Nutrisca canned dog food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nutrisca product line includes three canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nutrisca Turkey and Chickpea Stew
- Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea Stew
- Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Stew
Nutrisca Turkey and Chickpea Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutrisca Turkey and Chickpea Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, chicken broth, water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, dried egg product, peas, salmon, chickpeas, guar gum, carrots, natural flavor, menhaden fish oil, salt, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, spinach, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, potassium iodide, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||22%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||44%||21%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is salmon. Salmon is a fatty marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
The eighth ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, beans and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
Even though chickpeas contain about 22% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, we find menhaden fish oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.
What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deeper water species.
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.
Nutrisca Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrisca looks like an above-average canned 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and chickpeas, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a notable amount of meat.
Nutrisca is a grain-free meat-based canned product using a notable amount of turkey, chicken or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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
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Notes and Updates
09/27/2012 Original review
04/17/2014 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