Brothers Complete Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Brothers Complete Grain Free Dog Food product line includes three kibbles, 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.
- Brothers Complete Grain Free with Fish Protein
- Brothers Complete Grain Free with Red Meat Protein
- Brothers Complete Grain Free with White Meat Protein
Brothers Complete Grain Free with White Meat Protein dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Brothers Complete Grain Free with White Meat Protein
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, tapioca, turkey meal, dried eggs, sweet potato, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried chicken liver, pumpkin, flaxseed, alfalfa meal, carrots, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, blueberries, cranberries, apples, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, spinach, dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, lecithin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, folic acid, biotin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, l-ascorbyl 2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C activity), zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, vitamin B12 supplement, fructooligosaccharide, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, amylase (Aspergillus oryzae), protease (Aspergillus oryzae), cellulase (Trichoderma reesei), lactase (Aspergillus oryzae), hemicellulase (Trichoderma reesei), lipase (Aspergillus oryzae)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||40%||16%||36%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||33%||32%|
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 tapioca. Tapioca is a starchy extract made from the root of the cassava plant. This carbohydrate is not only grain-free, it’s also gluten-free.
The third ingredient includes turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient includes dried eggs, 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 fifth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients.
The sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient includes dried chicken liver, a dehydrated product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.
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, the manufacturer 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.
Next, we note the inclusion of flaxseed, 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.
Thirdly, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Next, we also note the inclusion of enzymes, compounds designed to aid in the digestive process.
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.
Brothers Complete Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Brothers Complete Grain Free Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.
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 38% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
Above-average protein. Average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even allowing for the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a generous amount of meat.
Brothers Complete Grain Free Dog Food is a grain-free kibble using a generous amount of beef, fish and poultry meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 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
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Notes and Updates
04/21/2011 Original review
12/23/2011 Review updated, higher protein, removed brewers yeast)
12/23/2011 Last Update