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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Honest Kitchen vs. Spot Farms: The Battle of the Dehydrated Foods

Honest Kitchen was the original dehydrated dog food, but Spot Farms has now entered the market with a competing product. How do they compare? Is one obviously better than the other? Just how similar are their products anyway? Having recently tried Spot Farms dehydrated dog food, I thought I would share some observations.
dehydrated dog food

The Contenders

Honest Kitchen dog food advertises human grade ingredients prepared in a kitchen that also makes
human food. Their ever-growing selection of dehydrated dog foods include both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. Honest Kitchen heavily advertises their food as being GMO-free, which is great if you don't like GMOs, and mildly distasteful if you understand science. Each Honest Kitchen recipe seems to have a nearly endless list of ingredients, which is great for a varied and healthy diet, and not so great for dogs with multiple food allergies.

Spot Farms also offers grain-free and grain-inclusive options, however they just got off the ground and don't have nearly as much variety in their product line. Overall their foods are simpler, with fewer ingredients. Their foods are also made with human-grade ingredients, but are not advertised as being prepared in human food kitchens. That said, the parent company is actually a human food company. As Perdue Foods, produces chicken, turkey, and pork, it seems unlikely they will expand to include different proteins in the future.

The Foods

dehydrated dog food
Honest Kitchen food has always seemed a little...planty to me. When I mix it up, it turns into a watery green mixture that smells like vegetables. I've fed a lot of my daycare dogs different Honest Kitchen foods, and they all seem pretty green and watery. It never looks like rehydrated meat, and if I didn't already know it was in there I wouldn't suspect it was made out of meat.

I was expecting a similar experience when I mixed up a batch of Spot Farms Grain-Free Pork dog food. To my surprise, it soaked up the water and immediately resembled canned dog food. Both foods call for a 2 to 3 ratio of food to water, but the Spot Farms absorbs it much faster and I can add twice as much without the food seeming watery. In fact, it's a bit of a challenge to get all the food stirred in because it absorbs liquid so quickly.

Though both foods contain about 470 calories per dry cup, the recommended portions are a bit different. Honest Kitchen recommends feeding 31-50 lb dogs between 1 and 4 cups per day, depending on their activity level. Spot Farms recommends 2-2.75 cups per day for dogs in the same weight range. The way Spot Farms food bulks up, even 1 dry cup makes a big bowl of food. Honest Kitchen doesn't expand the same way.

The Dogs

Brisbane eats both Honest Kitchen and Spot Farms foods with equal enthusiasm, because Brisbane eats everything. However, he did vomit one Spot Farms meal. He usually has a cast iron stomach, even during chemotherapy. I'm pretty sure I just fed him way too much food, when I cut him down to half a dry cup at a time he does fine. Sisci also eats both foods with equal enthusiasm. 

Ru the chihuahua hates Honest Kitchen. He won't touch it. He will eat the Spot Farms food though. He's not super crazy about it like he is about Fresh Pet, but he'll eat it. I've heard from at least one person who said their dogs refused to eat the Spot Farms food. Honest Kitchen offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning you can return it to the store where you bought it for a refund. Spot Farms does not currently have this guarantee, however it is currently being sold primarily through big box pet stores like Petco and Petmart. These are notorious for their generous return policies, so it is likely that they will accept returns on Spot Farms food.

As an added note, Spot Farms grain free dog food seems like it would make a good dry ingredient for homemade pill pockets.

9 comments:

  1. Ive tried both. I actually started with THC, except I did not like the fact it always was more veggie green soup based. (Even the preference, which you add you own meat. I almost doubled the recommended meat, along with liver. Otherwise it was a green soup).
    I recently tried Spot Farms GF, and my older dog with GERD keeps it down without issues.
    For the price, Spot farms is cheaper. And being dehydrated- I'll take what I can get, they have coupons, as well as Petco has the perks coupons- so it comes out cheaper.
    Both are good, but I feel THC has too many veggies for the price.

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    1. I definitely agree about HK being a green soup. Spot Farms has given my girls each diarrhea a couple of times now though, so I don't think I will try this particular variety again. Maybe they'd do better on one of the grain-inclusive formulas.

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  2. My dog recently had very bad diarrhea after giving Spot Farms food. I am not sure if it is because I should have added it more gradually then I did. https://m.facebook.com/wolfiesplacebrooklyn0/

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    1. This seems to be an issue with the food as mine get new kinds of food constantly and this is the only one that has done this. Did you try the grain-free or the grain-inclusive food?

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  3. I have tried both the grain based and grain free. As with most foods, you need to add it in slowly for some. My lab will get diarrhea if even the proportions that we mix are off. That being said, the one with grain, oats,she does really well on. Our little mutt, loves it too and has had no issues. For reference both used to be on Bil Jac.

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    1. That's interesting! My dogs get a different kind of food almost every day, and I switch them to something totally new as often as once a week without their tummies getting upset. Out of the dozens of foods we've tried, this is the only one that consistently gives them diarrhea.

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  4. Forgot to mention that Petco week take anything back. I bought one whew the interior bag had been damaged and the exchanged it without a problem. I have also seen them take back other foods that have been opened

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  5. Forgot to mention that Petco week take anything back. I bought one whew the interior bag had been damaged and the exchanged it without a problem. I have also seen them take back other foods that have been opened

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  6. I have tried both the grain based and grain free. As with most foods, you need to add it in slowly for some. My lab will get diarrhea if even the proportions that we mix are off. That being said, the one with grain, oats,she does really well on. Our little mutt, loves it too and has had no issues. For reference both used to be on Bil Jac.

    ReplyDelete