Nutrisca Dog Food gets the Advisor’s highest rating of five stars.
The Nutrisca product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
- Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Recipe
- Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea Recipe
- Nutrisca Lamb and Chickpea Recipe
Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas, chickpeas, menhaden fish meal (a source of fish oil), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), pea fiber, pea starch, natural flavor, potassium chloride, tomato pomace, salmon oil (a source of DHA), apples, carrots, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, iron proteinate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, folic acid, calcium iodate, cobalt proteinate, biotin, selenium yeast, vitamin b12 supplement, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||20%||36%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||40%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
The fourth ingredient lists chickpeas. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume family of vegetables.
However, both peas and chickpeas contain about 22-25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is menhaden fish meal. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Menhaden fish meal is another high protein meat concentrate… similar to chicken meal (already discussed).
The sixth ingredient lists chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no nutritional value to a dog.
The eighth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like carbohydrate extract probably used here as a gel-like binder for making kibble.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, the salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, this food does contain chelated minerals… minerals that have been chemically attached to proteins. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Nutrisca Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
This may not just be a good dog food. But an important one, too. Nutrisca is a certified2 low glycemic product making it a serious candidate for feeding a diabetic dog.
What’s more, judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrisca dog food looks to be an above average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
The above-average fiber content of 8% tends to further reduce the product’s net effective carbohydrate content.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and chickpeas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Nutrisca dry dog food is a grain free kibble using a notable amount of chicken, lamb, or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars
Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may wish to check out our review of Dogswell canned dog food.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/10/2010 Original review
08/22/2011 Added Salmon and Chickpea Recipe
02/17/2013 Review updated
02/17/2013 Last Update