Nutro Dog Food Review 2024

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Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 11/15/2023, edited: 02/28/2024

Nutro Dog Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

Overview


Nutro is a pet food brand that focuses on sustainability, ingredient quality, and nutritional value. Nutro runs the Greater Ground initiative, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of healthy soil and choose farmers who use healthy soil practices. Nutro is also transparent about its ingredient usage, listing how each dog food ingredient benefits your pup's health on its website. 

Wag! highly rates Nutro dog food due to its sustainability practices, the quality of its ingredients, and its wide range of recipes for all ages and sizes. But is Nutro right for your dog? Read our 2023 Nutro dog food review, where we examine individual product lines, recalls, considerations, and more!



Nutro dog food product ranges and flavors

Nutro has 5 sublines, with over 65 flavors and varieties available. All Nutro dog food recipes are "complete and balanced," meeting the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, maintenance (adults), or growth (puppies). 

Nutro makes both wet and dry food products. All products are high quality, but none of Nutro's recipes are human-grade. Most recipes are grain-inclusive, but some product lines have grain-free options. 

Let's take a closer look at each product range to find out which is right for your fur-baby!


Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food

Natural Choice

Natural Choice is Nutro's main food product line, with 28 varieties: 19 dry foods and 9 wet foods. Healthy weight, senior, puppy, large breed, and small breed dry recipes are available, making Natural Choice suitable for canines of all shapes and sizes. 

Both Natural Choice dry and wet recipes list a named quality meat as the top ingredient. Dry recipes list meat meals as a secondary source of protein. All wet food recipes are grain-free. All dry recipes are grain-inclusive, with brown rice as the main grain. Brown rice is nutritionally beneficial, containing digestible carbs, minerals, and B vitamins. 

Many wet and dry recipes contain multiple meat sources despite it not being mentioned in the product's name. For example, Adult Healthy Weight Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe dry food lists chicken meal as the second ingredient. As a result, Natural Choice may not be suitable for pups with chicken allergies or sensitive stomachs.

The main flavors of Nutro Natural Choice dog foods are beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and venison.


Nutra Ultra Dog Food

Nutra Ultra Dog Food

Nutro Ultra

Nutro Ultra is Nutro's premium dog food range, with 22 wet and dry food recipes up for grabs. Ultra dry food recipes differ from Natural Choice as they contain a trio of proteins and 15 superfoods to improve taste and nutritional value. 

Each wet food recipe comes in a single-serve tray and is made with named quality meat sources and superfoods like blueberries, spinach, and coconut. Dry food varieties list a single named quality meat as a top ingredient. Other animal protein sources are meat meals, which are listed as far down as 10th in the ingredient list. 

Nutro Ultra features recipes specially catering to large breeds, small breeds, puppies, and seniors. Chicken is the primary flavor of all Nutro Ultra recipes, with lamb and salmon as minor ingredients. The main flavors of Nutro Ultra wet foods are chicken and whitefish, chicken with spinach, and chicken with tomatoes. 


Nutro Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Nutro Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet

Ultra's Limited Ingredient Diet range consists of 3 wet foods and 6 dry foods for pups with food allergies and sensitivities. All recipes are made with 10 or fewer primary ingredients. Recipes contain a single novel protein source to cater to your canines with specific meat protein allergies. 

Apart from the Adult Venison Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe, all Limited Ingredient Diet varieties list a named quality meat as the top ingredient. Recipes are available for adult pooches and large breeds. Duck, lamb, salmon, and venison are the primary dry food flavors. Fish, lamb, and turkey are the main wet food flavors. 


Nutro So Simple Dog Food

Nutro So Simple Dog Food

So Simple 

So Simple is a range of dog foods with limited ingredients, no by-product meat meals, and no fillers like soy, corn, or wheat. It's Nutro's smallest product line, with 2 wet and 2 dry foods available. 

A named quality meat is the top ingredient in all So Simple recipes. So Simple dry food recipes contain chicken meal but no by-products. Wet food recipes contain no more than 7 ingredients, making them great for limited ingredient diets.

Nutro So Simple dry food flavors are beef and chicken. Its wet food flavors are chicken and duck.


Nutro Max Dog Food

Nutro Max Dog Food

Nutro Max 

The Nutro Max range features 8 dry food recipes. It's made using only farm-raised animal protein and non-GMO produce. Each recipe contains no filler ingredients, animal by-products, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. 

All recipes list a named quality meat source as the top ingredient. One beneficial ingredient in Nutro Max recipes is whole flaxseed, which is high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. 

The Nutro Max range offers recipes specially formulated for adults, large-breed puppies, large-breed adults, and seniors. Nutro Max is available in beef, chicken, or lamb flavors.



Why Wag! likes Nutro dog food

Here are a few reasons why Wag! rates Nutro dog food 4 and out of 5 paws up!

High-quality animal protein as a primary ingredient

Almost all Nutro dog food recipes list a named quality meat source as the top ingredient. Only a few Nutro recipes, like the Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Venison Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe, listed a meat meal as the top ingredient. 

