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Nulo FreeStyle Dog Food Review (Dry)

Nulo FreeStyle Dog Food Review

Review of Nulo FreeStyle Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Nulo FreeStyle Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nulo FreeStyle product line includes the 9 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Nulo FreeStyle Adult Salmon and Peas 5 M
Nulo FreeStyle Large Breed Puppy Salmon and Turkey 5 A
Nulo FreeStyle Adult Lamb and Chickpeas 5 M
Nulo FreeStyle Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato 5 M
Nulo FreeStyle Adult Trim Cod and Lentils 5 M
Nulo FreeStyle Senior Trout and Sweet Potato 5 M
Nulo FreeStyle Puppy Turkey and Sweet Potato 5 G
Nulo FreeStyle Puppy Salmon and Peas 5 G
Nulo FreeStyle Adult Small Breed Salmon and Red Lentils 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Nulo FreeStyle Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Nulo FreeStyle Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 37% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 35%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, salmon meal, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid), sweet potato, yellow peas, deboned trout, pea fiber, natural flavor, yeast culture, dried chicory root, dried tomatoes, dried carrots, dried blueberries, dried apples, salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), iron proteinate, niacin, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, manganous oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), sodium selenite, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis33%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis37%20%35%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%40%29%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 29%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains up to 73% 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 is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The next ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, beans and lentils, chickpeas are a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth item is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The next ingredient includes yellow peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is trout, a freshwater species closely related to salmon. Trout is rich in omega-3 fatty acids but also contains up to 73% 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 ninth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

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 Nulo product.

With 3 notable exceptions

First, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Nulo FreeStyle Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 37%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 35%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

Which means this Nulo product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas and peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Nulo FreeStyle Dog Food

Nulo FreeStyle is a grain-free dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.



Nulo Dog Food
Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Nulo.

No recalls noted.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Nulo Brand Reviews

The following Nulo dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials

01/18/2022 Last Update

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