Nutri Life Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Nutri Life Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Nutri Life product line includes four 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.

  • Nutri Life Pork Medley
  • Nutri Life Gold Plus Formula
  • Nutri Life Golden Duck Formula
  • Nutri Life All Gold 24-14 Formula

Nutri Life All Gold 24-14 Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutri Life All Gold 24-14 Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Duck, turkey, chicken meal, brown rice, pearled barley, oatmeal, lamb, menhaden fish meal, potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), white rice, tomato pomace, salmon oil, flaxseed, brewers dried yeast, alfalfa meal, sweet potato, carrots, lettuce, cranberries, celery, lecithin, chicken cartilage, potassium chloride, monocalcium phosphate, salt, dl-methionine, inulin (from chicory root), Yucca schidigera extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, vitamin A, D3, E, B12 supplements, choline chloride, niacin, pantothenic acid, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, zinc sulfate, iron carbonate, manganous oxide, copper oxide, cobalt carbonate, calcium iodate, sorbic acid, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%33%44%

The first two ingredients in this dog food are duck and turkey. Although they are quality items, raw duck and turkey 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, these items 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 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 fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The sixth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient 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 ninth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The tenth 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.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, we find brewers yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we note the inclusion of 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, 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.

Additionally, 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.

We also note the inclusion of 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.

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Nutri Life Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutri Life Dog Food 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 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, alfalfa meal and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutri Life is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of various meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

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

10/02/2012 Original review
04/19/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • cebg

    What is the copper content ppm?

  • Shannon

    My store carries this food and on their brochures they sent us it says “No Ethoxyquin”. You might want to double, check and I will too in order to find out which is the truth. I did e-mail them to tell them about their brochures saying it, but their website does not. I believe it’s a small company run by family members so they may not have thought to list it on their website. They are just now getting our store listed as carrying it and it’s been almost 6 months. Our customers really like this food so far though. Good price for the ingredients listed compared to some other foods of equal value. Thanks for the review Mike!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Because the duck, turkey and lamb are inclusive of their water content before cooking, and ingredients are required to be listed by weight. Ingredients including water are heavier than those without. They would fall far down the list once they are cooked and the moisture is gone from them (which would have to happen in order for them to be in a kibble). This would leave the ACTUAL first ingredients before the fat as: chicken meal, brown rice, pearled barley, oatmeal, menhaden fish meal, and potato.  In other words, a lot of plant-based ingredients.. “filler”… with very little actual meat content. Hope this helps!

  • BryanV21

    Ingredient lists include meats BEFORE cooking. Once meat is cooked it loses the majority of it’s weight, basically pushing it down the ingredient list.

    A meat-based food will have a carbohydrate level closer to 35%, rather than the 50% this one does.

  • Bob

    How is this a Plant Based Food when the first 3 and 5 out of the first 8 ingredients are Meat?