Nutrisca Freeze Dried (Freeze-Dried)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Nutrisca Freeze Dried raw dog food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nutrisca Freeze Dried product line lists three raw dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Nutrisca Freeze Dried Beef Dinner Bites
  • Nutrisca Freeze Dried Salmon Dinner Bites
  • Nutrisca Freeze Dried Chicken Dinner Bites

Nutrisca Freeze Dried Chicken Dinner Bites raw dog food was selected to represent both recipes in the line for this review.

Nutrisca Freeze Dried Chicken Dinner Bites

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 32% | Carbs = 18%

Ingredients: Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, apples, chickpeas, peas, flaxseed, chicory root extract, cranberries, salmon oil (a source of DHA), dried kelp, potassium chloride, salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin E), vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis40%30%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%32%18%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%56%13%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken with ground bone. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life. And the ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.

The second ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal. So long as it’s not over-weighted in a dog food, chicken liver is a beneficial component.

The third ingredient includes apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The fourth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

The fifth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

The sixth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed consists of about 19% protein and both peas and chickpeas contain around 22-25% protein, factors that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is chicory root. Chicory is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of 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.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated mineralsminerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Nutrisca Freeze Dried Raw
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrisca Freeze Dried Raw looks to be an above-average dog food.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 42%, a fat level of 32% and estimated carbohydrates of about 18%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 19% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas and flax, this looks like the profile of a raw food containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutrisca Freeze Dried Raw is a meat-based freeze-dried dog food using a notable amount of chicken or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.

Special Alert

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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

09/20/2011 Original review
03/23/2013 Review updated
03/23/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • YellowDot

    This food caused my dog severe intestinal problems. After the first time I gave him this food, He pooped ONLY BLOOD for 24 HOURS. After an almost $400.00 vet bill, my dog recovered. At this time I had not realized that this food was to blame. After two weeks of giving him can food that the vet had recommended I ran out and decided to give him the Nutrisca again. Well, to my surprise we would have a second episode of full and only BLOODY stools for another 24 hours. This food is poison. My dog lucky recovered a second time. This time with another vet bill of $80.00 for medications. My dog has had many many other kinds of dog brand foods from least expensive to expensive and never had any sort of reaction. Besides he has even consumed animals (ie: rat) in the yard and never had an issue. My dog is not one with a sensitive stomach. Shame on Nutrisca company, who after notifying assumed no responsibility. Horrible experience. Unless you want to run the chance of experiencing this possible situation with a huge expensive vet bill, I would stay away.

  • Trish

    I was just thinking the same thing today after all the hooohaaa on the chicken jerky. DUH, I said to self – as I have a dehydrator and used to make beef jerky for myself all the time. I can get chicken breasts super cheap every so often and since I have a smallish dog..it would go a long way while having peace of mind.I may even sprinkle his powered supplement for his joint health on it while still raw. You can also use the oven to dehydrate as well if anybody is versed in doing that method.

    Oh, not sure if mentioned, but can you re-hydrate this stuff? Seems like it would go further if you put the moisture back at time of feeding.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You are right that there is far too much extra stuff in dog food. If they put a little in for lycopene or the minimum needed for fiber, that would be great. But they use so much stuff that there is no reason for other than it’s cheap and yet we have to pay a premium price.

  • SadorusSadie1939

    Would someone please tell me why the dog food companies are putting tomato pomace in their food? I am a farmer and raised a lot of tomatoes. When I would throw extra ones out in the edge of the fields, the dogs would run over and smell them and then turn their nose up and walk away. I believe they are putting all of this fruit in there to appeal to the owners, not really what dogs or wolfs would eat in the wild. I think that they are getting carried away putting all of this fruit in the food. Thank You for listening to my rant..

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    My boys also like Instinct freeze dried bites and Vital Essentials freeze dried nibblets. The nibblets are a great treat size being the size of a large kibble maybe. I’ve never bought large kibble so I’m not sure. They’re the size of a macadamia nut and smaller.

  • P. Galbraith

    Recently purchased the Beef Dinner Bites and my 1 yr. old mutt LOVES them. I feed her only one-two daily as a treat, not as a meal, since the fat content is rather high. I gave her part of one only and she immediately came back to me and started “whimpering” for more. I think it’s a winner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.davi2 Linda Davi

    See preceding comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.davi2 Linda Davi

    I am psyched!  Got 2 pouches of beef on clearace at TJMaxx & all 5 of my dogs LOVED it – a first in 12 years!  Can’t wait to get an order placed or find a store near me that stocks it!  Have fed Nutrisca dry before, but not the same results!!  

  • jessi L.

