Nutro Dog Food Dog Food Reviews

The Nutro dog food company was founded in 1933 and was acquired by Mars Petcare in 2007, a large corporation that also owns Whiskas, Royal Canin, Greenies, Sheba, IAMS and Pedigree. The Nutro headquarters are located in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. There are two dry pet food manufacturing facilities located in Henderson, North Carolina and Victorville, California. There is a wet food manufacturing plant in Columbus, Ohio, Fort Smith, Arkansas and North Sioux City, South Dakota for their products in cans and trays.

IS Nutro A GOOD DOG FOOD?

Nutro offers 6 brands of dry and wet dog foods with 53 recipes. Three lines of dry foods are considered high risk and the Dry Limited Ingredients line is considered very high risk. One line of wet foods is considered moderate risk, and the Wet Limited Ingredients line is considered high risk.

Within the wet recipes, most have higher average carbohydrates than competing wet and canned dog food brands. Dry recipes are also high in carbohydrates but that’s to be expected in kibble.

Nutro points out on its labeling and website as part of its “feed clean” philosophy that recipes do not contain corn, wheat or soy. However, they do include peas, rice, sorghum, barley, oatmeal, tapioca, potatoes and legumes which contribute to the high carbohydrate levels. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is required for extrusion in dry foods. Excessive carbohydrate is an indicator of lower food quality as they can be used to reduce manufacturing cost. 

There is a Dry Limited Ingredient recipe and a Wet Limited Ingredient recipe which are the lowest scoring foods in the Dry and Wet categories, respectively. These recipes contain few whole foods followed by a lengthy list of synthetic additives. Whenever possible it’s preferable to see nutrients come from whole foods.

The dry foods are ultra processed leading to a loss in nutrients from several stages of heating. Canned and cooked foods are processed less but still undergo heating causing nutrient loss.

In terms of ingredient safety, in 2014 Nutro began sourcing non-GMO ingredients and introduced GMO testing for Nutro’s dry dog and cat food lines. The website states the company uses a third-party testing facility, and if necessary, Nutro will replace suppliers and may increase the frequency of testing to ensure its non-GMO compliance 

It should be noted that using non-GMO ingredients does not mean they are herbicide-free. Using certified organic ingredients is one way to ensure they are non-GMO and that they have a lower pesticide residue as herbicides and pesticides aren’t permitted in organic certified foods and products.

As part of its “feed clean” approach, Nutro states that they don’t use artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. However their ingredients do include natural flavor which is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies. When reviewed based on our criteria, Nutro foods are found to contain high pesticide and high carbohydrate ingredients, as well as excessive amounts of synthetic vitamins and minerals, and low quality ingredients including cellulose, unnamed animal proteins and plant proteins. 

Nutro does not provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. It is certainly not the only company that doesn’t provide this but it’s a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

The average score of each Nutro line is listed below. Click on any line to view the individual foods and scores.

Nutro Natural Choice Dry Food

3.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro Natural Choice ADULT BEEF & BROWN RICE RECIPE Dry Dog Food
3.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Dry Natural Choice dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There are 20 recipes that average 23% protein and 43% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, added vitamins and minerals, plant proteins, cellulose and unnamed animal protein like fish oil. On the ingredient safety side, these foods are ultra processed, which causes loss of nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use natural flavor and rice, which has the potential to contain arsenic. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Dry Natural Choice Food Benefits

Nutro’s Dry Natural Choice Food Concerns

Nutro Ultra Dry Food

3.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro Ultra THE ADULT SUPERFOOD PLATE WITH A TRIO OF PROTEINS FROM CHICKEN, LAMB AND SALMON Dry Dog Food
3.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Dry Ultra dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There are 9 recipes that average 26% protein and 38% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, added vitamins and minerals, plant proteins, and unnamed animal protein like fish oil. On the ingredient safety side, these foods are ultra processed, which causes loss of nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use natural flavor and rice, which has the potential to contain arsenic. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Ultra Dry Food Benefits

Nutro’s Ultra Dry Food Concerns

Nutro Limited Ingredient Dry Food

1.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro Limited Ingredient ADULT LAMB & SWEET POTATO RECIPE Dry Dog Food
1.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Dry Limited Ingredients dog food is considered a very high risk dog food. There are 6 recipes that average 21% protein and 45% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, excessive added vitamins and minerals, added amino acids, inflammatory seed oils and plant proteins. On the ingredient safety side, these foods are ultra processed, which causes loss of nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use natural flavor. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Limited Ingredients Dry Food Benefits

Nutro’s Limited Ingredients Dry Food Concerns

Nutro So Simple Dry Food

4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro So Simple ADULT CHICKEN RECIPE Dry Dog Food
4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Dry So Simple dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There are 2 recipes that average 22% protein and 44% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, and excessive added vitamins and minerals. On the ingredient safety side, these foods are ultra processed, which causes loss of nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use natural flavor and rice which has the potential to contain arsenic. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Dry So Simple Food Benefits

Nutro’s Dry So Simple Food Concerns

Nutro Ultra Wet Food

6.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro Ultra CHICKEN ENTRÉE PATÉ WITH TOMATOES & CARROTS Wet Dog Food
6.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Wet Ultra dog food is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 13 recipes that average 41% protein and 22% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods have higher carbohydrates than expected in a wet food, excessive added vitamins and minerals, and inflammatory seed oils. On the ingredient safety side, these are cooked recipes so they are moderately processed foods, which causes some nutrient loss, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use carrageenan, which has been linked to inflammation. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Wet Ultra Food Benefits

Nutro’s Wet Ultra Food Concerns

Nutro Limited Ingredient Canned Food

4.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro Limited Ingredient TURKEY & POTATO RECIPE Canned Dog Food
4.7
4 color scale
Average Score
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Nutro’s Wet Limited Ingredients dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There are 3 recipes that average 32% protein and 31% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods have high carbohydrates, excessive added vitamins and minerals, inflammatory seed oils and plant proteins. On the ingredient safety side, these are canned foods so they are highly processed, which causes loss of nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients. They also use carrageenan, which has been linked to inflammation. Nutro doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Nutro’s Wet Limited Ingredients Food Benefits

Nutro’s Wet Limited Ingredients Food Concerns

NUTRO DOG FOOD RECALLS

In December 2015, Mars Petcare issued a voluntary recall of select lots of its Nutro dog treats due to potential mold.

 In September 2009, Nutro Products, Inc. issued a voluntary dog food recall because plastic was found in the manufacturing line.

In 2007, some varieties of Nutro canned dog food were recalled for potential melamine contamination.

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