Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain (Dry)

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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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

10/28/2014 Last Update

  • J. Saldo-Giddens

    I have 2 Siberian Huskies. The youngest is a year old and he had very sensitive stomach as a pup. The one food we found that he did well with started giving him sporadic runs and anal leakage after a few months. I switched him over to the RR beef and brown rice and he has done 200% better! He has healthy poops (about 2-3 times per day) and the runs only show up when he gets into something he isn’t supposed to (like bacon grease on a stove top :/ ).
    Our other husky was a rescue and 15 pounds under weight when we got her. We have had her for 3 weeks now and she loves the RR food. We has been mixing it with boiled or grilled chicken as well to boost the protein content since she wasn’t eating much when we got her home. She has put on about 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks off of the dry food. alone.
    I used to feed my dogs only Pedigree but after my American Bulldog passed away with kidney and ulcer issues, I have been more observant as to the ingredients in dog food. While it is true that better dog food is usually more expensive, my huskies have proved that its not always best. RR food is moderately priced and my dogs love it and are quite healthy.
    I have never tried the grain free type and probably won’t unless their diet needs change; but I cannot highly enough recommend the beef and brown rice formula.

  • ALV

    Crazy4Dogs, see my comment above about the chickpeas. I wish these dog food manufacturers would quit putting chickpeas in foods as the latest fad. I’ve see other people on this site complain about chickpeas giving their dogs diarrhea.

  • ALV

    Check the ingredients on the zero grain bags. RR’s new version of this food, which is beef, has chickpeas in it as the third ingredient. Chickpeas give my dogs diarrhea and it may be that RR has now added chickpeas to the chicken and fish varieties of this food. This beef version has given two dogs that I am boarding diarrhea. They normally eat the fish version but the store was out of the fish so the owner picked up the beef. It has been quite the mess.

  • ALV

    I am caring for two dogs eating a beef version of Rachael Ray grain free. Behind beef and beef meal the next three ingredients are chickpeas, peas and lentils. Both of these dogs are pooping huge amounts four times a day and they are both having intermittent diarrhea. It looks as if every single cup of this food they are eating is coming right out the rear. My own personal dogs started having diarrhea when Canidae added chickpeas to their food. Ugh. Rachael Ray may be a shrewd business woman but she doesn’t know how to cook for dogs.

  • Wifey010505

    my dogs got very sick when they tried Rachel Ray dog food

  • Jlyo

    thanks again :)

  • Crazy4dogs

    Everyone likes/dislikes various brands. I tend to use family companies that haven’t had big recall issues, but as long as you do a slow transition and try a 3.5 or better rated food, you should do well. Since she’s 13, make it a very slow transition.

  • Jlyo

    really appreciate the advice, she will be 13 years old this year and she’s done really well on beneful but i dont want to take any chances since there’s been so many cases of beneful harming dogs. i asked her vet and they just gave me an in general list of brands to try. researching reviews is proving to be scary. lots of conflicting opinions.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Yes, I use the Grain Free Freshpet’s in my rotational diet. I would probably use this after your dog has been introduced to and is already eating a better food. The reason I’m saying this is because she might like this so much that she’ll only eat that and leave the Beneful behind. If that’s the case, you’re not really going to transition and may encounter some digestive problems and/or loose stools.

  • Jlyo

    thank you, would you also recommend the freshpet brand too?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Since she’s been on Beneful for her whole life, I would pick a moderate protein, moderate fat food to start with. Since you’re on this page, this could work for you. Just make sure to make a slow transition. Failure in starting a new food happens when people feed the same food every day for many years and then make a sudden switch. The standard method is 25% new/75% old food 3-4 days. 50% new food/50% old food 3-4 days, 75% new food/25% old food 3-4 days.

    Good Luck with it!

  • Crazy4dogs

    There might be something wrong with that particular bag, it’s hard to say. I feel that if a dog was eating it before and is not happy with the new bag, there may be something wrong with that bag of food. So many things happen between the manufacturing and the purchase and sometimes, even after the purchase. Have you tried returning the bag and trying a new one? If that doesn’t work, there are many well rated foods that are not as expensive as NB.

  • Jlyo

    my 5lb. chihuahua has a VERY sensitive stomach, im looking for options
    that are safe for her, but the more reviews i read the more confusing it
    becomes. she’s been on beneful for most of her life, but with all the
    bad things happening with that food, i want to switch to something that
    has a good track record and doesnt harm dogs. any advice is welcomed.
    thanks.

  • jenb76

    We switched from Natural Balance LID food to RR zero grain and at first all seemed okay. Our dog (black lab/australian shepard mix) loved it and had no issues. We bought a bag of RR zero grain recently and she’s not eating it like she used to and now she’s having the runs when she does eat it. She’s currently on a rice diet with some boiled chicken until things improve (per the vet) and then we’ll be going back to Natural Balance since she didn’t have any issues (it was just a bit cheaper and since I lost my job, I was trying to save a little bit of money).

  • Holly

    Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in Meadville, PA, formerly known as Dad’s Dog Food.

  • Crazy4dogs

    It’s a much better choice. Beneful costs less, but considering the quality of the food, it’s overpriced.
    I’ve never fed RR anything so I can only see some of the online prices. There are other brands that might be less expensive. Earthborn, Whole Earth Farms maybe American Natural Premiums. Labsrawesome likes Victor.

  • jpilarczyk

    we have a pointer/lab mix (3/4 yrs old) had her about 6 months
    we have been using the RR grain free for about a month now. we switched from Beniful when we heard of the issues with that. she was having tumming issues and was throwing up pretty regularly. since we switched to the RR grain free, we have seen a ton of improvement. tummy issues all but gone. one has thrown up once since the switch, but that was because she ate so fast, she made herself sick :(

    so far so good–just dont like the high price :(

  • Christine Daley

    You can get many dog foods on mr chewy delivered right to your door!! Check it out!!

  • Shawna

    How so?

  • Christine Daley

    Mr border patrol. I personally do not choose to purchase my pets food at Walmart!! Understood!! They do not have what I am looking for. LOL for anyone interested in the brands they carry!! Personal preference!! Nothing to do with my credibility!! Everyone shops where they like. No problem here!!

  • Border Patrol Agent

    Statements like this tend to point more toward your credibility than anything else.

  • 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.