    Got my Nutrisca freeze dried about a week ago, he looooooves it. I would never feed him a full diet of this, it just makes no sense when frozen raw and ziwi peak air-dried costs half as much. It would cost almost $80 a month to feed my 8LB! dog this food (not sure why someone mentions it’s less expensive than S&C, it’s not). But i fed it to him for a few meals, and even then only 1/2 his meal, rehydrated (I cannot imagine feeding a lot of this dry when freeze dried instructions clearly state a dog should drink a 1/4 cup of water for every patty, something like that). Anyway, big hit and if i see it on sale ever for 25% or more off, i’ll pick up some more. I got the chicken.

  • jess L.

    Looking forward to trying this. Petflow had a promotion for 5 oz packages for $0.39! I bought 6. ;D. Here’s hoping the pup finds it as yummy as he found S&C’s.

    i’m just gonna give it every so often, not as full meals.

  • Kat

    Make your own chicken jerky, I bought a dehydrator from bed, bath & beyond and make it myself. I no longer have to worry about where the chicken came from or what may be in it since I know where I buy it from and I make it myself. It’s cheaper and easier. Dehydrator costs about $50 but it’s well worth it!

  • Mblack729

    I did talk to Dogswell and they said the chicken in this food was from the US. I wish they would make the jerky from US chicken because it was my dogs favorite!

  • Mblack729

    I’m not switching foods. I was just looking for a new food to alternate with Stella and Chewy’s. My dog gets bored with the same food and I already feed her all of the S&C varieties. I did talk to Dogswell and they said the chicken in this food is from the US so I got a bag. My dog ate it and she is very picky. 

  • sandy

    Are you going to email them?  All I saw was “salmon caught off the northwest coast of the US” and “US sourced lamb”. Didn’t mention a source place for the chicken.

  • Bob K

    Mblack729 – Why are you switching foods?  There are many 4 and 5 star rated foods available.   Ingredients can often come from multiple locations depending on season, costs and what plant is making the food.  If you have concerns, contact the Mfg.  

  • Mblack729

    I’m aware that this food is manufactured in the USA. However, I can’t find out where the meat comes from. It’s being manufactured here , but the chicken might still be from China. I want to buy it, but I don’t want to risk sickening my dog. 

  • Sovida

    MaryLou
    WHAT A SWEETHEART! Your Compassion means a LOT!
    Thank You Very Much !
    ~Dawn~

  • Mary Lou

    Dawn ~ so very sorry to hear of the loss of your husband.  My thoughts and prayers are with you. 

  • Dawn

    SORRY…WISH THERE WAS AN EDIT BUTTON  ON THE POSTS WE WRITE….. :o*(      I NEVER EVER REREAD MY COMMENTS BEFORE SENDING…SORRY FOR THE NO PERIODS AND WORDS MUSHED TOGETHER..I JUST LOST MY HUBBY OF 34 YRS SUDDENLY ON THANKSGIVING DAY…(MY DAUGHTER 2 YRS AGO) AND WELL…IM PRETTY MUCH IN A FOG OF ALL THE TIME..AGAIN SORRY FOR ALL THE TYPO’S FORGIVE ME  :o*(

  • Dawn

    MY GIRLS LOOOVE THIS FREEZE DRIED….THEY ITCH LIKE MAD FROM NATURES VARIETY AND STELLA & CHEWEYS FREEZE DRIED..NOT AT TO THIS..USE K9 NATURAL TOO..AND ZIWIPEAK CAN SOMETIMES THEIR TREATS AND GREAT LIFE CANNED (MADE SOPHIE BEA MEGA PUPPY AGAIN! THEY GET BOTH RAW AND CANNED AND..SOMETIMES…ONLY…WYSONG EPIGEN 90 DRY FOOD..THE ONLY DRY I WILL GIVE….NEVER EVER RAW AT THE SAME TIME…NO BOOBOO BELLIES WANTED  :o) OH AND THIS IS …MUCH…CHEAPER THEN NV AND S&C’S! MUCH! JUST WISH THEY WOULD COME OUT WITH LAMB..HOPEFULLY….

  • sandy

    They make their dog food in the USA.  Jerky treats in China.

  • Mblack729

    I feed my dog all of the Stella and Chewy’s varieties. I’ve been looking for other brands to rotate. I used to buy the Dogswell chicken jerky as treats until I read on the package that the chicken is from china. Is the chicken in this dog food also from china? 

  • sandy

    Haven’t tried this freeze dried raw but Stella & Chewy also have freeze dried raw and the pieces are small enough to offer as a treat, and they also have treats called Carnivore Kisses – small chunks of meat.

  • J.J.

    I bought this food recently at my local Petco as treats for my dogs & they love it. Petco has it displayed with the treats instead of dog food, so I didn’t realize until I got home that it is intended as a meal. It seems a bit pricey to feed as a meal but I love the fact that I can supplement their regular food with such healthy treats & get more raw food in their diet. I have a hard time getting one of them to eat raw whole foods, but they both love dehydrated raw treats. Has anyone else tried this food?