Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Best Breed Grain Free product line lists 2 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables (4.5 stars) [A]
  • Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits and Vegetables [A]

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Salmon meal, red lentils, chickpeas, green peas, white fish meal, canola oil, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, natural flavor, ground flax seed, menhaden fish oil, lecithin, calcium carbonate, kelp meal, new zealand green mussel, cranberries, blueberries, salt, potassium chloride, d/l methionine, choline chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, l-lysine, l-carnitine, vitamin E supplement, glucosamine, ascorbic acid, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis30%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%18%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%37%35%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 35%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The third ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient lists peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

We also note that the last three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Peas

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

You see, if we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list — probably making legumes (not meat) the predominant ingredient in this recipe.

The fifth ingredient is whitefish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The sixth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The next seven items include a series of nutrient-rich vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Watercress
  • Spinach

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, flaxseed is 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.

Next, this recipe contains menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

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 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.

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dr. Gary’s Best Breed 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, chickpeas, peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing at least a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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.

Best Breed Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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.

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Notes and Updates

01/02/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Hamad Alzaidan

    So what puppy food do u suggest for GSD puppy? I want my puppy to grow up healthy with a good build so I’m little concerned what to choose.
    Till now I see these two are top:

    •Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    •Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • Ghost

    I’m not sure what wilderness or blue product you are comparing it to. The high fat content is endurance energy for working dogs. High fat is not necessarily a bad thing for a puppy but could make them overactive or gain too much weight. Your vet is the first place I’d start. I raised my last Malinois on DR Gary puppy food to 6 months but she has been on this food ever since. She is a very active dog and this food barely maintains her weight. She is not a good eater either. But my adult males maintain excellent weight without over feeding on this. I personally would feed a puppy food because of the high DHA content for brain development. Or you could feed this and supplement a little fish oil to bump up the DHA.

  • Hamad Alzaidan

    Hi, I just got a GSD 8 weeks old puppy and the breeder recommended this as u are saying but how come this high in fat is better than the wilderness and blue?
    not to mention its for adult but the breeder said its so god for the puppies.

  • Ghost

    I can’t say it’s better or worse. What I have found is all the “high” end foods were too rich and the dog was not effeciently digesting it. The stool was very smelly and runny. I never had that problem with Dr Gary.

  • Robyn Wilson-miller

    I am receiving my puppy tomorrow a blue nose pit. I’ve raised a roc, while she’s 5 now we started with blue she kept the runs. I had to go to sensitive diet. Would you say this is
    better than sensitive diet

  • Ghost

    I manage a K9 Unit and have trained working dogs professionally for 7 years. This is one of the best foods I have used. It costs a little more but it is the only food I have used that keeps good solid stools on my shepherds and Malinois. Every other food I have used makes the dogs stool like soft serve ice cream. “High end foods”, like blue and wilderness, gives them the screaming runs. I am currently raising a puppy on the puppy blend. Keeps good weight, small tight kibble and the dog doesn’t eat or poop as much.

  • Alex Woodman

    This is a really good food. Hard to find good fish only foods.

  • Dredges

    How would you rate this against some other brands like Acana, TOTW and Dr. Tim’s grain free?

  • dani

    Secrets To Dog Training: Stop Your Dog’s Behavior Problems! ———-


  • Pattyvaughn

    You’ve already gotten some great advice. I would ask the vet to send a stool sample to the lab for analysis. And I would add probiotics and digestive enzymes to her food at every meal. And I would look into changing foods.

  • beaglemom

    Hi Beverly, in addition I might consider having another stool sample checked. Sometimes certain parasites are a bit tough to find on a routine fecal float. Also – consider adding a quality probiotic to her diet. It’ll help keep the good bacteria in her gut populated. A food sensitivity is also a possibility as Labs explained below. Or, one of my dogs consistently had soft stools until I added a digestive enzyme supplement to his meals. Unfortunately poop issues can sometimes take some detective work 🙁

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Beverly, Take a look at the ingredient list for each food you’ve fed that she’s had loose stools on. Try to find the common denominator. Like were they all chicken based? Or did they all contain Tomato pomace? See what all the foods have in common, then choose a new food that doesn’t contain those ingredients.

  • Beverly

    I need help…my 5 month old mini aussie has problems with soft stools alot of the time, vet did a stool sample and it was negative for parasites. I have had her on rice/chicken twice now to control the very lose stools and when I put her back on food (TOTW) she intermittently has soft stools again. I had her on a different food before but she still had soft stools much of the time. Any ideas?? the vet didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong. I know about the pumpkin, any one out there ever had this problem with their dog?

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! Absolutely!

  • InkedMarie

    not Patty but yes, it does make sense.

  • Hi PattyVaughn,

    Sandy and I were also surprised to find canola on the ingredients list twice. And this same duplication can be verified by visiting the product’s web page.

    This is probably an error on the label (or the website).

    In any case, until we know which incidence of “canola oil” to remove (which would significantly alter this item’s importance on the ingredients list), we are compelled to leave them both right where we found them.

    Hope this makes sense.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How come this has canola oil listed twice?