Nutram Total Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

Protein = 36% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 38%

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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis32%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%19%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%39%32%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = 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:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/18/2017 Last Update

  • Maria Fe

    Earthborn holistics grain free is as excellent as nutram and it’s made in Oklahoma.

  • Mark

    I have a newfoundland dog. Just turning 15 months old. I started feeding him nutram s8 for large dogs. He has always been fussy when it comes to his food. He likes the s8 for the most part . My question is whether or not it would be better to give him t25 or another grain free formula? Your advice is appreciated

  • DogFoodie

    Hi Marcia,

    Not a silly question! It sounds as though he is digesting this food a bit better than he was the other. It could be that he needed less fiber, too. I have a dog with food sensitivities and I have to be very careful to avoid his trigger ingredients, as well as keep the fat, fiber, and protein levels within the ranges that he does best.

  • Marcia Byers

    Ok I have a silly question- My guy has been on Acana Singles Lamb and Apple for a couple months now, he has done really well on this.Last week I was running really low on his kibble. Went to our store to buy a bag, and guess what they had not received their shipment and had no bags.So I bought the lamb and legumes of this company, slightly scared to do a complete switch, protein is slightly higher, but the ingredients were not drastically different, but still. So a week into this bag and my boy has not had an upset tummy and his poops are smaller! Pretty impressed. So question is there something better in this kibble compared to Acana that would do that? Had a vet tell me he needed more fiber, but I see now this is slightly less.. Maybe that’s a broad question.. But anyhow pretty happy with this thus far. I really like how this is made only a few hours away from me.

  • Anja van Haarlem

    I am a breeder of havanese and we have 3 chinese crested My dogs love the T28 Nutram Total Grain-Free® Salmon & Trout Natural Dog Food !!! BUT…………..now its ONLY availble in 2.7 kilo small bags and not in the big bags anymore !! I am desperate !! My dogs do not like the bigger size dryfood salmon..only the MINI size !!!

    We have 8 dogs……we will have to buy another brand of dogfood because the 2.7 kilo bags are to expensive for us !!

    Why are the bigger bags not avaiable anymore ??

  • cannuck

    I have two cats, both are feeding on Nutreco’s new Wholesome Blend Naturaly Fresh line (they are loving the rabbit formula.) My boyfriend got me on to this line , he has a huge dog and has been feeding it the pork and beef formula. The dog took to it right away no problem and he noticed that backyard cleaning is so much better now when he scoops up the poop as it is smaller.

  • cannuck

    hey they do sell Nutreco pet food in the States…check out the website they state the locations…not sure where you are but they do have distributors—good news—my pets LOVE LOVE this food, check out the new “Fresh” line it’s awesome

  • Eli Mack

    love this stuff! my boys have been on nutram grain free turkey, chicken and duck for almost 2 years now and they love it! and it is made in ontario. i always support canadian products!!

  • Darrell Joseph Ostrowski

    Very odd, I had tried more then 6 brands before finding Nutram, it has been the only food I have not had issues with. As for the mislabeling I think it happens and as owners it is our responsibility to read and decide does this make sense, were the ones responsible for our pets and need to remember human error happens.

  • mhend

    Thanks for the info. I’ll try the Addiction as a rotation. Pugs generally will eat anything in sight but I want only the best for these two. I just lost my precious Brutus (he wasn’t quite 3 years old) and, after thousands in vet bills, we still didn’t know what was wrong with him. I’ve decided to concentrate on food/treats and give my new babies only the very best. Unfortunately, finding the very best has been difficult. I’m glad to hear Evo is good as well as Addiction. Thanks again.

  • Joey Yates

    Yeah but his options are CLEARLY 1000% better than Pukeanuba or Pedigree Pro scams. And as long as he isnt making false claims, i dont see why an employee of a company cant link to their site? I think if you are on this site you are savvy of the web. Maybe eric just needed the idea to order it online and James just created a customer for a competitor because eric is a deal hacker.

