar to Barley and contains gluten. Rye is not biologically appropriate for a dogs diet and causes problems for sensitive dogs similar to other grains like Wheat and Corn. Rye is most nutritious in its whole form and not processed.
Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and a dense source of complex carbohydrates. Also, Potatoes can provide fiber and a surprising number of minerals and vitamins such as Potassium, Copper and the Vitamin B6. Sadly, Potatoes are considered an average-quality ingredient as they provide minimal nutritional value beyond their carbohydrate content.
Sweet Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and a source of complex carbohydrates. Sweet Potatoes are considered superior to traditional Potatoes as they contain more fiber and a more extensive range of vitamins and minerals. Some examples of vitamins and minerals that are abundant in Sweet Potatoes are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium. The higher amount of fiber and the range of micronutrients in Sweet Potatoes mean that they are considered a high-quality ingredient despite containing mostly carbohydrates.
Canola Oil is derived from a modified version of Rapeseed. Canola Oil is most commonly added to dog food to supplement the levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. These Fatty Acids are crucial for a dogs skin, coat and brain development. While Canola Oil is not the ideal source of the Omega Fatty Acids, it does have a high ratio of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Sources with high ratios, such as Canola Oil, are considered superior. However, Canola Oil can be a controversial ingredient due to the fact it is genetically modified.
A noteworthy ingredient present in this formula is Tomato Pomace. Tomato Pomace is made up of tomato skin, seeds, and pulp. Its most beneficial feature is that it contains very high levels of soluble fiber which can aid and regulate digestion. Those high levels of fiber are the primary motivation behind this ingredients inclusion in most formulas as Tomato Pomace has little nutritional value.
Flaxseed is a beneficial ingredient that is commonplace in higher quality dog food. Flaxseed contains high levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids which provide a range of health benefits such as healthier skin and fur and improved cognitive function. Also, Flaxseed contains high levels of protein for a plant-based ingredient. Finally, Flaxseed provides Lignans which can help reduce inflammation and cholesterol.
Full Ingredient List – Earthborn Holistic Small Breed
Chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Rye Flour, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavors, Apples, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Peas, Spinach, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Carbonate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Bitoin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.