Something Wagging Reviews The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

I like Honey’s current food. And she does too.

But without preservatives, it needs refrigeration. Which is a royal pain if you’re traveling, camping, or, say, living on a boat.

How about dehydrated dog food? Doesn’t that sound like a good option for a dog on the go?

We thought so and were glad when The Honest Kitchen sent us a six-pack of food samples to review.

Let me show you what Honey and I thought of one of the food samples (Zeal). And then we’ll tell you a little more about The Honest Kitchen, including my opinion of their crazy food names.

I only wish we could have shot the video in Aroma-round. The smell is delicious.

Here are a few other things we didn’t fit into the video:


I am no expert when it comes to nutrition. When I read a dog food label, I look for ingredients I recognize with a whole protein at the top. Then I look for a review on Dog Food Advisor.

The Dog Food Advisor rated The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog foods as a good, plant-based food with meat or fish as its primary protein. They gave Zeal, the product in our video, 5 out of 5 stars.

The four products we reviewed, Love, Force, Embark, and Zeal are all grain-free.


Obviously you can see from the video that Honey liked  Zeal. She responded enthusiastically to all the flavors.

Honey the Golden Retriever stands in a tent.

Will Honey eat it in a tent?


The Honest Kitchen received FDA certification that their pet foods are human-grade. So I had no problem tasting it. The food actually does have a good, fresh flavor that matches the delicious smell.


Because dehydrated food doesn’t need refrigeration and isn’t loaded with greasy fats that can become rancid like traditional kibble, it’s convenient for traveling.

But mixing the food takes a little practice.

You may have noticed I had a little too much water in the mix in the video. To get the ratios perfect means I’d have to do math. And I don’t like math.

When I was feeding Honey The Honest Kitchen every day on our last camping trip, I got the measurements down. Although I never found a consistency that worked with the food toys we usually feed her with.

The other negative is that the food must sit for five minutes to fully hydrate. Honey was fairly patient. But a more demanding dog would make dinner time pretty exciting while he waited for his bowl to go down.

Honey the golden Retriever stands in the park with Mike.

Will Honey eat it with a gent?


Those Crazy Names 

For the life of me, I cannot remember anything about these four foods based on their names. I kept looking for a mnemonic device to help me remember which protein went with which food.

The best I could come up with was Zeal rhymes with eel which lives in the ocean so that must be the food containing haddock.

But what about the name Love will remind me that it’s made with beef? And how will I remember that Embark is made with turkey?

Frankly, it makes me nuts. But The Honest Kitchen wants you to know they are not just any dog food company. And if that means giving their food names that are a little weird, so be it.

The names are part of The Honest Kitchen vibe which emphasizes progressive values and a respect for animals and their people.

Company Values

The Honest Kitchen refuses to sell their products in stores that sell dogs or cats. They offer good benefits to their employees. They have sustainable business habits. And they use their profits to increase organic suppliers as well as to support charities.

They’re a company I feel good about supporting.

The Bottom Line

Would I buy The Honest Kitchen food on my own?

I already have.

The food is high quality so I can serve it to Honey without the switch causing her digestive problems. And it was the perfect option for two recent trips.

Honey the Golden Retriever eats her Honest Kitchen food while camping.

I will eat it in a tent. I will eat it with a gent. I will eat it here and there. I’ll eat Honest Kitchen anywhere.

The cost is about twice the cost per serving of Honey’s regular food, though. While I am willing to spend more on things that support my highest values, the money just isn’t in the budget for that dramatic an increase.

The Honest Kitchen does have a line of foods that include grains (organic quinoa, oats, and rye). When bought in bulk they are close to the price of Honey’s current food. And I will give them a try.

If you can afford it, The Honest Kitchen is a worthy option. It’s made with quality, human-grade ingredients. And it’s convenient on the go.

If you’re ever given short notice to escape bad weather or a natural disaster, you might have to share your dog’s rations. And I’d much rather share Honey’s Honest Kitchen than any other dog food I’ve ever seen.

Thank you to my husband who directed, recorded, and edited the video. And to Honey who waited patiently for 45 minutes to eat her breakfast.

The Honest Kitchen gave me free samples of their products for this review. I did not get any other compensation for this review and have offered my honest opinion.

Your Turn: Have you ever tried The Honest Kitchen dog food? What did you think of it? Do you find reviews helpful? How about video?


