Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Protein = 29% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 47%

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
Guaranteed Analysis26%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%16%47%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 47%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

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.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Notes and Updates

10/28/2014 Last Update

  • Elizabeth Michaels

    I have a lab/beagle mix (6 years old) – I’ve had him since he was 2.5 months old.

    Since he was a puppy he has been on the Nutro brand food. Last month we were out of food — and weren’t able to get to Petsmart — wound up going to Wal Mart and purchasing a bag of the RR dog food (med. size bag). Recently, Tank had a horrible bowel movement – mucus and blood. I was talking with my coworker who stated her dog had the same reaction after being on the RR food. She stated that she went to her vet and dropped over $500.00 for the vet to tell her that the dog was fine. Common link to this freak bowel movement – RR dog food.

    My dog has been back on his Nutro for close to two weeks now…
    Maybe it isn’t related, but for two healthy dogs to have -0- issues and all of a sudden to have a bloody/mucus bowel movement and the common link is the brand of food.. a little too weird.

  • Ray Korbyl

    Ya and dog still doing great on it but gonna switch to Fromm next week,lamb and lentils because my other dog can’t have poultry so she’s on acana singles right now but not good enough on it so just switching her to Fromm and she’s doing great on it so far…nice poops and I really think Fromm is as good as orijen and acana@ $10 a bag cheaper…

  • Bobby dog

    I believe I discussed Precise with you in the past. Are you still feeding it?

  • Ray Korbyl

    Ya I like family run business’s like Fromm,orijen/champion pet food which also make acana,earthborn,precise holistic all are family run dog food companies and all use local produce and don’t outsource and they own there facilities.

  • Bobby dog

    Fromm is in my rotation along with other kibbles for both my dog and cats. Good stuff!

  • Ray Korbyl

    Try Fromm,it’s a family run business and has not had a recall in over a 100 years

  • A P

    Scarletsunn………..same thing with my dog and dog food. Was feeding her Blue Buffalo and she was constantly spitting out the dark pellets. I switched her to RR Nutrish Zero Grain and she loves it and is doing great with it.

  • A P

    Hi, not sure what to tell you but. My dog will be 11 yrs old in May. She started having seizures approx 5 yrs ago. She is on phenobarbital to control the seizures. She has ALWAYS had a very touchy stomach. When a 80 – 90 lb dog throws up, it is not fun to clean up. I was feeding her Blue at time and did so up until approx 3 yrs ago. She did not care for Blue and would spit out the little black balls that are in Blue. So I tried her on the Nutrish Zero Grain. She loves it and is doing great on it. So I am not sure what to say. Two previous dogs I had, put them on Nutro and they did horrible on that. It seemed their health went down hill after eating the Nutro.