Friday, January 16, 2015

Food Friday: Honest Kitchen Love

Honest Kitchen makes dehydrated dog food that is prepared by adding warm water and soaking for a few minutes. Their products include a line of base mixes that can be added to raw meat, a line of whole-grain complete foods, and a line of grain-free foods. Each comes in a cardboard box lined with a plastic bag.
Honest Kitchen food is pretty awesome, there are a lot of benefits to dehydrated diets. Increased water consumption is one of those benefits, each serving of properly-prepared Honest Kitchen food contains more than half water. Ru is currently having some urinary tract issues and I've been trying to talk him into eating Honest Kitchen food as a way of getting more fluids into him. Ru is so far unimpressed, he would still rather eat art supplies and wine corks.

The point of dehydrated food is that it is less processed than kibble. It hasn't been stewed, baked, and extruded into little pellets. Sometimes I think this is a good thing, other times I'm pretty sure I would subsist on People Chow if it existed. The lack of processing mostly means that the food retains a decent amount of it's nutrients and doesn't need to have a giant list of vitamins and minerals added back in. Having personally read through the individual ingredient lists of nearly a thousand different dog foods in the process of assembling the Dog Food Wizard, I can testify that Honest Kitchen Love has an impressively short ingredient label.
This food comes in powder form.
Beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic coconut, parsley, chard, papaya, cranberries, pumpkin, honey, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

That's it.

Add water and soak for five minutes. Ta da! Homemade dog food!
Questionable Claims
Like most good dog food companies, Honest Kitchen is guilty of excessive use of the word "natural". Their website also heavily promotes the health benefits of their food while criticizing nonsense words like "fillers". I'm sure Honest Kitchen's food is world's better than most grocery store kibble, and I believe it to be one of the best foods out there, but I still don't think it's that much better than the top quality kibbles. I definitely wouldn't expect a dramatic difference between this and Orijen, for example.

Following the Trail
Honest Kitchen food uses human-grade ingredients, and is produced and packed in an FDA-approved human-grade facility. This means it would be safe for me to eat if I decided it looked good enough. (It doesn't.) The downside to this is of course that Honest Kitchen food is crazy expensive. Love, the only egg-free, poultry-free, grain-free choice on the menu, is a little over 500 calories per dry measured cup, making it actually a bit more nutritionally dense than most kibble. This basically means that I can feed a similar amount as I would kibble, for both Brisbane and Ru that's a quarter cup. There's about sixteen cups in a four-pound box, which would last me about a month for both dogs. At $40 for the 4-pound box, that's not actually terrible. That said, the only reason I can actually afford to feed this to my dogs is because Brisbane eats like a lapdog. If I fed the recommended amount for a less active 40-lb dog, I would be spending $80 or more a month on this food. Still, it's a lot cheaper than Stella & Chewy's.

The Good Stuff
It's all good stuff. Brisbane loves it and I could probably get away with freezing it in Kongs if I felt inclined. The Love variety in particular is awesome because it's just beef and veggies, with no eggs. Almost everything else has eggs, even the fish-based Zeal flavor.

If I can talk Ru into actually eating this stuff, we may be using it to help keep him more hydrated. The possibility of prescription urinary food is looming as we try to get his infection under control and make sure he doesn't have stones or crystals. I love that this is such a calorically dense food, for a wee tiny dog that tends to shiver off all his calories, it just might be what we need.


  1. The Honest Kitchen has a page on their website with tips on how to get a picky dog to eat their food: http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/help-center/transitioning-pets/#q3

    One note, if you use commercial broth, make sure it is onion-free, or only use a tiny bit. If you actually find an onion-free broth I'd like to know about it, because I haven't found one. :P

  2. What happens if you give your dog onion broth?

    1. Onions (and garlic too, but it takes more) can destroy red blood cells. Small amounts will generally not cause damage, because not enough will be destroyed. Large amounts, either consumed at one time or over time, can cause an issue..

    2. That is horrible and cool at the same time.