Nunn Better Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Nunn Better product line includes six dry dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for growth (Puppy Mini Morsels).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nunn Better High Protein
- Nunn Better Mini Chunks
- Nunn Better Golden Gravy
- Nunn Better Butcher’s Best
- Nunn Better Golden Nuggets
- Nunn Better Puppy Mini Morsels (2.5 stars)
Nunn Better Mini Chunks was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nunn Better Mini Chunks
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, meat meal, ground wheat, soybean meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||9%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||21%||56%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient is meat meal, “the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”.1
Since in this case the source animal is not known, this item could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized pets.
On the brighter side, however, meat meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.
Although this item does contain all the amino acids a dog needs, we do not consider meat meal a quality component.
The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fourth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is 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 sixth ingredient is salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.
However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.
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 find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
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.
Nunn Better Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nunn Better looks like a below average dry 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 26% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a modest amount of meat.
Nunn Better is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of meat meal or chicken meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating 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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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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
12/15/2013 Original review
12/15/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