Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dog Food Review (Dry)

Nulo Freestyle Limited Alaska Pollock Dry Dog Food

Review of Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s best rating of 5 stars.

The Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus product line includes the 4 dry dog foods listed below.

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

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Product Rating AAFCO
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Turkey Recipe 5 A
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Salmon Recipe 4.5 A
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Small Breed Turkey Recipe 5 A
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Alaska Pollock and Lentils Recipe 4.5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Salmon Recipe 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 Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Salmon Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 39%

Ingredients: Deboned salmon, salmon meal, chickpeas, chickpea flour, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid), sweet potatoes, miscanthus grass, natural flavor, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, dried chicory root, choline chloride, vitamin supplement, zinc methionine, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous oxide, biotin, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.1%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%20%39%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%40%32%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 32%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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

The third 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 fourth ingredient is chickpea flour, a powder made from roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a good source of carbohydrates.

Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried chickpeas contain about 26% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The next ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

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 seventh ingredient is miscanthus grass, also known as elephant grass. Miscanthus is a non-GMO source of crude fiber.

After the natural flavor, we find potassium chloride, a nutritional supplement sometimes used as a replacement for the sodium found in table salt.

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, we find chicory root. Chicory 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 recipe contains 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.

And lastly, this food includes 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.

Nutrient Analysis

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 39%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Which means this Nulo product line contains…

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas and chickpea flour, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dog Food

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

Enthusiastically recommended.

Has Nulo Freestyle Dog Food Been Recalled?

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

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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

09/08/2021 Last Update