Wholehearted is the store pet food brand of the well-known pet store Petco. Petco was founded in 1965 and now has over 1500 locations across the United States. They sell Pet Food, Pet Products, and some live animals or fish and they could best to be compared to PetSmart.
There is minimal information on who manufacturers Wholehearted products on behalf of Petco or where this manufacturing takes place. However, we can confirm that the packaging indicates it is produced in the United States.
This lack of transparent information may suggest that some of the ingredients found in Wholehearted recipes are bought from outside the United States or that the production is outsourced to one of the large pet food manufacturers, which some pet owners do not approve of.
However, at this time, we can not confirm or provide any evidence to support these theories.
In 2018, Petco agreed on a deal to distribute their private label brands, such as Wholehearted, to Canadian consumers at Canadian Tire stores.
Wholehearted and Petco offers a unique membership where dog owners can pay a flat $29 a year and then receive 25% off all of their Wholehearted pet food purchases. This membership only works online and is not available from within Petco Stores.
This offering is almost certainly designed to compete with other online offers such as those available from Chewy and Petflow.
We’d like to point out that this offer could be hugely advantageous to dog owners who have a large breed dog or who have multiple dogs. In those cases, the membership fee will quickly pay for itself, at which point the 25% discount will greatly benefit their annual expenditure on dog food.
Wholehearted Product Range
Wholehearted has an extensive dog food product range. This range includes dry dog food, wet/canned dog food, toppers, and dog treats.
The dry and canned ranges from Wholehearted are the largest, and both of these include over twenty unique recipes.
Wholehearted also fills many of the important and popular niches in the dog food market. This includes puppy food, senior dog food, large breed dog food, small breed dog food, dog food for weight loss, and limited ingredient dog food.
While many dogs who belong in these categories can eat all life stages dog food, these specialist recipes can provide them a more suitable diet.
While many pet food brands tend to have smaller cat food ranges, this is not the case for Wholehearted. Their cat food range is almost as large as their dog food range with over 50 unique recipes.
Wholehearted’s offering includes a substantial range of dry cat food, an extensive range of canned and wet cat food, and a small range of cat treats.
This balance makes sense, given that cats thrive best on a diet of wet/canned cat food. This preference for wet cat food is as it can also provide cats with moisture in addition to nutrition.
Also, there are products tailored to specific types of cats, like there was in the dog food range. Some examples of this are recipes for Senior Cats and Kittens.
The nutrition provided by Wholehearted dog food recipes varies significantly. This is unsurprising given the huge number of formulas that Wholehearted produces.
Some recipes provide above-average nutrition, which includes above-average proportions of protein and fat and a below-average proportion of carbohydrates.
However, others would be considered average or below average nutrition. These often include unimpressive proportions of protein and very high proportions of carbohydrates.
Below is an example of the nutrition of a typical Wholehearted Grain Free dog food recipe.
The nutrition of Wholehearted cat food recipes is similar to their dog food range in that is very varied.
Ideally, a cat’s diet consists of a very high proportion of protein and fat and a low proportion of carbohydrates. Sadly, many wholehearted recipes contain notable portions of carbohydrates.
Below is an example of the nutrition provided by a Wholehearted dry cat food recipe.
However, producing carbohydrate-free dry cat food at an affordable price is somewhat unviable, which explains why it is present in almost all dry cat food.
High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients
- Salmon & Salmon Meal
- Chicken & Chicken Meal
- Lamb & Lamb Meal
- Beef & Beef Meal
- Duck & Duck Meal
- Turkey & Turkey Meal
Wholehearted has a wide range of high-quality meat and fish ingredients. This includes many of the most popular meat and fish ingredients, including Chicken, Beef, and Salmon. These ingredients are industry favorites thanks to their low-cost and ease of availability.
The ingredients used by Wholehearted are a mix between whole meat ingredients and meat meals. Many consumers are cautious of meat meals, but you shouldn’t be put off by Meat Meals as they can, in fact, be advantageous.
Meat Meals have had their moisture removed, which means they are much denser sources of protein and fat than whole meat cuts. If a formula has a Meat Meal as its first listed ingredient, you can be sure it contains a large and nutritious portion of meat.
- Pea Flour
- Pea Protein
- Potato Protein
- Powdered Cellulose
Sadly Wholehearted uses several questionable and low-quality ingredients. Many of these are vegetable by-products, which are particularly troublesome as they can be used to deceive consumers via a technique known as Ingredient Splitting.
Learn more about Ingredient Splitting in our article Ingredient Splitting in Pet Food – Exposed.
Examples of vegetable by-products include Pea Flour, Pea Protein, and Potato Protein. Pea Protein and Pea Flour are particularly popular as they are very low cost yet can provide a notable proportion of plant-based protein.
