Nutrience Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Nutrience Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nutrience Grain Free product line includes five dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Nutrience Grain Free Ocean Fish [A]
  • Nutrience Grain Free Pork, Lamb and Venison [A]
  • Nutrience Grain Free Small Breed Ocean Fish [A]
  • Nutrience Grain Free Turkey, Chicken and Herring [A]
  • Nutrience Grain Free Small Turkey, Chicken and Herring [A]

Nutrience Grain Free Turkey, Chicken and Herring was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Nutrience Grain Free Turkey, Chicken and Herring

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 38% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 36%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, green peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, deboned chicken, deboned herring, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole eggs, sun-cured alfalfa meal, tapioca, natural chicken flavour, chicken liver, salmon oil (source of DHA), coconut oil, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, broccoli, apples, pears, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, juniper berry extract, ginger, fennel, green tea extract, peppermint leaf, licorice root, turmeric, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, inositol, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganese oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], dicalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, lecithin, chicory root extract, choline chloride, dl-methionine, dried kelp, yeast extract, glucosamine hydrochloride, rosemary extract, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, l-lysine chondroitin sulfate, l-carnitine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis lactis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus helveticus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis34%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis38%18%36%
Calorie Weighted Basis32%37%31%
Protein = 32% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 31%

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 is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

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

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

The seventh ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is herring, another quality raw item. Like chicken, raw herring 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 next 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, this recipe includes alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1

Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

In addition, 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, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago3, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

And lastly, 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.

Nutrience Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrience Grain Free 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 38%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 36%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Nutrience Grain Free is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of turkey, chicken and whitefish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

Nutrience Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

09/07/2016 Last Update

  1. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  2. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  3. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • Marsha Maloney

    Just checking that you took a couple weeks to ween off their old food and start with just 25% of new food for several days and then increase to 50% for several more days then 75% etc. some just give a bowl of new food and dog has diarrhea from the change.

  • Susan

    Hi, rotate & try another brand kibble, there might be too many different proteins if they are pooing that much what is the fiber%… try a kibble with a single protein with limited ingredients & see how they go, I rotate between a few different brands with different proteins…when you rotate kibbles your dogs aren’t on the same brand long enough to cause any health problems…my boy poos out less then he eats…

  • Elaine

    Yup that is what I do with my 2 guys. Their guts are so strong they can flip from Froom to merick to Arcana. I want to try this food also and put it into their rotation.

  • Michelle

    Switched my 3 dogs to Nutrience grain free venison, pork and lamb about 5 months ago when we got our new pup. I wanted an all life stages food and needed something without chicken. My two adult dogs are very picky so I was worried they would turn their nose up to this too, but even after all these months they eat and clean their bowls with enthusiasm! My only complaint besides the price (they are starting to go through a bag a week and at $80 ea it is getting a bit pricy!) is their poop! I’m not sure what is the reason but they are pooping up to 4 or more times a day! Its like they cant control it and often have accidents in the house. The poop is quite large as well and dark (though normal) and I worry that even though they appear to be doing well on it, they are not getting the full nutritional value being how much they poop out! I’m highly considering changing their food because of this which makes me sad as they do seem to enjoy it!

  • Amateria

    There’s been a lot of that going on this past year, at first I thought it was just pedigree and than a lot of other brands starting showing signs of it as well, it has however died down these last few months which is good to see.

    The best really is to contact the actual company and see what they have to say, that’s what everyone does first before taking it further if the company doesn’t care.
    What they do after that however is beyond me as I’m not them and have generally never called anyone about their product, although I should have.

  • Melanie Da Rosa Musetti

    I got my girl the grain free..and found some material in the kibble and a string. Where can i complain about this?

    Please email me at [email protected]

  • Heather Kozicki

    My husband and I managed to try this food on special. It’s been really great for our dogs. They were on PureBalance before and, unbeknownst to us, had an allergy to it. They don’t have any problems on the Pork, Lamb & Venison. Even not on special it’s actually cheaper then PureBalance! Highly recommend giving it a try.

