Actr1um Holistic Dog Food Review (Walmart brand)

Actr1um Holistic Review
Chicken & Chicken Meal
Decent Grain Selections

Actr1um Holistic has been a Walmart brand for many years now. More than the 14 years I’ve been reviewing dog foods. It’s made by Elmira Pet Products who are Canada’s largest private label pet food manufacturers and makers of Nutram.

As a Walmart brand it’s good value for money, but is it good for your dog? Let’s take a look in our Actr1um Holistic dog food review…

Actr1um Holistic review

What the marketing says

The bag says #1 First Ingredient Real Chicken, but I’ll tell you why that’s misleading in a bit. They say there’s no added corn, wheat, or fillers which is good to see, but it depends what they class as fillers.

Probiotics are added which is always a plus point, and omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin and coat is standard these days.

There aren’t many other claims on the packaging, and you can ignore the picture of fresh blueberries and other glamorous ingredients – that’s just fancy marketing.

What the ingredients really say

We’ll take a look specifically at the Actr1um Holistic Chicken & Barley recipe for dogs, but they’re all similar and there’s an option for puppies.

I said I’d tell you why “First Ingredient Real Chicken” is misleading, and that’s because the first 6 ingredients are likely in the same portion size. Just say you had two main ingredients – chicken & barley – that would mean the chicken is not only the first ingredient, but the main ingredient. What we have here is 2 chicken ingredients (chicken and chicken meal), three grains, and peas. That means the grain and peas can outweigh the meat 2 to 1.


Protein of 24% is pretty good, and 14% fat is okay as well, but this further clarifies the amount of grain in Actr1um. I estimate carbohydrates to be 44%, so nearly twice as many carbs as protein.

Right then, that all sounds bad, but Actr1um Holistic is actually a decent dog food in many ways.

The main grains are barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. These are three of the best grain inclusions in a dog food and will offer your dog slow burning energy plus a range of nutrients.

Peas aren’t bad either when in moderation. I’ve seen some dog foods trick you into believing they’re mostly meat when the reality is they’re almost all peas, and that’s not good for your dog in the long run. In this food peas as the 4th ingredient will be a beneficial source of protein and fibre.

We also find rye and millet which further ramp up the grains. This is somewhat sad to see, but it’s also the reason Actr1um Holistic is affordable. They could make it better for a dog by increasing meat, but that would also increase cost and deter people from buying. Walmart know most consumers are on a budget, so a better brand with more meat won’t work for them.

You find natural flavor as an ingredient – what’s that you may ask, but a better question is why don’t they want you to know? AAFCO who specify pet food regulations say natural flavor can be “materials treated with heat, enzymes and/or acids” from an organic source (plant or animal).

Odds are the natural flavor is animal digest, a gruesome by-product of meat rendering (cooking up animal bits in a big vat). It’s common in pet foods to entice your pet to eat the food, especially as dogs aren’t overly enthusiastic about grains. Call it a sweetener.

If you shop in Walmart and this is what you can afford, then it’s much better than other rubbish made from wheat and by-products. I know this review has sounded negative in parts, but Actr1um Holistic is a decent affordable brand.

You could always bulk up the meat in your dogs diet by feeding some meat, organs, and other fresh ingredients to round off the diet.

Where to buy?

Actr1um Holistic Dog Food Review (Walmart brand)



Ingredients of Actr1um dog food (Chicken & Barley with Ancient Grains Recipe):

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Barley, Peas, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with mixed tocopherols), Rye, Millet, Natural Flavour, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Meal, Whole Dried Egg, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Dried Kelp, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate), Cranberries, Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Alfalfa, Yucca Schidigera, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium fermentation product, Dried Bifidobacterium Thermophilum fermentation product, Spinach, Broccoli, Blueberries, Pears, Bananas, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Capsicum, Paprika, Garlic, Chamomile, Dandelion, Dried Rosemary.

Guaranteed Analysis

Guaranteed analysis of Actr1um dog food (Chicken & Barley with Ancient Grains Recipe):

Protein(min) 24%
Fat(min) 14%
Crude Fibre(max) 3%
Carbohydrates *Estimated 44%
* May be estimated. Read how to calculate carbohydrates in a pet food.
6.8 Total Score
Actr1um Holistic Dog Food Review

If you're on somewhat of a budget and shop at Walmart, then Actr1um Holisitic is a decent mid-range dog food for a good price. You can buy better, but you can also buy a lot worse.

  • Chicken & Chicken Meal
  • Decent Grain Selections
  • Fairly grain heavy (five grain ingredients!)
User Rating: 3.29 (14 votes)

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