Anyone with a pet knows how difficult it can be to find the right food for them. You don’t want the cheapest brand because of all the fillers and unhealthy ingredients are added. You may not be able to afford the top-of-the-line brands either. So how do you find a dog food that is nutritiously sound but won’t cost more than your own meals?
Our latest review is of Honest Kitchen’s Embark dog food. We wanted to scrutinize this food to see what exactly it had to offer and how well it held up to our testing. As with all of our reviews, we took a comprehensive approach starting from creating criteria that is most important.
Introduction of Honest Kitchen
In 2002, The Honest Kitchen began in owner Lucy Postins’ kitchen, making food for her own pet Mosi. While trying to feed her dog high-quality and healthy foods, she went through a lot of trial and error. She quickly decided dehydration was key to maintaining nutrient and vitamin-value, without creating a total mess daily. Her personal testing created Verve, the prototype on which future products would be modeled.
The years that followed included a lot of testing, sourcing and trial-and-error. Soon in 2004 Embark was created as a solution for puppies to be able to eat healthy food right from the start.
What to look for
After sorting through criteria, we decided that the best dog food should be made with:
• No questionable chemical preservatives
• No “masked” meat ingredients
• No generic fats from other animals
• No artificial colors
• True meat-based proteins
• Healthy fat-to-protein compositions
• Conservative carbohydrate make-up
One of the biggest issues we have seen in the dog food market is fillers. Manufacturers will use lower-quality ingredients to form bulk. In essence, these are added to stretch THEIR dollar. But what does that do to the food? It stretches nutrient value and creates a pet-version of nothing more than the human equivalent of “junk food”.
How Honest Kitchen Holds up
Next, we took our case study Honest Kitchen Embark. They dehydrate their food, which sets them apart from other brands. Their process removes moisture from food products, but it maintains the vitamins and minerals within food bases. You can tell that there is value because when you look at a handful of their food, you can see the bright colors of the vegetables. Look can be a sign of how well a food is holding up from its natural state. This was a good sign for Embark.
We also looked at our criteria above. Though Honest Kitchen sources their ingredients from all over the world, they have a high standard of deliverable and make agreements with their suppliers. Each supplier has to agree to:
• Provide foods that are suitable for human consumption from harvest to handling, screening and final cleaning
• Adhering to GMPs, or Good Manufacturing Practices
• Never include GMO or products subjected to engineered DNA technology
• Verify on every shipment that foods are free of adulterants and chemicals
• Verify on every shipment that foods are free of post-harvest chemicals
• Guarantee ingredient’s originating company is not China
We were happy that the company goes through pains to keep fillers or harmful additives out of their foods. Plus, they make agreements with sourcing companies to be as vigilant with the rules of handling and managing foods as they are.
In addition, they have an outstanding quality control team that ensure products are routinely tested for any contaminants, yeast, mold, bacteria, high-nutrient value/content, within guaranteed parameters.
After testing Embark, here’s what we loved about the product:
• It is low-carb
• Made from cage-free turkey
• Made with antioxidant-rich produce
Breakdown of Foods
In a 40-pound bag of Embark you can find a clear breakdown of all ingredients: 18-pounds of cage-free turkey, 3 ½-bunches of celery, ½ of a coconut, 5 ½ bunches of spinach, 10-decored apples, 8-potatoes, 22-carrots and 7 ½-eggs. In one cup of the food there are 488-calories, of which 29% are protein, 18% is fat, 9.6% is fiber and 7.8% is moisture.
There are a lot of vitamins and minerals in that 1-cup. One thing we liked was the dehydration process allowed for minimal degradation of the healthy things in foods. It allowed for as much vitamin and mineral transfer as possible.
The Dog Digest Verdict
In conclusion, we found that The Healthy Kitchen’s Embark is one of the better foods on the market. It is nutritionally sound and it produces what it claims to—a healthy food for your animal that is not riddled with fillers or artificial, potentially harmful, ingredients.
The fact that Embark is sourced form meats that are hormone and antibiotic-free, and contains no GMOs, is a huge advantage to your pet’s life. Plus, the food you give them with The Honest Kitchen is acceptable for human consumption, which makes it that much easier to give it to your pets.