  • Tommi Poodle

    can you rate Nutrience grain fee canned dog food, 95% Turkey/chicken formula, also has other flavors Nutrience Natural canned dog food, also anyone who feed Nutrience grain free turkey and chicken, herring recipe dry dog food adult formula? I looked up their website and comparison food between the Orijen vs Nutrience, they are same ingredients and Nutrience has coconut oil in the food,, and Nutrience protein and fat are lower than Orijen food,, looks very good ingredients…I can buy from my local grocery store, recently they have in stores where I go to grocery shopping,, they sell all lines of Nutrience dog and cat food dry and canned

  • pompoms

    I thought “ocean whitefish” was vague too… but it turns out it’s actually a species of fish:

    That was surprising…

  • neezerfan

    Looks awesome! I’ll send an email to the company and ask about US sales.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Ah, looks like it’s just on the Canadian side of their site, perhaps only available in Canada at this point ..

    Good for me, not so much for you 🙁

  • neezerfan

    Where did you hear this? I went to their website and didn’t see it there. Those are the 3 proteins Reo can have!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Nutrience GF has a new formula option – Pork, Lamb & Venison, which looks great! (I’ve filled out Dr Mike’s update form) I just hope they don’t do to it what they did with their Ocean Fish formula, replacing a lot of the animal protein with plant protein. I’m willing to give them another try with this formula because it fills a hole in my rotation that I’ve struggled to fill (particularly as it looks like Storm has developed a turkey sensitivity), but…

  • theBCnut

    Digested proteins are dark and it’s a high protein food. Dark is good.

  • 慶幸

    I tried both flavors on my dog. However, oddly when he was on this brand his poop was always a very dark brown bordering on black. Anyone else has this experience and/or know why this might be the case? Thanks.

  • losul

    Bought a bag of the GF Turkey, Chicken, and Herring on a spur of the moment thing. I was trying to find a fifth item for the month on the Amazon subscribe and save program, so as to get 15% off the total, and there is also a $5.00 coupon on Amazon site, so I got an 18lb bag of this for $28.14. Not bad, about $1.57/lb.

    I think this food is only available in Canada so far, and online only at Amazon.

    The formula has been changed since the review above was written, salmon meal has been replaced with de-boned herring for instance, along with several more changes. I usually try to avoid any fish, fish meals, and fish oils in kibbles, a stability thing, preferring to instead add them fresh myself. Also, for me, there are some questionable botanicals in it, i.e. juniper berry extract, licorice root, but they removed gingko and ginseng. My dog doesn’t get much kibble (about 30% or less of his caloric intake) anyway, an 18 lb bag will last about 4 months. Most of it I repackaged in vacuumed seal a meal bags and put in the freezer.

    Turbo got some for his evening meal last night, which he gobbled like almost anything else i give him, no problems, he will get more tonight. Kibble was produced fairly recently, has an exp. date 6/15. Smells fresh and I can slightly smell fish, but not obnoxiously fishy at all. A little larger kibble size maybe a problem for some small dogs? I don’t expect anything else to report on it, being such a small part of his diet, so I’m sorry, not much of a review. By all apparent appearances though, it seems to be a high quality kibble.

  • swak

    The truth shall set you free!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Looks like Nutrience GF Fish has changed ingredients..and not for the better as far as protein from fish is concerned 🙁

    Old formula: deboned ocean whitefish (which, of course, would fall well down the ingredient list if the list was required to be listed on “as eaten”/”dry matter” basis, so really isn’t the 1st ingredient), salmon meal, menhaden meal, peas…

    New formula: 4 different deboned fish species (all of which would fall down the ingredient list….), ocean whitefish meal, green peas, menhaden fish meal…

    In other words, more peas less menhaden meal. Since the protein level itself stayed the same at 34%, the peas now account for a higher % of the protein in the food than they did before, and the fish less than before. Not impressed. I really loved Nutrience GF Fish formula, too!!! 🙁 I took Performatrin Ultra Grain Free out of my rotation because they did the same thing.. now thinking of taking Nutrience out of the rotation now, too (after the bag Storm’s on now). Sucks.

