NRG Maxim Grainless dehydrated raw dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The NRG Maxim Grainless product line includes four dehydrated 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.
- NRG Maxim Beef
- NRG Maxim Buffalo
- NRG Maxim Salmon
- NRG Maxim Chicken
NRG Maxim Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
NRG Maxim Chicken
Dehydrated Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Free range chicken muscle meat, squash, carrots, pumpkin, eggs, liver, grapefruit, wheat germ, broccoli, cranberries, papaya, garlic, goat milk yogurt, flax seed, salmon fillet, apples, cider vinegar, limes, kelp, blueberries, eggshell, coconut oil
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||19%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||39%||38%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. 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.
The second ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The third ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fourth ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient is whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The sixth ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, wheat germ is a nutritious by-product of the wheat milling process and also rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and minerals.
However, since it contains at least 25% plant-based protein and depending upon the amount, this ingredient can boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
However, the use of wheat germ here causes us to question the company’s claim this product can be considered “grainless” (as its name implies).
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
In addition, flaxseed, is 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.
Next, we note the inclusion of coconut oil. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.3
And lastly, although we find no mention of added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list, we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website.
NRG Maxim Grainless Dehydrated Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, NRG Maxim dog food looks like 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 28% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 69%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat germ, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.
NRG Maxim Grainless is a plant-based dehydrated raw product using a moderate amount of various named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
05/13/2011 Original review
01/04/2013 Review updated
01/04/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩
- Dr. Bruce Fife, Healthy Ways Newsletter, Vol 4:3 ↩