The Honest Kitchen Requires a 401k Hardship Withdrawal to Feed 3 Dogs

January 18, 2013

Dog Nutrition, Product Reviews

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Okay, so that sounds harsh, but have you heard of The Honest Kitchen?  I was blown away by how much this food costs.

I discovered The Honest Kitchen at the Jones and Company Pets annual anniversary sale.  All of the pet food is BOGO – buy one, get one half off.  There are a few sales at various pet stores that I have on my calendar and these sales, along with frequent buyer clubs, help us with the cost of premium dog food.

I was loading up my cart with Halo Pets kibble and Merrick Canned Food when I walked past The Honest Kitchen display.  As you know, I’m always interested in healthier foods for our dogs and the company rep scored a big point with me – she didn’t look in my cart and immediately start tearing down the competition, something that bugs the hell out of me.

The Cost of The Honest Kitchen: She was a great sales person and after my introduction to The Honest Kitchen, I was sold.  The Honest Kitchen offers a wholesome, less processed diet for our dogs.  Everything they make is 100% human grade (so I can eat it), made in the USA, and doesn’t contain the controversial grains some dogs have trouble with (corn, soy, wheat, rice, beet pulp).

I grabbed two big boxes (BOGO, remember) of Verve and then saw the price ($63 per box).  I put the two big boxes back and grabbed two medium boxes ($34 per box).  Note: prices mentioned are regular (non-BOGO) prices and I paid for them (these weren’t given to me for free in exchange for a review).

I was excited to see how the dogs liked the food.  Although I was told how to make the food (plus there are clear instructions on the box), I screwed up the first serving and the dogs weren’t very interested.  Think instant oatmeal, mixed with lukewarm water, and served immediately.  Top Chef here I come!

Verve Ingredients: Dehydrated beef, organic oats, organic rye, organic flaxseed, potatoes, carrots, organic alfalfa, eggs, apples, parsley, cranberries, spinach, chicory, rosemary, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

The Dog’s Review:  So I scrapped that serving and started fresh and got it right the 2nd time.  Sydney LOVED the food.  Rodrigo seemed to enjoy it and Blue ate it, but you could tell that he wasn’t a fan.  I had two boxes of Verve (the BOGO required that you get the same “flavor”) and I hoped that he would warm up to it.

I fed the dogs the food mixed with their kibble 2x a week as a “treat” and it was still a hit with Sydney and Rodrigo (especially Sydney).  Blue warmed up to it, but it still wasn’t his favorite; Sydney usually finished what he left behind when he walked away after having eaten the Halo Pets kibble, but not much of The Honest Kitchen.

The Fur Mom’s Review:  I loved the food and found myself wondering if a different “flavor” would appeal to Blue.  The two medium boxes we purchased lasted nearly 2 months with three dogs.  But we didn’t feed them The Honest Kitchen daily and instead we fed it to them as a treat – not a great idea for us and explains why our dogs had gas whenever they ate it.  And Rodrigo has a sensitive tummy and although he enjoyed the food, I didn’t enjoy his loose stools.

I’ve been thinking about cooking for the dogs or switching to a raw food diet, but the cost and time has kept the change at bay.  The Honest Kitchen allows us to put the dogs on a healthier diet, while making sure that they get all the nutrients that they need.  Will I be able to do this on my own?  I worry that by cooking for our dogs, they’ll be missing out on key nutrients that a brand like The Honest Kitchen can provide.

But, to be honest, I just can’t get past the price.  It would take some changes for us to afford The Honest Kitchen for our dogs.  Looking at their food choices, I would choose the grain free versions: Zeal (wild-caught white fish), Embark (cage-free turkey) and Love (hormone-free beef), which range from $86 to $105 (wow!) for 10 pound boxes (which makes 40 pounds of food).

Based on what I read on the site, our dogs, who have a combined weight of 190 pounds, would eat about 6-1/3 cups of The Honest Kitchen daily.  A 10-pound box will last us about a week.  We would be spending approximately $400 a month on dog food.  This blows my mind.  I’m an accountant by day and I’m pretty sure my math is right, but I redid the calculation several times.

When Keep the Tail Wagging takes off financially, I will definitely consider switching the dogs to Honest Kitchen.  If you have one dog or a better budget; I suggest giving Honest Kitchen a try and please let me know what you think.

For now, Honest Kitchen has inspired me to rethink cooking for our dogs.

UPDATE:  Thank you, Kim Klune, for filling me in on the The Honest Kitchen Allies Program.  At this time, it’s for reputable dog and cat breeders and qualifying rescue groups.  Not bloggers – bummer.  But that doesn’t make it any less impressive!  You can also read an interesting view point on Honest Kitchen in this blog post.  I found it fascinating.