  • pugmama

    Great! Thank you both for taking the time to respond with great advice

  • Bobby dog

    Hi pugmama:
    In addition to Cyndi’s great reply I just wanted to include links to some articles about diet roation on DFA that might also be helpful to you:

  • Cyndi

    When you first start transitioning to a new food, you should do it slow. The people on here that do a rotational diet have been doing it for a long time and their dogs are to a point where it doesn’t bother them, it’s good for them. They feed one bag of a certain brand and as soon as they’re done with that bag, they go to a different brand. But, when you’re just starting to rotate foods, depending how sensitive your dogs tummy is, do a slow transition to each one. You’ll get to the point where you don’t have to do it slowly, you can tell by your dogs poo how well they’re adjusting.

  • pugmama

    For those of you that do a rotation of foods, how does it work? Do you just go straight from one brand to the next with no transition? I’m very interested in trying it. Thanks!

  • Storm’s Mom

    In Canada, Petcetera. It’s the only place that sells it so far in my city (west coast). Petcetera is currently undergoing a “restructuring”, though, so I’m crossing my fingers they don’t go out of business!!…or, if they do, Nutrience gets picked up somewhere else!!

  • merci

    amazon carries them.

  • Omar D. Plumey

    Where are you guys buying this food?

  • deus&sophie

    i switched from blue to nutrience a month ago after read terrible reviews about blue and how it was making dogs sick, and couldn’t be more happy with nutrience chicken grain free! both my dogs leave their bowls empty after every meal because they love it so much. I’ve read reviews about tons of other of foods but nothing seems to compare, I switched my cat to nutrience also after she was having a food sensitive to her old food and now her coat is back to being shiny and healthy, defiantly am a nutrience fan! 🙂

  • rockybudgeboa

    One week later, my little guy refuses to eat the Prescription ZD diet and is enjoying this food.

  • rockybudgeboa

    I hope your little Pom will be okay. I have been told to avoid Chicken or anything with it and I shall see a difference. The Metro pill he takes 1/4 a pill a day and the Prednisone going to go from every other day to every second day.

  • Shawna

    Did switching to the ZD resolve the issues you were seeing? Can your little guy be weaned off the drugs?

    Since protein losing enteropathy, IBD/Colitis, diarrhea etc can all be caused by something in the diet, I would continue trying different foods until you find the culprit. The meds are keeping the symptoms at bay but at what expense to the rest of the body? Prednisone can have long term side effects.

    My Pom gets ulcerative colitis (diarrhea with blood) if she eats chicken for more than three days in a row. I know other dogs that react in the same way to potato, green beans, peas, grains, eggs etc..

    In this research paper they describe a babies (human) allergy to egg as the cause of his protein losing enteropathy.

  • rockybudgeboa

    He is on Metronidazole by the way

  • rockybudgeboa

    Thank you so much. Although not completely tested, he had a Protein losing disorder and is on 1/3 prednisone every other day as well as diarrhea caused probably by Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The testing for both of these illnesses cost more than we could afford so we are just guessing this. If I had over $1,000.00 I would surely get him tested but havent. The Vet prescribed Hills ZD wet and he ate it for a bit and then stopped and now he refuses the Royal Canin Prescription wet. LOVES the new food though and I can hide pills in it easily enough too.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I would hazard a guess to say your vet *might* not like it, especially if you are buying the prescription diet from that vet! Why did the vet put him on the prescription diet to start with, though? There’s a slim chance that your dog has one of the very few conditions for which a prescription diet might be the best way to go, but generally, though, you’ve made a GREAT choice to switch to.. my guy LOVED Nutrience GF Fish when I fed it not long ago as part of my rotation. Just remember to transition (add in the new food) really slowly since your dog has been on the same food for a LONG time.. and you may want to get some digestive enzymes, probiotics, and canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling stuff with spices) to help the transition go more smoothly. Good luck!