  • Joey Yates

    You will not go wrong with basically any of the EVO formulas. There is too much meat in them for all but the pickiest of eaters (my Goldendoodle) to not like. I feed my boy Lotus Grain Free Oven Baked Duck and mix in EVO TURKEY and CHICKEN wet food. Remember to get Turkey and Chick, nearly the same as Chicken and Turkey but DFA has done a review distinguishing the two. Also Addiction from New Zealand is a brand from a no franken-farm country. 🙂 Good luck feeding your beasts!

  • Joey Yates

    Ewww looks like good stuff!

  • mhend

    That was very nice of you to go to the trouble of checking for me. Shipping is beyond ridiculous! Oh my …. guess I’ll try the Evo brand, which is also highly rated. I get my two pugs on Sept. 24th so I’ll know soon how they do on Evo. Thanks again for your kindness. I sincerely appreciate the efforts.

  • I’m The Baby

    LOL I checked how much it would be to ship the large 11kg bag over the border; almost $300! I don’t think you’d want to pay almost $400 for one bag of dog food haha.

  • mhend

    For a fee of course would you be willing to ship some my way? LOL I desperately want my babies to have Nutram!

  • I’m The Baby

    That is too bad. It’s all I feed my dog and he’s doing amazing on it.
    Hopefully with the feedback you gave, they will soon offer it in the states!

  • mhend

    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I’m no where near the border and I’ve checked directly with Nutram in Canada and various pet supply stores nationwide. Nutram will not ship outside of Canada and no store seems to carry it within the US. What a shame! Sounds like the best of the best dog food and I can’t get it. Bummer….

  • I’m The Baby

    I don’t believe it’s available in the US yet. If you’re near the border, you could always have it shipped to a postal location close to the boarder for pickup.

  • mhend

    Where can I purchase Nutram Grain-Free dog/puppy food? CanadasPetShop.com only allows delivery within Canada. Am I doing something wrong on that site? Any place in the US sell it? Thanks.

  • dferhjiuy

    Are you anotherh shehep dont slehep

  • dferhjiuy

    Nmihke the hdentist is a n aprentice

  • dferhjiuy

    Neditorh nmikre put me in bnspahm bc he is a hscham

  • Frank

    Clearly you work for them lol

  • Sylvain

    They now do have a cat grain free,

  • James

    All Nutram products are available at CanadasPetShop.com so you could rotate between the two flavors, Salmon & Trout as well as Turkey, Chicken & Duck! Or give the classic Nutram brands a try.

  • Eric

    Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Pattyvaughn

    I live in a rural area and don’t have a lot available to me either. I do feed half balanced raw, but for kibble I often order online. Several places have free shipping if your order is over $50. Chewys, Doggiefood, and Petflow are sites to look into.

  • Eric

    Hi all
    I am considering of rotating between different kinds if kibble. The only thing is Nutram Grain Free Salmon & Trout is the only grain free dry food and the best quality kibble where I live. My GSD loves it and is doing great on it, but like I said I wanna rotate but can’t find something good. 90% of dry food is Royal Canin and my dog didn’t do well with it (loose stool, etc.)
    The best options I have are between ProSeries & Eukanuba. Or Should I just rotate between Nutram and raw meat?
    Thx

  • Pattyvaughn

    Please call or email them and let them know. They may already be aware, and unfortunately labeling laws give them a ridiculous amount of time to correct mistakes on the label, but it doesn’t hurt anything more to give them the benefit of the doubt on this. Hopefully, pet owners will realize quickly that they are feeding the wrong amount.

  • Carlo

    I purchased lately the mini Turkey, Chicken and Duck dry dog food from Nutram. About a week later, I noticed that their weight vs portions scale on the back, lower left side of their bag had a serious misprint error. The pound numbers seem to be under the Kilo scale, and kilo numbers under the pound scale. Which means that I’ve been feeding my dog more than double the portion. This is a serious oversight and unacceptable from a company which prides itself on quality.

