Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nutreco Wholesome Blend 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.

  • Wholesome Blend Red Meat Turf Formula
  • Wholesome Blend Grain Free Small Breed
  • Wholesome Blend Grain Free Large Breed
  • Wholesome Blend Grain Free Medium Breed
  • Wholesome Blend Grain Free Feather and Fowl

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free Medium Breed was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free Medium Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 40%

Ingredients: Fresh deboned salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, whole peas, peas starch, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and rosemary extract), suncured alfalfa, whitefish meal, fresh whole fruits & vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, apples, tomatoes, peas, cranberries, spinach, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate), natural flavours, tomato pomace (source of lycopenes), olive oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and rosemary extract), flaxseed, herring oil (source of DHA), dried brown kelp, botanicals (aniseed, cassia, thyme, chamomile, horseradish, juniper berry oil), chicory root extract (FOS), mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, l-carnitine probiotic bacteria: Lactobacillus acidophillus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Enterococcus faecium, digestive enzymes: papain, bromelain, Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, vitamins: vitamin E, choline chloride, niacin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta carotene, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin A, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid, minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulphate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis32%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%17%40%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%35%34%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 second ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

The third ingedient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

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

The fourth ingredient includes 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.

The fifth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like carbohydrate extract probably used here as a gel-like binder for making kibble.

The sixth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

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 seventh ingredient is suncured alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

The eighth ingredient is whitefish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

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, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

In addition, this recipe includes chicory root extract (FOS) and mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), nutritional supplements likely included here as prebiotics. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the pet’s intestinal tract.

Next, 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.

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.

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutreco Wholesome Blend 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 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 40%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Nutreco Wholesome Blend Grain Free is a meat-based kibble using a significant amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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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Notes and Updates

05/28/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • DogFoodie

    We were actually just discussing the differences between pricing in the US and Canada at the time I originally posted this.

    I’ve actually tried Wholesome Blend before. My dogs did OK on it, but it’s got quite a few ingredients in it that my dog with food hypersensitivities cannot have so I no longer use it. It’s a good product though and I’ve recommended it to others.

    It’s not easy to find in the U.S. though. I live in the Chicago area and there are stores here that carry it, but I ordered mine online from

  • joe

    you can save $40 by switching to Wholesome Blend Grain Free Turf….same quality and way better pricing

  • Guest

    FYI-just called the company. They no longer have a small breed formula. Apparently they have a combined small/medium breed formula now.

  • Tari Anne

    The veterinary diets are ghastly expensive in Nova Scotia! The medium bag of Wholesome I just got was around $50, the largest bag is $75, compared to the over $100 for a large bag of the MediCal my dog has been on. Price is not an issue for me when it comes to my furchildren, I often do without to ensure they get what they need. My husband’s horse is on expensive grain because he is a special needs critter lol. Our lives revolve around those fur babies!

  • Tari Anne

    Many years ago when VMD came out with the Medi-Cal diets (Im in Canada) my previous golden retrievers were on it and did beautifully. It was a very high end food and I was pleased with the results. However in recent years VMD sold out to Royal Canin, a french company. Since then the MediCal diets have been going downhill. The last bag I bought for my golden caused food allergies: constant defecating, itchy red ears, fur chewing, and worst of all hives on his muzzle and eyes! I have switched him to the Wholesome medium dog (due to his weight issues) grain free diet. I am hoping that this will eliminate his allergies but keep his coat gleaming and his feces small and less frequent.

  • Storm’s Mom

    After a 24hr transition (Storm’s very used to switching foods), and 2 days solely on Wholesome Blend Turf, Storm’s doing really well!! The kibble is 1/2 wide by 1/4 thick/high…sort of TOTW width, but twice as thick/high. So, perhaps not the best kibble for small dogs or those with difficulties eating kibble pieces, but Storm’s 26lbs and he’s doing just fine with it. Storm’s poops are normal ..perhaps a bit bigger than they were on his last kibble (Go!’s new grain-free, potato-free Turkey one …LOVE that one!!!), but nothing to write about, really. Still going 3x/day, so all normal there, too. So far so good!!!! This one looks well on its way to being the pork option in the rotation!! Yay!! (the other option so far is Fromm Pork and Peas …or should I say “Peas and Pork”, because there’s way more peas than pork in the formula, I would suspect!! ….but Wholesome Blend Turf looks like it has a lot more protein from meat than Fromm..and Wholesome Blend is *considerably* cheaper than Fromm here …in fact, Wholesome Blend seems to be one heck of a value!!!).

  • dixiecream has a sale going on. I am trying this on my very allergic dog now. We’ll see.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Wholesome Blend Grain Free is fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally becoming available in my area starting next week!!! Yay!!!! I’ve wanted to try Storm on this one for a while now! So, I’ve placed an order for the Red Meat Turf variety, price for 25lbs is $59.99 which is a great value around here!! (I was pleasantly surprised!!) Fingers crossed that Storm does well on it!! :-) If he does, I’ll definitely be adding it to the rotation as a pork option (good beef/pork options are VERY hard to find here – no Back to Basics, unfortunately), and I’ll also be ordering the Medium Breed or maybe the Small Breed as well (he’s medium sized, but the small breed has more protein and less fat, so might be the better way to go..ingredients are the same, just the %s are different).