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  1. I hear Lots of GOOD DELISH Golden Slurp. Heard lots of great reviews of Honest Kitchen Food. We pay too a lot for my $$$$ and we don’t mind because its good. Great video. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  2. The Love = Beef thing is kind of funny, actually, because frequently my fiance will say a thing like “I’m going to give this leftover beef to Elka and turn it into love.” πŸ˜€

  3. I hear all KINDS of good things about the Honest Kitchen. And, based on this morning’s post, I can help you with Love and Beef. You’ll have to go read my post to see how. πŸ˜‰

    • Bwa ha ha! I KNEW the difference between a bull and a steer. But I would not have missed your explanation for anything. πŸ™‚

  4. I fed my dog Zeal for 3 years or so before she died. She loved it. As I read your blog I thought to myself that you were making it sound much more complicated than it really is to prep the food. It’s equal parts of water and food. I would put 1/2 c of food in her bowl and 1/2 c water in her bowl. Mix, wait 10 minutes and then on the floor the bowl would go. Could not get any easier. I really didn’t find it more expensive than other premium foods (i.e., dog food sold in stores other than the grocery stores and PetCo or PetSmart). You use so much less of Honest Kitchen than other foods. The company also encourages the use of home cooked meats in their foods as well.

    • The instruction on the box do not suggest a 1:1 ratio of water to food. So what I think you’re telling me is you’ve never had any problems decreasing the amount of recommended water.

      At least one other person suggested using 1:1 water and food while someone else said no. So you’ve all got me curious. I’m going to write to The Honest Kitchen and see what they say.

      • Pamela – The company, if you call, will tell you that some dogs like their Honest Kitchen more soupy and some like their Honest Kitchen more dry depending if they add other foods (veggies, meats) or not. The 1.5 mix of water is their ‘average’ recommendation. As my dog Reba got older I made her a bit more soupy. She lived to a little over 17 years and I attribute her longevity my switching her off of Hills Sci Diet to The Honest Kitchen and other small raw brands I would mix with it when she was 10 years old

  5. We are glad you found a good alternative for when a cooler is not convenient. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. Sue @ The Golden Life says:

    I had a coupon for a free sample, but the sample package had barely enough in it to make a treat for Callie and Shadow. Pretty pathetic if you ask me. Anyway, I never got around to using it so just ditched it in the trash can a few weeks later. And I didn’t particularly like the one store nearby that carries it, either. So, for now at least, we’ll stick with the Wellness Core and some people food. One of these days I’m just going to throw some skinless/boneless chicken pieces, carrots, and green beans in the crock pot with some water and make my own dog food.

    • The sample you received was in a small envelop I believe. I got those as samples as well. Each one equals 1 meal for 1 dog.

    • I never suggest someone tinker with food if they found something that works for them.

      The samples I got (which were in the video) were 1 cup each–a single serving for a 50 pound dog.

      BTW, I used to make homemade food and found it very cost effective and really amazing for my senior dogs. My vet suggested recipes from Dr. Pitcairn’s Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Pitcairn suggested the addition of vitamins and supplements, for instance, bone meal, to keep them nutritionally complete.

      If you do switch to a fully home made diet, I hope you’ll let me know how it goes.

  7. I’ve been feeding Honest Kitchen to the dogs for a few years and I love it. To be honest though, I put equal parts water & food and the Dawgs won’t let it sit for 10 minutes. I get about 2 minutes before everyone (and by everyone, I mean the Hurley Badger) starts singing for their breakfast.

    When cost is a concern, I encourage folks to use it as a topper instead of canned. Any amount of fresh, wholesome food is better than none! (We use it as a topper for Hurley & Sadie & as the primary base of Maggie’s diet cause I gots me a lot of dog)

  8. The Honest Kitchen is a very high quality dog food brand. Their recipes rank very high in our SlimDoggy ranking system- most are 8 out of 10 paws or higher. They are really a great brand that deserves to be known.

    Check out the slimdoggy widget (on the sidebar at and other dog blog sites) and you can check out the calorie amounts, ingredients and rankings for many commercially available foods.

    • Thank you for mentioning the Slim Doggy widget. I did check out Honest Kitchen and was pleased that you had information for the different flavors and formulas. I’m sorry I didn’t mention it in my review.

      To anyone coming afterwards, you can see the widget at (tht should make the link live).

