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

(4.5 / 5)

The Best Breed Grain Free product line lists two 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.

  1. Best Breed Grain Free Salmon with Fruits and Vegetables [A]
  2. Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits and Vegetables [A]

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

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%

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 30% 16% NA
Dry Matter Basis 33% 18% 41%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 37% 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 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.

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.

Best Breed Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, 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 moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of salmon or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.