Have you tried The Honest Kitchen or do you feed your dogs The Honest Kitchen?  Please share your experience.

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29 Responses to “The Honest Kitchen Requires a 401k Hardship Withdrawal to Feed 3 Dogs”

  1. Peggy Frezon Says:

    I feel the same way! I love the ingredients and quality, but I can’t afford to buy it. I buy Innova, which is expensive too, but I’ve noticed my dogs’ health improve by feeding them quality dog food. We all want the best for our dogs, but it’s a shame that feeding our dogs the very best is a hardship for many.
    Peggy Frezon recently published..Two wagging cheerleaders for Super Dog SundayMy Profile


  2. Kim Clune Says:

    We do feed THK’s Force to our 60 pound hound and 100 pound Newfy. They love it with their whole hearts (and jumping bodies) so we love it.

    We supposedly cut our cost by cutting servings in half and adding Orijen kibble, but perceived huge savings is not a mathematical absolute. Orijen is pretty pricey too – and it’s kibble which, although a higher grade, is still processed. When I priced it out as compared with a canned food diet, it wasn’t that much more.

    Whole foods are what we were striving for, but we barely cook for ourselves. Cooking for the dogs wasn’t going to cut it. THK solves that problem entirely AND, even with mixing, we have no gas to report from either dog – other than the occasional belch of approval.

    What I will say in defense of feeding this much higher quality – if higher priced – food, is that our vet bills are lower due to having superbly healthy dogs. And, with kibble, I worry about recalls for plant contaminants which often make dogs ill or sick. That THK is made in a human processing plant with all the extra FDA tests that animal feed plants don’t to have to follow is a huge selling point for me – especially after Diamond and all the other brands made in the same pant last year caused so much issue. And no ingredients come from China unlike some brands that won’t even tell you they purchase from there.

    I’m part of THK’s Allies program, which offers coupons that help defer the cost. I’m pretty sure the program is still open to bloggers if you want to check it out.
    Kim Clune recently published..NEW GoPetFriendly Photo Contest – Join Us!My Profile


    • Kimberly Says:

      Thanks, Kim! – I’ll check out the program right now. Trying to find a nice balance for our dogs that gives them something healthy to eat is an educational process. They eat Halo now, which is a great food, but if I can give them something better and somehow cut the cost, I’m going to try.

      I want our dogs to be with us for a long long time and if quality food is the trick, then sign me up.

      Thanks for the tip!
      Kimberly recently published..5 Huge Dog Training Mistakes I’ve Made as a Dog OwnerMy Profile


  3. Rebecca Says:

    But think about all of the medical expenses you save by not feeding them bad food…
    Rebecca recently published..Rx Timer Caps – GIveaway!My Profile


    • Kimberly Says:

      So very true. We’re not feeding them bad food now. Halo Pets is a great product and I’m happy that we have that option. Feeding 3 dogs THK just wasn’t in our budget. I’m impressed with the food and would love to make the switch, but it’s expensive. What we pay a month now, we’d pay each week on THK.

      I’ll keep exploring options.
      Kimberly recently published..5 Huge Dog Training Mistakes I’ve Made as a Dog OwnerMy Profile


      • Rebecca Says:

        Oh, wow – that is a big a price difference. I think that with so many healthy options available (like Halo) you can’t go wrong at the end of the day. I think there’s 3 tiers of pet food: the real, real, bad (you know what ones I”m talking about), the ones that are good, and then that upper tier that are probably better than we eat ourselves. I think THK is in that upper tier, but so are a lot of other brands.

        I’ve been following THK since they started, actually, and the one common thing I notice with that brand is that people who have dogs with lots of allergies/skin issues/ etc. seem to do extremely well on it. So I usually recommend THK when someone has one of those dogs/cats.


  4. Gizmo ( Says:

    I’ve always fed premium food, but about two years ago switched over to Fromm’s grain-free and have been extremely pleased with the results. The added cost is absorbed by the smaller portion size. I do make almost all of Gizmo’s treats myself and incorporate as many vegetable into my recipes as I can. I liken buying “The Honest Kitchen” for Gizmo to buying prime rib and lobster for myself as a regular diet…Nice I guess, but really expensive and i can get the same nutrition elsewhere more economically. I can’t afford that diet for myself, nor can I afford it for Gizmo. It might be nice but it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
    Gizmo ( recently published..Frank Lloyd Wright, Geocaching, TV, Lincoln Logs & Dog Houses–Behind the Paw #3My Profile


  5. Mark Says:

    Just a short note Kimberly.

    If you have read my blog then you know I feed raw. People have a misconception about the time it takes and the price. It takes zero time as it is raw (no cooking at all). As for the cost, you can source butchers or online companies that sell in bulk and freeze the raw food, this works out to be way cheaper than anything else. I feed chicken backs and necks and turkey necks as the main food. Dogs are carnivores and need no other fruits and veggies, it’s not that they can’t have them but they just don’t need them. I give my guys carrots as a treat from time to time.

