Nutro Dog Food Trays earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Nutro Dog Food Trays product line includes six tubbed 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.
- Nutro Adult Beef and Potato Stew
- Nutro Puppy Beef and Vegetable Stew
- Nutro Small Breed Adult Savory Lamb and Vegetable Stew
- Nutro Small Breed Adult Roasted Turkey and Vegetable Stew
- Nutro Small Breed Adult Chicken and Whole Brown Rice Stew
- Nutro Small Breed Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice and Oatmeal Stew
Nutro Small Breed Adult Chicken and Whole Brown Rice Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutro Small Breed Adult Chicken and Whole Brown Rice Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, turkey, chicken, peas, beef liver, chicken liver, wheat gluten, pork plasma, macaroni (semolina wheat enriched with niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid), starch, rice flour, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salt, tricalcium phosphate, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), caramel color, xanthan gum, guar gum, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, beta carotene, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, chicory pulp, ascorbic acid, choline chloride, taurine, l-carnitine, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), potassium iodide, vitamin a supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2)
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 next two ingredients include chicken and turkey. Poultry is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Poultry is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The next two ingredients include beef and chicken liver. These are organ meats sourced from named animals and thus considered beneficial components.
The seventh 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 some 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient is macaroni, a noodle product made from wheat flour. Wheat of course, is an inexpensive cereal grain nutritionally similar to corn.
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, 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.
Next, brewers 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, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.
That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
Additionally, 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, 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 Dog Food Trays
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Dog Food Trays looks like an 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 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. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, peas, and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nutro Dog Food Trays is a meat-based wet dog food using a moderate amount of poultry, beef or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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A Final Word
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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Notes and Updates
06/04/2015 Last Update