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Nulo Lifestyles Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nulo Lifestyles product line includes six canned dog foods, one recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and five recipes for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nulo Balance Duck Recipe
- Nulo Growth Salmon Recipe
- Nulo Balance Turkey Recipe
- Nulo Longevity Trout Recipe
- Nulo Balance Salmon Recipe
- Nulo Balance Trout Recipe (3 stars)
Nulo Balance Trout Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nulo Balance Trout Recipe
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Trout, turkey, turkey broth, fish broth, turkey liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, carrageenan, guar gum, tricalcium phosphate, blueberries, apples, sodium triphosphate, potassium chloride, salt, salmon oil, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, betaine, zinc proteinate, glucosamine, iron proteinate, niacin, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||18%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||38%||32%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is trout, a marine and freshwater fish naturally high in protein.
The second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The next two ingredients are turkey broth and fish broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The fifth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The eighth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus — like all legumes — they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
The ninth ingredient is carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
The tenth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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, 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.
Nulo Lifestyles Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nulo Lifestyles Canned Dog Food looks like an above average wet 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 36% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nulo Lifestyles Dog Food is a meat-based wet product using a moderate amount of turkey, duck and fish as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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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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
07/03/2014 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