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Holistic Select Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Dog Food Review

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Dog Food Insiders Rating

3 1/2 Paws

3 1/2 PAWS

You can find detailed information about WellPet LLC, manufacturer of Holistic Select pet food, in our main review of Holistic Dog Food. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control.

Product Overview

According to their company statements, Holistic Select emphasizes the role that “digestive health” plays in “whole-body” health. They claim that Holistic Select is “the only natural pet food that offers a complete digestive balance system to help your pet absorb and utilize all nutrients.” They say their food provides guaranteed levels of digestive enzymes and botanicals; prebiotics; probiotics; and natural fiber. With recipes for dogs and cats, Holistic Select says their food features “high-quality, natural meats, fats and whole grains.” They have kibble, canned food, biscuits, and digestive aids.

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Ingredients in Holistic Select Adult and Puppy Health Salmon, Anchovy and Sardine Meal

Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Pumpkin, Natural Fish Flavor, Cranberries, Apples, Minerals [Zinc Polysaccharide Complex, Iron Polysaccharide Complex, Copper Polysaccharide Complex, Manganese Polysaccharide Complex, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Potassium Iodide], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid], Choline Chloride, Papaya, Inulin, Salt, Blueberries, Pomegranate, Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (added to preserve freshness), DL-Methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Fennel, Ground Peppermint, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract.


This food has quite a long name. Yes, it is grain free. It is also free of any poultry, if that is a concern for you and your dog. It is a fish-based recipe. It is designed for all life stages and sold for adults and puppies and the guaranteed analysis does look like it would be suitable for adult dogs and growing puppies judging by the vitamins and minerals that are shown.

Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

As advertised, the first two ingredients are salmon and anchovy & sardine meal. Salmon is an excellent fish protein for dogs. It is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin B12 and Selenium. Anchovy and sardine meal is a concentrated version of these two fish. It has had most of the moisture removed so it contains several times as much protein as the whole fish would contain. Anchovies are a good source of Calcium, Iron and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin and Selenium. Sardines are a a good source of Niacin and Calcium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus and Selenium. The food also contains Menhaden fish meal, a fish that is often used as fish meal in dog foods and as a source of fish oil supplements. Again, as a fish meal, it is a concentrated source of fish protein but this ingredient comes lower in the ingredient list. These are the fish/animal sources of protein in the food. (Fish meal in Holistic Select food is ethoxyquin-free.)

The food also contains numerous sources of carbohydrates and fiber:Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Pumpkin, and Apples. Pomegranates are also a source of fiber. So are papayas. Potatoes are 92 percent carbohydrates. Potatoes and dried ground potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese. Tomato pomace has a nutritional profile of about 20% protein, 13-15% fat, 3-5% fat, and 25-57% crude fiber. The fiber includes 4% soluble fibers which helps good bacteria grow in the gut. Tomato pomace is usually added to pet foods at about a 3-7 percent formulation.

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Additional Ingredients of Interest

Flaxseed is another source of dietary fiber in pet food. It has many benefits for dogs. It’s a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Thiamin and Manganese. However, if you plan to breed your female dogs you should be careful about feeding dog foods with flaxseed since it can mimic estrogen and interfere with the reproductive system.

Peas provide about 23-27 percent plant protein so many dog food companies are using them in pet foods instead of corn. They are a good source of Vitamin A, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin and Manganese. There are two kinds of pea fiber (depending on how the peas are processed) but both of them have more than 75 percent insoluble fiber and between 5 and 25 percent soluble fiber. What you need to know about pea fiber is that it contains a lot of insoluble fiber that holds water; one of the insoluble dietary fiber compounds it contains is called cellulose; and it can have a laxative effect when eaten. In order to help break down the cellulase in the food, you will notice that the food lists something called cellulase (along with some other enzymes) in the guaranteed analysis.

All of this is to say that peas and pea fiber are being used as plant sources of protein (instead of using more animal protein) and fillers in dog food today and some dogs have a difficult time digesting it. Yes, this even happens in more expensive dog foods that are supposed to be of better quality.

The food does have some things in it besides fiber and carbohydrates. It contains added vitamins and polysaccharide complexed minerals – similar to chelated minerals to help dogs digest and absorb minerals more easily so they have a higher bioavailability. This way they are less likely to interfere with other nutrients.

The food also contains inulin (derived from chicory) and a number of fermentation products to help good bacteria in the gut and to aid in digestion. The food also contains lecithin, a fatty substance (phospho-lipid) that provides choline inositol and linoleic acid. Lecithin is often sourced from soybeans so if your dog is allergic to soy, you might want to be careful about feeding foods that contain this substance. (But it can be sourced from other seeds.)

Finally, I have no idea why this food contains Ground Cinnamon, Ground Fennel, Ground Peppermint.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein Not less than 28.00%
  • Crude Fat Not less than 13.00%
  • Crude Fiber Not more than 6.00%
  • Moisture Not more than 10.00%
  • Calcium Not less than 1.50%
  • Phosphorus Not less than 0.80%
  • Vitamin A Not less than 22,000 IU/kg
  • Vitamin E Not less than 165 IU/kg
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids* Not less than 2.00%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids* Not less than 1.50%
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)* Not less than 0.10%
  • Total Lactic Acid Microorganisms* Not less than 100,000,000 CFU/lb
  • (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium in equal amounts)
  • Total Bacillus Organisms* Not less than 7,000,000 CFU/lb
  • (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis in equal amounts)
  • Protease* (from Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger)1 Not less than 280 HUT/lb
  • Cellulase* (from Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger)2 Not less than 100 Cellulase Units/lb
  • Alpha-Amylase*(from Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger)3 Not less than 5 Dextrin Units/lb

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

Enzyme Functionality Statement: Product contains enzymes. Protease for protein hydrolysis; Cellulase for cellulose hydrolysis; Amylase for starch hydrolysis.

AAFCO Statement:

Holistic Select Grain Free Adult & Puppy Health Salmon and Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Calorie Content

This food contains 3,520 kcal per kilogram or 341 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated).

Dry Matter Basis

On a dry matter basis this food contains approximately 31 percent protein and 14.4 percent fat. It also has 6.7 percent fiber (quite a bit) and approximately 38.9 percent carbohydrates. So, it has moderately high protein and moderate fat and rather high carbs, plus higher than normal fiber. This may be a “grain free” dog food, but there are good foods with some grain that have fewer carbs, and you can certainly find other grain free dog foods with fewer carbohydrates and less fiber.


Considering the protein percentage in Holistic Select Grain Free Adult & Puppy Health Salmon and Anchovy & Sardine Meal Dry Dog Food and how much of it is due to plant protein (peas); as well as the high amount of carbohydrates and fiber in the food, I think this food is only slightly better than average, even if it is grain free.

Holistic Select Grain Free Adult and Puppy Health Salmon and Anchovy and Sardine Meal Dry Dog Food has received our 3.5 paw rating.


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