Tough Love and Clarity on How To Pick The Best Dog Food

Ten years ago our family “risked it all” and committed everything we had to develop a kibble dog food that would be the most advanced, ideal nutrition possible in that form.

There are many who believe that the best, and only, diet for dogs should be a raw meat diet based on what the ancestors of our domestic dogs have been eating in the wild for tens of thousands of years.

It’s a compelling argument that makes a lot of sense and for the first 5 years as a family operating a high end dog food store we recommended it. During those years after working a full day, 7 days a week, I spent my nights, usually until midnight and beyond, grinding raw meat and packaging it for our customers. We didn’t just dabble in the raw diet, we were committed to it, and our store had 9 freezers (7 were 7 foot long chest freezers) packed with raw food from every raw manufacturer we could find, including our own home made supply.

wolf eats meat

However, as good as it sounded in theory, as the years went by, the limitations of raw feeding became more and more apparent. The hundreds of customers we’d convinced to feed raw had steadily declined to a few dozen, and this despite continuing efforts to encourage the process.


Some dogs developed nutrient imbalances after a couple years and others simply refused to eat raw after a while. Many families found the task of shopping for raw and balancing all the nutrients in the final mix too daunting to carry out routinely, and others were concerned about small children handling the dogs food or being kissed by the dog soon after eating. More often than not it simply became too expensive or too time consuming for many busy families to deal with and most of them eventually abandoned raw and returned to feeding a kibble.

It is estimated there are 80 million dogs in the USA, 96% of them are fed kibble dog food, and 90% of all dog food sold in the US is controlled by 3 giant corporations with a strong corporate bias toward lowering costs and increasing profit margins.

our-atlanta-factory-uses-solar-panels-as-part-of-our-energy-mix.jpgThe remaining 10% of dog food is made by relatively smaller companies (most of which we carry in our store) who make a product, with few exceptions, that is mediocre at best. Occasionally a relatively good dog food would come along, but time and again we witnessed the same pattern. A large company would buy up the small company and almost immediately they would change the formulas to lower costs and improve profit, and the quality of the dog food would suffer.

_DSC1101It’s been a great advantage to us as a dog food manufacturer to have a very successful dog food store for over 10 years. It has provided us with an invaluable insight into the effects of ingredients in the best and the worst dog foods on thousands of our customers dogs over the years.

It soon became apparent that the best way for us to have a positive impact on the greatest number of dogs would be to create a kibble dog food that was substantially more nutritious than what was out there. After years of study and research into dog food and what optimal nutrition should consist of, along with first hand experience in our store with the existing range of dog foods available, knowledge of their ingredients, and their effects on our customers dogs, we were convinced it was possible to make the healthiest kibble possible, and we were determined to make it happen.

We were incredibly lucky to find a very gifted and highly experienced Ph.D animal nutritionist who had 35 years experience in the dog food industry designing dog foods and occasionally running research projects. It was incredible serendipity that he had his Ph.D in gut biology because, due to a long personal experience with health challenges that were eventually completely resolved,  I had come to understand that gut health was the very foundation of, and basis for, the health of the entire organism.

When I told our Ph.D nutritionist that we wanted him to design the absolute best, most nutritious dog food possible in kibble form he reacted with surprise and said something about us probably not being able to afford it. When I told him to let me worry about the cost he again reacted with mild disbelief that we would actually want the best food he could possibly design, rather than the most economically profitable. He explained that in almost 35 years designing dog food for almost every major dog food company in the US he had never once been asked to make a dog food better, much less to make it the best it could possibly be. “What do they ask you?” I questioned to which he replied, “They hand me a formula and tell me to find a way to make it cheaper.”

Listening to colleague

We set out to design the healthiest dog food possible in kibble form and now, after 4 years in development and 6 years in production, the positive results that Brothers Complete has produced with thousands of dogs and the ability of this food to restore most dogs to a state of health within 6 months has positively exceeded the highest expectations we ever dared hope for. The performance of this food is also remarkable in the nearly total lack of complaints we’ve received over a 6 year period which is nothing short of astounding given the volume of complaints we’re used to hearing with even the best dog foods we carry in our store.


A lot goes into Brothers Complete dog food including  ingredients that begin as human grade. Over 90% of the protein in Brothers is species appropriate animal sourced protein. Advanced nutritional concepts that require additional steps in production and processing are built into Brothers which include adding enzymes, special prebiotics, and unique probiotics that are encapsulated to protect them from activating prematurely (which is the fate of 99% of ordinary probiotics that are applied to dog food). Finally our favorite Ph.D nutritionist makes extremely intricate calculations taking many variables, including cooking temperature and time, into consideration to balance all the nutrients and minerals to each other including the interrelationships between 7 pairs of minerals that can be described as “symbiotic pairs” because the amount of one mineral in the pair directly affects the performance of the other. For instance it is not enough to simply have adequate levels of Calcium and Magnesium individuallythey must be balanced in relation to each other or the dominant one will adversely affect proper functioning of the other, which can then negatively impact on other nutrient balances in the body.

Because Brothers has delivered on its promise to make the healthiest food possible to help restore dogs to a state of overall health and vitality, and maintain that health going forward we’ve been accumulating extremely grateful, fervently loyal customers over the years. Many of whom, before discovering Brothers, had been engaged in an exhausting, frustrating search to find a dog food that would help resolve the problems their dog had developed. They had repeatedly experienced the disappointment of buying into well funded marketing campaigns that were adept at creating beautiful, emotionally compelling promises of performance and hope but which, in reality, were just marketing illusions created to sell more dog food.

We are sharing our story of six year old Havanese dog, Coco. We have struggled with severe allergies with her since she was 3 years old resulting in skin conditions, ear infections, draining eyes, and hair loss. Not to mention high vet bills for the antibiotics, steroids, and eye creams. She was on so many other supposed “high quality” foods. We literally tried everything even Raw food. But there was no change in her condition. We even had her on Atopica (the last resort drug that suppresses a dog’s immune system). Who wants to suppress your dog’s immune system?? Nothing was working. She would sleep all day and was barely interacting. Her fur was falling out and her coat was dull and dry. We decided to try Brothers Complete Lamb and Egg. At first we didn’t notice much of a difference except she seemed to be scratching less. Then after a couple of months of only feeding her this food and nothing else, we saw a huge difference!! She no longer has sores, she barely itches now, and seems a lot happier! Best of all she is off Atopica! This stuff works you just have to have patience and give it time to work!! Thank you for saving my dog from food allergies!

The gratitude that we get from our customers for making a food that restores their usually itchy, suffering dog is something that I never tire of hearing for no other reason than the simple joy of knowing and being proud that our efforts have succeeded in making a positive difference in the quality of life for another dog and their family – can’t buy a warm, fuzzy feeling like that with extra profit.

As we head into our 11th year We want to share what we’ve learned and has now been proven over a substantial period of time in the hope that it will reach those who need it most, who are still looking for honest answers. This is all about getting to the core of an issue and telling the truth about it so someone’s dog will benefit from that truth. Hopefully those still searching for a solution will find their way to our website and blog, give Brothers a try for at least a few months so it can do its magic, and join the growing number of happy, healthy Brothers Complete dog families.


Richard darlington, CO-CEO

Brothers Complete Dog Food, LLC