Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free product line includes 2 canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Adult Turkey and Potato
- Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Adult Whitefish and Potato
Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Adult Turkey and Potato was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Adult Turkey and Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, whole potatoes, turkey liver, dried potatoes, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), guar gum, carrageenan, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||34%||23%||35%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||44%||28%|
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 turkey 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 third ingredient is potato. Assuming they’re cooked, potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient is dried potatoes, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. Compared to cornmeal, dried potatoes contain slightly more protein.
The sixth 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.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is 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.
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, 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.
And lastly, although apparently limited to the copper, 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.
Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free 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 34% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 35% for the overall product line.
Below-average protein. Average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing a below average amount of meat.
Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a below-average amount of turkey or fish as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for a similar kibble product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free 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
01/15/2011 Original review
01/15/2012 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 ↩