Optimum Grain Free Dog Food Review

Country of originAustralia
Available fromPet Circle  

We weren’t very impressed with the original Optimum, the food endorsed by hunky TV celeb and Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown. So is the release of a grain free formula a step back in the right direction?

Well… it’s hard to say…

Optimum Grain Free Dog Food Review

The bulk of the food is a combination of poultry & poultry by-products and vegetables. Two ambiguous ingredients.

Let’s consider the poultry and by-products for a minute. We often consider by-products a bad ingredient, not because they’re bad for dogs per se, but because they’re usually a poor quality ingredient when it comes to kibble. Good by-products are great for dogs, such as hearts, kidneys, and all the gruesome stuff you could buy from the butcher. The right combination of meat and by-products can be a good thing, and the rather respectable protein of 35% suggests there *could* be a decent amount of meat in the food.

Vegetables can be good for a dog, but what actually are they? Are we talking about a wholesome mix of decent vegetables, or are we talking about vegetable waste left over from all the good stuff sold for human consumption? Who knows! Maybe we have vegetables dense in protein which mask the amount of meat in the food? The canola meal in the third spot will definitely bulk up the protein, and this could amount to almost a third of the food, or we could assume the tapioca starch is also equivalent making the top four ingredients quarters.

The rest of the food is run of the mill with nothing significant worth talking about. The vitamins and minerals are standard, sulphate minerals instead of chelates found in better foods. The good thing about the food is the composition, as high protein means lower than average carbs, and dogs don’t need carbs.

Optimum Grain Free Dog Food Review

It’s hard to rate the food due to the ambiguity of the ingredients. What are the by-products? What are the vegetables? What’s the quality of these ingredients? Only the manufacturer will know.

At least it’s better than the regular Optimum. Seemingly at least.


Poultry & poultry by-products, vegetables, canola meal, tapioca starch, natural flavours (chicken), beet pulp, salt, vegetable oil, minerals (potassium chloride, zinc sulphate, ferrous sulphate, copper sulphate, potassium iodide and selenium), sodium tripolyphosphate, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, and choline) and antioxidants.

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5 Total Score
Budget Advance

  • Better than Optimum original.
  • Ambiguous ingredients
  • Ambiguous antioxidants

David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. I use Blackhawk which has become priced beyond reason & I am looking for a more reasonable alternative.

    I was hoping this was it but it appears not !

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 13, 2023 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Roger, there’s some suggestions which may help here – it’s a list of dog foods more affordable than those on the best rated list (which doesn’t take cost into consideration).

      • Please don’t buy grain free diets people. It is extremely rare for dogs to have gastrointestinal or skin allergies triggered by grain. There is increasing evidence that grain free diets may be linked to the development of heart disease in dogs. I think it is immoral for purina/ optimum/ Blackhawk to be cashing in on this marketing trend. There is no scientifically proved benefit to feeding your dog a grain free diet. (Informed opinion).

        • True for some dogs however mine is diabetic and therefore requires high protein with minimal to no grains(carbs) unfortunately some of us require no grain food with carbs coming from low GI ingredients like legumes and sweet potato

        • Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 20, 2023 at 10:21 pm

          There is increasing amounts of misinformation as a result of an FDA investigation instigated by a veterinarian on the payroll of multiple pet food conglomerates which was subsequently dropped due to inconclusive information…

  2. My dog has just been diagnosed with possible pancreatic issues and vet said to feed no fat foods and wasn’t sure of fat content of fat in Optimum grain free which is what I feed my boy.
    Does anyone know??

  3. Not happy with the optimum dog dry both my dogs have had terrible runny faeces and my older girl blood would never recommend or buy again

  4. “Rodney Habib” try to contact Dr Chris Brown when Rodney came to the Melbourne Dog Show 2 yrs ago, Rodney wanted to ask Chris about the ingredients is his “Optimum” dry dog kibble, Chris Brown never replied to any of Rodney’s messages, I even went on Chris Browns F/B page telling Chris, that Rodney Habib is trying to contact him about his Optimum dog food, no reply, Chris would have seen all the comments lol, I wonder if this is why the new Optimum grain free kibble has more meat protein in it or is Optimum just competing with Purina’s new grainfree kibble?
    I suppose this new grain free Optimum isnt that bad compared to the really bad high carb very low protein kibbles out there in supermarkets & pet shops, Optimum has the highest amount of protein % & is low in fat this is telling me the chicken by product being used in this grain free kibble isnt a bad high fat chicken by product, like some of the beef & lamb by product meats being used in other dog kibbles, ashame we don’t know what veggies are being used & the Tapioca Starch..

    • Aww give the guy a break, chances are his contract is limited to just letting them use his image. To take questions he’d probably need to cancel his manicure, negotiate a new fee for these additional services and go find out what’s in the stuff first!

      I was disappointed to see Dr. Harry also has his face on some crappy food, since he’s supposedly a decent sort of person. It seems these guys just can’t resist when someone offers them a pile of cash 🙁

      • The thing is people see these vets on TV & think, Gee this food must be really good Dr Brown or Dr Harry recomends this food, my dog will behealthy, I know I thought this when I first rescued Patch 5 yrs ago, Optimum was more expensive then the other supermarket foods so I bought it thinking its really good but Patch kept having sloppy poos on the grain Optimum, as the years went by I’ve learn’t all the tricks Pet Food Companies use to get customers to buy their bad food… If you were to ask Dr Chris Brown what does he feed his cat it will be raw & ask Dr Harry does he feed Supercoat & the answer will be NO they both probably feed a raw diet to thier pets…. I think Dr Harry isn’t on the Purina Supercoat no more………

  5. Compared to other foods around it’s price point I just don’t think it’s worth it all.
    I remember reading that poultry can be a many different species, so you’ll never quiet know if it is truly just chicken.
    At least it has veggies.
    Canola meal was stated as a waste product and can be GMO.
    Tapioca the usual problem of it having no nutritional value and being high GI.
    Vegetable oil was said to be palm oil by people who buy chocolate, they hide it under that name because they know people wouldn’t buy it if they knew.
    Sodium Trypolyphosphate for teeth health usually gives you an idea to how healthy a kibble is, the ones with healthier ingredients don’t use it.
    Can also market your kibble as a teeth cleaner with this ingredient.
    The other one that starts with Hex same difference, some kibbles I’ve seen use both some one or the other.

    Salt, beet pulp and natural flavours each have their own problems especially when their near the top of the list.

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