NutriSource canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 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
- NutriSource Chicken and Rice
- NutriSource Chicken, Lamb and Ocean Fish
NutriSource Chicken and Rice was selected to represent the other products 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 both flavor and 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 ingredient 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 is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
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, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
In addition, this food 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 includes 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 canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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.
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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 74%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
NutriSource canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a notable amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
However, the higher fat content associated with the lamb recipe may not be appropriate for every animal.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a quality kibble to go with this canned food may wish to visit our review of NutriSource dry dog food.
A Final Word
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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
03/20/2010 Original review
10/20/2010 Review updated
07/18/2012 Review updated
02/08/2014 Last Update