Sportmix is a brand with a long-standing reputation for producing affordable and tasty dog food.
You’ve probably seen several of their brand lines, and Wholesomes dog food caught your eye.
But is it a good value for money?
This dog food review aims to answer that question and examine what sub-categories in this brand line are about.
Sportmix Wholesomes Line Introduction
Sportmix Wholesomes is the biggest Sportmix brand line.
Sportmix dog food is a USA brand owned by Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. The entire Sportmix dog food range consists of four brand lines: Wholesomes, Originals, Premium, and CanineX.
Wholesomes are designed to provide dogs with complete and balanced nutrition. The line offers wholesome ingredients and many options for grains and legumes. This way, you can address grain and legumes allergies — or simply choose a healthier grain for your dog.
Every formula in the Wholesomes brand line meets the AAFCO nutritional requirements for dogs.
What Kind of Dog Food Does Sportmix Wholesomes Offer?
Sportmix Wholesomes dog food has adult dog formulas for and a puppy formula. The brand line is divided into three categories:
- Wholesomes Originals
- Wholesomes Grain-Free
- Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach
All the dog food in this brand line provides a complete nutritional profile and a balanced diet to dogs.
They address specific dietary needs by adjusting the ingredients. This means changing grains or completely excluding them.
Wholesomes Originals address the nutritional needs of adult dogs, large breeds, and puppies.
Grain-free and sensitive skin/stomach formulas are for dogs with specific allergies and dietary needs.
Sportmix Wholesomes Originals Dry Dog Food
Dogs need proper macronutrients to thrive. Sportmix Wholesomes Originals provides complete nutrition for different life stages and breed sizes. They do so by including whole grains and addressing specific nutritional needs.
Different dogs require different proteins, fat, and calcium-phosphorus ratios. Besides the quality of the ingredients themselves, they need to be in proper proportion.
Wholesomes Originals features formulas for adult dogs, puppies, and large breeds. Puppy formula, for example, has more fat than the others, 20%. Young dogs need it for brain development, growth, and daily activities.
Crude protein in these formulas ranges from 22% to 26%, while the Puppy formula has 30%. That’s plenty of protein for adult dogs and puppies — that will ensure muscle growth and support daily activities.
Crude fat for most formulas falls between 12% and 16%. This is great for maintenance and large breeds, though it might be too much for overweight dogs.
Our Recommended Product: Sportmix Wholesomes Originals with Lamb Meal and Rice Formula
The Originals with Lamb Meal & Rice Formula features two animal protein sources (lamb meal and beef meal). They also include high-quality brown rice as primary grain and fish for healthy Omega-3s.
- Whole meat is the first ingredient, so dogs get high-quality protein
- High-quality whole grain is the primary source of carb and fiber
- Omega-3s for a healthy coat and shiny fur
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Grain-Free formulas are the latest addition to Sportmix Wholesomes dog food. They are suitable for dogs with grain or wheat allergies.
All the formulas in Wholesomes Grain-Free provide complete nutrition for adult dogs. The primary sources of carbs are potatoes, peas, and chickpeas.
These formulas also include fruits and veggies like apples, cranberries, carrots, and spinach — for added vitamins and flavor. Such additions can be very beneficial to our furry friends — and they taste great.
Crude protein in grain-free recipes is 23–24%. This percentage meets the AAFCO guidelines (>18%), but bear in mind that peas in these formulas will inflate the overall protein count.
Our Recommended Product: Wholesomes Grain-Free Chicken Meal and Potatoes Dog Food
The Chicken Meal & Potatoes grain-free formula has a balanced mix of potatoes and peas. Pea derivatives are further down the ingredient list.
- Grain-free and gluten-free formula for dogs with grain/gluten allergies
- Balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coa
- With apples, blueberries, cranberries, and carrots for better taste
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food
Sometimes, skin irritation and digestive upset are symptoms of allergic reactions to dog food. One way that might solve these issues for your canine friend is — to switch up the food ingredients.
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Skin & Stomach helps dogs’ skin and upset tummies by introducing whole grains and excluding legumes. Refined grains can often induce skin allergies, while legumes are known to cause digestive problems.
As for macronutrients, crude protein in Sensitive Skin & Stomach formulas is 23–24%. We’re leaning towards them since they don’t have peas or legumes, and the protein will come from a) meat meals and b) high-quality grains.
Fiber is around 5% which is ok, considering they come mostly from grains. There are formulas with less fiber (and smaller potential for digestive issues). But most of them contain some form of peas and other legumes.
Our Recommendation: Wholesomes Sensitive Skin and Stomach with Lamb Protein Dog Food
This formula has easily digestible brown rice and whitefish as a source of Omega-3. These ingredients promote healthy skin and soothe the stomach.
- Brown rice and oatmeal are high-quality whole grain, easy to digest
- Omega-3 fatty acids for skin and fur nourishment
- No peas or other legumes in the formula
Sportmix Wholesomes Ingredient Analysis
Sportmix brand is quite budget-friendly, and there are many formulas to choose from.
Overall, there are many high-quality ingredients in Wholesomes. Still, some ingredients could have been better.
Let’s look at the ingredients across this brand line and see where they stand.
All the formulas use a specified meat meal as the first ingredient and primary protein source. According to AAFCO, a meat meal is a “rendered product from mammal tissues.” Rendering is a process for removing bacteria, leaving a high-protein ingredient. It makes the food safer.
