Nutram Total Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nutram Total Grain Free product line includes five dry 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.
- Nutram Total Grain Free T23 Chicken and Turkey
- Nutram Total Grain Free T25 Trout and Salmon Meal
- Nutram Total Grain Free T26 Lamb and Lentils (4.5 stars)
- Nutram Total Grain Free T27 Small & Toy Breed Chicken and Turkey
- Nutram Total Grain Free T28 Small & Toy Breed Trout and Salmon Meal
Nutram Total Grain Free T23 Chicken and Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutram Total Grain Free T23 Chicken and Turkey
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken meal, peas, lentils, chickpeas, turkey meal, split peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole eggs, flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, quinoa seed, pumpkin, broccoli, dried whey protein concentrate, choline chloride, salt, kale, pomegranate, raspberries, chicory root extract, dried kelp, vitamins & minerals (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin (source of vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin (source of vitamin B2), beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, selenium yeast), Yucca schidigera extract, New Zealand green mussel, spinach, celery seeds, peppermint, chamomile, turmeric, ginger, rosemary
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||19%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||39%||32%|
The first two ingredients in this dog food are chicken and turkey. Although they are quality items, raw poultry contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
The fifth ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, both peas and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient includes 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.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The eighth ingredient lists more peas.
It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Split peas
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The ninth 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 tenth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
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, 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we find quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
In addition, chicory root 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.
Next, this food 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.
And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
Nutram Total Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutram Total Grain Free looks like an above-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 37% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.
Above-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 lentils, peas, chickpeas, flaxseed and quinoa, this looks like the profile of a kibble still containing a notable amount of meat.
Nutram Total Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Nutram Dog Food
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Notes and Updates
01/18/2017 Last Update