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Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains product line includes seven dry dog foods. Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Adult
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Sensitive Stomach
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Large Breed Puppy
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Mature Lite
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Small Breed (4.5 stars)
- Wholesome Blend Sm-Med Breed Puppy (4.5 stars)
- Nutreco Wholesome Blend Large Breed Adult (3.5 stars)
Nutreco Wholesome Blend Adult dog food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nutreco Wholesome Blend Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, fresh deboned chicken, pearl millet, whole barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E), peas, flaxseed, natural flavours, dried whole egg, suncured alfalfa, quinoa, tomato pomace (source of lycopenes), herring oil (source of DHA), potassium chloride, lecithin, chicory root extract (source of FOS), mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), brown kelp, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate, botanicals (blueberries, cranberries, aniseed, cassia, thyme, rosemary, green tea extract, barley grass, spirulina, milk thistle, ginger root, turmeric, fenugreek, aloe vera, juniper berry), Yucca schidigera extract, probiotic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Lactobacillus acidophillus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Enterococcus faecium), digestive enzymes (papain, bromelain, Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product), vitamins: vitamin E, choline chloride, niacin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta carotene, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin A, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, chelated minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate), copper sulphate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content
|Dry Matter Basis
|Calorie Weighted Basis
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The third ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 fourth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.
The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The sixth ingredient 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 seventh ingredient is 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 actual meat content of this dog food.
The eighth 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.
After the natural flavor, we find whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
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 six notable exceptions…
First we find sun-cured alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.
We also note this recipe contains mannanoligosaccharide (also known as MOS), a nutritional supplement likely included here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the pet’s intestinal tract.
And lastly, this food also 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.
Nutreco Wholesome Blend
Healthy Grains Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains looks like an above-average dry dog food.
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 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
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 peas, alfalfa, flaxseed and quinoa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nutreco Wholesome Blend Healthy Grains is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources 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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Other spellings: Nutreco