Best Breed Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Best Breed Grain Free product line lists two 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 Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables
  • Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits and Vegetables

Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Salmon meal, red lentils, chickpeas, green peas, white fish meal, canola oil, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, canola oil, natural chicken flavor, ground flax seed, menhaden fish oil, lecithin, calcium carbonate, kelp meal, new zealand green mussel, cranberries, blueberries, salt, potassium chloride, dl methionine, choline chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, l-lysine, l-carnitine, vitamin E supplement, glucosamine, ascorbic acid, 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) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%18%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%37%35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears2 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The second ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The third item includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The last three items were all legume ingredients: lentils, chickpeas and peas. Though they’re a mixture of different items, there’s a bigger issue to consider here…

The questionable practice of ingredient splitting.

You see, if you were to total all legume items, the combined total would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list — likely nudging out the salmon meal as the first (and predominant) ingredient in this dog food.

The fifth ingredient includes whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The sixth ingredient is 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.3

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.

The next seven items include a series of nutrient-rich vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Watercress
  • Spinach

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, 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.3

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, 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.

In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

Next, we find menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Best Breed Grain Free looks like 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of all the lentils, chickpeas, peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Dog Food is a legume-based kibble using a moderate amount of salmon or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/05/2013 Original review
07/05/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Best Breed website
  3. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  4. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
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  • Pattyvaughn

    You’ve already gotten some great advice. I would ask the vet to send a stool sample to the lab for analysis. And I would add probiotics and digestive enzymes to her food at every meal. And I would look into changing foods.

  • beaglemom

    Hi Beverly, in addition I might consider having another stool sample checked. Sometimes certain parasites are a bit tough to find on a routine fecal float. Also – consider adding a quality probiotic to her diet. It’ll help keep the good bacteria in her gut populated. A food sensitivity is also a possibility as Labs explained below. Or, one of my dogs consistently had soft stools until I added a digestive enzyme supplement to his meals. Unfortunately poop issues can sometimes take some detective work :(

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Beverly, Take a look at the ingredient list for each food you’ve fed that she’s had loose stools on. Try to find the common denominator. Like were they all chicken based? Or did they all contain Tomato pomace? See what all the foods have in common, then choose a new food that doesn’t contain those ingredients.

  • Beverly

    I need help…my 5 month old mini aussie has problems with soft stools alot of the time, vet did a stool sample and it was negative for parasites. I have had her on rice/chicken twice now to control the very lose stools and when I put her back on food (TOTW) she intermittently has soft stools again. I had her on a different food before but she still had soft stools much of the time. Any ideas?? the vet didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong. I know about the pumpkin, any one out there ever had this problem with their dog?

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! Absolutely!

  • InkedMarie

    not Patty but yes, it does make sense.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi PattyVaughn,

    Sandy and I were also surprised to find canola on the ingredients list twice. And this same duplication can be verified by visiting the product’s web page.

    This is probably an error on the label (or the website).

    In any case, until we know which incidence of “canola oil” to remove (which would significantly alter this item’s importance on the ingredients list), we are compelled to leave them both right where we found them.

    Hope this makes sense.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How come this has canola oil listed twice?