Nutro Ultra Boost (Cups)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Nutro Ultra Boost Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nutro Ultra Boost product line includes four recipe cups.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Ultra Protein Boost Turkey Pate (5 stars) [M]
  • Ultra Protein Boost Chicken Pate (5 stars) [M]
  • Ultra Shiny Coat Boost Salmon Pate (4 stars) [M]
  • Ultra Antioxidant Boost Chicken Pate (4 stars) [M]

Ultra Shiny Coat Boost Salmon Pate was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutro Ultra Shiny Coat Boost Salmon Pate

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 35%

Ingredients: Salmon, chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, carrots, egg product, natural flavors, brown rice, tomatoes, carrageenan, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, potassium chloride, flaxseed, tricalcium phosphate, dried yam, calcium carbonate, brewers dried yeast, xanthan gum, cassia gum, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, cranberry pomace, dried pomegranate, blueberry pomace, dried carrot, tomato pomace, guar gum, vitamin E supplement, dried pumpkin, choline chloride, ascorbic acid, zinc sulfate, magnesium proteinate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%21%35%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%41%29%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 29%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient 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 third 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 fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth 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.

After the natural flavors, we find 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 ingredient includes tomato, a nutrient rich vegetable consisting of about 72% carbohydrates.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, 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.

Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

This recipe also contains brewers yeast, which 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, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

And lastly, this food 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 Ultra Boost Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Ultra Boost 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 35%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutro Ultra Boost is a meat-based wet dog food using a notable amount of salmon, chicken or turkey as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

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
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

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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Notes and Updates

05/15/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials