Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Pet Nutrition makes dog food, cat food, and pet supplements. Their foods are holistic and they have grain free foods, grain-inclusive foods, and specialty formulas for different breeds. In total, they make 15 different formulas at this time for dogs ranging from puppies to seniors, large breeds, all breeds, working dogs, field dogs, and specific breeds. The company was founded by Dr. Gary Cotton, DVM (“Dr. Gary”) in 1994 in northwest Ohio. According to the company web site, Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is a family-owned, privately-held company. They rely on the following philosophy which they consider “Common Sense Nutrition:”

  • Only the best ingredients – not all ingredients should be created equal
  • Committed to Food Safety and Traceability
  • Packaged for freshness
  • Innovator in pet nutrition
  • Specialized Manufacturing Process
  • Founding Principles – Integrity, Honesty and Trust

The company only uses European Union-approved ingredients which sometimes have to meet a higher standard than USDA approval. They use no ingredients from China.

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is based in Findlay, Ohio. According to our information, their kibble has been co-packed by Ohio Pet Foods which is now part of the Bright Pet Nutrition Group. Bright Pet (or Ohio Pet Foods) also co-packs (or has co-packed in the recent past) for Adirondack, Dr. Tim’s, and Blackwood. (We know this is confusing but pet food companies frequently switch co-packers; and pet food manufacturers frequently change hands. It’s hard to keep up with them, especially when they don’t usually advertise these changes.)

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Recalls 2018

We didn’t find any recalls related to Dr. Gary’s Best Breed foods in checking back several years.

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food Coupons 2018

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed foods are moderately priced compared to other premium dog foods. Their largest bags of kibble are 30 pounds – larger than many bags of kibble today which often top out at 24-27 pounds. (If you are a little older you may remember fondly when big bags of kibble were 40-50 pounds and you didn’t have to buy a bag every couple of weeks.) Dr. Gary’s kibbles also come in 4-lb bags and in 15-lb bags. Prices on Chewy.com range from $50.99 for the Holistic All Breed food and the Holistic Senior Reduced Calorie food to $65.99 for the Holistic Grain Free Salmon with Fruits & Vegetables food. Most of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed kibbles are priced in the mid-$50 range for a 30-lb bag. A 5-ounce bottle of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dental Care for Cats & Dogs is $19.99. Dr. Gary’s Perna-Flex 2 Joint Support for Dogs (90 tablets) is $55.99 on Chewy.

According to information on the Best Breed web site, the company sometimes partners with stores or gives out coupons at special events but they do not have a regular coupon program since this would require them to raise their regular prices. (See Programs/Samples: Do you offer any coupons?

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Reviews

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed kibbles have been listed on the Whole Dog Journal’s list of “Approved Foods” from 2012 through 2018. Their foods generally get very good reviews from all pet food reviewers.

Is This Food Good For My Dog?

Every dog is different so it’s always important to consider your dog’s individual needs when choosing a food. You need to think about his age, overall health, activity level, and other factors. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed dog foods have a good reputation and would be suitable for many dogs. The company and original formula were created by a veterinarian to help dogs who seemed to need better nutrition. Many dogs have responded to the good quality ingredients in the foods and the way the foods are made. Per the company, they make their food in small batches. It’s cooked slowly at low temperatures so the carbs are easier to digest and more nutrients are retained than in most dog foods. They also use good quality chicken meals with a lower ash content. The foods contain no animal by-products, cheap fillers, gluten, and no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. They don’t use corn, soy, or wheat. Best Breed uses only ethoxyquin-free sources of fish and chicken raised without antibiotics. (All poultry in the U.S. is raised free of added hormones.) (Check the FAQ for more details about how the Best Breed foods are made.) Most of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed dog foods are moderate in terms of protein and fat so these aren’t super high protein foods but they should be more than adequate for most dogs. There are several formulas with higher protein percentages, especially for very active field and working dogs. Overall, we think these are good dog foods that would suit many dogs today.

READ ALSO:  Best 3 Recommended Foods for Dogs with Sensitive Skin or Stomachs

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dry

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed currently offers three different kinds of kibble: Holistic Grain Free, Holistic Dog Formulas which have some grains (brown rice, millet, oats, barley, sorghum), and Holistic Specialty Dog Formulas designed for specific breeds or types of dogs. With the specialty dog formulas, if you have a Cockapoo, for example, your dog could probably benefit from either the Cocker Spaniel formula or the Poodle formula. The German Dog Diet is made for large and giant breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. The Schnauzer Diet would be good for many small dogs, including terriers and other small breeds. You shouldn’t take the names of these specialty formulas too literally. Your dog doesn’t have to be a German breed to eat the German Dog Diet, for example.