  • LabsRawesome

    Haha, I was just messing with you. :)

  • Melissaandcrew

    Lol. Rich is in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion we are far from it, but choose to spend our money on the furkids who enrich our lives rather than material items to impress others :-). Our pockets would be fuller without them but our lives would be empty. You would laugh if you saw me grocery shop. I could not bring myself last week to buy boneless chicken breasts because they were 10 more than the bone in..I had to up vote your comment because it made me lol..

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! I can’t speak for Melissa, she may be rich, but I can assure you that I’m not. Maybe I would have been rich if I had not gotten this pet addiction. I don’t go to the movies, I don’t go out to eat, my truck is a 1999 and I hope it runs another 10 years, but I do spend my money on my animals and fortunately, the rest of my family likes animals as much as I do. It’s amazing what you can do without when happiness is waiting at home.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Did you put a link in it? Those appear to need to be moderated lately.

  • LabsRawesome

    Ok you’re rich. Stop bragging!

  • Melissaandcrew

    Oops..forgot Grandma lucys pureformance chicken 10lb 63.50

  • Melissaandcrew

    Going to try again. Price in NY as of today-(may be a little off as I just threw out the receipt for exact change)

    RR-$86.80 6Fish-79.50, Victor Ultra Pro-47.50, Acansa chik/potatoe $53.50 Nutrisource gF CHICKEN $49.99 nv RAWBITES 7LB cchicken-$41.99, medallions $16.75

  • Melissaandcrew

    I responded with what I paid today for various foods, and it says awaiting moderation for some reason..yet other posts are appearing.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Thankfully for me, it takes Storm a while to get through 28lbs of kibble ;-) ..unlike Linda Irwin, for example :-( ….but when I do have to pony up, it’s like “ugh!” lol Gotta do what ya gotta do, though! :-)

  • LabsRawesome

    $98?! That is crazy. I could never do that. My budget for people food is $150 every two weeks for 3 people.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hmm, nope that’s about what it is here too (little bit more with the taxes). It seems to be the mid range to lower priced ones that are priced MUCH lower than here. It just always floors me when people complain about paying $40ish for 30lbs of food, as I have never seen anything close to that price here (and it gets my gills up when people complain about the price of lower cost food for other reasons, too..but that’s beside the point ;-D)

  • Betsy Greer

    I pay about $98.00 USD (including tax) for 28 pounds of Orijen Regional Red. Is that cheap?

  • Storm’s Mom

    I hear ya, Linda Irwin! I’m in Canada too. When I hear folks in the US talk/complain about their dog food prices, I’m like “you’re soooooo lucky!!!”. Do you feed Wholesome Blend Grain Free, by chance? How does your dog do on it, do you recommend it, etc? It’s one that I’ve tried to order in, as it’s not available in stores here in BC – the Turf formula and/or the Medium Breed are the ones I’m most interested in – but for some reason no one’s able to order it in!! Very frustrating!! It’s Canadian made, for crying out loud! :-(

  • Linda Irwin

    I can’t beleive the price you pay for dog food I pay 100.00 every 3 weeks for my food it is only 33lbs. I live in Canada I work several jobs for my dogs to have the very best I can give them love dog food advisor always been good for me.

  • InkedMarie

       Foods that are 4 or 5 star rated will be more costly. You get what you pay for, both good & bad. If you want a higher quality food, you’re going to pay for it, usually. I can’t even imagine a food that is $47 for 30lbs….up here, that won’t get you a great food.
         National food? That all depends on where you live, not just the state but the city. Where I live, there are very few good foods available locally. If I travel 35min, which is what I end up doing, I can find a better assortment. 

  • Betsy Greer

    You can get a 33 pound bag of NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice on for $47.99.  That’s my favorite budget friendly food.  If you can find it in a store near you:, you’ll be able to take advantage of their buy 12 get one free loyalty program and they offer coupons regularly as well.  Plus, they have weekly giveaways for a free bag.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Hi Rova-

    Just because you can not get a particular product or afford another one, does not mean they should not be reviewed. There are other people out there you know.

    Its up to you to take a list of what you might want to feed, check out its availability and decide if its in your budget. You always have the option of on line ordering as well, the same as the rest of us. Or  you can learn to home cook or prepare raw. Try looking into Propac if  you do not have a problem with corn. Its 33 lbs for $28.99, no recalls, $2 coupon in every bag, and buy 10, get 1 free.

  • ROVA445

    What is unhelpful about this site is that most dog foods in the 4 and 5 rating tiers are either really expensive and/or not carried by other than specialty stores. Not all of us can afford 30 lbs of dog food at $47.  How about discussing what those with only access to national food and merchandise stores can do, especially after reading that all national brands are poisoning our friends.