  9. Thanks for such a thorough review! I’ve been curious about the Honest Kitchen, but there are definitely a few drawbacks that have discouraged me from making the switch. However, you inspired me to stock up on a few boxes as part of my emergency preparedness kit – that’s a brilliant idea!!

    • Because it’s fresh, dehydrated food, it does have an expiration date. So if you’re lucky enough not to have a natural (or unnatural) disaster for a year, you’ll have to remember to feed it before it expires. πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for doing the review! Do you know if they ever had a recall?

  11. We got some samples and Rita loved them. So I went out and bought her a big ol’ box of… I forget now which one. (I still have some left, but I moved it into a smaller ziplock bag so I forget the name. Like you said – the names are a bit odd.) I love that it’s human grade quality and dehydrated – but about 1/3 of the way through the box, Rita went off it. She wouldn’t finish a meal. So we went back to her Blue Buffalo Wilderness kibble and sometimes I mix in a bit of the H.K. stuff, instead of mixing in Newman’s Organic canned beef/liver dogfood. I have to put a little something else in to get her to eat it. Don’t know why she went off it so suddenly??

    They are a local San Diego co. (I even walk past the owner’s house on one of our walk routes) and I love their philosophy and would love to support them, but unfortunately Rita doesn’t like it anymore. Maybe I’ll try buying a small pack of another flavor – but I’m afraid she’ll go off it again 1/2 way through once I buy a big box! (She’s an odd girl when it comes to food…)

    • Rita’s just trying to keep an air of mystery about her. πŸ™‚

      And yes, stalking the dog food company owner is probably not cool. πŸ™‚

  12. I have not tried The Honest Kitchen. I just switched to a raw diet by Primal about a month ago; before that I was a kibble dog. Primal has freeze-dried formulas which are very convenient for camping though I do have a struggle waiting those few minutes for the food to become rehydrated. This was a great review!

    • Thanks, Oz. I’ve heard about Primal freeze-dried food. I guess you like it?

      And yes, it’s very hard to wait for dinner, isn’t it? Honey had to wait a long time for her breakfast while we were waiting for airplanes to stop flying overhead so we could shoot our review.

  13. Have I told you how much I enjoy watching you eat dog food? I could rewind that part over and over.

    I’m not sure if I would buy it or not, although I am looking for a dehydrated food to have for emergencies or traveling. I’d have to compare it pound for pound with our raw food and see what the price difference is. My experience has been the dehydrated foods are a bit pricey.

    • Don’t you laugh at me you Raw Foodist you. You eat dog food all the time. πŸ™‚

      I have no idea how it compares to raw. But if you’re putting it in your emergency kit or using it on the road, it’s definitely worth the money.

      And once we’re living on a boat, our expenses will (hopefully) go down freeing up more money for Honey food.

  14. Your video looks so professional Pamela…My local store just started carrying Honest Kitchen and I’ve looked into it there and talked with the shopowner about it…Cost really seems to be the sticking point…Some of us just can’t justify that large a price increase…it’s like me buying generic over “name brands” for myself

    • Thanks for the compliment. You inspired me with your recent review. I don’t know how you shoot the video, talk, and bathe Gizmo all at the same time. πŸ™‚

      My husband got his first degree in Radio, TV, and Film. So he has worked with film and editing before. If he could only get me to write a script instead of working off the cuff, he’d probably get some decent material to work with. πŸ˜‰

      • That’s funny Pamela…My undergrad degree is a BA in Film & TV from NYU Film School πŸ™‚ Lately I’ve been thinking about trying to use a tripod as I’m feeling the need for a 3rd arm

  15. Kirby has eaten HK in the past with good results. I make most of his meals which is why we haven’t bought any in so long plus I can only order it online since it isn’t available here. He loved the fish one but I had to add extras to the others or he would nibble at it but not really eat it.

  16. This would also be something to stash in an emergency kit for that earthquake that may/may not happen here in Portland. Since they have a 12-month shelf life, you’d just have to remember to recycle them!

  17. I think that was one of the most professional blogger video reviews I have ever seen! πŸ˜‰ You both did great!

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. My husband (my cameraman and editor) wants me to start writing scripts. Who knows. Maybe it will inspire me to buy a real videocamera instead of just using my Canon point and shoot camera.

