Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Dr. Gary’s Best Breed product line includes 12 dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Best Breed Puppy Diet
- Best Breed Poodle Dog Diet
- Best Breed German Dog Diet
- Best Breed All Breed Dog Diet
- Best Breed Schnauzer Dog Diet
- Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet
- Best Breed Cocker Spaniel Dog Diet
- Best Breed Senior Dog Diet (3 stars)
- Best Breed Field Dog Diet (4.5 stars)
- Best Breed Working Dog Diet (3.5 stars)
- Best Breed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet
- Best Breed Salmon with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet (3.5 stars)
Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Dr. Gary's Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat [preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)], egg product, pearled barley, brewers dried yeast, menhaden fish meal, natural chicken flavor, lecithin, menhaden fish oil, flax seed, canola oil, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dl methionine, l-lysine, monosodium phosphate, salt, cranberry, alfalfa meal, new zealand sea mussel, ascorbic acid, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), glucosamine, garlic powder, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dehydrated, kelp meal, vitamin E supplement, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||14%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||31%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The seventh ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The eighth item is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With five notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we find canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while some condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.
Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.4
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Best Breed Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Best Breed Dog Food looks like an above average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the brewers yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Best Breed Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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Notes and Updates
01/03/2012 Original review
07/04/2013 Review updated
07/04/2013 Last Update
- Best Breed website ↩
- Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005) ↩
- Wikipedia definition ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