    I also recommend feeding the best food you can afford, especially grain free. If we feed our dogs well, and save 1 trip to the vet a year then this is well worth the extra cost of the food. I’d rather spend it on my dogs than at the vet. My vet has enough nice cars.

    Just my opinion.

    Mark recently published..Switching To Raw Dog FoodMy Profile


    • Kimberly Says:

      We need to get a dedicated freezer for the garage (or mud room) and a friend suggested Craigslist. She got one there for free when she went raw. We’re definitely switching to grain free this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see the difference.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mark. I need to spend more time on your blog. I made my first visit this morning.

      Kimberly recently published..5 Huge Dog Training Mistakes I’ve Made as a Dog OwnerMy Profile


  6. Jen Says:

    I have read about this food a lot over the past few months but I haven’t given it a try but I am intrigued. From what you have said about the cost, I don’t think I could afford to feed just that to my dogs based on their size, but I like the idea of what Kim does and mixes this food with kibble.
    You’ll have to let me know if you try the other flavors!
    Jen recently published..When A Little Bit Of Knowledge Can Be Dangerous And Heartbreaking. A Sherman Story Part 2My Profile


  7. Ann Paws Says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize the price on this food either. I’m going to be testing it out soon though. It sounds like it would be cheaper to buy your own meats and produce to prepare. I’m still a fan of dog kibble myself.
    Ann Paws recently published..Hay Is Not Just for HorsesMy Profile


  8. Karen Friesecke Says:

    I like HK foods and I use the Preference($55 a big box), which is the veggie mix to which you add your own meat to. I got a few samples of the Zeal and the dogs loved it, but at $110 a box the price is prohibitive for me.


  9. Jana Rade Says:

    I agree with you. I like the product but find it cost prohibitive. Same with Stella & Chewy’s, which I also love but cannot afford.
    Jana Rade recently published..Show Off Your Dog’s Waistline: BillyMy Profile


  10. Michelle S Says:

    I love the concept, but I’m not a fan and neither are my pets. I really didn’t like the consistency, and not one of my pets gave it more than a lick. I can’t recall which varieties we tried, but we brought home several different samples.

    I really like Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried dinners and treats. They’re much easier to prepare, and apparently pretty tasty.


  11. Sage Says:

    Not sure this would be something I’d be interested in trying. Sage is fed very high quality food now and is doing well on it.
    Sage recently published..Boring!My Profile


  12. Beth Says:

    I have been feeding HK to my lab for 3 years. She is so energetic and stays fit and trim. She is 60lbs and eats about 2 cups per day of the food. We also mix ground meat in morning and two pieces of chicken plus any assorted veggies we’re having at night.
    One 10 pound box lasts us about a month. We use Force which is Cchicken, or Emnbark, which is turkey.We love it! Our dog has no ear problems, she is perfect weight, doesn’t shed much at all, she has a great coat.
    One way to cut cots: visit their website, they have a rewards program. For every 12 boxes, you can get a voucher for a free box, of your choice! We have picked more expensive boxes for our free one, they always send us our choice.


  13. Poochie Project Says:

    I actually combined a coupon code with a free shipping weekend and ordered a few of their sample sizes (different flavors) for free. Very glad that I went that route seeing as Relay will have nothing to do with it. I’ve had a 30% success rate with the fosters. That being said, I do make my own food with some regularity to feed in addition to a well balanced commercial kibble, can food, and roll food so it may be that I have inadvertently created a more discriminating audience.
    Poochie Project recently published..The Best of #BtC4A 1/15My Profile


  14. Amy Says:

    Ty and Buster have been eating THK for more than 3 years now and they love it. I usually feed them Force, but have recently started mixing in some Thrive because Buster loves it.

    I understand the cost is higher – though the BOGO deal where you’re shopping is pretty darn good! Of course, it’s impossible to prove, but I think this food has saved me money at the vet. The first time my dogs saw the vet after I started them on THK, he lower the dosages of both dogs’ medications (Buster for seizures and Ty for hypothyroid). I can’t swear that it was due to the food – but that’s the only thing I’d changed. Now the boys go for their annual exams and the vet is always surprised by how good they look and how well they’re doing. Ty is 8 1/2 now and is the only dog still living from his litter and my goal is to have him around as long as I can!

    You might want to consider THK’s Preference formula – it’s less expense and all you’d need to add to it would be the protein. Also, I’m pretty sure their Allies program it’s broader than breeders and rescues. You might want to send Kim a note if that’s all you’re finding.
    Amy recently published..Pet Travel Hazards: OverstimulationMy Profile


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