  • JellyCat

    They also make really bad foods like Happy Paws with first ingredient being wheat middlings and second corn. What a great food.

  • JellyCat

    It’s really unfortunate that second ingredient in cat variety is corn.
    They don’t have grain free for cats.

  • dianne1089

    Can you order it online from Canada? Either the web page isn’t working correctly or you can’t. I would love to feed this to my dog.

  • Alexandra

    You can’t. They haven’t brought it into the country as of yet.

  • Where can I purchase Nutram in the US?????

  • Pattyvaughn

    I used to have a dog that took a month to transition to a new food, but after reading the benefits of rotational feeding, I decided I was going to try it. The first switch took a month, like I was expecting, but each switch after that I was able to do faster and faster. Today I feed her something different at every meal and she never has upset tummy troubles. I do also add probiotics to her food a couple times a week now so that I know she has a healthy variety of bacteria in her gut, but I didn’t start doing that when I started switching up her food.

  • Molly

    Thanks Alexandra and Hound Dog Mom

    I’ll take note of those points. Thanks again for sharing these information. Appreciate them. =)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Molly –

    I agree with Alexandra. In my opinion the two biggest mistakes people make when feeding their animals are: 1) only feeding kibble – dogs should also get fresh food or canned food at least once in awhile and 2) not including variety (feeding only one food).

    Many people are under the false assumption that it’s “normal” for dogs to get diarrhea when switching foods – it’s not. If a dog gets loose stools from a change of food, the animal is unhealthy – it either has a health condition causing it to have digestive issues (colitis, food sensitivities or allergies, IBD, etc.) or the owner has made the animal unhealthy by feeding it the same food for an extended period of time without providing variety. When you feed the same food without ever switching you are weakening your dog’s gut, albeit inadvertently.

    Frequently rotating foods (termed “rotational feeding”) will provide your dog with many benefits. First off, it will foster a healthy and diverse population of gut flora (probiotics) and thus enhance the immune system. Secondly, it will provide your dog with more well rounded nutrition – no food is perfect. Different protein sources have different amino acid profiles, as Alexandra noted. Different protein sources also have different fat profiles. For example, poultry is high in polyunsaturated fats (especially linoleic acid) and low in saturated fats and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), ruminants are high in saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats and DHA and fish is, typically, rich in DHA. Feeding your dogs a variety of different protein sources will help balance the fats in their diet. Lastly, it’s always good to have several “go-to” foods. If a company changes their formula, has a recall or discontinues a product and you only have that one product your dog can eat you’ll be left scrambling for food options to switch your dog to.

    Nutritionally speaking, the best thing you can do for your dog is to feed a variety of high quality foods. Rotate brands and protein sources frequently and top the dry food with a high quality canned food, raw food, dehydrated food or healthy fresh cooked foods. All three of my bloodhounds eat a balanced raw diet, they get something completely different at every meal and experience no digestive issues. My two youngest dogs (2 yrs. and 8 mo.) have been rotating foods daily since they came home at 8 weeks old and have never gotten loose stools. I don’t gradually transition or believe it’s necessary for a healthy dog.

  • Alexandra

    Hi Molly,

    I’m not HDM, but you want to rotate once you transition. Current research is finding that dogs have an increased chance of allergies being fed the same. With the exception of the meats all the diets should have the same ingredients.

    The variety of amino acids help strengthen the dogs immune system.

    Remember not one kibble is 100% perfect. By giving variety, including different manufacturers, you make up for one lines short comings

  • Molly

    I’m afraid that those transition periods will cause my puppy diarrhea (had that experiences before). So, I think I’ll probably choose one and stick with it. However, I’m not sure which one I should pick. Any recommendations and some explanation on why it’s better than the other is much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Rotate between both so your dog gets some variety.

  • Molly

    If I were to choose between ‘Salmon & Trout’ and ‘Turkey, Chicken & Duck’, which should I go for? And why? Thanks in advance and have a nice day.