Disclaimer: This post is a product review of Brothers Complete Dog Food, and may contain affiliated links. All opinions are my own. For more information about Emily’s Frugal Tips product review guidelines please visit our disclosure policy here and Amazon policies here
Allergy free dog food has been something I have struggled with for almost 1.5 years but we’re finally destroying these darn allergies. Learn how I did it, and why Brothers Complete Dog Food is a good recommendation for allergy free living. Here’s a personal Brothers Complete Dog Food Review for you to decide if this food is for your pooch.
I am always on the look out for quality kibble that won’t cause allergy problems for my German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix who has suffered from severe food allergies since he was a puppy. Skin allergies in dogs can become a serious issue if not realized soon enough, and skin allergies dogs can get vary widely but are not always food related. Brothers Complete Dog Food was created for people that have dogs with allergies to food. When you have a dog that is suffering from food borne allergies it can get VERY expensive. I bet if I tailed how much I have spend over the course of my dog’s first year it would amount to thousands of dollars. So it’s important to rule food out right away both to eliminate suffering and to stop your bank account from running dry. Dog food allergy symptoms in dogs can be very obvious or not so much, it really just depends on the dog. The most common dog food allergy symptoms in dogs are ear infections, continuously itching, rashes on the spine and joint areas. The itching will be different then a flea allergy, so for example, where in flea allergies you will see your guy chewing the legs, the back near the base of the tail, and the sides of the body. In food allergies it’s going to be rashes that can span the entire base of the spine, in the joints, ear and bladder infections. A potato allergy will result in frequent yeast build up in the years. Allergy free dog food is very important to solving food allergies in dogs.
The most common dog food allergies are poultry, grain, and potato allergies. You have to be very careful that any dog food you purchase does not have the allergen in it. This has been an on going issue for us. In fact, shortly after the photo was taken he got his 3rd ear infection. He was only 6 months in this photograph above. I think that right there tells you how bad it was. By the time he turned a year old he was on his 8th ear infection, 3rd bladder infection, and 1st skin infection. Needless to say, it has been a rough road with this guy. Brothers Complete Dog Food came into the picture, and literally changed my dogs life. It took a few bags before we saw a lot of change, but once the old kibbles wore out of his system I could see a big difference all around, and even though we ultimately decided not to continue feeding this brand which I will explain farther down in this post, I do highly recommend Brothers Complete Dog Food.
We started with Brothers Complete Chicken Meal & Egg Formula pictured above. At the time we did suspect a chicken allergy, but Brothers Complete claims on their website that often when a chicken allergy is present it is because the kibble company uses chicken by products and low quality chicken. So to disclose, we did start out knowing that our guy probably would not tolerate the chicken and egg formula but wanted to try anyway. In the end we did find that he did not do well on the Chicken and Egg formula, and we moved onto a different flavor. We did see some relief, but not as much as I would have liked. However, the company had sent us several packages of dried sweet potato, and we had been feeding the sweet potato as treats. Once we discovered that it could be the sweet potato we took it away, and did see some instant relief which got better over time. Today he is free of ear infection, and his itching has minimized dramatically. I would say the food did help a lot, but we did not receive enough of each flavor to really test which flavor would be better based on his allergy symptoms.
In the photograph the food on the tray is only Brothers Complete brand, but when you switch a dog’s food you have to do it slowly over a period of time. So actually the photo was taken before mixing in the old kibble. Also note, it’s on a tray and not in a bowl because my dog is a gulper. When you have a dog that is a gulper they end up getting a lot of air into their tummies, which results in gastro, burping, and lots of farting. Certain dog food dishes slow down eating, and in our case we found a dog food tray worked much better for us. So to prevent it, you feed on a dog food tray (this one is only $8 shipped) and scatter the food around so that they aren’t able to just gulp lots of food quickly. I typically throw in toys on the tray, and really scatter the kibble around to make him work for it. We also have 2 dogs, and the other dog, a Bichon Frise, does not have food allergies or gulping issues.
