Nutrience Original (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Nutrience Original Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Nutrience Original product line includes four dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppies).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Nutrience Original Healthy Puppy
  • Nutrience Original Adult Small Breed
  • Nutrience Original Adult Large Breed
  • Nutrience Original Adult Medium Breed

Nutrience Original Adult Medium Breed was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutrience Original Adult Medium Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, green peas, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, brewer’s yeast, salmon oil (source of DHA), blueberries, cranberries, carrots, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, inositol, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganese oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], potassium chloride, salt, dl-methionine, l-lysine, chicory root extract, choline chloride, yeast extract, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

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 ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

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 includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is beet pulp. 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.

After the chicken flavor, we find 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.

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 four 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, 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, 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.

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.

Nutrience Original Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrience Original 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 16%. 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.

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

Bottom line?

Nutrience Original is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

06/06/2014 Last Update

  • Mark MacDonald

    I’m using nutrience grain free now. My two mini schnauzers love it!

  • Twiggy T

    I found this on Amazon, and it looks like it no longer contains corn. Here is what it says:

    Chicken meal, brown rice, green peas, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, brewer’s yeast, salmon oil (source of DHA), blueberries, cranberries, carrots, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, inositol, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganese oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], potassium chloride, DL-methionine, L-lysine, chicory root extract, choline chloride, yeast extract, salt, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate.

    And the link, for inquiring minds:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDZT22Q

  • Lady’s bird

    You are right. 28 % protein is very reasonanle. It is just her opinion Storm’s mom is not a licensed expert in dog nutrition

  • steve

    Storm’s Mom, I am not sure why you say the protein comes from only one meat source when the name of the food has 3 different proteins? The food is called Turkey, Chicken Herring so does it not come from all 3? The natural line looks like a pretty good food from the ingredients and the protein level 28% which seems reasonable within the “Natural range” of foods?

  • Pattyvaughn

    If your dog shows signs of skin issues, you might want to avoid corn all together, however if your dog is healthy, you may just want to make sure you aren’t feeding a super high carb food that lacks in meat protein. This one would be a decent place to start. You might want to do some research into why rotating foods is best, if you don’t rotate already.

  • annie

    should i avoid dog food that contains corn?

  • RYOUNVS

    What a load of crap. We’ve been feeding our breeding dogs and puppies Nutrience for years now and they LOVE it and we’ve had no issues.

  • Marc-André Paquette

    Wow thanks for the quick reply. I will stick to the Grain free then.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Storm’s Mom

    The Nutrience Natural Turkey, Chicken & Herring looks like about a 4-star food.

  • Marc-André Paquette

    Hi, recently bought Nutrience Natural (Turkey, Chicken & Herring). It’s new at my pet shop so I decided to give it a try because it seemed like my dog didn’t really liked the Grain Free. Do you know if this new food is any good? The price tag is the same as Grain Free I hope it’s good, my god loves it :)

    Thank you!

  • Storm’s Mom

    This is from Michelle Read, Nutrience Marketing Coordinator:

    “For every ingredient we include in our foods, we have a spec sheet of the standards we need the supplier to meet in terms of the qualities of the raw ingredient. In the case of fish, “no ethoxyquin” is one of our demands of suppliers. In addition, random testing is performed of incoming batches to help ensure suppliers have met our demands.

    We are very strict in these demands; in fact, we take great measures to ensure our quality control, food handling and testing procedures surpass industry standards, and all procedures are double-checked by third parties for safety.”

    Better? :-O

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Well, they didn’t answer the question I asked “Is the fish from your supplier ethoxyquin free?”. Very simple and to the point and they didn’t answer it. I didn’t ask them how they preserve their kibble.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Is this good or bad? ..at least it’s consistent?! :-) Do you need me to ask again or another question, too? :-)

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    They told me the same thing so I asked them again!!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Yes, I asked:

    “Are the Nutrience Grain Free formulae ethoxyquin-free?”

    The response:

    “No artificial antioxidants (BHT, BHA, Ethoxyquin) are used in any of the Nutrience formulas; only natural antioxidants are used to preserve our foods.”

