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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||32%||18%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||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 minerals… minerals 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.
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.
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.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
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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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.
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Notes and Updates
09/20/2011 Original review
03/23/2013 Review updated
03/23/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