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The Honest Kitchen Embark Turkey Recipe Review

By: Carl Laron on July 06, 2017

Bottom Line [object Object]

Pros

  • Human-grade, near-raw ingredients
  • Strong safety testing program
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Recalled in 2013 for possible salmonella
  • Some dogs don't like its consistency
Our Analysis
Specs
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Breaking it down

Ingredient quality

Human-quality, with no iffy ingredients. Though it's not totally raw (ingredients are steamed for safety) The Honest Kitchen uses only human food -- whole meats, fish, fruits and veggies -- with vitamins and minerals (chelated for easy absorption) to form a complete, balanced diet. Even the toughest critics find no questionable ingredients in this food. Embark is grain free, and DogFoodAdvisor.com's Mike Sagman notes that it is higher in protein than the average dog food. Some other varieties, such as The Honest Kitchen Thrive (Est. $85 for a 10-lb. box) trade a lower price for a little grain (such as organic quinoa in this flavor), but they are better quality whole grains rather than nutritionally dubious ones, such as corn or wheat.

Product safety

Some flavors recalled in 2013. In February 2013, The Honest Kitchen recalled five lots of its dog food (Thrive, Verve and Zeal flavors) after its parsley supplier recalled a shipment due to possible salmonella contamination. The Honest Kitchen regularly tests its ingredients and finished foods for salmonella and other pathogens, and found none -- but it recalled the food anyway, just to be safe. The Honest Kitchen also dropped that supplier and started steaming all greens to kill germs (it was already steaming its meats and fish). Experts and pet owners praised The Honest Kitchen's handling of the situation and its safety record in general. The Honest Kitchen foods are made in a California factory that also makes organic baking mixes for humans. It's one of the companies that have signed the Pledge to Quality and Origin at TruthAboutPetFood.com (the blog run by PetsumerReport.com's Susan Thixton). It also successfully sued the FDA to allow it to use the term human grade in its product labeling, and received a formal statement of No Objection that allows them to do that -- a rarity among pet-food makers.

Value

Costs less than many premium canned dog foods. The Honest Kitchen says a 10-pound box of its dehydrated food will make 40 pounds of dog food once water is added. That's enough to feed the average small-breed dog (11 to 30 pounds -- for example, a beagle or cocker spaniel) for 40 to 80 days, averaging out to between $1.20 and $2.40 per day for the Embark flavor. That's in the same ballpark as a high-quality canned food like Newman's Own Organics Grain Free Beef & Liver (Est. $35 for 12 12 oz. cans), which recommends feeding 3/4 to 1-1/4 cans per 20 to 25 pounds of body weight per day, and a bit cheaper than many premium canned dog foods. The food is also sold in 2 pound and 4 pound sizes, and for those who want to try before they buy, (and owners say you should -- some dogs don't like the consistency). The Honest Kitchen sells 1-ounce sample sizes directly for $1 (plus shipping).

Our Sources

Susan Thixton, Not Dated

Susan Thixton, author of the blog TruthAboutPetFood.com, extensively researches dozens of brands of dog food, including The Honest Kitchen. She rates the companies, and their individual varieties of food, based on ingredient quality and safety.

Mike Sagman, April 5, 2017

After thoroughly evaluating The Honest Kitchen Embark, Mike Sagman awards it his highest 5-star rating and is "Enthusiastically recommended." He notes that Embark contain "a notable amount of meat," but some flavors contain less meat and rate lower.

Editors of PetFoodRatings.org, April 4, 2013

After analyzing the Zeal recipe (similar to Embark but with fish rather than turkey as its primary protein source), The Honest Kitchen earns a perfect 5 star rating. Editors find no faults with this top-quality food, and say that the other flavors "appear to be just as high of quality."

Mary Straus, June 16, 2017

Mary Straus names The Honest Kitchen to her list of the best dehydrated dog foods. She likes that the foods are made in a human-food plant and tested for melamine. She notes that certain varieties are grain-free.

Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2017

More than 1,175 reviewers give The Honest Kitchen Embark an overall of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Several say it turned their dogs' poor health around. However, a few say their dogs didn't like it or it didn't agree with them.

Contributors to Chewy.com, As of July 2017

The Honest Kitchen Embark gets more than 185 reviews at Chewy.com, and terrific satisfaction overall. It earns a 4.5-star rating, with 90 percent offering it a recommendation.

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