Rachael Ray Nutrish dog food earns the Advisor’s below-average rating of 2.5 stars.
The Rachael Ray Nutrish product line includes 3 dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken and Veggies
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Healthy Weight with Turkey and Veggies
Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice Dog Food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, chicken meal, ground rice, corn meal, soybean meal, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), corn gluten meal, brown rice, oatmeal, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salt, calcium carbonate, dehydrated alfalfa, dried peas, dried carrots, dried tomatoes, potassium chloride, choline chloride, olive oil, iron oxide, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, dried parsley, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), mixed tocopherols, niacin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, cobalt sulfate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||17%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||36%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third 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 fourth item is corn meal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fifth ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is relatively useful by-product — what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably 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 lists poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
The seventh ingredient, corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
Like soybean meal, 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.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
Next, 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.
Thirdly, iron oxide is a synthetic pigment used in manufacturing to impart a reddish color to food — and rubber. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.
We’re always disappointed to find any artificial 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 kibble is?
And lastly, this Rachael Ray product also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Rachael Ray Nutrish looks to be a below-average dry 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 29% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement or the use of plant-based protein boosters, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food is a plant-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or turkey meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 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
03/05/2010 Original review
10/06/2010 Review updated
05/08/2011 Review updated (Healthy Weight added)
02/04/2012 Review updated (no changes)
04/19/2012 Last Update