Learn more about Pea By-products in our article Peas, Pea Protein, Pea Flour, and Pea Fiber in Dog Food.
Other Notable Ingredients
All three of the popular legume ingredients can be found in select Wholehearted recipes. This includes Lentils, Peas, and Chickpeas.
Legumes can provide high levels of plant-based protein and are affordable. However, there are concerns about the effects of high levels of legumes on a dog’s health. We discuss this in-depth in our Best Dog Foods Without Peas article.
Sweet Potatoes & Potatoes are the two most common starch ingredients used in dog food. They are very dense sources of carbohydrates. For this reason, it is preferred that the portion size of these used is modest; else, the recipe can be overloaded with carbs.
Wholehearted recipes make use of a small number of grain-based ingredients. Examples of these include Brown Rice, Millet, and Rice Bran. Grain ingredients shouldn’t be completely disregarded, and whole grains such as Brown Rice can provide some nutrition beyond their carbohydrate content.
However, other lower-quality grain ingredients such as Rice Bran are not welcome additions to dog food and are unlikely to provide beneficial nutrition. Learn more about Rice Bran in our article Rice Bran In Dog Food.
Many Wholehearted recipes feature Chicken Fat. Chicken Fat features in dog food for many reasons, but the most prominent of these are to boost the portion of animal fat in a recipe and help improve its flavor and palatability.
Chicken Fat is chosen for this task, as it is affordable and reliable. Learn more about Chicken Fat’s use in dog food in our article, Chicken Fat In Dog Food.
Ocean Fish Meal is a vague-sounding ingredient but is one that does see somewhat regular use in low to medium cost dog food. It is made up of various ocean-based fish such as Pollard, Pilchard, and Menhaden Fish. While it can provide nutrition, many are not fans of its ambiguity. Read more about Ocean Fish Meal in our article Ocean Fish Meal In Dog Food.
Wholehearted recipes make use of Dried Beet Pulp. Beet Pulp is included in dog food as a source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber plays an important role in a dog’s digestive system and helps to keep stools consistent and regular. Beyond this fiber, the Beet Pulp provides little to no nutritional value. Some believe Beet Pulp is a low-value ingredient if used in large portions. Learn more about Beet Pulp in our article Dried Beet Pulp In Dog Food.
Some Wholehearted recipes contain Tomato Pomace. Tomato Pomace is used in pet food as a source of soluble fiber. However, beyond this soluble fiber content, it provides little nutrition.
Some in the industry are concerned at the level of pesticides found in Tomatoes. However, the portion of Tomatoes found in dog food is tiny and not worthy of concern. Learn more about Tomato Pomace in our article, Tomato Pomace, as a Pet Food Ingredient?.
Canola Oil & Sunflower Oil, which are the two most common vegetable oils used in dog food, can be found in Wholehearted recipes. These oils are included to boost the level of fat in recipes, improve their flavor, and provide healthy fats such as the Omega Fatty Acids.
Flaxseed is one of the most common additions to premium dog food. It is probably the best plant-based source of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Also, it can provide other potential health benefits. Learn more about Flaxseed and why it’s used in dog food in our article Flaxseed In Dog Food.
Wholehearted Animal Testing
At this time, we have no information on what type of testing Wholehearted participates in. However, given that Wholehearted is owned and sold by PetCo, they are likely to participate in some sort of feeding trials or large scale testing.
We strongly believe that laboratory or invasive animal testing is a cruel and outdated practice and one which we hope will see a significant decline.
However, given that Wholehearted is still a relatively young brand, this may not be as impressive as it appears. We hope that over the coming years, Wholehearted can maintain this recall-free record by taking the safety and quality of its manufacturing process seriously.
Wholehearted Featured Articles
Wholehearted is not currently featured in any of our articles.
Best of Wholehearted
Grain-Free Salmon & Pea Adult Recipe Review
As regular readers of our site will know, we are big fans of dog food recipes with a strong focus on Salmon. Therefore, it will not come as a surprise that Wholehearted’s Salmon and Pea recipe is one of our favorites.
The formula uses a mix of Salmon and Salmon Meal. Salmon Meal isn’t’ something you should be afraid of and is Salmon that has had its moisture removed. This mix ensures that there is a large portion of Salmon present, which can provide a large proportion of protein and fat.
The formula also includes a large range and mix of legume ingredients, including Lentils, Chickpeas, and Peas. These legumes provide carbohydrates and fiber.
Sadly the recipe does make use of Pea Flour, which is a Pea By-product. We would not consider it to be a high-quality ingredient. However, most of the legumes used in this recipe are whole legumes and not by-products.