Meat meals and fish meals provide animal protein. But whole meats are generally preferred as the protein source is always specified. Plus, you know your dog is getting lean meat and high-quality protein.
As for Sportmix Wholesomes formulas, a meat meal is sometimes complemented by meat by-products or fish meals. These introduce extra protein and minerals but should not be used as the first ingredient.
The fiber in Sportmix formulas comes mainly from grains and grain substitutes. The primary sources include brown rice, potatoes, and peas.
These are all good sources of dietary fiber for healthy digestion.
However, many formulas include peas and pea derivatives. Peas can inflate the overall protein count, so your dog is getting a portion of plant protein as well. The problem with plant protein is twofold:
- Its amino acid profile is incomplete
- Vegetable protein is harder to digest, i.e. it’s not as readily available
To make matters worse, there seems to have been ingredient splitting in these formulas. This means that the overall pea amount should be higher on the ingredient list.
The most prevalent source of fat in the Wholesomes brand line is chicken fat. Chicken fat is a high-quality source of fat — it will provide your dog with the energy they need.
Chicken fat in these formulas is preserved with mixed tocopherols. Mixed tocopherols are different sources of vitamin E. They are used to reduce the oxidation of chicken fat in pet food.
Omega-3 fatty acids come from multiple sources, depending on the formula. Most formulas include flaxseed, but also fish meals.
Wholesomes use salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, and whitefish meal for animal sources of Omega-3s. These are all good sources and will give your pooch a fab coat and healthy skin.
Menhaden fish meal is a particularly good choice since it is less contaminated than other fish.
Carbs & Fiber
The sources of carbs vary greatly depending on whether the formulas are grain-free or grain-inclusive.
The most common grain source is brown rice. Brown rice is healthy whole grain rice with a rich nutritional profile. It will provide your dog with additional fiber, vitamins, and sustained energy.
Brown rice is often combined with white rice and rice by-products. These further round its nutritional value and are good additions.
Some formulas also use oatmeal, which is considered a high-quality grain. Oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber. A good source of fiber is especially important for Sensitive Skin and Stomach formulas since they have no legumes.
Grain-free formulas use potatoes and peas instead of grains.
Potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, we’ve noticed that sweet potatoes are farther down the list in some formulas, and regular potatoes are up.
We can only assume that the manufacturer means regular potatoes. This is a pity — sweet potatoes are more readily available and highly nutritious alternatives to regular ones.
As for peas, you want to make sure that the formula is not too rich with them. In light of the recent ongoing controversy between peas and DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy), it might be best to steer clear of feeding your dog too many peas and pea derivatives.
Vitamins & Minerals
All the formulas have added vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins like A, D3, E, B-vitamins support everyday bodily functions. They also act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage and boost immunity.
The formulas include chelated minerals. This is important since chelated minerals are better absorbed and more readily available to your dog’s body.
Artificial Colors & Flavors
Sportmix Wholesomes formulas do not contain artificial flavors, colors, or artificial preservatives.
This is great news since food dyes and flavors can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
Other Notable Ingredients
Some formulas have added amino acids, like DL-methionine, L-lysine, threonine, and taurine.
Taurine is particularly important for grain-free formulas since low taurine levels have been noticed in dogs with DCM.
However, it is not considered an essential nutrient (AAFCO), and dogs can synthesize it from other amino acids. Furthermore, the exact mechanism of DCM and the role of taurine (if any) is still not entirely clear.
We’d also like to mention fruits and vegetables in the Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula. It’s great that Sportmix decided to add cranberries, apples, carrots, and spinach. These are wonderful sources of vitamin C and natural vegetable fibers.
Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food Reviews
Sportmix Wholesomes dog food reviews are generally positive.
The pet owners like the price and most dogs seem to like the taste of the food. Many pet parents also say that their dogs’ skin got healthier.
A typical review for Wholesomes Chicken Meal & Rice formula looks something like this:
“We researched many brands online. We took those high-rated brands and crossed them with affordability, and this food was highly rated and very affordable.”You can read more Sportmix Wholesomes dog food reviews on Chewy.
A minor portion of commenters complains about the price of the dog food. The most severe issue reported was digestive problems and allergies.
You can find more Wholesomes dog food reviews on Chewy.
Sportmix Wholesomes Recalls
Up until 2020, Sportmix dog food had no recalls.
However, in late December 2020, Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. recalled many pet foods due to aflatoxin poisoning. The final FDA report stated that 130 canines died, and 220 got sick.
Although many Sportmix products were recalled, Sportmix Wholesomes was not among them.
Yet, in March 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. issued another recall — this time for potential salmonella contamination. The recall included many Midwestern Pet Foods brands: CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Pro Pac and Pro Pac Ultimates, and others. Sportmix Wholesomes was among the lines that were recalled.
FDA website allows you to stay informed on current pet food recalls.
Sportmix Wholesomes is budget-friendly, well-known dry dog food.
The main advantage of this pet food is a good selection of grain-inclusive and grain-free options.
Additionally, the legume-free formulas are welcome and not often seen on the market.
However, there are a few issues. The biggest one is the absence of whole meats as the first ingredient. Protein is the ingredient to look out for, and we prefer the best options for our dogs.
Furthermore, the amount of peas in some of the formulas seems high. This could potentially be a problem regarding the DCM.
If you want a budget-friendly, good dog food for skin allergies, check out the Sportmix dog food range. But, when it comes to the ingredients’ quality in grain-free formulas, there are other foods that are much better — for example, Purina Beyond or Victor.
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