Nutro Natural Choice canned dog food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Nutro Natural Choice product line includes 20 canned dog foods, each designed for dogs of specific sizes, life stages, lifestyles or health conditions.
Each claims to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for their specified animals.
- Nutro Natural Choice High Energy
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Senior Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Lamb and Pasta
- Nutro Natural Choice Senior Turkey and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Senior Chicken and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Lamb, Duck and Pasta
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Original Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Turkey, Lamb and Pasta
- Nutro Natutal Choice Adult Herring and Sweet Potato
- Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Weight Management
- Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Lite Adult Lamb and Rice (2 stars)
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice
- Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice
Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal canned dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, beef liver, chicken liver, ground rice, feeding oatmeal, egg product, guar gum, dried plain beet pulp, sunflower oil, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, carrageenan, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, choline chloride, zinc oxide, sodium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, sodium selenite , potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), biotin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||23%||31%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||44%||25%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The second ingredient is 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 next two ingredients are beef and chicken liver. These are organ meats sourced from named animals and thus considered beneficial components.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The seventh ingredient is egg product, a dry or liquid 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 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.
The ninth 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.
The tenth 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, we note the inclusion of brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something 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.
Next, we note the use of carrageenan, a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, this product also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb.
Even though chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods, it’s important to note only copper appears to be in a chelated form.
Nutro Natural Choice Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Natural Choice looks to be an 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 37% and an average fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate portion size of 29% for the full product line.
Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
With 12 of the foods in this Nutro Natural Choice line benefiting from the protein-boosting effect of rice or wheat gluten, this looks to be a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nutro Natural Choice canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a moderate amount of poultry, beef or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those looking for a better wet food from the same company may wish to check out our review of Nutro Max canned 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
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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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
12/18/2009 Original review
07/25/2010 Review updated
01/28/2012 Review updated
01/28/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