    Does this help? I’m aware that sometimes companies can “answer but not answer” the question, and I know it can be a technicality about who adds the ethoxyquin, etc as to whether the company needs to disclose it or something …so I’m not 100% sure this is a satisfactory answer in that respect, so if it’s not let me know and I can follow up.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Have you asked them if this food is ethoxyquin free?

  • Storm’s Mom

    So, I just started Storm on the new Nutrience GF Fish formula a few days ago (which isn’t listed here on this Nutrience page yet (or maybe it will get its own page?)), and so far I thought I’d report 3 things:

    1. the kibble size is huge (I estimate you can fit about 6-8 Nature’s Logic kibble pieces into it – 2 layers of 3-4 NL pieces). The only bigger kibble I’ve seen is FirstMate Fish.

    2. It smells very fishy/good!!! He’s inhaling the food.

    3. Storm’s poops are very small and he’s going 2-3 times per day, so nothing unusual going on there. I transitioned him over 3 days (but he’s pretty used to switching foods by now so I probably could switch him cold turkey). He’s been on Nutrience GF solely for 3 days now.

    So far, I’m (still) shocked that I’m impressed with a Nutrience food, but I am!! I’ve been paying attention to the “no fish kibble” discussion on another thread, and am comfortable feeding this one at the moment because it’s brand new on the shelves with Best Before date of July 2014, so I think it’s still reasonably “fresh”, as far as kibbles go.

    Anyway, very curious to see if Dr Mike rates it as a 4 or 5, though! (I don’t *think* it would be rated less than a 4, but I could be wrong..)

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi Dr Mike, just received an email about new Nutrience Grain-Free formulae – http://www.nutrience.ca/Grain-Free/ (click on “Learn About Grain Free for Dogs” near the bottom just above the brown stripe, to get to a PDF with the nutritional info) I’m shocked that I’m about to say this about Nutrience, but it actually looks like really good formulae, that I actually will probably try!! Is it on your “to do” list? :-)

  • Skyerenaud

    Excellent and helpful review! Nutrience has been our ideal dog food for our labradors for years until now. Our newest pup suffers from itchy raw paws and after several treatments and meds from the Vet, it is speculated that she may have a food allergy. Considering changing foods.

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Carlos,

    Sandy and I are still digging through the more than product 650 updates and more than 150 new lines. So, it could be a while longer.

    We’re working hard to get to these other formulations as soon as we can. But it could still be as long as a few more months.

    Thanks for the reminder and your patience.

  • Dog Food Ninja

     Well, if you want my opinion on the “all natural” line: it’s full of crap.  Brewer’s rice, oats, barley, brown rice, canola oil, yeast cultures, flax, powdered cellulose, lecithin… all terrible ingredients.  Toxie, take a look at this stuff!  lol

    http://www.nutrience.ca/dog/product/97/all-natural-adult-medium-and-large-breed-lamb-meal-and-rice/

    …and only 22% protein to boot?  Just awful.  I’d look for something better IMO!  :-)   

  • Carlos

    Hello Mike, any updates on the All Natural versions review? Thx!

  • Faith Loewen

    You could try feeding them dry food with water on the side. See if that works. My pups often start un moistened food at around 5-6 weeks. They should have access to fresh water all the time. You could also ask your vet if he recommends something like fortiflora.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Pete… I’ll get on correcting that right away. Thanks for the tip.

  • Pete Waterman

    Thanks for the response Mike.

    Just BTW, the new Nutrience website has AAFCO statements and it is also on the new bags.

    Keep up the great work, this website is a very valuable and reputable resource.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Pete… Please note our review is for the company’s “Original” range. And after checking the Nutrience website, I see no changes to the formula since we posted this review.

    The Nutrience “All Natural” and “Holistic” product lines are already on my To Do list. However, due to our current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before I get to them. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Pete Waterman

    Hi Mike,

    I can only imagine how busy you guys must be with all the reviews and requests but it would be great to see reviews of the new Nutrience lines. Like Lauren, I noticed from about May 2011 the packaging and formulas had changed in North America (and worldwide, I assume).

