Nutro Max canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nutro Max product line includes six canned dog foods, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for all life stages (Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nutro Max Adult Beef and Rice Dinner
- Nutro Max Adult Chicken, Rice and Lamb Dinner
- Nutro Max Adult Chicken, Rice and Turkey Dinner
- Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Beef and Rice Dinner
- Nutro Max Senior Chicken and Rice Dinner (3.5 stars)
- Nutro Max Puppy Chicken, Lamb and Rice Formula (4.5 stars)
Nutro Max Adult Beef and Rice Dinner was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutro Max Adult Beef and Rice Dinner
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef broth, beef, chicken, beef liver, chicken liver, ground rice, rice bran, egg product, sunflower oil, guar gum, natural flavor, tricalcium phosphate, salt, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, carrageenan, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, choline chloride, sodium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||30%||26%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||53%||20%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The second ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is chicken, another quality raw item.
The next two ingredients include beef liver and chicken liver. These are organ meats sourced from named animals and thus considered beneficial components.
The sixth ingredient is ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The seventh ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The eighth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) 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 ninth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this 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 three notable exceptions…
First, brewers dried 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.
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.
And lastly, with the exception of copper, 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.
Nutro Max Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Max 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 37% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast in this recipe, and the wheat gluten contained in another recipe, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nutro Max is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Nutro Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Nutro Dog Food Recall (10/4/2009)
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A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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
06/01/2015 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