Holistic Grain Free Dog Formulas

  • Grain Free Chicken with Fruits & Vegetables
  • Grain Free Salmon with Fruits & Vegetables

Holistic Dog Formulas

  • Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs
  • Lamb Meal with Fruits and Vegetables
  • Salmon with Vegetables and Herbs
  • All Breed Dog Diet
  • Large Breed Dog Diet
  • Puppy Diet
  • Senior Dog Diet Reduced Calorie

Holistic Specialty Dog Formulas

  • Cocker Spaniel Dog Diet
  • Poodle Dog Diet
  • Working Dog Diet High Calorie
  • German Dog Diet
  • Field Dog Diet
  • Schnauzer Dog Diet

Pet Supplements

  • Dental Care
  • Perna-Flex2 Dog Glucosamine

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits & Vegetables Review:

According to Chewy.com, Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits & Vegetables is their bestselling adult food in this brand (Dr. Gary’s puppy formula is their overall bestseller). It’s easy to see why this food is so popular. This is an all life stage formula that’s high in protein with good quality ingredients, glucosamine for joint support, no potatoes or tapioca, and it has low glycemic fruits and vegetables.

The first five ingredients in the food are: Chicken Meal, Red Lentils, Chickpeas, Green Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols). Yes, that is a lot of peas and lentils in the first five ingredients. However, the first ingredient is chicken meal and Dr. Gary’s uses a better quality chicken meal with a lower ash content than many companies use. Chicken meal is very high in protein since it’s already had most of the moisture removed.

Red lentils are an edible pulse and part of the legume family. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are also a part of the legume family. Green peas in dog foods usually refer to field peas or split peas. All of these legumes are used today as grain-substitutes. They are higher in protein than corn and wheat so pet food manufacturers like them. Combining three kinds of legumes in this way is what most people would call “splitting.” It’s similar to a pet food company using yellow corn, ground corn, and corn gluten in another dog food. Obviously, Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is a very good quality food but we still hate to see a load of legumes in this food no matter how much protein it adds. Some dogs can have trouble digesting them, especially if there are large amounts of them in dog foods. They are generally high in vitamins and minerals but they do contain phytoestrogens and antinutrients which can interfere with the way your dog absorbs some minerals.

READ ALSO:  Gluten Free Dog Food

Many dog lovers became disgusted with pet food companies stuffing dog foods with corn and wheat as a way to use less meat. Companies adding peas and lentils to dog food seemed to be meeting a demand at first. But it’s reached the point where customers do notice when companies are using legumes as fillers, especially when it’s excessive. Some dogs have problems eating foods that are stuffed with these plant proteins. You have several options when you find foods like this. Feed the food and hope your dog can digest the legumes. You can find another grain free food that uses fewer legumes. Or, find a food that uses some less common grains such as oats or barley. Feed your dog a raw or homemade diet. Or…well, keep looking for a better dog food. There are currently companies in Europe working on dog foods that use insects as protein. Maybe that’s the next step.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols). Chicken fat is a good named fat which is beneficial for most dogs. It has some omega-3 fatty acid and LOTS of omega-6 fatty acid.

Other ingredients of note in this food include duck meal as the sixth ingredient; some nice vegetables (carrots, celery, etc.); antioxidants in the form of cranberries and blueberries; various fermentation products and probiotics; and proteinated/chelated minerals which help dogs absorb minerals more easily. In addition to the chicken fat, the food has several other sources of fat such as canola oil, ground flax seed, menhaden fish oil, and lecithin. You should note that flax seed, while often touted as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, is a plant source of omega-3. As a plant source, your dog can’t use it the way he uses fish/animal sources of omega-3. It doesn’t matter if it’s ground or not. However, flax seed is high in protein and dietary fiber so it might be useful from that perspective. Kelp meal is a good source of trace minerals such as iodine. The food also has New Zealand Green Mussel and glucosamine which are both good joint supplements.

Here is the guaranteed analysis for Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Grain Free Chicken with Fruits & Vegetables:

Crude Protein 32.0% min
Crude Fat 17.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% max
Moisture 10.0% max

Calorie Content – 455 Kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy)

The dry matter basis for this food comes to an estimated 35.6 percent protein; 18.9 percent fat; 4.4 percent fiber; and approximately 34.4 percent carbohydrates.

Remember that some of this protein percentage comes from legumes and from flax seed. Your dog can use this protein but it’s not as easy for him to digest as animal protein.

Bottom Line

Many of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed foods look good and we can recommend them. We do not recommend the Senior Dog Diet Reduced Calorie unless your senior dog is definitely overweight since this food is low in protein and very low in fat. Otherwise, most of the foods look good. The Holistic Grain Free Dog Formulas have a lot of lentils and other legumes which may bother some dogs. If your dog can’t eat these foods, we would suggest trying one of the Holistic Dog Formulas or the Holistic Specialty Dog Formulas. These foods do contain some grains (though no corn, wheat, soy, or glutens), but they are nice foods with good ingredients and good nutrient percentages.

Ratings: 4/5

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed’s foods have good quality ingredients in formulas that would suit many different dogs.

Positives

  • Good quality ingredients that meet European Union standards
  • Low ash chicken meal from chicken that is “for human consumption”
  • No ingredients from China
  • Non-GMO grains from the U.S. and Canada

Negatives

  • A lot of lentils and legumes in the grain free formulas

Carlotta Cooper

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