    From what I can tell, the “All Natural” range contains no corn. Would love to see a review as I am sure it has improved. From a 4 to a 5 star food maybe..?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Ingrid… Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet and the limitations of a blog, it’s impossible for me to comment on your dogs’ stool condition. Wish I could be more help.

  • Ingrid

    I have two three month old Labrador Retriever puppies which initially were fed on Science Diet, but after reading the reviews on it and checking those on Nutrience I decided to change them (with the gradual scheme) to the latter. They love it, but their stools are still a little bit soft after two weeks of feeding them pure Nutrience for puppies. I usually add half a cup of water to the ration, because this is what they were used to when I got them. Could this be the cause, or could it be a case of allergy to one of its components?

  • Meagan

    I emailed the company and they said this is not sold in the U.S.

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  • Lauren

    I also noticed recently that the packaging had changed at one of the local petstores. This weekend I went to a larger petstore in a larger city and noticed that there are now two kinds of Nutrience.

    The blue bag is “Nutrience Original” and the bag I had previously purchased was “Nutrience All Natural”. I assumed the packaging had just changed but really I was buying the other line of dog food.

    We have been using “Nutrience All Natural” since we brought our puppies home at 8 weeks (they are Yorkshire Terriers), we have never had any problems with this product. Their stool is never runny, nor are they ever gassy. I highly recommend this product!

    Since I purchased the “Nutrience Original” – the dogs haven’t noticed a difference, but they are a bit more gassy and their stools are a bit runny. It was my mistake that I didn’t realize that I had purchased a different formula so I just started feeding them Nutrience Orignal right off the bat. I did some research and it said that because the Original formula contains both probiotics and prebiotics, it is normal for them to be a bit more gassy and their stools a bit softer until their digestive system adjusts to the new formula.

    I also noticed quite a price difference from the Original to the All Natural – about $7 for the smallest bag size. I picked up the Original for $9.99 on sale (regular price $11.99), compared to the all natural where I paid $19.99 for the bag.

    I have confidence in Nutrience products, I love the ingredients they use and my dogs do as well! However, once I finish this bag of “Original”, I will switch back to the “All Natural”. Next time I will be sure to pay more attention to the label!!!

  • Jo

    Our six month old pup is doing very well on Nutrience plus a small meal of K9 (frozen nuggets based on raw food diet) but it wasn’t the case at the beginning because I was ignorant of pet food quality. We had diarrhea problems, anal gland problems, lethargy etc.
    This site is a Godsend and I wish I had known about it during the last years of our rough collie’s life, makes me feel guilty, as I purchased what I thought was premium food and now know it may have caused problems for him.

  • Jordyn

    Hi there Kevin, I just wanted to share a tidbit with you on our personal experiance with Nutrience.
    We have had our pup on it since she was 4 weeks old & she is extremelly gassy & stinky! Also her stool was far from a solid. We have recentlly switched her to IAMS puppy and things have changed drastically!
    No more gas or stink! Also improved her coat quite a bit as well.
    Good luck

  • Robert Stewart

    i have a 14 month old Ori-Pei (Pug Sharpei cross). He luvs Nutrience to death!!!! A few times in the past we have tried to wean him off to try another brand, but he didnt budge at all, so we had to go back to Nutrience and drive a little bit further for his sake!!!! He’s Super healthy and his stool is a healthy texture and color and regular. His urine is really yellow, but usually is the case with high quality food with lots of protein. As a puppy we did start him off with Orijen because of the good things i’ve heard,, then now I hear even they have certain issue’s with their food. I suppose if you really dissect each and every ingredient you’ll find controversial issue’s but the same can be said for every single item in the grocery store or pet store! Nutrience deserves a 5 out of 5 IMO… with my experience of owning 5 dogs from a Maltese to a Husky to a German Sheppard, to a Staffordshire Terrier, to an Ori_Pei…

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Kevin… I’m not aware of any recipe changes. You may wish to contact Nutrience customer support.

  • Kevin currie

    I have been feeding my dogs nutrience since they were puppies and recently nutrience have changed the packaging and names. My dogs have since been very gassy. Just wondering if they changed the ingredients?