Is Nutro a good dog food? – Full analysis and review

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Is your preferred dog food brand good for your pup? In Beanietoe’s new series of articles, we’ll be doing some in-depth reports on popular dog food brands to help you decide whether that brand is offering your dog the best possible nutrition.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the Nutro dog food brand and learning just how good Nutro is for dogs. For the purposes of this review, we’ll be using Nutro’s Wholesome Essentials Large Breed formula to evaluate the nutrition and ingredients for this brand review.

Is nutro a good dog food?

We can recommend Nutro as an acceptable dog food. They offer pet parents and their pups wholesome ingredients, and they also avoid common fillers like corn and wheat. While this food does use rice, the amount used is acceptable here and most dogs have no issues with digesting rice.

However, the total carbohydrate count is surprisingly high here, and if purchasing a lower carb food is a concern for you, then you may want to see our nutritional breakdown towards the end of the article. Foods with a glut of carbohydrates can lead to pet obesity, particularly in senior animals or less active dog breeds.

The only other thing that we dislike about Nutro’s recipes is that they are a bit lacking in the protein department. Ideally, we’d like to see a much higher protein offering in the food, one that more evenly balances out the fat content, but the food is still nutritionally sound, and the meats that are used are of high-quality.

is nutro good for dogs
Nutro offers wholesome ingredients, but the carbohydrate count is quite high, unfortunately.

Nutro Essentials Large Breed Adult Ingredient List

Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Split Peas, Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Rice Bran, Dried Sweet Potato, Natural Flavor, Lamb Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Dried Apples, Dried Blueberries, Dried Carrots, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Above you can see the ingredients breakdown for the Nutro product that we are using for our review. As you can see, there are no problem ingredients in this brand, and they use high-quality meat products in the first two spots, which is good.

The carbohydrates included in the recipe are easy for dogs to digest, but there does seem to be a lot of them. For that reason, we’ve downgraded their nutrition score, because dogs that eat too many carbohydrates can often become obese, causing many health issues down the line.

If their carbohydrate ratio was a bit more reasonable, then their rating would be higher, but as is, we find the numbers here a little excessive to give them a better ranking.

If your dog is not particularly active, or if they need more protein, then this food may be a poor choice for them. For pet parents who’d like to offer their pups a higher protein and lower carb food option, you can try one of the below recommended brands instead.

These are some of our favorite dog foods, and they offer excellent nutritional profiles and only high-quality ingredients for your fur baby. While Halo is our favorite, the other two cheaper options are also quite good for your pup.

Looking for a higher protein option?

$Least Expensive

american journey dog food
Get American Journey Here

$$ Moderately Priced

Get TOTW Here

$$$ Most Expensive

Get Halo Here

Want to save on your monthly dog food costs? Purchase your dog food online and you’ll not only get the best pricing, but many retailers will even give you 5-10% off every purchase for signing up for auto-ship! However, our favorite vendor Chewy will also give you 30% off your first auto-ship order.

Nutro nutritional breakdown

Looking at the ingredients is often not enough to know whether or not a dog food is actually healthy. Sometimes foods with otherwise incredibly healthy ingredients can lack balance that makes the food nutritionally sound.

You also need to make sure to check how much protein the food has, its ratio of protein to fat and the carbohydrate count. So, let’s take a look at Nutro’s nutritional breakdown to see how good of a balance they’ve achieved with this formula.

Is Nutro a good dog food nutritionally?

Below you can see a pie chart breakdown of the nutritional information for the Nutro recipe we’ve used as a sample for this review. While other recipes might differ slightly, most manufacturers will have similar ingredient breakdowns and nutritional profiles for all of their recipes, so this is a good baseline of what to expect when you buy from the Nutro brand family.

Is Nutro good for dogs? Always check the nutritional breakdown!

Unfortunately, the carbohydrate percentage in this food is quite high, and we’re not a fan of this. This food is near 50% carbs!

At Beanietoes, we prefer to feed our furry staff members as low carb as possible to avoid foods which lead to pet obesity and other health issues.

The protein amount could also stand to be a little higher here when compared to the amount of fat that’s in the food as well. So, while Nutro does use excellent ingredients, their nutritional ratios are a bit off for our taste.

In short, while none of the ingredients in the food cause an issue, it’s clear that there’s just not enough meat in here. That makes this food more plant based than anything, and if you’d prefer to feed your pup a food that has more meat, then we’d agree.

This a better approach for almost every dog, except for those which have kidney issues and can’t digest protein easily. However, if your dog is otherwise healthy, a higher protein diet will be much more natural and only benefit them, especially in the long term.

Has Nutro ever been recalled?

Yes, Nutro has been recalled for various reasons over the years. The issues cited in the recalls state problems with mold contamination, plastic in the food, and improper nutrient levels, which can lead to issues for dogs who eat the food for an extended period of time.

While past recall issues do not necessarily reflect the future of a pet food, they do sometimes give insight into issues that might be due to quality control. Nutro dog food is made in the USA, but they do import some of their ingredients.

Nutro dog food recall history

  • December 2015 – Nutro dog treats recalled for potential mold contamination
  • September 2009 – Various Nutro puppy food recalled for containing plastic pieces
  • March 2009 – Various Nutro cat foods recalled for dangerous Zinc and potassium levels
  • March 2007 – Dog and cat foods recalled for melamine contamination

Complaints about Nutro dog food

Similar to Iams, which is also owned by Mars Inc (The same company that makes the pitiful Pedigree brand), Nutro tried to do a sort of “bait and switch” tactic for their lamb based dog foods where the company quietly swapped out most of the lamb for chicken, which is a cheaper ingredient.

Pet parents quickly caught on to the switch and were furious with the deception. While it seems that the recipes have been switched back after numerous complaints from consumers, you should be aware that it’s possible that they will try to do this again in the future in an effort to secure more profits.

Nutro has also been hesitant to admit fault or issue recalls in the past, particularly in 2007, when they were involved with the mass melamine dog food recall. It’s possible that this reluctance resulted in the death of many beloved pets, and their attempts to cut costs with cheaper ingredients, which is what lead to this issue is worrying for the future to say the least.

In closing, while Nutro is above average ingredient wise, its nutritional breakdown leaves much to be desired. It’s an acceptable dog food, and it might even be rated as good, but it’s not the best food around, particularly for dogs who are already overweight or have the potential to gain weight easily.

Is nutro a good dog food for some dogs? Well, maybe, but at Beanietoes, we prefer foods which are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, and if you’d like some of our recommendations, then any of the below brands will be more nutritious for your pup than Nutro, but if your dog does well on the food, then it is a decent offering.

$Least Expensive

american journey dog food
Get American Journey Here

$$ Moderately Priced

Get TOTW Here

$$$ Most Expensive

Get Halo Here
Michelle Rei
Michelle Rei
Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.
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