Lamb & Carrot Recipe Review
Wholehearted has a vast canned dog food range when compared to some of its competitors, which made it difficult to narrow down a winner. However, we took a shine to their Lamb & Carrot recipe thanks to its great ingredient list and satisfactory nutritional profile.
The recipe uses a mix of Lamb and Lamb Liver to provide a very satisfactory proportion of protein and fat, which is above average. In addition, the Lamb Liver can provide vitamins and minerals than ordinary meat cuts lack.
The formula also includes small portions of Potato Starch, Carrots, and Green Beans. These vegetable ingredients provide a modest portion of carbohydrates and some fiber. While we would normally frown upon the use of Potato Starch in dog food, the portion size and its purpose here, as a thickening agent, minimize our concern.
Grain-Free Chicken Formula Review
The above Chicken cat food formula from Wholehearted is typical of their grain-free cat food range.
The first two listed ingredients are both types of Chicken – Chicken and Chicken Meal. This ensures that the majority of the recipe is made up of meat ingredients and not plant-matter. Chicken is a safe bet to choose for cats as most enjoy its taste and flavor.
The recipe then uses a mix of legume ingredients such as Peas, Chickpeas, and Pea Flour to provide a portion of carbohydrates. The portion of carbohydrates present is in line with other cat food recipes in this price range.
Grain-Free Beef Pate Review
Wet cat food recipes are an excellent addition to a cat’s diet, and Wholehearted’s wet cat food recipes are a respectable choice.
The above Beef Pate is one of our favorites thanks to a mix of Beef and Chicken ingredients at the recipe’s core. This mix ensures that the vast majority of the recipe is meat-based, resulting in an excellent protein and fat proportion.
Unlike Wholehearted dry cat food recipes, this wet food recipe doesn’t use legumes and instead uses a small portion of Tapioca. This Tapioca acts as a binding agent to hold the food together and give it a consistent texture.
Wholehearted Full Product Range
Dry Dog Food
All Life Stages Beef & Pea Formula
All Life Stages Salmon & Pea Recipe
All Life Stages Chicken & Pea Recipe
Chicken & Pea Puppy Recipe
All Life Stages Lamb & Lentil Formula
All Life Stages Duck & Lentil Recipe
Senior Chicken Recipe
All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Recipe
Skin & Coat Care Pea & Salmon Recipe
Small Breed Chicken & Pea Adult Recipe
All Life Stages Beef & Brown Rice Recipe
Healthy Benefits Weight Control Lamb & Pea Recipe
Small Breed Beef & Pea Puppy Recipe
Limited Ingredient Salmon Recipe
Small Breed Salmon & Pea Recipe
Large Breed Chicken & Pea Recipe
Healthy Benefits Easy Digestion Potato & Egg Product Recipe
Large Breed Beef & Pea Adult Recipe
Limited Ingredient Small Breed Salmon Recipe
Small Breed Beef & Pea Adult Recipe
Limited Ingredient Duck Adult Recipe
Limited Ingredient Lamb Adult Recipe
Wet/Canned Dog Food
Adult Beef & Vegetable Recipe
Adult Lamb & Carrot Recipe
Puppy Chicken & Vegetable Recipe
Adult Chicken & Vegetable Recipe
Adult Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe
Adult Boiled Chicken Dinner Recipe
Adult Chicken & Fish Recipe
Easy Digestion Chicken Recipe
Adult Beef & Chicken Dinner
Skin & Coat Care Turkey Recipe
Adult Chicken & Duck Recipe
Adult Chicken Dinner
Adult Chicken & Whitefish Dinner
Adult Chicken & Salmon Dinner
Adult Lamb & Chicken Dinner
Small Breed Beef & Chicken Dinner
Small Breed Chicken & Whitefish Dinner
Small Breed Lamb & Chicken Dinner
Small Breed Chicken Dinner
Small Breed Chicken & Salmon Dinner
Small Breed Chicken & Duck Dinner
Dry Cat Food
Chicken Kitten Formula
Healthy Digestion Chicken & Egg Product Recipe
Weight Control Chicken & Pea Recipe
Senior Chicken Recipe
Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe
Limited Ingredient Salmon Recipe
Beef & Pea Recipe
Limited Ingredient Chicken Recipe
Wet/Canned Cat Food
Chicken Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Adult Chicken Pate Recipe
Tuna & Salmon Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Adult Tuna Pate Recipe
Chicken & Tuna Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Tuna Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Kitten Tuna Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Senior Chicken Pate Recipe
Easy Digestion Chicken Recipe
Tuna & Shrimp Recipe Flaked In Gravy
Flaked Beef Recipe
Senior Salmon Pate Recipe
Weight Control Chicken Recipe
Adult Beef Pate Recipe
Adult Salmon Pate Recipe
Adult Turkey Pate Recipe
Adult Ocean Fish Pate Recipe