Great Life Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Great Life Dog Food product line includes three dry recipes.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Great Life Buffalo
- Great Life Chicken
- Great Life Salmon
Great Life Salmon recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Great Life Salmon
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Wild salmon, whole barley, whole brown rice, oatmeal, freeze dried mussel, freeze dried pumpkin, freeze dried squash, freeze dried parsley, freeze dried papaya, freeze dried chia seed, freeze dried kale sprouts, freeze dried broccoli sprouts, freeze dried barly sprouts, inulin, suncured alfalfa meal, yams, blueberries, cranberries, parsley, artichoke, rosemary, probiotics: (Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Lactobacillus rhamnosus fermentation product dehydrated, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product dehydrated, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product dehydrated, Bifidobacterium thermophilum fermentation product dehydrated, Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product dehydrated, Enterococcus faecium fermentation product dehydrated, Bacillus subtillus fermentation product dehydrated), wild salmon oil, parsley, artichoke, rosemary, vitamins: (lecithin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, niacin supplement, folic acid, biotin), dl-methionine, minerals: (calcium pantothenate, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, selenium)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||14%||53%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||31%||47%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second 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 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 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 fifth ingredient includes mussel. Mussels are clam-like animals notably rich in glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients proven to support long-term joint health.
The sixth ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is parsley. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score1 of 91.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of chia seed, an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.
However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Next, we find inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
In addition, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
And lastly, this food 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.
Great Life Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Great Life 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 24% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chia seed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Great Life is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Great Life Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
04/08/2016 Last Update