NutriSource canned dog food gets the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The NutriSource product line includes three canned 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:
- NutriSource Lamb and Rice Formula Dog Food
- NutriSource Chicken and Rice Formula Dog Food
- NutriSource Chicken, Lamb and Ocean Fish Formula Dog Food
NutriSource Chicken and Rice Formula Dog Food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
NutriSource Chicken and Rice Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, ocean fish, pearled barley, brown rice, dried egg, dicalcium phosphate, guar gum, salt, potassium chloride, dried kelp, alfalfa meal, calcium sulfate, lecithin, carrageenen, cranberries, ascorbic acid, choline chloride, betaine, taurine, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, Yucca schidigera extract, selenium yeast, manganese proteinate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||27%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||51%||18%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken 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 needed moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth item is ocean fish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2
Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.
In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient lists 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 item 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 seventh ingredient includes dried egg, 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 eighth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
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, 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.
And lastly, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
NutriSource Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, NutriSource looks to be 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 41% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 21% for the overall product line.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
With no sign of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing significant amount of meat.
NutriSource is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a quality kibble to go with this canned food may wish to visit our review of NutriSource dry dog food.
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
03/20/2010 Original review
10/20/2010 Review updated
07/18/2012 Last Update