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Best Holistic Dog Foods: What Is It & Why Dogs Need A Balanced Diet


Last Updated: December 4, 2023 | 4 min read | 15 Comments

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Natural raw organic dog meat food in bowl and dogs paws (Caption: Holistic Dog Food)

As pet owners become more discerning about the nutritional content of their pup’s food, they’re increasingly turning to holistic dog food as the solution. But what makes a dog food holistic? We’ll help you answer this and many other questions around this somewhat confusing type of pet food.

What Is Holistic Dog Food?

Holistic dog foods are balanced foods — not only to provide dogs with optimal nutrition but also to support overall well-being. Ingredients have a specific purpose in mind, from providing high levels of fatty acids for skin and coat health to including more easily digestible proteins. Since every individual dog has different nutritional and health needs, there’s a significant variation among the types of holistic food blends.

Benefits Of Holistic Dog Food

Cartoon of veterinarian petting dog next to piggy bank (Caption: Start Saving Money On Vet Bills, Compare Pet Insurance Rates In Minutes; Button Text: Get My Quotes)

With the added expense that often comes with holistic dog food, most dog owners want to better understand the health benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Better coat health: Dogs may experience less shedding and a shinier coat when their food contains healthy supplements, like fish oil, and fewer fillers.
  • Improved skin health: Oils that are found in better-balanced foods help to hydrate the skin and prevent drying. Fish oil and vitamin E are important ingredients to maintain overall skin health.
  • Sharpened eye health: Holistic dog foods often contain more antioxidant-rich ingredients, which are beneficial for healthy eyes as well as overall well-being.
  • Optimal heart health: Much like humans, a dog who eats leaner ingredients will have a stronger and healthier heart. Lean proteins also help prevent weight gain and associated health issues.
  • Improved digestive health: A dog’s intestinal health can benefit from holistic dog foods because they frequently contain probiotics, which help healthy bacteria flourish in your dog’s digestive tract.
  • Fewer bowel movements: No fillers can equal less waste, causing fewer or smaller bowel movements. Switching a dog to grain-free holistic food can reduce bowel movements to once or twice a day.
  • More energy: In a higher-quality food, the nutrients are more readily available for use giving your pup more energy. When a dog eats poor quality food, the body has to expend more energy breaking it down to obtain the nutrients needed to function, resulting in less energy for play and other activities.
  • Fewer allergies: While this is not true for all dogs, some dogs with allergies thrive on holistic and healthier foods.

Our Favorite Holistic Dog Food Brands

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Here are a few of our favorite brands that you may want to consider.

Our Experience With Holistic Dog Food

Solid Gold shared some samples of their dog food with us to test out and share our experience with our readers.

Sally the dog with a handful of holistic dog food under nose

Sally enjoyed every bite of her Solid Gold dog food. We started out by trialing the Weight Control formula during the spring after Sally had gained a few extra pounds during the winter months (as we all do) and she adjusted to it well. We then tried the Hund-N-Flocken formula with the Meal Topper, which she enjoyed as well. Sally suffers from some allergies and GI issues and we noticed fewer issues while she was eating Solid Gold food. She also experiences asymmetrical alopecia during the spring months but didn’t experience any of that this year. I’m unsure if it was related to her diet or not, but it was nice to not have her go through that this year.

– Kimberly A., Canine Journal

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs we think our readers might be curious about regarding holistic pet food.

What’s The Difference Between Holistic vs Low-Quality Dog Food?

Feeding a dog holistic food versus a low-quality kibble is akin to eating at a nice restaurant versus eating at a fast-food chain. Lower quality dog food options focus on low-cost production, resulting in lower quality ingredients. And similar to people, when eating poor quality food, overall nutrition is poor and general health can suffer.

Is Holistic The Same As Grain-Free?

Not all holistic foods are grain-free, and not all grain-free dog foods are holistic. Many people assume that all grains are bad for their dogs, but this isn’t the case. Grains can be beneficial in limited quantities. (The exception to this rule is, of course, dogs with grain allergies, in which case grain-free foods are the best option).

How Much Does Holistic Dog Food Cost?

Like human food, you get what you pay for in most circumstances. Holistic foods have higher quality and human-grade ingredients, making them more expensive.

Where Do I Buy Holistic Dog Foods?

If you want to save the most money on holistic dog food, the best option is to shop online. If you decide to buy from Amazon, keep in mind that you can save when you sign up for a subscription (“Subscribe & Save”).

Is There Holistic Puppy Food?

Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Dry Dog Food

Several holistic dog food brands offer a puppy option. Earthborn makes a Holistic Puppy Vantage Dry Dog Food that is highly rated.

What’s The Difference Between Vitality Dog Food vs Holistic?

This question is a bit confusing since there is a vitality brand of dog food, and some brands have a vitality line of products. Vitality means strong and active. So any brand can use this word to claim it helps promote a strong, healthy life. Holistic dog food means nutritionally balanced and usually also means higher quality ingredients.

How To Switch Your Dog’s Food

So you decided to try some new food for your pup? This 30-second video from Earthborn Holistic shows you a seven-day plan to switch from one food to another.

Is Holistic Food The Way To Go?

Holistic foods are an excellent option if you want to prioritize your pup’s health. Another way to prioritize health is getting pet insurance and a wellness plan. These plans can help you cover the cost of care for your pup so they can receive preventative care and treatment as needed.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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