Great Life Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Great Life Grain Free product line lists three 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.
- Great Life Grain Free Buffalo
- Great Life Grain Free Chicken
- Great Life Grain Free Wild Salmon
Great Life Grain Free Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Great Life Grain Free Chicken
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, tapioca, jicama, freeze dried chicken, freeze dried chicken liver, 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, enzymes (amylase, protease, cellulase, pectinase, lipase, phytase, xylanese, hemicellulase, alpha-galactosidase, invertase), probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus 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, 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 acids chelate, manganese amino acids chelate, cobalt amino acids chelate)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||14%||44%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||31%||39%|
The first ingredient on the label is chicken. However, the company has recently disclosed that the meat ingredient included on each of these recipes is actually an air dried (dehydrated) item.
The second ingredient includes tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The third ingredient is jicama, a legume that looks like a turnip. This starchy root vegetable contains the beneficial nutrient, inulin.
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.
The next two ingredients include freeze-dried chicken and freeze-dried chicken liver. Since the water content of these two items has been significantly reduced, both may be considered a kind of meat concentrate.
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 find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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.
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.
Great Life Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Great Life Grain Free 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 33% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing an above average amount of meat.
Great Life Grain Free Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using an above average amount of chicken, buffalo or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
A Final Word
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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".
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Notes and Updates
10/11/2011 Original review
02/12/2012 Updated to reflect the use of air dried meats
08/16/2013 Review updated
08/16/2013 Last Update