As the date of this post, and to my knowledge and research Brothers Complete Dog Food has never had a recall. I noticed in my research the keyword coming up brothers dog food recall, so this is a hot topic for many. For good reason no doubt. I purposely look for recalls before trying a food because I am not willing to feed my babies a food that has had a lot of recalls. So to reiterate brothers complete recall has NEVER happened as of the date of this blog posting. The company works very hard to ensure that they sell a quality product, and know that their consumers want a quality food for their dogs. Brothers Complete has a questions and answers section on their website to answer frequent questions surrounding conversion, allergies, and ingredient questions. Brothers is effective in eliminating common dog food allergies because it is grain and potato free. You will find that when a food is grain free it supplements the grain with potato, which many dogs are also allergic to. So For this reason its one of the best dry dog food for allergies. They also use human grade proteins, and sources their ingredients in the United States. The food is made in small batches, and is vacuum sealed so that you are not receiving a product that has been sitting in a warehouse for 6 months.
Brothers Complete Dog Food has some of the best dry dog food reviews on dogfoodadviser.com, the leading website for unbiased dog food ratings. The food is made with quality proteins, appropriate levels of omega 3’s, and over 90% of the protein in Brothers Complete is derived from animal proteins. The nutrients not only meet AAFCO standards but are slow cooked for ultimate nutrition and taste. Brothers also adds in a digestive enzymes and prebiotics to help with digestion for maximum nutrition. You can learn more about the efforts Brothers Complete goes to to ensure your pets are healthy here
How to Transition Your Dog from Old Kibble to Brothers Complete
Transitioning is very important in making sure your dog does not suffer gastro issues. If you simply take out the old food, and replace with the new food you might run into loose stools, throwing up, and even a resistance to the new food. So for the safety of your dog I recommend that you talk with your vet about which way they prefer or do what I do and slowly introduce the new kibble over a 2 week period. As you do this you increase the new kibble and decrease the old. You will start with 3/4 old and 1/4th brothers, and then increase to 1/2 old and 1/2 brothers, and so on until by week 2 you are feeding only brothers complete.
Healing “crisis” and Detox Warning
This is a high quality protein diet, and if your dog is not used to eating a high quality kibble they might go through a period called a healing crisis in which you might see loose stools or throwing up. This should pass within a couple days, and is a result of detoxing from the poor quality kibble being fed previously. Your dog might also develop a rash or allergy symptoms might come back for short period, and then disappear permanently. This is also a part of detox, and is explained at the link above. During this phase it is important to keep feeding the kibble, but of course see your vet if you have any concerns and follow their directions. At the detox point you should have stopped mixing in the old kibble. Continuing to feed the old kibble while the dog is detoxing from it only prolongs this phase.
To recap, Brother’s Complete Dog Food is a great allergy free dog food, it is made right here in the US and has sourced ingredients from the United States as well. The kibble is made from high quality proteins without grains or potato which are common allergy inducing ingredients in dog food. There is no fillers which you often do see in lower end kibble, and even in some higher end brands. The price point of this kibble can be steep for some people, and the product is not available locally in most states. You can however purchase on the brand’s website and on Amazon (lower prices). Brothers Complete does carry 4 kibble flavors: chicken & egg, turkey & egg, lamb & egg allergy, and venison & egg allergy. There are also biscuits in the 4 flavors, dried meats (beef liver, chicken breast, ect), dried sweet potato (not for dogs with potato allergies), and bully sticks.
Ultimately we did love this brand of dog food, but because I could not purchase it locally I was not willing to continue feeding it. I am an extremely busy person, and I could see myself forgetting to order the food on time or not being able to pick it up in time. Plus the food is pretty expensive. You can expect to pay around $95 + shipping for a 25 pound bag. With an 80 pound and 18 pound dogs I knew I could not realistically afford that. Jasper eats about 40 pounds of food a month! For $200+ a month I can feed raw or purchase food locally, and not have to worry about shipping.
Update From Brother’s Complete
Brother’s Complete marketing department responded via a comment on my blog with this information:
I wanted to let you know that shipping of Brothers is free in the contiguous 48 states. If Jasper is 80 lbs he would only need 3 cups of Brothers a day because it’s more nutritious and perfectly balanced which means a 25 lb bag would last him about a month as there are about 90 cups in a 25 lb bag. Your 18 pounder would only require about ⅔ a cup a day or 20 cups a month. The Turkey and Egg is $81.79 for a 25 lb bag so based on that, if you lived in the states, you could feed your two dogs for about $100 a month. However, I’m not sure what cost is added to get the food into Canada.