  • rockybudgeboa

    My Toy Poodle has been on a Hypoallergenic Prescription diet for three years now. Hydrolyzed CHicken liver being the main protein. I was told about Nutrience from my local Global Pet Foods store in Newmarket. My little guy likes it although I have only been giving it to him sparingly since Monday. Lets see what his Vet has to say about all this but so far so good

  • Storm’s Mom

    Ha, interestingly enough, I went the other way -Nutrience GF Ocean Fish & Salmon first and then went to Go! Turkey next (the grain-free, chicken-free, potato-free one). Totally agree with your assessment of Nutrience GF. My guy did fabulously on both Nutrience GF and Go, and I will be including them as a regular part of my rotation going forward.

  • finnesse

    Just switching my two over fron Go! to Nutrience chicken, turkey, salmon grain-free and they Love, Love, Love it! Appears to be a top-knotch food, so far so good, off to a good start. Appreciate the zip-lock bag. Product has a nice dense, slightly moist or oily look and feel, as opposed to super dry and crumbly.

  • GSDsForever

    Hi. I called the company (enjoyed the French part, calling Quebec, lol!) and asked.

    I’m updating my lists (for my own use, a holistic vet’s office, and recommendations) of various categories of foods, and wanted to know if I could add this to one list.
    (Generally though, my understanding has been that explicitly labelled Atlantic salmon = farmed. So I wasn’t surprised. But I didn’t want to assume, in case of exception!)

    I’m trying out Horizon’s Legacy Fish now, in between my Timberwolf Organics Platinum rotation of “flavors” and homemade, and the Saskatchewan, Canada based brand uses 100% wild.

  • Richard J Breard

    Sounds like a great dog food but you can not buy it in the USA, not even on the internet. I called customer service in MA and the lady told she can’t even buy it. Why do the advertise?

  • chiapink

    not only is it farmed, it is soon to be cloned!!!!!!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Where/how did you get the info that it’s 100% farmed salmon? All I can find on the site ( is that it says “Atlantic salmon” (by clicking on Ingredients and then scrolling down through the pages). I don’t really care either way, but I’m just curious where you found the info.

    Yeah, the site’s a bit odd to navigate through, but the GF formulae are there. Click on “Dog”, of course, when you first arrive, and then click the right arrow to get to scroll through the navigation bar until you get to the Grain Free page.

  • GSDsForever

    Darn. I *really* wish the GF Ocean Fish & Salmon wasn’t 100% farmed salmon. I liked other ingredients and the GA for the formula. It would have been nice to add to my list of foods.

    Site doesn’t seem up to date — still listing only a 6 Fish Medley with oats in it, not the GF Ocean Fish & Salmon. Hopefully they’ll fix that.

    Here’s an external link to the formula ingredients, for anyone who wishes to check it out:

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi Dr Mike, regarding the sentence in your review about not being able to locate the AAFCO statement – found it! 🙂

    Click on the “Specs” tab at the link above (it’s to Nutrience’s parent company Hagen’s site), then click “Read More” and at the bottom there’s a statement there that indicates it’s for all life stages. Talk about burying it pretty thoroughly, though!!!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Woot!! I was hoping this would get 5 stars!!! 🙂 Storm’s had the Ocean Fish and Salmon formula (2 medium bags – he’s allergic to chicken, otherwise I would feed that one, too) and did so well on it that I’m replacing Horizon Legacy in my rotation with it. So impressed that Nutrience created a grain-free food that is MUCH better than anything they’ve ever made before. I would’ve never fed any other Nutrience product (way too low in protein with grains and a lot of filler), and they could’ve gone the route that other midrange companies have and created a midrange or worse grain-free food…but instead they’ve created a much better food than they’ve ever done before. They’ve earned my respect with that decision. Great food at a great price, with really good (quick, responsive) customer service, too!

    Oh! One thing to be aware of is that the kibble pieces are HUGE (not “light and fluffy”, just large pieces), so perhaps not the best choice for dogs that need small kibble pieces. Storm’s 26lbs and had absolutely no issue with the pieces, though. I’m curious to see if Nutrience will come out with a “small bites” version of their GF formulae.