  18. Very professional video πŸ™‚ HK certainly does look very convenient for those times when ‘normal’ dog food isn’t an option. Excellent that it’s made from healthy, organic ingredients, which comes at a price of course. Same with human food though! Great review.

  19. Silas initially wasn’t a big fan of HK, but he’s come around. When we had to switch him to three meals a day we started using the HK as his lunch.

    My best advice on the water–>food thing is to keep a scoop with the dry food, and then just do it as parts. Everyone above said to use equal, but that’s not what my box says at all. I use two scoops of food to three scoops of water. And I don’t bother waiting for it to rehydrate, either. That probably makes me a bad person. As soon as it isn’t powdery anymore, down it goes. Silas is pretty happy to slurp it up and chew any bigger bits.

    I hear you on the names. I can’t even remember which one we use.

    • Since everyone is suggesting different things for the food to water ratio, I’m curious enough to write to The Honest Kitchen to ask if they expect any problems. It doesn’t sound like anyone is finding the food to water thing too big a deal and I’m probably just too silly about following instructions.

      Funny that you don’t remember the name you use. Nice to know I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚

  20. Fantastic review! And I love how Honey is so good to wait as instructed, then dives for the bowl! So cute!
    We tried Honest Kitchen for the first time in 2009… just some samples. At the time, we had LittleBear and Li’l Girl. Well, Li’l Girl liked the HK just fine, but LittleBear didn’t seem the least bit interested… so that was that… we didn’t purchase any.
    LittleBear left us for the Rainbow Bridge in October of last year, bless his heart. We still have Li’l Girl and now Austin, neither of whom are picky about their eats. They are currently on high-quality food that they both love, but still, your review has reminded me about Honest Kitchen and wanting to give it another shot. So I ordered a sample and we’ll see how it goes.

    • Hope Li’l Girl and Austin enjoy it as much as Honey did.

      BTW, you have no idea how good Honey is. She sat on that pillow for multiple takes and camera angles. I think she proved her Canine Good Citizen certification that day! πŸ™‚

  21. We fed Des the THK food with grain that was the most affordable option after he was diagnosed with the esophageal stricture. Frankly, I don’t remember the name of it, either! How sad. I think it was turkey flavored. In any case, I agree with everything you’ve said here, and I wish I could feed him that every day, but it’s just too much money–and it’s kind of annoying to make it. We started making about three days’ worth and keeping it in the fridge, but then you have to add more water anyway (and it’s COLD, so that’s a whole ‘nother issue). It’s just not ever going to be as simple as tossing some kibble in a bowl. We considered kibble plus THK as a supplement, but it’s all too much. We kept Des on that food for a while until his food regurgitation seemed to all but disappear (he will probably always send back water when he chugs–still can’t find a solution for that other than really limiting his water intake, which he just LOVES by the way).

    • Because I have the memory of preparing dog food from scratch in big batches, I didn’t find THK terribly inconvenient. And even Honey’s current food, I cut up and put into a Kong.

      But you’re right. There is nothing like kibble for fast food. There have been days I considered eating it myself–especially when I’m hungry and don’t want to heat up the kitchen. :0

  22. I LOVE Honest Kitchen. I like the fact that some of the products contain meat that was humanely raised or wild-caught. I like at least those animals had a decent life before ending up in dog food. With DeDe’s allergies, it’s nice to have grain-free and poultry-free options. I can never remember the names of the foods either, but the fish one is what we get. I can’t afford to solely feed that, but I do use it to supplement.

    • I’m with you on the sourcing of the animals who give their lives for food. It’s not something I see discussed very often in regards to pet foods.

      Someday, dog and cat lovers will need to have some very hard conversations about the relationship between livestock animals and pet animals.

  23. How did I not catch on to the clever photo captions the first time I read this? You’re sneaky, Pamela… and my brain was obviously tired!

  24. Sorry I missed this post when it came out! I was on vacation. Daisy eats The Honest Kitchen. I LOVE IT!! Yes, it is very expensive and I can only afford to have her on it. She has megacolon which without proper diet can lead to some serious issues. This food has enough liquid and fiber to help her gut-and it comes grain free so her allergies don’t act up.

    And honestly, I can tell you which grain free ones are which. The names just become part of the charm. LOL

    I also love the ingredients. Not only human grade, but non GMO veggies and many organic products.

    BTW, LOVE the video. Way better than my first attempt which was a half blurry video of a bouncing puppy. LOL