Nutram Ideal Solution (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Nutram Ideal Solution Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5.

The Nutram Ideal product line includes 2 dry foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Nutram Ideal Weight Control [M]
  • Nutram Ideal Sensitive Skin, Coat and Stomach (4 stars) [M]

Nutram Ideal Sensitive Skin, Coat and Stomach was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Nutram Ideal Sensitive Skin, Coat and Stomach

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, pearled barley, rice, whole eggs, lamb, salmon meal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, salmon oil, dried beet pulp, pea fiber, natural flavor, dehydrated alfalfa meal, potassium chloride, apples, butternut squash, pumpkin, broccoli, salt, choline chloride, dl-methionine, chicory root extract, 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), dried rosemary

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%14%51%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%31%45%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The fifth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 seventh ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

The tenth ingredient is salmon oil. 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.

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 six notable exceptions

First, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Next, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

We also note 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 Ideal Solution Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutram Ideal Solution 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% 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.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutram Ideal Solution is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

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Notes and Updates

05/08/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials