Nutro Natural Choice Trays dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4.5 stars.
The Nutro Natural Choice Trays product line includes six canned dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two for growth (Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Puppy Beef and Vegetable Dinner
- Adult Chicken and Brown Rice Entree
- Adult Simmered Beef and Potato Stew
- Adult Savory Lamb and Vegetable Stew
- Puppy Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal Dinner
- Adult Roasted Turkey and Vegetable Entree
Nutro Natural Choice Trays Adult Chicken and Brown Rice Entree was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Nutro Natural Choice Trays Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, beef liver, wheat gluten, peas, pork plasma, brown rice, starch, tomato pomace, salt, sodium phosphate, brewers dried yeast, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), caramel color, thyme, xanthan gum, zinc sulfate, guar gum, basil, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, sodium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), chicory pulp, beta carotene, taurine, choline chloride, l-carnitine, copper proteinate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, riboflavin supplement (source of B2), manganous sulfate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||17%||31%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||35%||27%|
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 finding 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 third and fourth ingredients are chicken and beef liver. These are organ meats sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is pork plasma. Plasma is what remains of blood after the blood cells themselves have been removed. Plasma can be considered a nutritious addition.
The eighth 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 ninth item lists starch. The source of this starch is unknown but it is most likely derived from corn or wheat. Without more information, it’s impossible to adequately 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 five notable exceptions…
First, we find 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 insists 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 find 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.
Thirdly, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, chicory pulp is what remains of chicory root once all the healthy inulin has been extracted.
This agricultural by-product is more typically associated with cattle feeds and is most likely used here for its digestible dietary fiber.
And lastly, 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 Trays Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Natural Choice Trays looks to be an above-average wet 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 46% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 20% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nutro Natural Choice Trays is a meat-based canned product using a moderate amount of named meats and liver as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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
05/17/2012 Original review
05/17/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