Dog foods that list quality proteins as the top ingredient, especially in kibbles, are easier to digest and more nutritious than brands that contain high amounts of meat meal and filler ingredients like wheat or soy. 

Focus on sustainability

Nutro lists several initiatives and steps it takes to make its products more sustainable. Nutro works with suppliers committed to reducing their climate impact and farmers working to improve soil health and biodiversity. 

All electricity used by Nutro is 100% clean and comes from wind farms in Texas. Aluminum cans used in Nutro's canned foods are fully recyclable. Nutro uses only non-GMO produce in its recipes. 

Transparent ingredient usage

Nutro is transparent about its dog foods and clearly explains why it uses every ingredient. Its website includes an ingredient glossary explaining what each ingredient is and its nutritional significance. 

Refund policy 

Nutro offers 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you aren't satisfied with Nutro products for any reason, you can return any unopened products with a receipt and receive a refund or exchange.



Concerns & considerations

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when pawchasing your pup Nutro dog food. 

Average protein levels

A number of Nutro recipes have an average protein-to-fat ratio, which means that some varieties may not be suitable for high-activity breeds and seniors. For example, Natural Choice adult recipes contain around 22% crude protein, which is only slightly above the 18% minimum in adult AAFCO guidelines. Consult your vet if you're unsure Nutro is right for your dog. 

Recipes contain a few potentially controversial ingredients

Nutro recipes have some potentially controversial ingredients, which suggest it isn't the highest quality dog food on the market. For example, some of its recipes contain fish oil, but Nutro doesn't state which fish this oil is from. 

Recipes also include dried tomato pomace, which is a manufacturing by-product of ketchup and tomato juice. Tomato pomace is high in fiber but is often considered a cheap filler ingredient. Natural flavor is another example of a potentially controversial ingredient. ‚ÄúNatural‚ÄĚ is a term ill-defined by the FDA and AAFCO regarding dog food and could be made of low-quality ingredients.¬†

Concerns about grain-free diets

In 2018, the FDA began investigating links between grain-free diets and dogs developing a non-hereditary enlarged heart (DCM). The study primarily concerns dog foods containing significant amounts of legumes, pulses, and potatoes. 

According to the FDA's investigation, Nutro was among the dog food brands most frequently named in DCM reports. As of December 2022, the FDA has no new scientific data to share publicly regarding this investigation.



"For most dogs, these diets are just fine. They have real benefits for those with grain sensitivities, though this isn't a very common food allergy. For some dogs, however, grain free diets could be damaging."

‚ÄĒ Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and vet consultant with Wag!



It's worth noting that most of Nutro's dog foods are grain-inclusive and would be unaffected by the FDA's study. There is also no definitive link between grain-free diets and DCM. Consult your vet if you're unsure whether a grain-free diet suits your dog.



What pet parents say about Nutro dog food

"My son dog Magic has been on this from the time we got him. He is a black retriever/pit bull mix and was due to be put down in Texas and we had him shipped here. Magic was 32 pounds skin and bones dog almost. After 6 months he had put on a good weight was very healthy and active as well as lovable. He is a very protective dog of my son and everyone in the house. He is now 80 pounds very healthy and strong dog. He has never had a problem with this food and it has done him very good"

"I carry around dog kibble as treat for the dogs I work with. This one had the least amount of allergen type things. Most the dogs have sensitive stomachs. It also was not as expensive and it was smaller sized so if it was not liked it wasn’t that big of a loss. It looked so dry and unexciting through the view window in the bag. Surprise!! My cats loved it. All the dogs loved it. When u pour it out into a bowl you can see the dried fruits and veg (and meat too)"

Read more reviews on Chewy.



Nutro history

Nutro has been operating for over 90 years, making it one of the oldest pet food brands. John, Herman, and Albert Saleen founded Nutro in 1933. The three brothers ran a fox farm and originally founded Nutro as a fox food business. 

They also began developing dog food, which they sold through a company called Kal Kan, which went on to become Whiskas. In 1947, John Saleen took sole ownership of Nutro. 

Fast forward to 1971, and John's son, Stephen, became involved in the company. Having just graduated from the University of Southern California with a business degree, Stephen developed an effective business strategy for Nutro, which helped the company prosper. He also designed Nutro's current logo.

Stephen eventually left Nutro to pursue a career in automotive sports, founding Saleen Autosport in 1983. John Saleen sold Nutro to Ed Brown for $300,000. 

In 1985, Nutro teamed up with Dr. Sharon Machlik to release its Max range, helping the company grow further. Mars, Incorporated bought Nutro in 2007 and still owns the company today.



Nutro dog food recalls

There have been two voluntary recalls of Nutro in the last 25 years, neither of which were recorded by the FDA. 

In October 2009, Nutro recalled dog food products due to the presence of small melted plastics on its production line. Nutro acted quickly, recalling all affected products and halting production. Nutro stated that it was highly unlikely any plastic had made it into its pet foods.

In December 2015, PetSmart voluntarily recalled several lots of Nutro CHEWY Treats with Real Apples due to possible mold contamination. Customers were advised to return recalled products to their local PetSmart.



Product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Mars Petcare, Inc.




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