The Brothers Complete product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole eggs dried, turkey meal, cassava/tapioca, peas, pea starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried chicken liver, pumpkin, ground flaxseed, alfalfa meal, dried carrots, potassium chloride, sea salt, choline chloride, dried whole cell algae (pure source of omega 3 DHA), mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E), rosemary extract, green tea extract, encapsulated probiotics [dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product], digestive enzymes [amylase (Aspergillus oryzae), protease (Aspergillus oryzae), cellulase (Trichoderma reesei), lactase (Aspergillus oryzae), hemicellulase (Trichoderma reesei), lipase (Aspergillus oryzae), selective prebiotics [organic, long chain, highly branched inulin], vegetable pomace (carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach), cranberry pomace, lysine HCL, dl-methionine, lecithin, taurine, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D3 supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, folic acid, biotin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, l-ascorbyl 2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C activity), zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, vitamin B12 supplement, l-carnitine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||40%||17%||35%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||35%||31%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is whole dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fifth ingredient includes 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.
The sixth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is dried chicken liver, a dehydrated product made from whole chicken livers. Because it contains about 62% protein and 20% fat, this item makes a favorable addition to this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
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 five 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, 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.
In addition, we note the inclusion of 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.
Next, we find vegetable pomace, the solid by-product of vegetables after pressing for juice or oil. This item contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.
Vegetable pomace can be a controversial ingredient. Some praise pomace for its high fiber, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough vegetable pomace here to make much of a difference.
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.
Brothers Complete Dog Food The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Brothers Complete 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 40%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 35%.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Brothers Complete is a grain-free, meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats and egg 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.