Great Life Grain Free dry dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Great Life Grain Free product line includes 3 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 dog food was selected to represent the others 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 barely 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, thiamone 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.
Although a dehydrated meat is considered a protein concentrate, readers choosing this product because of the label’s implication this ingredient is a “fresh” meat may wish to look elsewhere for another product.
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 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 items list 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 three notable exceptions…
First, we also note the inclusion of digestive enzymes. These supplementary compounds are believed to help an animal break down larger nutrient molecules into more biologically usable components.
Next, the company appears to have applied friendly microorganisms 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.
Great Life Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Great Life Grain Free 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.
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.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-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 an above-average amount of meat.
Great Life Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using an above-average amount of salmon, buffalo or chicken 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
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.
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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
10/11/2011 Original review
02/12/2012 Updated to reflect the use of air dried meats
02/12/2012 Last Update