Simply Right Exceed Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★½☆

Simply Right Exceed Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Simply Right Exceed Grain Free product line includes one dry dog food.

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.

Simply Right Exceed Salmon and Pea Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, pea protein, tapioca, dried ground peas, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), choline chloride, niacin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, sodium selenite, biotin, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt sulfate, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis27%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%17%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%36%38%

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 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

The third ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient includes tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The fifth ingredient is dried ground peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The seventh ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The eighth ingredient is 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.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this food also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Simply Right Exceed Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Simply Right Exceed Grain Free looks like an 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 31%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, dried peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

We like this product. However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipe. For without this controversial ingredient, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Simply Right Exceed Grain Free Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of salmon and salmon meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.


However, menadione phobics may wish to ignore our rating and look elsewhere for another product.

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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

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Notes and Updates

02/21/2014 Original review
02/21/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Tupelohoney

    I love this dog food. I have years of working for a vet and bred and showed dogs. I now just have my best buddy who is a little mixed breed. I was looking for a high quality food that I could afford.She has been eating this for about 6 months and has done great on it from day 1. Sams Club in no way should be held responsible for any ones vet bills unless something was wrong with the food. There is nothing wrong with this dog food. I think its great.

  • labdad

    Day 4 after the dog became sick , the emergency vet bill was just over $200 , the followup to his regular vet was also $200+ for exam, blood panel and medication. Now hes got diarrhea (most likely because of the antibioitics on an empty stomach ).I contacted Sam’s customer service email and the first day when I told them I was returning the food they replied basically they were sorry. But I have replied to them about vet bills and they wont reply back anymore. Sam’s Customer service is crap,just like their dogfood.

  • labdad

    You’ll notice my post 25 days ago. We are starting our second bag but will be returning it today and having a talk with their management.. The two mature of our three labs have been eating this and are throwing it up . Our male looks is throwing up ,very irritable and a little weak. I’m making him a batch of beef broth boiled rice so he can have something in him .The only thing we can think of is this food , its the only thing we’ve changed, so its an obvious guess. Will be going back to Petsmart Authority Grain Free asap. No more Sam’s products for our dogs.

  • labdad

    saw this salmon formula today at Sam’s .Seems to be a good value . Currently feeding Authority Grain-free from Petsmart . Only reasons I am thinking of switching is availability and price since Petsmart is usually out of the Large breed formula. Still wanting to stay in the 3 star range

  • Akari_32

    Anyone have a calorie count on this? This looks like it could be an option when money is tight.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Thanks. I will have to look for it next time I go there. It mat be an “upgrade” for the elderly lady I pick food up for at a decent price.

  • sandy

    It was from an email with photos.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Dr Mike..where did you find this on line? I can’t seem to dind it on the sams website?