Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain product line includes two dry dog foods each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey and Potato
- Nutrish Zero Grain Salmon and Sweet Potato
Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey and Potato was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey and Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, dried peas, tapioca starch, whole dry potatoes, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, whole flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||16%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||33%||41%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The third ingredient includes chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient is dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The sixth ingredient is dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can affect our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The seventh ingredient is 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 eighth ingredient is beet pulp. 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.
The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
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.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, dried potato and flaxseed in this recipe as well as the pea protein in the other, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of turkey as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
10/28/2014 Last Update