Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food earns the Advisor’s above-average rating of 4 stars.
The Best Breed Dog Food product line includes 12 kibbles. Since we could not locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these products on the Best Breed website, we’re unable to report life stage recommendations for each product.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Best Breed Puppy Diet
- Best Breed Field Dog Diet
- Best Breed Poodle Dog Diet
- Best Breed German Dog Diet
- Best Breed Working 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 Catfish with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet
- Best Breed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet was selected to represent the others 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, perna canaliculus, 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 item lists oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The third ingredient lists brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest.
The fourth ingredient lists 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 lists 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 item is egg product, a dehydrated 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. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The eighth ingredient is brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.
The ninth ingredient includes menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
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.
Fish meal is commonly made from the by-products of commercial fish operations.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find only a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
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, canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority 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 raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1
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.
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although the majority of experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic, especially in small amounts (as it is here).
Thirdly, 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, the company appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
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.
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Best Breed looks to be an above-average dry dog food.
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.
Due to its apparently lower meat content, the Senior Dog Diet rating has been reduced to 3 stars.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Best Breed Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
01/03/2011 Original review
01/03/2012 Last Update
- Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005) ↩
- 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) ↩
- Wikipedia definition ↩